Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘Arab-Israeli conflict

Facebook Acquires Hamas: Tool In Further Emotional Manipulation Studies

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FacebookMountain View, CA, Augist 6 – In a follow up paper to Facebook’s controversial emotional manipulation study, Facebook researchers have found that posts reporting and commenting on military or terrorist actions overseas have a statistically significant impact on people’s moods.

In the methodology section of the paper, the authors described how the company quietly acquired Hamas for one billion dollars, and then proceeded to direct the timing and location of missile strikes and air raids. The acquisition bad been previously reported in the press as a hitherto inexplicable purchase of WhatsApp.

To continue reading click here.

Written by Thag

August 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Baby Björn Launches Ergonomic Human Shield Carrier

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August 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Ignored On Blog, Man Bets On Being Ignored By Much Bigger Audience On New Site

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PoT AnalyticsTired of having his efforts to attract lucrative attention via a WordPress blog come to naught, Thag, the author of Mightier Than The Pen, has decided to move some of his niche material to a new site in hopes that a bigger, more passionate readership can ignore him there.

Over the last several years, Thag has devoted only a small amount of attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though many of his acquaintances and family members harbor strong feelings about it. The material covering Israel or loosely Jewish themes amounted to perhaps 5% of his output, but tended to generate the posts with the most page views, the number of which would still be laughably short of the traffic necessary to make the blog a financial success.

Thag therefore decided to spin off the Israel content into a separate site, preoccupiedterritory.com, where he could find a new niche crowd of potential readers not to give him the time of day. PreOccupiedTerritory even has a WordPress theme that costs actual money, and technical flexibility and control not available on the free blogging platform. Thag hopes the investment will pay off in increased numbers of people across the world overlooking his material, numbers that will be reflected in a 1000% increase in the advertising revenue he currently enjoys.

“The cool part about that is I get to choose whatever percentage I want to for that figure,” says Thag, “and it will still be true.”

Though fully operational for less than a few weeks so far, the new site has already attracted an exciting new array, and higher class of, spam comment submissions. “I used to get the same solicitations for SEO stuff and sports jerseys,” Thag recalled. “But on PreOccupiedTerritory I now get random phrases from technical manuals and philosophical treatises, so I know I’m in better company with the new site.” He has yet to determine whether to aim even higher, where the spam bots might offer material on historical analysis or astrophysics.

In contrast to Mightier Than The Pen, PreOccupiedTerritory welcomes submissions from readers, both for article content and tag lines. That way, Thag’s nonexistent readers can engage more deeply in their nonexistent literary relationship with him, a prospect everyone might find rewarding if there were anything to feel rewarded about.

Written by Thag

February 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Those IDF Racists Won’t Even Rape Palestinian Women

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By Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

Please note: Mightier than the Pen has opened a new site to dispense satire regarding Israel. To read this article and others, visit preoccupiedterritory.com.

Written by Thag

January 19, 2014 at 8:27 am

Palestinians, Israeli Settlers Cheer Death Of Old Man On Life Support

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Sharon casket

The man’s casket, looking exactly as it would if he had finished his political career, retired, and died peacefully in his sleep at more or less the same age.

Jerusalem (AP) – Upon hearing the news that an eighty-five-year-old man’s heart had stopped beating yesterday, Palestinians and right-wing Israelis burst forth in joy, welcoming the end of life for a person who had been in a vegetative state since a debilitating stroke eight years ago.

In an unprecedented instance of unity, the two groups at odds over every conceivable point of contention viewed the same death in a positive light, calling the passing of an eighty-five-year old an act of “divine justice,” and “a glorious day for all that is holy,” attributing epic proportions to an event that occurs millions of times each day all over the world with not a hint of fanfare. The level of ecstasy was all the more incongruous in light of the fact that this end was a foregone conclusion since shortly after the stroke in January 2006.

On the Israeli right, radical settler leaders and their supporters welcomed the man’s death in tones normally associated with a triumphant reversal of fortune, rather than the humdrum, if grim, reality of an elderly man’s bodily systems failing in not-unusual fashion for a person his age. Across the political and demographic chasm, the Arab world, and Palestinians in particular, expressed cathartic joy reminiscent of a hard-fought but decisive victory, under circumstances more akin to a rotting tree finally toppling.

The Jews celebrating the predictable passing included a small but vocal subset of anti-Zionists, who trumpeted their satisfaction that the man had finally been cut down, as apparently their vision of manifest justice features a mortal enemy’s existence gradually coming to an end in such a way that he lacks the awareness to know that justice is being meted out.

Elsewhere, Palestinians who suffered through massacres in Lebanon that were obliquely associated with the man lamented that fact that he had been cut down by natural causes, a development that in their minds prevented the human vegetable from standing trial and, presumably, dying in more or less the same way eventually.

But the Palestinians were not alone in letting single period define their assessment of the man. Those Israelis celebrating his completely foreseeable demise as if it were a spontaneous heavenly gift defined the frail shell of a human in intensive care by one pursuit toward the end of his political career that was at odds with his prior deeds and reputation.

At press time, the ability to acknowledge complexity in an ideological opponent remained in critical condition.

Written by Thag

January 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Race To Politicize Pope’s Mideast Visit Begins

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Pope FrancisJerusalem (AP) – Pope Francis announced yesterday that he would be visiting the Holy Land in May of this year, setting off a scramble among Israelis and Palestinians to score propaganda points in their ongoing conflict and to leverage the publicity of the visit to imply papal endorsement of their respective positions.

Francis announced his intention to a crowd in Rome, saying that he hopes to bolster ongoing efforts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. US-brokered talks have produced little progress on the remaining core issues, including the status of Jerusalem; the fate of Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements; borders; and whether there must be explicit recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Considering the weightiness of those issues, the pontiff’s announcement was immediately seized upon by representatives of both sides as an important vehicle through which to demonstrate the virtues and manifest justice of their own positions, to the exclusion of the other side’s.

Francis is the third pope in a row to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories; John Paul II did so in 2000 and his successor Benedict XVI followed in 2009. Both times, as expected, politicians and negotiators on opposing sides of the divide attempted to transform every possible papal move into an indication of Vatican support for one side or the other.

Similar developments are expected this May, when the pope will visit important Christian pilgrimage sites and meet with Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian leaders in a visit also aimed at strengthening relations with Orthodox Christianity, from which Roman Catholicism spit in the eleventh century. A parallel tumult of diplomatic and political maneuvering has characterized the Christian reaction to the news, with both Catholic and Orthodox partisans angling to score rhetorical points in the nearly thousand-year-old dispute over, among other issues, the primacy of the pope.

Francis’s first stop will be in Amman, Jordan, where the focus will be more on repairing relations with the Muslim world than on the Arab-Israeli conflict, but that conflict is sure to intrude on the discussion between Francis and King Abdullah, whose country is populated by large numbers of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Only afterwards will the pope travel west to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where Israelis and Palestinians will try to portray each papal visit to a site in contested territory as a tacit or explicit statement of support for either perpetual Israeli control or the need to bring it to an end.

Vatican spokesman Waitwait Dontelmi said Francis had decided that the trip would take place in May because that is when the current round of US-brokered talks is expected to end, but which the Israeli Foreign Ministry immediately announced was calculated to be associated with Israeli Independence Day, which usually occurs in May.

Written by Thag

January 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Tragedy Strikes As Gaza Strip Fails To Sink Into Mediterranean

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open sewer

This flow of water is an open sewer in the Gaza Strip and not, unfortunately, evidence that the miserable territory is finally, mercifully, being drowned.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Gaza Strip was not struck by a massive earthquake that separated it from the rest of the Eurasian-African land mass and submerged it in the sea last night, a development that continues to send waves of horror and revulsion across the world.

A high-magnitude seismic event struck nowhere near the eastern Mediterranean Basin yesterday, resulting in not a single square centimeter of the coastal territory becoming forever lost. As a consequence, the area continues to suffer from appalling mismanagement, incitement to violence, soaring unemployment, inadequate sewage, and increased radicalization.

Scientists at the Tectonic-Oceanic Observation Bureau At Dahran (TOOBAD) in Saudi Arabia noticed at about 7 PM local time on Saturday that the Gaza Strip was being subjected to no significant seismic activity or disturbances in ocean wave movements, meaning that the semi-isolated area would persist as a hotbed of misery, frustration, militarism, and cynical moves by the political leadership to leverage residents’ suffering for diplomatic or rhetorical gain in the conflict with Israel. The sudden dislodging of the Gaza Strip from neighboring Israel and the Sinai Peninsula would have put an end to the territory’s struggles to maintain some semblance of an economy and will to live in increasingly depressing circumstances, but no such positive development occurred.

“It’s been an absolute disaster,” said TOOBAD seismologist Oh Aiwish. “The cumulative horror of this non-earthquake is going to haunt the entire Middle East for decades to come, and it will have profound impact on world events for at least the next hundred years.” For every second since yesterday that the Gaza Strip was not hit by a tsunami or massive tremor, said Aiwish, there was a corresponding buildup of tension and malice in its population that only laid the groundwork for a future eruption of unrest.

Israeli seismologists had also been monitoring the region, which has a number of fault lines, and they, too, discovered that Gaza had yet to be severed from the rest of Eurasia and removed from the stage of history. Gal Lee, a researcher with the Seismic-Tectonic University Program for Investigating Developments (STUPID), a semi-governmental body composed of academics, reported the horror on his colleagues’ faces as they discovered the misery continuing to unfold in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of not being hit with an unprecedented display of tectonic wrath.

“It’s hard to look at, and we sometimes have to go somewhere else for a few minutes and cry,” he confided. “But we have a job to do, even if that means being forced to look at things that no feeling human would ever want to see.”

Written by Thag

January 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Israeli Gov’t Regrets Hanging Eichmann; ‘Could Have Freed Him Today’

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220px-Eichmann,_AdolfJerusalem (AP) – A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today lamented Israel’s execution of Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann in 1962, noting that the architect of the Final Solution could have been released with other killers of Jews this evening.

26 Palestinians imprisoned for the murders of Israelis in terrorism attacks over the last several decades are scheduled to be freed as part of an agreement with the Palestinians earlier this year. Eichmann managed the sprawling Nazi bureaucracy that resulted in the extermination of two-thirds of Europe’s Jews during the Second World War. He was kidnapped by Mossad agents in 1961 and spirited to Israel, where he was tried, convicted of war crimes, and sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out the following year.

Mark Regev, the spokesman, told reporters that the decision to release the convicted murderers was a difficult one, primarily because even taken together, the number of murder victims that Israel has now betrayed will number only in the dozens, and the Netanyahu government currently lacks a prisoner of the caliber of Eichmann, responsible for the deaths of millions.  He said the government had considered the feasibility of a military or Mossad operation to kidnap and then release someone with a more impressive number of Jewish victims, but the logistics and cost of such an operation were deemed prohibitive. Candidates for such an operation were said to include Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran.

In the end, explained Regev, the Likud-run government could only go so far in cheapening the memory of the dead and depositing a massive political bowel movement on their graves while thumbing its nose at the families of those murdered.

MK Zahava Gal-On of the Meretz party, currently sitting in the opposition, expressed reluctant support for the move, saying it represented only a small step in the right direction. Ideally, she said, Israel should have absolved the convicts of their crimes concurrent with freeing them, to demonstrate more effectively that killing Jews is nothing to be ashamed of. “But that can always be accomplished later, and can be made part of the Knesset’s legislative goals for the upcoming Parliamentary session,” she noted.

Written by Thag

December 30, 2013 at 2:15 pm

After Rocket Fire, Israel Retaliates Harshly Against Trees, Rocks

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Lebanon rocket

One of the Lebanese rockets that fell short and landed short of Israel, relieving the IDF of the burden of having to target that bunch of shrubs with artillery in response.

Kiryat Shmonah, Israel, December 29 (AP) – One of five rockets fired from Lebanon hit near this northern Israeli town today, and the IDF responded fiercely with dozens of artillery shells aimed at empty fields, rocky hillsides, and unpopulated cedar groves.

The impressive display of deterrence came amid heightened tensions along the border, where an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese sniper earlier this month. Determined to demonstrate that any such aggression would be met by a firm, uncompromising answer, Israel boldly informed the UN force patrolling the border that it would not tolerate any such violations of sovereignty. The latest violence, which represents a significant escalation, have forced the IDF to showcase the lethality that further provocation would beget, and they did so by taking pains to minimize the lethality of the encounter.

“Israel has no interest in escalation of the situation,” said IDF spokesman Neville Chamberlain. “Our aim here is to demonstrate to Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army that violence against Israel or Israelis will be met with uncompromising avoidance of consequences that actually convey our seriousness.” He added that the units patrolling the border have been equipped with extra white flags in case any fighting breaks out.

The border has been more or less quiet since 2006, when Israel and Hezbollah fought to a standstill. Since then the Israel Defense Forces have studiously sought to prevent a recurrence, lest they be drawn into a conflict for which they have been trained and armed. During that conflict, Israel repeatedly tried to draw attention to the contrast between its own strategy and that of its adversary, pointing out that whereas Hezbollah had no compunction about aiming for civilian targets with its missiles, the Israeli military shied away from hitting targets that might contain actual human beings.

That conservative approach, says military analyst Dunkirk Beech, aims to avoid the sticky question of civilian casualties. Israel attracts opprobrium for any collateral damage, however unintentional, while its opponents openly target noncombatants while suffering no international consequences, diplomatic or otherwise. Accordingly, says Beech, the IDF has evolved a policy of harsh verbal retaliation for any threat to Israelis, coupled with the threat of even louder warnings. If that two-step deterrent system fails to forestall escalation, the Israeli military has no compunctions about terminating inanimate objects beyond the border with extreme prejudice.

A similar approach has characterized Israeli police activity in recent months, during which a war among organized crime syndicates has claimed the lives of criminals, bystanders, and law enforcement officials up and down Israel’s coastal towns and cities. In response to car bombs, drive-by shootings, and intimidation of policemen and prosecutors, police officials have made grand pronouncements about bringing the perpetrators to justice, while not actually having anything to show for their investigative work. As a result, suspects either avoid arrest entirely or are released for lack of evidence.

Written by Thag

December 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Hamas Unveils Winter Line Of Suicide Bomber Fashions

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suicide BarbieKhan Yunis refugee camp, Gaza Strip (AP) – Times may be tough, but Hamas designers are busy releasing their winter 2014 looks for the suicide-vest-wearing crowd, and the new offerings are to die for. Or in.

Chief Hamas fashion designer Mahmoud A-Zahar has completely revamped the classic martyr look, replacing the traditional bulky vest and its busy, busy pockets of pipe bombs, with explosive plates and improvised shrapnel that put the slim in Muslim. The male models showing off the new offerings prance about the runway, and when they are finished, they head back outside where they get a stylish bullet to the head for homosexual behavior.

“It’s all about the trim and the sleek in this time of austerity,” gushes A-Zahar, referring to the deprivation that Gaza Strip residents undergo because the sassy Hamas refuses to waver from its goal of eliminating as many Israelis as possible by violent means. “Just because we’re death-loving, barbaric fundamentalists, we shouldn’t look fashionable?”

The new vest’s slimness is engineered to help its fashion-forward wearer blend in with infidels, even those far beyond Gaza’s borders. “We can export these to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, you name it,” he said.

A-Zahar had to have the materials for his new vests shipped into the Gaza Strip at great expense, now that Egypt has closed off most of the underground smuggling routes and Israel maintains a naval blockade. Unable to obtain the standard steel ball-bearings that typically serve as the shrapnel in what is essentially a sartorial Claymore mine, he appropriated materials such as screws and nails from critical public works projects.

“The people of Khan Yunis have lived with pitiful sewage systems for the longest time,” he laughed. “Another two years won’t make such a difference. Besides, the European Union will always sponsor a few more containers of raw materials for the poor, poor Gazans.” With an artist’s wave of a hand, he revels in the willingness of foreign governments to underwrite Gaza’s infrastructure, freeing him and his fellow designers to dedicate funds to the stylistically more significant effort of eliminating the Zionist Entity next door.

The fashion endeavors do not end with the suicide bomber vest; A-Zahar’s fellow Hamas designer Ismail Haniyeh oversees a grassroots effort to bring design sensibilities to the people by having them contribute metal pipes and tubing from plumbing, construction, electrical, and other infrastructure projects so they can serve as components of rockets to be aimed at Israeli civilians. “We put the art in artillery,” beamed Haniyeh.

Written by Thag

December 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Storm Leaves East Jerusalem Residents With No Jews To Stone

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Temple Mount snow

East Jerusalem residents attempt to build a Qassam rocket out of snow, to direct at Jews praying nearby.

Sheikh Jarrah Quarter, Jerusalem (AP) – Fuad Abu Hamed, 46, got through the biggest snowstorm in the Levant in a generation by huddling together with his family through power outages in the bitter cold by telling himself the Jewish authorities would surely send along some crews to clear major arteries and fix hazards created by the record snow accumulation, at which point he and his fellow East Jerusalemites could throw stones and bricks at them. But the Jerusalem municipality concentrated its limited resources on plowing and removing downed trees from the much more heavily trafficked roads of the western part of the city, depriving Hamed and his neighbors of the pleasure.

Various news outlets have characterized the Wednesday-Saturday weather system that came south from Siberia variously as the biggest snowstorm since the 1960’s, the 1950’s, or the early years of the twentieth century. It brought snow to the Gaza Strip for the first time in more than twenty years, and to Egypt – notably the Giza pyramid region – for the first time in more than a hundred. But the novelty of the experience dissolved quickly, as the weight of the snow has created hazards and deprived residents of basic services for the last week. While Arab political figures raced to blame Israel directly for causing the bad weather, locals preferred to direct actual physical violence at individual Israelis, but were stymied.

Hamed and his neighbors looked forward to a new opportunity to demonstrate their objections to Israeli sovereignty in the eastern part of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in 1967. But the sheer fierceness of the storm not only forced the ill-prepared Jerusalem municipality and the Israel Electric Company to send its beleaguered crews and equipment elsewhere at first, it also made access to the stones, bricks, and other ready projectiles exceedingly difficult. The few electricians that did venture into East Jerusalem found themselves relatively unimpeded in their work, aside from sporadic snowballs. He vowed to try again with boulders once the snow clears.

The dearth of Jews at whom to direct dangerous thrown objects has frustrated Hamed and his friends, who revel in protesting to the world that Israel discriminates against them in the provision of basic services, all the while harassing and attacking the people that Israel does send to provide those services. “We’ve had to make do with trying to roll snowballs down the hill at soldiers manning the [Qalandia] check point,” he lamented, “but the snowballs never made it halfway down.”

Written by Thag

December 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

US Academics Vote To Boycott Israel, Jupiter

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ASA ASAASAWashington, DC (AP) The American Studies Association released the results of its membership vote Monday, in which the 5,000 educators adopted a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and of the planet Jupiter.

By a two-thirds margin, the Association approved the largely symbolic measure as a rebuke to Israel over its policies in the Palestinian territories, and to the planet Jupiter for just being there all the time. The event marks a milestone, albeit a modest one, in the campaign to isolate Israel; the Association’s statement on the matter acknowledged the limited impact the measure wold have on its own, as no American institutions have approved any such boycott, and the ASA represents a tiny fraction of US educators. Additionally, unlike Israel, Jupiter has shown remarkably little concern over objections to its behavior, and even a more widespread academic protest movement is unlikely to sway it from its current path.

Boycott supporters expressed pleasure with the decision to boycott Israeli institutions, and puzzlement over the inclusion of Jupiter in the vote. “While we welcome this statement of support for Palestinian rights, especially academic rights, we fear that voting to exclude Jupiter from the academic arena adds a jarring note of mockery,” said BDS Movement founder Mustafa Barghouti. If any planet were worthy of such treatment, he said, it would be Earth, which has shown a disturbing tolerance for Israeli policies by not having a major earthquake in Israel since the mid-nineteenth century.

Israeli academics lamented the vote, saying it would do little to further academic freedom, and smacked of hypocrisy in a world full of more objectionable behaviors by sovereign governments, behaviors that have not prompted any such calls for boycotts of other countries. They also pointed out that Jupiter was being similarly singled out as a target of convenience, as it is merely the closest of four huge planets with similar properties.

Similar votes have taken place in Europe, where earlier this year, Irish academics voted to exclude Israeli professors from their annual volleyball tournament, and where, in 2012, British educators voted on, but ultimately did not adopt, a resolution calling on British academics to stop using computers, most of which are made with Israeli-produced parts. Similarly, the Dutch water company has announced that it will refuse, on principle, to cooperate with analogous institutions on Mars, if exploration of that planet reveals the liquid there.

Written by Thag

December 17, 2013 at 5:12 pm

France: Arafat Not Poisoned, Franco Still Dead, Earth Still Orbits Sun

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225px-ArafatEconomicForumParis, France (Reuters) – A government-commissioned analysis of the late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat’s remains has concluded that he did not die of poisoning, as some Palestinians had charged, but by natural causes. Arafat died in 2004 and no autopsy was conducted at the time. The report also noted that Francisco Franco, who took power in Spain in the 1930’s and held office for four decades, is still deceased, and that the Earth continues to make its way around the sun each year.

A resurgence of the poisoning allegations led to Arafat’s exhumation and testing of his remains and personal effects. A Swiss team found evidence consistent with poisoning by polonium-210, a radioactive substance, while a Russian report, soon retracted, found no such evidence. Arafat died in a French military hospital after suffering bouts of intestinal distress. Franco has not come back to life in the meantime, and, perhaps more surprisingly, the sun continues to function as the star around which the Earth moves. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Obama Cancels Failed Program To Get All Israelis To Drown Selves In Sea

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NickelbackWashington, DC (AP) – President Obama has instructed the State Department to end its four-year-old attempt to convince Israelis to resolve the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians and other Arab nations by voluntarily drowning themselves in the Mediterranean Sea. The decision was greeted with disappointment by representatives of Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.

Four years ago, Obama directed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to embark on a subtle publicity campaign aimed at engendering among Israeli Jews the resolve to drive themselves into the sea, as a way of ending the deadlock over Read the rest of this entry »

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November 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Arafat’s Widow: Israel Also Used Polonium To Kill Jesus

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Arafat

Either Suha or Yasser. We could be more specific, but then we’d have to poison you with radioactive polonium.

Lausanne, Switzerland (AP) – In the wake of forensic evidence that the radioactive element Polonium-210 was present in some of the personal effects that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had with him when he died, his widow Suha Arafat sees the hand of Israel in this and other deaths of prominent icons as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Arafat died in 2005 at age 75, after a period of physical deterioration and a set of mysterious symptoms that sent him to a French military hospital. Speculation and rumors surrounding the cause of death eventually led to the exhumation of Arafat’s body from its Ramallah resting place for further testing. The University of Legal Medicine in Lausanne, Switzerland, tested a number of the personal effects he had with him when he died and found elevated levels of the radioactive isotope of Polonium, infamously instrumental in the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander V. Litvinenko. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

UN: Who Says Gaza Kidnapping Tunnel To Be Used For Kidnapping?

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tunnel

An Israeli soldier blocks entry to the poor, innocent tunnel.

New York (AP) – The United Nations Security Council reacted this morning with dismay to Israeli efforts to destroy a tunnel from the Gaza Strip, denouncing Israel for collectively punishing Gaza residents by denying all of them the ability to sneak into Israel and sow destruction or kidnap soldiers.

“We condemn Israeli measures that punish the entire population of the Gaza Strip for the actions of a few,” read a Security Council statement read, in part. “Preventing every single Gaza Strip resident from surreptitiously gaining entry to Israel and harming Israeli soldiers, civilians, or infrastructure constitutes a clear violation of the Geneva Convention,” Read the rest of this entry »

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November 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Israel Announces New Construction In Settlements; World Ends Again

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Ramat Shlomo

This is what the apocalypse looks like, in case you needed to be told. I mean, the horror.

Jerusalem, Israel (AP) Israel announced final approval for the construction of 1,500 residential units in a neighborhood of Jerusalem that it captured in the 1967 war, causing the end of the world yet again. The occurrence marks the latest in a series of hundreds of construction projects that have brought about the complete and irreversible cessation of human civilization on Earth.

The move prompted condemnation from Palestinians, the United States, and the European Union, who each called on Israel not to bring all of world culture and human achievement crashing down by granting formal approval for several hundred buildings to be built on a dozen barren hillsides abutting an existing neighborhood. The neighborhood, called Ramat Shlomo, lies on the other side of the Green Line, the boundary that marked the 1948 cease-fire between Israel and Jordan. Each instance of Israeli clearing, digging, Read the rest of this entry »

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October 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Israeli-Palestinian Talks At Impasse; Negotiators Watch The Princess Bride Instead

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Pit of Despair

Tzippi Livni

Jerusalem, Israel (AP) – After several fruitless weeks of back-and-forth negotiations over so-called Final Status issues over which Israelis and Palestinians differ, the delegates to the talks have decided to abandon  the effort and watch The Princess Bride repeatedly instead.

The talks, conducted in secret, have apparently yielded no results yet on questions of: Palestinian refugees; the status of Jerusalem; borders; the nature of the hoped-for Palestinian military, if any; whether the nascent Palestine would recognize Israel as a Jewish state; and myriad other unresolved points of contention that have dogged the two sides since the Oslo Accords of 1993, which was supposed to be an interim agreement. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Despite 7-Hour Talk, Kerry Fails To Convince Netanyahu His Chin Is Real

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Kerry1Rome, Italy (AP) – US Secretary of State John Kerry spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening attempting to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the secretary’s chin was not fake, but reportedly did not succeed, sources present at the meeting say.

The session in the Italian capital was originally slated for discussion of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and US-Israel disagreement over how strictly to treat Iran in that regard. Once the talks got underway, Netanyahu found himself unable to concentrate on the official agenda, focusing instead on what appeared to be a bicycle seat wedged under the skin in the front of Mr. Kerry’s skull. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Russia: Arafat Not Poisoned; Other Ways To Blame Israel Sought

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ArafatMoscow (AP) – The head of a Russian forensics agency ruled out the possibility that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with a radioactive substance, Russian media reported last Tuesday. As a result the Palestinians will be forced to resort to other accusations in order to paint the desired evil picture of Israel, he said.

Arafat was confined to his Ramallah headquarters during a 2004 uprising against Israel and developed still-unexplained symptoms. He died after being flown to France for treatment. Close aides, advisers, and relatives repeatedly accused Israel of assassinating him, though no hard evidence to support that charge was ever produced. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Iran Proposes Lobbing Only Four Nukes At Israel

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Iran nukesGeneva (AP) – The Iranian delegation to international talks over the country’s controversial atomic program has said that Tehran could in principle accept a reduction in its uranium enrichment capabilities as long as it could guarantee enough nuclear fuel to launch no more than four weapons at Israel.

Talks over the program have been going better than many experts expected, with Iran apparently showing more flexibility in its attitude toward international inspectors, slowed enrichment, and adherence to limits imposed by the International Agency for Atomic Energy. In an effort to loosen or remove economic sanctions that have been hurting the regime, Iran’s representative to the talks said they might be able to accept a limited arsenal that could only destroy Israel, but not threaten any other nations. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Palestinian Protesters To Upgrade To Rocks 2.0

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rock-throwing

A Palestinian demonstrates use of the new technology.

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AP) – After more than two decades of relying primarily on the simple, handheld “rock” device to register displeasure with Israeli military rule, West Bank Palestinians plan to bring more sophisticated weapons to bear. The Rock 2.0 is expected to enter service in 2014.

The first Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation began in 1987, with local youths aiming simple rocks, and occasionally heavy weapons such as cinder blocks, at Israeli soldiers. For a time in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Palestinian militants regularly resorted to explosives and guns in their conflict, but an Israeli military operation in 2002 sharply reduced the incidence of such attacks, and for the last several years the mainstay of the Palestinian protest movement has remained the reliable, affordable, easily obtainable rock. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

NY Times: Give Destruction Of Israel A Chance

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NetanyahuNew York, October 2 (AP) – Following Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s fiery address to the UN General Assembly, the New York Times issued a sternly worded editorial chastising the premier for closing the door on the annihilation of Israel as a diplomatic solution to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.

Netanyahu had warned the UN delegates and world leaders not to be taken in by Iran’s recent charm offensive, arguing that nothing in Iran’s nuclear policy had changed despite a softer tone from the Islamic state’s leadership. “Facts are stubborn things,” he said, and pointed to Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium at levels consistent only with the development of atomic weapons, along with pursuit of technologies aimed at attaining missiles to deliver such a weapon. Iran’s leadership has continually spoken of a world without Israel, and the Jewish state sees its neighbor’s nuclear efforts as a threat, despite the fact that such a development would obviously solve all the world’s problems.

Nevertheless, the New York Times editorial argued, it would be unwise to dismiss Iran’s apparent recent efforts to find a non-military resolution to the Iran crisis, which has included crippling economic sanctions. “We must allow that [President Hassan] Rouhani’s overtures are sincere,” the editorial read, “and the destruction of Israel might represent only one non-military option to defuse the tension between Iran and the Western world.” It reprimanded Netanyahu for attempting to stand in the way of a rapprochement in US-Iran relations for the sake of petty concerns such as the welfare of Israel.

The editorial called on President Obama to work with Netanyahu to persuade the Israeli leader that emphasizing the military options against Iran would only prejudice events toward exactly that result. “The President should take advantage of the closer ties he has developed with Mr. Netanyahu during this second term in the White House, and explain to him the benefits of adopting an approach that would enable Iran to delay, evade, conceal, and continue its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction while pretending to cooperate with the West,” said the New York Times. “Even if that results in the complete extermination of Israel, the diplomatic path is the preferable one,” it concluded.

Written by Thag

October 2, 2013 at 9:38 am

Rouhani: Iran Seeks Better Relations With All Countries That Hate Israel

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Hassan Rouhani, displaying the friendly face the Islamic Republicwill show anyone who shares its assessment that Israel must die a fiery death.

Hassan Rouhani, displaying the friendly face the Islamic Republic will show anyone who shares its assessment that Israel must die a fiery death.

New York (AP) Addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, newly installed President of Iran showed a softer side of the regime yesterday, preaching acceptance for everyone, provided they harbor animosity toward the Jewish state.

“The Islamic republic seeks engagement with the world, not discord,” said Hassan Rouhani to the annual gathering of world leaders, “and we can achieve that harmony if everyone accepts the premise that the Zionist regime is evil and must be obliterated.” Iran’s denies that its continued enrichment of uranium is intended to produce atomic weapons, while Israel and other Western countries have warned of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Until recently, the official tone of Iran’s rhetoric has been defiant. Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly and unabashedly issued predictions and calls for Israel’s destruction. Iran has supported various armed groups that attack Israel, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But with Rouhani now in office, the Ayatollah-run country has tried to burnish its image, portraying the new president as a more accommodating personality. Rouhani was heavily involved in the early stages of Iran’s nuclear program.

“It’s a hopeful sign,” said Venezuelan delegate Jose Maria Cortes. “For years, the world got used to hearing nothing but opposition to Israel’s existence, and now Iran has completely altered its approach, and they simply oppose the existence of Israel and are working to threaten it any way they can.”

French diplomat François Martin shared the Venezuelan’s assessment. “France has watched with concern as Iran repeatedly rebuffed the International Atomic Energy Agency,” he recalled, “but Rouhani and his fresh approach mean that now we can expect only further obstruction, concealment, and, ultimately, a nuclear-capable regime that has made no bones of its desire to rid the world of one of its neighbors.”

American officials have remained wary, and echoed Israeli admonitions to observe Iran’s behavior, rather than its pronouncements. “The Obama administration is certainly in favor of open discourse,” said US ambassador Samantha Power. “But we reserve judgment on Iran until it demonstrates a genuine shift in its policies, not mere lip service to the idea of removing Israel from the map.” The US has led an international effort to levy economic sanctions on Iran, and Iran’s economy has suffered as a result. Power said the US has noted Iran’s strong relations with such reputable states as Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Syria.

 

Written by Thag

September 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Israelis, Palestinians, Can’t Believe Kerry At It Again

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"This cushion of white noise around my head shields me from the unpleasant reality, allowing me to do my job."

“This cushion of white noise around my head shields me from the unpleasant reality, allowing me to do my job.”

‘Can’t this guy take a hint?’

Amman, Jordan (AP) – With US Secretary of State John Kerry on his sixth visit of his term, trying once again to restart a moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, officials on both sides could not suppress their disbelief at the secretary’s apparent cluelessness over the intractability of the generations-old conflict.

Kerry landed in the Jordanian capital yesterday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to attempt to persuade him to return to the negotiating table. Abbas has previously declared he will not negotiate unless the parties agree at the outset that the 1967 lines form the basis of those discussions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel insists that negotiations take place with no preconditions. Neither side has budged in years despite multiple sustained efforts by outside parties to bridge the gaps, prompting observers on either side of the Green Line to question Kerry’s grip on reality.

“I think each side has made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in really negotiating,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “The fact is, once this issue of the starting point is settled, that pretty much dictates the entire outcome – so what’s the point?” he explained. Erekat wondered what Kerry thinks he can accomplish when neither party finds any of its options palatable, making inaction the most likely and least wasteful course.

“He seems to think we actually feel comfortable about reaching some final-status agreements,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said of Kerry. “Hasn’t he realized that any likely such agreement would separate Jews from the places to which they have the most intense historical attachment? Why would we ever agree to that? Can’t this guy take a hint?” He added that while continued discriminatory rule over millions of Palestinians is hardly ideal, it is preferable to sacrificing the very places that Jewish lore yearns for, having lacked consistent access to, or control of, those places for millennia, and the arrogance with which Kerry – or any other would-be mediator – writes off thousands of years of longing makes his judgment suspect.

Neither do the Palestinians find their choices acceptable. “If Abu Mazen wants maximum international legitimacy he needs to continue avoiding the violence he formally forswore years ago,” said Nicholas Martin of the Near East Policy Center, using the nickname by which Abbas is popularly known. “But that leaves him with precious little negotiating leverage, and anything he gives up will make him ripe for charges of betrayal from more radical quarters such as Hamas,” referring to the Islamic militant organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Given those options, says Martin, continued avoidance of negotiation is the only real strategy that Abbas finds useful, rendering Kerry’s continued pursuit of those negotiations an indicator of his questionable mental acuity.

“Time can only work against us,” Secretary Kerry told reporters before his meeting, seemingly oblivious to the pointlessness of the endeavor, given the instability in Egypt and Syria, which is also spilling over into Lebanon, and the disunity among the Palestinians themselves. He added that cliches such as, “Time can only work against us” are just one of the powerful inducements he can bring to bear in drawing the sides back to the negotiating table.

“You never know what tomorrow may bring,” he added.

Written by Thag

July 17, 2013 at 9:44 am