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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Iran's weapons ferrying service about to expand big time

For at least five years, Iran has been using commercial airliners from Mahan Air (an IranAir subsidiary from what I can gather) to ferry terrorists and weapons from Tehran to Damascus. Now, thanks to the Obama-Kerry sellout and the lifting of sanctions Iran (having been blocked by Congress from purchasing from Boeing) is about to buy 500 new jets from Airbus, the European consortium. Iran currently has 50(!) commercial jets. Imagine how much more trouble they can make with 500.
A report published by Forbes said Iranian commercial aircraft routinely violate international aviation rules by transporting arms and military personnel to Syria, and therefore, “selling aircraft to Iran will expose manufacturers to the risk of becoming complicit in such activities.”
Forbes said Iran was trying to ink a deal to buy up to 500 aircraft over the next decade.
The magazine said: “Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world and is still number one on the recently-released Basel Anti-Money Laundering Index Report of 2016, which assesses the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in 149 countries.”
The report coincides with the comments of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who expressed his country’s worries regarding Iran’s transfer of weapons to Yemen.
Also, the international community is worried from an Iranian activity towards refueling conflicts in Arab countries, which Tehran says was protecting its security and national interests.
Last Thursday, Iran announced that a deal with Airbus was in its last phases,” according to Fars news agency, quoting Iranian Minister of Transportation Minister Abbas Akhoundi.
Forbes warned the Airbus Company to think twice before inking such a deal.
The report said: “The problem with the Islamic Republic’s aircraft shopping spree is that Iran’s state-owned airline, Iran Air, will be the sole company purchasing these aircraft.”
It said Iran’s current fleet stands at 36 aircraft while its subsidiary, Iran Air Tours, has 14.
Mahan Air is considered the first Iranian company, which conducted flights to Syria for transferring weapons in 2011.
 Yet another frightening installment in the Obama legacy. What could go wrong?

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Brussels Air abandons BDS

Almost as quickly as it started, Brussels Air's cooperation with the BDS campaign has stopped. The airline has gone back to serving Achva halva bars (the fancy flavor pictured is not one I have found on most airlines) to its passengers. Achva is manufactured in the Barkan Industrial Zone in Ariel, Samaria. And just to make the sacrilege complete, the picture above came from the website alibaba.com.
While Brussels Airlines said last week it did not order the halva and the snack was served on its flight by mistake, the airline now called the food manufacturer Achva “one of our trustful suppliers” in a statement to the Israeli Foreign Ministry quoted by The Times of Israel.
“It is clear that Achva remains one of our trustful suppliers and without any distinction related to the origin of the product, and therefore we will continue to accept Achva’s products on board our flights, especially given its positive role in the community,” the Brussels Airlines statement read.
The change came about through “the quick work of the Foreign Ministry, at the direction of Dore Gold, the deputy head of public advocacy and the advocacy unit, and our embassies in Brussels and Berlin,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement.
Last week, Brussels Airlines stopped serving its passengers the halva snack following complaints by the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a proponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. A passenger had alerted the group about the snack.
“We’re an airline catering to a large international audience, it’s our responsibility to offer products that please all,” the airline said in its earlier statement on pulling the halva.
“Therefore, we decided to take the halva bars off the menu and replace it with another product.”
 Another #BDS_Fail....

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

United Nations has awarded tens of millions in 'aid' contracts to Assad cronies

The United Nations has awarded tens of millions of dollars in aid contracts to people associated with the Assad regime, including the dictator's wife Asma, and close Assad associate Rami Makhlouf. According to Britain's Guardian, many of the persons who received the contracts are subject to United States and European Union sanctions.
The UN says it can only work with a small number of partners approved by President Assad and that it does all it can to ensure the money is spent properly.

“Of paramount importance is reaching as many vulnerable civilians as possible,” a spokesman said. “Our choices in Syria are limited by a highly insecure context where finding companies and partners who operate in besieged and hard to reach areas is extremely challenging.”
However, critics believe the UN mission is in danger of being compromised.

They believe aid is being prioritised in government-held areas and argue UN money is effectively helping to prop up a regime responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens.

UN insiders admit the relief mission in Syria is the most expensive, challenging and complex it has ever undertaken.

But the contentious decisions it has had to make are now exposed for the first time by a Guardian analysis of hundreds of contracts it has awarded since the operation began in 2011.

This shows that:
  • The UN has paid more than $13m to the Syrian government to boost farming and agriculture, yet the EU has banned trade with the departments in question for fear of how the money will be used.
  • The UN has paid at least $4m to the state-owned fuel supplier, which is also on the EU sanctions list.
  • The World Health Organisation has spent more than $5m to support Syria’s national blood bank – but this is being controlled by Assad’s defence department. Documents seen by the Guardian show funds spent on blood supplies came directly from donors who have economic sanctions against the Syrian government, including the UK. They also show the WHO had “concrete concerns” about whether blood supplies would reach those in need, or be directed to the military first.
  • Two UN agencies have partnered with the Syria Trust charity, an organisation started and chaired by President Assad’s wife, Asma, spending a total of $8.5m. The first lady is under both US and EU sanctions.
  • Unicef has paid $267,933 to the Al-Bustan Association, owned and run by Rami Makhlouf, Syria’s wealthiest man. He is a friend and cousin of Assad, and his charity has been linked to several pro-regime militia groups.
  • Makhlouf runs the mobile phone network Syriatel, which the UN has also paid at least $700,000 in recent years. Makhlouf is on the EU sanctions list and was described in US diplomatic cables as the country’s “poster boy for corruption”.
  • Contracts have been awarded across UN departments with companies run by or linked to individuals under sanctions.
These contracts show how the United Nations operation has quietly secured deals with individuals and companies that have been designated off-limits by Europe and the US.

On top of this, analysis of the United Nations own procurement documents show its agencies have done business with at least another 258 Syrian companies, paying sums as high as $54m and £36m, down to $30,000. Many are likely to have links to Assad, or those close to him.
There's more too - read the whole thing.

If the Obama administration and the Europeans had expended even half the effort on Syria that they have expended on the 'poor' 'oppressed' 'Palestinians' over the past five years, it is hard to believe that the situation would be this bad. But they don't. Unfortunately for Syrians, "No Jews = No News" and the news that Jews have actually been saving Syrians almost isn't being reported anywhere outside of Israel.

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In Israel, which is an OECD country, my two youngest children studied in a school that doesn't have a building last year (one of them will still be there when school starts on Sunday). They study in corrugated tin boxes that are boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter.

Funny, I don't see the 'international community' lining up to give my kids a fancy school building like the one in the picture above.

(Forget the funny number in the tweet - it's almost irrelevant).

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Monday, August 29, 2016

More funny 'Palestinian' population statistics

Yesterday, we were told that there are 263,200 students in Gaza.

Today, we are told that there are 50,000 in the 'West Bank.'
As of July 2014, the UN estimates a population of 2,731,052 in the 'West Bank' of which 83% are 'Palestinian Arab,' 33.7% are aged 0-14, and 21.7% are aged 15-24.

As of July 2014, the UN estimates a population of 1,816,379 in Judenrein Gaza, of which 44.7% are 0-14 years old.

Anyone else see a problem with those numbers?

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Iran deploys S-300 to protect Fordo nuke plant, forms Shiite army to eradicate Israel

Here's Barack Obama's legacy. After allowing Iran's nuclear program to survive and thrive and giving the Mullahcracy $1.7 billion in spending money, Iran is using the money exactly how it promised to use it. It has deployed an S-300 missile system to protect its Fordo nuclear plant, and it has formed a Shiite army whose goal is to eradicate Israel. This is from the first link.
A video showed an S-300 carrier truck in Fordo, raising its missile launchers toward the sky, next to other counter-strike weaponry.
The images were aired hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech to air force commanders, including Esmaili, in which he stressed that Iranian military power was for defensive purposes only.
"Continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy," Khamenei said.
"The S-300 system is a defence system not an assault one, but the Americans did their best for Iran not to get hold of it."
The Fordo site, built into a mountain near the city of Qom has stopped enriching uranium since the January implementation of a nuclear deal with world powers.
Under the historic accord, Iran dismantled most of its estimated 19,000 centrifuges -- giant spinning machines that enrich uranium, keeping only 5,000 active for research purposes.
Maybe for a few years anyway....

In the meantime, Iran has not given up on eradicating Israel.
Retired General Mohammad Ali Falaki, who is currently one of the Iranian forces leaders in Syria, has recently revealed that Iran has formed a “Shiite Liberation Army” led by Quds Force commander, General Qassem Soleimani.

The Quds Force also known as Pasdaran in Persian is a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and is responsible for the Islamic Republic’s extraterritorial operation.

“The Shiite Liberation Army is currently fighting on three fronts - Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” he told Mashregh news agency, which is close to the IRGC, in an interview published on Thursday.

The retired general said “This army is not only composed of Iranians but it recruits locally from the regions witnessing fighting.”

Falaki, who is leading part of the IRGC fight in Syria to give support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, advised that it was “not wise to directly involve Iranian forces into the Syrian conflict.”

“The role of our personnel should be limited to training, preparing and equipping the Syrians to fight in their areas, ” he added.

Falaki said that the main objective behind the formation of the first nucleus of the ‘Shiite Liberation Army’ is to “eradicate Israel after 23 years, especially that these battalions are now on Israeli borders.”

And you were still wondering why he hasn't taken the fight to Assad?

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gaza is a funny place

UNRWA claimed in a tweet on Saturday that 'oppressed' Gaza has 252 schools (and 78 hospitals - a World Bank report puts that number at 30, still a lot for a small area).
Today, the number of schools has grown to 267. That's right - 15 new schools in a day.

And by the way, it seems that UNRWA forgot to coordinate their numbers with the 'Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.' The PCBS claims approximately 1.73 million 'Palestinians' in Gaza in 2014.  The CIA gives the Gaza 'Palestinian' population at the same time as 1,816,379 (as of July 2014).

But the CIA says 44.7% of the 'Palestinians' are aged 14 and under. I think that means there should be a lot more than 263,200 students.

Hmmm. You don't think someone's monkeying with the numbers, do you?

And by the way, how are they re-building with that alleged Israeli 'blockade' in place?


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Israelis win a different kind of Olympic medal

Israelis may have won only two bronze medals (still a significant achievement for a small country) at the Rio Summer Olympic games, but they've brought home 14 medals in a different kind of Olympic competition.
While almost all eyes were focused on the Rio Olympics in August, four other Olympiads were taking place in the science arena around the world. And Israel’s students brought home 14 medals from the International Science Olympiads.
The latest Olympiad competition was a two-day computer science contest in Russia. Israel won silver and bronze medals.
The International Science Olympiads are worldwide annual competitions in different areas of science. Four to six of the best high school students from each participating country take part in the contests.
In the past month, Israeli students have won the two medals in computer science, six medals in math, four in physics, and two in chemistry.
 We've always been much better at brains than brawn.

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NY Times worries Israel will make peace with Saudi Arabia and leave the 'Palestinians' in the cold

In an editorial in Sunday's editions, the New York Times worries that Israel will make peace with Saudi Arabia (and Egypt, with which we made peace nearly 40 years ago) and leave the 'Palestinians' out in the cold.
The Israelis and the Saudis have reasons to work together. They share antipathy toward Iran, the leading Shiite-majority country. Both are worried about regional instability. Both are upset with the United States over the Iranian nuclear deal and other policies, including those dealing with Syria. For some time, Israeli and Saudi officials have been cooperating covertly on security and intelligence matters.
It’s hard to tell sometimes whether and through whom the Saudi royal family is speaking, and some analysts do not view General Eshki as a serious interlocutor. But his visit to Jerusalem, which included a meeting with members of Parliament, suggested a new Saudi openness to testing how the public in both countries would react to overt contacts.
Significantly, Saudi Arabia has also begun a media campaign in the kingdom, apparently to prepare its citizens for better relations with Israel.
In recent years, Israelis and Saudis have encountered each other often at academic and policy forums. In addition, Israel has established separate official channels of communication with Saudi Arabia, as well as with the United Arab Emirates, and these channels are considered “real and significant,” according to Daniel Levy, president of the U.S./Middle East Project.
Egypt has also been pursuing warmer ties with Israel. A week before the Saudi delegation arrived, Sameh Shoukry became the first foreign minister of Egypt to visit Israel in nine years. Although the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1979, the relationship never fulfilled its promise. However, ties have improved since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became Egypt’s president in 2014, enabling greater security cooperation against Hamas in Gaza and the militants battling Egyptian troops in the Sinai.
Where does this leave the Palestinians? Both the Saudi and Egyptian visits were ostensibly aimed at promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, who have relied on the Sunni Arab states to advance their interests. General Eshki, for instance, talked of reviving the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which promised Israel normalized relations with the Arab League countries as part of a deal to end the Palestinian conflict.
Unfortunately, neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians show interest in serious peace talks. And there are reasons to doubt that the Palestinians are the Arab countries’ real focus. Mr. Netanyahu, in fact, has made clear his preference for improving relations with the Arab states first, saying Israel would then be in a stronger position to make peace with the Palestinians later on.
Of course, improved relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors do not preclude a Palestinian peace deal. The danger is that these countries will find more value in mending ties with each other and stop there, thus allowing Palestinian grievances, a source of regional tension for decades, to continue to fester.
There's no danger there. The 'Palestinians' are an invention of the Arab states anyway.
In an interview given by Zuhair Mohsen to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977, Mr. Mohsen explains the origin of the 'Palestinians':
The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.
For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.
It's long past time to acknowledge reality: There aren't going to be two states - a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of 'Palestine' living side-by-side in peace - unless the Arab state is the one known today as Jordan. The 'Palestinian grievances' can never be satisfied, and even the Arab states recognize today that they have more important things to do with Israel than try to dismember it by creating a 'right of return' for 'Palestinian refugees' who are non-citizens in weaker Arab countries like Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. There will be no 'right of return.'

The 'Palestinians' who live within Israel (including Judea and Samaria) will either learn to accept reality and economic and political conditions in the State of Israel that are far better than those anywhere in the Arab world outside of the royal families of the Gulf, or they will leave for Western countries that are willing to have them (Frau Merkel?). And Israel will eventually have relations with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and maybe even Qatar (which today is Hamas' biggest supporter) because economic realities dictate that those relationships will happen.

And the New York Times will go off crying into the sunset. Speedily and in our times.

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Israelis in Germany spearhead anti-BDS movement

I'm about three quarters of the way through Tuvia Tenenboim's Catch the Jew, in which, among other things, he uncovers anti-Israel activity by Europeans - especially by Germans - in Israel. Because of what I have read about the Germans, I was especially pleased to read this article by Benny Weinthal about an anti-BDS group operating in Germany.
Israelis along with Germans launched the Action Forum group, which included a protest against BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) activists targeting Jewish state products in front of a Berlin department store on Thursday.
The group’s goals are to counter “one-sided and wrong information” about Israel in the German media, as well as to combat BDS, Gaby Spronz, an Israeli engineer working in Germany and one of the founders of Action Forum, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday The group has 1,500 members, most of whom are in Germany, Spronz said.

Action Forum (Aktionsforum Israel) jump-started its activity with 20 activists distributing flyers against BDS at Alexander Square in front of the Galeria Kaufhof department store on Thursday.

“BDS is against Israel’s right to exist and for a Jew-free Palestine from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea,” the Action Forum flyer read.

“They are anti-Semites who are calling for a ban of Jewish products,” activist Jan Zimmermann told the Post at the demonstration.

Zimmermann was referencing a group of roughly 20 BDS supporters who circulated flyers in front of Galeria Kaufhof calling for people to boycott the Israeli carbonated drink maker SodaStream.
SodaStream has moved its plant from Mishor Adumim to the Negev, costing over 500 'Palestinians' their jobs. But that's not enough for the BDS movement. If any of you think the Action Forum is exaggerating the threat, please consider this from an editorial in the New Jersey Jewish News (New Jersey outlawed BDS last week).
Like the World Conference Against Racism in 2001, aka Durban I, from which BDS originated, rather than fulfilling its stated goal of fighting racism, the movement itself is peddling lies and racist ideology masked as the good fight. Though supporters have been led to believe that they are advocating for the peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side, that’s not what BDS leaders appear to have in mind. By including the “Right of Return” — an often-invoked misnomer, as the language in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, established in 1948, states that Arab refugees “should” be allowed to return to their homes, not “must” — as one of their objectives, they’ve made it clear that they envision Palestinians living by themselves. Just listen to BDS founder Omar Barghouti:

“If the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution. You would have a Palestine next to a Palestine,” he once said. He also wrote, “A return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”
The obvious conclusion: BDS is not about human rights, and Barghouti has acknowledged as much by saying the movement would continue even if the “occupation” were to end. BDS is rather a shrewd public relations strategy designed to draw intelligent, honorable individuals into the movement’s racially motivated struggle to forcibly dissolve the Jewish state.
Meanwhile, ordinary Germans are wising up to what's really behind BDS. This is from Weinthal's article:
The Action Forum equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. BDS is widely considered to be anti-Semitic in Germany among experts on modern anti-Semitism. The prominent German political scientist Samuel Salzborn said BDS is “an influential anti-Semitic campaign against Israel.”

The student council at Leipzig University approved an anti-BDS resolution in early August. The resolution states: BDS “connects seamlessly to the anti-Semitic boycott campaigns of decades past and explicitly to the National Socialism” and to “the Nazi slogan ‘Don’t buy from Jews.”’ The student council document noted: “In light of the Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian regime’s open and relentlessly expressed threats to destroy not only Israel, but Jews worldwide, the BDS campaign presents an existential threat to the Jews.”
Having experienced anti-Semitism, ordinary Germans are probably better able to identify it than anyone else.  Too bad their government buries its head in the sand.

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ICYMI: Erdogan sends Deputy Mayor(!) to greet Biden at airport, Biden calls coup plotters 'terrorists'

Shavua tov, a good week to everyone.

You probably didn't hear much about Joe Biden's trip to Turkey last week. It's funny how Biden was 'humiliated' six and a half years ago when an Israeli bureaucrat announced a building permit when he was here in Israel, but apparently didn't notice who greeted him at the airport in Ankara last week. But don't worry - that didn't stop Biden from sucking up to Sultan Erdogan.
Erdogan sent a lowly deputy mayor to meet him at the airport and later said the US must arrest Gulen to stop him from giving press interviews.
Biden called the coup plotters “terrorists” and urged Kurdish forces in Syria to move away from Turkey’s borders, but he said the US must follow due process on Gulen.
“The constitution and our laws require for someone to be extradited that a court of the United States has to conclude there’s probable cause to extradite," he said.
"Thus far ... there has been no evidence presented about the coup."
The rift between Western powers and their Nato ally in the Middle East has prompted speculation that Turkey might forge a new alliance with Russia.
Erodgan met Russian leader Vladimir Putin earlier this month, while Russian propaganda has switched to highlighting irritants in EU-Turkey and US-Turkey relations.
By the way, those apartments are now being built six and a half years later. They're scheduled to be ready in 2020 (there's no infrastructure there - that comes first). Aren't double standards grand?

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Friday, August 26, 2016

The chickens of Western-backed 'Palestinian' intransigence come home to roost

The chickens created by years of Western-backed 'Palestinian' intransigence are coming home to roost.

In the 23 years since the 'Palestinian Authority' was created, we continually heard the claim that they had to be armed in order to be the only law enforcement authority in the 'Palestinian territories.' But the 'Palestinian Authority' never chose to assert control, instead allowing all kinds of lawless gangs to arm themselves and inflict terror on Israelis. Now, those armed gangs are turning their guns on the 'Palestinian Authority.' And like in Gaza in 2007, Abu Mazen is losing control.
Hours after his security officers lynched a detainee, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinian businessmen living abroad to support the Palestinian economy by investing in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Authority (PA), he asserted, was "working to provide security and safety to encourage investment."
According to Abbas, "The Palestinian territories are living in a state of security stability, which we are working to provide for residents and investors alike by enforcing the rule of law and enhancing transparency and accountability."
Funny that he never speaks that way in front of the 'international community.' And this time it's really a lie.
In his speech before the businessmen, Abbas neglected any reference to the latest wave of "security chaos" in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, specifically Nablus, the largest Palestinian city.
Five Palestinians, including two PA police officers, were killed in the worst scenes of internecine violence to hit the West Bank in recent years. Abbas was either playing the businessmen for fools or hoping that they share his deaf and blind state.
The violence in Nablus did not come as a surprise to those who have been monitoring the situation in the West Bank in recent months.
In fact, scenes of lawlessness and "security chaos" have become part of the norm in many Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps -- a sign that the PA may be losing control to armed gangs and militias. Palestinians refer to the situation as falatan amni, or "security chaos." An article published in Gatestone in June referred to the growing instances of anarchy and lawlessness in PA-controlled areas in the West Bank, first and foremost Nablus.
The chickens of years of Western-backed 'Palestinian' intransigence and weapons supplies are coming home to roost. And the 81-year old 'Abbas' - the 'moderate' hope of the Leftist West - may not last much longer.
The Palestinian Authority is now paying the price for harboring, funding and inciting gang members and militiamen who until recently were hailed by many Palestinians as "heroes" and "resistance fighters." Unsurprisingly, most of these "outlaws" and "criminals" (as the PA describes them) are affiliated in one way or another with Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
Nablus, the so-called Mountain of Fire, is now threatening to turn into a volcano that is set to erupt in the face of Abbas and his PA government.
The situation in Nablus the past few days raises serious questions about the ability of the PA to perform basic security measures and rein in armed gangs and militiamen.
Moreover, the unprecedented violence has further shattered Palestinian confidence in the PA and its leaders ahead of the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8.
And guess who is stepping into the vacuum....
Hamas's dream of extending its control to the West Bank now seems more realistic than ever. Under the current circumstances, Abbas would be offering the West Bank to Hamas on a silver platter -- unless he wakes up and realizes that he made a big mistake by authorizing the local and municipal elections.
Sounds like 2006 all over again, doesn't it?

Pass the popcorn and read the whole thing

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