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News Headlines & Trends

10.04.10 Qaeda terror plot targets French, German landmarks: US report

WASHINGTON (AFP) October 4 - Militants allegedly plotting attacks in Europe have a list of targets including Paris's Eiffel Tower and a hotel close to Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, Fox News reported on Sunday. The report came in the wake of a US State Department travel alert urging Americans to be vigilant against the potential for terror attacks in Europe. Attractions on the list also included the luxury Hotel Adlon near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Berlin's Central Station and its landmark Alexanderplatz TV tower, Fox said citing unnamed intelligence officials. "One official said security has also been tightened around the British royal family," the Fox report added. Fox cited a senior western intelligence official as saying that the information about the target list was provided by "a German-Pakistani national interrogated at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan." [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See also cnn.com, October 4, "Hamburg cell at heart of terrorist plot against Europe"

10.04.10 Biggest sealife survey: Most ocean life is unknown

LONDON, October 4 - The planet's seas and oceans are richer and more diverse than scientists suspected, the biggest survey of marine life has revealed but many mysteries remain. The Census of Marine Life, which announced its full findings Monday, has taken 10 years to complete, employing 2,700 scientists from 80 nations. The $650 million study surveyed from the coldest waters to the warmest lagoons, from the smallest microbes to the largest cetaceans. It even looked at life 10,000 meters (6.2 miles) down in the Marianas Trench southeast of Japan. [More>>cnn.com; See also msnbc.msn.com, October 4, "Census of the seas."]

10.04.10 Hundreds of Asian activists plan to sail in new Gaza-bound flotilla

(AP) October 4 - The Turkish charity IHH, which sponsored a Gaza-bound flotilla that Israeli commandos boarded in a deadly raid last spring, said Monday that some 500 activists would take part in a new flotilla that hopes to reach Gaza by December 27. Pro-Palestinian activists from dozens of Asian countries are planning to send a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip in a new effort to break Israel's blockade of the coastal territory. The Turkish charity IHH, which sponsored a Gaza-bound flotilla that Israeli commandos boarded in a deadly raid last spring, said Monday that some 500 activists would take part in a new flotilla that hopes to reach Gaza by December 27. The activists will set off from India by land on Dec. 2, cross Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Syria, then try to reach Gaza by sea, said a spokesman for the charity. IHH will organize the Turkish leg of the trip. [More>>haaretz.com]

10.04.10 Settlers set fire to West Bank mosque: Palestinians

(Reuters) October 4 - Palestinians accused Jewish settlers of setting fire to a West Bank mosque on Monday, an incident that coincided with US efforts to rescue peace talks halted by a dispute over settlement building. Fifteen Holy Qurans and the mosque's carpet were burned, said Ali Thawabti, a municipal council official in the village of Beit Fajjar. He said residents put out the fire and "settlers got into their white Peugeot and sped away." It was the fourth time since December that a mosque in the occupied West Bank had been vandalized in attacks Palestinians blamed on settlers. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

10.04.10 Taliban attack, set ablaze NATO oil tankers; 3 killed

October 4 - Three people were killed and 28 oil tankers were set ablaze when Taliban fighters attacked a convoy ferrying fuel to NATO forces in Afghanistan in Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi today, police said. A spokesman of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attack on the tankers near a defence residential complex in Rawalpindi, local media reported. The vehicles were attacked when they were parked at Attock oil refinery for refuelling. The attackers, who were riding motorcycles, fired and threw petrol bombs at the tankers. The militants pulled people out of trucks and shot them dead, said truckers who survived the assault...This was the second torching of NATO supply vehicles in an urban area since last week and also the second time a supply convoy was attacked in the vicinity of Islamabad. On Friday, 28 tankers were destroyed when militants attacked a convoy at Shikarpur in southern Sindh province. Around 60 NATO supply trucks were destroyed and eight persons were killed in a major attack near Islamabad on June 9. [Full story>>indianexpress.com]

10.04.10 Five killed in Iraq violence

BAGHDAD, October 4 - Five people were killed in violence in Baghdad and central Iraq on Monday, including a roadside bomb targeting a junior minister, medical and security officials said. A convoy transporting Fuad al-Mussawi, a deputy minister of science and technology, struck a bomb along a road in the upscale neighbourhood of Jadriyah, in the centre of the capital. The minister was unharmed, but the early morning blast killed one of his guards and wounded four other people, said an interior ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Also in central Baghdad, an employee of a telephone exchange was killed and another wounded by a bomb which detonated near Al-Alwiyah communications centre in Karrada. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

10.04.10 Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker challenges race trial judges

AMSTERDAM, October 4 - Dutch anti-Islamist politician Geert Wilders, a key player in efforts to form a new government, accused judges trying him on charges of inciting hatred of scandalous bias and demanded they be replaced. Wilders, who has 24-hour police guard because of death threats, went on trial on Monday over comments including a comparison he made between the Islamic faith and Nazism. The prosecutor, reacting to complaints about Wilders, originally said he was protected by the right to free speech, but a court overruled him and ordered that Wilders be charged. Anti-racism group the Netherlands Admits Colour, which helped initiate the case against Wilders, has placed 100 comments by Wilders online to back its allegation that he is responsible for xenophobia and discrimination. [More>>thestar.com.my; See also foxnews.com, October 4, "Trial of anti-Islam Dutch leader Wilders adjourned until Tuesday."]

10.01.10 Ahmadinejad visit a 'provocation' : Lebanon alliance

BEIRUT (AFP) October 1 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's expected tour of south Lebanon during his official visit to the Mediterranean country was criticized as a “provocation” on Friday by the largest bloc in parliament. On the two-day visit from October 13, Ahmadinejad is scheduled to hold talks with his counterpart Michel Sleiman, who invited the Iranian leader, as well as Prime Minister Saad Hariri and parliament speaker Nabih Berri. The hardliner is also due to meet on the sidelines with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah — a key ally whose powerful party is considered a proxy of Iran — and tour the south of the country, according to political officials.

"The message is that Iran is at the border with Israel," Fares Souaid, coordinator of the "March 14" alliance, told AFP. "Ahmadinejad through this visit is saying that Beirut is under Iranian influence and that Lebanon is an Iranian base on the Mediterranean," said Souaid, whose coalition is led by the Western- and Saudi-backed premier. "His visit to the south would be a provocation, he doesn't need to go there," he added. Souaid also pointed out Ahmadinejad was coming to Beirut at a time when the West is bidding to rescue fledgling, US-backed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. "The Iranian president is here to say that Lebanon is a land of resistance and to reaffirm his project of a continuous war with Israel," he said.

10.01.10 Does the Koran advocate violence?

October 1 - Religious scholars debate interpretations of controversial Koranic passages. "One of these passages, Chapter 5, Verse 32, explicitly states that if you kill a human being, it is like killing all mankind, except if you are killing that human being as punishment for villainy in the land," said Irshad Manji, a New York University professor and director of the college's Moral Courage Project. She added, "That clause beginning with the word 'except' is a loophole. It's an escape hatch, and many would-be terrorists pounce on that to justify their violent jihads." Interviews with alleged Islamic terrorists have shown that many are ignorant about, or choose to ignore, the full teachings of their own faith. In 2005, Barbara Walters sat down with Jihad Jarrar, a Palestinian serving 22 years in an Israeli prison after a failed suicide bombing attempt. "God compensates the martyr because he lost his life and lost the world on earth. He compensates him with 72 virgins in paradise," he told Barbara Walters in a 2005 interview. When Walters asked him where the legend of the 72 virgins came from, Jarrar responded: "No, no. God created them just for the people who are in paradise." But according to scholars, the Koran makes no mention of a sexual reward for holy martyrs. [More>>abcnews.go.com with blog comments, including:

First of all, violence is not necessarily bad. During World War II for example, US troops committed GOOD violence against Nazis soldiers. But, the issue is violence in religious texts. This article is deceptive in that it confuses a report of violence with a command to do violence. It also confuses books currently published on the Koran with the Koran itself, the latter being believed by Muslim scholars to be an abstract and eternal truth. The main difference between the Bible and the Koran is that the Bible merely describes violence in the past; the Koran commands its readers, in some passages, to commit violence. The problem is not the Koran but the books used to present it. This perspective is analyzed in detail at http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/browse_thread/thread/6d6ad287c17be4ec/147a618c773a8560 and at http://www.scribd.com/doc/35761523/Toward-Islam-as-a-Religion. A related problem is that Islam is not a religion alone; Islam can be used by a Muslim either as a religion or as a nationality or both.
jwillix 2:09 PM

Editorial note: "News editors' poor research on the Koran" :The abcnews.go article shows confusion and a gross lack of preparation in researching whether the Koran advocates violence. However, the jwillix blog comment and link to the article is worth reading. For those wondering what the relationship the Koran has to the Bible or how Allah compares to the God of the Bible "The Allah Controversy" may be worth reading and Maravot News comment on Koran's advocacy of violence against unbelieves."

Mel Copeland

10.01.10 Abbas to Mitchell: No further talks until building halted

October 1 - PA says Israeli building in settlements equivalent to refusal to continue peace negotiations; Netanyahu tells Mitchell that Israel wants to continue direct talks; Egyptian FM says freeze not an important issue. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday told US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell that the there will be no further peace negotiations with Israel as long as building in settlements continues, Israel Radio reported. Mitchell met with Abbas in Ramallah on Friday after having met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the hopes of finding a compromise that could save the talks which have stalled following Israel's decision earlier this week not to extend the 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement building. Following Abbas's meeting with Mitchell, a Palestinian Authority spokesman said that no breakthrough to revive the talks had been made and that Israel's insistence on continuing construction in the settlements is preventing progress towards reaching a peace agreement. [More>>jpost.com]

10.01.10 Dutch ad watchdog criticizes Israeli tourism maps

October 1 - Advertising Code Committee rules Israeli Nat'l Tourism Board materials do not clearly show Israel's "international recognized borders." The Dutch advertising watchdog on Thursday alleged that Israel is publishing misleading information on its tourism website that blurs the borders between Israel and occupied Arab territories. The Advertising Code Committee stated in a nonbinding ruling that material distributed by the Dutch branch of the Israeli National Tourism Board does not "clearly show where the border lies between what is internationally recognized as Israeli territory and 'disputed' areas." Pro-Palestinian activists complained that the maps gave the impression that parts of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem are in Israel, as well as the Golan Heights captured from Syria. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor rejected the criticism. He said, that concerning the borders of Israel, "the situation is [still] ambiguous." [More>>jpost.com]

Editorial note: Compare the Israel National Tourism Board map of Israel with Maravot News maps :
"Recent history of the annexed territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

10.01.10 Gunmen torch NATO supply tankers in Pakistan

KARACHI, October 1 - Militants believed to be behind the attacks. Suspected militants in Pakistan set fire to tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, a day after three soldiers were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike. Attacks on trucks carrying supplies for US and NATO-led forces are routine. But Friday's incident came a day after Pakistan blocked the convoys following the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers blamed on cross-border NATO fire. "Around 20 attackers armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles attacked these trucks. They set ablaze 27 trucks parked there," district police chief Abdul Hameed Khoso told AFP. Senior local officials said "extremists" are believed to have carried out the attack on the tankers in the southern town of Shikarpur early on Friday. Pakistani authorities, angered by repeated incursions by NATO helicopters over the past week, have blocked a supply route for the troops in Afghanistan. [More>>alarabiya.net]

10.01.10 Al-Qaeda takes back their sons from Iraq

October 1 - Qaeda fathers take more than 50 of their infant boys. Dozens of children born to al-Qaeda militants in Iraq are now being 'kidnapped' by their fathers to be raised as the next generation al-Qaeda fighters, the UAE-based The National Reports. Mothers of these children were forced into these marriages and were presented as 'gifts' to al-Qaeda militants when pro-Qaeda and anti-US sentiments swept Iraq's Sunni heartland provinces of Anbar, Mosul and Diyala after the 2003 US-led invasion on Iraq. There are no exact figures for the number of the abducted children, but through Noor, a non-government organization that is providing help to hundreds of these women give an estimate of at least 50 missing infant boys. "We have reports that many of these children are disappearing and that al-Qaeda wants to bring them up as a new generation that will be indoctrinated from birth and will be extremely loyal to its cause," said Dr. Jamil Dawar, a Noor official. [More>>alarabiya.net]

10.01.10 Mosque, houses of Ahhmadiyah followers burned down

JAKARTA, October 1 - Hundreds of people set a mosque and five houses reportedly belonging to followers of Ahmadiyah in Ciampea village in the West Java regency of Bogor to fire on Friday night, stirring panic among the Islamic sect members. Bogor police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Tomex Kurniawan said at least 150 officers and two companions of Mobile Brigade troops had been deployed to restore peace and order in the village. A number of Ahmadiyah followers were seen fleeing their village to keep themselves from the angry mass, vivanews.com reported. One of Ahmadiyah follower, Syaiful Mu'munin, said the arson attack came suddenly. He said the people vented their anger following a report that an Ahmadiyah member stabbed a relative of the attackers. The Indonesian Ulema Council has banned Ahmadiyah and its teachings, calling the sect as heretical. [>thejakartapost.com]

10.01.10 Indonesian women caned for selling food during Muslim festival of Ramadan

October 1 - This is the moment two women were publicly caned in Indonesia's staunchly Muslim Aceh province on Friday for selling food. The two women were found guilty of selling food during the fasting hours of Ramadan, thereby violating Islamic sharia law. Hundreds of people gathered to watch as Murni Amris, 27, received three lashes and Rukiah Abdullah, 22, received two at a mosque in the city of Jantho, southeast of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. "The two women were found selling rice in a stall at noon during Ramadan. The sharia forbids selling food during fasting hours at Ramadan," said Marzuki Abdullah, Aceh's sharia police head. Ms. Amris owned the food stall where Ms. Abdullah was selling the rice. Muslims are supposed to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan, which took place during August and September this year, but there are exceptions in cases such as illness or pregnancy. [More>>telegraph.co.uk]

10.01.10 Deadly blasts mar Nigeria independence celebrations

(Reuters) October 1 - Two explosions rocked celebrations in Nigeria's capital Friday, killing at least eight people near a parade route where government officials and foreign dignitaries were marking the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. Eight people were killed and three injured in car bomb explosions that hit Nigeria's capital on Friday near a parade marking the 50th anniversary of independence, police said. Two explosions, which also destroyed three cars, came an hour after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Nigeria's biggest rebel militia, issued an email warning saying it had planted several bombs and telling people to evacuate the area. A Reuters cameraman said security forces and firemen in the capital, Abuja, had been trying to douse a fire in a car after the first explosion when a second blast hit. "Two car bombs exploded and eight people are confirmed dead," Abuja police spokesman Jimoh Moshood told Reuters...Given its warning, the finger of blame will rest heavily on MEND, which has been fighting for years for a greater share of oil revenues from the impoverished Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry. [Full story>>france24.com]

10.01.10 Osama bin Laden concerned about climate

(AFP) October 1 - Osama bin Laden has expressed concern about global climate change and flooding in Pakistan, in an audiotape aired on the internet, his first public remarks since March, a monitoring group says. "The number of victims caused by climate change is very big ... bigger than the victims of wars," said the voice, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified and made available by SITE Intelligence Group today. The tape would be the first time Bin Laden has spoken publicly since March 25. It was not clear when the tape was made, but bin Laden congratulated Muslims on the September 10 end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. "The catastrophe (in Pakistan) is very big and it is difficult to describe it," he said. "What we are facing ... calls for generous souls and brave men to take serious and prompt action to provide relief for their Muslim brothers in Pakistan." [>news.com.au]

09.30.10 FBI charges dozens in global computer virus scam

September 30 - A massive international cybercrime scheme that relied on Internet viruses to loot millions of dollars from US and foreign bank accounts has been broken, federal law enforcement officials said. Federal authorities will announce charges Thursday afternoon against 60 people worldwide in connection with the scheme, the FBI said, an expansion on the Tuesday arrest of 19 people in London accused of stealing nearly $10 million from UK banks. Federal prosecutors say the defendants are accused of using the Zeus Trojan and other Internet viruses to siphon money from bank accounts. Authorities plan to announce the charges at a news conference in New York City, where nine of the accused were arrested. Citing the FBI's New York office, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that nine people have been arrested in the New York area, while one person has been taken into custody elsewhere in the US. The US suspects appear to be primarily henchmen, while the suspects arrested earlier in the week in London were ringleaders, Richard Wang, manager of security firm SophosLabs, told FoxNews.com. [More>>foxnews.com]

09.30.10 North Korea releases photo of heir

September 30 - North Korea unveiled a portrait of its next apparent leader for the first time on its main newspaper Thursday, clearly confirming the reclusive state's plans to shift power from the ailing Kim Jong-il to his youngest son. The black-and-white photograph, printed on Pyongyang's main Rodong Sinmun and carried by the North's state media monitored in Seoul, showed a somewhat chubby Kim Jong-un, who closely resembles his father as previously stated by a sushi chef who formerly served the Kims. Jong-un, who is believed to be in his late 20s, was crowned with important political posts during the North's ruling Workers’ Party convention earlier this week, signaling a power transition that could affect the future policies of the nuclear-armed state. The third son of the North Korean dictator, who has become noticeably thinner since suffering a stroke two years ago, was also made a four-star general, a major appointment that will empower the Swiss-educated heir to eventually take the reins of power after his ailing father. The photograph made public Thursday was taken during the party convention, according to Rodong Sinmun, with the heir-apparent posing alongside his father and other party delegates. [More>>koreaherald.com]

09.30.10 Pakistan detains 'facilitator' of NY bomb plotter

ISLAMABAD (AFP) September 30 - Pakistani police have arrested a an employee of a state Islamic body who allegedly helped New York bomb plot suspect Faisal Shahzad visit the nation's tribal belt, security officials said Thursday. "Faisal Abbasi was arrested while returning from Bannu last week," a security official said, referring to the northwestern town which borders Pakistan's tribal area — a hub for Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants. He is believed to have facilitated Shahzad's visit to the tribal district of South Waziristan, the official speaking on condition of anonymity said. He is being interrogated by security agencies.

Another security official said the detained man said that he was an employee of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC) which advises the government on matters relating to Sharia laws. Pakistan police arrested and charged three suspects earlier this month on suspicion of having links to Shahzad. Islamabad police chief Bani Amin, identified the three suspects as Shoaib Mughal, Mohammad Shahid and Hanbal Akhtar. He said the trio also had close links with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders including Hakimullah Mehsud, whose organization has claimed responsibility for Shahzad's May 1 plot to bomb Times Square. The TTP is based in Pakistan's tribal badlands on the Afghan border and has been blamed for some of the deadliest suicide attacks in the nuclear-armed country.

09.30.10 Briton suspected of plotting Mumbai-style attacks killed by drone

September 30 - A Briton suspected of plotting attacks on European cities modelled on the terrorist rampage in Mumbai was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, according to reports. A Pakistani intelligence official was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that the man, who is believed to have been acting in concert with another Briton, was killed in a missile strike by a US unmanned aerial drone. The official named the dead man as Abdul Jabbar who, he said, had come originally from Pakistan's Jhelum district. He said that the suspects, who also included eight German nationals, had been hiding in the tribal areas of the North Waziristan region. The Britons are believed to have been tracked by the authorities for some time before the incident, which occurred on Sept. 8. News of the plot only emerged this week, after the killing of its mastermind Sheikh Fateh al-Masri, a senior al-Qaeda commander, by another US missile on Saturday.

The Foreign Office said it would not comment because on what it described as "security matters." The latest report follows the disclosure earlier this week that intelligence agencies in Europe, the US and Pakistan had intercepted a credible Islamist plot to attack cities in Britain, France and Germany. Militants were said to be planning commando-style raids similar to the attack on Mumbai in India two years ago. The discovery of the plot lead to an upsurge in attacks by CIA Predator drones on the tribal areas of northern Pakistan in an attempt to disrupt their preparations. Robert Wainwright, director of the European police organization Europol, said the disclosures showed that the terrorist threat remained high.

09.30.10 Musharraf warns of another coup in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, September 30 - Pakistan is at risk of another military coup, warned its former army chief Pervez Musharraf, advocating a constitutional role for the army in the country's turbulent politics. Musharraf, who is in Britain and preparing to return to Pakistan, said that army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani could be forced to intervene against the unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari, Geo TV reported Thursday. The army should be given a constitutional role in Pakistan, which has been hit hard by rampant militancy and a crumbling economy, the former general said at a debate in London Wednesday night. He made the comments when he was asked if a new putsch was likely, following a reported crisis meeting this week between Kayani, Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

09.30.10 NATO violates air space twice; kills three FC men

PARACHINAR, Pakistan, September 30 - The allied forces in Afghanistan have stepped up provocative activities in Pakistani territorial limits, as NATO helicopters once again violated Pakistani airspace Thursday and attacked twice in Kurram Agency, killing three security personnel and injuring three others, Geo News reported. While, NATO said Thursday it was investigating reports that three of Pakistan soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack by coalition helicopters based in Afghanistan. "Early this morning, a coalition force observed what they believed was a group of insurgents attempting to fire mortars at a coalition base in the border area of Dand Patan district, Paktiya province," NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in statement. "The team reported they did not cross into Pakistan airspace and believed the insurgent location was on the Afghan side of the border." After being informed by Pakistan military officials that their border forces had been hit, ISAF said it was working with the Pakistanis "to ascertain if the two events are linked." "The matter remains under investigation," it said. According to the sources, the NATO helicopters pounded border area Pashu Kandao of Kurram Agency in second such attack by coalition forces inside Pakistan today. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

09.30.10 Pakistan blocks NATO Afghan supplies after fatal air strike

(Reuters) September 30 - Pakistan has moved to block a vital supply route for NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan after blaming coalition forces for the death of three Pakistani soldiers in an air strike on a border village early on Thursday. Pakistani authorities blocked a vital supply route for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan on Thursday, angered by a cross-border NATO airstrike that killed three Pakistani soldiers, officials said. Trucks and fuel tankers for foreign forces in Afghanistan were stopped at Torkham border post in Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, hours after the raid, the fourth reported by Pakistani authorities in recent days. "Yes, the NATO supplies have been stopped. It has been done locally," a senior security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. [More>>france24.com]

09.30.10 Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi 'to be released'

September 30 - Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be released in November just days after the first election there in two decades, officials say. The Nobel Peace laureate has been detained for most of the last 20 years since winning the country's last poll in 1990. Unnamed sources told the AFP news agency that she will be freed when her current house arrest expires on November 13. "November will be an important and busy month for us because of the election and because of Aung San Suu Kyi's release," a Burmese official said. The official noted the release would come soon after the country's November 7 vote. [More>>news.sky.com]

09.30.10 Palestinians expected to leave direct talks

September 30 - After giving Netanyahu an extension of several days to stop the renewed building in the settlements, the Palestinian leadership is expected to decide to cut off contact on Saturday. The Palestinian leadership plans to meet on Saturday and is expected to officially decide to end negotiations with Israel if the renewed West Bank settlement construction is not halted. Those expected to attend the meeting Saturday include representatives of the PLO workers committee, the Fatah central committee, and the heads of other political parties. [More>>haaretz.com]

09.30.10 Iran feeds Shiite militia in the Iraqi south

BAGHDAD (AP) September 30 - Hezbollah inspired militants grow stronger in Iraq. Nearly four minutes of shaky, hand-held video clips show roadside bombs hitting US convoys, a battery of Katyusha rockets and a soldier who appeared to be downed by sniper fire. And digitally burned into the left-hand corner is the raised-rifle emblem of a Shiite militia linked to Iran. The purported claim of responsibility by the group known as Asaib Ahl al-Haq and pledges of more violence highlight possible new muscle flexing by armed Shiite factions as US forces depart and Iraq's political leaders struggle to form a government. The jihad-style montage also underscores the unpredictable nature of armed Shiite factions eager to portray US troops as leaving under fire. [More>>alarabiya.net]

09.30.10 Wave of strikes cripples Europe as workers vent fury at budget cuts

September 30 - Series of coordinated protests hits 13 capital cities from Madrid to Brussels. Workers across Europe yesterday vented their anger against government spending cuts and tax hikes that unions said would punish the poor. Rallies were called in 13 capital cities and millions of Spanish workers went on strike in a mass action that hobbled public transport, paralysed building work and left streets littered with uncollected rubbish. Some 100,000 workers, including German miners and Polish shipbuilders, brought Brussels to a standstill to protest against savage spending cuts they claimed would make workers the biggest victims of an economic crisis that they are blaming on bankers and traders in the financial markets. The protest came as the European Commission said it would introduce measures to force EU governments to rein in their finances and reduce deficits, or face financial penalties. Unions said that 10 million people joined the general strike in Spain.

Many small businesses shut their doors in solidarity, flights were grounded, television stations cancelled programmes and strikers scuffled with police. Even the film director Pedro Almodovar suspended production on his latest project. During the morning rush hour, the streets of the Spanish capital were as empty as on a national holiday. In Greece, hospital doctors stopped work for 24 hours and public transport was disrupted. In Slovenia, about half of public-sector workers remained on strike for the third day against a planned wage freeze. In Ireland, one man blocked the entrance to the Dail, the Irish parliament, with a cement truck in a protest against the country's enormous bank bailouts. Written across the back of the lorry was: "All politicians should be sacked."

09.30.10 Al-Qaeda releases images of hostages kidnapped in Niger

(AP) September 30 - The North African branch of al-Qaeda publicized images on Thursday of seven hostages (pictured), including five French nationals, a Togolese and a Madagascan, who were kidnapped in Niger on Sept. 16. The images first appeared on Islamist websites. A tape released Thursday on a jihadist forum shows the first images of a group of hostages including five French citizens since they were seized two weeks ago in Niger by an al-Qaeda offshoot and taken into the desert. The four-minute tape shows still images of the hostages sitting cross-legged in the sand with a gently sloping dune behind them. French officials believe the seven hostages are now in the bordering West African nation of Mali. [More>>france24.com]

09.30.10 Egyptian universities ban face-veiled professors

CAIRO, September 30 - Presidents said niqab hinders contact with students. One year after female university students were banned from sitting for the exam while wearing the face veil, two Egyptian universities issued a decree to ban face-veiled professors from teaching. The Cairo-based Ain Shams University and Fayoum University southwest of Cairo announced that female professors wearing the face veil, also called the "niqab," will not be allowed into the classroom unless they show their faces. Dr. Maged el-Deeb, President of Ain Shams University, denied allegations that the ban is a reflection of the persecution from which veiled professors suffer. "Fully veiled professors are not going to be banned from working at the university," he told Al Arabiya. "They will only not be allowed to teach." Deeb added that professors wearing the niqab will be involved in administrative work like proctoring during the exams. "They also have the right to do research and any other academic activities with the support of the university." [More>>alarabiya.net]

09.30.10 Scientists overcome hurdles to stem cell alternatives

September 30 - Scientists reported Thursday they had developed a technique that can quickly create safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells, a major advance toward developing a less controversial approach for treating for a host of medical problems. The researchers published a series of experiments showing they can use laboratory-made versions of naturally occurring biological signals to quickly convert ordinary skin cells into cells that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then coax those cells to morph into specific tissues that would be a perfect match for transplantation into patients. The work, by a team led by Derrick J. Rossi of the Children's Hospital Boston, was praised by other researchers as a breakthrough. "This paper is a major paper, in my view, in the field of regenerative medicine," said Douglas A. Melton, who co-directs the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Opponents of human embryonic stem cell research, meanwhile, seized on the advance as the most convincing evidence yet that alternatives were sufficient, rendering the morally questionable cells unnecessary. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

09.30.10 Shattered leg rebuilt using stem cells

September 30 - A ground-breaking surgical technique has been used to rebuild the leg of a woman who suffered a bad break in a hit-and-run accident. Diane Stuttard had been told she would have to have her leg amputated after 11 operations failed to fix her bones. But in a world first, surgeons used her own stem cells to repair the damage - and lengthen the shattered limb. "I was advised to have the leg amputated by the surgeon in Leeds, but thankfully I said I wanted to wait until I had exhausted all avenues," she told Sky News. "I'm glad I did because this stem cell technique has come up and now it's my chance to get it right."

Diane was hit by a car while walking home after a night out in 2001. She was carried on the bonnet for three-quarters of a mile before being pushed off by the front-seat passenger. Her left tibia and fibula
her lower leg bones were badly broken. Scans revealed that 6cm of her bone had become infected and died, preventing the fracture from healing. In a pioneering operation at the Spire Alexandra Hospital in Kent, surgeons first removed the dead tissue, then clamped Diane's shinbone back together. They then took a sample of bone marrow from her pelvis and purified stem cells. These were mixed with Surgifill, a unique gel that traps the cells against the fracture. Within days they start to form healthy new bone, healing the break...It will be 18 months before surgeons can be sure that Diane's bones have properly healed. [Full story>>news.sky.com]

09.28.10 US drone strike kills four in Wana

PESHAWAR, September 28 - A US drone strike killed four suspected militants Tuesday and destroyed a rebel compound in a tribal area along the Afghan border, local security officials said. Pakistani officials say unmanned US aircraft have significantly stepped up attacks on Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked operatives in the semi-autonomous region this month, recording at least 21 attacks in September. Tuesday's strike took place in Zeba village close to the Afghan border and west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. "A US drone fired two missiles which hit a suspected militant compound, killing four militants," a Pakistani security official said on condition of anonymity. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,

xinhuanet.com, September 28, "Al-Qaeda top leader in Pakistan killed in US drone attack" :
ISLAMABAD - The al-Qaeda top leader in Pakistan, Sheikh Al-Fateh, was killed in a drone attack two days ago in Pakistan's northwest tribal area, local media reported on Tuesday night. The report quoted unidentified sources as saying that Sheikh Al- Fateh was killed during three US drone strikes launched on Sept. 26 in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of North Waziristan. To have the big fish of al-Qaeda in Pakistan killed, the US side on Sunday mobilized six to seven drones and fired nine missiles at three different targets in the above-mentioned area. Sheikh Al-Fateh, aged about 50, is said to be from Yeman. In 1996 he came to Afghanistan and joined the Taliban there. In 2001 after the US attacked Afghanistan he escaped to Pakistan. Al-Qaeda appointed Fateh as its new commander for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan after its former leader, Mustafa Abu al- Yazid, was killed in a US Predator strike in North Waziristan in May 2010.

A previous al-Qaeda commander, Libyan Abu Laith al-Libi, was also killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January 2008. Waziristan is the home of Taliban leaders Hakimullah Mehsood, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazir, who are fighting against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of former Taliban commander Jalauddin Haqqani, is also active in North Waziristan. US drones regularly launch strikes to target suspected militants in the region and has stepped up attacks in recent days. A number of high-profile militant leaders have been killed in the past drone attacks. They include Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud killed last August and Mohammed Haqqani, a cousin of Sirajuddin Haqqani, killed in February. [end]

09.28.10 US ready to bomb 150 Pakistan terror camps?

WASHINGTON, September 28 - The United States has a secret "retribution" plan to bomb more than 150 terror camps in Pakistan in the event of another major terrorist attack originating from that country. This startling disclosure about Washington's "all bets off" policy towards an ostensibly dubious ally in the war on terror is contained in Bob Woodward's opus " Obama's War," which details an evolving US approach in the region. The plan pre-dates the Obama presidency, going back to the Bush White House, but elements of policy, aimed at wiping out terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, is evident in the current administration's ruthless bombing by unmanned drones of terrorist targets inside Pakistan, which far surpasses the Bush approach in terms of frequency and intensity. The US threat also places in context secretary of state Hillary Clinton's dire warning to Islamabad earlier this year that there would be severe consequences for Pakistan if another 9/11-type attack were traced back to that country. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

09.28.10 Karzai sets up body for peace talks

September 28 - Afghan president announces 68-member 'high council for peace' for holding talks with Taliban and other armed groups. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has appointed a high-level peace council to hold talks with the Taliban. "Today we will announce the list of the high peace council members," Karzai said during a ceremony marking Afghanistan's national literacy day, on Tuesday. His office later released a list of 68 people hand-picked by Karzai to lead his efforts to broker a peace deal with Taliban and other anti-government fighters. The list includes former president and warlord Burhanuddin Rabani, warlords Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayaf and Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, all key figures in the resistance during the 1996-2001 Taliban rule over the country. These commanders helped the United States and other Western allies topple the Taliban from power in late 2001. [More>>aljazeera.net]

09.28.10 Jewish activist boat docks in Ashdod after IDF takeover

September 28 - Commando 13 warship peacefully diverts yacht from Gaza after illegally enters waters; IDF spokesperson calls boat "provocation." The yacht carrying Jewish activists that intended to break the Gaza blockade docked at Ashdod Port on Tuesday afternoon. The Israeli Navy took over the Irene, headed for Gaza, on Tuesday morning. No violence was used in taking over the boat, the IDF spokesperson reported, and the activists were peaceful. The IDF intends to deliver the humanitarian aid on the yacht to the Gaza Strip. Before taking over the ship, the navy issued two warnings to the yacht, saying that they were breaking Israeli and international laws. When the captain ignored the warnings, the ship entered blockaded waters. [More>>jpost.com]

09.28.10 China refuses to release 4 Japanese amid territorial dispute

September 28 - China on Tuesday refused to release four Japanese held for "video graphing military targets" as Tokyo reasserted its sovereignty over disputed islands at the centre of a territorial spat between Asia's traditional rivals and biggest economies. The case of four Japanese men held last week for taking video pictures of "military targets" was "completely different from the incident in the (disputed) Diaoyu Islands, will be fairly handled in accordance with the law," Jiang Yu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told a media briefing here. China had informed Japan of the case and arranged for a consular visit in accordance with a China-Japan consular agreement, she said, giving no clue when they would be released. Except the allegation that they were caught video graphing military targets, China so far has not provided any information about them.

The detention of the four men, employees of the Japanese urban redevelopment company Fujita Corp. was stated to be one of the reasons why Japan released the skipper of a Chinese trawler who was taken into custody on September 7 off the Diaoyu Islands for damaging Japanese Coast Guard vessels. According to their company, they were in China as part of a project to dispose of chemical weapons abandoned by Japanese military in the country at the end of World War II. Diaoyu islands, also called Senkaku islands in Japanese, were administered by Tokyo while Japan, China and Taiwan claimed territorial rights over them. China has called off high-level exchanges with Japan and their relations, which were on mend in recent years, took a turn for worse after the incident.
[>indianexpress.com; See also

xinhuanet.com, September 28, "China demands Japan act to repair ties following trawler row"
: BEIJING - China on Tuesday demanded Japan take practical measures to bring ties back on track after they were strained by the collision of a Chinese trawler and two Japanese patrol boats earlier this month. "If Japan takes its ties with China seriously, Japan should take practical measures to remove the negative effects of the incident and mend bilateral relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing Tuesday. The collision occurred in waters off the Diaoyu Islands, which are claimed as Chinese territory, on Sept. 7. Japan then seized the Chinese trawler and detained the trawler's captain and 14 fishermen on board...

09.28.10 Suicide bomber kills deputy governor of Ghazni province

(AFP) September 28 - A suicide bombing killed the deputy Afghan governor of the troubled province of Ghazni, Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, along with five other people in the south of the country on Tuesday, said police. A suicide bombing on Tuesday destroyed the vehicle of a deputy Afghan governor, killing the official and five other people in the south of the country, police said. Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, deputy governor for the troubled province of Ghazni, was on his way to his office when the attack took place. "The deputy governor has been martyred. His son and his nephew have also been martyred. In total, six people have been martyred," provincial police chief, Delawar Zahid told AFP, describing the bombing as a "suicide attack." [>france24.com]

09.28.10 Divine ignorance: America's religious IQ lacking

(AP) September 28 - A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths. Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ. More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

09.27.10 'Gaza-bound Jewish activist boat will be stopped by navy'

September 26 - Foreign Ministry says the 'Irene' will be rerouted to Ashdod Port; vessel expected to arrive off Gaza coast late Tuesday morning. The Foreign Ministry on Monday insisted that a boat carrying Jewish activists bound for the Gaza Strip would be stopped by the navy before reaching the blockaded territory, AFP reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that if the boat entered the illegal zone off the Gaza coast, it would be stopped and taken to the Ashdod Port. The Irene is on course to arrive in the blockaded Gaza Strip late Tuesday morning, though they consider it likely the Israeli navy will stop them, an activist on board told The Associated Press Monday. "We know that they stopped all the other boats, so there is probably a good chance that they will try to stop this one," activist Yonatan Shapira said by phone from the 33-foot (10-meter) catamaran. [More>>jpost.com]

09.27.10 Bulldozers roll out across West Bank as settlement freeze ends

September 27 - Netanyahu speaks with Clinton, Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah in attempt to salvage peace process. Building work at the West Bank settlement of Ariel restarted Monday morning after a 10-month construction ban expired at midnight on Sunday. Construction of dozens of housing units also resumed in the settlements of Ravava, Yakir and Kochav a Hashachar, where bulldozers began clearing ground for new developments, which received permits before the freeze began. Settlers currently have plans for around 2,000 new homes across the West Bank. Of these, around 600 have up-to-date paperwork and are expected to be completed in the coming months. [More>>haaretz.com]

09.27.10 NATO forces kill dozens of militants in Pakistan after cross-border pursuit

(Reuters) September 27 - NATO helicopters tracked and killed some 30 insurgents on Pakistani soil after pursuing them across the border from eastern Afghanistan following an insurgent attack on a security post in Khost province, NATO forces said on Sunday. Two NATO helicopters killed 30 insurgents on Pakistani soil after a rare manned pursuit across the border from Afghanistan, NATO forces said on Sunday. The two Apache attack helicopters from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) crossed the border from eastern Afghanistan on Friday after the insurgents attacked a remote Afghan security outpost in Khost province.

ISAF spokesman Sergeant Matt Summers confirmed that the helicopters had attacked after crossing into Pakistan. He did not comment on which countries' forces were involved, but the United States is the only coalition member that uses Apaches. The United States regularly uses pilotless drone aircraft for missile strikes in Pakistan's borderlands, known to be a haven for militant groups including the Afghan Taliban who launch cross-border attacks from Pakistan's northwest.

09.27.10 Iran troops cross border to kill 'terrorists'

(AP) September 27 - Iranian forces crossed into neighboring Iraq and killed 30 fighters from a group Tehran said was involved in last week's bombing of a military parade, state TV reported. General Abdolrasoul Mahmoudabadi of the elite Revolutionary Guards told the TV that the "terrorists" were killed in a clash on Saturday "beyond the border" and that his forces were still in pursuit of two men who escaped the ambush. While Iran has said in the past it would target armed groups on Iraqi soil, this is a rare case of it actually admitting to an attack. Iraqi officials complained in the past about Iranian artillery shelling its northern mountainous region where armed Kurdish opposition groups have taken refuge. An explosion during a military parade in the town of Mahabad, in Iran's northwestern Kurdish region, killed 12 women and children on Wednesday. [More>>independent.co.uk]

09.27.10 US, Afghan forces begin battle for Kandahar

KABUL (AP) September 27 - International and Afghan troops have begun a key combat phase against insurgents in southern Afghanistan and expect heavy fighting, officials said Monday, in an operation that is crucial to the US strategy to turn around the nine-year war against the Taliban. The allied forces were moving into two or three areas around Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan at once to pressure the Taliban "so they don't get the chance to run away," Shah Mohammad Ahmadi, chief of Arghandab district northwest of the city, said Monday. "Before, when we have tried to get rid of the Taliban, when we cleaned one area we found more Taliban in a different one," he said. A top NATO officer said Sunday that the alliance a few days ago had launched its "kinetic," or combat, phase of "Operation Dragon Strike," a joint military push with Afghan forces around Kandahar intended to rid the area of insurgents and interrupt their ability to move freely and stage attacks. "It is a significant ground operation with air support," German Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, a NATO spokesman, said at a news conference. "We expect heavy fighting." [More>>foxnews.com]

(updated 9.27.10) 09.26.10 Jewish settlers claim biblical birthright to land

YITZHAR, West Bank (Reuters) - Jewish settler Avraham Binyamin says any Israeli withdrawal from occupied land would be like severing a limb from his body. As one of some 300,000 Israelis living in enclaves built on West Bank land that Palestinians seek for a state, Binyamin expresses a view held by many that the area is a Jewish biblical birthright and must never be relinquished, not even for peace. Though not all settlers object to the US-sponsored peace talks that began on Sept. 2, many are fiercely opposed and say they will do whatever is needed to keep their homes and prevent an accord. "The national being of any people, particularly the Jewish people, is like a body, you cannot give up parts of your body," said Binyamin, 25, a teacher from Yitzhar, a settlement known for its tense relations with neighboring Palestinian villages. The religiously devout father of two says the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be relocated to neighboring Arab lands. "I can sometimes very much understand their pain and their need," he says. "But from the national perspective, it's either me or them — and I prefer it to be me."

Yitzhar, a small hilltop enclave housing 180 families, was built on the site of a military outpost in 1985 and overlooks six Palestinian villages, 45 km (30 miles) north of Jerusalem...The question of settlements has immediately come to the fore at the peace negotiations, with a partial freeze on Jewish building in the West Bank ending on Sunday. The Palestinians have threatened to quit the talks unless the moratorium is extended. They say the settlements, along with building in East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed without international recognition, will make it impossible for them to create a viable state. Israel has so far refused to countenance any extension. "We, as Jews, believe that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel because a divine promise was given to us. The Bible is our legal document," says Binyamin, who serves as a spokesman for Yitzhar, which rarely opens up for the media. To underline the point, most settlers balk at the term "West Bank" for the territory Israel captured in 1967, instead using the region's biblical names, Judea and Samaria.
[Full story>>thestar.com.my]

Editorial note: "Recent history of the annexed territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem." In UN Resolution 181, "Partition of Palestine," 1947, three political regions were carved out of the previous British Mandate of Palestine, (1922-23) and this territory was carved out of the previous Ottoman Empire province of Egypt (1563-1917) which included, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Before that the region has changed hands from the pharoahs of Egypt, such as Rameses II (~1297 B.C.).

Map showing boundaries of the proposed Jewish state, as outlined by the Zionist representatives at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, superimposed on modern boundaries (from [wikepedia.org] Compare this map to the traditional and historic maps in "The Allah Controversy." such as the adjacent "Partition map the land of Canaan," Lyon 1568, from the Yaakov Aviel Collection, 1981. Compare also to Israel National Board of Tourism map of Israel.

After the Exodus from Egypt, the Kingdom of David (1,000 B.C.) dominated the region between Damascus and Sinai (See Maravot's UN Map of Israel & Kingdom of David); then it was overthrown by the Assyrians (721 B.C.), Babylonians (597 B.C.), Persians (539 B.C.), Greeks (332-141 B.C.), Hasmoneans /Herodians (141 B.C.-70 A.D.), Romans (70 A.D.-324 A.D.), Byzantines (324-638 A.D.— the Persians momentarily captured Jerusalem in 614 A.D.); Arabs, beginning with the Umayyed Dynasty (651-974 A.D.) followed by the Crusaders (1099-1187 A.D. and again in 1229-1244 A.D.), Arabs-Ayyubid, (1187 A.D.), the Mamluks (1250-1516 A.D.), followed by the Ottomans. (See jewishvirtuallibary.org for timeline of Jerusalem.)

Prior to UN resolution181, November 29,1947 there had been many appeals to restore the Jews to their former state, including the Balfour Declaration (1917). While many Zionists of the period were not in agreement where the Jews should be located in a new homeland (Some had suggested South America), from the Balfour Declaration came the movement to locate the Jewish diaspora within the British Mandate of Palestine, within their Biblical territories. We can compare the map of the proposed Jewish state from the 1919 Paris Peace Conference to ancient maps going back to the Kingdom of David, such as that shown in Maravot's UN Map of Israel & Kingdom of David and Maravot's map of the
Holy Land from the Yaakov Aviel map collection, and the Partition map of the land of Canaan, Lyon 1568 A.D., from the Yaakov Aviel map collection. Further discussion on the resolution of Palestine and Israeli maps is in Maravot's "Philistia Triumph thou because of me" (a quote from Psalm 60.8) and "The Allah Controversy," a document that examines the conflict of Islam with Western traditions.

The map of Israel drawn in UN Resolution 181 included an area called "The Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem" whose borders extended in the south to Bethlehem. This region was deeded to the United Nations, to be administered by the United Nations. The tentative area for a future state of Palestine was also outlined, subject to receipt and approval by the United Nations of a Declaration of Independence, such as that received and approved from the state of Israel in May 1948. While a Declaration of Independence of Palestine was drawn up in 1988, the document has yet to be recognized with recognized borders for Palestine.

Confusing the issue on the borders of Palestine and Israel is the status of the Old City of Jerusalem. We recall that many of the battles down to the Crusades for control of the Middle East were centered on Jerusalem. The city has always had a strategic significance in controlling the caravan routes between Syria and Egypt. Since the Kingdom of David of 1000 B.C., (David was born of Judea) the prophets of Israel forecasted the future restoration of the Jewish diaspora under a Messiah, son of David. This Messiah was anticipated at the time of Jesus (born ~34 B.C.), evident in the Essene Midrash, including themes such as, " the sons of light versus the sons of darkness" and the Essene appellation calling themselves " the sons of Zadok," found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Zadok was the high priest of King David. The Essenes anticipated that they would be the high priests of the Messiah son of David.). The Gospels, beginning with John the Baptist's call to repentance, claiming that the Kingdom of God was at hand, continued the thesis. Jesus expanded the teachings of John the Baptist, and his followers continued with the identity as the sons of light (seen in the Gospel of John). Following the crucifixion of Jesus his followers practiced sunrise services celebrating his resurrection
no doubt a continuation of earlier Essene sunrise services. Jesus is described in the Gospels as the Messiah (Gr. Christ) born in Bethlehem, Judah, and thus an heir to King David.

A controversy noted in the Gospels surrounded Jesus's refusal to claim the crown of King David. His disciple, Judas, was so distraught over the denial, he bargained with the high priests to expose Jesus to arrest, in part for the crime of claiming to be the Messiah when he was not. Claiming to be the Messiah
when one is not was punishable with death, according to their tradition.

After the crucifixion Jerusalem was subjected to siege by the Roman general and later emperor Vespasian, and he, being called to take the throne, left the siege to his son Titus in 70 A.D. This resulted in the scattering of the Jews (diaspora) and later persecutions, reaching their height under Vespasian's son Domitian (reigned 81-96 A.D.) and finally under the Emperor Diocletian (303-311 A.D.). The formative perceptions against the Jews continued through the ages until now and these perceptions influence modern attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestine issue. Also, condemnations of Jews and Christians among Muslims often reflect the ancient persecutions.

The Roman perception of the Jews was that they were godless, since they worshipped no images, as recalled in the Annals of Tacitus (~80 A.D.):

Tacitus, Annals, V.5 This worship, however introduced, is upheld by its antiquity; all their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children and brethren....some have thought that they worshipped Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean.

This perception carried over to the Christians. Here is what Tacitus says about them:

Tacitus, Annals 15:44 Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace...Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred of mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

After the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews and Christians were scattered and persecuted across the globe. These perceptions of the Jews influenced some of the ideas of the Apostle Paul who blames the Jews for crucifying Jesus. The Jewish practice of separation, particularly at meals, was a major issue conflicting his teachings with those of St. Peter and St. James who led the early Christian Apostolic Church. Also in contrast to St. Peter and St. James who honored the Laws of the Jews (Torah), Paul argued that the law was old and dead, nothing more than "types and shadows" of things to come, i.e., an Old Testament. For instance:

I Corinthians 3.24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
3.25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster
7.6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

After Paul, Christian teachers expanded the condemnation of the Jews. St. Jerome almost repeated the comment of Tacitus:

Jerome, Letter 52 to Nepotianus: ....and if we allow with Paul that the Law is spiritual and call to mind David's words: open thou mine eyes and I shall behold wondrous things out of thy law; and if one these grounds we interpret it as our Lord also interprets it (he has explained the Sabbath in this way [Matt.12.1-8], then, rejecting the superstitions of the Jews, we must also reject the gold; or else, approving the gold, we must approve the Jews as well. For we must either accept them with the gold or condemn them with it.

The persecution of the Jews continued through the Inquisition and exile of the Jews from Spain in 1492 A.D. By the time of Martin Luther this perception of the Jews is recorded:

Martin Luther, tract 1543 A.D. What shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? ..Let me give you my honest advise:
1. To set fire to their synagogues of schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them...this is to be done in honor of our Lord.
2.7 I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed....that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews..all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them..I recommend putting a flail, an ax, an hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hand of young, strong Jews and Jewesses.

Hitler's Nazi government put in place Luther's advise and took it further, producing the Holocaust (meaning "burnt offering") of 6 million Jews and many others. Today, expressing similar anti-Semitic views is the government of Iran (particularly in repeated diatribes by President Ahmadinijad and Ayatollah Khamenei). The Palestinian Hamas faction has not only continued warring against the new state of Israel, it is committed to the destruction of Israel and believed to be supported by the government of Iran.

The Jewish prophets described the scattering and persecution of the Jews which would culminate in their redemption from all the lands from whence they had been scattered. Isaiah 7.15, is an important starting point in this regard, since it was claimed by the early Christians as a forecast of Jesus's birth and right as heir-Messiah of the Kingdom of David. It says:

Isaiah 7.13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
7.14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning "God with us").
7.16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
7.23 And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns.
7.24 With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns.

The Gospels describe the birth of Christ through the Virgin Mary as fulfilling this prophesy. The prophesy describes a "virgin" in the sense of a maiden, an "unmarried woman," who need not necessarily mean a virgin. Most importantly, the prophesy says that the Virgin is a sign of the scattering of the Jews. Of interest is the fact that once the nation of the Jews has been scattered, fulfilling this prophesy, the Sign of the Virgin cannot be seen again. In this context we may justifiably argue that the scattering has been accomplished, fulfilling the prophesies that refer to that event, and now the Redemption is at hand, where the prophesies relating to the Redemption come to play. Much of the prophesy of Isaiah and others deals with the restoration or redemption of the Jews from the nations whence they had been scattered. The redemption prophesies include the appearance of the Messiah during a time called the Last Days or Day of Judgment or Day of Resurrection.

Of interest is the fact that Jewish Midrash, the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls expected two Messiahs, sometimes figured as a King Messiah and a Priest Messiah, one of whom is referred to being after the type of Melkizedek, the high-priest king of Jerusalem at the time Abraham visited it. The appearance of the King Messiah is connected with the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land. This connection also involved a prophesy telling of the reappearance of the prophet Elijah in the Last Days, announcing the coming of the Kingdom.

Again we must point out the confusion as to the time of Jesus and the Essenes, before the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D., whether those days were the "Last Days." We have conversations among the disciples of Christ, and also King Herod, arguing whether Jesus was that king or Elijah and Jesus answered that John the Baptist was Elijah. The Dead Sea Scrolls not only viewed the time as the Last Days they recorded procedures as to the proper reception of the Messiah who would surely visit and lead the Essene community. The mass that they describe is similar to the perceived Last Supper mass of Christ, where Jesus broke the bread and passed the wine to his disciples.

In truth, the disposition of the Holy Land and at its center Jerusalem involves many faiths, first among them the Jews and then the Christians. However, since the capture of Jerusalem by the Arabs, followers of Islam too have placed their claim on the land, with a mosque, the Dome of the Rock, placed to mark the place where Mohammed left the earth on his steed. Under the dome is the highest point of the Temple Mount and the place they believe Abraham built an altar to sacrifice his son Isaac. The peak shows carved stairs to the summit very much like rock altars found in sacred high places in the Middle East, most noteworthy among them being Midas City of ancient Phrygia (see Maravot's Phrigian.html) and pagan rock altars in Armenia. It is not likely, based upon the height and nature of the rock under the Dome, that it would have been located under the original Temple of Solomon.

This brings us to the heart of the competition to possess the Holy Land, as it has always been centered: upon the inheritance of Abraham, beginning at Mount Zion, where the Temple Mount was located. The Temple Mount is administered by a council called a "waqf" under the auspices of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The Golden Gate facing eastward from the Dome of the Rock. The gate was the main gate to the Temple Mount, where the prophets and priests often taught, as well as Jesus. Sultan Suleiman II sealed the gate in 1523.

Today, Muslims worship atop the mount while Jews worship at the base of the mount at a place called the western Wailing Wall, a section of the Herodian Temple destroyed in the siege of Titus in 70 A.D. Jews do not go up to the top of the mount to worship because they believe that they must await the Messiah who they believe, according to the prophets, will rebuild the temple. At the same time, Muslims believe that the Jewish Messiah is a threat to the Dome of the Rock, since all parties seem to believe that the Dome of the Rock will be destroyed by the Jewish Messiah to make room for the new temple. This aversion by Muslims of the Messiah came to a height under the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman II (1523 A.D.) when he sealed up the main gate, the Golden Gate, to the Temple Mount. He not only sealed the gate to prevent the Jewish Messiah, he planted a cemetery in front of it and, when I was in Jerusalem in 1985, there was a wrought iron fence against it. I attempted to walk over to the gate atop the mount but Muslim guards prevented me from doing so.

Setting the boundaries of Israel and Palestine is thus a complex issue, involving the realities of everyday life, historic perceptions and misunderstandings, and those who believe that scripture must be fulfilled. As it was said by the Israeli settler, "In the Jews as a body, Jerusalem is its heart."

On 9.24.10 former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (See Maravot News 9.24.10) urged in an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that a solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict might be through "an international trusteeship in the Holy Basin," which "will not be a sovereign part of either the State of Israel or the state of Palestine..There would be complete and unlimited access for all believers
of course, for Jews to these sites." This is, of course, what the UN Partition of Palestine viewed in the "Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem." Unfortunately, right after Israel declared its independence in 1948, the state of Transjordan (representing what is recognized as the modern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) with other Arab states invaded the West Bank and Jerusalem, occupying them. Though the Arabs refer to Israel as the occupier, the historic fact is that the Arab-Israeli wars declined to accept the UN Resolution of 1947, refusing to accept the sovereignty of the United Nations over its "Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem." The Israelis, through the 1967 Six-day War repelled the Arab invaders, taking possession of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights heights previously occupied by Syria.

It is evident that the world cannot turn back the clock to give all occupied territories to their original possessors. However, since the Arabs
through Mohammed claim an inheritance through the Old Testament and Gospel, as listed in the Koran, we can refer to the will expressed by the patriarch Abraham. It is this will that is referred to by the Israelite settlers, such as Avraham Binyamin. The Old Testament prophets continued to expand upon the Will of Abraham (who listed his son Jacob renamed Israel as the heir of all the lands given to him by God).

This extends to one of the many prophesies that refer to the restoration of the Jews in the Last Days:

Isaiah 62.4: For thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
Isaiah 62.11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Isaiah 62.12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD; and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

There is a way to provide a holy land that gives life to all of those who live on it, for the precept of a land "married to God" prevents others from claiming it as their own. Separating Jerusalem to be governed by the United Nations may be a fair solution to the dilemma of ownership. It is clear from the prophesies if we were to place any credence in them that the intention in the redemption is not only to redeem the Jews to the land of their inheritance but also it would involve the redemption of all men. Jewish Midrash, in fact, has always recognized this precept, that when the Jews are redeemed to the Holy Land all men will be redeemed. Now then, we cannot fathom in such a redemption how tossing the Palestinians off of the same Holy Land would constitute a fair redemption to them. They too must be redeemed. In fact those quarreling over the possession of the land must learn to live with the idea that they are given the right to live off the land, but they will not own it, for to complete the prophesy, "the land will be married [to God]."

Those who draw their inheritance rights using the Bible will eventually reach this epiphany. This includes Muslims who also believe that the Koran confirms the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel of Christ, as the Koran testifies in so many places, such as the verses listed that confirm the Bible in chapter 4 of "The Allah Controversy."

The Cow: 2.100 And now that a book confirming their own [the Jewish scriptures] has come to them from Allah, they deny it, although they know it to be the truth and have long prayed for help against the unbelievers...
AL-AHQAF 46:12 Yet, before it the Book of Moses was revealed, a guide and a blessing to all men. This book confirms it.
The Table 5:44 There is guidance, and there is light, in the Torah which we have revealed...After these prophets we sent forth Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming the Torah already revealed, and gave him the Gospel, in which there is guidance and light, corroborating that which was revealed before it in the Torah...And to you we have revealed the Book with the truth. It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as a guardian over them.

One may wonder how it is that the Muslims concluded that the Jewish Messiah is not the Messiah of all men, and one may further be concerned that Islamic clerics condemn the faith that the Koran claims it was created to confirm. There is no logic in arguments that infer that Allah is not the God of the Bible, or that believers in the Bible would be branded as "kuffars," subject to the death penalty unless they convert to Islam (Re: "The Allah Controversy"). These teachings affect Islamist points of view and at the least inhibit a reconciliation between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Misunderstandings and contradictions continue to be expressed by the leaders involved in seeking the peace of Jerusalem. But rational men should be able to find agreement in the claims of the Koran to confirm the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament), the Gospel of Christ, and the fact that the Koran acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah (Gr. Christ):

The IMRANS 3:45 The angels said to Mary: "Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary.

Of course, if Jesus is the Messiah according to the Koran, his Gospel must apply in the teachings of Islam. Those teachings do not advocate violence against others, but rather tolerance, forgiveness and "turning the other cheek." When all of the parties to peace in the Middle East Christians, Jews and Muslims understand that their faiths derive from the same scriptural foundation, no doubt distortions of scripture to support violent ends will fade away. Perhaps the leaders should do less posturing to possess the land and more listening for the small voice of God.

Mel Copeland

09.26.10 Gas from raw sewage to power rockets

September 26 - Nitrous Oxide from processed sewage could power rockets, researchers say. Nitrous oxide is a particularly vile greenhouse gas and one of the unfortunate consequences of processing sewage. But that's not how a team at Stanford University sees it. In a novel marriage of environmental engineering and rocket science, the nitrous oxide produced at wastewater treatment plants is being used as a propellant for rockets. Rather than blasting off for space though, the idea is to fire up the motors and generate energy to run the plant. "We definitely have to think differently now. These wastewater treatment plants need to become resource recovery centers," Craig Criddle, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, told Discovery News.

Rather than limiting nitrous oxide production, Criddle and colleagues are trying to find ways to boost the amount of gas that can be harvested from ammonia, which forms from the amino acids in proteins consumed by people. Running the gas through a rocket motor converts it into hot air, expelled with with great force. "There's a lot of potential benefit," Criddle said. There's nothing new about using nitrous oxide in rocket fuel. The engine that boosted SpaceShipOne beyond the atmosphere in 2004 to clinch a $10 million prize consumed a mixture of tire rubber and nitrous oxide. It is a clean-burning propellant, producing only pure nitrogen and oxygen gas
basically enriched air as by-products. [More>>abcnews.go.com]

09.26.10 Counter Islamophobia, Muslim nations urged

September 26 - Muslim nations must collectively resist growing Islamophobia in the US and Europe, the head of the world's largest organization of Islamic countries told ministers from the 57 member nations. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to work with Western leaders to dispel misconceptions about their faith. They met on the edge of the UN General Assembly. Ihsanoglu said on Saturday that he would be taking this message on the road next week to Chicago, where the OIC will host a major conference on Islam and Muslims in America at the American Islamic College. Education, he said, is key in helping the West truly understand Islam.

He said his new book, "The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organization of the Islamic Conference, 1969-2009," includes a whole chapter on the danger of growing Islamophobia in the West. Islam has recently been under attack in America, especially with a controversy over a proposed Islamic center near the World Trade Center sites and threats by groups to burn the Holy Quran in a protest. "The Muslim world is going through an unprecedented difficult and trying time,” Ihsanoglu told the ministers during their annual meeting on Friday. “We are facing daunting challenges and severe hardships. Islam and Muslims are under serious attack, and Islamophobia is growing and becoming more rampant and dangerous by the day."

He said a "pandemic of Islam vilification" is sweeping through some parts of Europe and the United States, increasing misperceptions about Islam and eroding Muslims’ human rights. "We need an all inclusive effort of OIC member states to stem this menace," Ihsanoglu told the ministers. "That is why I firmly believe that this question of Islamophobia should figure prominently on the agenda of all OIC member states whenever they deal with their Western counterparts."
[More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related document with letter to Ihsanoglu / OIC, "The Allah Controversy," which explores ways to teach Muslims and others how to escape Islamic violence and its consquences, as seen in "Islamaphobia."]

09.26.10 Morocco fights Islamist extremism with Sufism

RABAT, Morocco, September 26 - Government organizes Sufi seminars and festivals. The rise of Jihadist trends and Salafi political parties as well as growing concerns about Islamism drove the Moroccan government to embark on a plan to support the Sufi movement in the country. By virtue of its focus on religious practices, Sufism, a type of Islamic, mysticism, is a trend that does not aim at intervening in politics or public affairs unlike other emerging Islamic parties in Morocco. Absence of political ambition among Sufi groups has made them the Moroccan government's way of choice to fight extremism. Financial support is among the government's strategies to encourage the spread of Sufism in Morocco. This is basically done through issuing royal donations in the name of King Mohamed VI to "zawyas," shrines in which Sufis perform their rituals.

Promotion of Sufism in the media is another of the government's ways to boost the trend. TV shows are dedicated to broadcasting Sufi "dhikr," Arabic for "remembrance," in which Sufis engage in devotional dancing, recitation, and meditation ceremonies for the purpose of remembering the blessing of God. A series of lectures and seminars have also been launched recently in order to familiarize Moroccans with the principles of Sufism and the philosophy behind its practices.

...“In addition to military incursions, the United States has been resorting to Sufism to fight al-Qaeda and similar organizations throughout the Muslim world.”...By being involved in religious rituals while displaying no political opposition, Boughanem added, Sufism also instills in people the idea that there is no contradiction between being religious and pledging allegiance to the state. This contradicts the principles of Salafi movements which see the modern state as a violation of Islam and demand the politicization of the religion through applying Sharia (Islamic law).
[Full story>>alarabiya.net]

09.26.10 US drone attack 'kills seven in north-western Pakistan'

September 26 - US drone aircraft have killed seven suspected militants in two missile strikes in north-western Pakistan, intelligence officials say. A house and then a vehicle were hit in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan near the Afghan border, they said. Saturday saw at least four militants reported killed in a similar attack in the same area. In the last three weeks, US drone strikes have killed about 100 suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal belt. The US military routinely does not confirm drone operations, but analysts say it has the only force capable of deploying such aircraft in the region. [>bbc.co.uk; See also thenews.com.pk, September 26, "Second predator strike kills 3 militants in NWA."]

09.26.10 Two NATO soldiers killed in bomb blast in Afghanistan

KABUL (RIA Novosti) September 26 - Two NATO servicemen were killed in a bomb blast in south Afghanistan, the military alliance said on Sunday. The servicemen were killed after their armored personnel carrier hit a roadside bomb, the military alliance said. Another two NATO servicemen were killed on Saturday, two in the south and one in the east of Afghanistan. Since the beginning of this year, a total of 536 international forces have been killed in Afghanistan compared to 521 servicemen killed in the entire year 2009. [More>>en.rian.ru]

09.26.10 British aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan

September 26 - A British female aid worker has been kidnapped by suspected insurgents in Afghanistan. The Briton was seized at gunpoint along with three fellow workers, thought to be Afghans, as they were travelling in a convoy to visit an aid project in the Narang district of Kunar. The unnamed woman was believed to be working for the American aid contracting firm Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) which has offices throughout the world, including one in London. Afghan media reported that the group were travelling between Asabad, the provincial capital and Jalalabad, in two vehicles, when they were seized by gunmen. The insurgents stopped them in the Spin Jumaat area of Sawakai district at around 11am, according to General Abdus Saboor Allahyar, the local police chief. He said the DAI workers had not informed the police of their journey. Along with the Briton, her guard, driver and another worker were also seized. A security official said the workers had wanted to attend the opening of a canal refurbishment project tin the Narang district of Kunar. [More>>telegraph.co.uk]

09.26.10 Blast near Fallujah kills 4 Iraqi police

BAGHDAD (AP) September 26 - Violence is latest sign that insurgents could be trying to win back old strongholds. A car packed with explosives blew up Sunday near the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, killing four policemen in the latest sign that insurgents could be trying to win back old strongholds, Iraqi officials said. Attacks elsewhere in the country killed at least four others. Fallujah has been the scene of several recent battles between security forces and suspected Sunni extremists. Two weeks ago, at least seven civilians were killed in a shootout between militants and Iraqi and US commandos during a failed attempt to capture a suspected leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Police and hospital officials in Fallujah, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, said the dead in Sunday's bombing included a police lieutenant colonel. A policeman and two civilians were also injured, the officials said.

In Baghdad, militants killed a government worker in a highway ambush and a Culture Ministry employee died of wounds in a separate shooting in a string of attacks targeting public servants, police and hospital officials said. Another blast killed a passer-by and wounded seven others in Baghdad's mixed Sunni-Shiite Karradah neighborhood. Officials said the bomb appeared to be targeting a police patrol. In the northern city of Mosul, gunman killed two brothers in a drive-by shooting, police officials said. The motive for the attack was not immediately known.


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