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Justice Ministry Servers Burn


A large fire that broke out in the Ministry of Justice Monday night has caused extensive damage to the ministry's basement, where its computer and internet servers are stored.

The servers that burned down provide services to the public but also hold information on active cases like the ones against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former President Moshe Katzav. According to News1 the Justice Ministry "hopes" that there were backups for the information stored.

U.S. Iran Missile Test Underscores Threat to Middle East, Europe

By David Gollust (VOA-State Department) & FARS (Iran) News Agency

The United States said the reported test of a new Iranian ballistic missile underscores that country's threat to the Middle East and Europe, including Russia, which has opposed a planned U.S. regional missile defense system

The Bush administration said the Iranian missile test violates U.N. resolutions and other international obligations, and will likely be added to the agenda of Thursday's meeting on Iran of the five permanent U.N. Security member countries and Germany, the P-Five-Plus-One.

Iran said it successfully tested a two-stage solid-fuel missile with a 2,000 kilometer (1,200 miles) range, which if verified would be an advance over the less-versatile liquid-fuel rockets Iran has developed in the past.

The test came on the eve of the Paris meeting of P-Five-Plus-One political directors, who will review efforts to persuade Iran, through incentives, to stop a uranium-enrichment program the United States believes is weapons-related.

Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the Iranian-made missile named Sejjil had "extremely high capabilities" and was only intended for defensive purposes. "This missile test was conducted within the framework of a defensive, deterrent strategy ... and specifically with defensive objectives," Najjar said, adding it had no connection with recent international events.

Military analysts believe that Sejil shows the Islamic Republic's capability to defend its soil. Solid fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of a similar range currently possessed by Iran.

Tim Ripley, an analyst at Jane's Defense Weekly, said, "Two stages could increase a missile's range."

Prior to the Wednesday test, Iran's missile capability was measured by its medium-range ballistic missile known as the Shahab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, with a range of at least 800 miles (1,300 kilometers).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a large congregation of residents in the northern province of Mazandaran that Iran would defeat its enemies. "The Iranian nation defends its honor and whichever power that wants to stand against the movement of the Iranian nation, the Iranian nation will crush it under its foot and slap it on the mouth," he said.

The US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on October 26, has raised speculation about the likelihood of a US unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic. Speculations that Israel could also bomb Iran mounted after a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads. Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests as well as target 32 American bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormuz. An estimated 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes through the waterway.

Peres: Arab Peace Plan is Serious Opening for Real Progress

By Ha'aretz

President Shimon Peres told world leaders on Wednesday at an interfaith dialogue in New York that the Arab peace initiative must be seriously considered as "a serious opening for real progress" in Middle East peace.

The proposal, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2002 and ratified by Arab foreign ministers last year in Damascus, offers pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Arab lands captured in 1967.

The goals of the initiative, Peres told delegates at the United Nations-hosted summit, was to "stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness, and provide future generations with security, stability and prosperity. These expressions in the Arab peace initiative are inspirational and promising - a serious opening for real progress," he said. "We cannot change the pas. However, we can shape our future."

Peres told delegates to the conference that Israel's leadership was prepared to make the concessions necessary for a real political process to take force."A comprehensive regional peace requires the completion of the bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians and sharing the painful cost," he said. "We are ready for this as we have proved many times in the past.

"In order to stand up against those who instigate discord and violence, we must bear the flag of brotherhood and peace," Peres added.

Syria Blames Israel for Uranium at Bomb Site


Syria's foreign minister Wednesday claimed Israel may be behind the United Nations' discovery of uranium traces at a site in Syria bombed last year by the Jewish state.

Walid Mualem said the uranium may have been in the bombs that Israel used to target the site and claimed leaks last weekend by the diplomats about the traces found at the site were politically motivated and aimed at pressuring Syria.

"These media leaks are a clear-cut signal that the purpose was to pressure Syria. This means that the subject is not technical but rather political. No one has ever asked himself what kind of Israeli bombs had hit the site, and what did they contain," he said.

Israeli security sources dismissed Mualem's claims, while the Israel Defense Forces and prime minister's office had no comment.

The site bombed by Israel Sept. 6, 2007, was identified by the White House in April as a secret nuclear reactor being built with aid from North Korea. Last weekend, Reuters quoted diplomats close to the U.N. investigation charging uranium was found at the bomb site.

The new information is significant, because it was leaked to the media hours after another report by International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed El Baradei. The head of the U.N. agency said at an IAEA board meeting two months ago that preliminary findings from test samples taken by inspectors who visited the Syrian site in June found no evidence of atomic activity.

But two diplomats tied to the U.N. investigation told Reuters the test samples showed evidence of a form of processed uranium that was engineered by humans and was not natural. The diplomats said the finding is not smoking-gun proof that Syria was building a nascent nuclear reactor, but that taken together with other information released by the White House; the uranium discovery warrants further investigation.

Carter: Obama will Waste No Time Pursuing Middle East Peace

By Ha'aretz

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in an interview with CNN this week he expected President-elect Barack Obama to waste no time pursuing Middle East peace talks once he takes office.

Carter told CNN he "thrilled" by Obama's election and praised his victory as heralding "a new approach" to the handling of the peace process. Carter said Obama "will not wait for even a month after he is president to start working on the peace process, where as you know the previous two presidents waited till the least year they were in office before they began the peace process."

When asked by CNN if it would be unwise for Obama to focus on the peace process while the United States is facing an economic crisis, Carter said the process was too important to put off. He related that when he became president, the United States was facing both an energy crisis and a troubled economy, but he still found a way to pursue peace in the Middle East.

"I think is a very important issue, I don't have any doubt in my mind that to find peace and security and human rights for the Palestinians and also for Israel would be a major factor in reducing the threat of terror," Carter told CNN.

He added that the failure to reach a settlement is one of the main causes of the "animosity and hatred and even violent acts against America and our allies."

Over the last year, Carter has taken on an increased role in the talks, offering to become a conduit between Hamas, Washington and even Israel. He has spoken out against Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip, calling it a "crime and an atrocity" and has blasted U.S. attempts to undermine Hamas as counterproductive.

Arab-American Group Blasts Emanuel's Father

By Israel Faxx News Services

An Arab-American group wants Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel to repudiate remarks made by Emanuel's father.

Obama last week named Emanuel, an Illinois congressman whose father is Israeli, as his White House chief of staff. In an interview with the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, Benjamin Emanuel said, "Obviously, he'll influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to be mopping floors at the White House."

In an e-mail blast, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee urged its members to protest the "detestable" comments by fax or through e-mail. The ADC also wrote a letter to Emanuel asking him to repudiate his father's comments, saying it "views this characterization of an Arab as an unacceptable smear."

"One can readily imagine the justifiable outcry if someone made a similar remark about African-Americans, Jews, or Hispanics concerning cleaning the floors of the White House," the letter said. "Do the normal standards of decency and civility not apply when talking about Arabs?"

Female Egyptian Lawyer Promotes Sexual Harassment Against Jews


A female Egyptian lawyer has recommended that Arab men begin sexually harassing Jewish women as a means of forcing Jews to leave Israel. Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, is perceived among Western nations as a moderate Arab nation where secular Arabs are a majority.

In a video clip( of the interview which aired on Al Arabiyah television on October 31, 2008, Nagla Al-Imam said, "In my opinion, they are fair game for all Arabs, and there is nothing wrong… this is a new form of resistance."

According to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which released the clip, Al-Imam specified, however, that her "resistance" plan did not include rape.

"No. Sexual harassment… In my view, the [Israeli women] do not have any right to respond. The resistance fighters would not initiate such a thing, because their moral values are much loftier than that. However, if such a thing did happen to them, the [Israeli women] have no right to make any demands, because this would put us on equal terms – leave the land so we won't rape you. These two things are equal," she said.

Al-Imam added that she did not want "young Arab men to be interrogated," but rather, she wanted "these Zionist girls with Israeli citizenship to be expelled from our Arab countries. This is a form of resistance, and a way of rejecting their presence."

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