Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘Israel

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

Netanyahu Hires Vizzini To Start US War With Iran

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VizziniJerusalem, January 16 – Information leaked from Israeli cabinet intelligence briefings suggests that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has engaged a Sicilian mercenary to foment a war between the United States and Iran.

Long dismissive of American and other international efforts to contain Tehran’s nuclear arms ambitions, Netanyahu is seeking ways to provoke American military action against Iran, knowing that the only obstacle remaining between Iran and atomic weapons capability is time. An Israeli strike would be far too risky, both tactically and diplomatically, as compared to one conducted by American forces already deployed in and around the Arabian Gulf. The leaks point to contacts between the prime minister and Vizzini, who has cultivated a specialty in starting wars.

Netanyahu is said to have sent special envoy Tyrone Rugen to negotiate the terms and logistics of the arrangement. Rugen, himself an expert in intrigue, has proved a tough negotiator and has shown as not above the use of force to achieve his ends; he is currently writing what he considers to be the definitive work on the subject, expressing his deep and abiding interest in it.

Vizzini’s most famous war instigation attempt involved the European countries of Florin and Guilder. Though thwarted by other, unanticipated developments, the Sicilian’s efforts – a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious tradition – and extensive preparation caught the notice of other international leaders. He often works with a team of other internationals, notably a Spanish weapons expert and a Turk of reputed great strength.

If true, the reports point to a clear escalation of Netanyahu’s attempts to ensure that the current multilateral efforts to curtail Iranian nuclear development do not end with talk and limited economic sanctions. He has repeatedly talked up the need to include the threat of actual force against Iran should the talks fail; other, unconfirmed reports involve Israel’s engagement of actual mercenary raiders such as the Dread Pirate Roberts to prey on Iran’s shipping and disrupt the country’s logistics.

Vizzini himself is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, including one in which he was tricked into overdosing on iocaine. However, the mercenary was only rendered mostly dead, and was able to lie low until the danger passed. Experts remain divided on what methods he would use in the current environment to provoke a US-Iran war; traditional, high-impact strategies have grown progressively more difficult over the years, and their effect is less predictable than it once was.

Wikileaks has published several documents purporting to relate to these developments, including the analysis by an intelligence source known as “Westley,” according to which Rugen will suggest the formation of a Brute Squad to gain access to heavily guarded American facilities and hold prominent individuals – such as members of the First Family – hostage, pinning the deed on Iran.

This morning the Prime Minister’s office dismissed the allegations as “inconceivable.”

Written by Thag

January 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Raid Of Kashrut Dept. Finds No Evidence Of Competence, Credibility

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Jerusalem (AP) – Authorities conducted a raid this morning of the Israeli Rabbinate’s department for supervising and certifying establishments claiming to provide kosher food, and found no indication that the agency had any effectiveness on the premises.

Police and Ministry of Religious Affairs personnel entered the offices in downtown Jerusalem and confiscated papers, computers, and assorted other materials in an effort to determine where, if at all, the Rabbinate had been keeping its ability to properly implement a system for certifying restaurants and factories as kosher. An examination of the materials revealed that any stores of competence had been exhausted long ago, and that the department had only traces of credibility left.

not kosherThe Rabbinate is empowered by law to determine what entities are allowed to use the term “kosher” to describe their food, a consumer protection implemented to prevent fraud. Doing so requires that the institution maintain given levels of efficacy, transparency, consistency, and adherence to established standards of kashrut supervision as enshrined in certain books of Jewish law. But the Rabbinate’s role as, effectively, judge, jury, and executioner has freed it from outside oversight, opening itself to an impaired ability to ensure that it was itself adhering to the standards it purports to enforce. One of the Rabbinate’s heads is currently under house arrest, awaiting trial for fraud and breach of trust.

Responding to agitation from community activists, the ministry decided to take action, but it remains unclear what impact the move will have. Shoddy record-keeping had already compromised the department’s ability to adequately track the validity of imported foodstuffs labeled as kosher “with the approval of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel,” and the information garnered in the raid is unlikely to have an effect on the problematic dynamic of having restaurants act as employers of the kashrut supervisors.

Elsewhere in the world of kashrut supervision, independent agencies charge the food establishment a specific amount, employing its own supervisors either to remain on the premises or to conduct unannounced inspections. As the investigation has revealed, however, the Rabbinate here apparently lacks the competence necessary to handle such a complex arrangement, and foists the bureaucratic and bookkeeping burden on the businesses it certifies.

A supervisor, known as a mashgiach, assumes the dual role of advising the establishment of the practices required to ensure adherence to the laws of kashrut, and of inspecting the facility to ascertain its compliance. The Rabbinate’s system, says Ministry spokeswoman Amira L’akum, charged its supervisors with inspecting too many establishments, impairing their ability to adequately supervise any single one. “Basically, under the current system, a mashgiach comes in once a month or so, makes a token inspection of the trash can, and collects his check.” She added that there was no way an inspector could remain at any one restaurant or vendor long enough to audit the establishment’s compliance with procedures such as sifting flour to remove insects, checking eggs for blood spots, or not operating what looks like an elaborate, legally sanctioned protection racket.

Christmas treesIndeed, the Rabbinate can levy stiff fines for attempting to sidestep its procedures, which includes the engagement of any other supervising agency in the Rabbinate’s stead. L’akum noted that the department’s established pattern of behavior does not include butting heads with any independent kashrut organizations that actually have implemented a reliable supervision system. “Whether this indicates a modicum of competence or a baseline cynicism has yet to be determined,” she said.

Buttressing the argument for the cynicism factor, Rabbinate inspectors raided two related Jerusalem establishments this week, touting their discovery of forged kashrut labels. The establishments, a cheese store and restaurant with the same name and owner, had never paid the Rabbinate for supervision. Ministry officials, who declined to be identified in keeping with procedures regarding ongoing investigations, surmise that the move was calculated both to showcase whatever vestiges of competence remain, and to demonstrate that it nevertheless lacks either the will or capacity to conduct any such raid on establishments that are already paying the Rabbinate.

A spokesman for the Chief Rabbinate predicted that the institution would emerge from the episode unscathed, noting that the police department, which has been handling the evidence, has exhibited the same level of competence and credibility.

Written by Thag

January 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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

DMV Vows Reforms After Man Emerges In Only 12 Minutes

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Transport logoJerusalem (AP) – A local man went to the local licensing bureau office to obtain a necessary document this morning and succeeded with a minimal wait time and no hassle, casting doubt on the Licensing Authority’s competence as a purveyor of frustration and confronting the Ministry of Transportation with a scandal unseen in severity in more than two decades.

Shortly before noon, Jerusalem resident Daoud Ibn Swid, 38, entered the licensing office in the center of the city to receive a printout of his renewed car registration, which he had not received in the mail. After passing through security and taking a number, Ibn Swid waited approximately 11 minutes before his number was called. Exacerbating the swiftness of the experience was the apparent efficiency of the clerk, who, after asking for ID, called up the pertinent information on her computer terminal and printed out the document, causing Mr. Ibn Swid to spend less than 60 seconds at the counter and encounter no frustration or obstacles.

Normally, says Licensing Authority spokeswoman Byurakra See, visitors to the various bureau offices are expected to spend at least 45 minutes waiting before their number is called. Then procedures mandate that the visitor be shunted to different windows at least twice before even a preliminary resolution of the inquiry can be offered. Following that stage, clerks are directed to ask for documentation that the visitor does not have on hand, such as a passport, an old, expired driver’s license, a birth certificate, a college transcript, or a full credit history printout.

If the visitor has provided all of that documentation, says See, computer network errors or printer malfunctions must disrupt any effort to meet the visitor’s needs. According to See, initial indications point to a large number of previous visitors who despaired more quickly than expected of accomplishing anything and departed, leaving the staff unprepared for Mr. Ibn Swid to appear at a service counter showing no signs of accumulated frustration or anger.

“Our clerks are well trained in identifying and exploiting the most irritating aspect of visiting our facilities, but these unforeseen circumstances meant that they had to confront a calm, even happy, visitor, and our procedures do not cover that unprecedented development.” She assured reporters that the Authority would both amend the procedures to cover any possible recurrences of this scenario and examine existing procedures to determine how it might be prevented in the first place.

Israel Katz

Katz. “I have a canker sore. Thus the facial expression.”

Minister of Transportation Israel Katz also promised a full inquiry, noting that no visitor to the Licensing Authority offices had emerged in less than 15 minutes since 1993. On two consecutive April days that year, an office in the city of Haifa processed more than eighteen people over the course of the five hours it was open, far above the average of seven visitors. That episode, infamously known in Israeli bureaucratic circles as The Efficiency Plague, prompted the development of tighter controls and procedures for the mishandling of visitors, procedures that apparently worked well until today.

Minister Katz said his office would investigate whether any bribery or other inducement was used to prompt the clerk to process Mr. Ibn Swid’s document quickly, but conceded it was unlikely, given the brevity of the time the two spent interacting.

Written by Thag

January 8, 2014 at 2:45 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

World Pulls Jaw Muscle While Yawning At Beirut Bombing

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BeirutNew York (AP) – The world was treated for a pulled jaw muscle today after yawning at the car bombing in a Beirut suburb yesterday. Doctors at New York’s Bellevue Hospital reported that that patient was admitted to the ER, treated, and released.

A powerful explosion caused extensive damage and killed five passers by on Thursday in the Lebanese suburb of Haret Hreik, a stronghold of Hezbollah support. The bombing follows a series of similar attacks in Lebanon, in spillover from the three-year-old sectarian civil war in neighboring Syria. Opponents of the Assad regime, primarily Sunni Muslims, resent Shiite Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, exacerbating the fragile demographic tensions in Lebanon. The world, however, which would rather focus on either wresting concessions from Israel or on the new season of Downton Abbey, reacted with boredom to yet another episode of Muslim-on-Muslim violence.

Contributing to the yawn were the neverending armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan. “The world has basically resigned itself to certain populations killing each other all the time, while pretending to support democratic values,” said hospital spokesman Dr. Ray Ciszt, explaining the patient’s predisposition toward the pulled muscle. “Each time the media report further attacks in Syria, Lebanon, or even within the Gaza Strip, as long as Jews aren’t the ones pulling the trigger, the world finds it dull. Iterations of these occurrences have strained the patient’s jaw muscles from repeated yawns.” The yawning in reaction to the latest Lebanon bombing only exacerbated the muscle strain and finally resulted in injury.

Dr. Ciszt said the world risked a similar injury to its eye muscles this year when President Obama was offering excuses and apologies for sweeping violations of privacy by the National Security Administration, and the world reacted with eye-rolling. To forestall a recurrence that would seriously injure those muscles, doctors told the world not to pay attention when Obama later had to offer a defense of the missteps in rolling out his health care initiative. The admonishment also proved helpful when the US granted major concessions to Iran on its nuclear program after more than a year of official insistence that no such developments would be tolerated.

For now, the world is being instructed to maintain its studious ignorance of international developments and domestic politics, lest further parts of its anatomy sustain harm. At particular risk, says Dr. Ciszt, is the world’s digestive system, which apparently does not have the stomach for applying actual pressure on the Palestinians.

Written by Thag

January 3, 2014 at 10:29 am

Media Outlets Rush To Update Pending Sharon Obituaries

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SharonNew York (AP) – A rapid deterioration of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s condition has journalists scrambling to update their files in case the publication of an obituary becomes necessary in the coming hours or days.

Sharon, 85, suffered a stroke eight years ago that resulted in his current comatose state. The former general’s life closely follows many of the defining moments of Israel’s history and politics, including a dramatic shift on Jewish settlements that involved the withdrawal of all Israelis from the Gaza Strip in 2005. In keeping with industry practice regarding public figures, newspapers and other sources of current events news have long maintained files will all the pertinent details of his life in case the need arises to release an accounting of his life.

When doctors in Tel Aviv announced yesterday that Sharon’s kidneys were failing and that various other systems were in peril, newsroom personnel and interns across the globe hurried to review their current information on him. In most cases the obituaries were all but written years ago; when Sharon initially suffered the stroke in January 2006, a similar scramble occurred. Little needs to be added regarding the intervening years, save perhaps for details of his deterioration and references to the long-term results of his policies.

The effort to ensure the timely publication of a comprehensive, accurate obituary is much easier in this case for that reason, says Ed G. Yoomer, who writes about journalism industry practices. “There’s usually a constant monitoring of press releases, media reports, gossip sites, and official web sites to keep pending obituaries accurate,” he explains. “But with Ariel Sharon, that really hasn’t been necessary.” There hasn’t even been a death watch, as took place, for example, in the waning days of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

“A death watch itself becomes a media event and might be worthy of mention in an obituray,” says Yoomer. “But here, all the journalists have to do is wait for one little announcement, add a few details to the article, and just pull the plug.”

Written by Thag

January 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm

City To Proudly Inaugurate 3 New Deadly Intersections

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Betzalel-BacharJerusalem (AP) – Cutting through the maze of alleys and narrow, one-way streets in the historic neighborhood of Nachlaot is Betzalel Street, where a twice-daily ritual takes place during rush hour as drivers routinely imperil pedestrians by barreling through ill-designed crosswalks. The municipality plans to add at least three more such intersections to the city’s streets in 2014, a mayoral spokesman announced this morning.

As traffic volume exceeds the capacity of Betzalel, cars backed up bumper-to-bumper inch up the road toward the even more congested center of town, and the ambiguous nature of one intersection invites drivers not to notice the red light that would allow pedestrians to cross the street. When they nevertheless assert their prerogative to do so, angry drivers blame their own ignorance, real or feigned, that the big red light up ahead means they must stop.

At the root of the phenomenon, says city engineer Ron Demmover, is the bizarre layout of the intersection. Traffic from Nissim Bacher may only turn right, down Betzalel. Accordingly, instead of being required to stop before Betzalel actually meets Nissim Bachar, drivers heading uphill on Betzalel must stop at the crosswalk just beyond the intersection. Nissim Bachar does not continue across Betzalel, giving the uphill drivers no indication on their right side that they have entered an intersection.

To increase the risk to pedestrians, the city planted a tree right in front of one of the two traffic signals governing the intersection, the one that stands right at the crosswalk. Thus the only signal clearly visible to drivers headed up the street is a traffic light set back about fifteen meters beyond the intersection. “It’s a crazy sight,” says Demmover. “You get cars moving right through the crosswalk on a red light, then stopping four car lengths later, in the middle of nowhere, because, hey, look, a red light.”

To showcase its commitment to endangering pedestrians, the administration of Mayor Nir Barkat issued a press release today in which it expressed its commitment to spreading the design flaws of the Betzalel/Bachar intersection to other parts of the city. “The malicious engineering produced by our elite team of misanthrope bureaucrats will give rise in 2014 to deadly junctions in the neighborhoods of Givat Shaul, Kiryat Moshe, and Kiryat HaYovel,” read the statement, referring to neighborhoods along the western edge of the city. The release also said the city has not capped the number at three, and is open to redesigning intersections in the more central areas of Baka and Talpiot to help bring the specter of being maimed by a ton or so of moving steel to more and more Jerusalem residents.

Not everyone is pleased with the move. Ateret Shulman, whose four-year-old daughter was hit by a car at the intersection in question, laments the investment, noting that her child was hit by a car heading downhill, where the obscured and badly placed signals were irrelevant; the driver had simply ignored a red light. “There’s no need to rearrange entire junctions,” she argues. “Just install traffic lights that aren’t as easy to see, and forget it.” A mayoral spokesman explained that such a move would also risk accidents between vehicles, when the target audience, so to speak, is people on foot.

The measure focuses exclusively on the western section of the city, which houses mostly Jews. The eastern portion, captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967 and annexed, contains mostly Arab non-Jews who, like most of the rest of the world, do not recognize Israel’s claims to that part of Jerusalem. Successive mayoral administrations have had to contend with accusations that they neglect to provide adequate municipal services to Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. In an odd political twist, this initiative, though it focuses only on West Jerusalem, would result in bringing the two sections of the city closer to equality: the municipality has invested little in improving the infrastructure of the Arab neighborhoods, including the maintenance of crosswalks, making every pedestrian venture onto asphalt there a game of Frogger. Now the residents of the western part would find more exposure to the experience.

Written by Thag

January 1, 2014 at 2:55 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

Israeli Labor Party To Choose Its Next Irrelevant Leader

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Labor logoJerusalem (AP) – Polling stations across Israel are open today for the Labor Party primaries, in which the party membership will select its next leader for a period of continued marginal significance to national politics. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 21, 2013 at 2:23 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