WASHINGTON - "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz Wednesday, the day the Annapolis conference ended in an agreement to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.
"The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us," Olmert said, "because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents."
Olmert said the Annapolis conference "met more than we could have defined as the Israeli expectations, but that will not absolve us of the difficulties there will be in the negotiations, which will be difficult, complex, and will require a very great deal of patience and sophistication."
According to Olmert, "we now have a partner," in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "He is a weak partner, who is not capable, and, as Tony Blair says, has yet to formulate the tools and may not manage to do so. But it is my job to do everything so that he receives the tools, and to reach an understanding on the guidelines for an agreement. Annapolis is not a historic turning point, but it is a point that can be of assistance."
The prime minister said that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would continue to head up the Israeli negotiating team....
What is it about Islam? These people riot at any opportunity, and they're freaking bloodthirsty (nothing they haven't already said about themselves).
A rather sweet-looking middle-aged British lady allowed 6- and 7-year-olds at a private school to name a teddy bear Mohammed, and "thousands of Sudanese" want her dead? That's insane.
KHARTOUM, Sudan (FOX/AP) - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."
In response to the demonstration, teacher Gillian Gibbons was moved from the women's prison near Khartoum to a secret location for her safety, her lawyer said.
The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation. She avoided the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.
They massed in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed. They did not try to stop the rally, which lasted about an hour.
"Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted.
The protesters called for Gibbons' execution, saying, "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."
.... Several hundred protesters, not openly carrying weapons, marched from the square to Unity High School, about a mile away, where Gibbons worked. They chanted slogans outside the school, which is closed and under heavy security, then headed toward the nearby British Embassy. They were stopped by security forces two blocks away from the embassy.
The protest arose despite vows by Sudanese security officials the day before, during Gibbons' trial, that threatened demonstrations after Friday prayers would not take place. Some of the protesters carried green banners with the name of the Society for Support of the Prophet Muhammad, a previously unknown group.
Many protesters carried clubs, knives and axes â but not automatic weapons, which some have brandished at past government-condoned demonstrations. That suggested Friday's rally was not organized by the government.
A Muslim cleric at Khartoum's main Martyrs Mosque denounced Gibbons during one sermon, saying she intentionally insulted Islam. He did not call for protests, however. "Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," the cleric, Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a well-known hard-liner, told worshippers. "This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," he said.
Britain, meanwhile, pursued diplomatic moves to free Gibbons....
Most Britons expressed shock at the verdict by a court in Khartoum, alongside hope it would not raise tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain....
They "streamed out of the mosques" with clubs and knives?? Yeah, that's some kind of peaceful religion they've got there.
Sudanese demonstrators burn a newspaper bearing the story and photo of Gillian Gibbons on its frontpage during a protest in Khartoum. Thousands of angry Sudanese, some brandishing swords, marched through the centre of Khartoum calling for the execution of a British woman teacher as she began a brief jail term for insulting Islam.(AFP/Isam Al Haj)
"It feels like we live in a war zone," said NadÃ¨ge Tanier, a 40-year-old mother of two, as she walked by the burned-out hulk of a garbage truck still reeking of burned tires. "I feel safer for having all those cops on the streets and the helicopter at night making sure the kids are not planning more riots, but it sure is hard to live like this."
There is no curfew, but few people go out after dark, when rows of shielded riot police move in to take up positions around the town north of Paris. Buses, a popular target for youths with firebombs in the past, have stopped running in the early evenings, making it hard for people to come home from work. Many shops lock up hours before their normal closing time, partly for fear of vandalism, partly because few customers dare shop after dark.
.... Among the buildings that were torched Sunday and Monday was a complex housing a nursery school and a library with a children's section. The 135 children who are enrolled in the preschool had to be relocated to four makeshift classrooms in a nearby primary school. But the library, described by several parents here as a sort of community center for children, a refuge for those hungry to learn, is gone for now.
Do you want to live like that? I don't. I won't live like that. People had better hang on with both hands to whatever vestige of civilization they hold most dear - like your local nursery school or library or police station - because, as we're learning, you can't just take for granted that they're always going to be there.
You think things like this can't happen in America? I'd bet there are people in France who thought it couldn't happen there either.
Burnt benches, stools and chairs are seen in a damaged nursery school that was vandalized and set on fire in Villiers-le-Bel, a northern Paris suburb, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007. Rioting in the tough suburbs of northern Paris took a dramatic and potentially deadly new turn with the use of firearms against police, officials said Tuesday.... (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
After a 20-year, $20 million restoration project, a faithful two dozen Orthodox Jewish men are celebrating the salvation of Congregation K’Hal Adath Jeshurun Shul - better known as The Lower East Side Eldridge Street Synagogue.
On Sunday, the historic Shul will be rededicated in time to mark its 120th anniversary as the first Shul
built on the Lower East Side by Eastern European Jews.
The Shul is also to open a museum inside. With tours, lectures, interactive exhibits and cultural events, it will tell the story of the Shul and the immigrants who Davened there beginning in 1887.
"You have one force, Hamas, that does not recognize Israel, which is not going to recognize Israel, and fight Israel. The other force, which is our so-called partner, accepted by everybody, it doesn't represent anyone, has no power, and cannot influence anything."
In an interview from Washington, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday, Nov. 28, the US president does not negotiate in the Palestinians’ name, does not represent them and his words are not relevant to the Palestinian cause.
On such issues as recognizing Israel, said the Palestinian negotiator, Bush is not competent to determine how we act. If the US president seeks an exchange of territory, he can do this with Mexico.
Abbas’ political adviser Abu Rodeina then maintained that the Palestinians made no commitments at Annapolis.
With Hamas preparing feverishly for a Hizbullah-style onslaught of Israel, including non-stop smuggling of explosives and weapons into Gaza, it is a matter of near-consensus that a large-scale IDF operation inside Gaza is inevitable. Now that the Annapolis summit has ended, the time appears to be getting much nearer.
Though Hamas currently runs Gaza, after having taken it over from Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organization in a military coup this past summer, Fatah terrorists in Gaza plan to fight alongside Hamas in the event of an IDF invasion. The Jerusalem Post quotes a "senior Fatah official" in Gaza City saying that "Fatah won't remain idle... We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israeli army. It's our duty to defend our people against the occupiers."
Fatah terrorists already fight against Israel in Gaza. The Washington Times reports that Fatah members took a day off from firing Kassams against Israel in honor of the Annapolis summit, upon orders from above.
"But we are permitted to renew our regular activities once the summit is over," a Fatah terrorist is quoted as saying.
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statements [Wednesday] that Israel's sovereignty over the Temple Mount is not up for negotiation are "false," according to a chief Palestinian negotiator who told WND the Israeli leader already agreed to forfeit Judaism's holiest site to a coalition of Arab countries.
"What Olmert said [regarding the Mount] is absolutely false. I think he's not yet ready to tell the Israeli public and is waiting for the right time and he fears his coalition with religious extremists will fall apart if he announces it now," said a senior Palestinian negotiator, speaking to WND today from Annapolis on condition his name be withheld.
Olmert's maintains a government coalition with the religious Shas party and Russian Yisroel Beiteinu party but if those two bolt, the prime minister could create a new coalition with leftist parties.
The chief Palestinian negotiator said in months leading up to Annapolis the Palestinian team was "surprised" by Olmert's willingness to give up the Mount.
"We had intense debates on many topics, which remain open and unsettled, but the Harem Al-Sharif (Temple Mount) is not a sticking point. The Israelis didn't argue with us. We were pleasantly surprised Olmert didn't debate about giving the lower section of the [Mount] either, which was a sticking point in the past."
According to the negotiator, Olmert agreed to evacuate the Mount but not to turn it over to the Palestinians alone. The negotiator said both sides agreed the Temple Mount would be given to joint Egypt, Jordan and Palestinian Authority control.
He said the Israeli government felt an umbrella group of several Arab countries controlling the holy site instead of only the PA would help ease Israeli domestic opposition to giving up the Temple Mount, since Egypt and Jordan are considered by Israeli policy to be moderate countries.
The Palestinian negotiator pointed out Israeli prime ministers previously denied withdrawal plans only to later carry them out. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, elected on a platform against evacuating territory, denied for his first year in office he would retreat from the Gaza Strip but in 2005 he carried out a Gaza withdrawal.
In a briefing to reporters ... Olmert claimed Israel's sovereignty over the Temple Mount is not up for discussion. He said negotiations started at this week's Annapolis summit had no bearing on the situation on the Temple Mount....
Read it all, especially the background Klein provides on the Temple Mount:
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. Muslims say it is their third holiest site.
The First Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Jewish Temple was the center of religious Jewish worship. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's "presence" dwelt. The Al Aqsa Mosque now sits on the site.
The Temple served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and was the main gathering place in Israel during Jewish holidays.
The Temple Mount compound has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition. Jews worldwide pray facing toward the Western Wall, a portion of an outer courtyard of the Temple left intact.
The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed around A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark where Muslims came to believe Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque later became associated with the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Currently under Israeli control, Jews and Christians are barred from praying on the Mount....
75% of [Israelis] say that Jerusalem should not be the the capitol of the Palestinians.
65% do not think Jerusalem can be a safe city, if shared with the Palestinians.
73% believe there should be a referendum before any concessions are made in regard to Jerusalem.
68% feel that Abbu Mazen has failed to fight terrorism.
44% feel that the timing of Annapolis was right. 41% disagreed.
44% say that if elections are held, they would vote for Netanyahu, while 20% would support Olmert.
And I had to laugh when I saw this poll (mentioned at the end, here)
Another survey carried out this week - by Brain Base for Voice of Israel Radio's "It's All Talk" program, shows that while 29% of the public feels the Annapolis summit failed, the majority - 56% - is not sure exactly what happened there. Nearly three-quarters of the public do not believe the Annapolis claim that a final agreement will be reached by the end of 2008.