James Dobson has resigned as chairman of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family.
Jim Daly, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry, said Friday that Dobson will continue to host the organization's flagship radio program and speak out on moral issues.
The departure of the 72-year-old Dobson as board chairman is part of a succession plan. He founded the group in 1977.
Dobson began relinquishing control of the group six years ago by stepping down as president and CEO.
Dobson Resigns - Article
Friday, February 27, 2009
James Dobson has resigned as chairman of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family.
Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni ended her meeting with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, after the latter refused to include the "two states for two people solution" in his government's basic guidelines.
"Two states (one for the Israelis and one of the Palestinians) is not an empty slogan," Livni said as she left the meeting. "Unity is not just sitting in a government together. It also means sharing a way."
The two officials met at a Tel Aviv hotel for about two hours.
"I came to meet with the Likud chairman for a second time in order to hear about his vision and the way he wishes to implement. Israel is facing challenges. I told him Kadima would support any right moves by the government.
"In order to deal with the challenges I wanted three fundamental things which you are aware of," she said. "Two states is not an empty slogan. It's the only way Israel can remain Jewish and fight terror. It's a matter of principle.
"We discussed the issues. I didn't see any commitment on Bibi's part to these issues. The meeting ended without any understandings, and we cannot be part of Netanyahu's government," Livni stated, vowing to act as "a responsible opposition".
After the meeting Netanyahu said that even during the elections campaign he had promised to form a unity government.
"I appealed to Mrs. Livni and told her that. Unity calls for compromise. I was willing to make compromises in her favor – I proposed to her that we write the basic guidelines together, an equal number of portfolios, two out of three," he said.
"I said that I plan to promote negotiations (with the Palestinians) and I said that we would promote civil marriage and also a change of the governmental system. I believe the gaps can be bridged. I was met with complete refusal for unity on her part, and refusal to set up teams. I saw no willingness for unity in Livni," the Likud chairman added.
MK Gideon Sa'ar, head of the Likud's coalition negotiations team accused Livni of operating on personal motives.
"During the elections campaign, both Bibi and Tzipi said they wanted unity. Livni has adamantly refused unity. She has not even agreed to setting up teams. Unity means compromise. Livni is torpedoing unity out of personal motives," he said.
The Likud leader's associates made it clear before the meeting that he would not accept the "two states for two people" formula. Senior Kadima officials clarified that Netanyahu's commitment to a peace process was insufficient, stressing that the world now views the Annapolis process as the foundation of any negotiations.
Livni wont join - Article
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Israel Air Force struck several smuggling tunnels located near the Gaza Strip town of Rafah just hours after Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot, the IDF reported on Thursday.
Gazans use the tunnels under the border with Egypt to smuggle weapons, food and other goods into the blockaded territory.
A Qassam rocket fired by Palestinians in north Gaza Thursday morning exploded in the yard of a home in Sderot. No injuries were reported, but a woman and her son were treated for shock, and two adjoining homes sustained minor damage.
The Color Red siren, which warns residents of incoming projectiles, sounded in Sderot and surrounding communities at around 8:30 am; the rocket fired at Sderot landed shortly thereafter, and another Qassam fired by Palestinian gunmen landed near Sderot's industrial zone, causing no injuries or damage.
The owner of one of the damaged homes said "the rocket hit a tree situated between our two houses, but the other house sustained most of the damage.
Wednesday morning also saw two rockets fired towards the Negev region. No injuries were reported. The Israeli Air Force retaliated a few hours later by striking seven weapons smuggling tunnels in the southern Strip. No casualties were reported in the attack.
Rafah Tunnels - Article
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Pilot operation of Russian-built nuclear reactor in Bushehr carried out using virtual fuel rods in presence of Iranian, Russian atomic energy heads. Further tests using real low-grade uranium rods expected towards end of year, while date of opening of reactor to be announced at press conference Wednesday evening.
Iran began a test run on its nuclear power plant in Bushehr on Wednesday. According to Iranian reports, the pilot operation was carried out using virtual fuel rods and not real ones.
According to the report, the experiment is meant to test the various technical systems installed in the reactor. Virtual fuel has been loaded into the plant, and the material consists of lead that is meant to imitate enriched uranium needed to run the plant.
Experts believe, in the event that Wednesday's pilot is successful, that the next experiment will be carried out with real fuel rods by the end of the year.
Iran Test - Article
Monday, February 23, 2009
The human rights group Amnesty International, said it found evidence that Israel and Hamas had both used weapons supplied from overseas to carry out attacks on civilians, accusing both sides of committing war crimes during the three-week conflict at the start of the year. It accused Israel of using white phosphorous and other weapons from the US and said Barack Obama had a "particular obligation" to suspend military aid over their use.
Amnesty called for the UN Security Council to enact an arms embargo until mechanisms were put in place to ensure that equipment was not used to commit violations of international law.
"Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes," said Donatella Rovera, who headed an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza.
"Their attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of children and other civilians, and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure."
The report also said Hamas and other Palestinian groups should be subject to the embargo because they had committed war crimes by attacking Israeli towns with rockets.
"Though far less lethal than the weaponry used by Israel, such rocket firing also constitutes a war crime and caused several civilian deaths," Ms Rovera said.
Both sides have dismissed the report.
"We urge the UN Security Council to impose an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are found to ensure that munitions and other military equipment are not used to commit serious violations of international law," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East director.
"In addition all states should suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk of human rights violations.
"There must be no return to business as usual, with the predictably devastating consequences for civilians in Gaza and Israel."
Amnesty International - Article
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon Saturday morning landed near a home in Israel's western Galilee region. Three members of the family residing in the home sustained mild injuries in the attack, and two more suffered from shock. The wounded were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics and then evacuated to a hospital in Nahariya. The structure was damaged.
Security sources in Lebanon said a second Katyusha landed in Lebanese territory. IDF forces opened fire toward the area from which the rocket fire emanated, and army officials said they hold Lebanon responsible for the attack. According to Lebanese officials, the IDF fired six shells.
Sources said the 122-milimeter rockets may have been discharged prematurely due to a technical malfunction that resulted from the inclement weather conditions.
Inclement weather, theres a new excuse to attack Israel, whats next, Global warming?
A report of an explosion at one of the Galilee's communities was received at approximately 8 am; residents initially thought the noise was related to the stormy weather, but then realized it was the result of a rocket attack after detecting smoke billowing from the damaged house and hearing the cries of the family members, who were asleep when the rocket hit.
The commander of the local police station, Superintendent Victor Buskila, said "the rocket landed in an open area in close proximity to a house; damage was caused to two homes, and all of the injuries are mild."
Shrapnel hit the room of a 14-year-old boy, who was sleeping in another room when the rocket landed near his home. His sister, who was lightly wounded, said: "we were in the room when we suddenly heard a loud blast. At first we thought it was thunder, but then the windows shattered and black smoke filled the room. We began to scream. My younger brother was crying, so my parents came and took him out of the room. Within minutes neighbors, ambulances and police arrived – they told us a Katyusha had landed near out house. We were in shock."
The head of the local council said the siren did not sound prior to the strike. "It's miracle no one was killed. Had the rocket landed just a few meters to the north, it would have had disastrous consequences."
This is not the first of these attacks, there have been numerous, and some are concerned of a possible flare up with Lebanon.
Katyusha rocket - Article
Friday, February 20, 2009
President Shimon Peres announced Friday he has decided to task Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the next government.
"Most of the factions have expressed their desire to see a broad government being established, and I asked Mr. Netanyahu that this wish will be reflected in the makeup of the government," Peres said at a press conference in his official residence.
"The people of Israel need governmental stability in order to deal with the challenges that lie ahead," the president added.
In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the challenges facing Israel: "Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our existence since the War of Independence. Iran's terror wings surround us from the north and south".
The Likud leader called on members of all factions, "those who recommended and those who didn't," to put all the disagreements aside and focus on the good of the state.
Netanyahu urged Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak to "join hands" with him, and said that he wished to meet with the two first, for the sake of national unity.
Netanyahu, who was the first to meet Peres, told the president that he understood the need for a unity government. "Immediately after you task me with forming the coalition, I will invite Kadima for negotiations," said the Likud leader.
"I'm willing to go far in order to establish such a government," he stated.
Shortly after their meeting concluded, Livni arrived at the president's residence in Jerusalem. After the meeting she said: "Whoever is willing to forsake all his values in order to sit in the coalition is unworthy to sit in that spot. There is a coalition here based on a lack of political vision, a coalition that will not allow me to exercise the way of Kadima.
"A broad coalition has no value if it does not lead the way. I cannot be a cover for a lack of way," added Livni.
Livni's associates stressed that unless Netanyahu agrees to rotation, "there's nothing to talk about."
Likud Selected - Article
Thursday, February 19, 2009
President Shimon Peres is expected to summon Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni for private meetings as early as Friday, a source from the President's Residence said Thursday.
In the meetings, Peres is expected to stress to the two party leaders the need for the formation of a broad unity government.
In recent days, sources from the President's Residence said a final decision by the president on who to task with the formation of the government would take longer to reach, due to the complexity of the situation.
However, after Netanyahu's Likud party received a majority of 65 supporters, it seems the decision could be made before the weekend. Receiving the support of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party brought Netanyahu one step closer to heading the next government.
Lieberman made it clear to the president that he opposes a power-sharing rotation government, and demanded a broad government be established. "A government made of six parties with 65 mandates will be a survival government. This is not a government that will be able to make serious moves. And therefore we tell the members of the Likud to start thinking differently.
"Netanyahu will be prime minister, but this will be both Netanyahu and Livni's government, and Tzipi must get used to the idea that rotation (sharing of power) is not an option," he said.
Private Meeting - Article
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Clinical trial of Technion-developed device that detects cancer, including its type and location, ends with positive results at 92% success rate!
The research showed that the electronic nose is capable of efficiently and accurately distinguishing between cancer patients and healthy people, and could even detect the location and nature of the tumor.
One of the most difficult battles in fighting cancer is the early detection of tumors. The sooner it is detected, a wider variety of treatments are made available to the patient who therefore has a greater chance of recovery.
Scientists have known for some time now that dogs are capable of detecting cancer in earlier stages by sniffing the patient's breath. Dogs are able to identify molecules created by a tumor that circulate through patient's blood to the lungs, and leave the body when the patient exhales.
The Israeli "artificial nose" was developed based on this knowledge, and the final product is very close to a dog's olfactory system.
Dr. Hossam Haick, of the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute in the Technion's Faculty of Chemical Engineering heads the team that developed the nose.
Some six months ago Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that Haick and his team have proven their system could differentiate between sick and healthy people tested under lab conditions.
Research has now reached the experimental stage of clinical trial, which showed that the nose could not only tell the difference between healthy and sick people, but could also identify the type of tumor in question.
In the trial, which was conducted in cooperation with Professor Abraham Kuten Director of the Rambam Medical Center Oncology Institute, breath samples were taken from 40 healthy people and 62 cancer patients treated in the hospital.
The patients taking part in the experiment suffered from lung, breast, colon, prostate, head and neck cancer.
The participants breathed into bags which were transferred to the Technion for testing, and the results were compared to details of the patients' diseases according to the hospital's records.
Think about that for a moment, the machine has a 92% success rate, just by judging a persons breath in bag, they never even saw the machine. In the future, people being tested will be able to breathe directly into the device, which could increase its success rate.
All samples were tested by the electronic nose, and the findings showed that each type of cancer has a particular pattern of characteristic components.
Cnacer Sniffer - Article
Monday, February 16, 2009
Tzipi Livni, who hopes to be appointed Israel's prime minister-designate, said Monday Israel must give up considerable territory in exchange for peace with the Palestinians, drawing a clear distinction with her rival, Benjamin Netanyahu.
She told a convention of American Jewish leaders, "we need to give up half of the Land of Israel," using a term that refers to biblical borders that include today's Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, repeating her well-known view that pulling out of Palestinian areas would be for the good of Israel, to maintain it as a Jewish state.
Livni's centrist Kadima Party won one more seat than the hawkish Likud, led by Netanyahu. He opposes large-scale territorial concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians. He believes negotiations should concentrate instead on building up the Palestinian economy.
Official results of Israel's election are scheduled to be published Wednesday, and then Peres will begin formal consultations with the 12 parties in the new parliament. He is expected to choose a premier-designate within a few days, starting a period of up to six weeks for coalition negotiations.
Give up Land - Article
Sunday, February 15, 2009
My wife and I have been looking for a church a little closer to us. We have been driving about 30 minutes to get to our old church, which is a little far for us. We have been attending some churches closer to us, and I must admit, I have enjoyed many of them.
Each church we have "tried out" has been a good experience, however none of them has completely impressed me. There has been something missing in each one of them, and I am wondering what God is trying to tell me.
Here's the deal, I dont really find myself too picky. I mean, I dont mind attending a church that has a differently belief as I do, in reference to once saved always saved, or other similar topics.
Sure I have preferences, and but what I really look for is a church that has an educated pastor who can communicate God's word accurately, not just based on opinion or circumstance.
Today I attended a church called Radiant Church. Gotta tell yah, I was impressed, at first. The worship style was intense, with a lot of energy. I was psyched to see the majority of the congregation was around my same age. The dress was casual, which is fine in my book. What bothered me was some of the things said from the lead pastor, Lee Cummings.
Pastor Lee was sharing about the vision of the church, what he wanted to see the church become, or what God wanted to see the church become. The idea, and intent was pure, however I struggled to see beyond some of the words.
He, Pastor Lee that is, started by talking about small churches (Radiant Church has roughly 15oo in attendance). He mentioned how all churches should strive to become big churches, because that shows that your church is successful at witnessing. People that enjoy small churches should strive to grow, because its the numbers that show God is working in your church. If the church isnt growing, then something is wrong.
Personally, I think small churches should be looked at by their age. If in fact the church is small, yet young, it shows that God is moving greatly, because here you have a group of people starting a new church.
If the church is small, and older in age (of church not members) then God could be showing its congregation something, something that needs to be worked on. Remember, God works in all our lives differently, and the size of your church doesnt mean you are not a successful church.
Next, Pator Cummings decided to talk about unity, how God wants His people to be unified. He went on to mention how Radiant Church does things differently than other local churches, because its not for them. He said that he doesnt discourage other churches from doing certain things, but it just wasnt for Radiant Church. Okay, I can dig that, but does it need to be mentioned?
(I feel it is important to point out that Radiant Church is just a block away from another large church calle Richland Bible Church, and cannot help but think he was comparing his church to this other one.)
Unity. Lets talk about this. I am SICK and TIRED of churches talking about unity amoungst the Christian people, but not meaning outside of their churches doors! LISTEN: the church is not a building, we are the body of Christ, not a stupid building, and we and the body need to come together to show the love of Christ to each and every community.
Unity, amoung ourselves, loving each other as ourselves. I dont normally enjoy sermons on love, because they then to be all mushy and crap. hypocritical. Unity, its another topic that rarely can be spoken without being a hypocrite. Let me tell you about a church, that I have attended, that I dont always agree with, yet they ahve the unity and love thing down pat.
Trinity Church in Lansing, Michigan knows how to put aside denomination. Trinity is a church that I have attended on occasion while in Lansing. I personally, dont like their worship style. They sing the same chorus' many times over, and for me, thats turns me off, big time.
Trinity however, joined by many other local churches, met the needs of their communities. 30 local churches to be exact. 30 churches put aside thier denomination, and answered a call by Lansing's mayor to feed families in need. The goal was to raise 40,000 dollars. the money was used to purchase 37 tons of food to feed 2,000 families in need, in Lansing.
$114,000 was donated. Volunteers, 3,300 people from 30+ churches gathered together at Eastern High School to distribute the food. ($40,000 was used to purchase 37 tons of food and the remaining $74,000 was donated to Salvation Army and smaller food banks for food only.)
As I returned home after the service, I started to think, and mull over what I felt I should do. I am tempted to treat churches like a job, only I am the employer. Let them tell me why I should attend, or how they live out the messages they preach on. Is that wrong? Is that something that doesnt sit well with you?
I am a strong believer, I am a natural leader, I follow and study God's word. I want a church that will lead me, that has opportunity for me to help. I want to find a church that isn't hung up on their interpretation of ideology, but sees the greater purpose.
I was so ready to say Radiant Church is the church for my family, however again, I feel stuck.
When are churches going to start acting like the body of Christ?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
After Prime Minister Olmert issues statement vowing he will not open Gaza crossings until captive soldier returned, Hamas accuses Israel of stalling negotiations.
Israel will not agree to open crossings into Gaza without the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, the Prime Minister's Office reported Saturday. Meanwhile, a Hamas official reported that talks had hit a snag because Israel was pressing for a longer-term ceasefire.
Osama Hamdan, a Hamas representative in Lebanon, told Al Jazeera television that Israel's raising of the Shalit issue was "a programmed operation to make the deal fail". Which is a total crock, Israel is doing as her people ask, they want Shalit freed, and Israel is listening to her people.
Hamdan said "we consider that this kind of Israeli procrastination is for the aim of achieving more objectives and wasting more time and effort. But our position is still as it was, and what was agreed has to be implemented fully. Otherwise Israel will bear the consequences of any failure," Hamdan said.
Hamas knows that as long as they keep Gilad Shalit in captivation, they have a "trump card", and that as soon as they release him, they will not have much negotiation power.
A Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said the Egyptian-mediated talks were stalled by disagreement on the duration of the ceasefire. "Once this obstacle is overcome an announcement would be made," Barhoum said.
Olmert's statement is consistent with reports from London-based, Arab-language daily al-Hayat, according to which Egyptian sources said that a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas would include the issue of Shalit and that the soldier's release would take place in stages, with the opening of the crossing contingent upon Shalit's transfer into Israel.
"We will not open the crossings without Shalit's release. Anything other statements are irrelevant. This is Israel's clear stance to Egypt," Ehud Olmert's office said.
"Israel has a clear stance. They will open the crossings completely only after Shalit is released," the Egyptian sources said.
"Either way, the crossings will not be open without Shalit's release. This is a commitment that the prime minister has made and he intends to act accordingly,"
Egyptian sources added to information published in al-Hayat Saturday, explaining that in the first phase of a prison transfer, Israel would release some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, including underage and female prisoners and Palestinian parliament members.
Shalit Stipulation - Article
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Political establishment sources estimate that, barring any unforeseen developments, President Shimon Peres will eventually task Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu with establishing the next government.
Earlier in the day Netanyahu met with Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman and Shas leader Eli Yishai, and later told a Likud faction meeting that he would work diligently to guarantee that they would join the coalition as soon as possible.
Lieberman refused to say which candidate his party would recommend to Peres, but political sources said he has already struck a deal with Netanyahu to ensure that the Likud chairman would be tasked with forming the next government.
Political sources postulated that Netanyahu will go to great lengths to include Kadima in his government, and may guarantee Livni's party as many as eight important ministerial portfolios towards this end.
Kadima, for its part, is looking to thwart the burgeoning right-wing bloc, but a party official said Chairwoman Livni should "seriously consider the possibility of sitting in the opposition, and not necessarily be dragged into a Netanyahu government that also features Shas, Lieberman, and possibly united Torah Judaism."
Sitting in Opposition - Article
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Livni holds 1.1% lead over rival Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu ranks third with 13%, followed by Labor with 10.1% and Shas with 8.8%.
As the election results start pouring in, the Central Election Committee in Jerusalem has confirmed that with 40.6% of votes counted, Kadima is currently leading the Likud by only 1.1% of the vote.
With 40.6% of the ballots counted, Kadima is still leading, with 22.9% of the vote. Likud is close behind with 21.8% of the vote. Yisrael Beiteinu and Labor are in third and fourth place, with 13.1% and 10.1% of the vote, respectively.
According to a Rafi Smith poll comissioned by Ynet, Kadima won 28 Knesset seats, Likud came in second with 26 mandates, Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu won 16 seats, and Labor won 14 mandates. The rightist bloc won a total of 65 seats according to the poll.
Declaring this election a solid victory for Israel's right-wing camp, Benjamin Netanyahu announces he is confident Likud will be tasked with forming next government.
He may have come in second, but his bloc is undoubtedly the key force to be reckoned with. Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu addressed party members and activists who gathered in Tel Aviv late Tuesday night as the official results begin trickling in.
"The Israeli people have spoken loud and clear, our way has triumphed and we will lead with it," said Netanyahu, going on to say he was confident he would be the one tasked with forming a "large, stable government."
"The national camp led by the Likud has clearly won the edge," said Netanyahu. "The question is not what the polls say, but what the reality does. In the outgoing Knesset, if you recall, the national camp only had 50 mandates, and today it has won an absolute majority."
The Likud currently has 12 seats in the Knesset, and is now expected to win 28 – more than doubling its power.
Netanyahu is set to meet with Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday to commence negotiations for the formation of a right-wing bloc that will block Kadima, Likud sources said.
40.6% Counted - Article
Likud triumph - Article
Tzipi Livni is the big winner of 2009 elections, according to Rafi Smith poll commissioned by Ynet; Kadima wins 28 Knesset seats, Likud comes in second with 26, Lieberman third with 16, Labor crashes to 14.
Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu delivered at crunch time to become Israel's third-largest party, while Ehud Barak's Labor party sustained a harsh blow. Exit polls by Israel's major television channels showed similar results.
According to the Rafi Smith poll, Kadima won 28 Knesset seats, Likud came in second with 26 mandates, Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu won 16 seats, and Labor won 14 mandates. The rightist bloc won a total of 65 seats according to the poll.
Yisrael Beiteinu 16
United Torah Judaism 6
Jewish Home 4
United Arab List – Ta'al 4
National Union 3
According to Channel 1, Kadima won 30 Knesset seats, Likud won 28 mandates, Yisrael Beiteinu won 14 seats, and Labor ended up with 13 mandates. Channel 2's exit poll predicted that Kadima won 29 Knesset seats, Likud came in second with 27 mandates, Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu won 15 seats, and Labor won 13 mandates. According to Channel 10, Kadima won 30 Knesset seats, Likud won 28 mandates, Yisrael Beiteinu won 15 seats, and Labor won mandates.
Israel's next PM - Article
Knesset Seats - Article
34% of those eligible to vote for Israel's 18th Knesset exercise their democratic right by 2 pm, including Netanyahu, Livni, Barak and Lieberman. Israeli President Peres, called this a "celebration".
The turnout rate dispelled fears that the inclement weather would keep potential voters indoors. This number has also increased from the last election, which had a 31% turnout.
Many of the party leaders got out to vote in the 18th Knesset shortly after the polling stations opened all across the country at 7 am.
Kadima Chairperson Tzipi Livni voted at a polling station near her home in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood.
"I know that many more people will vote for Kadima," she said, "the most important thing is not to lose hope."
Livni called on Israel's citizens to carry out their civic duty, saying "rain or shine, you stand behind the curtain at the polling station, close your eyes and imagine – not out of fear or desperation – how you would like to feel once the election results are announced."
Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert voted at a school in Jerusalem, but did not speak to reporters.
Israeli's Vote - Article
Monday, February 9, 2009
Benjamin Netanyahu, even before he finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.
Just as he confounded former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Netanyahu probably will resist if Obama pushes too hard to extract Israeli concessions for peace in the Middle East.
“He’s extremely effective politically, unbelievably smart and relentlessly suspicious when it comes to the Arabs and the Americans,” says former U.S. negotiator Aaron David Miller.
Livni, leading the ruling Kadima party, has campaigned on the need to continue peace talks and compromise with the Palestinians. She would likely have a more harmonious relationship with Obama -- if she were able to cobble together enough support to form a governing coalition consistent with her views.
Campaign ads for Livni's centrist Kadima party splashed over billboards and across websites promise a "different kind of prime minister" and urge Israelis to elect the country's first woman prime minister in three decades.
"I make decisions, not coffee," Livni told an audience in Tel Aviv of her role in the assault on Gaza, countering critics who have said she lacks high-level experience.
Livni, 50, an ex-Mossad agent, had avoided playing the "gender card" for fear of appearing weak in a male-dominated society where frequent wars with Arab neighbours tend to make generals and other military figures more popular as politicians.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak, an ex-general running as head of the leftist Labour party, has seen his support double since the Gaza war in which 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died, but still trails far behind both Livni and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu - Article
Livni & Barak - Article
Friday, February 6, 2009
This article is not my normal kind of post, however it bothered me enough that I thought my readers should know about it as well. A warning: it is an extremely disturbing.
Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion clinic outside Miami and paid $1,200 for Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique to terminate her 23-week pregnancy.
Three days later, she sat in a reclining chair, medicated to dilate her cervix and otherwise get her ready for the procedure.
Only Renelique didn't arrive in time. According to Williams and the Florida Department of Health, she went into labor and delivered a live baby girl.
What Williams and the Health Department say happened next has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate: One of the clinic's owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant's umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.
Police recovered the decomposing remains in a cardboard box a week later after getting anonymous tips.
"I don't care what your politics are, what your morals are, this should not be happening in our community," said Tom Pennekamp, a Miami attorney representing Williams in her lawsuit against Renelique (ren-uh-LEEK') and the clinic owners.
The state Board of Medicine is to hear Renelique's case in Tampa on Friday and determine whether to strip his license. The state attorney's homicide division is investigating, though no charges have been filed. Terry Chavez, a spokeswoman with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, said this week that prosecutors were nearing a decision.
"It really disturbed me," said Joanne Sterner, president of the Broward County chapter of the National Organization for Women, after reviewing the administrative complaint against Renelique. "I know that there are clinics out there like this. And I hope that we can keep (women) from going to these types of clinics."
New York records show that Renelique has made at least five medical malpractice payments in the past decade, the circumstances of which were not detailed in the filings.
Renelique gave Williams laminaria, a drug that dilates the cervix, and prescribed three other medications, according to the administrative complaint filed by the Health Department. She was told to go to yet another clinic, A Gyn Diagnostic Center in Hialeah, where the procedure would be performed the next day, on July 20, 2006.
Williams arrived in the morning and was given more medication.
The Department of Health account continues as follows: Just before noon she began to feel ill. The clinic contacted Renelique. Two hours later, he still hadn't shown up. Williams went into labor and delivered the baby.
"She came face to face with a human being," Pennekamp said. "And that changed everything."
The complaint says one of the clinic owners, Belkis Gonzalez came in and cut the umbilical cord with scissors, then placed the baby in a plastic bag, and the bag in a trash can.
Williams' lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby's umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.
An autopsy determined Williams' baby - she named her Shanice - had filled her lungs with air, meaning she had been born alive, according to the Department of Health. The cause of death was listed as extreme prematurity.
Hastening the death of an individual who is terminally ill is still considered causing the death of that individual," said Robert Batey, a professor of criminal law at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, "And I think a court would rule similarly in this type of case."
Charlie Crist is the Governor of Florida, he is a Republican, who ran as "The People's Governor", who will follow "The People's Agenda". I highly suggest you email or phone him to tell him what his agenda needs to be concerning this matter. You can do so by following THIS LINK.
Shanice's Murder - Article
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Scott Mayerowitz of ABC News recently wrote an article about Obama's $400,000 a year salary, and plenty of his other perks.
America's CEOs are coming under fire these days not just for their hefty salaries but also for their use of private jets, limos with drivers and free trips to posh resorts.
But they aren't alone in living this lavish lifestyle -- the president of United States gets all these perks and more.
And unlike some of his Cabinet appointments (Tom Daschle for starters), he doesn't have to pay taxes on these benefits.
It might be a bit of a stretch to compare today's corporate titans with the commander in chief, but some Wall Street bloggers clearly upset with President Obama's attempts to rein in executive pay are doing just that.
"Some accountability needs to be put in place. We won't have them kicking sand in the face of taxpayers any longer," said one private equity worker on Dealbreaker.com, a Wall Street gossip site and blog.
The president makes $400,000 a year, but hasn't received a raise from Congress since 2001. He also gets a $50,000 annual entertainment expense account (any unused money at the end of the year must go back to the Treasury.)
Then there is the use of two private jets, Boeing 747s better known as Air Force One. And of course the constant security details, drivers, a private chef, a country vacation estate and the rent-free use of a well-known, 132-room mansion called the White House.
The president also used to have a yacht, until Jimmy Carter sold it.
Not everything is a freebie for the president and his family, they still have to pay for all their own groceries, drinks, dry cleaning and even their toothpaste. All of those personal items get taken out of his salary. Granted, the private chef then prepares dinner using those groceries.
The president's salary and perks have come under the spotlight since Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced a bill that would cap annual executive pay at companies receiving government bailout money at $400,000.
Corporate America quickly pointed out that while the president also only makes $400,000 a year, he gets all sorts of extra perks and doesn't have to pay taxes on them.
If a CEO borrows the company jet to go on a private vacation, he or she might not be charged by the company for the perk, but they do have to pay income taxes on the value of such a flight.
For the president, it's a different story.
Ed Rogers, who was deputy assistant to the president and executive assistant to the White House chief of staff for George H.W. Bush, agreed that there's a difference between the president and a company CEO.
"The presidency is a full-time job in the 24-hour sense. He must function and be able to function as president all the time," Rogers said. "The chairman of any corporation in America can kick back for a weekend and the potential downside is not that severe. The notion of the president being out of pocket would be appealing to our enemies and dangerous to our republic."
Rogers mentioned a few other nice perks of being in the White House, including movie studios delivering you copies of their latest films, instant communications with anyone in the world and a pretty nice view from your windows.
"It's a good job in that regard," he said. "Unfortunately it does come with a lot of stress and responsibility that diminish the opportunity to enjoy the fact that hey, I've got this nice big airplane."
Back when George Washington took office in 1789, the presidential salary was $25,000 -- that's more than $300,000 in today's dollars. Since then, there have only been five increases in the presidential pay, albeit pretty big ones.
America's CEO - Article
Kyrgyzstan's government has submitted a decree to parliament to shut down a U.S. airbase in the Central Asian state, an official spokesman said on Wednesday.
U.S. military personnel will be given 180 days to close operations and leave once the final decision is made.
Parliamentary approval is seen as a formality in a country whose the chamber, dominated by the pro-presidential Ak Zhol party, tends to rubber stamp government initiatives.
"A draft decree on terminating the agreement on the U.S. airbase has been sent to parliament," spokesman Aibek Sultangaziyev said. "It is up to parliament now to decide when to hold discussions on this."
The U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan earlier said that it had not received any official notification that the Kyrgyz authorities were ordering the closure of the U.S. military air base.
"The embassy does not know anything about this at the moment. We are preparing an official statement regarding this issue," the spokesman for a U.S. embassy in Bishkek, Turat Makenbaev said.
Washington set up the base in 2001 after the start of the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. But its role has been heightened as the United States seeks to reinforce supply routes to Afghanistan that bypass Pakistan, where supply convoys face security risks.
Kyrgyzstan's president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, agreed to remove the air base after talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is promising more than $2 billion in credit and aid from Russia to assist his impoverished country.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said active negotiations were underway with the Kyrgyz government on renewing an agreement on access to the base.
"It is a hugely important air base for us," Morrell said. "It provides us with a launching off point to provide supplies to our forces in Afghanistan."
Closing Base - Article
Officials of Barack Obama's administration have drafted a letter to Iran from the president aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks, the Guardian has learned.
The US state department has been working on drafts of the letter since Obama was elected on 4 November last year. It is in reply to a lengthy letter of congratulations sent by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 6 November.
Diplomats said Obama's letter would be a symbolic gesture to mark a change in tone from the hostile one adopted by the Bush administration, which portrayed Iran as part of an "axis of evil".
State department officials have composed at least three drafts of the letter, which gives assurances that Washington does not want to overthrow the Islamic regime, but merely seeks a change in its behaviour. The letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter.
One draft proposal suggests that Iran should compare its relatively low standard of living with that of some of its more prosperous neighbors, and contemplate the benefits of losing its pariah status in the west. Although the tone is conciliatory, it also calls on Iran to end what the US calls state sponsorship of terrorism.
Ahmadinejad said yesterday that he was waiting patiently to see what the Obama administration would come up with. "We will listen to the statements closely, we will carefully study their actions, and, if there are real changes, we will welcome it," he said.
While Obama is taking the lead on policy towards Iran, the administration will soon announce that Dennis Ross will become a special envoy to the country, following the appointments last week of George Mitchell, the veteran US mediator, as special envoy to the Middle East, and Richard Holbrooke, who helped to broker the Bosnia peace agreement, as special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Ross, who took a leading role in the Middle East peace talks in Bill Clinton's administration, will be responsible on a day-to-day basis for implementing policy towards Iran.
In a graphic sign of Iranian mistrust, the hardline newspaper Kayhan, which is considered close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has denounced Ross as a "Zionist lobbyist".
Saeed Leylaz, a Tehran-based analyst, said a US letter would have to be accompanied by security guarantees and an agreement to drop economic sanctions. "If they send such a letter it will be a very significant step towards better ties, but they should be careful in not thinking Tehran will respond immediately," he said.
"There will be disputes inside the system about such a letter. There are lot of radicals who don't want to see ordinary relations between Tehran and Washington. To convince Iran, they should send a very clear message that they are not going to try to destroy the regime."
Letter to Iran - Article
Despite the destruction caused by Israel's 22-day assault, Hamas still runs the Gaza Strip. The militant Islamic group has put uniformed police back on the streets, deployed bulldozers to remove the rubble and distributed compensation to war victims.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said it had credible reports that Hamas operatives killed six members of Fatah, Hamas' secular Palestinian rival, in Gaza in recent weeks. Another 35 were shot in the knees or beaten, the group said.
"It seems to be a kind of collective punishment because of their political beliefs," said Khalil Shaheen, a senior researcher at the Palestinian center, an independent advocacy group.
Many members of Hamas accuse the more moderate Fatah of collaborating with Israel, or at least sitting on the sidelines during the conflict in Gaza. It isn't just an inter-Palestinian feud: Many experts believe that unless the two factions mend their rift, there never will be a Palestinian state or peace with Israel.
One of the victims is Abdul Karim, who asked for his safety to be identified only by his first name. The 30-year-old, who used to help run Fatah youth camps, said Hamas operatives beat him with sticks and a length of hose for two hours in a basement next to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Last fall, Abdul Karim said, Hamas security officials repeatedly interrogated him and accused him of working with the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah. This time, however, the men didn't ask questions. They were just out to punish him, he said.
"I started to ask them, 'Why are you beating me? Why am I here?' " he said. "But every time I started to ask a question they just said, 'Don't ask, don't say anything, shut your mouth.' And (they) beat me more and more with each question."
Now he walks with a crutch. His right hand is in a cast, and deep, red bruises are spread across his shoulders and legs.
"People are seeing the other face of Hamas," he said, seated gingerly in the living room of a relative's house in a southern Gaza village, where he and his pregnant wife fled following the attack.
Hamas and Fatah have long been rivals, but their estrangement has intensified since June 2007, when Hamas expelled Fatah from Gaza in a violent coup after winning democratic elections the year before. This left the party that rose to prominence under Yasser Arafat controlling only the other Palestinian mini-state, the West Bank, between Israel and Jordan. There, Fatah security forces suppressed anti-Israeli protests and reportedly have jailed dozens of Hamas members.
Ihab al-Ghusain, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said that Hamas supporters were angered to see some people celebrating when Israeli forces killed Iman Siam, the head of Hamas' rocket-launching unit, in the northern Gaza neighborhood of Jabaliya on Jan. 6.
"Fatah people were giving out sweets. It made young people angry, so there was some conflict between them," Ghusain said. "But there is no policy like that. Taking the law into their own hands is not allowed."
When Hamas opponents organized a rally in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis on the second day of the war, a Hamas man opened fire and killed two people. The families of the victims were offered $100,000 as compensation, but instead they demanded that the shooter be executed. Hamas did so, Yousef said.
"The most painful thing is that Hamas attacked its own people," said a woman who asked to be identified as Umm Ibrahim. "I like that Hamas fights Israel. I like that they are clean. But not that they turn on their own people."
Hamas - Article
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Eleven Saudis who were released from U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists are now believed to have fled the country and joined terrorist groups abroad, Saudi officials said Tuesday.
The 11 include two who were already identified last month as members of a Yemeni terrorist group. Their names were on a list of 85 wanted terrorism suspects made public Tuesday by the Saudi Interior Ministry.
The announcement further underscored the difficulties faced by the Obama administration as it prepares to close the Guantanamo detention center. All told, 14 Saudis now appear to have rejoined terrorist groups after their return from Guantanamo, including the 11 living abroad and three who were rearrested in Saudi Arabia after their return.
Any perceived weaknesses in the Saudi program, widely viewed as a successful model, could pose problems for the return of the remaining Guantanamo detainees. Almost half of those are Yemeni, and their return depends in part on Yemen's creation of a rehabilitation program based on the Saudi one.
More than 500 men have been freed from Guantanamo since it opened seven years ago. Another 245 remain locked up. The military ordered a complete review of operations after three detainees hanged themselves in June 2006.
Three Chinese detainees cleared for release from Guantanamo have applied for political asylum in Canada, lawyers for the men and a group sponsoring them said Tuesday. The men are among 17 Chinese Muslims at Guantanamo. The U.S. has cleared them for release but fears they could be mistreated or even tortured if they are turned over to China, which alleges they are terrorists who belong to an outlawed separatist group.
Way to go Obama!
11 Rejoin terror - Article
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Iran said on Tuesday it has launched its first home-built satellite into orbit: The Omid. The Omid, not to be confused with the Omen, means "Hope".
"Dear Iranians, your children have put the first indigenous satellite into orbit," a jubilant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on state television after a launch coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
"With this launch the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially achieved a presence in space," he said.
The satellite was sent into space on Monday evening carried by the home-built Safir-2 space rocket, local news agencies reported.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the satellite program could "possibly lead to the development of ballistic missiles."
"That's of great concern to us," he said.
The Omid is an autonomous free flying communication satellite, which is not of main concern, the main concern was the rocket that was used to get the satellite into space, the Safir 2.
Safir is about 22 meters (72 feet) long, with a diameter of 1.25 meters (a little over four feet) and weighing more than 26 tons.
Iran's most powerful military missile, the Shahab-3, has a diameter of 1.30 meters and measures 17 meters in length, and has a range of 1,250 miles.
The launch comes at at time when Iran is defiantly refusing UN Security Council demands to freeze sensitive nuclear work.
Ahmadinejad said the satellite carried a message of "peace and brotherhood" to the world and dismissed suggestions that Iran's space program had military goals.
"We have a divine view of technology unlike the dominating powers of the world who have Satanic views," he said.
Reza Taghipour, head of the Iranian space agency, said Iran would launch another satellite carrier by the end of the Iranian year on March 20.
The Omid - Article
Safir 2 - Article
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, promised that a government under his leadership would topple the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
"A government under my leadership will overthrow the Hamas rule in Gaza and bring about a cessation of rocket fire," Netanyahu said during a tour of Ashkelon following the first Grad rocket attack since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead some two weeks ago.
"The policy of blindness followed in the past years has brought us to this situation," Netanyahu continued. "Residents can no longer count on miracles and Kadima policy."
Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima party, hinted that Hamas may come up against another IDF operation should rocket fire continue hitting the south of Israel.
"My opinion on this matter is clear: Every attack must be met with a response," she told Jerusalem Radio Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister and Labor leader Ehud Barak said that despite the continued rocket fire, Hamas was still interested in maintaining a state of calm in Gaza.
"We hit Hamas very hard, and it is picking up the pieces right now," Barak said during a tour of the North. "It is really interested in quiet, but the rocket fire is a fact, and we cannot ignore facts."
Barak also warned that continued rocket fire would be met with a harsh response, "harsher even" than Operation Cast Lead.
Topple Hamas - Article
Monday, February 2, 2009
Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, No. 4 on National Union party's Knesset list,offers to expel Israel's Arabs to countries such as Venezuela and Turkey and believes in rebuilding Temple in Jerusalem.
Eight days ahead of the general elections, and with polls predicting four Knesset seats for the National Union, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari is very likely to find himself in the Israeli parliament. (In a previous post, I explained, in part, how elections are held in Israel)
In a conversation with Ynet, Ben-Ari presented his proposed solution to the "problem" of Israeli Arabs, and declared he would not be part of a Knesset that engages in negotiations with the Palestinians and explained his support for soldiers disobeying orders.
"I'm not the only one who represents (late Rabbi Meir) Kahane. He's represented by a great many people today, within the Knesset and outside it," Ben-Ari stated. "everybody realizes the need for a solution to the problem of Israeli Arabs – a subject which was once taboo."
Ben-Ari explained that his plan was to open a "humanitarian corridor" for Arabs to places like Turkey or Venezuela, and raise money worldwide that would go towards providing them with an "acclimatization grant" in their new countries.
When asked if he was talking about the entire Arab population in Israel, his response was: "I suppose not all of them are enemies. The Druze, for instance, are highly loyal and aren't hostile. But the Arabs in Umm al-Fahm who dance on the rooftops when Jews are being slaughtered? What I'm suggesting isn't cruelty or racism, but survivability. It's either us or them. If we're nice to them and keep dreaming of coexistence – they will fight us."
Ben-Ari stressed that his party would not be part of a government that would seek to promote diplomatic negotiations with Syria or the Palestinians.
When asked for his views regarding the current situation at the Temple Mount, Ben-Ari said that the National Union would act to institute Jewish sovereignty and Halacha law at the place.
"Regarding the reconstruction of the Temple – the party's rabbis will decide when and how this should be done. My personal opinion is that it is a mitzvah to build a house for God and offer sacrifices there, and this should be carried out like any other mitzvah."
"The reality at the Temple Mount is one of the State of Israel's greatest expressions of weakness, and I believe that whoever controls the Temple Mount controls Israel," he said.
Dr. Michael Ben-Ari - Article
Over the years that Vladimir Putin has been in power, it seems that the Russian people do not care the amount of power he holds, as long as they are happy, able to buy new things, and the ruble is valued. That time is changing.
Few are predicting Putin's downfall any time soon, especially considering how methodically he has undermined the opposition. Many Russians believe he rescued them from the misery of the 1990s, and the polls say his popularity remains very high.
But those polls also show his popularity slipping a bit, amid far darker indicators. The unemployment rate is soaring, banks are failing and the ruble has dropped so fast in value that Russians are again hiding their money in dollars in their apartments. Sporadic protests have broken out as some factories close or cut production.
Putin, the current prime minister and former president, and his protégé, President Dmitri Medvedev, try to assure the public that they are addressing its pain. Yet Putin has created a government so highly centralized and so resistant to criticism that it is unclear whether it can respond adeptly to rising dissatisfaction.
The Parliament is essentially an arm of the Kremlin, and Putin has done away with the election of regional governors, who are now presidential appointees. The structure is known here as Putin's vertical system of power; decisions emanate from the very top, then are passed down to regional and finally local officials.
"there is not a relationship between the authorities and the people through the Parliament or through nonprofit organizations or other structures. The relationship to the people is basically through television. And under the conditions of the crisis, that can no longer work."Aleksandr Auzan, an economist and board member at a research institute, set up by President Medvedev, said.
In other words, if people feel their government is not heeding their complaints, they may think their only option is to take to the streets.
"The vertical system of power is not flexible," Gontmakher (a local scientist) said in an interview. "These bureaucrats, they wait for a reaction from Moscow, even in small situations, before making decisions. This is a big threat. It is very dangerous for Putin."
Meanwhile, we are seeing the Russian population getting upset. Thousands of protesters rallied against the government in cities across Russia yesterday, reflecting mounting anger over the nation's economic woes.
Protesters are starting to form rallies all over the country, something that cant end well for Russia. The government is flexing its muscle, and civilians are getting arrested.
The Prime minister, in years past, has been the scapegoat for the economy, a position Putin may not have expected to fill. His plans for reelection could diminish if the economy doesnt turn around, unless he takes it by force.
The protests, among the largest yet, posed a challenge to the Kremlin, the largest march took place in the far eastern port of Vladivostok, where about 3,000 people denounced the Cabinet's decision to increase tariffs on imported cars. Many hurled slurs urging Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign.
In Moscow, about 1,000 Communist demonstrators rallied on a central square. Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov said the government must abandon Western economic models and adopt broad nationalization. Protesters held signs reading: "Putin's plan - Peril to Russia!"
Across town, demonstrators from former chess champion Garry Kasparov's United Civil Front opposition group caught police by surprise. Protesters shouting "Russia without Putin!" gathered at a subway station - then took a train across the city, leaving police behind.
Police detained several protesters, and activists from the Young Russia pro-Kremlin youth group brutally beat others, but several dozen demonstrators marched downtown, shouting "Down with the government!" and "Russia without Putin!"
Another small group of activists from the opposition youth group "We" protested near the headquarters of the Russian government with blank posters and their lips sealed with tape. The protest was peaceful but police still detained all the participants.
Putin's Power - Article
Russian Protests - Article
Israel and the United States accuse Iran of supplying Hamas with weapons including rockets that have battered parts of southern Israel. Tehran denies the charge, saying it supports Hamas financially.
'Iran has definitely played a big role in the victory of the people of Gaza,' Khaled Mashaal tells Ahmadinejad, who says Israel could be plotting another invasion .
Mashaal has been the overall leader of Hamas since the assasination of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in 2004. Mashaal lives in Syria.
The "people of Gaza ... have always appreciated the political and spiritual support of the Iranian leaders and nation," state TV quoted Mashaal as saying.
"Iran has definitely played a big role in the victory of the people of Gaza and is a partner in that victory," Mashaal continued.
Ahmadinejad warned that Israel could be plotting another invasion on Gaza and urged countries to boycott Israeli goods. The hard-line Iranian leader also reiterated his earlier calls that Israeli leaders be taken to court for the Gaza offensive, although it wasn't clear what court he had in mind and no other details were provided. "World political pressure should continue against the Zionist regime," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Later Monday, Mashaal received a warm welcome by hundreds of Iranians at a ceremony at Tehran University. The crowd praised Mashaal by chanting "hail to the soldier of holy war."
Israel, along with the US and Europe, considers Hamas a terrorist group. But Iran, which does not have relations with Israel or the US, considers Hamas to be the rightful Palestinian government.
Hamas thanks Iran - Article
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened on Sunday a "disproportionate response" to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on Jan. 18 following the conflict.
At least two rockets struck southern Israel on Sunday, causing no damage or casualties. A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility.
"The government's position was from the outset that if there is shooting at the residents of the south, there will be a harsh Israeli response that will be disproportionate," Olmert said at the weekly cabinet meeting after the latest rocket salvo.
"We will act according to new rules which will ensure that we will not be drawn into a war of incessant shooting on the southern border, which would deprive the residents of the south of a normal life," he said, without elaborating.
Israel said Hamas militants bore responsibility for civilian deaths in Gaza by operating inside its towns and refugee camps.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's leading candidate for prime minister, said Saturday that Iran "will not be armed with a nuclear weapon."
In an interview with Israel's Channel 2 TV, Netanyahu said if elected prime minister his first mission will be to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat. Netanyahu, the current opposition leader and head of the hardline Likud party, called Iran the greatest danger to Israel and to all humanity.
When asked if stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions included a military strike, he replied: "It includes everything that is necessary to make this statement come true."
Tzipi Livni of Kadima said if Hamas "hasn't gotten the message yet" Israel would strike it again.
Regardless, she said Hamas could not be negotiated with and called on the people of Gaza to overthrow their regime.
"I do not intend to reach any agreements with Hamas. Agreements I make with people who accept my existence," she said. "They do not recognize Israel and do not renounce violence and terrorism. They will not be a party to an agreement and therefore the people of Gaza have to expel the Hamas from within them."
Elections are held February 10th, the three leading parties are:Tzipi Livni of Kadima, Ehud Barak of Labor, and Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud Party.
"Disproportionate" Response - Article
Iranian Threat - Article