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Fri. November 28, 2014 EDITOR'S PICKS :  
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Issue: Israel's Jewish Identity. What Does it Mean?
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PA: Made "Generous" Offer; Israel: "Bring it to the Table"
Terrorists Attack a Jerusalem Synagogue
200-Year-Old Palestinian Bakery in Jerusalem
Clergy Say Religion Supports Ecology
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University of the People Opens Doors to African Refugees
Israel Under Pressure on Its Chemical Weapons
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Children in Gaza Exhibit Trauma Symptoms
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Massive International Pressure on Israel Over Building Plans

Officials in Israel are under massive and increasing international pressure over plans announced this week for 3,000 new housing starts in areas it acquired in the 1967 war; land which Palestinians claim for a state. The new housing is Israel’s response to the upgrade in status at the United Nations the Palestinians received last Thursday, an effort the Israelis argue was an end-run around the official peace negotiation process and a violation of commitments to forego unilateral moves. Israel is also planning to withhold tax and tariff revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and is supposed to transfer monthly. Although Israeli officials are used to criticism over its policy of building on the disputed post-1967 land, they might have been surprised by the intensity of the response to the latest announcement. The U.K. and France are reportedly both considering withdrawing their ambassadors from Israel in protest. Virtually all of the European nations have had their envoys beating a path to the Israeli prime minister’s doorstep to lodge their protests. News reports carry words like “furious” to describe the European reaction to the Israeli plans to build in what is known as the “E1 corridor” between the Jerusalem suburb of Maaleh Adumim and the capital itself – building that Palestinian supporters argue will prevent the territorial contiguity necessary for state-building. For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has stressed that the order that went out was only for planning, not building (read: political leverage) and that all building starts are located inside of existing Israeli communities and not on land that would enlarge any of the communities in question. Israeli officials are livid over the mass onslaught of criticism Israel is receiving for its response to the Palestinian UN gambit without any sort of commensurate ire at the Palestinians for flouting the peace process brokered by the international entity known as the “Quartet” – comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. During the lead-up to the UN gambit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas deflected criticism that the UN plans would interfere with the peace process by saying he would return to the table once the UN had acted. The Israelis note that there has been no indication that will happen.

Despite Fighting, EgyptAir Resuming Flights to Damascus and Aleppo

Egypt’s national air carrier is resuming its flights to Damascus and Aleppo on Monday despite the intense fighting in and around both cities after a three-day hiatus. The announcement of the resumption of the daily schedule has called attention to the fact that the airports, surprisingly, have remained open throughout the severe fighting. On Sunday, Assad regime fighter jets pounded away at rebel strongholds in the Damascus suburbs in an attempt to halt their march on the capital. Army reinforcements have joined the fighting after a week which saw momentum tilt toward the rebels who captured two army bases. Hundreds died over the weekend in various parts of Syria driving the 20-month death toll well above 40,000 and continuing to climb.

 

Israel’s Civil Court Challenges Rabbinical Jurisdiction Over Marriage with Gay Divorce

An Israeli civil court judge entered the nation’s first divorce decree for a gay couple and in doing so took a swipe at rabbinical jurisdiction over family life-cycle events. The judge ordered the couple to be registered by the Interior Ministry as “divorced.” The decision was set up by a previous ruling by the High Court of Justice which ordered the Ministry to register the marriages of five same-sex couples who had been married in Canada. The current case is already being seen as a precedent through which heterosexual couples will also have increased standing to circumvent the rabbinical courts which historically have monopolized family life-cycle matters.

Hamas to Pardon Those Who Confess to Collaborating with Israel; Will Allow Fatah into Gaza

The Hamas euphoria emanating from its perceived victory over Israel in the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip is apparently continuing, the latest manifestation being the decision to pardon those who confess to collaborating with Israel and the announcement that Fatah members will be allowed back into Gaza. The Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad said on Sunday that those who confess will not only be pardoned, but their crimes will be kept confidential – including from their families and friends. During the week-long hostilities with Israel, six alleged collaborators were executed on a public thoroughfare, the body of one of the victims tied to a motorcycle and dragged through Gaza City. Another so-called collaborator was executed four days prior to that incident. Also on Sunday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry told the Ma’an news agency those members of the Fatah faction who had fled the Gaza Strip when Hamas wrested control in 2007 will be allowed back if they show up at the Rafah crossing on Monday and complete “legal procedures.” About 400 fled, 56 of whom have been arrested by Hamas and are serving sentences in Gaza jails. Both rivals, Hamas and Fatah, have been releasing members of the opposite faction as a gesture toward reconciliation.

Hamas PM Calls for End to Listing Group as “Terrorist”

Against a noticeable increase in visits to the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip by foreign envoys, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya said on Sunday that the group should be removed from terrorist lists kept by governments. He used the occasion of a visit by European politicians and academics to argue that,” It is time to remove Palestinian resistance movements, that resist under international law, from the list of international terrorist groups.” Haniyya claimed that, “Hamas and other Palestinian factions are national liberation movements operating inside Palestine. We do not antagonize Jews anywhere in the world for their religious affiliation, but we have a problem with those who occupy our land.” Turning th argument around, Haniyya accused Israel of committing war crimes and acts of terrorism and called for Israeli leaders to be prosecuted. He failed to explain the rationale through which he argues that mass rocket-firing at civilian population centers falls within “resistance under international law.”

 

NEW FROM THE MEDIA LINE

ISRAELI OPPOSITION LOOKS TO CENTER, CENTER-LEFT FOR SALVATION IN JANUARY ELECTION

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36604

AUDIO:  PROF OF POLITICAL COMMUNICATION ON ISRAELI LEFT'S CHANCES

http://media.themedialine.org/media/Gadi%20Wolfsfeld%20(3).mp3

MIGRATORY BIRDS DAZZLE SPECTATORS IN ISRAEL

http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=36590

 

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