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Egypt Claims it Stopped a Terror Attack against Coptic Church on its Christmas

Egyptian security officials say they prevented a terrorist attack against a Coptic Church in the Sinai Peninsula on Coptic Christmas. The Coptic community was already uneasy as their first Christmas under the Islamist government of Mohamed Morsi drew near. In the early hours of Monday morning, soldiers discovered explosives in a car located between a security checkpoint and the Rafah Church in North Sinai. Troops tried but failed to apprehend several masked men who sped away in a second vehicle. The Coptic community, which complained of discrimination under the rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, now fears for its safety as Islamists solidify their control over the new Egyptian government. About ten percent of Egypt’s population of 82 million is Coptic Christian. Also on Monday, the Egyptian army announced it thwarted an attack along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Intelligence sources had warned that Sinai-based groups are planning attacks against Israel.

Obama Appointments Trigger Debate over US-Israel Relationship, Iran

President Obama’s appointment of former Senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and James Brennan to head the CIA have triggered debate, primarily among American supporters of Israel who accuse Hagel of being weak on the US-Israel relationship and the Iranian nuclear issue. Hagel vehemently denies the allegations. Despite the criticism, there have been no threats of any serious attempt to block either nomination. A senior adviser to the Netanyahu government told The Media Line that Israel is not concerned because in the US, cabinet secretaries implement the policy of the president who, in this case, is at the center of a strong relationship.

US Continues to Send Military Supplies to Lebanon Despite Hizbullah Control

The arrival in Lebanon of 200 M113 armored personnel carriers on Monday is the latest military shipment from the United States that includes more than $140 million worth of equipment over the past six months. Although an American spokesman touted the supplies as supporting Lebanon’s “mobility and ability to respond to crises…and protect its borders and internal security,” the policy of arming Lebanon ignores the same American legal restrictions so frequently cited by lawmakers who threaten to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas joins a unity government because it appears on the State Department terrorism list. In Lebanon, Hizbullah, which is listed along with Hamas as a terrorist organization on the same list, controls a majority of seats in the Lebanese government. Yet, despite the fear that arms could end up in the hands of Hizbullah, in the past six months the US has given Lebanon’s army six Huey-2 helicopters, a 25-foot coastal security craft, automatic rifles, grenade launchers and millions of rounds of ammunition.

 

Israelís Center-Left Challengers to Netanyahu Erupt in Public Squabble

The weekend meeting of leaders of Israel’s three center-left parties challenging incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for control of the next government erupted in a public display of disunity with two accusing the third of manipulating the meeting for her own personal use. Labor party head Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapid, television personality-turned-politician who created the Yesh Atid (There is a future) party, issued  a public rebuke of Tzipi Livni, the ousted Kadima party leader who returned to politics atop a party she named after herself that is sputtering in the polls. The meeting on Sunday had been an effort to show voters that the center-left could unite to mount a serious challenge to Netanyahu’s control. But Yachimovich and Lapid issued a statement calling the invitation a “trick played by Livni” out of desperation, charging that Livni lied to the public about what transpired at the meeting. The joint statement averred that Livni “continues to mislead, divide and undermine efforts to create a worthy alternative to an extremist government.” Livni responded by saying that only her plan “can give the public hope. According to polling, Netanyahu’s only challenge comes from another right wing party that appears to be sapping the strength of Netanyahu’s Likud, but after the election, it, too, will be part of the ruling coalition albeit with newfound leverage over the final make-up of the government.

NEW FROM THE MEDIA LINE

HAGEL NOMINATION TROUBLES SOME IN PRO-ISRAEL CAMP

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36863

YEMEN SECURITY HEIGHTENED AFTER BOUNTY OFFER ON US ENVOY'S HEAD

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36871

ELECTION FRENZY IN ISRAEL OF LITTLE CONCERN TO PALESTINIANS

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36829

AUDIO:  COMMENTATOR MICAH HALPERN ON THE 'SCANDALOUS' SALE OF ISRAELI PEPPERS IN LEBANON

http://media.themedialine.org/media/asaferworld.mp3

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