Zio-Watch News Round-up

Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup, December 28, 2014


From PressTV

Israeli digging causes collapse near Western Wall

Palestinian worshippers take part in Friday prayers outside the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem) on December 12, 2014.

Israeli excavations under the al-Aqsa Mosque have caused collapse just meters away from the Western Wall of East al-Quds (Jerusalem), Press TV reports.

The wall is located at the foot of the western side of Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, one of the most important religious sites in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The collapse came about on Friday in an area in Silwan south of al-Aqsa where the tunnels dug by the Israelis start. Following the incident, the Israeli police sealed off the site and forbade anyone from approaching it.

The Palestinian archeological community has accused Tel Aviv of purposefully damaging Islam’s third-holiest mosque.

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From the Independent

Avigdor Lieberman: Hard-right Israeli minister’s fate in balance after aides arrested for fraud

Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to benefit from Mr Lieberman’s woes


The future of Israel’s hard-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had been poised to become kingmaker in the upcoming election, is in doubt after police disclosed some of his closest confidants are suspects in what appears to be one of the largest corruption scandals in Israeli history.

Analysts believe that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to benefit from Mr Lieberman’s woes by picking up right-wing voters turned off by the fraud and that the scandal will probably enhance the premier’s chances of being re-elected in the March polling.

In advance of the weekend, police extended the arrests of some 30 suspects, including David Godowsky, the chief of staff of Mr Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. The Deputy Interior Minister, Faina Kirshenbaum, secretary-general of Yisrael Beiteinu and considered to be Mr Lieberman’s right-hand woman, was not arrested because of parliamentary immunity but was reportedly questioned for seven hours on Thursday.

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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

30 senior Israeli officials detained in corruption sweep

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli police have detained 30 senior officials accused of corruption, including Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum.

The officials, who where detained Wednesday morning after a yearlong investigation, also include a former government minister and senior officials in government ministries, in addition to mayors, heads of NGOs, union chiefs and officers in government corporations. Documents and computers were also confiscated from the officials.

Kirshenbaum is a member of the right-wing Israel Beiteinu party, which dismissed the charges as a “witch hunt,” according to the Times of Israel.

The officials are accused of accepting bribes and illegally funneling funds to NGOs, according to reports. In exchange, the NGOs allegedly gave jobs to people close to the officials.
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From PressTV

Baghdadi, Netanyahu two sides of same coin: Erekat

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator

A senior Palestinian official says the ISIL terrorist group’s leader, Ibrahim Samarrai, also as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are two sides of the same coin.

Just like al-Baghdadi who considers himself the leader of the “Islamic State,” Netanyahu heads the “Jewish State,” Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator,  said during an interview with al-Arabiya news channel on Friday.

“There is no difference between the crime of laying an American or Western journalist on the ground and beheading him [as ISIL has done to several journalists and aid workers since September] and between a criminal who lays Muhammad Abu Khdeir on the ground and burns him alive,” he said.

He was referring to the murder of a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem al-Quds by Israeli settlers this summer.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Jewish Activists Struggle for Right Tone on Racism After Murders of Police Officers

Rabbis Seek To Channel Outrage and Compassion

hannah rubin
No Silence: Jewish activists carried out nationwide protests against racism and police brutality on Hanukkah. After the murders of two police officers, they insist they will not stop speaking out.


By Sam Kestenbaum

Published December 26, 2014, issue of January 02, 2015.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum was observing the Sabbath on December 20 when New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed in their patrol car in Brooklyn by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then took his own life.

After sundown, Kleinbaum, who leads New York’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and has been an active Jewish voice in the Black Lives Matter movement rolling across the country, posted on her Facebook page, “Praying for the families of the two policemen who were shot and killed tonight in a horrible act of murder.”

Kleinbaum, a vocal critic of police brutality over the past several months, urged congregants, “Let us all bring flowers with a note to our local precincts — now is the time to be expressing deep condolences and create the bridges to help heal our city.”
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From The Independent

Rouble slips despite government pressure on exporters


Russia looks set for a steep recession in 2015, its finance minister has admitted, as he stepped up the bailout of the first bank to teeter in the face of the collapsing rouble.

Western sanctions imposed during the Ukraine crisis has caused foreign investors to leave the country in droves, which, together with the current slump in oil prices, has caught the Russian economy in the jaws of a trap that’s pummelling the rouble and tanking the economy.

The Russian government is now desperately attempting to sure up its major banks and find a way out of its deepening currency crisis. One such gambit has been a sudden hike in the interest rate, but economists remain doubtful that it will help.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov predicted that the economy could shrink by as much as four per cent in 2015, which would be Russia’s first contraction since 2009, if oil prices maintained their current level of $60 a barrel.

Siluanov also said the country would run a budget deficit of over three per cent next year if the oil price did not rise.

“Next year we will, without doubt, have to bring the Reserve Fund into play,” he said, referring to one of Russia’s two rainy-day funds intended to support the economy at times of crisis.

Crude prices have almost halved from their June peak amid a global glut and a decision by producer group OPEC not to cut output. Saudi Arabia said on Friday it was prepared to withstand a prolonged period of low prices.

“We need to have our budget break even at $70 per barrel by 2017,” said Siluanov.

Russia’s government imposed informal capital controls this week, including orders to large oil and gas exporters Gazprom and Rosneft to sell some of their dollar revenues in a bid to shore up the rouble.

Russians have kept a wary eye on the exchange rate since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when hyper-inflation wiped out their savings over several years in the early 1990s.

The rouble’s will inevitably lead to higher inflation next year, which after years of stability threatens President Vladimir Putin’s reputation for ensuring Russia’s prosperity.

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From PressTV

Israelis demolish Palestinian irrigation pools in WB

A Palestinian man reacts near Israeli soldiers as Israeli bulldozer demolishes a water well used for irrigation (file photo).

Israeli regime forces have reportedly demolished several irrigation pools used by Palestinian farmers in northern parts of Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli bulldozers backed by military vehicles destroyed six irrigation pools used by local farmers on Thursday in the area of al-Jiftlik, Palestinian media outlets reported Saturday.

According to the report, the construction of the pools had been funded by grants from European donors. This is while local Palestinians state that the pretext for the demolition was an order by military authorities of the Tel Aviv regime.

The Jordan Valley makes up nearly 30 percent of the occupied West Bank while most parts of the region have been designated as Area C and are off-limits to Palestinian construction.
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