January 08/15

Bible Quotation for today/Duties to Parents
Sirach (Apocrypha), chapter 03/01-16: "Children, listen to me; I am your father. Do what I tell you and you will be safe,  for the Lord has given fathers authority over their children and given children the obligation to obey their mothers.  If you respect your father, you can make up for your sins,  and if you honor your mother, you are earning great wealth.  If you respect your father, one day your own children will make you happy; the Lord will hear your prayers.  If you obey the Lord by honoring your father and making your mother happy, you will live a long life.  Obey your parents as if you were their slave. Honor your father in everything you do and say, so that you may receive his blessing.  When parents give their blessing, they give strength to their children's homes, but when they curse their children, they destroy the very foundations. Never seek honor for yourself at your father's expense; it is not to your credit if he is dishonored. Your own honor comes from the respect that you show to your father. If children do not honor their mothers, it is their own disgrace.  My child, take care of your father when he grows old; give him no cause for worry as long as he lives. Be sympathetic even if his mind fails him; don't look down on him just because you are strong and healthy. The Lord will not forget the kindness you show to your father; it will help you make up for your sins. When you are in trouble, the Lord will remember your kindness and will help you; your sins will melt away like frost in warm sunshine. Those who abandon their parents or give them cause for anger may as well be cursing the Lord; they are already under the Lord's curse.

A New Jihadist Massacre Targets Paris
Elias Bejjani/January 07/15
A new barbaric, savage and so called Jihadist massacre targeted today civilians and security forces in Paris-France. Sadly numerous civilians, security men and journalist were among the innocent victim; 12 dead and many injured. This new bloody crime compromises all the elements of cruelty, rooted education of hatred and evilness. The jihadist derailed ideology that is the entire motive behind this recent bloody massacre once again proves that it is completely void of all that is humanity and respect for human beings. We strongly believe that all sorts of rhetoric condemnation are useless, meaningless and irrelevant. Sadly world-wide states, rulers and politicians are not yet facing the so called jihadist terrorism effectively because they are not speaking the right language that these criminals comprehend and understand. Unless the language of force and deterrence is put in action the Jihadist terrorism is going to remain a dire threat for the whole world. We genuinely pray for the quick recovery of all the injured, the eternal rest of the victims and conciliation for the bereaved families of the deceased

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on January 07-08/15
Should Palestinian funds have been frozen/Nechama Duek and Yifat Erlich/Ynetnews/January 07/15
The strategic failure of Operation Protective Edge/
Alex Fishman/Ynetnews/January 07/15
The Brotherhood’s Golden Opportunity/Hamad Al-Majid /Asharq Al Awsat/January 07/15
On the German protests against Islam/
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/January 07/15
UCLA's Embarrassment: Prof. Abou El Fadl/Daniel Pipes/ 07/15

Lebanese Related News published on January 07-08/15
Snow In Lebanon Hits Areas 400 Meters Above Sea Level, Schools to Close for a 2nd Day
Geagea Says Dialogue with Aoun Serious, Difficult: Hizbullah Engaged Lebanon in Turmoil

Hizbullah Supports Dialogue between Rivals, Says Talks with Mustaqbal Fruitful
Lebanon Condemns Assault on Charlie Hebdo, Considering it 'Attack on Islam'
Lebanon presidential election postponed to Jan. 28
Mustaqbal Welcomes Dialogue 'Among All Parties', Backs Refugee Measures
Three dead as winter storm batters Lebanon
Geagea, Aoun to stick to presidential race: LF official
Armenian church head decries Christian persecution in the Middle East
Violent storm disrupts Beirut flights, schools ordered shut
Machnouk urges patience over Naameh dump delays
'Zina' causes storm over condition of Jbeil harbor
Beirut flights get Cyprus detour, courtesy of 'Zina'
Storm causes hypothermia among refugee children
Mamma ‘Mia!’ Lebanon porn star shocks Mideast
Lebanon's fuel prices keep dropping
Damage, power outages due to storm: EDL
Berri: Second Hizbullah-Mustaqbal Dialogue Session 'More than Positive'
Mustaqbal Welcomes Dialogue 'Among All Parties', Backs Refugee Measures

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on January 07-08/15
World Leaders, Media Groups Condemn 'Barbaric' Paris Attack
Arab League, Al-Azhar, Qatar Condemn Paris Attack
Young mother let terrorists into Charlie Hebdo building after threat against daughter
Islamist gunmen feared hunting more targets after massacring 12 people at Paris magazine
At least 12 dead in Paris after attack on satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo
Charb among those killed in Paris attack
Iran nuclear talks with six powers to resume Jan. 18 in Geneva
PM pledges to liberate Iraq as ISIS launch major Anbar assault
 Female suicide bomber attacks Istanbul tourist hub, kills policeman
Hamas denies Israeli claim that Qatar expelled group leader
EU criticizes Israel on Palestinian tax freeze
Egypt police officer killed in Cairo bomb blast
Boko Haram leader threatens Cameroon
Report: Saudis behind attack along Iraq border
UN chief says Palestinians to join ICC in April
France warns Palestinians over UN bid
Hamas leader will remain in Doha, suspend activities: group official
Suicide bomber kills at least 30 at Yemen police enrollment
German govt websites, including Merkel's page, attacked: spokesman
Phone footage captures death of Cairo bomb squad officer
Syria rebel training could start in early spring
Banned Marxist group claims Istanbul suicide attack

Iran Condemns French Weekly Attack but Criticizes Cartoons
Netanyahu Urges Unity to Fight 'Scourge' of Radical Islam

Jihad Watch Site Latest Posts
MSNBC: “We have to respect Islam”
One Charlie Hebdo jihad murderer dead, two in custody
 Fox, CNN, NBC won’t show Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons
MSNBC: Falwell suing Hustler same as Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre
CNN policy: Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons forbidden, “Piss Christ” okay
Howard Dean on the Charlie Hebdo murderers: “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am.”
New York Times: “What What We Don’t Know: The reason Charlie Hebdo was targeted”
Charlie Hebdo jihad mass murderers identified; two of the three were born in France
Financial Times calls for Sharia self-censorship: “Some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo”
Variety: “Charlie Hebdo carnage will likely fuel the racism and anti-Islam sentiment which has been on the rise in France”
Telegraph: “Charlie Hebdo attacks: Anti-Islam parties are now on the march across Europe”
Hamas-linked terror org CAIR condemns Charlie Hebdo jihad murders, claims to support free speech
Witness: Charlie Hebdo jihad murderers said, “We are al-Qaeda, Yemen” and screamed “Allah is with us”
Video: Jihad murderers screamed “Allahu akbar” as they murdered Charlie Hebdo staffers
New York Daily News pixelates Muhammad cartoon in story about Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre
Video: Islamic jihad massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris
UK’s Telegraph headline on Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre story: “France faces rising tide of Islamophobia”
With Charlie Hebdo jihad murderers still at large, car bomb goes off at synagogue in Paris
After Charlie Hebdo jihad massacre, it is time to stand for free speech
We have avenged Muhammad”: Muslims murder 12 at French satirical mag

World Leaders, Media Groups Condemn 'Barbaric' Paris Attack
Naharnet/U.S. President Barack Obama led global condemnation of the shooting at a French magazine on Wednesday which left 12 people dead, with world leaders and media groups branding it an act of terror and an attack on free speech.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Queen Elizabeth II also offered their sympathy, after masked men armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles opened fire at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande condemned as a "terrorist attack" the massacre at the publication, which has been in confrontation for years with Islamists who accused it of attacking their religion.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said the shooting was a "brazen assault on free expression in the heart of Europe", while Reporters Without Borders called it a "black day."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time," Obama said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later addressed the people of France in French, saying: "All Americans stand by your side."
United Nations chief Ban said: "It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime. It was also a direct assault on a cornerstone of democracy, on the media and on freedom of expression."
He added: "This horrific attack is meant to divide. We must not fall into that trap."
British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the shooting as "sickening" and "barbaric", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel called it "despicable", sentiments reflected across European capitals.
In a rare statement on international events, Queen Elizabeth also offered her "sincere condolences" to the families of those killed and to the survivors of the attack.
In Canada, where young radical Muslims staged two attacks that left two soldiers dead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "horrified."The gunmen were heard to shout "we have avenged the prophet" and "Allahu akbar" ("God is greatest"), according to French police. Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious center of learning, called the attack "criminal" and said "Islam denounces any violence," while the Arab League also condemned the attack.
The foreign ministry of Qatar, which is accused of backing radical Islamic groups, added: "Such acts that target unarmed civilians contradict all principles and moral and human values."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country condemned all forms of "terror", but said terrorism and increasing Islamophobia in Europe were "interconnected.""We must fight against increasing racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe which threaten all our values. We must also fight against any form of terrorism," he said. Salman Rushdie, the British-Indian writer who was forced into hiding after Iran issued a death sentence on him for allegedly insulting Islam, hailed Charlie Hebdo's style.
"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity," he said.
"'Respect for religion has become a code phrase meaning 'fear of religion'. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect." Media rights groups also condemned the attack. "The scale of the violence is appalling," said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. "Journalists must now stand together to send the message that such murderous attempts to silence us will not stand." Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, said: "A newsroom attack with machine guns is a type of violence we witness in Iraq, Somalia or Pakistan. "This terrorist attack marks a black day in the history of France." Stephan Oberreit, director of Amnesty International France, added: "It is an atrocity that sought to kill journalists, suppress freedom of expression and sow fear."Security was reportedly stepped up Wednesday at the Danish newspaper that provoked angry and sometimes deadly protests worldwide by publishing a series of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. Charlie Hebdo had reprinted the cartoons in 2006. "Completely defenseless and innocent people became the victims of what appears to be an attack on free speech," said Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
"The French society, like ours, is open, democratic and based on a free and critical press. Those are values that are deeply rooted in all of us, and which we shall protect."Agence France Presse

Snow In Lebanon Hits Areas 400 Meters Above Sea Level, Schools to Close for a 2nd Day
Naharnet 07.01.15
Storm Zina brought snow to areas that are located only 400 meters above sea level, as it continued to batter Lebanon for a second day on Wednesday.
The ferocity of the storm prompted Education Minister Elias Bou Saab to order the closure of all public, private and vocational schools on Thursday. The minister urged all institutions to abide by the decision.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour ordered the closure of nurseries on Thursday after they were also closed on Wednesday.
Snow started falling on towns near the Lebanese coast in the afternoon, reaching areas located 350-400 meters above sea level, such as Mazboud, al-Mghayriyeh, Ketermaya, Barja and Joun, as a wave of cold and frost engulfed the region.
Snow also covered most towns in the southern region of Marjeyoun starting 600 meters above sea level. Thickness reached around 10 centimeters in Jdeidet Marjeyoun but the road remained passable.
In Mount Lebanon, the storm cut off most of the mountainous roads in the Chouf region, with snow reaching areas 800 meters above sea level.
All activity ground to a halt in the northern region of Bsharri, amid a closure of schools, institutions and shops and a power outage that had started on Monday.
The nearby region of Zgharta meanwhile witnessed heavy hail, violent winds and intense rain.
The rain caused a rise in the water level of River Rashiin, whose color turned into dark brown due to flashfloods and mud.
Also in the north, overflowing water from the stream of the Azqi town invaded olive and citrus groves in the Dinniyeh region.
At the governmental level, Prime Minister Tammam Salam presided over an extraordinary meeting for the so-called National Committee for Confronting Disasters and Crises.
The premier gave directions to the committee and all ministries and administrations to “mobilize all their departments and call in employees to their work locations, or the nearest center they can reach, to maintain normal operations, especially at vital facilities.”
Salam also stressed the need to “take care of the Syrian refugee encampments and provide them with the necessary help to confront the storm's damage and repercussions.”The storm battered coastal towns as major roads leading to the mountains were covered with layers of snow, leaving some vehicles stranded.
As temperatures began to drop, people flooded supermarkets, stocking up on food. Weather forecasts said that the storm would last until Thursday and temperatures would plunge to a new low over the weekend. Several roads were closed by the Internal Security Forces on Wednesday as others remained open for SUVs and cars equipped with snow chains. The state-run National News Agency reported that snow covered for the first time As Safira area in Dinniyeh as hail fall continued until Wednesday morning.
All schools closed across the country, at the instructions of Minister Bou Saab. The Civil Defense advised citizens not to take mountainous roads except in cases of emergencies.
The director general of the Civil Defense Department, Brig. Gen. Raymond Khattar, said that several cars were pulled in the north, Mount Lebanon and the south, warning of choking cases due to home heating. Red Cross Operations Director George Kettaneh revealed that several rescue operations were carried out across Lebanon.
Public Works Ministry bulldozers also worked on reopening roads covered with snow.
Wind and rain caused delays at Beirut's airport Tuesday night and the country's ports had been closed as winds of up to 110 km/hr caused waves more than 5 meters high.
Media reports said that around 30 sheep were killed Wednesday when a thunderstorm hit a farm in Zgharta.
A Syrian man and a six-year-old boy died in the cold in the southern region of Shebaa. "We have transported the bodies of two Syrians, a man and a six-year-old boy, who were found dead in Ain al-Joz in the mountains of Shebaa," a Red Cross source told Agence France Presse. State-run National News Agency reported a third person had died in the mountains apparently of exposure, but there was no immediate confirmation as a Red Cross source said heavy snow was hampering search operations. A security source said the dead were Syrian refugees and had been crossing the mountainous border between Syria and Lebanon in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The cold weather also caused the death of 15,000 chickens in two farms owned by Walid Qassem in the town of Amar al-Beykat, NNA reported.

Lebanon presidential election postponed to Jan. 28
Jan. 07, 2015/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday postponed Lebanon's presidential election to Jan. 28 after legislators failed for a 17th time to elect a new head of state amid lack of consensus. The scene at Parliament was the same as the previous 16 attempts, with a lack of quorum prompting Berri to postpone the vote. Only 47 lawmakers from Berri’s parliamentary bloc and the Future Movement-led March 14 coalition showed up for Wednesday’s session. MPs from the Hezbollah-led March 8 have boycotted the election sessions due to lack of consensus on a presidential candidate. Quorum was met during the first legislative session to elect a president in April, but no candidate received enough votes to win. Seven months after the end of former President Michel Sleiman's term, Lebanon's parliamentary blocs have repeatedly failed to elect a new head of state. Meanwhile, the Council of Maronite Bishops renewed concerns over the future of Lebanon amid the ongoing presidential vacuum. “Lebanon’s future is not promising if the country continues to be a hostage to regional axes and internal [axes] arising there from and the ongoing disruption of the presidential election,” the bishops said in a statement at the end of their monthly meeting Wednesday. They urged MPs to carry out their constitutional duties over the presidential election. “The longer the [presidential] void, the more Lebanon is exposed both internally and externally,” the bishops warned. In turn, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea held lawmakers boycotting the voting session responsible for the paralysis in the country. “Authority remains incomplete without a head of state,” Geagea said at a news conference from his headquarters in Maarab, north of Beirut.  “The easiest solution would be for MPs to go to Parliament and elect a president,” he said. “This would be a Lebanon-made solution.”

Geagea Says Dialogue with Aoun Serious, Difficult: Hizbullah Engaged Lebanon in Turmoil
Naharnet /Lebanese Forces chief confirmed on Wednesday that talks with the Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun are serious, pointing that Hizbullah's involvement in the war raging in the neighboring country Syria has engaged Lebanon in turmoil.
“Dialogue between us and the FPM is very serious but the matter is not that easy. We have been at loggerheads for 30 years and it was not for simple or ridiculous reasons,” said Geagea in a press conference at Maarab following a postponed parliamentary session to elect a president. “We were at conflict for fundamental reasons related to the nation and the priorities, but we have no personal enmity,” added Geagea. Preparations are underway for a meeting between Aoun and Geagea to resolve points of contention between the old time rivalries. LF chief lamented how Lebanon has been living without a president for more that 7 months now and said “seven months and half have passed and Lebanon is still without a president... the nation is politically paralyzed... some ministers are making efforts but that will lead to no avail without a president.” “Boycotting sessions to elect a president is unacceptable,” he expressed. Lebanon has been living in a presidential vacuum since May when the term of Michel Suleiman's ended. Conflict between the rival March 8 and March 14 alliances have prevented an agreement on a head of state. On the efforts to hold meetings between the two parties, Geagea said “We want to vent the tension prevailing at this stage and to normalize relations between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement.”
“We are trying to narrow the distance between the two parties. Yesterday we exchanged messages in a bid to normalize relations, put off tension and drop lawsuits, which all seriously serve the meeting,” he said adding that he has no problem on where the meeting will be held. Geagea agreed on Aoun's latest statement saying “I agree with Aoun when he said that he wants the republic first and then the presidency. What Aoun said is very genuine and we agree.”
On the involvement of Hizbullah in the war in Syria, Geagea said: “the presence of Hizbullah in Syria and its involvement in the battle has engaged Lebanon in turmoil.”“We cannot tolerate the burden of Syrian refugees and I support the government’s measures to control their influx.”Hizbullah sent fighters to Syria to back President Assad's forces against rebels trying to remove him from power. The armed intervention in Syria earned the group the enmity of Syria's predominantly Sunni rebels. Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.However, Hizbullah's involvement in Syria had drawn the ire of many in Lebanon.

Three dead as winter storm batters Lebanon
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015
BEIRUT/TRIPOLI/SIDON: A snow storm sweeping the Levant region cut off roads across Lebanon Wednesday, including the international Beirut-Damascus highway, isolating large areas in the north and east of the country and leaving three people dead.
In east Lebanon, two Syrians, including an 8-year-old boy, died in the storm in the outskirts of Shebaa in Mount Hermon on the Syrian border, security sources told the Daily Star.
The sources said the boy, identified as Majid Badawi, and an adult named Ammar Kamal, were among a group of four people who had crossed from the village of Beit Jinn on the Syrian side of Mount Hermon and were on their way to Shebaa when they were caught by the storm. The group had apparently lost their way and ended up near a Lebanese Army checkpoint in the hills overlooking Shebaa, the sources said, adding that the boy’s father, Kheir Badawi, was among the two survivors.
The National News Agency later reported that a third member of the group had also died, without identifying them.
The NNA said heavy snow blocked the vital highway at Dahr al-Baidar, cutting off the Bekaa Valley from the rest of the country, as the stormed intensified Wednesday morning.
The Lebanese Red Cross said it had carried out 231 transport and rescue operations related to the storm since 6 p.m. Tuesday, including car accidents, evacuation of snowed-in motorists and hospital transportation of dialysis patients and pregnant women who were cut off by snow in the Bekaa Valley and north Lebanon. “We have placed 600 volunteers, more than 100 ambulances and 15 special rescue teams on standby in the various red cross centers across the country,” Red Cross Secretary-General Georges Kettaneh told the Daily Star.
Volunteers evacuated several people stuck inside their cars in the area of Kfar Debian in Mount Lebanon, including one person who suffered a fatal heart attack behind the wheel, Kettaneh said.
“We are using four-wheel-drive ambulances to access the people, but our cars are not able to reach certain areas that are heavily snowed in,” he said, adding that the Red Cross was coordinating with the Army and municipalities to open certain roads.
Hail fell Wednesday in Beirut where the temperature dropped to less than 6 degrees, a rare occurrence in the capital.
The storm caused extensive damage to fruit crops, in particular banana and citrus, across regions in the north and the south.
Most mountain roads in the northern province of Akkar and some roads in the highlands of Dinnieh were blocked by snow and were only passable for vehicles equipped with metal chains, the NNA said.
Waves of up to 3 meters high off the coast of Lebanon’s southern-most port city carried little stones and pebbles onto the streets. The storm also broke several shop windows in Tyre.
Rough winds and heavy rains shuttered ports and briefly halted air traffic at Beirut, as the country braced for what is expected to be several more days of heavy winter weather.
Flights at Beirut’s airport resumed after being briefly suspended Tuesday night due to a powerful storm sweeping through Lebanon, a source at the airport said.
The source told The Daily Star operations gradually returned to normal at Rafik Hariri International Airport after storm warnings delayed the arrival of five flights between 6-8 p.m.
The violent storm with strong winds and heavy hail and rainfall, which is expected to last until Sunday, prompted Education Minister Elias Bou Saab to order the closure of schools across the country Wednesday.

Storm causes hypothermia among Syrian refugee children
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015
BEIRUT: A snow storm that tossed heavy rain and hail on Lebanon’s coast and snow on the mountains and the Bekaa Valley added to the misery of Syrian refugees clustered inside tents in hundreds of gatherings across the country. At least four Syrian refugee children in a tented settlement in Bar Elias in the Bekaa were rushed to hospital for hypothermia Wednesday, a source at the camp told The Daily Star. Snow caused several tents to collapse, as refugees tried to keep warm inside their unheated shelters by burning lumber and waste paper. “People are setting fire to anything they could find, including clothes, to keep warm. It is a most tragic situation,” the source said. Several refugee families had their tents blown down by strong winds that battered Lebanon overnight and had to seek shelter with other refugees. In Arsal, on Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria, the municipality equipped halls inside mosques in anticipation of a possible evacuation of refugees from their camps, sources said. “Some refugees were treated for severe bruises they suffered when tents collapsed under the weight of snow,” a medical source in Arsal told The Daily Star. Lebanon is hosting more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees who had fled the raging conflict at home, now in its fourth year. The majority live in make-shift camps in extremely harsh conditions without proper sanitation or heating. The snow storm sweeping the Middle East since Tuesday evening has disrupted life in Jordan and Turkey, which also play host for large Syrian refugee communities living in camps on their borders with Syria.

Violent storm disrupts Beirut flights, schools ordered shut
The Daily Star/Jan. 06, 2015
BEIRUT/TRIPOLI/SIDON: A powerful storm with violent winds and heavy hail and rainfall ripped through Lebanon Tuesday, halting air traffic at Beirut airport and prompting the government to order the closure of schools across the country.
Trees were ripped from their roots and billboards torn off posts in different parts of the country, as storm "Zina" batters coastal towns and buries mountain roads under layers of snow. Flights were delayed as wind speeds and rain intensified in the evening. Planes took advantage of brief periods of calm to take off and land, but as the storm picked up flights were halted again. Disruptions are expected to continue throughout the night.
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab ordered all public and private schools and institutes across the country closed because of the storm. Winds also led to halting maritime traffic in its southern ports of Sidon and Tyre. The winds from the incoming storm which destroyed orchards, caused property damage and knocked out power and Internet in parts of the country. Fishermen at the Saint Simon area of Jnah, south of Beirut, were able to pull fellow citizen Rabih Kaderi after he drifted away on high seas for nearly two hours. High waves slammed into Jbeil's waterfront, drowning the seaside promenade and forcing the closure of restaurants around midday.
The mayor of Jbeil Ziad Hawat warned that the town's historic harbor was at risk.
"We repeatedly appealed to the Directorate General of Antiquities to ask the Ministry of Public Works to kick off renovation works at the old port but to no avail," he wrote on Twitter. Pictures circulated on social media showed the port completely overrun by high waves.
Fruits that had been blown off their tree branches littered orchards across the north as well as in Sidon and Tyre, while at least one large Christmas tree displayed in the northern city of Tripoli was toppled. "Zina" is expected to continue until Sunday, also knocked down utility poles, causing power and Internet outages in some parts of the north. High winds, reaching up to 90 km/hour, have toppled billboards and damaged cars. Greenhouses were also torn apart by the storm. The winds also uprooted a tree in Beirut's neighborhood of Tayyouneh blocking a large chunk of the road. A Palm tree was also uprooted in Sidon. “This is not the worst storm ever,” a source at the Department of Meteorology at Beirut airport said. “Lebanon has seen ... worse than that.” The Traffic Management Center said Civil Defense workers managed to haul off a tree that had blocked a street in the Beirut district of Hamra. Many mountain roads were still blocked by snow, including Sannine-Zahle, Ayoun Siman-Hadath Baalbek and Mnaitra-Hadath Baalbek.  The vital Dahr al-Baidar road linking Beirut to Zahle was also closed due to snowfall, the Internal Security Forces said. The Kefraya-Barouk road was passable for jeeps and vehicles equipped with metal chains.
Heavy rains are expected Tuesday night and tempatures will continue to drop as “Zina” intensifies. The storm is being brought over by a low-pressure weather system from the North Pole via Eastern Europe, according to Michel Frem, head of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute. Frem, who said the cold weather would continue until Sunday, warned of flooding and strong winds through Wednesday, especially in Beirut and the south. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday temperatures will drop as low as minus 10 degrees in the Bekaa Valley, Frem added.

Hizbullah Supports Dialogue between Rivals, Says Talks with Mustaqbal Fruitful
Naharnet/Head of Hizbullah's Political Bureau Sayyed Ibrahim Amin Sayyed stressed on Wednesday that the party supports all kinds of dialogue between the rival parties, expressing belief that talks with al-Mustaqbal Movement could lead to solid results.
“Hizbullah's dialogue with al-Mustaqbal indicated that the two sides have serious intentions to reach fruitful results,” Sayyed told reporters after a visit to the Armenian Orthodox Bishopric. Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement agreed on Monday during their second dialogue session to support efforts to “continue the implementation of the security plan across all Lebanese regions,” revealing that they have made “progress” to defuse the Sunni-Shiite tensions. The dialogue is being held under the auspices of Speaker Nabih Berri at his residence in Ain el-Tineh. Dialogue had kicked off on December 23 between the two parties and the first session was aimed at devising a “roadmap” and a “mechanism” for the next sessions. Sayyed pointed out that Hizbullah supports all kinds of dialogue between the political arch-foes, which is the only way to resolve the crises gripping Lebanon. Preparations are also underway for a meeting between Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea to resolve points of contention between the old time rivalries.  Asked about the presidential elections stalemate, the Hizbullah official noted that the head of state is capable of playing an effective role in facing the challenges that are threatening Lebanon and all its components.

Paris media attack kills 4 cartoonists including chief editor: judicial source
Agence France Presse/Paris: Some of the best-known cartoonists in France were among the 12 killed when gunmen stormed the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday, a judicial source said.
Editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were killed in the attack on the paper, which gained notoriety for repeatedly publishing caricatures of the prophet Mohammed.

Islamist gunmen feared hunting more targets after massacring 12 people at Paris magazine
DEBKAfile Special Report January 7, 2015,
The heavily armed gunmen who murdered 12 people including police officers at the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine in central Paris Wednesday, Jan. 7, got clear away and are feared by French and other European security agencies to be seeking out more targets. They are on the loose with AK-47 assault guns, a supply of ammo, and possibly a grenade launcher. Another 10 people were injured, 5 critically.
France has raised its terror alert to its highest level as it launches a massive manhunt for three killers. Its European neighbors have also taken precautions.
This act of terror raised a whole new set of concerns. The gunmen conducted themselves in the calm, deliberate manner of trained professional soldiers, rather than crazed suicidal jihadis. Their combat experience was evident, whether from fighting in the Islamic State’s battles in Iraq and Syria or other Islamist arenas.
Three years ago, Charlie Hebdo ran cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad and in the current New Year, poked fun at ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
French security authorities infer that the terrorists, dressed in black and masked, were gunning for predetermined targets from the fact that they carried lists and asked for their targets by name when they passed through the corridors of the magazine building. They then shot the journalists on their list with cold-blooded precision.
According to one unconfirmed report, the Charlie Hebdo editor and lead cartoonist were among the victims.
President Francois Hollande, who arrived on the scene within minutes, commented that “40 people were saved.” They were evidently saved because they did not appear on the gunmen’s death list.
debkafile’s counter-terror sources note that this attack was the first instance in the war of terror, that Islamists murdered Western journalists for their views on religion in the heart of a West European capital.
Shouting "Allahu Akhbar!" and “We have avenged the Prophet’s honor!” theyleft the building and sped past a police force in the street, shooting accurately at the windscreens of their vehicles. They then jumped into a black getaway car which stood waiting with open doors. A short while later, they stole another vehicle and switched cars.
The president called an emergency cabinet meeting shortly after the attack. Our sources note that although French security and intelligence services have maintained a high terror alert for the past month after a series of incidents against Jewish targets, they failed to predict or forestall one of the most spectacular Islamic attacks seen in Europe in recent years.

At least 12 dead in Paris after attack on satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo
Reuters/Jan. 07, 2015
PARIS: Hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a weekly satirical magazine renowned for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades.
One of the men was captured on video shouting "Allah!" as four shots rang out. Two assailants are then seen calmly leaving the scene and remain at large.
Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is renowned for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders and has published numerous cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad. The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
"This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about it," President Francois Hollande told reporters after rushing to the scene of the attack. His government raised France's security level to the highest level and scheduled an emergency cabinet meeting.
The gunmen fled toward the eastern Paris suburbs after holding up a car, police officials said.
"There is possibility of other attacks and other sites are being secured," Police union official Rocco Contento said.
Sirens could be heard across Paris as Prime Minister Manuel Valls said security would be ramped up at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores.
The White House said U.S. security officials were in contact with their French counterparts.
"If the perpetrators are still at large, we're going to track them down, and we're going to work with the French to do that," a White House spokesman told MSNBC television.
Another 20 people were injured in the attack, including four or five critically. Police union official Contento described the scene inside the offices as "carnage."
"About a half an hour ago two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs (rifles)," witness Benoit Bringer told TV station iTELE. "A few minutes later we heard lots of shots."
In a video shot by journalist Martin Boudot from a rooftop near the magazine's offices, a man can be heard screaming "Allah," followed the sound of three or four shots.
"They're coming out. There are two of them," says a new voice on the video as two men appear in the frame, then raise their arms in a shooting posture.
France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and is already on alert after calls from Islamist militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes on Islamist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.
The attack, as yet unclaimed, comes amid what a number of commentators have identified as rising xenophobia in Europe, with thousands of protesters in several German cities rallying earlier this week against Muslim immigration. France's five-million-strong Muslim population is Europe's largest.
"I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this," said Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris's Seine-Saint-Denis northern suburb.
Dozens of police and emergency services were at the site as police secured a wide perimeter around the shooting site, where a Reuters reporter saw a car riddled with bullet holes.
Late last year, a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") injured 13 by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon. French officials say several attacks were prevented in recent weeks and Valls has said France had "never before faced such a high threat linked to terrorism."
A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011 after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover in what it described as a Shariah edition.
While there was no immediate claim for the shooting, one supporter of ISIS suggested in a tweet the image of Mohammed was the reason for the attack.
The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

Armenian church head decries Christian persecution in the Middle East
Jan. 06, 2015 /The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I Keshishian deplored Tuesday the targeting of Christians by the region's extremist groups and called for Lebanon to elect a new a president to safeguard the country from rampant violence.
“We welcome unrelenting efforts by officials to preserve Lebanon’s unity, and we reaffirm our faith in the role of the Lebanese Army in defending the nation, despite the enormous and painful sacrifices,” Keshishian told worshippers attending mass on Armenian Christmas.
“We also welcome the wise policy of Lebanese politicians in keeping Lebanon at a distance from regional upheavals,” Keshishian said, underscoring, however, the urgent and primary necessity of electing a president.
“Regardless of the obstacles and difficulties, it is just not permissible not to have a president in Lebanon,” Keshishian added.
The prelate also deplored the colossal dangers facing Christians, including Armenians, in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria.
“Despite the huge difficulties and atrocities confronting them, Christians are determined to stay in this Orient, and to remain faithful to their duties and attached to their rights,” Keshishian said in reference to the persecution of Christians at the hands of jihadi militants from ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Geagea, Aoun to stick to presidential race: LF official
The Daily Star/Jan. 07, 2015 /BEIRUT: Lebanon’s rival Christian leaders – Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun – will not quit the presidential race despite an anticipated dialogue between the two sides, Lebanese Forces spokesman Melhem Riachi said Wednesday. “The Lebanese Forces did not ask Aoun to give up his run for the presidential election just as Geagea will not withdraw his candidacy,” Riachi told a local television channel. Riachi said three-way meetings taking place at Aoun’s residence in Rabieh between himself, Aoun and FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan would “culminate with a first round of talks” between Geagea and Aoun. However, Riachi did not give an exact date for the dialogue. Kanaan said last week that Aoun and Geagea had agreed on the agenda for the anticipated talks which aim to achieve Christian rapprochement to end the presidential election impasse. “Agreement has been achieved over the main issues of the agenda, and some fine-tuning is being done on certain details,” Kanaan said. “The most important thing is to regularize inter-Christian relations in order to have a common Christian vision regarding key issues including the [political] system and [state] institutions,” he said, stressing that the entente should encompass other Christian parties.

Should Palestinian funds have been frozen?
Nechama Duek and Yifat Erlich/Ynetnews
Published: 01.06.15, / Israel Opinion
DEBATE: Yifat Erlich argues Israel could not afford to remain apathetic in face of Abbas' appeal to ICC; Nechama Duek warns against punitive measure, as desperation is fertile ground for terror. Yifat Erlich: Indifference isn’t an option Freezing the funds of the Palestinian Authority is a necessary step. When one side decides to take unilateral action, the other side cannot remain indifferent. Israel must make it clear to the Palestinians and the world at large that an appeal to the International Criminal Court in The Hague is an ineffective move that won't pay off. In recent years, the PA has tried every trick in the book to avoid sitting down, God forbid, at the negotiating table. These tricks culminated last week in the futile attempt, by means of the UN, to impose the establishment of a Palestinian state on Israel. Instead of acting in the best interests of the Palestinian people and trying to resolve the conflict via talks and without preconditions, the PA is waging a war – a propaganda war against Israel. Israel, for its part, chose to act correctly when it responded with a unilateral move of its own, with the objective of paralyzing the PA and making it clear to its leaders that appeals to international entities mean an end to the negotiations with Israel. The immediate casualties of the freeze are the PA employees, and the security personnel among them, of course. Ostensibly, Israel could be affected by the paralysis of the PA's security mechanisms, but Mahmoud Abbas knows all too well that his regime will be the one to suffer most and struggle to neutralize the next Hamas takeover. In my view, however, the freezing of the funds is only a first step, and isn't enough. The move's principal drawback is the fact that it is temporary and reversible. The funds haven't been appropriated, they've only been frozen. In other words, in a day or two, two months at the most, Israel will transfer all these funds to the PA. In contrast, the PA's appeal to the ICC in The Hague is an irreversible move – and an irreversible move must be answered in kind. A prime minister with guts, therefore, should have announced the immediate annexation of Area C in Judea and Samaria. If the Palestinians want to prevent any chance of negotiations, then Israel, too, should establish new facts on the ground.
Nechama Duek: Despair breeds terror
This is not the first time Israel has unilaterally decided to freeze the funds owed to the Palestinian Authority. In the past, Israel was forced to cough up. The funds in question are tax revenues and Israel serves only as a pipeline for their transfer to the PA.
What does it say about us as a people when we employ the same methods that were used against Jews in the Diaspora? Back then, they went for our pockets and said it was the only language the Jews understood. Have we lowered ourselves to that same level?
Despite being repeatedly shown that financial oppression of the PA is ineffective, Israel is repeating the same pattern of behavior – as if we haven't really learned a thing, as if we haven't forgotten anything. Failure to transfer the funds to the PA creates a growing resentment towards Israel. The PA cannot pay the wages of its people and employees, and this immediately translates into anger against Israel and increasing despair on the other side. And as we all know, desperate times lead to desperate measures – and yes, to terror attacks too!
And for what exactly is Israel punishing the PA? For making a unilateral appeal to the UN and asking to be recognized as a state. In all honesty, if the situation were reversed, wouldn't Israel do all it could to achieve independence and win recognition from the nations of the world? After all, that is precisely what Israel did 67 years ago. I can already hear the cries of outrage for the fact that I am comparing us to them. Scream and shout if you will, but remember, too, that the negotiations have been going nowhere for more than 20 years already. By now, we could have had two states prospering side by side, without being in control of millions of people who don't want us there. Yes, I know, they are to blame as well. But instead of looking to point fingers and holding back funds, our leadership should take the initiative and lead the way towards resolving the conflict and not merely manage it.

What does the Bible say about self-hatred?
 Anyone who is without Christ and without hope or who adopts the world’s values may come to view life as futile and hate living (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18). Thus, a secular worldview may result in self-hatred. Presumably, we who have obeyed the gospel and love the Lord do not hate life; we are not without hope in the world (1 Corinthians 15:19; Colossians 1:5; Psalm 16:8-11). Even though we are sojourners and look for a better place, we hate evil (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13; Amos 5:15; Romans 12:9), not ourselves (even though we sometimes produce evil). Because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us by faith, we are righteous and should be glad; we should exult before God and be jubilant with joy (Psalm 68:3)! Self-hatred is the cry of a tormented soul, not the new song of one whom God has saved with His strong arm and for whom He has done marvelous things (Psalm 98:1). Yet, sadly, even redeemed saints can feel depressed and bereft of joy (see Psalm 51:8-12). Why is this? Certainly a repenting saint should have a broken spirit and contrite heart; but a saint should shun self-hatred as an inordinate earthly passion (Colossians 3:5) of the flesh (1 John 2:16-17).
According to Scripture, anyone who continually practices iniquity injures himself and shows that (in a practical sense) he despises or hates his own life (Proverbs 29:24; 8:36; 15:32). Saints do not continually practice iniquity or keep sinning in this way (1 John 5:18; 3:8). Although self-hatred is not godly, Christians may experience something like it when they harbor un-confessed sin and feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. However, both unbelievers (those who have not confessed they are lost in sin and have trusted in Christ as their Lord and savior) and believers may fall victim to feelings of self-hatred, to the degree that they submit to the world’s values regarding beauty, success, and similar “markers of value.”
A person may come to hate himself for being old or physically ‘unattractive’ (however attractiveness may be defined). Some may arrive at self-hatred because they consider themselves losers who lack “needed” talents or resources (intelligence, personal connections, money, and influence). Anyone who actually thinks they must live up the idealized standards of beauty, success, and power that are portrayed in the mass media, and fails to do so, may arrive at the unreasonable conclusion that he or she is not worthy of love and begin to sink into self-hatred. Just as God warns us not to hate our neighbors, we must not make unreasonable demands upon ourselves and end up sinning against God by hating ourselves (Leviticus 19:17).
If you hate yourself because you do not “measure up” according to worldly standards, realize that in doing so you are showing hatred or anger toward God who made you as you are and placed you in your current circumstances. If you hurt yourself in an act of self-hatred, is this not truly an act of vengeance against God? Just as we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, we are to love ourselves and so show thanks and honor to the sovereign God who made us and placed us in our circumstances, no matter what these might be.
Having a healthy sense of self does not mean denying that one is a sinner. Scripture records instances when human beings, having seen the King, the Lord of hosts, are immediately overwhelmed by a consciousness of their utter sinfulness; witness the feelings of the prophet Isaiah: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). Was Isaiah guilty of self-hatred? Isaiah is overwhelmed by a sense of his depravity when standing before a holy God. Our awareness of God’s holiness makes us feel appropriately wretched. But this sense of clarity regarding who we are and how we compare with an utterly holy God does not need to result in self-destructive hatred of ourselves. Rather, it is point us towards receiving the salvation and forgiveness that God offers us.
God our savior and Lord will ultimately deliver us from this body of death (Romans 7:23-24). As a result, we must forget the past and press ahead to what lies ahead – toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14; Luke 9:62; Hebrews 6:1). We must not get distracted, while running the race, or be discouraged by inordinate emotions or become warped and twisted by the corrupt values of the world around us. Instead of living on the basis of our emotional states or trying to live up to worldly ideals, we must continually live by the word of God and seek to please Him.
We cannot trust our feelings in matters of love and hate, for our sentiments in these things are unreliable. Sorrow that leads to repentance is a good thing, but self-hatred is counter-productive. Just as an athlete must exercise self-control in all things, the saint must not let fleshly self-hatred or its opposite (pride) control him (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). Fleshly self-hatred is worldly, leading to death; but godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance occurs when we turn away from our sin and towards God (Isaiah 55:6). As unworthy as we are of God’s grace toward us, we must believe His word, when He tells us that He forgives our confessed and forsaken sins; indeed, He utterly forgets them (Psalm 103:9 and Isaiah 43:25)!
When you are feeling down, examine yourself to see if you are harboring un-confessed sin, and pray that the Lord would grant you true repentance. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7). Notice the last phrase: He “will abundantly pardon.” You are forgiven! Therefore, rejoice and be glad!
We must not allow ourselves or our fellows in Christ to be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow (2 Corinthians 2:7). We must quickly forgive ourselves and restore other repentant sinners. Having repented, we must trust God, who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We must hate sin, but not hate ourselves, for we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. To continue in a state of self-hatred after we have received the grace God offers us does not honor God and demonstrates a failure to understand the nature and value of the salvation Jesus purchased for us with His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Iran nuclear talks with six powers to resume Jan. 18 in Geneva
By REUTERS \ 01/07/2015
DUBAI- The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers will begin on January 18 in Geneva, Tehran's chief negotiator was quoted by the official news agency IRNA on Tuesday as saying. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said the talks would be held at the deputy foreign ministerial level and that the Iranian negotiating team would hold bilateral discussions with the US and Russian delegations on Jan. 15. Earlier on Tuesday Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif briefed parliament, which is dominated by hardliners, in order to defend his progress during the nuclear talks. Despite tough questions by the hardliners opposed to talks, the majority of lawmakers backed the negotiating team's approach to date.
"Today nobody questions the (uranium) enrichment itself in Iran. The discussion now is on the amount of enrichment," Zarif told parliament, according to state media. The United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China reached a preliminary agreement with Iran in November 2013 for it to suspend its most sensitive nuclear activity. Western countries in turn eased some economic sanctions imposed during the more-than-decade-long nuclear dispute.Iran says it is enriching uranium to generate energy solely for civilian purposes. The West suspects Tehran may be trying to develop a nuclear weapon capability.
The two sides failed for a second time last month to meet a self-imposed deadline for ending the stand-off. Talks over the nuclear program have been extended twice since beginning in 2013, and now face two deadlines: one for a political agreement by March and a second for a comprehensive accord by June. Intent on influencing the process – and angered by a lack of visibility into it – new leadership in the Senate banking and foreign relations committees are already drafting legislation that will trigger new sanctions should Iran be found in violation of a preliminary agreement, or should talks break down.
An interim agreement reached last fall between world powers and Iran, formally known as the Joint Plan of Action, prohibits the enforcement of new “nuclear-related” sanctions during the negotiations process. Republicans say their new bill would not implement any new measures, but instead prepares for their immediate implementation should they become necessary. In the past, senior Iranian officials have said the US would be in violation of the JPOA if such a law were to pass.
Furthermore, any deal reached in Vienna over the program is now guaranteed to trigger Senate hearings under the supervision of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) of the Foreign Relations Committee. Corker drafted legislation last year that, if passed, would have required an up or down vote in Congress approving of any deal with Iran. Such a vote would not have legal binding. A deal with Iran over its nuclear program will not be classified as a treaty, which is the only form of foreign policy agreement requiring congressional approval.
International agreements are otherwise at the discretion of the executive. Ultimately, Congress will have to vote to lift sanctions on Iran as part of any comprehensive deal ending concerns with its nuclear work. Republicans in Congress are so far unimpressed by what they have seen from the negotiating table, and are unlikely to change should a deal be reached. Iranian officials expressed optimism last month that the third round of talks might be the charm.
**Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

The strategic failure of Operation Protective Edge
Alex Fishman/Ynetnews/Published: 01.06.15 / Israel Opinion
Analysis: As the Egyptians are physically disengaging from Gaza, Israel is becoming increasingly involved in the Strip and is close to returning to the pre-disengagement days. Operation Protective Edge sent Israel back to Gaza – big time. In the coming days, when the army summarizes the operation's lessons, it won't be able to ignore this outstanding strategic achievement that the IDF and political echelon served the state's citizens with as a gift for 2015. The Egyptians are moving away from Gaza, while Israel is reconnecting to the Strip in an embrace which will lead us very soon back to the pre-disengagement days. On the eve of the operation, Israel planned to weaken Hamas, but it now finds itself reinforcing the Islamist organization economically and humanitarianly. And it is not only reinforcing Hamas, it is also rattled by every sniper or every rocket someone discharges there. Since the operation, Egypt has done everything in its power to physically disengage from Gaza. It created a 500-meter buffer zone, which will turn into a kilometer in the future, and sealed most of the tunnels. In addition, Gazans leaving for Egypt and seeking to reach Europe illegally, through the sea, are met by the strict Egyptian navy and sent back home. The Rafah crossing is opened only once or twice a month, for several hours, and Egypt's alliance with Qatar will only exacerbate the Gazans' situation. The Egyptians have shut off, and everything is being dumped on us: From the international pressure to the frustration of every single resident in Gaza. The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, is putting spokes in the wheels of Gaza's reconstruction. When it found out that Muhammad Dahlan's people had given money to civilians in Gaza who were injured in the war, it took its anger out on the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. It seems that as far as the PA is concerned, they should just die. And who are the idiots charged with the duty of helping the Strip's residents and perpetuating the Hamas rule? We. The PA turns to the United Nations, turns to the International Criminal Court in The Hague – and we will deal with Gaza's destroyed infrastructures. Only recently, different international bodies – including the US State Department – asked Israel to consider building a gas pipe to Gaza in order to provide a stable solution to the energy crisis.
The water pipes in Gaza carry salty water. Selling drinking water from tankers is a profitable business in Gaza – there are several dozen domestic desalination facilities there, alongside three small governmental facilities. But most of the drinking water is supplied by Israel, which sends in 5 million cubes of water a year, and that amount is expected to be doubled. The solution is a large desalination facility, which has already been planned, but it will need huge amounts of energy, which only Israel can supply. You'll be surprised – this is also on the agenda. Israel is already supplying most of the electricity to the Strip – 132 megawatt – including during the war. The Egyptians supply 32 megawatt, through a shaky line, from a power station which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.
Now there are talks about building a serious power station in the Strip, whose energy supplier will be Israel. In other words, Israel will supply energy to an entity which does not recognize its right to exist.
The distress over the destruction left behind by Operation Protective Edge has created a 30% increase in the number of mass marches towards the fence and in the number of people jumping over the fence in search of work in Israel.
In addition, Israel is singlehandedly bringing down the segregation policy it dictated between the Strip and the West Bank: There are more agricultural exports from Gaza to the West Bank, more movement for religious and humanitarian reasons, more sports groups which are travelling to competitions in the West Bank, etc. Trying to relieve pressure. Israel cannot claim a price from Hamas in return for its increased dependency on Israel, because Israel does not recognize Hamas. Israel cannot translate its deeper involvement in Gaza, into which it is being dragged against its policy, into a security or political achievement, like stopping the production of weapons in Gaza or a long-term commitment to maintaining the calm. On the contrary, the demands from Israel in the international arena are only growing.
So is there anyone else who sees Operation Protective Edge as a strategic success story?

The Brotherhood’s Golden Opportunity
Hamad Al-Majid /Asharq Al Awsat
Wednesday, 7 Jan, 2015
Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt are now facing prison or exile following a disastrous period in power. However, in my view, this is a golden opportunity for the group to make substantial reforms and revisions. It is illogical for Muslim Brotherhood leaders to criticize Arab governments and the slow pace of political change in the Arab world when they themselves do not practice change. If you do not encourage change in the leadership of your own group, how can you expect to see change in government leadership? Some Muslim Brotherhood members tried to effect change within the group only to meet with rejection by the Brotherhood’s old guard, forcing the younger generation to leave the Brotherhood to establish their own political party in 1996, the Al-Wasat Party. In my view, the Muslim Brotherhood’s difficult experience during its single year of rule and the dramatic events that followed, including the Rabaa Al-Adawiya protests, as well as their continuing efforts to undermine rule in Egypt is something that is neither in the interests of the group nor the country.
Therefore, it is during the current stage that the Muslim Brotherhood needs to consider implementing significant, not superficial, change and reform. We need to see a complete review, and reform, of the Muslim Brotherhood, from its foundations upwards. What has become clear from the Brotherhood’s year in power is that the group’s understanding of politics, and particularly the issue of bay’ah or pledging allegiance to its leader, has become a hindrance, not a help. That is, Muslim Brotherhood members, including senior officials, pledging allegiance to a non-elected figure creates a sense of aversion and apprehension toward the group, not just for any prospective Brotherhood supporter among Egypt’s left-wing or secular parties, but for the Egyptian general public itself. This is despite the fact that Egypt’s general public, which does not necessarily subscribe to any ideological or political belief, do not oppose religion or religious conservatism, as anybody who has any knowledge of Egyptian society surely knows.
It is not acceptable, or reasonable, for the Muslim Brotherhood to exist for more than 80 years without experiencing any tremor of real change to accommodate internal reform and development. Brotherhood scholars, leaders and intellectuals have written about “renewing” Islam and Islamic discourse, and adopting a new view of the relationship between religion and politics; however, we have not seen any such deep change or reform within the group itself. We have not seen any radical revisions regarding the divisive issues that beset the Brotherhood and particularly the issue of the bay’ah and how this affects the group, ideologically and politically. It does not take an expert to see how these issues have had a negative effect on the Muslim Brotherhood’s political fate, particularly after the group put forward a post-revolution presidential candidate. For, despite the long arm of Muslim Brotherhood influence—politically, socially and in the media—it failed to convince the public that the elected president was ruling Egypt independently, away from the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Guidance Bureau. This lack of independence—namely being a member of the Brotherhood but engaging in politics—can be seen in the nomination, and subsequent presidency, of Mohamed Mursi. For politicians such as this, politics and the Brotherhood are like Siamese twins, and you need a team of surgeons to separate one from the other. The Brotherhood must demonstrate that it is able to change, develop and reform, otherwise anybody that it nominates—be that as president, minister or governor—will be besieged by public doubt and distrust. The Brotherhood’s political opponents also realized this, and so portrayed Mursi as a diligent student of his teacher, the Muslim Brotherhood’s general guide, who was taking all the real decisions. This portrayal was able to gain traction within Egyptian society as a result of the Muslim Brotherhood’s view of the bay’ah, and not just the picture painted by the media.

On the German protests against Islam
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
It’s not difficult to describe the situation in Germany; there are bad Muslims and bad Germans. The 18,000 Germans who took to the streets of Dresden against what they dubbed the “Islamization of Germany” include racists as well as angry people who have been affected by the heinous and ugly political acts committed by Muslims across the world. Among these Germans are those who blame others for the difficult economic situation they find themselves in, considering the influx of foreigners which has led to competition over jobs and benefits. Germany itself is home to Muslim religious and political extremists who succeeded in distorting the image of the other three million Muslims who live peacefully in Germany. Muslim extremists in Germany are more dangerous and harmful to Muslims than angry, racist and fascist Germans. Germany is a tolerant, secular and civil state that has 2,500 mosques. Its regulations, courts and executive institutions protect the Muslim community from racist groups. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the anti-Islam protests as a detestable act. The justice minister also led a protest against racists in the same square as the anti-Islam rally.
“The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly scarecrow”
Arabs make up a small minority of Muslims in Germany. Moroccans, who rank fourth after the Turks, Bosnians and Iranians, account for 80,000 persons. Those of Lebanese origin rank sixth with just 50,000 immigrants.
The talk about the Islamization of Germany is nothing more than a silly scarecrow. After all, Muslims are a small minority and it’s said that the number of Germans who converted to Islam comes in at 100,000, which is a small number considering the country’s population of 80 million. Most of those who converted to Islam most likely did so following mixed marriages and not due to preaching. Muslims have become tormented people following the damage to their image and the image of their religion. This has occurred ever since the al-Qaeda organization surfaced and also due to the massive propaganda of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which made headlines with its violent practices such as the beheadings of Western hostages.
Defending their image
The three million Muslims residing in Germany cannot do much to defend their image because the Islamic region is rife with awful images and news which is used by racists to incite against Islam and against peaceful Muslims who live in the West and other countries. What is always worth a shot, by Germany’s Muslims and other Germans, is directing their anger towards Muslim extremists, expelling them from their communities and distancing them from their schools and children. Fighting Muslim extremists in Germany is more important to Muslims than fighting German racists whom the state will deal with and punish. Perhaps the state will roll up its sleeves and also fight Muslim extremists as it’s not possible - and not acceptable – that the war only be waged against racists while overlooking extremist Muslims. Those extremist Muslims exploit the tolerant and civil regulations in order to market a culture of hatred, incite against followers of other religions and seek to control Muslim schools, mosques and charity and humanitarian institutions.
This stance does not protect Germany from the alleged Islamization but it saves Muslims from the rotten apples among them and from those who sabotaged their communities, destroyed them or imposed their extremist ideology on their people. Those who deserve freedom in civil societies are those individuals who respect freedom and not those who exploit it to serve their own interests.

UCLA's Embarrassment: Prof. Abou El Fadl
Daniel Pipes/
January 7, 2015
The once-promising career of UCLA law professor Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl has faded over the past decade. Gone are the pleasures of glowing attention of the media, the invitations to join important government bodies and to offer expert testimony at high-profile trials.
It's not clear that this downward spiral resulted solely from my 2004 article demonstrating him to be a "stealth Islamist," but that exposé, read more than 30,000 times, surely diminished his stature. In it, I showed how, despite Abou El Fadl's once-vaunted reputation as a moderate Muslim, he
wants Muslims to live by Islamic law (the Shari'a), the law that among other things endorses slavery, execution for apostasy, and the repression of women, and which treats non-Muslims as second-class citizens. "Shariah and Islam are inseparable," he has written, "and one cannot be without the other." In a revealing passage, he confesses that his "primary loyalty, after God, is to the Shariah."
This public airing of his true ambitions undercut his pretense of moderation.
Thus discredited, Abou El Fadl has, unsurprisingly, been itching to get back at me. He launched a trial balloon in 2010 but displayed his venom more fully in a recent book, Reasoning with God, in which he retaliates by attempting to portray me as "an anti-Muslim propagandist" who "will proudly post on his website narratives or people who allegedly discovered that Islam is a false religion or any piece of writing that questions the authenticity of the Qur'an or anything Islamic, like the very existence of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam."
Trouble is, UCLA's Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law and chair of its Islamic Studies Program, whose name I shall abbreviate as KAEF, has wandered from fact into fiction. In the spirit of amicable academic hygiene, I offer some corrections.
The above passage contains two problems. First, my website contains an archive only of my own writings, so I do not "proudly post" anyone else's. Yes, does host 140,000 comments from readers, but these run the gamut from praising ISIS to despising Islam. For KAEF to hone in on a sliver of this spectrum only serves to undermine his credibility.
Second, I wrote an article in 2000, "Who Was the Prophet Muhammad?" in which I surveyed revisionist works that raised questions about the historical accuracy of events of the usual chronology of early Islam. KAEF responded savagely then, and shows that 15 years later, he still remains outraged by that little article. He implies that I should follow Islamist pieties and not show interest – much less approval – of scholarship that might shed doubt on sacred myths. What kind of "professor" is this?
He then charges that I approve only of self-hating Muslims:
While propagandists such as this pretend to encourage Muslims to reform and progress, in practice they impugn the motives of any Muslim reformer who sees any merit in the Islamic tradition whatsoever. … the only Muslims these Islamophobes seem to like are self-hating Muslims who are ashamed of everything related to their religion.
Hardly: what KAEF calls "self-hating Muslims" are anti-Islamists battling to bring their faith back from the hell-holes of extremism, whether the barbarism of Boko Haram or the subtler villainy of a KAEF. I admire and support the work of pious Muslims, such as Zuhdi Jasser and Raquel Saraswati, who devote much their lives to fighting Islamism.
Next: when others and I call someone like KAEF an Islamist, he charges we use it as "a cover for expressing an anti-Muslim prejudice." But Muslims also use the term Islamist or one of its synonyms to characterize the likes of the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, Khamene'i, and Erdoğan. Would KAEF maintain that the tens of millions of Muslims demonstrating on the streets of Egypt against the Morsi government were not "expressing an anti-Muslim prejudice"?
KAEF then gets personal, accusing me of labeling "as Islamist any Muslim who threatens Pipes's own sense of superiority toward Muslims or who threatens his sense of political and social priorities." This business of my "sense of superiority toward Muslims" is a calumny fabricated to insult me. I challenge KAEF to produce evidence for this scurrilous claim. As for Islamists, I do not feel superior to them; I respect them as a worthy enemy and am at war with them.
KAEF closes with a final attack: "although perhaps not as extreme as Pipes, there are substantial numbers of writers who attempt to understand the world of Islam through a binary vision that ascribes to Islam everything that is inferior." No, dear KAEF: I am not "extreme" or even anti-Islam but solely anti-a-certain-kind-of-Islam - the kind I call Islamism - the kind to which you subscribe. You epitomize of the first clause of my refrain that "radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution."
Abou El Fadl and I disagree on one of the great issues of our time; what a pity that his scholarly deficiency and intellectual dishonesty preclude a constructive debate.
**Mr. Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Young mother let terrorists into Charlie Hebdo building after threat against daughter
By Michael Walsh | Yahoo News /Masked terrorists entered the office building in Paris where they murdered 12 people Wednesday by threatening a young mother and her daughter, she said. Corinne Rey, a cartoonist for the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, says she was forced to enter the security code after returning from picking up her child at daycare, according to a local report. “I just went to get my daughter from daycare. As I got to the front door of the building, two masked, armed gunmen brutally threatened us,” she told L'Humanité. “They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code.”Rey, who goes by “Coco,” said she hid under a desk while the gunmen shot and killed a dozen staffers inside the office. While crouched down on the ground, she saw the men kill fellow cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut, the French paper reported. "They shot Wolinski and Cabut," she said. "It lasted five minutes.” The terrorists, claiming to be with al-Qaida, spoke fluent, unaccented French, according to Rey. The Charlie Hebdo newspaper regularly satirizes religious and political figures. Terrorists have threatened the publication’s staff with violence numerous times for its depictions of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after an issue featured a caricature of the prophet on its cover, the Associated Press reported. Undeterred, Charlie Hebdo published another illustration of Muhammad a year later and a cartoon titled “Still No Attacks in France” featuring a jihadist this week.