Arab Update

What with Christmas and Hanukkah taking over the news lately, we’ve lost track of our Arab friends. That’s our bad.

Ham’ass—anything you’d like us to know?

A senior Hamas leader Tuesday called for a third intifada and the resumption of suicide bombings against Israel.

Ahmed Halabiyeh, director of the Jerusalem Department in Hamas, said that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, should initiate a confrontation with Israel over its plans to build new houses in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

The Palestinians, he added, should resort to various methods of resistance, first and foremost “martyrdom operations in the heart of Israel.”

Oh. Okay. Well, thanks for telling us.

How about your buddy, Abbas? ‘S up with him?

President Mahmoud Abbas has no plans to amend laws that reduce sentences for suspects who claim an “honor” defense for murdering women, his legal adviser says.

“Why change it? This would cause serious problems,” Hassan al-Ouri told Ma’an, adding that such a reform would “not benefit women.”

In May 2011, the president pledged to amend the law to guarantee maximum penalties for “honor killing” in response to protests over the killing of university student Aya Baradiya in Hebron.

The decision was announced in a phone call to a primetime show on state TV, drawing tears among crowds of mourners shown in a live link-up from the Ramallah studio to Baradiya’s hometown.

Abbas suspended Article 340, which offers a pardon for murder if the perpetrator committed the crime on finding his wife in bed with another man.

The reform was cosmetic: Article 340 had never been used in Palestinian courts since it was legislated in 1960.

“So why did we change the law? To garner public opinion,” al-Ouri said in an interview in the presidential compound in Ramallah.

“The (law) only addresses 1 percent of the problem. What we need is a new culture,” al-Ouri said.

You said it, pal, not me. But you can say that again.

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