Palestinian terrorist factions look to merge

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18 Jan 2012
Palestinian terrorist factions look to merge

Sources from the Palestinian Islamist terror militia Hamas and the even more violent Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group have announced that they are in negotiations to merge into one faction. "An in-depth dialogue has actually begun, both internally and externally, with the aim of uniting," PIJ spokesman Daud Shihab told AFP, adding that previous attempts to merge the groups have failed but that the current effort is being conducted at the highest levels of leadership in the two groups, including the leaders being held in Israeli jails. He concluded by saying that a merger is "in the interests of both the Palestinian cause and the future of the Palestinian liberation movement, particularly in light of the Arab Spring." The talks have caused a stir among observers of Palestinian politics, which are still in flux due to the ongoing efforts of Hamas to form a unity government with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, despite warnings from Israel and the West that such a move would mean the end of cooperation and financial support.

Iran denies violating Syria weapons embargo
Iran has denied charges by France that it is violating a UN weapons embargo on Syria, which were prompted by detailed briefings to the UN Security Council by a panel of experts on arms trafficing. "Unfortunately we often see political positions by officials from some European countries, this time by France, that are baseless and not backed by proof," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday, ignoring extensive evidence of his country’s illegal activities which has been provided by a wide variety of sources including government intelligence agencies, NGOs and the UN. In related news, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) issued a statement Tuesday rejecting the proposed dispatch of Arab forces to Syria, instead requesting international military intervention under the auspices of the UN. Citing the Arab League’s hapless incompetence, FSA leader Colonel Riad Asaad declared “unless these Arab forces are organized by the UN Security Council and supported by NATO air power, their presence would only serve the interests of the regime and not the Syrian people.”

Israeli products gain international recognition
Israel won recognition in two areas on Tuesday when a government issued coin was named coin of the year by Krause Publications, the leading US publisher of numismatics periodicals, and the Israeli designed Any.DO app was voted best Android app of 2011 by Techcrunch. The coin, a two-shekel commemorative coin depicting the prophet Jonah and the whale, beat out 94 other coins, with competition organizers declaring the design’s “simplicity speaks volumes and invokes a little bit of wonder.” It is the 16th commemorative coin in the Biblical Art series issues by the Bank of Israel. The Any.DO app, which allows Android users to organize their daily activities, was downloaded over half a million times within a month of being launched late in 2011.

China growing its influence in the Middle East
Chinese oil giant Sinopec signed a "strategic" energy cooperation agreement with the UAE's state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on Tuesday, marking yet another advance by a major Chinese entity into the Middle East and another potential supplier of energy to China which will compete with Iran. The agreement came just two days after a major deal with Saudi Aramco to build an oil refinery in the Red Sea city of Yanbu that will process some 400,000 barrels per day. Also on Tuesday, the Chinese embassy in Amman, Jordan, delivered a large donation to the National Goodwill Campaign, a charity run by the royal family.

IDF finds unique way to mark Arbor Day
With Arbor Day approaching, the IDF has thrown itself into the traditional Jewish hobby of planting trees with an eye towards helping to preserve the environment as well as making a unique contribution to the defense of the country. “The idea is simple,” a senior officer from the IDF’s Gaza Division explained. “Trees are planted around Israeli towns and communities that are close to the border, making it more difficult for terrorists to accurately target homes and residents.” A project to plant several thousand strategically placed trees began in mid-2011 in partnership with Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) – Jewish National Fund. The next step in the project, planting trees along main roads near the border, is scheduled to begin next month.


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