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Abbas to Press for UN Action on Independent Palestine

By VOA News

Arab League foreign ministers have met in extraordinary session to hear Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas discuss developments in the Palestinian territories and Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. Saturday's meeting followed weeks of unrest in the holy city, which has spread across the West Bank and Arab communities in Israel. He briefed Arab foreign ministers in Cairo about the impasse in peace negotiations with Israel and to urge U.N. Security Council approval of an Arab plan for creation of a Palestinian state.

Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby reminded the foreign ministers that the Arab League presented a similar proposal two years ago. The Arab states agreed in November 2012 to use international bodies such as the U.N. to create a Palestinian state, he said, and all parties agreed to a timetable for ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

Abbas blasted Israel for a number of unilateral measures it has taken, and he warned that Palestinians will not negotiate with Israel if it continues establishing new Jewish settlements on Arab land in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Abbas has asked Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on numerous occasions to stop building settlements and to respect the internationally recognized 1967 border separating Israeli and Arab territories.

Multiple obstacles prevent the Palestinians from entering into negotiations with Israel, Abbas said, especially unilateral actions such as the Israeli Cabinet's action this month to officially define Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people and affirm the country's essential Jewish character. Abbas said the Palestinians recognized Israel as a sovereign nation more than two decades ago, in the landmark 1993 Oslo Accords, but have never and will never recognize it as a Jewish state.

Officially declaring Israel is a Jewish state, along with other measures the Netanyahu government is considering, amounts to "apartheid," Abbas said. He cited restrictions that bar Palestinians from using certain roads in the West Bank, a move that implies Palestinians are second-class citizens. He also condemned a requirement that anyone elected to the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, must swear loyalty to the Israeli state.

Abbas said U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state will enable his government to appear before the International Criminal Court and other recognized bodies. He said he is planning to demand U.N. protection for the Palestinian people following this year's war between Israel and forms of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Arab League discussions centered on timing of the move for Palestinian statehood, and for a hypothetical Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupies. The Palestinian president admitted he has agreed in the past to requests from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to postpone any unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But now, he said, his patience has run out.

"We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel," Abbas declared.

Israel's Foreign Minister: Pay Israeli Arabs to Move to Palestinian State

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed on Friday that Arab citizens of Israel be offered financial incentives to leave the country and relocate to a future Palestinian state. Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beytenu party is a core part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition, has previously spoken about redrawing borders but not about using sweeteners to encourage Arabs to uproot to a Palestinian state.

His proposals were made in the form of a manifesto, presented with expectations rising that Israel may have to hold early elections in the coming months as Netanyahu's coalition frays. Elections are not formally due until 2017.

Lieberman, one of the most strident voices in favor of the separation of Jews and Arabs, said Palestinians living in the mixed coastal cities of Jaffa and Acre should be encouraged to move if they want. "Those [Israeli Arabs] who decide that their identity is Palestinian will be able to forfeit their Israeli citizenship and move and become citizens of the future Palestinian state," he wrote in the manifesto, entitled Swimming Against the Stream, published on his Facebook page and his party's website. "Israel should even encourage them to do so with a system of economic incentives," he said.

Lieberman has in the past called on Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20% of Israel's population of about eight million, to take a loyalty oath if they want to remain in Israel, a measure that Netanyahu denounced at the time. A poll carried out in 2010, after Lieberman addressed the United Nations and set out plans for the borders of a future Palestinian state to be redrawn to include Arab towns in Israel, showed that 58% of Israeli Arabs opposed the idea.

PA Jihadi Imam to Speak at Ben Gurion University


Mahmoud Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, has been invited to speak at Ben Gurion University on "Religious Aspects of the Israeli – Palestine Conflict and the need for religious tolerance," reported Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

For years, Al-Habbash has been promoting conflict and war with Israel in the name of Islam. Al-Habbash recently taught that Islam prohibits accepting Israel's existence because the "entire land of Palestine" is Islamic waqf – an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law. As such, he forbids making peace with Israel because he believes Islamic law prohibits "facilitat[ing] the occupation of even a millimeter of it", i.e., "the entire land of Palestine":

Al-Habbash has recently said that the Western Wall is also Islamic waqf and that "it is ours and will remain ours. The occupation [Israel] is the one that will leave". PMW added that Al-Habbash also expressed emphatic support for those involved in the recent murderous terror attacks in Jerusalem.

He said on November 5:"We are behind them. The leadership is with them. A few days ago, President [Mahmoud Abbas] greeted them, reinforced them and requested more Ribat from them... We are with them in every movement, in every action and every deed, and we welcome what they are doing at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Al-Habbash expressed his support for "every action and every deed" after two Israelis had already been murdered in Jerusalem. Al-Habbash has actively fueled religious hatred more than once by voicing the libel that Israel is planning to build the "alleged Third Temple" in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Finally, last year, Al-Habbash said that the entire peace process with Israel is a deceptive process modeled after Muhammad's Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. Although the Muslim Prophet signed a 10-year peace treaty with the tribes of Mecca, "in less than two years, the Prophet returned and, based on this treaty, he conquered Mecca. This is the example, this is the model," explained Al-Habbash in a sermon. [Official PA TV, July 19, 2013].

Pollard's Handler: I Ordered to Turn Him to Away from the Embassy


Former senior Mossad man and government minister Rafi Eitan, who was Jonathan Pollard's handler, is admitting for the first time that he ordered to turn away Jonathan and his then wife Anne from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, when they came to seek refuge on the morning of Nov. 21, 1985.

The Pollards were turned away from the Embassy by the security guards and were arrested by FBI agents who swarmed the compound. Anne was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of classified information and Pollard himself was convicted of spying and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Eitan's admission comes in an interview to the "Uvda" program, hosted by journalist Ilana Dayan, which will air Monday on Channel 2. The following are excerpts from the interview released on Sunday: You received a phone call in real time that Pollard and his wife are here at the gate, what to do? Rafi Eitan: Yes. I got the news that he was standing at the embassy.

What do you say to yourself? I immediately say, 'Throw him out'. I have no regrets. When I'm in a battle, and it's life or death, I have to decide yes or no. I decide according to what is required at that moment. I make a decision based on the interests of the State of Israel, you cannot let any other thought interfere with the decision the moment you make it, had I not done it the situation would have been much worse.

In the interview, Eitan says that he knew about Pollard's impending arrest three days before the arrest. That very night he goes, according to his testimony, to Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and tells them that the arrest is about to happen. He says the prime minister and defense minister were aware even before this incident that Israel operates agents in the United States military.

You know that part of their action plan would be to also sacrifice you? I suggest ahead of time that they sacrifice me, I say at the outset, I take all the responsibility, I gave the order, only I gave the order, no one authorized me to do so. Just me. No one gave me an order, I initiated it all alone. I am responsible, I tell them in advance.

But there was an incident here, it still exists, is affects the relations between Israel and the United States. True, but nobody asked who is responsible. Everyone knew who was in charge, who initiated, who did what - only I am responsible.

Now you can tell us, Rabin is no longer with us, Shimon Peres, he has already finished his last public position, do the prime minister and defense minister know that Israel has American agents inside the U.S. Army?

I do not want to answer that, because as soon as I answer this, there will be headlines in the newspapers. From your answer I can understand. You can understand.

They knew? Obviously...I never lied to my government.

Turkish Minister: Muslims Discovered the Earth is Round

By Reuters

The Turkish Science Minister has become the latest public figure to make outrageous claims over Islam's hand in science and technology, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday - this time, claiming that Muslims discovered that the world is round.

"Some 700-800 years before Galileo, 71 Muslim scientists led by al-Khwarizmi convened by the order of the Caliph Al-Ma'mun and revealed that the Earth is a sphere," Minister Fikri Isik stated on Thursday. Isik further claimed that a copy of the original document proving Islam's role in astronomy is currently in the Museum of Islamic Science and Technology in Istanbul.

The Earth was widely regarded as flat until the 3rd century BCE, when the Hellenists proposed that the Earth was a sphere based on astronomical calculations. Plato was among the early supporters of the concept of a spherical Earth, writing in Phaedo that "my conviction is that the earth is a round body in the centre of the heavens, and therefore has no need of air or of any similar force to be a support."

Isik's statement does have a kernel of merit to it: indeed, around 830 AD, Caliph Al-Ma'mun did commission a group of Muslim scientists to calculate the Earth's circumference, using measurements of the distance from Tadmur (Palmyra) to Raqqah, the current capital of ISIS in Syria. The commission did, in fact, reach measurements close to modern values.

Isik's fundamental error, however, is in who Galileo Galilei was; instead of pioneering Western acceptance of the Earth as a sphere, he supported heliocentrism, the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He was subsequently persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century for holding these views.

Moreover, the Caliph's commission was not the first group of astronomers to produce measurements for the Earth's circumference close to modern values. The classical Indian astronomer Aryabhatta (476-550 CE) stated that the circumference of the Earth is 39,968 km (24,835 mi) - close to the current equatorial value of 40,075 km (24,901 mi) - in his magnum opus, the Arabhatiya. Mere decades later, early Christian authorities, including Bishop Isidore of Seville (560–636), and later, the monk Bede (c. 672–735) would write that the Earth was spherical.

This is not the first time a Turkish official has made wild claims about Muslims. Earlier this month, Turkish Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Muslims discovered America.

Becoming an IDF Combat Soldier in 90 Seconds


A soldier from the Home Front Command's Combat Search and Rescue Brigade documented his intense eight months of training on the way to receiving his orange beret and becoming an IDF combat soldier. The result is the following 90-second video feature released by the IDF:

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