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Chief Palestinian Negotiator: Hamas is Not a Terrorist Organization


Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared that Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules Gaza, is not a terrorist organization. Speaking at a conference held at the Masarat think tank in Ramallah, an institution dedicated to Palestinian reconciliation, Erekat said, "Hamas is a Palestinian movement, is not and will never be a terrorist organization."

Erekat presented a paper calling for a Palestinian unity government including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Both Hamas and PIJ are designated terror organizations by the National Counterterrorism Center of the United States.

The Hamas charter is a genocidal document that declares the organization's "struggle against the Jews" and quotes from the Koran that "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)."

Spurred by this religious based hatred, and applying the tactics of its secular forerunner the PLO, Hamas has launched terror attacks killing hundreds of Israeli civilians, including a series of bus bombings in early 1996, the bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in 2001 and the bombing of the Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002.

In addition, with help from Iran, Hamas has built a formidable arsenal, launching over 12,000 rockets into Israel since 2001. The rockets have ranges up to 75 kilometers putting roughly 40% of Israel's population in range of their weaponry.

Erekat has a record of making controversial statements and expressing extreme positions, including accusing Israel of killing Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and rejecting the American backed demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.


Anti-Semitic Party Finishes 3rd in Hungary Elections

By Reuters

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has clashed repeatedly with the European Union and foreign investors over economic policy, said on Monday a weekend poll victory gave him a clear mandate to "continue what we have started."

A 20% vote for the far-right opposition Jobbik party, accused of anti-Semitism, raised concern among ethnic minorities. That outcome will be noted also in other European Union countries expecting a rise in right-wing and anti-immigration parties at May European Parliament elections.

Orban has raised concern among foreign investors and in the EU with policies including a windfall tax on the banking sector, and reductions in household energy prices. But many Hungarians see Orban, a 50-year-old former dissident under communism, as a champion of national interests.

After 99% of ballots were counted from Sunday's vote, an official projection gave Orban's Fidesz party 133 of 199 parliament seats, guaranteeing it will form the next government. That tally also gave Orban's party the two-thirds majority needed for it to change the constitution, but only by one seat. Final results could still push Fidesz back below the threshold. The same projection gave the Socialist-led leftist alliance 38 seats, while far-right Jobbik was on 23 seats.

Orban's Fidesz had revamped the election system in a way which its critics say favored the ruling party. "These (factors) included the manner in which a large number of changes to the legal framework were passed, restrictive campaign regulations, ... biased media coverage," the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said in a statement.

Speaking at a news conference, Orban rejected the criticism. "We got a clear and unquestionable authorization to continue what we have started." German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman told a news conference Orban had a special responsibility to use his majority "with a sense of proportion, restraint and sensitivity."

Jobbik's performance is being watched closely for clues about how other nationalist right-wing parties, such as France's Front National and the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, will perform in European Parliament elections next month. In terms of its share of the national vote on party lists, Jobbik won 20.54%, up from 15.86% of all votes four years ago.

Its showing was the strongest of any far-right party in the EU in the past few years, according to Cas Mudde, assistant professor at the School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia in the United States. He said the previous strongest result for a far-right group was the 20.5% won by Austria's Freedom Party last year. "There is no doubt that Jobbik will be among the strongest far-right parties in Europe, which is particularly striking because it is also one of the most extreme of Europe's far-right parties," Mudde told Reuters.

Congressman 'Shocked' by Anti-Jewish Measures on Temple Mount


An American Congressman has expressed his "shock" after witnessing anti-Jewish discrimination on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, during a recent fact-finding mission to Israel. US Rep. Bill Johnson, (R-OH) was joined by Congressman David McKinley (R-WV), on a tour of the State of Israel organized by the Israel Allies Foundation and Yes! Israel missions "to see the situation there for ourselves."

The trip took them to all corners of the holy land; from the southern towns of Sderot and Ashkelon, where they met with local residents and heard their accounts of life under rocket-fire from the Gaza Strip, to Judea and Samaria, central Israel and the Golan Heights.

The trip, Johnson said, left him with the indelible impression that "the people - especially the Jewish people - are very interested in peace." He noted, for example, how in the Golan Heights Israel is treating Syrians injured by the civil war there without discriminating between the sides. "Many of these are the very same people that on any other given day would want to kill the Israelis!" he remarked.

His visit to Judea and Samaria was extremely enlightening, he said. "When people talk about 'settlements' you think plywood and tents... but these people live just like us. There are schools, houses, shopping centers - these are real communities with real people."

Johnson said his experience on the Temple Mount stood in "stark contrast" to the rest of his time in Israel. In an exclusive interview, Johnson told Arutz Sheva that while he was inspired by his experience in Israel as a whole, he was "shocked and disturbed" by what he witnessed firsthand at Judaism's holiest site.

Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is very limited - including a blanket ban on Jewish worship there - in what activists have condemned as a capitulation to Muslim extremism. Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf trust which was left in charge of the compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship.

The two US legislators were part of a small group of six people, led by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, among hundreds of people queuing to visit the Mount, which is also the site of the Al Aqsa Islamic complex.

Rabbi Richman urged the legislators to pay attention to the difference between how their group - which included religious Jews - would be treated in comparison to other visitors to the Mount. "No one knew who we were... that we were members of the U.S. Congress or anything like that," Johnson said. And it was that anonymity which enabled them to experience a ritual that is all too familiar to the countless Jews who have visited the Temple Mount.

"We were first in line," he recalls, but after handing their IDs to police as requested they were forced to wait until everyone else behind them ("and it was a long line!") filed through, before they were finally allowed to ascend. "When we were finally allowed to go through we were followed very closely by a member of the Waqf," he recounted.

"It struck me how intimidating this gentleman was trying to be. He looked like someone out of a Hollywood movie - with his hair slicked back and his shades hiding his eyes so you couldn't see what he was looking at... he stayed pretty close to us, and followed us around wherever we went.

"The rabbi pointed out that if he were to take out his Torah or give any indication that he was exercising his freedom of worship on the Temple Mount by praying - or if any of us were to take out our Bibles and try to pray or express our religion on the Temple Mount... we could have been arrested and removed and incarcerated. "This thug followed us everywhere we went and if we stopped and took too long in one place he would look at the Israeli police, who would say 'you need to keep your group moving.'"

Despite a police escort, the group was subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse by a group of female Muslim worshipers who, he noted with some irony, were engaged in "their own prayer services, their rituals" on the Mount, "something Jews are not allowed to do."

The experience left him "shocked and disturbed", and he said he found it hard to reconcile such a jarring experience with the rest of his trip, which was overwhelmingly positive. But Johnson was philosophical about the episode, saying it taught him something far deeper about the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole.

"It showed me the extent that the Israeli people and Israeli authorities are going to in order to try to create an atmosphere of peace. They are going to the extremes to try and create an atmosphere where there's no violence and no one feels intimidated." The issue, he said, is that "the Israeli police have been instructed to prevent anything occurring on the Temple Mount which could incite violence - but it's the Waqf which gets to decide what constitutes incitement!

The result is a situation where Muslim authorities have monopolized control over the Temple Mount, to the extent that Jews "are not allowed to go up and express their freedom of religion in their holiest place!" He said the message he has taken from the experience has been that further pressure on Israel to make more concessions is not the answer.

"The Jewish people have conceded enough. They have given up land for peace over generations, they have been squeezed into such a confined space that now even today they do not have full autonomy, authority and sovereignty over the very holy places that define their existence in the first place.

"The rest of the world seems to be blind to the fact that one side truly desires to live in peace and harmony - and that's the Jewish people. The other side, the Palestinian Authority, don't desire peace at all - I think they just desire the Jewish people to go away."

Israeli Breakthrough Recharges Cell Phones In 30 Seconds


An Israeli startup said on Tuesday that it was working to develop a bio-organic system that can recharge a smartphone battery in just 30 seconds.

Tel Aviv-based StoreDot's prototype battery and charger is currently being tested with Samsung's Galaxy phones, but the startup's founder and CEO Doron Myersdorf told AFP that a product compatible with all makes of smartphone should be on the market by 2016.

He said that at the core of the new technology was the use of peptides, compounds containing amino acids. "We are modifying the surface of the electrodes with bio-organic compounds, peptides, to increase the chemical reaction to produce extra energy," he said.

Myersdorf added the breakthrough "allows us to avoid the most annoying aspect of our smartphones, of which we are demanding more and more, and to ensure that we have a charged telephone all day."

StoreDot has not received capital from global smartphone market leaders Apple or Samsung but is getting backing from a Chinese manufacturer, Myersdorf said, without naming the investor.

Ex-PMO Employee: Netanyahus Forced Me to Bid Them Goodnight


Guy Eliyahu (27), a former Prime Minister's Office maintenance worker, is suing the Prime Minister's Office and the contractor who hired him for NIS 500,000, accusing them of violating his rights as worker and humiliating him. Eliyahu told Channel 2 of the treatment he suffered as part of the prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu's "tempter tantrums".

Eliyahu, who worked at the official residence between 2011-2012, claims that the prime minister's wife "hassled" him, and claimed that she required him to do redundant tasks, and tended to lash out at him: "For example, when he would serve Mrs. Netanyahu food that she requested and she changed her mind, she would accuse the plaintiff of making her fat," the lawsuit read.

The suit further stated that "the prosecutor had been forced, after long and exhausting days of work, to wait aimlessly at the prime minister's residence until the couple would go up to bed, in order to give the two a good night blessing. More than once, the prosecutor received calls home after midnight, and was ordered back to the Prime Minister's residence to tell them good night, or to heat a bowl of soup." It was further claimed that the Netanyahus were not concerned by the fact that their employee was forced to occasionally work 19 hours a day.

"Beyond the unreasonable work hours, the work environment at the Prime minister's residence created abusive employment conditions that are unthinkable," the suit claimed and detailed "clean-up drills accompanied by shouts." According to the suit, "words of abuse and insults were routine at the prime minister's residence, and inspired fear among the workers."

The lawsuit further claimed that "frequently, minor incidents evolved into severe outbursts of rage that could even end harshly, as did an incident in which dishes that were not put in their proper place were thrown onto the floor, in front of the workers' disbelieving eyes."

The suit argues that "although as a maintenance worker Eliyahu was not required to do such things, he was given flack due to the fact that his skills as a waiter were not to Mrs. Netanyahu's liking. The prime minister's wife said that Mr. Eliyahu was not 'elegant' enough, and he was later informed that she used to mimic him (in an insulting manner) in front of other employees."

Affiliates of the Netanyahu family slammed the report, saying it was part of a long and systematic campaign against the couple, in a bid to cause political damage to the prime minister.

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