World Briefs 10-4-11

The latest news of importance in the global Jewish community. 

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 (Click photo to download. Caption: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran.)

Iran rejects Palestinian statehood bid, says ‘Palestine’ should not be divided

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's spiritual leader and the country's highest authority, has denounced the Palestinian Authority's bid for recognition of a state within the pre-1967 borders, declaring that any Palestinian state must be established on the entire land of historic Palestine.

In a speech in Tehran on Saturday ahead of an international conference called “Support the Palestinian Intifada,” Khamenei said that “Palestine” belonged only to the Palestinians. He called Israel a “cancerous growth in the Middle East,” and said that Iran would never recognize Israel's legitimate right to exist in the region.

Khamenei warned the Jewish state and its allies to expect “paralyzing blows” that a NATO missile shield could not prevent.

The 72-year-old cleric also sought to portray Iran as the greatest defender of the Palestinian cause, criticizing other countries in the region that have close ties to Washington.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Libyan Jew returns home after a generation of exile

David Gerbi, a Libyan Jew, returned home after over 40 years in exile, only to be forced from the synagogue he had come to restore, Reuters reported.

Gerbi fled to Italy at 12 years old to escape the attacks on Jews that had been reignited by the Six Day War in 1967. He returned to Libya after Gaddafi’s fall in the hopes of restoring a Tripoli synagogue, and securing a position on Libya’s National Transition Council (NTC) representing exiled Jews.

Gerbi, who by his own account is the first Jew to return to Libya since Gaddafi’s ouster, also aims to reclaim properties confiscated from fleeing Jews by the State. Gerbi told reporters he was attempting to clean the abandoned synagogue, only to be warned by residents of the area to flee as armed men were approaching, according to Reuters.

—JointMedia News Service


Turkey Cracking Down on Syria

Turkey will soon be tightening its embargo on Syria, forbidding any arms shipments into the country to pass through its land or airspace.

Turkey and Syria’s relationship, while good and even collaborative in the past, has become strained recently due to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s assault on anti-government protestors. According to DefenseNews, with bilateral trade amounting to $2.5 billion last year, Turkey was Syria's largest trading partner. Additionally, Turkish firms invested $260 in Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said to journalists during the UN General Assembly in New York, that while their relations had been strained, Turkey and America were working together to impose sanctions against Syria.

—JointMedia News Service


Saudis disseminate textbooks full of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian sentiments

In the report, Ten Years On, Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, discusses the shocking content in Saudi Arabian textbooks: anti-Jewish and anti-Christian bigotry.

Christians are called “swine”, and Jews “apes”, and both are set as the scapegoats for the world’s problems, the HolyPostreported.

Shea says that these books actually have a far greater reach than just Saudi Arabia. According to the HolyPost, Shea says, “[These textbooks] are posted on the Saudi Education Ministry’s website and are shipped and distributed free by a vast Saudi-sponsored Sunni infrastructure to many Muslim schools, mosques and libraries throughout the world.” Often, textbooks are distributed to poor Muslim countries, such as Indonesia.

In her latest report, Shea says that Saudis “promised” to institute reform, but little progress has been made to that end.

—JointMedia News Service


Iran Plans to Breach U.S. Eastern Seaboard

In statements that U.S. officials claim they do not take seriously, Iran announced the deployment of ship-based missiles that it purports could reach shorelines from international waters, the Associated Press reports. An Iranian Navy official also claimed that its ships would soon be moved beyond the Gulf, potentially closer to the United States’ eastern seaboard.

“Iran simply doesn't have the ability to be a naval giant at this point,” said Theodore Karasik, a security expert at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis told the Associated Press. “That doesn’t mean, however, Iran is not serious about trying to move in that direction.”

—JointMedia News Service


Palestinians accuse Tony Blair of displaying pro-Israel bias

Middle East Quartet special envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has incensed Palestinians over what they see as a bias against their statehood bid, global media outlets reported on Sunday.

Palestinian frustration runs so deep that several newspapers, including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald, are reporting that his position with the Middle East Quartet may be in jeopardy. The BBC, however, reported that any rumors of the Palestinians planning to make an official request that Blair be stripped of his position were false.

Blair was reportedly asked by the U.S. to lobby European nations to vote against the Palestinian bid for statehood, which was submitted earlier this month at the UN. He did so, and as a result, The Daily Telegraph reported, he has been labeled a persona non-grata among Palestinians.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Turkish navy unveils first locally manufactured warship

The Turkish navy last week inducted its first locally built warship into its fleet.The new ship, named Heybeliada, is bigger than the largest corvette class that Israel fields today, the INS Sa’ar. 

The Heybeliada is capable of reconnaissance and surveillance, patrolling, base and coastal defense, anti-submarine warfare, as well as performing anti-air and amphibious transport roles. It is to be sold to what Turkey deems “allied and friendly countries,” according to a Hurriyet Daily News report.

The Heybeliada induction occured against the backdrop of Erdogan's increased emphasis on deploying his navy to serve Turkey's regional interests, among them escorting research vessels drilling for oil around the island of Cyprus, the Hurriyet reported. Erdogan has also repeatedly threatened to send a naval escort to accompany a potential future flotilla sailing to break Israel's blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Egypt may release alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel

Egyptian officials are considering releasing alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, according to Egyptian media reports on Saturday. According to the report, the Egyptian government would be willing to release Grapel as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.

Grapel, a 25-year-old American Jew with Israeli citizenship and former IDF combat soldier, was arrested in his hotel room in Cairo on June 12 for allegedly spying for Israel's Mossad. Egyptian officials claimed at the time that Grapel had been under surveillance after entering Egypt using a forged journalists’ visa soon after the demonstrations against former president Hosni Mubarak and his regime began earlier this year. Israel denied that Grapel was working for the Mossad.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Chinese Think Tank Multitasking as Spyarm

A recent CIA report revealed Cui Liru, vice president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), as an intelligence officer working as the head of China’s Ministry of State Security, China’s intelligence-analysis group, theWashington Times reported. 

CICIR, which according to the Washing Times has been compared to the Soviet KGB, has been known to supply information to the CIA in the past.

In fact, the same report revealed that in his recent trip to Beijing, Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with leading think tanks was actually a front for exchanging information with Liru.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: The Swiss flag. Credit: Wladyslaw Sojka.)

Lobbyers Demand Cross Removed from Swiss Flag in order to Protect Muslim Immigrants

Second@s plus, a lobbying group that represents Muslim second generation immigrants in Switzerland, has called for the cross to be removed from the Swiss Flag in order to be less offensive to Muslim Immigrants, Hudson New York reports.

Ivica Petrusic, the head of the group, said a more inclusive flag should be used. "Switzerland today has a great religious and cultural diversity. One has to ask if the State wants to continue building up a symbol in which many people no longer believe," Petrusic said to the Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung.

According to Hudson New York, tensions have been on the rise between the local Swiss population and Muslim immigrants. The move to change the flag has been met with outrage.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: A beggar stands in front of riot police as employees of the Ministry of Finance demonstrate outside the Ministry of Finance in Athens, Greece, September 27th, 2011. Credit: EPA/ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS.)

Bailout Aid Denied to Greece

The $8 billion bailout promised to Greece has now been delayed, the New York Times reports. Finance ministers from the 17-nation Eurozone said that more austerity measures were needed before the aid was delivered.

Greece protested that it could default on its debt without the necessary aid, an effect that could spell disaster for the Eurozone. Still, finance ministers maintained their position.

“Full compliance with the agreed conditions is necessary for Greece to receive the funds Greece needs,” Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, told the New York Times. “A credible push for structural reforms and privatization are essential.”

—JointMedia News Service


Ahmadinejad Slams West for Anti-Zionist Intolerance

At the “Intifada Conference” in Tehran, Ahmadinejad continued his tirade against the West, this time admonishing it for its lack of leniency on debate over the existence of the Jewish state, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Israel is a creation of the West so that it could exert control over the Middle East,” Ahmadinejad told reporters in his closing remarks at the conference.

"The only sacred thing in Europe is the Zionist regime,” Ahmadinejad also said, according to PressTV.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on October 4, 2011 and filed under World.