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Thursday, April 23

Terrorist JDL to picket Sabeel Conference on Christian Zionism in Vancouver
by The Blogger - 0

The terrorist organization "Jewish Defense League" is ramping up their outrageous  rhetoric and calling on their members to fly from Toronto to picket the Sabeel Conference on Christian Zionism in Vancouver April 23-25, 2015.
On March 27, 2015, the JDL issued a statement talking about the "evil anti-Semitic event in Vancouver that attempts to unify Christian groups with pro-Hamas groups."
Then, on April 7, 2015, they issued another intimidating statement where they called on their supporters to "join and support the JDL Protest at the Pro PFLP Sabeel Terror Recruiting Conference in Vancouver."
Obviously the JDL does NOT know the difference between Hamas and the PFLP, let alone the difference between true Christianity and Christian Zionism.
In the name of the Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver, we call on everyone to support this conference that is debunking Christian Zionism and accordingly Zionism as a settler colonialist ideology.
It is worth noting that the Canadian government treats the terrorist JDL as a legitimate organization (one of their leaders was part of Harper's delegation to Israel last year), while at the same time our government lists all the Palestinian resistance organizations, with no exception, as terrorist groups.
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Trapped Under The Rubble in Gaza
by The Blogger - 0

With heavy and anguished hearts, we are writing to let you know we have canceled Dr. Mona El-Farra's US tour – for now.  

Middle East Children's Alliance

Since the end of February, neither Israel nor Egypt has allowed her to leave Gaza, though Mona has been trying every day. 
 
But along with 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, she has been denied her right to freedom of movement. Israel rejected her request for a permit to leave citing security reasons and Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed with only a few days exception. Of course, the US has been complicit in terms of unconditionally backing Israeli policies, and continues to fund Egypt as well.

Some cities are going forward with events without Dr. Mona, and we will have an updated schedule posted in the coming days. We look forward to bringing Dr. Mona -- with her stories from "Life under the Rubble" -- to the US at another time, hopefully soon. Mona is of course still trying very hard to get out of Gaza, the sooner the better, in order to be with her family in the UK who needs her right now.

What can you do?  We are figuring out next steps and will let you know very soon! Thanks so much for all your support of MECA and the people of Palestine.
 
For justice and liberation,
Ziad, Barbara, Penny, Josie, Danny, Nawal, Deborah, Nancy and Sue
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MORE money to Israel?! Give Democratic sponsor your opinion!
by The Blogger - 1

Dear Friends,
Democrat Derek Kilmer has introduced a bill in Congress to give Israel $286 million ABOVE the already over $8 million per day it gets from American taxpayers.
People may wish to contact Mr. Kilmer about this, particularly since (1) Israel already receives far more U.S. tax money than any other country, and (2) Israel has a record of violent human rights abuses, including its massacre in Gaza last summer.
Mr. Kilmer's Washington DC office can be reached at 202-225-5916.

The legislation is being considered by the House of RepresentativesAppropriations Committee, which is supposed to represent ALL Americans, not just those in Mr. Kilmer's Washington State district.
While this money is allegedly to fund a "joint" project with the U.S., such projects in reality only benefit Israel. When all such disbursements disguised as "joint" projects are added to the direct aid to Israel, the amount of money U.S. taxpayers give to Israel is actually about $10 million per day.

For more information on money to Israel, see our report, "The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans."
Please let us know when you've phoned!
(If you wish to also phone his district offices, these can be seen here.)
We feel it is extremely important for Congressional representatives to hear from voters!


Best wishes, Alison-Signature.png 
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Tuesday, April 21

Leaked emails reveal Hollywood execs at work for Israel
by The Blogger - 0

MEMO - Top Hollywood bosses enjoy a strong relationship with the Israeli government and various pro-Israel lobbying groups across the United States, according to a cache of Sony internal emails leaked to Wikileaks and published for the first time last week.
The emails reveal a dinner between Sony executives and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the presenter of American X-Factor chiding actress Natalie Portman aggressively for her views on Israel; meetings between top entertainment chiefs and the Israeli consulate-general; close ties between Sony's Co-Chairperson and various pro-Israel lobbying groups; and film chiefs planning, in detail, a new documentary about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, about which the emails also reflect rising concern.
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2006 until 2015, was signed up to regular email updates on the security situation in Israel, from a right-wing pressure group called The Israel Project. The group was described by Jewish Daily Forwardin 2010 as a Zionist group which, "Stokes Fear of Islam for Political Profit." The Israel Project has been admonished by the more liberal pro-Israel lobby group J-Street for taking a pro-settler stance. The daily emails sent to Pascal by The Israel Project had subject lines like "Protect Israel from a Nuclear Iran", "Fighting Anti-Israel Hate" and "Hamas Agrees to Ceasefire then Breaks It, Again". Most of the emails, which were being sent as often as once a day, contained requests for financial donations.
Pascal also received an email from the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-Semitism watchdog with close links to the Israeli government, thanking her personally for being amongst eighteen entertainment executives whose names were displayed prominently in an ADL advert in VarietyThe Jewish Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter. The advert quoted Golda Meir from 1957: "We can forgive them [the Palestinians] for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with them when they love their children more than they hate us." The quote was prefaced with additional commentary from ADL: "As talk turns to the future of Gaza, these haunting words of Golda Meir are as current as today's headlines. She could have been talking about Hamas."
Another leaked email exchange shows Pascal, who has since left Sony, being invited to "an intimate salon style discussion" at a J-Street supporter's home, in August 2014. The email emphasised that a special guest would be in attendance, J-Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. Pascal declined the invitation as she was on holiday in Vietnam, but responded, "I'm in for next steps and want to know how to get myself educated [sic]." J-Street bills itself as a "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace" organisation and is regarded as the liberal element of the US pro-Israel lobby.
Another email that Pascal received and responded to shows an organisation called Creative Community for Peace, "a group of influential music execs... which battles the BDS movement... which tries to stop artists performing in Israel" reminding Pascal that they had taken her and her husband on a trip to Israel back in 2007.
"At that time," wrote David Lonner, a top Hollywood executive and Advisory Board Member for CCP, "the war with Hezbollah had just ended and our community had exhibited a great deal of apathy and some ignorance on what Israel was up against." Lonner added: "My hope in the end, was that if there was another crisis, we would not be silent. 7 years have passed since our trip and tragically we are in another crisis with Hamas."
Lonner than claimed that CCP worked with Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Alicia Keys when international pressure nearly prevented them from playing concerts in Israel. The email asked for Pascal's and her husband's signatures on another appeal, this time to "support Israel" during the Toronto Film Festival. Pascal replied to the email, "Count on both us." [sic]
Pascal and her husband Bernard Weintraub also received a personal invitation to attend a private event in September last year with the Israeli Consul-General, according to another email in the leaked archive. Held at the home of media lawyer and marketing tycoon Michael Kassan, the event was billed as "A Special Briefing on the Situation in Israel by David Siegel, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, and Jay Sanderson, President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles." The evening included "cocktails and hors d'oeuvres," and guests were advised to wear "Business Casual Attire."
Another top Sony executive, Michael Lynton, was also emailed by Israeli intelligence operative and veteran film producer Arnon Milchan, arranging for him to have an "intimate dinner" with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The dinner was later held at Milchan's private home in Malibu.
One of the most extraordinary exchanges in the leaked emails came as Hollywood executives discussed Ken Loach's call for "a complete cultural boycott of Israel". "Enough with this pathetic limousine liberals ignorant bs," responded Ben Silverman, Executive Producer of hit shows like The Office, Ugly Betty and The Tudors.
Silverman then claimed that Gazans watching Loach's films will "be lined up and shot in the street for doing so." He asserted that anyone
"with a wife, daughter, mother or sister knows the evil anti woman rhetoric of the sharia Islamists and it is time to draw attention to the fact that you can have a voice and a choice in our democracies and you can have nothing but hate in their monarchies and dictatorships who thrive on censorship that would never allow their works to be shown. Let's go gents. We can't lie down. We must stand up."
Hollywood star Natalie Portman is copied on the email. She complained that she doesn't want her personal email address shared with a group of people she doesn't know. Ryan Kavanaugh, a well-known producer, reported billionaire and Variety magazine's 2011 "Showman of the Year," then reproached her sarcastically.
"Sorry. You are right jews being slaughtered for their beliefs and cannes members calling for the boycott of anything Israel or Jewish is much much less important than your email address being shared with 20 of our peers who are trying to make a difference. my deepest apologies.
I know that you don't care so I'll leave it alone, but I had lunch yesterday with Israel consulate general who brought J street up to me. He was so perplexed confused and concerned when he heard you supported them that he begged me to connect you two. I told him how you felt, you didn't want to hear from or speak to anyone who disagrees with your position. Three times he said "buts she's Jewish and smart."
Just thought you should know"
In another round-robin email, Hollywood executives discussed making a documentary about the recent resurgence in anti-Semitism. The well-respected independent film producer and agent Cassian Elwes suggested,
"How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti-Semitism in Europe I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I'm sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like Loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there."
Copied in on the email are dozens of Hollywood names, including Natalie Portman and fellow actress Scarlett Johansson, executives at Lionsgate ProductionsMGM and Fox, X-Factor presenter and producer of "Keeping up with the Kardashians" Ryan Seacrest, and several high profile actors' agents. One unidentified executive called the proposed documentary "A brilliant idea." Also copied is Amy Pascal of Sony, who writes "Me too," in response.
Jason Binn, the owner of luxury shopping website Gilt, then offered to promote the film to its nine million members and the three million readers of his luxury magazine DuJour.
Glenn Feig, owner of the entertainment law firm Reder and Feig, offered pro bono legal services for the planned documentary, before copying in his client Ram Bergman, producer of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII and Star Wars Episode IX, and the thriller Looper, which starred A-Listers Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Also copied in on the email discussion about the upcoming film is Elliot Brandt, who was named in September 2014 as National Managing Director for the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying and political financing organisation. The emails reveal anxiety amongst the predominantly Jewish film executives regarding the rise of anti-Semitism.
One round-robin email, sent out by Bart Rosenblatt of Code Entertainment, is entitled "Too close to home." It details a hate crime at Emory University in October 2014 in which swastikas were scrawled onto a Jewish fraternity house. Executives also emailed each otherarticles from The Guardian newspaper saying that anti-Semitism "was at its worse since the Nazis", and an article claiming that Germany is now a no-go area for Jews.
"We can continue to be silent and pretend this isn't happening because it is not in our country yet. We can ignore the anti-Semitism akin to pre ww2 Germany... now lining the streets of London, France, Germany and around the world. We all may think we're protected here in the free US. We are not. It had now hit our doorstep and yet we remain silent?"
Another producer, Ron Rotholz, argued that
"many lines are being crossed ... it's a new reality for us. The tacit and subtle recognition of Hamas as a legitimate government with legitimate policies and a legitimate charter, by Western governments is a hate crime on a global scale"
Rotholz also called out the UK's National Union of Students:
"In the UK as you well know there has been a shocking rise in anti-Israel and anti-Semitism on university campuses here, both in terms of faculty and students and student orgs such as the potent and powerful NUS ( Natl Union of Students which holds great weight within the natl. Labour Party ).
The NUS has a long history of anti-Israel leadership and policy and their rhetoric and policies have become much more aggressive in the last year or so ... The intimidation of Jewish students, and those who support Israel in UK universities both by administrators, faculty and students is widespread, commonplace and alarming ... it's a dire situation and quite shocking in a nation which prides itself on tolerance and civility."
Those working on the anti-Semitism documentary also discussed who should present the film. One producer said that the project would need "a really good director who on the face of it doesn't seem completely biased, so that we can show something that gets the message across without making it seem like propaganda."
Organisers also planned to lean heavily on European institutions to make the film, anticipating good support. One executive wrote,
"I think we will get full cooperation from the impt media in europe, the eu, the current conservative govt. in the uk, the current govt in france, angela merkel in germany, many academics ( def at Oxford, Cambridge, LSE ) and of course, major jewish orgs in the uk france germany and in most eu countries ... This documentary is an essential tool for spreading our message."
Please follow on Twitter @AlastairSloan for more updates.
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Friday, April 17

Your support is needed urgently Hands Off the Lancet
by The Blogger - 0

Dear everyone:

As you probably know, the attacks against Richard Horton and the Lancet have continued unabated since Jul 2014.

And at this stage, it is becoming necessary to go public with a response to the latest complaint to Reed Elsevier which summarizes the issue beginning July, in defense of Richard and the Manduca letter publication in the Lancet during the onslaught on the Gaza Strip  in the summer of 2014 (An open letter for the people of Gaza), and asserting the importance of not stifling  medical journal editors and debates.

Our response is now public, and we are soliciting supporting signatures.

Please go to the following website to read our response:

http://handsoffthelancet.com/

We urge you to endorse our response by signing on.

Should you be willing to endorse , please go to the indicated section on the website entitled SUPPORTING SIGNATORIES which follows immediately after the names of the Writing Group and click  the word 'here' to access the page ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LIST OF SUPPORTING SIGNATORIES.

Please distribute widely as we would appreciate as many supporting signatures as possible soon.

Many thanks.
Rita
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The Refugee Relief Campaign
by The Blogger - 0

Salam everyone:),

With great excitement and anticipation, I share with you the launching of an important fundraising campaign I've been working on to help support projects in the Aida Refugee Camps near Beit Lahem & Gaza Refugee Camp in Jarash. In a few short weeks, I will be visiting these camps where I will be participating first hand in the over sight of the projects your donations will be sustaining. 

Please help me reach my goal by contributing or by forwarding this posting to your friends & contacts. 
Thank you very much!

I hope this letter finds all in the best of health & spirits.
As a Palestinian in the diaspora, many of you know that I've always been eager to find ways to give back to our people and advance our cause in some of the best ways I knew how. One of the nearest and dearest issues to my heart has been to address the many challenges faced by the displacement of our Palestinian refugees specifically those directly impacted by occupation and the instability of our region. I decided to join Al-Awda The Palestine Right to Return Coalition organization over eight years ago with that focus in mind—I wanted to help raise awareness in our communities about the human and legal rights of Palestinian refugees, while organizing efforts that offer humanitarian aid and empower them with projects that nurture their autonomy. 
I've had the honor of organizing numerous relief efforts with my colleagues at Al-Awda and with several humanitarian organizations across the US. Together we managed to raise thousands of dollars that helped alleviate some of the suffering and hardships of our refugees in Gaza, Tanaf camp, Al-Waleed camp, Yarmouk camp & the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon. This year I have new two new projects that I will be personally working on and fundraising for: Aida Refugee Camp near Beit Lahem and the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jarash. I’m seeking your help to achieve my goal of raising $40k. 
I chose to fund raise for these two specific camps because not only are they in dire need of support to execute their valuable programs, but also because of their highly appraised reputation and commitment to transparency. Lajee center in Aida, for example, is known to be one of the most active and transparent organizations in the West Bank; Last year they received a 9.4 out of 10 by the European Union for clarity in their financial reports. As a result, the EU funded the camp with a three-year program to work with 12 other refugee camps in the West Bank. I personally visited the Lajee center in 2010 & 2012 and was very impressed with their efforts and resourcefulness in combating the different challenges they've been facing—especially after Israel built the wall around the camp, which is home to over 6000 refugees, and where more than half of them are children under the age of 18.
I also chose the Gaza Refugee Camp this year after I learned about it from our Imam who has been generously supporting several of their projects for the past 3 years. The camp has an estimated 30,000 Gazan refugees who have no ID number in the country and have harder time obtaining jobs, therefore its very expensive for them to complete their education. In turn, I got connected with the Co-founder at “Hopes for Women in Education” who has been working tirelessly with her team to manage several vital projects in the Gaza Refugee camp, that hopefully your generous donations will help sustain.
Here are the projects your donations will be sponsoring: -
Aida Refugee Camp:
1- Lajee Center’s Music Project: 
2- Lajee Center’s Rooftop Gardens.
Gaza Camp’s project:
1.  Hopes for women in Education
2.  Sitti Soap project
I will be going in July to visit both refugee camps, and will personally make sure that 97 cents of every dollar you spent goes directly to help the project that you choose to support. The remaining 3% will be used for expenses such as wiring funds and preparing the reports that would verify how your donations were spent. Your donations are guaranteed tax deductible and you will be issued a receipt for the donated amount. And of course, I will update you with reports and photos on the progress of these efforts as they happen.
The good news is, I've already received one donation of $10,000 towards my goal of $40,000—With your generous support, we can help refugee children and families receive some of the relief and support they desperately need by way of someone you personally know and hopefully trust. 
Please don’t hesitate to help in anyway-- every dollar counts. Thanks so much in advance, your support will go a long way. To support, please click on this link http://igg.me/at/refugeerelief
Sincerely, 

Amani Barakat
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PRESENTING Karl Sabbagh
by The Blogger - 0

I met many people in my short visit to Europe (and I am really home
sick to Palestine). The most interesting was Lebanese Soha Beshara.
Soha gave a talk on Gaza in France. It was very moving. Soha spent 10years in the infamous Al-Khayyam prison in South Lebanon during theIsraeli occupation. She was tortured like many who spent time in thatprison. She, a Lebanese Christian, had shot Antoun Lahd (the criminalwho worked as a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation). Reading her book in its Arabic version on the way from Geneva to Oslo was
educational. I had read the English version a few years ago. The book
puts the era of the occupation in perspective and gives us lessons
about today’s world (e.g. about security coordination and
subcontracting management of local population to local collaborators).
It is really fascinating. I also learned so much from talking to
people - those we agree with and those we don’t. Now in Oslo for the
Arab Film Festival just met Nadine Salib from Egypt (film “Mother of
the Unborn”) and we will have many good films to screen and discuss
including the one about my village called “The Wanted 18”. For more on
this festival see www.filmfrasor.no

Much work accumulated for us in Palestine in our many areas (the
clinical laboratory, the museum administration, the research, the
student papers, the visitors who will come see us, the writing, the
conferences, etc). So it is hard to be away but the time here is
important to reflect and reset some priorities while encouraging me to
proceed in other areas even in stronger. And the contacts we made are
always good and some collaboration likely will produce fruits to serve
Palestinian youth. I also recruited some volunteers who will come work
at the Museum.

Invitation: Lectures at the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Mar
Andrea Campus of Bethlehem University

Thursday April 23rd, 4 PM

Karl Sabbagh: Why the World Needs a Museum of the History of Palestine.

Although Palestinians know their own history only too well, many
people in the west have only the vaguest of ideas about the history of
the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. If they
understood the history better they would have a much clearer idea of
the rots of the dispute between the Palestinians and the Jews. Karl
Sabbagh presents a proposal for a Museum of the History of Palestine,
to be built in a major western capital.

Bio: Karl Sabbagh is a British Palestinian, the son of Isa Khalil
Sabbagh from Safad. He is a documentary producer, a writer and a
publisher, based in the UK. Among his many works “Palestine: A
Personal History” and “Britain in Palestine”.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
http://palestinenature.org
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Tuesday, April 14

Settlers and intelligence officers storm al-Aqsa courtyards
by The Blogger - 1

Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY- Israeli settlers, and elements of the occupation intelligence stormed on Monday morning the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Mughrabi gate amid tight security of the Israeli police.
Media coordinator of the Foundation for Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem Firas al-Debes told "ALRAY" that 15 settlers spread over two groups including 6 elements of intelligence stormed the Al-Aqsa courtyards.
Al-Debes pointed out that the Palestinian worshipers confronted incursions’ settlers, and prevented them from performing religious rites and prayers of Talmudic within Aqsa.
He explained that the Israeli police seized the personal cards of a number of worshipers within Aqsa in an attempt to crack down on them.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is witnessing almost daily series of incursions and violations by settlers and Jewish extremist groups amid tightening the noose on the Palestinian worshipers, especially women.
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Monday, April 13

One of the reasons that Israel keeps the War on Gaza going
by The Blogger - 1

For Israeli arms makers, Gaza war is a cash cow!

This article from Haaretz | dated Aug. 11, 2014 says it all.


Factories worked around the clock turning out munitions as the army tested their newest systems against a real enemy. Now, they are expecting their battle-tested products will win them new customers.

By Shuki Sadeh






Far from the fighting in the Gaza Strip and the rocket attacks that have pummeled Israel from south to the Sharon, some 300 employees of Israel Military Industries in Nazareth haven’t left their assembly lines for a minute in the past four weeks. They have been working in shifts, 24 hours a day, to ensure a regular supply of 5.56 mm bullets to Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Others have been hard at work turning out highly sophisticated Kalanit and Hatzav tank shells for the Artillery Corps. The shells, which are fired above the heads of militants armed with anti-tank weapons, exploding in midair above them and releasing shrapnel, were both used on a massive scale for the first time in Operation Protective Edge.

For some years now the state-owned IMI has had an image problem, in part due to it enormous debts and management’s cozy ties with the union locals and the political establishment. Next to the two other big government-owned defense companies, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, until recently IMI looked decided dowdy, low-tech and crony-ridden. Three months ago the state signed a recovery accord with IMI, which offered a generous severance package of 1.3 million shekels ($370,000) to any employee who took voluntary early retirement. Early next year the government plans to hold a tender to privatize the company, and by early 2016 IMI should be in private hands.

Image aside, for several years IMI has very quietly been developing more sophisticated products than bullets, rifles or hand grenades. For example, its new, super-smart MPR-500 multipurpose rigid bomb, which is designed to penetrate reinforced concrete structures and other difficult targets, was first used operationally in Protective Edge. Today, back orders for the bomb total 5.6 billion shekels.

IMI has built the foundations for a more successful business, and in a market where violence erupts every few years a new round of violence erupts, a dependable customer with the IDF and a classroom to test its equipment.

“IMI cooperates with the IDF and the defense establishment in adapting quick solutions for changing needs,” says UMI chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Udi Adam. “The defense industry is in a perpetual learning mode together with the IDF and the Defense Ministry to examine the weapons systems that were introduced for initial operational use in Operation Protective Edge, as well as weapons systems that have been in operational use for a long time.”

One unit of IMI has already been privatized. Israel Weapon Industries, which makes the Tavor assault rifle that is used today by most of the infantry, is owned by Samy Katsav and is considered one of the world’s six leading light-weapons manufactures. The SK Group comprises several companies that supply the IDF.

Israel Shipyards, for example, makes missile boats and the Shaldag patrol boat for the Israeli military, while Meprolight manufactures sights for sniper rifles and night-vision equipment. As is the case for all companies in the group, Meprolight’s most important customer is the IDF, even if 90% of the company’s sales are to foreign countries,.
“After every campaign of the kind that is now taking place in Gaza, we see an increase in the number of customers from abroad,” says Meprolight CEO Eli Gold, adding, “Of course, we marketing abroad aggressively, but IDF operations definitely affect marketing activity.”

Protective Edge’s marketing edge
“Battle-tested” is the best marketing slogan for defense industries the world over, so for Israeli military manufactures Operation Protective Edge has yielded a major competitive edge.

“For the defense industries this campaign is like drinking a very strong energy drink — it simply gives them tremendous forward momentum,” says Barbara Opall-Rome, Israel bureau chief for the U.S. magazine Defense News. “Combat is like the highest seal of approval when it comes to the international markets. What has proven itself in battle is much easier to sell. Immediately after the operation, and perhaps even during, all kinds of delegations arrive here from countries that appreciate Israel’s technological capabilities and are interested in testing the new products.”

That was also the opinion of veteran military correspondent Amir Rapaport, editor of Israel Defense, which covers the local defense industry. “From a business point of view, the operation was an outstanding thing for the defense industries,” he says. “There are two main reasons for that. First, the cloud of budget cuts and project cancellations has been lifted. I believe that after the operation, Israel’s defense budget will be increased and projects that were frozen will be revived. Second, during the weeks of the war, new products were introduced for the army’s use. The war is an opportunity to cut red tape. Weapons systems that have long been under development suddenly became operational during the course of the fighting.

Operation Protective Edge saw many weapons systems and other technology that had been under development since the time of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 enter the field of battle, for instance a unique communications system designed to link air, sea and ground forces to the same infrastructure. “It’s very difficult to defeat an enemy like Hamas, which is a guerrilla organization, but in terms of technology the victory is quite clear,” says Rapaport.

“The operation has a potential to promote defense exports, mainly systems that have proven themselves,” says Maj. Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom, who now deals in defense equipment and other business. “The industry will also benefits as the [Israeli] defense establishment rebuilds inventories. Also, in this war we saw that the army has new needs, especially in regards to tunnels. In my opinion, there will now be an accelerated process of development for that. There’s a financial incentive both for the developers and the manufacturers.”

Yatom contends that the course of Operation Protective Edge shows that future weapons systems must be designed to combat guerrilla organizations rather than conventional armies. One example of the likely change is increased demand for thermal-imaging night-vision equipment, rather than the Starlight technology, based on available light, that is currently more common in the IDF. “Thermal-imaging night-vision equipment is not affected by glow of bombs and by urban lighting, so it makes identification easier,” he explains.

Gold confirms that the army is already thinking about this issue. “During the war the IDF took an interest in this subject,” he says. “But still it’s hard to estimate how things will turn out, because the IDF has yet to formulate a view on the matter. The product itself is not new, and we’ve already sold it to various armies worldwide.”

On the other hand, not everyone thinks that a successful campaign means an increase in defense exports. Maj. Gen. (res.) Isaac Ben Yisrael, a former director of the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Directorate, cautions that the success in Israel of a certain military system does not necessarily carry over to foreign sales.

“Iron Dome, for example, is one of the main developments in this war,” he says, “but there’s no demand for it in the world, because other countries don’t face a similar threat. Besides, after the war most of the money channeled into the defense budget will be used for restocking inventories, so that the money that would normally be directed toward developing combat systems will decrease.”
He says that despite the criticism being heard about the size of the defense budget, Israel has no choice but to increase the army’s R&D spending. That should be done by channeling profits from the government defense industries into the IDF’s R&D units, he says, rather than handing them over to the Finance Ministry, which funnels this money into the general state budget.
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Sunday, April 12

UN OFFICIAL SLAMS CANADIAN GOVERNMENT INACTION ON YARMOUK CATASTROPHE
by The Blogger - 1

Senior UN official Chris Gunness was sharply critical of the Canadian government this week over its refusal to give humanitarian aid to starving civilians trapped in Yarmouk, Syria. 
Read more.
April 8th. In a lengthy interview today on CBC’s flagship program “The Current”, Chris Gunness, chief spokesman for the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees discussed the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Yarmouk. Yarmouk is a Palestinian refugee camp located near the centre of Damascus, Syria.
The Yarmouk Camp was created for Palestinian refugees in 1948, just outside the centre of Damascus. It is now a neighbourhood in the middle of a greatly expanded city.
“The Palestinian refugees trapped by the desperate fighting in Yarmouk are literally starving. On average, they have been living on less than 400 calories a day for over a year”, indicated Gunness. He pointed the finger at countries such as Canada, which voted to create the refugee agency, but refuse to provide necessary funding.
Gunness indicated that The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) faces several obstacles to providing much needed food and medical supplies to desperate civilians. The fierce fighting between opposing forces has resulted in a sharp deterioration in the conditions for thousands trapped in Yarmouk. In addition, UNRWA faces a desperate financial crisis on several fronts as the situation in Syria comes at the same time as there is great need for assistance in Gaza.
”Today, we ran out of food, and now it’s the first day without water. No aid at all is getting into the camp.  We have been under siege here for 750 days.’ – PALESTINIAN IN YARMOUK CAMP, A FEW DAYS AGO
“An inconceivable human tragedy”, is the way the Israeli daily paper Ha’aretz described the situation, calling on the Israeli government “to put politics aside” and help the desperate people. However, Haaretz proposed that the refugees be allowed to enter the West Bank, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The paper avoided mentioning that the Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk are actually from today’s Israel. They were expelled from the Galilee in 1948 when it was incorporated into the new State of Israel and have been trapped in refugee camps in Syria ever since.
Canada has historically been an important funder of UNRWA, providing about $11 million annually. However, the Harper government stopped all funding for the agency in 2010.
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Thursday, April 9

Deir Yassin to Yarmouk and beyond
by The Blogger - 0

On 9 April 1948, my mother’s friend in school (both 18 at the time in
teacher school in Jerusalem) chose to go back to her village of Deir
Yassin. That was the last time my mother saw Hayah Balbisi was dead in
a massacre. April 9th is a day before good Friday on our Eastern
Christian Traditions. My mother now 82 years old told me not to travel
and that she has been having bad dreams. I reassured her even though
my own heart sends me negative signals. Deair Yassin was not the first
or the largest massacre committed by Zionist forces during that era of
ethnic cleansing. But it was prophetic and emblematic for us because
its deliberate effect was magnified to scare the villagers (even some
survivors were paraded in the streets of Jerusalem and loudspeakers
told of more impending massacres). Dozens of massacres were indeed
committed just in the six weeks leading up to Israel’s creation and
more after. 534 villages and towns were depopulated in the bizarre
20th century attempt to transform a multicultural/ multireligious
Palestine to become the “Jewish state of Israel”. 67 years later
massacres are still being committed whether in Gaza last year or in
the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. Yarmouk was home to 160,000
Palestinian refugees. It was the largest Palestinian refugee camp. It
was besieged and starved. People ate grass and over 200 died of
starvation. Now the fanatical forces calling themselves the Islamic
state entered the camp, burned Palestinian flags, and spread their
terror on the remaining civilians. Necks were cut and women were
raped. Different but connected perpetrators.

These and other thoughts race through the mind from 11,000 meters
above the ground on my way to Paris. A flight was canceled and I had
to fly to Athens then Larnaca (Cyprus) then Paris. Larnaca airport is
full of Israelis because that is the closest European airport to Lod
(renamed BenGurion) Airport. Cyprus is used also as a transit point
for the tens of thousands of Mossad agents that travel back and forth
to some 140 other countries. Countless teams of assassins passed
through this airport I left behind. I also think of other massacres
committed in places I know well (like Kenya) or places I do not know
well (like the deliberate downing of an Iranian civilian aircraft by
the US and that of a German airplane by a terrorist on French soil).
But then I thought how can I gain a bigger perspective on our lives
and all these tragedies? Here in we are tiny creatures among 7 billion
“humans” that have spread around and damaged this beautiful blue
planet. A planet that is small in a small inconspicuous solar system,
one of billions of solar systems in this galaxy, itself a small galaxy
among billion and billions of galaxies. Maybe we take ourselves too
seriously, I thought. How can I help get people to know that there is
enough resources to feed everyone (now over a billion go hungry). The
scientist in me want to find logical explanations for why people kill
each other and do not simply share and care for one another. I try to
convince myself with my own words to visitors to Palestine: lighting a
candle better than cursing the darkness, first do no harm, travel the
path of your conscience even if few are doing it, etc. Maybe lack of
sleep makes my mind wonder into Budhist philosophies (Joyful
participation in the sorrows of this world) and to mystic philosophies
(Rumi’s words come slushing around my brain). These thoughts are like
shields to help us in this stark reality. The reality is that the vast
majority of people on this airplane and the thousands I left behind at
the airport do not know and do not care. Yarmouk, Deir Yassin,
Tantura, Sabra and Shatila and others represent a heritage for us
Palestinians and the few other humans who care. A country was robbed,
7 million of us are refugees or displaced people. Zionists are happy
they succeeded in getting Arabs and Muslims to kill each other whether
in Yemen or Syria.As the pilot announces descent to Paris, I think of
the French equivalent of the Balfour declaration (Jules Cambon
declaration of French support for Zionism also issued 1917). But I
know I am a minority and most people on this airplane are thinking of
their next meal, of sex, of work obligations, of other thoughts.
Perhaps that is how it was and how it will be. Perhaps all we can do
is try our best (successfully or not) to create a ripple effect for a
better more peaceful world. Perhaps that I and fellow volunteers at
the Palestine Museum of Natural History are trying to do. Perhaps, as
the old song says: in the end only kindness matters.

It is good to be here in beautiful Paris with Eitan and Tal and all
the other good people. But I already miss my mother and miss
Palestine.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
http://qumsiyeh.org
http://palestinenature.org
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