Awad al-Qarni, a prominent Saudi cleric is paying no less than $100,000 to any Palestinian who kidnaps an Israeli soldier.
He said that he had made the offer in response to a similar reward promised by an Israeli family for anyone who catches the person who killed one of its loved ones in 1998, apropos to the exchange this month of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
On his Facebook page, Qarni wrote:
“The media reported the news of the Zionist occupiers paying a huge sum to anyone who killed the freed Palestinian prisoners… In response to those criminals, I announce to the world that I am committed to pay a $100,000 prize to any Palestinian inside Palestine who takes an Israeli soldier captive to exchange with (remaining) prisoners.”
Qarni told Al Arabiya television:
“We have also received letters from … groups from Arab countries. So the issue is not limited to Qarni, who was just the person who launched this initiative…”
Saudi Arabia, where the prophet Mohammed hails from, considers itself a defender of Palestinian rights, however, Saudi leaders have been at pains to curb increasingly radical statements by other Muslim clerics regarding the Middle East conflict.
Back in 2002, the Western-allied kingdom began a peace initiative demanding Arab recognition of Israel if Israel will give up all of the land which it occupied during the war in 1967 and Israel decides to accept a solution for Palestinian refugees.
Meanwhile, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz‘s long-expected passing at age 87 in New York on Saturday could not have happened at a worse time for his presumed successor, Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, to take the throne after King Abdullah.
The Saudi kingdom uses a 60-year old succession system that has thus far proven a smooth transition of power.
Bibi’s new modus operandi is apparently negotiating with terrorists. And Egypt’s quasi military government working in a caretaker capacity isapparently, for all intents and purposes, terrorists.
On Tuesday, Bibi approved a prisoner exchange deal with Pharoah’s land, where Ilan Grapel will be released for 25 Egyptian prisoners. He should be out this Thursday. He has been held in an Egyptian prison since June 12. Negotiations between Egypt and Israel will continue in order to secure the release of Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli Bedouin who has been held by Egypt for 11 years on charge of spying.
Initially, Grapel was charged with espionage, however the charges werechanged to insurrection, incitement and damaging a public building during the uprising which took place in Egypt earlier this year and ousted old Hosni Mubarak.
The Grapel deal will free two Egyptian security offenders, charged with planning to target sites within Israel in cooperation with Palestinian militants.
Bibi’s office siadthat the deal was reached as a result of U.S. mediation.
National Union MK Aryeh Eldad criticized the decision to release Grapel for 25 prisoners saying that the deal is evidence that “Israel has declared moral bankruptcy…After freeing murderous terrorists for a drug dealer it is freeing drug dealers for a professional anarchist who worked against Israel in Bil’in,” Eldad said, alluding to the 2004 exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah in which 430 prisoners were released for retired IDF officer Elhanan Tannenbaum.
“The State is emptying all concepts of law and justice from meaning. Tomorrow, they could offer the wholesale release of foreign workers indicted in Israel for robbery or rape in exchange of Israelis who sold drugs in Japan or Thailand…”
“Similarly to the Shalit swap, 48 hours will be given to file petitions to the High Court following the publication of the list of prisoners.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian security source said Tuesday that unprecedented security measures are being arranged at the Taba border crossing ahead of the imminent release of dual US-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel, al-Ahram reported.”
While Gilad Shalit is not being hounded by Israeli press, and even had a hugging session this week with President Shimon Peres for a tear-jerking chat, here’s how Hamas is treating their people, recently freed from an Israeli prison.
Ma’an News Agency reports that those sent to Gaza “will stay in hotels for three weeks or until they each get a private apartment, car, and a job.”
Ismail Haniyeh already announced he will give each of the released prisoners $2,000. Ma’an also reports:
“… future income will be gained through jobs provided for each prisoner, said Saber Abu Karsh, a prisoners advocate in Gaza. Haniyeh has ordered that the released prisoners be given all assistance to help them re-enter society, he said. If that’s not enough, the Palestinian cellphone company Jawwal has offered each freed prisoner a mobile phone with a credit of 500 shekels ($140)… “
The Bloomberg Approval:
New York City Mayor Bloomberg defended the prisoner swap on Sunday, saying:
“I just know that the government of Israel had to make a decision and they didn’t walk away from the decision, they made one, and that’s what governing is all about…There’s no simple solutions to complex problems…Israel has a strong tradition of always bringing people back…And I’m sure that is something that all Israelis feel. And I’m not in a position to make a decision for the Israeli government of what they should do in any one situation.”
The Libyan Enticement:
“5,000 unemployed Palestinians have registered over the past week at a Gaza trade union office for jobs they hope will materialize in post-Gaddafi Libya… Hundreds of Palestinians who worked in Libya returned to the Palestinian territories after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 years of one-man rule erupted in February.”
In other news, Ma’an reports: “Egyptian authorities prevented Gazan journalist and author Mustafa al-Sawwaf from leaving the Strip on Monday to participate in a media meeting in Iran.”
The Hamas affiliated journalist was on route to Tehran to participate in a meeting about the formation of a union for Islamic media, a Ma’an correspondent said, but was prevented from leaving Gaza at the Rafah crossing. No reason was given by Egyptian authorities for not granting al-Sawwaf permission to enter via Rafah.
Al-Sawwaf said that he resents the way Egyptian authorities treat Palestinians and called for changes to be made by the Egyptian government at the Rafah crossing to prevent unnecessary humiliation and security procedures, a Ma’an correspondent reported. Al-Sawwaf is a columnist at the Hamas-run Gaza newspaper website Filastin Online. He said that he also holds a great respect for Egypt, pointing out that he has never committed any crime against the country.”
It is no big deal. You know. Offering assistance to countries who seek to place sanctions on you. And it really puts world politics in perspective. People come first. Then governments. Then schwarma.
Recently, the Turks were rocked by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, according to their seismology center. The quake occurred in the east of the country in a town known as Ercis which sits on a geological fault line and may have killed and injured upwards of 1,000 people, and collapsed 45 buildings. 10 other buildings have fallen in the city of Van.
The Telegraph reports: Emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, state-run news agency Anatolian said. It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were.
The Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake struck at 10.41 GMT and was 5km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6. Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.
Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was heading to Van to see the damage, media reported. Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.
In Hakkari, a town around 100km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around 10 seconds during the quake. There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20km from the epicentre.
Major geological faultlines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey. Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey.
Despite recent animosity between these two governments it is Israel to the rescue, as it was recently when natural disasters occurred in countries such as Japan and Pakistan.
Note however, Turkey offered its aid to Israel during a massive wildfire that consumed a formidable chunk of Israel’s Carmel region late last year, and sent firefighting aircrafts.
Ehud Barak said Israel is offering to aid the Turkish government in any way it can. The Geophysical Institute of Israel said the quake was also felt in residential high rises in central Tel Aviv. Barak instructed the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic-security bureau, Amos Gilad, to contact Turkish officials and offer them “any aid that they may need.” The Foreign Ministry officials have also initiated contact with Ankara in order to estimate the extent of aid required, if at all.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement that, following orders by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, he contacted Turkish authorities, saying “Israel’s embassy in Ankara had already issued the offer to Turkish officials.”
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has ordered the IDF’s Home Front Command to prepare for the possible launching of a special delegation to the Turkish disaster zone.
In other news, the following report is from yesterday’s NYTimes:
ISTANBUL — More than 49 Kurdish insurgents were killed in the first two days of a new Turkish military offensive against P.K.K. rebels in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the military said Saturday.
The military began the operation, involving heavy air support and more than 10,000 troops, on Thursday, a day after an attack by the P.K.K., or Kurdish Worker’s Party, killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 in the province of Hakkari, in one of the deadliest single-day attacks in recent years.
Part of the operation has extended into the autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, a mountainous border area where P.K.K. militants often take shelter. Turkey has staged cross-border operations or bombardment several times in recent years, and it is a thorny issue in Turkey’s relationship with Iraq.
Now that the United States is leaving Iraq, trumpeting triumphantly in foreign policy, DebkaFile reports:
The eight-year US military presence in Iraq ends therefore leaving Iran sitting pretty on its two key strategic goals:
1. The exit of American soldiers, whose presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion was deemed in Tehran a continuous threat to its borders. US military involvement in Afghanistan is seen in the same light.
2. A weak Shiite-led government in place in Baghdad, heavily dependent on Tehran’s will. Torn by strife among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, Iraq is in no state to obstruct Iran’s hegemonic plans for the Persian Gulf and Syria.
The Iranian regime’s right hand for achieving those goals was – and is – Al Qods commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the man also accused by Washington of masterminding the assassination plot.
Washington is well aware of Soleimani’s capacity for interfering with American interests. Indeed he crows about it.
All Tel Avivians know how pleasant the port is at night. A beautiful waterfront view with great restaurants and shopping. Well, this nightlife is about to spice up a little more. From now on there will be live television broadcasts and advertisements on the buildings.
According to Ynet, NIS 30 million (roughly $8 million) has been invested in the project that was spearheaded by the Atarim company.
Aratim develops Tel Aviv’s tourist sites and is co-owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality as well as the Tourism Ministry.
According to reports, the company will be setting up a night film screening and culture complex in the northern part of the port.
Itamar Shimoni, CEO of Atarim told Yedioth Ahronoth’s economic supplement, Mamon:
“The investment in the entire compound is estimated at NIS 100 million ($26 million), while the film screening complex will cost some NIS 30 million. The first stage of the works will begin in November…The complex is currently being tiled with a wood deck on which the port will hold concerts and multimedia events…This will be one of the biggest recreation centers in Israel. The plan is to hold cultural events, rock concerts, art exhibitions, video-art, etc….We want to turn the complex into a recreation, culture and leisure complex for the entire family. We are interested in bringing more people in the morning and afternoon, and not just as a night compound.”
On Tuesday, thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in Gaza celebrated the homecoming of hundreds of prisoners exchanged for Shalit, chanting for Hamas to seize yet more Israeli soldiers! “The people want a new Gilad!” they chanted.
They must have been fond of the young Jewish man.
Bradley burst-out-laughing Burston blogged the following blurb in blatant Palestinian approval over at Haaretz:
“The deal is a remnant of an Israel which is fast disappearing. It is a remnant of a particular brand of quiet, exceptional courage. It is an expression of a national character that goes generally ignored in a media environment which prizes the extreme over the honorable. It is evidence of a people true to values which time and sectarian agendas may appear to have diluted and erased.”
He goes on:
“The list of the terrorists being released is unendurable. The numbers are beyond understanding. Until you consider that this is how it’s always been.”
“In Israel’s nine prisoner exchanges with Arab enemies, dating back to the first, 54 years ago, Israel has freed 13,509 prisoners in order to win the release of a total of 16 soldiers. An average of well over 800 for each one. This is the price.”
Meanwhile, early Sunday morning, rightist activists broke into the home of Justice
Minister Yaakov Neeman to protest the deal they deemed perilously disproportionate.
The rightist activist Baruch Marzel commented on the protests, saying Neeman “has done absolutely nothing” during his term and that his first act is “giving amnesty to 600 murderers.”
Protests were also held at the home of President Shimon Peres.
In another corner of the Shalit story the despotic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly telephoned Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to extend congratulations on the terror organization’s victory which he said in a statement to Arab press is the “fruit of strong and continued resistance against the Zionist regime… No doubt this is a great victory for the Palestinian nation and all Muslims and for freedom- and justice-seeking people of the world, and independent nations are as happy as the oppressed Palestinian people over this issue…”
We just watched the first pictures of Gilad Shalit being handed off to the Egyptians in the Rafah border crossing by Hamas. He was handed off literally, by the man who engineered the kidnapping, Ahmed Jabari. Gilad wears a baseball cap and looks thin, pale and a little dazed. We are all a little dazed today.
It seems like we are all watching this today. Feeling this joy and happiness that he is actually coming home. For 1,941 days he has been held with very little contact except for sparse communications, a letter, a video recorded message and the occasional verifications by mediators that he is alive.
After Ron Arad there was the feeling that Gilad will become another ghost that will fade and disappear. Gilad’s family, a quiet introverted family that lives in a quiet rural village, Mitzpe Hila.
I am watching the interview with Gilad on Egyptian TV, a disturbing aggressive and abusive interview, being aired right now. He looks like he can barely breath, he is out of breath, his eyes are deep set and he seems overwhelmed by the aggressive questions of the (bitch) reporter that is oblivious to the fact he is about to pass out in front of her. The Egyptians forced this interview for the sake of political credit and this was not part of the deal. Pathetic on every level!
He is worth 1,027 terrorists. Worth every one of them. 1000 times more then any of them.
Alan Grayson clearly describing the issues that are driving the Wall Streetprotests across the US (Bill Mahr):
“They’re complaining about the fact that Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody’s been held responsible to it.”
Last Sunday, Israel guided by Bibi welcomed parts of an international plan for resuming the long-dormant peace talks with the Palestinians; however, much warranted caveats were issued.
Mediators from the Mideast Quartet – an organization made of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia – put forth its plan late last month after the Palestinians bypassed negotiations and asked the United Nations to recognize a state of Palestine in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians said they will not be resuming talks until Israel halts all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. However with renewed building in towns to the east of the widely disputed “green line” and aUN statehood by Abbas that bombed, this will likely not be the case.
Meanwhile, Nigeria refuses to say how it will vote when the United Nations Security Council decides on the Palestinians’ bidfor UN membership.
“Nigeria appears to be a crucial vote as Palestinians try to secure support from at least nine of the 15 council members. The US has said it will veto the request. However, the US could avoid that if Palestinians fail to get those nine votes.”
The oil-rich Nigeria is under the strong influence of the United States, which is one of the country’s top buyers of crude oil pumped from its southern delta.
In other news, last Saturday Egypt said it was considering releasing Ilan Grapel, an American Israeli who has been incarcerated in Egypt since June 12.
Grapel was falsely charged by local authorities with spying for Mossad. Cairo authorities are reportedly considering releasing the 27-year-old in exchange for “greater US political and financial support.”
So who will deliver Grapel back to the Promised Land?
It will be United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who is scheduled to arrive in Egypt and will “take Grapel back with him at the end of the visit.”
The same source that disclosed this information added that “what Grapel did during the revolution did not amount to spying and by this logic he can be released in exchange for financial benefits.”
“Grapel immigrated to Israel from the US and served as a lone soldier in the Paratroopers’ 101 Battalion. He enlisted in the IDF in March 2005 and was injured during the Second Lebanon War. He had been traveling in Egypt during the popular revolution and was reportedly intrigued by the ongoings. Arab media reports suggested he tried to spark a civil war between Egypt’s Muslims and Coptic Christians.”