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IDF Developing Cannon with 25-Mile Range


The IDF's Artillery Corps is considering a new cannon system with the ability to shoot six shells a minute with a range of 25 miles. The IDF is studying two possible weapons – one manufactured in Israel by Elbit and the other by a German company that manufactures the cannon in the United States.

The new cannon system that will be chosen will replace the Doher 155mm cannon system which has served the Artillery Corps for years but which officials say needs to be updated. Artillery shells have been a mainstay of the IDF in fighting terror in Gaza and along the Lebanese border.

Obama: 'No Shortcut' to Israel-Palestinian Peace

By VOA News

President Barack Obama addressed the 66th United Nations General Assembly about what he calls a time of transformation, especially in the Middle East and Africa.

In his roughly 35-minute address, the president went down a list of events in which he said nations "stepped forward" to maintain international peace and security, and "more individuals claimed their universal right to live in freedom and dignity."

PA President Mahmoud Abbas backed out of U.S.-led peace talks last year in protest against Israel's decision to end a freeze in settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state. Palestinians say because the peace process has failed, they will unilaterally seek to establish a state. Abbas said the Palestinians are the only people in the world who remain under occupation.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians' plan to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations is "futile," and that only direct negotiations can lead to a peace agreement. Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of "consistently evading" negotiations. He called on the Palestinian Authority "to abandon unilateral steps" and said it would then "find Israel to be a genuine partner" for peace.

Israel leaders said that by bypassing talks and going to the U.N., the Palestinians are violating previous agreements, and that could result in Israeli sanctions.

The Obama administration opposes the Palestinian move and says it will not help to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. Obama has called the proposal a "distraction" to attaining Mideast peace that he says can only be addressed through negotiations.

Obama renewed his call for Palestinians to return to direct negotiations with Israel, rather than pursue a statehood bid at the United Nations, either in the Security Council or General Assembly. Acknowledging his personal frustration after a year of extensive diplomatic efforts, he said there is no shortcut to peace.

In UN, PA Maps Erase All of Israel


Palestinian Authority representatives in the United Nations are handing out maps of "Palestine" that show it in place of all of Israel, including Tel Aviv, reports David Bedein of the Israel Resource Review.

Bedein, who is currently in the United States, told INN: "They do not want a Palestinian state, but all of Palestine. The maps they hand out in their offices include all of 'Palestine.' They erase Israel completely in their maps."

Mahmoud Abbas is being disingenuous about his future plans, opined Bedein. "He wants the Palestinians to supplant Israel. He disseminates lies, as if he just wants Judea and Samaria. But this is really not the position of the PLO. Unfortunately, even the Yesha Council [an umbrella group for Jewish local leadership in Judea and Samaria – Ed.] does not stress the fact that he wants all of 'Palestine.'"

Bedein expressed his sorrow over the fact that Israel supports continued US and European assistance to the PA educational system even though it continues to call for Israel's destruction. "The state of Israel continues to side with a continuation of US funding for the UNRWA education system without attaching any conditions, that it cease calling for the destruction of Israel in its schoolbooks."

PA U.N. Statehood Bid: Broadway Theater

By John R. Bolton (Analysis)

The Palestinian Authority is proceeding full steam ahead to create "facts on the ground" in the Middle East by working the Manhattan corridors of the United Nations. This is neither the first time, nor undoubtedly the last, that Palestinian leaders have succumbed to the delusion that Middle Eastern reality can be changed by irrelevant U.N. activity.

The tactical ploys and counter-ploys are now flying around the U.N. compound. In the midst of all of the conflicting news reports we will see and hear, keep in mind one thing: this is more Broadway theater than a serious effort to achieve Middle East peace.

The odds of "Palestine" becoming a U.N. member are essentially zero. Although President Obama may once have toyed with not vetoing a PA move for membership (thus, ironically, encouraging the chaos now unfolding at Turtle Bay), he has rejected this counterproductive idea. Washington will veto, period.

Possibly, the PA bid may not even obtain the majority of nine (out of 15) Security Council votes it needs under the U.N. Charter, thus meaning that, technically, Washington's "no" vote would not actually be a "veto." It could declare Disneyland an observer state, and treat it accordingly, but no one else need do so.

Accordingly, I think it unlikely that the PA will go to the Council. Although in the U.N. Twilight Zone, defeat is often spun as a moral victory, any more such "victories" for the PA could mean its complete collapse.

Most likely, therefore, the PA will seek a U.N. General Assembly vote, perhaps recognizing the PA's "statehood," or perhaps changing its U.N. status from "observer organization" to "observer state." Given the General Assembly's political layout, any such resolution, no matter how worded, will pass overwhelmingly.

But what exactly will that mean? Many in Israel and America are panicked at the prospect of "Palestine" being declared a "state," even if merely an "observer." Israel officials will be hauled before the International Criminal Court ("ICC") for prosecution, they say, "Palestine" will suddenly assume control over its air space and waters adjacent to Gaza, they say, impairing Israel's self-defense. And on and on and on, they say.

This is all nonsense. The only practical result of the General Assemble declaring "Palestine" a state will be to move its chair on the side of the Assembly hall a few feet from its present location to be next to the Vatican, the only other "observer state." This is nothing to get excited about.

But what of the hysterical concerns so many express, typically to insist that Israel should offer concessions to the PA to forestall any U.N. vote? In fact, General Assembly resolutions are not binding on anyone other than itself. It could declare Disneyland an observer state, and treat it accordingly, but no one else need do so.

If the ICC were to interpret a General Assembly resolution as permitting "Palestine" to become a party to the ICC's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, it would be making a political decision not a legal decision, and one clearly beyond its authority.

Such an irresponsible ICC action would transform the currently dim chances of America ever joining into an absolute certainty. U.S. opposition to the ICC is already strong, and targeting Israel would lock in our opposition as far into the future as predictive powers allow. Any other U.N. agency making the same decision would risk grave damage, including possibly losing U.S. funding. Bring it on.

The PA's ill-advised U.N. stratagem will not improve the chances for Middle East peace, it will not truly enhance the PA's status, and it will not improve living conditions for average Palestinians. This entire episode is fantasy, and should be so regarded, whatever happens on First Avenue.

Ahmadinejad: PA Was a Country Before UN Was Formed


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told ABC News that the Palestinian Authority was a country before the United Nations existed. He also rejected the PA's recognizing the "Zionist regime."

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Ahmadinejad declared, "Palestine was a country; that is nothing new. Prior to the United Nations even being formed, Palestine was a country. We have always been on the side of the Palestinian nation. We have had relations with the Palestinian government. They have an embassy in Iran."

Stephanopoulos did not question Ahmadinejad's statements but challenged him to agree with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' position that recognizing the PA as a country involves recognizing Israel.

The idea clearly upset Ahmadinejad. "Why? Why does it have to be like that? We do recognize Palestine – but we will not recognize the Zionist regime. Why do they set conditions when some nation wants to be independent in its own homeland – it has to recognize an occupying and illegal government? Is that fair? It's the right of Palestine to recognize another nation or not. Not a condition of the independence of the Palestinian nation. That's unfair. That's being imposed.

"I don't know if there is such a law that says if a nation wants to form a government it has to recognize another group. Is there such a law? Or is it a demand? If it's a demand by the US government, it has to allow the Palestinian government once it's formed to choose freely."

Judaism to be Official Religion in Montenegro?


Montenegro will recognize Judaism as an official state religion, Prime Minister Igor Lukšic told a visiting delegation from the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), including Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, during a meeting in Podgorica.

"I will do everything I can to encourage this issue, whether through legislation or amending existing regulations," Lukšic said during the meeting to Rabbi Metzger, who was accompanied by representatives of the local Jewish community.

Lukšic's declarations were shared by Montenegro's President Filip Vujanovic and Speaker of the Montenegro Parliament Ranko Krivokapic, who also met with the delegation. All the officials expressed hope that the upgrade in the status of Judaism would encourage interest and investment from Jews around the world in Montenegro.

Yasha Alfandri, president of the Jewish community, welcomed the declarations by the Montenegro officials. "This is truly an important and exciting step taken by the leaders of Montenegro and will certainly provide a boost for the development of our community and raises Jewish pride in our wonderful country," Alfandri said.

Apple Cuts 'Jew or Not?' App in France


The Apple corporation has removed a mobile application called "Jew or Not?" from its online App Store in France. The iPhone application is intended to allow the user to consult a database of public personalities and celebrities to determine whether or not they are Jewish.

SOS Racisme, a French non-governmental organization (NGO), filed a formal complaint with the company, according to the Associated Press, and threatened to sue the firm if it was not removed. The app violated French laws protecting citizens' rights to privacy and banning compilation of their personal information, including religion, without consent, the complaint stated.

Other groups involved in pressuring the iPhone maker to remove the app included a council representing French Jewish institutions known as Crif and the French Jewish students' union.

"This app violates local law and is no longer available on the app store in France," said Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr in response to inquiries. It is, however, still available in app stores outside of France, including the United States, despite American laws that regulate hate speech.

The creator of the software, engineer Johann Levy, says that he himself is Jewish and wanted to provide a "recreational" tool for people who were curious about the religious backgrounds of those who are famous. He compiled information that he found mainly on the Internet in formulating the app.

The developer was clearly disappointed by the reaction to his app and added that he was unaware that he was doing anything illegal. He told the Wall Street Journal that he had no racist or anti-Semitic intentions.

Earlier this year, Apple, which also makes the iPad, was forced to remove an anti-Israel app that called for an Arab uprising against the State of Israel. The app was called 'The 3rd Intifada,' and echoed sentiments that reverberated on social networking sites all over the Internet, including numerous pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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