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Tunisia Issues Arrest Warrant for Arafat's Widow


Suha Arafat is wanted in Tunis in connection for her ties with the family of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, according to the AFP news agency, which quoted Tunisian media. She has denied the charges. The widow of the late terrorist chief, who died in 2004, became a Tunisian citizen after her husband's death. But her citizenship was revoked and she was declared persona non grata and forced out of the country in 2007.

U.S. Cuts Funds to UNESCO after Palestinian Vote

By VOA News

The United States on Monday cut off funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, after the body voted to accept a bid for full membership by the Palestinians.

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the vote "regrettable" and "premature," saying it undermines the "shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

Nuland told reporters that although the United States remains committed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and to multilateral engagement across the U.N. system, the vote would have immediate consequences.

"Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers long-standing legislative restrictions, which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO," said Nuland.

Nuland said the United States will not make a $60 million payment to UNESCO in November as planned. Still, she said, the United States would maintain its membership in the organization.

U.S. lawmakers have placed restrictions on financial support for any U.N.-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian membership before an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord is reached. The United States promotes the goal of a two-state solution reached through direct negotiations.

One-hundred-seven UNESCO delegates voted in favor of the Palestinian bid. The State Department's Victoria Nuland said the United States has made its disapproval clear to those countries, adding that U.S. officials are trying to prevent this from happening again.

"We're certainly making the point directly to the Palestinians and to the voting members of other organizations that we don't see any benefit and we see considerable potential damage if this move is replicated in other U.N. organizations," she said.

Nuland said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken to U.S. lawmakers and has organized a team to speak to Congress about the restrictions and options to protect U.S. interests.

According to UNESCO's constitution, if a country is in arrears in its payments to UNESCO for more than two years, it could lose its voting rights in the body. The funding cuts could also have implications for the U.N. body because the United States provides 22% of UNESCO's budget.

The Israeli government said Monday's vote would harm efforts to revive Arab-Israeli peace talks. A foreign ministry statement called UNESCO's action in Paris a "unilateral Palestinian maneuver" that further removed the possibility for a peace agreement.

Palestinian leaders welcomed the vote, calling it a historic moment that returns to Palestinians some of their rights. "This is very good news for history, for culture, for heritage, for identity, for self-dignity," said Mahdi Abdul Hadi, head of Jerusalem's Palestinian Academic Society. "This is very good news for those who believe in the Palestinian cause, that it is time, overdue, to recognize the Palestinian rights."

Rockets Land in Be'er Sheva, Ashkelon, W. Negev


At least two Grad Katyusha missiles exploded Monday evening in the area around the southern city of Be'er Sheva as Palestinian Authority terrorists resumed their rocket fire on Israeli men, women and children.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepted both of the missiles as short-range Kassam rockets also landed in the Sdot Negev region, a few kilometers to the south, and near the town of Sderot, less than a mile from Gaza.

Mortar shells exploded in the Sha'ar HaNegev region, and a short-range Kassam rocket exploded in an open field in the same area. No physical injuries were reported and there was no damage in any of the attacks.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Likud Knesset faction Monday afternoon, "There is no ceasefire, there are no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations. Anytime someone disrupts the peace in the south," he said, "our response will be severe." He continued that theme at the opening meeting of the Knesset's winter session, warning, "Our security strategy cannot only rely on defense, but must have an offensive element that maintains Israel's deterrence."

Earlier in the day, a Grad Katyusha missile was fired at the coastal city of Ashkelon. The rocket exploded in an area south of the city. No one was physically injured, and no damage was reported.

Over the weekend, 39 rockets and mortars were fired at southern Israeli cities by Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza. Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva, Gan Yavne and numerous other communities all came under attack repeatedly.

A 56-year-old Ashkelon man was killed by flying shrapnel on Saturday when a Grad Katyusha missile struck his car. Sixteen people were wounded in other attacks, including a baby and a young girl, and 14 people were sent to the hospital suffering from trauma and severe anxiety.

Report: Israel Seeking to Upgrade its Nuclear Weapons Capabilities

By Ha'aretz

Israel is working on improving its nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a report by the independent Trident commission in the United Kingdom that was published in the Guardian newspaper on Monday.

According to the report in the Guardian, Israel is extending the range of its Jericho 3 land-to-land missiles so they will have the capabilities of transcontinental missiles. Transcontinental missiles are generally thought of as missiles with ranges of about 5,000 miles.

The Guardian also reported that Israel is also striving to improve and expand the capabilities of its cruise missiles, designed to be launched from submarines. Israel currently has three submarines and two more are under construction in Germany. Israel and Germany are holding talks about the construction of a sixth submarine.

According to foreign media reports, Israel's submarines are meant to give Israel a "second strike" nuclear option, meaning that Israel can strike back with nuclear weapons from submarines at hidden locations at sea even if its nuclear weapons stored on land are harmed in an enemy nuclear strike.

According to the report in the Guardian, the world's nuclear states are planning to spend more than $800 billion in the coming years to modernize and upgrade their nuclear arsenals. The United States itself will spend $700 billion dollars on such projects. Other countries that will reportedly invest in upgrading their nuclear arsenals are Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Israel, France and Britain.

Complaint Says Crosses at Catholic School Offensive, Prevent Muslim Prayers From any Act for America email

Crosses in every room at Washington D.C.'s Catholic University of America are a human rights violation that prevents Muslim students from praying. That's the complaint to the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights filed by a professor from rival George Washington University across town.

GWU Law School Prof. John Banzhaf takes the Catholic institution to task for acting "probably with malice" against Muslim students in a 60-page complaint that cites "offensive" Catholic imagery all over the Catholic school, which he says hinder Muslims from praying.

Baffled Catholic University officials say they have never received a complaint from any of the schools Muslim students.

Banzhaf alleges that the university, "does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion," according to the Tower, Catholic University's student newspaper.

The complaint further objects that Muslims must pray at the school's chapels "and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception."

A spokesperson for the human rights office said they are investigating Banzhaf's complaint — and the inquiry could take as long as six months. "This attorney is really turning civil rights on its head," observed Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society. "He's using the law for his own discrimination against the Catholic institution and essentially saying Catholic University cannot operate according to Catholic principles."

Glenn Beck: God Plans a `Surprise Party' for Satan


A wildly cheering Texas church crowd heard Glenn Beck Sunday at "A Night to Honor Israel" say, "God is preparing a surprise party for Satan." More than 7,000 people attended the Cornerstone Church rally, according to the San Antonio Express News.

Beck, who staged a "Resorting Courage" rally in Israel in August, told supporters waving American and Israeli flags, "What's happened throughout history is that evil thinks it can win, and essentially it can win by making God break his promise."

"And how can it do that? By killing all the Jews! Then there'll be nobody left for him to keep His promise! That's happened over and over and over again! But not on my watch! And not on your watch!"

Pastor John Hagee initiated the event 30 years ago to show a unity of support for Israel by Christians as well as Jews.

Beck is both praised and suspected by ardent Zionists, some of whom fear he has missionary aims. He said Sunday night that the time for a "Third Great Awakening" had arrived and that God is preparing a "surprise party for Satan."

"All we have to do is the next right thing, and the right thing is to stand with the good people of Israel, our good Jewish friends who are just like us — we're all brothers and sisters under God," Beck intoned.

He accused Occupy Wall Street protesters of anti-Semitism and also threw in a few choice words against Islam. "The truth is communists and socialists and revolutionaries and Islamists all over the world are working together to collapse Israel, to collapse the United States, to collapse the Western way of life," Beck told his captive audience.

Hagee preceded Beck and asserted that the meaning of Hitler's "Mein Kampf – my struggle" — has "the same literal meaning of "jihad." He warned Christians that "radical Islam" is a danger to them, pointing out that Christians "are being killed in Egypt right now. The Arab Spring could end up being a Christian nightmare."

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