Zio-Watch News Round-up

Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup, December 23, 2014


From PressTV

Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters in West Bank

A Palestinian man carries a sign reading “We want Christmas without occupation” during a demonstration in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on December 23, 2014.

Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse the Palestinian protesters dressed as Santa Claus in the city on Tuesday.

The protesters were marching towards a checkpoint connecting the ancient city to al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The Palestinian demonstrators carried signs reading, “Jesus came with a message of: Peace, Freedom and Justice” and “We want Christmas without occupation.”
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From PressTV

US-led airstrikes kill over 50 Syrian civilians: ReportSyrians check a damaged house, hit by the US-led coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian in the western Aleppo Province on September 23, 2014.

Syrians check a damaged house, hit by the US-led coalition airstrikes, in the village of Kfar Derian in the western Aleppo Province on September 23, 2014.

More than 50 civilians have been killed in the US-led air strikes in Syria in the past three months, a monitoring group says.

As many as 52 Syrian civilians have been killed in the air raids conducted by the US-led coalition since September 23, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

It also noted that more than 1,000 militants have been also killed in coalition’s air strikes.

“At least 1,171 have been killed in the Arab and international air strikes (since September 23),” including 1,119 militants of the ISIL and al-Nusra Front, the group added.
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From PressTV

Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound

This file photo shows Israeli settlers in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

A group of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in their latest act of violence against the holy site.

“Around 70 Jewish settlers stormed the al-Aqsa complex through the al-Magharbeh Gate under Israeli police protection,” Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and al-Aqsa Affairs, said on Monday.

Over the past weeks, the al-Aqsa Mosque has been the scene of clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli settlers and troops.

“The settlers wandered around the compound and attempted to perform Talmudic rituals, but Muslim worshippers stood up to them,” Khatib added.
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From PressTV

Israelis buy properties in ISIL-held Iraqi cities: ReportA general view of a district in the city of Mosul, 370 kilometers north of Baghdad

A general view of a district in the city of Mosul, 370 kilometers north of Baghdad

A report says Israeli businessmen are buying properties belonging to the displaced  minorities in the ISIL-held regions in northern Iraq to prepare the ground for accommodation of more than 2,000 people there.

Citing a local source, Fars News Agency reported that estate agencies in Mosul and other cities of the Nineveh province in northern Iraq have began purchasing the houses and lands of Iraqi minorities including Christians and Izadis and Turkmens.

The estate agents offer “attractive prices” in exchange for the properties and later sell them to Israeli businessmen, the unnamed source said.

The source added that more than 2,000 Jews have recently returned to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to resettle in Iraq’s northern areas.

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From PressTV

Israel allots $17bn to Judaize al-Quds: Palestinian official

A member of Israeli security forces stand guard as a bulldozer destroys a Palestinian house in al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds, March 26, 2014.

A Palestinian official says Israel has allocated some USD 17 billion to Judaize East Jerusalem al-Quds in the occupied West Bank.

The assistant secretary general for Palestine and authority on issues in the occupied territories for the Arab League, Mohammed Sabih, warned that al-Quds is in real danger and in the dire need of concerted international efforts to defend itself.

Palestinian officials are warning that Israel demolishes Palestinian houses in Jerusalem al-Quds to force their owners to leave the city.

On Monday, Israeli forces issued demolition orders for several Palestinian-owned homes as part of its settlement expansion projects there. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Tel Aviv has destroyed more than 360 structures in the West Bank so far this year as part of its settlement expansion plans.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Is Europe Running Out of Patience With Israel?

Security Council Push Signals New Get-Tough Policy

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Published December 23, 2014.
(JTA) — When Britain’s Parliament voted in favor of recognizing Palestine in October, Elie Barnavi, a former Israeli ambassador to France, dismissed the motion as mere symbolism.

Reflecting many Israelis’ view of the string of nonbinding motions on Palestinian statehood adopted by European parliaments in recent weeks, Barnavi said the vote should be seen as a gesture of growing impatience with Israeli settlement policy and Jerusalem’s perceived responsibility for failing to reach a peace agreement.

But in at least one country, the trend appears to be having an impact.
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From PressTV

Israeli blockade badly harms Gaza farming

Palestinian farmers pick strawberries in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahia. (File photo)

The ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip has inflicted heavy losses on the economy of the Palestinian territory, with the agricultural sector of the coastal enclave having been badly affected, Press TV reports.

Growing crops in Gaza has turned into an expensive process as a result of the Israeli siege, wars, and recently, the Israeli economic war against Palestinian farmers.

Palestinian farmers are facing huge challenges in order to sell their crops, especially in the overseas markets.

“Growing strawberries became hugely expensive after the blockade. The closure of borders makes us suffer as we can’t export products to Europe. This will force us to sell it in the local markets with extremely low prices,” a Palestinian farmer told Press TV.

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From PressTV

UNSC to vote on Palestinian statehood bid before 2014: negotiator

Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator, Saeb Erekat

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will vote before the end of 2014 on a draft resolution calling for the recognition of the Palestinian state, a chief Palestinian negotiator says.

In the past few months, the Palestinian national unity government has been pushing for a UN resolution that determines the borders of a future Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines. Israel has expressed anger over the motion.

Speaking to Russian media on Tuesday, Saeb Erekat said the UNSC will vote on the resolution “very soon” at any time before the end of 2014, in nine days.

He added that several amendments have been made to the draft which was submitted by Jordan on December 17.
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From PressTV

Israeli bank to pay $400 mn in fines to US over tax-evasionBank Leumi, Israel’s second largest bank

Bank Leumi, Israel’s second largest bank

An Israeli bank has been fined USD 400 million for aiding and assisting American taxpayers to evade their taxes.

Bank Leumi, Israel’s second largest bank, will pay as much as USD 270 million to the US government and USD 130 million to the US State Department.

“Bank Leumi employees engaged in a series of egregious schemes – including creating complex, sham loan arrangements – to help its US clients shirk their responsibility to pay taxes,” the state department’s Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said in a statement.

“What’s worse, when certain Swiss banks began to put the brakes on this type of misconduct, Bank Leumi instead hit the accelerator even harder – viewing it as a ‘golden opportunity’ to pick up new business,” Lawsky added.

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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Stop Babying Israel at the U.N. Security Council

By Lara Friedman

Young Jews argue with pro-Palestinian supporters beside a banner calling for a Palestinian state

The prospect of a U.N. Security Council vote on parameters and a timeline for Israel-Palestinian negotiations, coming as it does in the lead-up to Israeli elections, is eliciting this tricky argument: “We can’t pressure Israel when Israelis are going to the polls, because it will only help the Right.”

That argument fits neatly into the list of memes that time and time again have been used to justify U.S. inaction in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. Memes like: “We can’t press for peace with the region in upheaval.” “We can’t ask any Israeli prime minister to take action that could destabilize his government.” “This is a losing issue that will cost any president and his party dearly.”

All of these memes are grounded in two self-congratulatory, self-serving premises: that we really, truly are committed to achieving peace and a two-state solution; and that we really, truly would take consequential action to achieve these goals, but circumstances beyond our control prevent it.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Abbas: Palestinians won’t deal with Israel if statehood resolution falls

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he will stop dealing with the Israeli government if the U.N. Security Council does not pass the Palestinian state draft resolution.

“In case of failure, we will no more deal with the Israeli government, which will then be obliged to assume its responsibilities as an occupier,” Abbas told reporters Tuesday in Algiers, the Algerian Press Servicereported.

“We are determined to recover the rights of our people, including the right to return and the release of all the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. We will not succumb to the policy of the Israeli hegemony and oppression.”

Abbas called the Palestinian cause “both the key of peace and war in the Middle East and the very core of the preservation of peace and security.”
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Anti-Israeli posters appear in Argentine tourist town

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Anti-Israel posters appeared in an Argentine tourist town popular with Israeli backpackers.

Posters appeared Monday saying “Boycott Against Israeli Military Tourism” in the city of Bariloche, a major tourist spot located in the foothills of the Andes. They were signed by the Palestine Solidarity Committee in Argentine Patagonia.

Israelis make up about 10 percent of the lucrative tourist trade there and most of the stores have signs in Hebrew to attract Israeli visitors.

Locals also said they found peso bills defaced with scrawls reading “Jews out of Patagonia.”
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Seth Rogen and James Franco Cheer About-Face on ‘The Interview’

Jewish Stars Declare Victory After North Korea Threat

(Reuters) — Sony Pictures said on Tuesday it would show “The Interview” in some U.S. theaters after President Barack Obama and others criticized its decision last week to cancel the comedy’s release following a devastating cyberattack that was blamed on North Korea.

Shortly thereafter, the White House praised Sony’s about-face, which the studio said would result in “a limited theatrical release” on Christmas Day of the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and is about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

“The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome,” presidential spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Pyongyang or No, Sony Insists ‘Unfunny’ Seth Rogen Flick Doomed to Failure

Was ‘The Interview’ a Flop Even Before N. Korea Scandal?

Scary Clowns: Seth Rogen and James Franco, stars of “The Interview.”

(Reuters) — The comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader is “desperately unfunny” and would have flopped overseas if it had not been canceled, according to leaked e-mails of international executives of Sony Pictures.

Sony Corp scrapped its Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” following threats by hackers who have leaked internal company documents and emails, as well as unreleased movies, on the internet. U.S. government sources have said investigators had determined the attack was “state sponsored” and that North Korea was the government involved.

But even before the cancellation of the film, Sony executives responsible for the international release of the movie were concerned the action-comedy featuring Hollywood stars Seth Rogen and James Franco would not translate to a foreign audience, the leaked e-mails show.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Adam Sandler Is Most Overpaid Hollywood Actor

By Reuters

Comedian Adam Sandler topped Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s most overpaid actors for a second consecutive year, nudging out Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks for the dubious honor, the magazine said on Tuesday.

Although Sandler’s latest film “Grown Ups 2” was a hit, pulling in $246 million at the global box office, it didn’t go far enough to make up for the 48 year-old’s previous flops, “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy.”

“We estimate that for every $1 Sandler was paid, he returned an average of $3.20,” said Forbes, the lowest return on investment of any actor whose record the magazine examined.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Europe’s Last Jews

Diaspora Goes on the Defensive Amid Anti-Semitism

Published December 23, 2014, issue of December 26, 2014.
This has been a tough year for Jews.

But you’ve heard that before. I used to attend a synagogue where every Yom Kippur the rabbi, as part of his Israeli Bonds appeal, would begin by bemoaning what a bad year it had been. Each year things were worse than before. The problem? They weren’t.

The rabbi, however, may have Jewish tradition on his side. In 1948 Professor Simon Rawidowicz argued in his seminal essay, “Israel: The Ever Dying People,” that, while the world has many views of the Jewish people, Jews have but one view of themselves, “that of a being constantly on the verge of ceasing to be, of disappearing.” Rawidowicz argued that for millennia Jews have been pessimistic about the future. “Each generation grieved, not only for itself, but [for]…. the future.” Abraham, writers of the Mishnah, Talmudic sages, and Maimonides all thought themselves the last link in the tradition. Secularists felt similarly. The poet laureates of the Jewish Enlightenment Y. L. Gordon and Hayim Nachman Bialik both feared that in the future no one would be left to read their poetry and share their love for the Jewish people.

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