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Al Qaeda Attacks Hezbollah in Syria- Israel Blamed
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 28, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

The al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria, the group that goes by the name Al Nusra, attacked a weapons convoy transporting sophisticated weapons destined for Hezbollah.

It all happened on Friday. Over the weekend this attack was a feature throughout the Arabic media with Arabic stations reporting that it was the Israelis who perpetrated the attack against the weapons. They reasoned that the weapons would fall into Hezbollah's hand and probably be used against Israel.

Both al Jazeera and al Arabiya blamed Israel - but Israel refused to comment. The Arab press later discussed a second Israeli attack that killed 4 Hezbollah members who were setting up a bomb along the border between Israel and Syria just at the spot where the border also abuts Lebanon.

Before too long it became clear that the Israelis were not responsible for the weapons attack. Sources reported that al Nusra wanted to make certain that Hezbollah did not get weapon superiority. Hezbollah was trying to push al Nusra out of Syria and al Nusra cannot let that happen.

This was a perfect move. Israel could have targeted the convoy. It might actually have been on their agenda. But al Qaeda's al Nusra did it first. And that made the region a little safer.

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Palestinians Disappointed in Bibi
By Micah Halpern

Monday April 27, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

The Palestinians are upset that Netanyahu was reelected.

The Palestinian National Central Council, which is the Palestinian leadership committee, will meet on Wednesday April 29 to discuss upcoming future interactions between Palestinians and Israel.

In brief, the Palestinians think that the next Israeli government will be extremely right of center.

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, had this to say: "I've been told that this will be the most extreme government in Israel."

He also said: "If the prime minister doesn't want to accept a Palestinian state, what will I talk to him about?"

And: "We will hold the Israeli prime minister accountable for any crimes committed against Palestinians." Continuing: "It will not be cost-free legally."

There are a number of essential points to discuss following these comments by Erekat.

Israelis want peace - but elected Netanyahu. That is because they do not think Palestinians want peace.

Palestinians have thus far sought out and found any and every excuse not to sit at the negotiating table.

And how can Saeb Erekat know the makeup of the government which is still up in the air?

Finally, it has always been a right wing government that has moved Israel toward peace agreements. It is right wing governments that convinced the majority of Israelis that concessions were essential to improving and securing Israel ... that peace is the best security that Israel can hope for.

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New ISIS Video About Healthcare
By Micah Halpern

Sunday April 26, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

I just watched a new ISIS video.

This one is about their new and wonderful health care.

The ISIS video is staged in the ISIS capital city in Syria, the city is called Raqqa. The video calls on medical professionals to come and join ISIS and contribute their skills to the IS.

The most fascinating part of this slick and very professional video is an interview with an Australian who calls himself Abu Yussef. The interviewee has been identified as Tareq Kamleh, a native Australian who was trained in Adelaide University in Australia and then moved to Perth and now works for ISIS in Syria.

Kamleh aka Abu Yussef speaks about how important his work is and how happy he is helping the Uma, the Islamic people. He actually calls his work a jihad.

As a medical recruitment tool, this video is very effective.

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Iran Will Be a Giant When Sanctions are Lifted
By Micah Halpern

Saturday April 25, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

If a deal with Iran is signed on June 30, Iran will be welcomed into the community of nations. Economically, that would have a huge impact.

Iran is the third largest country in the Middle East. Egypt is the largest with a population of about 90 million. Turkey follows with 83 million and Iran has about 80 million people.

Iranians are primarily well educated and young.

Before the crisis of 1979, Iran had a very healthy import from the US. Iran imported of $3.7 billion worth of US products. While at the same time the United States imported $2.9 billion worth of goods from Iran.

That was in 1979, 36 years ago. Today that number would be 4 times higher.

In the 1990s, through subsidiaries, the United States purchased $3.4 billion worth of Iranian oil. Before this last round of sanctions were placed on Iran in this recent UN sanctions move, Iran was the third largest producer and exporter of oil in the world.

When sanctions are lifted Iran will become a major exporter over night - and that will catapult it into a world power. With that power Iran will become the voice of all the small nations and downtrodden peoples in the region.

When the sanctions are lifted - Iran will become a giant.

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Elections at College-- Hamas Wins
By Micah Halpern

Friday April 24, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, located just north of Jerusalem, just held student council elections.

Bir Zeit is the elite university for Palestinians. There are 9,000 undergrads and 1200 graduate students at the university. 47 BA degrees are offered and 26 MA degrees. The election drew 77% of the undergraduate student body.

The results are telling.

In student council at Bir Zeit University, Hamas defeated Fatah. Of the 51 council seats, Hamas' Wafaa party garnered 26. Fatah, the party begun under Yasser Arafat, will have only 19 seats.

Last year Fatah got 23 seats and Hamas 20.

This election was watched very closely by all Palestinian leaders and by Israel.

University elections often offer insight into the perspective of the population-at-large and are the first to show trends in future leadership, in business and in politics.

Winning an election at Bir Zeit, the heart of the West Bank, is a major victory for Hamas and a terrible blow to Fatah.

Hamas is on the rise. There is no possible way of interpreting this election any other way.

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A Miracle -- Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday April 23, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

I marvel at the miracle.

Most of the time I take it for granted, but every year, on Israeli Independence Day, I marvel anew at the miracle called the modern State of Israel.

Israel was established 67 years ago. At the time there were 806,000 citizens. Today there are 8,345,000. That is a ten fold increase.
That's a miracle.

When Israel was created Tel Aviv Yaffa had 100,000 residents. Today there are 14 cities with over 100,000 residents and 6 of those cities have over 200,000 citizens. That's a miracle.

Israel grew by 162,000 people last year. There were 44,000 deaths. 32,000 people made aliyah - despite, or perhaps in spite of, the tension of this past summer. That's a miracle.

Here is the most remarkable number of them all. 176,000 babies were born. Every birth is a miracle. Now multiply that by 176,000.
75% of Israelis are native born sabras.

6,251,000 are Jewish. 1,730,000, or 20.7% of the population, are Arabs.

These numbers are nothing short of a miracle. At 67 years old Israel has exceeded all expectations. 67 years ago, when our parents and grandparents witnessed the birth of the State of Israel, they hardly believed it would last this long.

Happy birthday and forever more.

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Taliban Announce Their Spring Season
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday April 22, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Earlier this morning the Taliban announced their spring season.

Now that the snow has melted spring fighting will begin. This year the Taliban are calling their new offensive AZM which, in Arabic and in their native dialect, Dari, means perseverance.

Remember, the Taliban have also declared their Islamic state. The Islamic state of the Taliban is called The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

In years past springtime brought a huge increase in attacks against NATO and Afghani forces. This year will be different. Most of the international forces have pulled out of the area and so this spring season the Taliban will face off against Afghan army forces exclusively.

The West has been preoccupied with Iran and ISIS. We have paid very little attention to the Taliban. These next few weeks, the start of the new season, will be important. We need to watch carefully and determine if the momentum shifts in favor of the Taliban. That is something we do not want to happen.

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Carter to Israel - President Rivlin will Not Meet Him
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday April 21, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Former US President Jimmy Carter is to arrive in Israel on April 30 for a 3 day trip that will include Gaza and the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli President Rivlin will not meet the former US president. Israel's foreign ministry advised Rivlin to break protocol and not meet with this former US president because Carter has consistently done his best to delegitimize Israel and meeting with him would help further that cause.

Carter has spoken publicly about Israeli apartheid policies on numerous occasions and even wrote a book about the subject. Carter has urged Israel to recognize and dialogue with Hamas.

In the past, when Shimon Peres held the post of president of Israel and Jimmy Carter came to visit, Peres would meet with him. And then Peres would take Carter to task - privately and publicly. Peres would use the opportunity to correct Carter on the record.
Rivlin is a different personality and he has decided not to follow in Peres' footsteps.

Carter has good intentions --he is just misguided and he is totally wrong. And if given legitimacy, Jimmy Carter can do terrible harm to Israel and to the region.

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