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Abbas Shuts Electricity to Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 28, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aka Abu Mazan has informed Hamas and Israel that the PA will no longer foot the bill for electricity in Gaza.

Israel provides about 30% of the electricity for Gaza - and Abbas pays for it. The payment is actually taken out of the import taxes that Israel collects at the ports of Ashdod and Haifa.

If it was Israel that decided to shut down electricity to Gaza, the world would declare them war criminals and label Israel a huge abuser of human right and would even take Israel to the Hague.

Aside from the Palestinian on Palestinian cruelty - which the world seems not to care about --- the real reasons for initiating this action is that Abbas is creating distance between the PA and Hamas. Sure, there have been stabs at unity between the PA and Hamas, but they have always failed and will continue to fail.

So why now? Why is Abbas cutting off electricity to Gaza now? Because of Donald Trump's upcoming and imminent trip to the Middle East during which the American president will push Bibi Netanyahu to begin talks with Abbas.

By lashing out against Hamas, Abbas is signaling that he might be ready talk to Israel.

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Pope to Visit Egypt on Friday
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 27, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

Pope Francis will visit Egypt on Friday, he will depart on Saturday.

This is a very important visit. In Egypt Pope Francis will meet with the Coptic Pope. The two clerics have developed a relationship - they are both called Pope.

Pope Francis will also meet with other Christian leaders.

More importantly, the Pope will meet with the Islamic leader the Grand Imam and president of Azhar University, arguably the most prestigious Muslim institution in the world.

Everyone in the Middle East is aware of the symbiotic relationship between Muslims and Christians over the centuries in the region. But of late, there has been a rejection of Christians spearheaded by Muslim extremists like ISIS and al Qaeda.

These extremists have called for no meetings with Christians and even for the killing of the Christians.

Friday will be a very interesting day.

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Israel May Attack
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 27, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinian press has warned Arab leadership to beware that Israel may attack them.

Specifically, Al Hayyat media has issued a warning, in the name of Jordanian monarch Abdullah, that there is a real risk. King Abdullah warned the Lebanese president and prime minister that there is a strong possibility that Israel will strike Lebanon.

Hezbollah has been on edge - waiting and preparing to make certain that if Israel attacks, they are ready with a response.

There needs to be a serious rethinking of what is happening.

Clearly, strikes are one option. But now, at this stage, other options need to be put on the table.

There is dialogue. There are negotiations. There are thoughtful resolutions. But all that is predicated on thoughtful discussion.

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Pope Should Never Speak off the Cuff
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 25, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

There is a reason why the Pope does NOT traditionally speak off the cuff. But Pope Francis is different - he often speaks off the cuff and speaks from his heart --- and sometimes he mis-speaks. That can be a problem.

Most Popes in the recent past spoke only by reading prepared, vetted notes. They do not repeat themselves for fear that there may be a difference between the messages that can cause confusion.

An example of what can happen - did happen, when the Pope said that refugees today are living in concentration camps.

His exact words were: "I don't know if he managed to leave that concentration camp, because refugee camps, many of them, are of concentration because of the great number of people left there inside them."

The parallel is absurd. Nazis created work camps and death camps. They created murder camps where technology was created specifically in order to murder Jews.

Illegal immigrants and refugees cannot be portrayed as Jews in murder camps.

The Vatican is simply saying that the Pope spoke off the cuff. That is not an apology. That remark requires a real mea culpa. The Pope's comments must be explained in a proper moral and historical context.

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Iran's New Misssile
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 24, 2017

I've Been Thinking:

Iran is now outfitted with a cruise missile designed to strike ships. The new missile is called the Nassir.

The Iranian Defense Ministry tested the missile in February and the Nassir is now being sent to both ship and land batteries to augment defense against naval attacks.

What makes the Nassir unique and gives it value is neither range nor speed - it is the pride Iranian generals are feeling in their new weapon. The Nassir has counter jamming capabilities that will render it impervious to the counter defenses of the US fifth fleet.

When a missile is shot at a sophisticated target like an air craft carrier or a destroyer US counter measures are usually deployed, causing the smart bomb to miss its target and go off course or self destruct.

In the case of the Nassir - there is a counter to the counter -- and so the missile continues towards its target.

Until now it was just a question of how to better protect or hack the computer of the enemy. This missile re-codes after being hacked. It adjusts to the hack and overrides the override.

The technology of warfare has changed.

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