Archive for Arab World

The Louse That Roared

Shell Jewish kindergartens, win valuable prizes!

A donor conference in Cairo to raise money to rebuild the Gaza Strip after this year’s war between Hamas and Israel ended with pledges of $5.4 billion for reconstruction there, Norway’s foreign minister said Sunday.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende offered the figure at the end of Sunday’s one-day conference, far beyond the $4 billion initially sought by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In the Peter Sellers movie, The Mouse That Roared, the Grand Duchy of Fenwick declares war on the United States because they know they will lose without a shot being fired, and profit immeasurably from America’s generosity to its vanquished opponents (such as through the Marshall Plan).

As ever, farce plays out as tragedy in Arab-occupied Israel.

Qatar pledged $1 billion toward the reconstruction, once again using its vast wealth to reinforce its role as a regional player as Gulf Arab rival the United Arab Emirates promised $200 million.

The pledges followed US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier announcing immediate American assistance of $212 million. The European Union pledged 450 million euros ($568 million), while Turkey, which has been playing a growing role in the Middle East in recent years, said it was donating $200 million.

Let me see what I have in my pocket: a green Life Saver, a gas station receipt, some lint. They can have the lint.

The Kurds, true heroes in the fight against the Islamofascists of ISIS, can’t get a pea-shooter from Turkey. Heck, Turkey won’t even let its own Kurds go fight with Syria’s Kurds. Yet they give the Islamofascists of Hamass $200 million. We’re even worse—thank you, John Kerry—at $212 million.

Who’s up for insult to injury?

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon blamed last summer’s Gaza war on Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories, as he called on both parties to finalized an agreement for a two-state solution.

“We must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” Ban said.

I really owe Kofi Annan an apology. I used to shred him for statements like these. But it’s not him, it’s not even Banki. It’s the UN. Hamass planned the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish Israeli teens, then let fly with thousands of missiles, mortars, and rockets across Israel. They violated every “rule” of war, deliberately targeting civilians and even more deliberately putting their own civilians at risk of death. And they still came in at 35% over their fundraising budget. What lesson would you take away from this except that war pays—handsomely?

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Hope and Change

Well, change anyway.

President Obama, September 3rd:

“We can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

President Obama, September 5th:

“You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them.”

“Dismantle” is a little closer to “gates of hell” than “manageable” is, for which much thanks. But he needed David Cameron’s balls to get even that far.

I happened to hear the week-in-review roundtable on NPR’s On Point this morning. The Atlantic’s former editor, Jack Beatty, a five-star general among Obama apologists, first tried to paint Russia’s invasion as merely “exerting power on its border”. Tell that to Crimea. Tell that to Donetsk. David Ignatius chimed in that Putin’s territorial gain came at great cost: a hostile government in Kiev, a united Europe against him. He claimed Putin was playing a weak hand. Tell that to Putin. This sounds like the same tone deaf talk that appeased Hitler. Not one person mentioned Obama’s Chamberlain-esque pose.

When talk turned to the Middle East, Beatty got his second wind. He quoted an administration source as saying that “avoiding another Iraq is his guiding principle”. Beatty followed with “it seems to me that’s also the guiding principle of the American people…. We don’t want this.”

Don’t we? Of course we don’t, if you put it in those terms. Who wants “another Iraq”? But do we want our reporters getting their heads chopped off (other than the 75-80 we could all agree on)? Do we want to see their unrivaled savagery (too savage for Al Qaeda) rip asunder whole countries and regions? Do we want what’s happening over there to be happening over here?

No wonder Obama looks uncertain, Beatty declared, uncertainty is the reality. That’s one way of looking at it.

Another way is that you can’t run your affairs by trying to be different from the other guy. Avoiding “another Iraq” is a dog whistle for George Bush; so is “don’t do stupid stuff”. But the world Bush had to deal with, for better or worse, is five and a half years in the past, an eternity. Most of his big decisions are a decade old by now. Facing today’s realities with policies based on rejecting the previous president’s policies is almost too idiotic to write, let alone implement. And now that Obama is in Bush’s shoes (several sizes too big for him), he should have the decency and maturity to acknowledge that maybe he sees things a little differently.

Lastly, ISIS is not really “another Iraq”, but Iraq II:

On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, a 36-year-old Jordanian who called himself “the Stranger” slipped into the suburbs of Baghdad armed with a few weapons, bags of cash and an audacious plan for starting a war he hoped would unite Sunni Muslims across the Middle East.

The tattooed ex-convict and high school dropout had few followers and scant ties to the local population. Yet, the Stranger — soon to be known widely as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — quickly rallied thousands of Iraqis and foreign fighters to his cause. He launched spectacular suicide bombings and gruesome executions targeting Americans, Shiites and others he saw as obstacles to his vision for a Sunni caliphate stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf.

Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006, but the organization he founded is again on the march. In just a week, his group — formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq and now called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — has seized cities and towns across western and northern Iraq at a pace that might have astonished Zarqawi himself. Already in control of large swaths of eastern Syria, the group’s black-clad warriors appear to have taken a leap toward realizing Zarqawi’s dream of an extremist Sunni enclave across the region.

The mission is still not “accomplished”, President Obama. It’s been your responsibility since you took the oath of office.

No fair leaving it for the next guy:

“This, as the President has said, is going to have to be a sustained effort. … It’s going to take time, and it will probably go beyond even this administration to get to the point of defeat.”

Do your effing job.

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President Obama Speaks Nonsense

Part MDCCLXVII:

“Netanyahu is too strong (and) in some ways Abu Mazen is too weak,” US President Barack Obama said in a comprehensive interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman Friday, commenting on the balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians.

However, President Obama also noted that the high percentage of support for Prime Minister Netanyahu among the Israeli public proves to be a weak point for him. “If he doesn’t feel some internal pressure, then it’s hard to see him being able to make some very difficult compromises, including taking on the settler movement. That’s a tough thing to do.”

Of course he spoke nonsense. Look whom he was speaking with.

Somehow, Obama considers an Israeli PM—a wartime PM—popular among his own people for stating their case and pressing their cause, as weak? Maybe among those (like me) who think Netanyahu didn’t go far enough. But who else? And why the f**k is he using Mahmoud Abbas’s nom de guerre, Abu Mazen?

And what do the “settlers” (better known as population growth, young families, homesteaders) have to do with Hamass’ racist and genocidal ideology? With their myriad war crimes? What a non-sequitur! He might just have illogically blamed global warming.

The American president told Friedman in the interview that the combination of the two leaders’ strengths and weaknesses makes it difficult “to bring them together and make the kinds of bold decisions that Sadat or Begin or Rabin were willing to make.”

Let’s dismiss Rabin, shall we? Does anyone think Oslo is worth a tinker’s dam? It cost him his life, and damn near his country. As for Begin and Sadat, could either have been in a position of greater strength? Sadat was the definition of a political strongman (for a few years more, anyway), and Begin had already taken by force, the Sinai, what Sadat wanted back. Hard to see how “weakness” brought about the Camp David accord.

But Obama seems to be singing from my hymnal: namely that the so-called Palestinians are just Arabs by another (invented) name. Begin, Rabin, and Netanyahu are all Israelis, but the only thread connecting Sadat (Egyptian), Arafat (born in Cairo), and Abbas (born in Palestinian mandate, aka Israel, before it was Israel) is…what exactly? They’re Arabs, but that’s about it. Which has been my point all along: there is no distinct ethnic identity of Palestinianism, just Arabs cordoned off by colonial powers on a map.

But if Obama agrees with me, I must be wrong. Sadat was Egyptian, and Egypt is a country with a distinct history and culture. Similarly, Syria (Levant), Iraq (Mesopotamia), Iran (Persia), Lebanon (Phoenicia) have a long track record. All these countries have been largely at peace with Israel, however uneasy, for decades. Only the Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have actually acted out the ethnic hatred they all share. What makes them different, besides never, ever, ever in the history of the world having had a country? Maybe they do have a genetic difference, only the gene is not one to admire or replicate.

But mostly Obama is a fool, a dangerous fool, for not saying plainly that Israel is our ally, Israel is right and righteous in this battle, and Israel should win and impose a resolution wholly in its own interest. That should be American policy. Shame on him, on us, that it is not.

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Out of Africa

Our advice—and Africa’s demand—to Jewish people:

The opening ceremony for the 23rd African Union Summit in Malabo was to begin Thursday with a declaration of support for the three kidnapped Israeli teens by a number of participants, until bad blood brought tensions to a boil.

“I have never seen such racism, such anti-Semitism. We were humiliated,” said several of the Jews in attendance, who had left Equatorial Guinea in a fury after changing their flights.

“It all began when one of the Arab delegates, from Egypt, approached us at dinner the night before the opening and asked what we were doing here, pointing at the men wearing kippahs,” said Israeli businesswoman Yardena Ovadia, who had organized the invitation of the Jewish delegation to the summit.

Ovadia, who has close ties with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, said that she explained to the delegate that her and her friends were Jews from the US, not Israelis.

The following day representatives of the Arab League refused to enter the hall until all the Jews left, or as they called them, the “Israeli delegation.”

“We were already seated in the conference hall,” said Ovadia. “The heads of the Arab League announced a boycott of the conference until the ‘Israeli delegation’ left. We officially declared that we were Americans, not Israelis, but it didn’t help.”

“There was a representative of the US congress with us. She was shocked and said that there will be an official government statement,” Ovadia added.

Fourteen delegates from the delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stood up and left the hall, and the proceedings opened after an hour’s delay.

“The president of Equatorial Guinea called us to personally apologize and invited the Conference of Presidents’ delegation to a special dinner, but we had rescheduled their private flight and they had already left.”

Maybe I should have titled this post “Apartheid Continent Update”. Whoever were the organizers of this poxy conference, they had a choice to make: between the Jewish invitees (be they American or Israeli) and the bigoted Arab League. They chose, and may they dine alone (if they dine at all).

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Losing What George Bush Won

Like him or loathe him, President Bush toppled the Taliban and defeated Saddam Hussein and the Islamist insurgency that followed. The governments that followed those heinous regimes may have been weak, corrupt, and ineffectual, but Bush didn’t see it as America’s job to install one brutal strongman (or men) to replace another.

What Bush hath wrought, Obama hath put asunder:

A day after taking over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, militants gained nearly complete control of the northern city of Tikrit, witnesses in the city and police officials in neighboring Samarra told CNN.

Heavy fighting erupted inside Tikrit — the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — as the military tried to regain control, the sources and a police official in Baghdad said.

According to the witnesses in Tikrit and the Samarra police officials, two police stations in Tikrit were on fire and a military base was taken over by militants, believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group also known as ISIS and ISIL.

The group was an offshoot al Qaeda in Iraq, responsible for the deaths of many U.S. troops in western Iraq. With American help, Iraqi tribal militias put ISIS on the defensive.

But when U.S. troops left the country, the extremist militants found new leadership, grew stronger while in Syria, and returned to Iraq, making military gains often off the backs of foreign fighters drawn to Syria’s conflict.

Barack Obama pissed away Afghanistan, and now he’s pissing away Iraq. He almost cared about Syria, but after lying down with a cold compress to his head, the feeling passed. He let Libyan Islamists kill four Americans and get away with it. He somehow managed to side with the Muslim Brotherhood, who would have imposed sharia law had not the Egyptian military deposed them. And his “peace” process in the Middle East managed only to bring peace (of a very limited sort) between the warring terrorist factions among the Arab occupiers of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. He couldn’t have screwed this up any worse if he tried, which I sincerely think he did.

Cindy Sheehan was very upset that her son, Casey, lost his life for a cause he believed in, but she didn’t. How must she feel now that Obama has desecrated her son’s memory by rendering his ultimate sacrifice moot? Even if she didn’t see the point to Bush’s adventures, there was change: terrorists and tyrants were removed, and a period of something resembling democracy reigned, however briefly. Now, this silly narcissist, who thought he could unite the world over love of him, a black American with a Muslim dad, has as good as defecated on the graves of thousands of American soldiers.

Cindy?

If Barack Obama came up to me and said, “Cindy, can you write me a check for $5k to help me buy another hellfire missile,” I would say, “hell no, take a hike,” so why should I funnel my funds through the IRS to be disbursed to the Military Industrial Complex?

That’s what I thought.

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Good News, Bad News

First, the bad news for the Arab occupiers of the West Bank: there’s growing talk of Israel annexing some or all of Judea and Samaria.

Oh wait, my bad—that’s the good news! [Hat tip: reader Jeanette]

According to a study by Professor Sammy Smooha of the University of Haifa, 63.5% of Israeli Arabs consider Israel to be a good place to live. The study, titled “The Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel,” draws on 700 face-to-face interviews with a national representative sample of Israeli Arabs and 700 phone interviews with Israeli Jews. It has been conducted annually since 2003.

The Tower reports that, not only did nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs say Israel is a good place to live in 2013, this is an increase from 2012’s figure of 58.5%.

And that is not the only number that is up. The percentage of Israeli Arabs who accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state rose to 52.8% from 47.4% the year before. That is a majority.

Further, the number of Israeli-Arabs who accept their identity as such without identifying as Palestinians increased from 32.5% in 2012 to 42.5% in 2013. That is a nearly 33% jump.

While the Israeli press in Hebrew and English has reported this news, no mainstream news outlets have deemed it worthy of coverage.

The fact that Israeli Arabs like Israel is an important element for news consumers to understand, yet it does not fit with the narrative promoted by the majority of the mainstream media so they don’t cover it. In fact, when there is just about anything positive to say about Israel… Where’s the coverage?

I don’t think you’d get 63.5% of American liberals saying they like to live here. So that nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs say they like being Israelis is a big deal.

And, yes, a story worthy of coverage.

My only question, then, is, why do these happy and satisfied Arabs elect such miserable schmucks to the Knesset? Maybe the rest of them are okay, but Tibi and Zoabi are complete a-holes.

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Arab Fizzle

I know how unbecoming it is to look upon the abject failure of the so-called Arab Spring, which promised so much to so many, and laugh. But…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

Egyptians who voted in a referendum overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, official sources said, citing early results of a ballot that could set the stage for army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare his candidacy for president.

About 90 percent of voters approved the constitution, the state news agency and a government official said.

It comes as no surprise: the constitution won wide support among Egyptians who backed the army overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi in July, and there was little or no trace of a no campaign as the state presses a campaign on dissent.

The referendum is a key step in the political transition plan the interim government has billed as a path to democracy, even as it presses a fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood, Egypt’s best organized party until last year.

Oh yeah, democracy. Right, sure.

Sisi’s supporters see him as the kind of strong man needed to restore stability to a country in political and economic crisis for nearly three years. The stock market has rallied to three-year highs this week.

High turnout would be seen as a strong stamp of approval for the new, the army-backed order. A Sisi presidency would turn back the clock to the days when the post was controlled by military men – a pattern broken by Morsi’s one year in office.

“You could see the re-emergence of a domineering president,” said Nathan Brown, a professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on Egyptian affairs.

At many polling stations across the Arab world’s biggest nation, the referendum at times appeared to be a vote on Sisi himself. Women chanted his name and ululated as they stood in line to vote, while a pro-army song popularized after Morsi’s overthrow blared from cars.

Sounds like the evening line-up on MSNBC and CNN.

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Arab World Update

I know Israeli “settlements” (i.e. Jewish homes) are a far worse scourge on the face of humanity, but just one or two other stories.

One:

Four people were killed and 77 others were wounded Thursday in a car bomb that struck Haret Hreik, a neighborhood of Beirut’s southern suburbs where Hezbollah enjoys broad support, the Health Ministry said.

Lebanon’s caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said human remains inside the vehicle used in the explosion suggested a suicide bomber may have been involved.

A judicial source told The Daily Star “DNA tests are being conducted on human remains that have yet to be identified.”

The car bombing in Haret Hreik, a densely populated neighborhood of the southern suburb, is the latest security incident to hit increasingly volatile Lebanon. The attacks are linked to the ongoing crisis in Syria, particularly Hezbollah’s military support there to President Bashar Assad.

Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah said the blast occurred meters away from the party’s political council, saying “the target of the attack was Lebanon, its security, stability and national unity.”

No, the target was you, you Hezzie piece of [bleep].

Meanwhile:

Human rights groups report that thousands of women have been raped by Syrian army soldiers in the ongoing war, which is now in its third year and has left 130,000 dead. That trend appears likely to only increase, as a deputy to the Chief Mufti (Islamic scholar) of Syria has given religious permission to rape.

In the interview, Al-Dala said Syrian army soldiers have permission to “marry” unmarried and married women, sisters and mothers of the rebel fighters, without any official marriage agreement. He clarified that the rape is intended as a punishment for not reporting the rebels to the goverment forces.

In making his statement, the Sheikh placed his religious authority behind the rape of women and girls by soldiers, as part of their fight against the rebels.

According to testimony taken from captured soldiers and captains before they were put to death by rebels, rape has been employed as a common practice by the army, well before Al-Dala’s official religious support was stated.

While particularly attractive women are reportedly brought to senior commanders, rape victims include religious muslim women dressed in face veils and full-body cloaks (niqab).

It must be noted that for their part, the rebels have publicized religious permission for their fighters to do as they please with women who fall into their hands.

And an update on an earlier story:

The Czech foreign ministry expressed concern Thursday over the discovery of a large, illegal weapons stockpile at the home of the Palestinian ambassador in Prague, Jamel al-Jamal, a day after he was killed in an explosion there.

A ministry statement said that the findings possibly constitute a breach of diplomatic rules, and warrant a clarification from Palestinian officials, Reuters reported.

Respekt, a Czech weekly newspaper, reported that the discovered arsenal was enough to arm a unit of 10 men.

Czech police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova confirmed that arms had been found in the ambassador’s residence, which is located within a newly constructed Palestinian diplomatic mission in the city.

The stockpile included heavy firearms being held illegally, unbeknownst to Czech authorities, according to a Channel 2 news report.

I would just observe that there was a terrorist bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria last year. Just sayin’.

Oh yeah, Jordan is trying a writer in absentia for “insulting” the state.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Israel-bashing—though if someone can explain to me why we’re not asking Israel to take more territory, not less, I’d love to know. I’d like to see the Jewish State run from Cairo to Baghdad. (So would many Arabs!)

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Middle East Update

Care for a little spin around the region? Here’s your sun hat, your shades, a canteen—and a flak jacket.

Lebanon:

A huge car bomb rocked central Beirut on Friday, killing at least five people, including a Sunni politician who was a former ambassador to the United States and a prominent critic of Hezbollah. More than 70 people were reported injured.

Plumes of black smoke billowed into the air, and television footage showed scenes of blazing wreckage and scattered debris. Troops formed a security cordon around the area, close to downtown hotels as well as government buildings, including the parliament.

The death of Mohamad Chatah, an economist and diplomat, was confirmed by the Future Movement, a political faction with which Chatah had close ties. He was traveling by convoy at the time of the midmorning blast, and security officials believed he had been specifically targeted.

Oh dear.

Egypt:

A bomb blast hit a public bus in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Thursday, wounding five people, the Interior Ministry said, in an attack that raised concerns that a wave of violence blamed on Islamic militants that has targeted security forces and military for months is increasingly turning to hit civilians.

The blast came a day after the government declared its top political nemesis, the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization, accusing it of being behind the violence. The group has denied the claim, saying the government is trying to scapegoat it. Egypt saw the deadliest bombing yet earlier this week, when a suicide bomber hit a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on Tuesday, killing 16 people, mainly police.

Tsk-tsk.

Iraq:

In Iraq, a car bomb exploded outside a church in southern Baghdad just as worshipers were leaving a Christmas Day service, killing many. In another attack Wednesday, a car bomb went off at an outdoor market where many Christians shop, police said.

Altogether, at least 38 people were killed and some 70 others were wounded, the Interior Ministry said. The bomb outside the church killed 27 and wounded 56. The market attack left 11 dead and 14 wounded.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad condemned the attacks — in the Dora area of Baghdad — targeting “Christians celebrating Christmas.”

Poor souls.

Syria:

The United Nations announcement on Sunday that it would demand a record-shattering $6.5bn to fund humanitarian efforts in Syria – as much as it will spend in response everywhere else in the world, combined – underscored the scale of the humanitarian tragedy in Syria.

The same day, the International Rescue Committee released a statement detailing the humanitarian challenge inside Syria: the cost of bread has risen 500%, nearly four-in-five communities are struggling to access food, one in two communities is concerned about clean water, and a shortage of medical supplies is pervasive.

But no effort will receive more scrutiny than the UN’s push to prevent a polio epidemic. The UN has repeatedly exhorted Syria to allow humanitarian access across conflict lines for immunization campaigns, but is still legally obligated to coordinate with the government.

Sigh…

Things are pretty bad when we look to Gaza for good news (at least less bad):

Egyptian border guards on Tuesday afternoon discovered and destroyed six smuggling tunnels under the border with the Gaza Strip, military sources said.

They told Ma’an that the operation was a joint activity between border guards and army engineering units. They added that the tunnels were discovered in Rafah on the Egyptian side.

A large quantity of goods was seized near the tunnels including more than 1,800 mobile phones and 300 boxes of cigarettes.

Separately, Egyptian border guards seized about 700 kilos of cannabis.

“Joint” activity, get it?

Pity about the ganja. Gaza could do with a little spark:

Gaza’s only power plant ground to a halt again on Friday, only 12 days after being brought back online following a 7 week shutdown due to fuel shortages. The shutdown was announced by Gaza’s electricity firm, reports AFP.

While officials from the territory’s Islamist rulers were quick to blame Israel, in reality Egypt is largely involved after having shut down the tunnels into the Sinai that were used to illegally smuggle fuel. Gaza’s power plant was initially shut down on November 1 under the Egyptian siege.

Egypt has accused the Hamas terrorist organization which rules Gaza of promoting terror in Egypt through the Muslim Brotherhood, which it is an offshoot of. Hamas denies the charges, although Egypt is continuing to act against the terror group.

As for the Kerem Shalom crossing, it reportedly was closed Tuesday after Gaza terrorists fatally shot an IDF civilian worker. The crossing had been used to deliver fuel purchased from Israel by the Palestinian Authority, using money donated by Qatar.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said of the incident “we thought there were ‘game rules,’ according to which you do not fire at civilians who work near the fence. Until now, they did not fire at civilians, and we will have to think what to do, if someone has changed the rules.”

Tensions have risen after terrorists from Gaza fired 2 Kassam rockets at Israel in as many days.

But what is the only thing that exercises the great and good of the international community?

The European Union (EU) is unhappy with reports that Israel plans to publish tenders for the sale of 1,400 housing units in Judea and Samaria, Channel 10 News reported on Thursday.

“There will be very little understanding on the part of European governments regarding any announcement of construction in the territories now under negotiations. Israel should expect a strong reaction on the part of European governments if it is going to go in that direction,” said the official.

Next week’s reported announcement will be timed to coincide with the release of 26 terrorist murderers, which is a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

While the rest of the region is obsessed with death, Israel prepares for life. No wonder it doesn’t fit in.

Still, at least some people welcomed the news:

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Broads Laud Word of God, Get Scrod

Cheer Up, Arab women. Comoros is supposed to be lovely.

POLL-Egypt is worst Arab state for women, Comoros best

Arab women played a central role in the Arab Spring, but their hopes the revolts would bring greater freedom and expanded rights for women have been thwarted by entrenched patriarchal structures and the rise of Islamists, gender experts in the countries say.

Almost three years after popular uprisings toppled autocratic leaders in one of the most conservative corners of the world, a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll on 22 Arab states showed three out of five Arab Spring countries in the bottom five states for women’s rights.

Egypt emerged as the worst country to be a woman in the Arab world today, followed closely by Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Egypt scored badly in almost every category, including gender violence, reproductive rights, treatment of women in the family and their inclusion in politics and the economy.

Arab Spring countries Syria and Yemen ranked 18th and 19th, respectively – worse than Sudan, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and insurgency-hit Somalia, which scored better on factors such as political and economic inclusion, women’s position in the family, reproductive rights and sexual violence.

Libya and Tunisia came in 9th and 6th.

One question: which Egypt, Morsi’s or Sisi’s?

The Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, culminating with the election of President Mohamed Mursi, angered many prominent activists who say the Islamist group infringed on women’s rights.

A year into office, Mursi was toppled in a military takeover after mass protests against his rule.

While there is a slight improvement in political participation for women under the army-backed interim government, there is still a long way to go, some analysts said.

So, the Mo-Bros were worse. One more question: where the hell is the Com… oh, thank you.

Can’t you see yourselves in skimpy bathing suits, tanning on its sparkly sandy beaches? I can.

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Move Over, Yasser Arafat and Jimmy Carter

That’s it. Just keep moving. And take Desmond Tutu and Barack Hussein Obama with you. We need the space on the Nobel Peace Prize bench:

Following are excerpts from an interview with Yemeni Nobel Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, which aired on BBC Arabic TV on September 15, 2013:

Tawwakol Karman: … The Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, who oppose the military rule, are engaged in a legendary struggle, which they are waging with their blood, their resolute steadfastness, and their belief that they will restore the revolution to its true path. They can do it without any favors from the military of the coup leaders.

Interviewer: Sometimes you criticize the Muslim Brotherhood, and sometimes you sound as if you are politically and ideologically partial to them. Yemeni activist Abd Al-Hafiz Al-Nahari said that you serve a narrow political agenda because you, in fact, belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Tawwakol Karman: You can hear it from me: Yes, at this stage, I am partial towards the Muslim Brotherhood, toward the coalition that rejects the coup against legitimacy, and toward all the Egyptian youths who oppose the coup against democracy and against the January [2011] Revolution. I will not remain neutral in this battle. This is my battle.

Interviewer: Why is this your battle? Why are you so worked up about Egypt? Why are you so involved in what is happening in Egypt?

Tawwakol Karman: Because Egypt is the jewel of the Arab Spring. If the Arab Spring fails in Egypt, it will fail everywhere.

It already has, honey. Everywhere.

But give credit to the Nobel committee. They can pick ‘em.

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Young Girl, Get Out Of… Just Get Out!

You’re much too young, girl:

A backwards society, shoddy economy and Islamist terror – many difficult problems flood the country of Yemen, one of the worst is the phenomenon of young girls forced into marriage.

Just last month an eight year old, identified as Rawan, died of internal bleeding, apparently the result of being forced to have sex with her 40-year-old husband on her wedding night.

Dr. Arwa Rabi’i, a gynecologist from the capital city of Sana’a, talked to the i24news channel and called for raising the marriage age to 18. “When a woman marries before the age of 18, before the uterus and hips are fully developed, there are going to be many gynecological complications such as multiple miscarriages and life-threatening infections,” she said. “We see it every day, not every month or week, every day! A lot of them, 10 or 20 sick girls.”

Belkis Wille, an activist in Human Rights Watch, talking to i24news from Yemen via Skype, said that in rural areas, it is common to see marriage at the ages of eight or nine. Regarding Rawan’s story, she said: “Unfortunately, this specific story is influenced by a lot of rumors; various local authorities are saying the story is not true, while the journalist who broke the story refuses to believe it’s not true.

“Different human rights organizations are taking different position locally, but from every point of view, whether this story is true or not, it’s irrelevant considering that this happening around the country all the time. I’ve personally come across two or three cases I’ve heard from gynecologists of girls who bled to death on their wedding night.”

Yemen may be particularly backward—or it may not. Next time some lefty hyperventilates about kids having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or the plague of big sodas, tell him at least we don’t marry our 8-year-olds off to dirty old men (Elizabeth Smart notwithstanding).

And we don’t let them drive:

A leading Saudi cleric warned women who drive cars could cause damage to their ovaries and pelvises and that they are at risk of having children born with “clinical problems.”

Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan’s widely derided remarks have gone viral as activists claim a website urging women to defy their country’s driving ban has been blocked in Saudi Arabia.

“If a woman drives a car,” Al-Loheidan told Saudi news website sabq.org in an interview, “it could have a negative physiological impact … Medical studies show that it would automatically affect a woman’s ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward.”

Explained Al-Loheidan, “We find that for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with varying degrees of clinical problems.”

“[W]omen who continuously drive cars”? In Saudi? Where? When? Much as I may favor women pushing their pelvises upward (and downward, forward, backward, side-to-side, you name it), this is completely deranged.

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