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Neo-Nazi Vandals Deface Poland's Bialystok Cemetery


A group of neo-Nazi vandals has defaced the Bialystok cemetery in eastern Poland, the second such anti-Semitic attack in the area so far this month.

The vandals rearranged bushes of the site, originally formed into the shape of a Magen David, or Jewish Star of David. Instead, they formed the bushes into a swastika, police said, placing them within the original Jewish star.

Cheney: Israel will Bomb Iran Reactor if Need Be


Former US Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Israel is likely to attack Iran's nuclear facilities if it proves necessary in order to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. "I think Iran represents an existential threat, and (Israel) will do whatever they have to do to guarantee their survival and their security," Cheney told Newsmax TV.

Asked whether he based his prediction on a specific source, Cheney said he cannot attribute it to any one Israeli source, and "wouldn't want to do that." However, the former vice president noted he'd had several conversations with top Israeli officials who "correctly perceive Iran as a basic threat."

Cheney's comments come as Iranian officials kicked off the launch of the Islamic Republic's 1000-megawatt Bushehr reactor in southern Iran with celebrations and fanfare.

In his recently released autobiography, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," Cheney mentions another state with nuclear ambitions – Syria. In an interview with The New York Times last month, Cheney claimed President George W. Bush rejected his advice in 2007 to bomb a suspected nuclear reactor site at al-Kibar in Syria, and that he was "a lone voice" for military action against the country.

According to Cheney, other advisers were reluctant because of "the bad intelligence we had received about Iraq's stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction" before the 2003 invasion of that country.

Ultimately, it was Israel who bombed the Dair Alzour complex at al-Kibar on Sept. 6, 2007. The following year International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials confirmed the nature of the al-Kibar site when they reported, "significant natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin."

In his interview with Newsmax, the former vice president referred to the 10th year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, saying "I still worry more than anything else really about the possibility of a group of terrorists acquiring really deadly capabilities."

"When we got hit on 9/11 there were 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters. The next time around I worry they may have a nuclear device or biological agent of some kind and would be in a position to inflict far greater damage and loss of lives than anything we experienced on 9/11. I think that's still a very real threat."

Turkey Dispatches 3 Warships to Eastern Mediterranean


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dispatched three warships to the Eastern Mediterranean to 'defend against Israeli vessels' and ensure 'freedom of navigation' for his country's ships, Today's Zaman reported.

The move, only the latest in Erdogan's bellicose rhetorical assault on Israel, comes on the same day he called Israel's boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara in 2010 "grounds for war" adding only Turkey's "greatness and patience" had averted conflict.

During the boarding action nine Turkish nationals who participated in a mob that attempted to lynch the commandos were killed when non-lethal weapons the boarding party was equipped with as their primary arms proved insufficient to stop the lethal threat necessitating the use of live fire.

While the UN Palmer Report criticized Israel's use of force resulting in the deaths as "excessive," it also concluded Israel's blockade of Gaza was "legal and appropriate" under international law.

But Erdogan, whose government has rejected the UN stance in the Palmer Report, insists Turkish ships will provide protection for ships bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza and confront Israeli warships outside of Israel's territorial waters if necessary, according to the report.

State news agency Anatolia released late on Sunday what it said was an original Turkish-language transcript of an interview Erdogan gave to Al Jazeera television last week.

It included elements not broadcast as well as original wording for sensitive comments that had been transmitted only in Arabic translation. "Right now, without a doubt, the primary duty of Turkish navy ships is to protect its own ships," Erdogan said. "This is the first step. And we have humanitarian aid that we want to carry there. This humanitarian aid will not be attacked any more, as it was the case with Mavi Marmara."

Israel's government, however, has said that while it wants to ease tensions with its former ally it will continue the Gaza-blockade.

The prospect of a Cuban Missile Crisis style showdown at sea with Turkey, a NATO power and fellow ally of the United States, has led Washington to appeal for restraint and led to a quiet decision for brinksmanship - and continued enforcement of the blockade - in Jerusalem.

Turkey has downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and halted defense-related trade after the Jewish state's confirmation last week that it would not apologize for the raid on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 in which nine Turks were killed.

Israeli officials have, to date, been divided on how to respond to Turkey. But amid the diplomatic upheavals of the `Arab Spring,' a spike in terror, Iran's nuclear program, and the imminent Palestinian Authority statehood bid at the United Nations, Erdogan is just one more puzzle to solve.

Erdogan previously said that Turkey's "grandeur and patience" prevented it from going to war with Israel over last year's flotilla clash. In blatantly pompous remarks, Erdogan insisted the clash was "a cause for war, but we decided to act in line with Turkey's grandeur and showed patience."

Hamas Distances Itself from PA's UN Statehood Bid

By Ha'aretz

The Palestinian Authority's push to achieve recognition of an independent Palestinian state in the United Nations has nothing to do with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials said on Monday, adding that the campaign was launched without consulting Hamas leaders.

Speaking to the Palestinian Ma'an news agency on Monday, the leaders of several Palestinian factions voiced differing opinions on the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives distancing themselves from the planned vote.

Hamas Gaza strongman Mahmoud Zahar told the Palestinian news agency that the UN push did not represent the Hamas-ruled Strip, saying that no one "asked the people in Gaza to take to the streets showing solidarity with the so-called September bid."

"If the Palestinian Authority calls for that, we will oppose it because they detain people in the West Bank. How can I give them the right to demonstrate in Gaza, while they do not give us that right in the West Bank?" Zahar asked.

Last month, senior Fatah officials claimed that Abbas had chosen to cool off his recently signed unity deal with Hamas, citing Western opposition to the surprise turn in the factions' long-standing feud.

"President Abbas was surprised by the international opposition to the reconciliation with Hamas, so he decided to slow down at least until September," the Palestinian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss official policy.

"Now, with all efforts focused on September, we want all voices to be with us," he said. "We are not giving the Americans or anyone else a reason to shun us because of the reconciliation or anything else."

The unity deal was struck in May after Palestinian youth, inspired by the revolts against entrenched Arab autocracies, took to the streets calling for unification of the dueling governments in the West Bank and Gaza.

Another dissenting voice to the PA's campaign speaking with Ma'an on Monday came from Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawood Shihab, who said the "move needs to be studied to make sure it will not ignore major issues such as the right of return, and the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization as a umbrella for the whole Palestinian people."

However, other Palestinian factions, such as The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and The Palestinian National Initiative, supported the PA-led move, saying it was the last chance for Palestinians to reach statehood with the failure of peace talks with Israel.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has announced its support for the UN campaign. "We support the Palestinian leadership's plan to go to the UN because that is a natural right of the Palestinians and part of the political battle against Israeli occupation," Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongman Kayid al-Ghoul told Ma'an.

Al-Ghoul also said that he felt the UN statehood bid would mark the end of peace talks with Israel, instead urging the formation of an international Mideast peace process conference.

"Regardless of the outcome, this step should be part of the political battle we fight against occupation. It will also be an opportunity to enlarge the circle of solidarity with the Palestinian people's rights, and to expose Israel's policies and the supportive US policy," al-Ghoul told Ma'an.

Mustafa Barghouti, leader of The Palestinian National Initiative called the UN push "the last option for two states," adding that the "time has come for an alternative. There is no space or place for talks. We won't be slaves to apartheid for the rest of our lives," Barghouti added, saying, "If South Sudan could get statehood in 48 hours, then Palestinians should get it."

Israeli Man to Give Birth


A 24-year-old man shocked medical staff in central Israel Sunday after walking into an emergency room and informing doctors that he underwent a sex change operation and is now pregnant, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

The man, who was born as a woman, is the first Israeli transgender to ever be pregnant. He is married to a man and is in the seventh month of pregnancy.

"Everyone was in shock," said a patient at the hospital who was in the emergency room when the man walked in. "He looked like a man in every way and insisted that medical staff address him as a male." The man was reportedly sporting a goatee.

The pregnant man, who asked that his identity remain secret, has been taking hormones that have made his appearance manlier. Some three years ago, he underwent a breast-removal surgery in the United States. However, he chose to leave his productive organs intact, thereby paving the way for the current pregnancy.

The man's friends say that he often volunteers to help teenagers who are confused about their sexual orientation and identity.

Following a medical examination, the man was released from hospital Sunday. Doctors apparently ruled that the pregnancy is proceeding as planned.

According to estimates, in Israel only 1 of every 400,000 women seeks to become a man. The sex change operation usually includes the removal of the female sex organs and construction of a penis.

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