Week in Palestine _ Egyptian role _ Iranian position

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Gaza: ‘War merchants’ attempt to profit at the sake of the displaced

A Palestinian man walks amidst debris in the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip during the first hours of a failed truce, on August 1, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Marco Longari)
Published Friday, August 1, 2014
Despite the beautiful images of social and religious solidarity in Gaza, some in the Strip insist on deviating from the norm and on looking out for their own interests by exploiting the basic needs of the people, in the absence of government [institutions], due to the severity of the war.
Gaza – In the Gaza Strip some people have put their Palestinian patriotism aside to profit from the misery of their compatriots. They could not care less that more and more people are dying as long as they are filling their pockets, even if it is at the expense of distressed refugees who are left with no choice but to sleep inside schools and churches, after mosques and hospitals turned out to be unsafe sanctuaries.
Whether the number of these opportunists is small or large, the images of solidarity among the people of Gaza, its factions, and even its religious sects are the ones prevailing in the Strip. This, however, does not prevent us from shedding light on some “war merchants,” who are showing no value for the sacrifices of the people around them, until they are hit by a tragedy themselves. It is only then that they would feel some of the pain.
There is nothing worse than being exploited by the merchants and businessmen who can meet people’s basic needs, but instead raise the prices of real estate and basic goods in light of the large demand.
Such opportunism was striking in Khan Younes, in southern Gaza. After the town of Khaza’a, located east of the district, faced days of heavy artillery fire, survivors had to flee the town and headed west. Merchants there salivated over the opportunity to make financial profits from the waves of the displaced, unconcerned with the fact that most of these people were not carrying any money on them when they miraculously fled their homes, while those who had some money had trouble accessing it because all banks were closed.
This state of exploitation broke the spirits of many displaced citizens, and erected psychological barriers between them and the merchants of war. Many had planned to rent new apartments, but they were shocked to find out that the “lords” refused to give out their places for the usual rental prices inside the cities, which is 500 shekels ($140).
One of those displaced people is Ahmed Qodeh. This young man had to go on an agonizing journey to find an apartment to shelter his large family, but his efforts were fruitless and only led to more dispersion and displacement, as members of his family had to take refuge in the houses of relatives and in schools.
“I don’t know the goal behind all this ugly exploitation, where should we go with our families after the rent reached 1,500 shekels ($420)?” Qodeh asked resentfully.
Speaking to Al-Akhbar, he added “we can hardly get any news from the folks who are still in the town, that is why we are always preoccupied and we do not have the luxury to complain about those who seek to fill their pockets off our pain.”
This exploitation is by no means restricted to the real estate market, but has spilled over into other basic commodities. Merchants are even attempting to profit off water, and have increased its price after the municipality water was cut off in the district. For example, the price of a 1,000 liter water tank jumped from 17 shekels to about 50 (from $5 to $14), with the price of a small bottle of water tripling.
Fadi Abu Rjeileh, a displaced citizen, said they were forced to purchase from merchants due to the miserable situation in UNRWA schools.
“The bread crumbs offered by the UNRWA do not meet the needs of families and we are forced to buy from stores, even though the prices have tripled compared to the past,” Abu Rjeileh told Al-Akhbar, explaining that “even transportation fares have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.”
Although we cannot overlook the fact that some of the price hikes that have affected certain commodities and services are a result of the crippling siege imposed on Gaza – that only intensified during the now three-week-old war – some merchants are hiding their goods on purpose and raising prices in a direct and obvious exploitation of the situation.
Abu Rjeileh tried to stand up against these practices and complained to the concerned authorities, but the police did not respond to his calls. “Can’t you see the situation we’re in? Take care of it yourself,” the police told him, which made him pray to God that he does not have any children “as long as we are in this demoralized state.”
In Gaza City, the situation is not very different from other districts. With residents from the east heading to the town’s center, the war merchants denied displaced people the chance to live in apartments as they increased rent to $500, making such places only affordable to well-off citizens and some foreign journalists.
The Ayad family from the Mansura neighborhood in Shujayeh had a bitter experience as they tried to rent an apartment after the occupation forces destroyed two of the family’s houses with an F16 missile and artillery shelling. All 98 family members had to move to the house of their daughter Sabrine in the city.
“We are stacked on top of each other and sleep on the apartment’s floor. There are not enough blankets for everyone… there are so many of us now in my 150 meters flat,” Sabrine Ayad told Al-Akhbar.
“My family tried to reduce the number of people and rent outside but one building owner requested $600 for a very small apartment for just 15 days,” she said with a tired voice.
Meanwhile, some landlords are claiming to be afraid of renting out their houses to people whose homes were shelled for fear there may be ‘wanted’ individuals among them, which could lead to getting their own apartments targeted.
Furthermore, money transfers are also being exploited with the dollar rising to 3 shekels, instead of 3.5, due to a lack of money exchange offices.
Meanwhile, Gaza’s Economy Ministry assured that its consumer protection teams have been working across the Strip’s districts since the first day of the aggression.
“We are implementing an emergency plan that was set before the war, [whereby] inspection teams are assigned in five subsidiary offices to monitor the prices and safety of foodstuffs and to prevent monopolization in these tough times,” Abdel Fattah Moussa, the ministry’s spokesman told Al-Akhbar.
Concerning citizens’ complaints, Abu Moussa explained “our numbers are open 24/7 and we quickly verify all complaints and refer them to the legal department for the prosecution to take necessary procedures.”
Abu Mussa, however, said that monitoring real estate falls within the mandate of “the finance and housing ministries in the first place,” but the war is blocking the movement of many employees, something that many displaced people have also pointed out.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Lebanon: Armed group planning to kidnap civilians in exchange for Roumieh prisoners

Islamist inmates at Lebanon’s Roumieh prison. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)
Published Thursday, July 31, 2014
Information obtained from Western intelligence sources revealed an armed takfiri group is undergoing training in North Lebanon in preparation for an attack against a village and the abduction of several civilians in order to negotiate with the government on the release of Islamist prisoners in Roumieh prison.

In North Lebanon, a fierce intelligence war is raging between the Lebanese state and the takfiris.

The Lebanese state is worried about four areas, according to senior officials. First, there is the Ersal mountainside, where fighters from the armed Syrian opposition are stationed west of Qalamoun. Second, there are the gunmen’s gathering points in the north between Tripoli and some hideaways in Akkar. Third and fourth are the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp and Roumieh central prison.
Informed sources explain that Ersal is under the spotlight. This is a reason to reduce its threat, especially in light of the clear field coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian armies, as well as between Hezbollah and Sunni political factions. This contradiction is rarely mentioned in the media. However, the fragile situation caused by the threat of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in the region imposed this reality despite the disagreements between the two sides and their different strategies.
According to the sources, Ain al-Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, faces the same danger but to a lesser degree. Takfiri groups inside the camp are smaller than those outside Ersal. Their geographic scope is limited and controlled, in addition to the ample space inside the camps for the movement of Lebanese security and military forces and collaborating Palestinian factions. This was demonstrated recently through the security plan adopted in Ain al-Hilweh.
Nevertheless, two factors are still influential in the camp. First, [Palestinian National Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas still has influence on the ground, which acts as an element of control. Second, the battles in Gaza diverted the takfiris inside the camp from their personal agendas and focused all the attention on the outcomes of the battle in the besieged Strip. The two factors are interdependent to a large extent and will determine the future security situation in Ain al-Hilweh.
Relations between the authorities in Ramallah and other Palestinian factions will be decided on the basis of the outcome of the battle in Gaza. This will directly impact the situation in Ain al-Hilweh, as well as the future priorities, goals, and methods of takfiri groups, especially their ability to use the camp in this context or lack thereof.
In North Lebanon, a fierce intelligence war is raging between the Lebanese state and the takfiris. On a whole, the security forces seem to have scored vital points in their favor. However, every time they get close to the masterminds and are ready to eliminate the source of terrorism, they are faced with confessional and sectarian excuses, which could lead to threatening civil peace and setting off chaos in the north of the country. On many occasions, security forces had to put a stop to their momentum and slow down their achievements.
Insiders provide an accurate example of this situation following the arrest of one of the most important terrorist cell operators in the north, Khaled Mahmoud (aka Abu Ubaida), late last June. The detainee was a trove of information about terrorists and their various networks, from recruitment, to equipment, to planning, to implementation. His arrest led the security forces to avert some operations and locate the storage of explosives set for that purpose.
But more importantly, the interrogation of Abu Obaida led to the discovery of undisputable clues to the involvement of several big names in North Lebanon, including civilians and those with non-civilian duties. This led to a mobilization and threats of escalation if some of the suspects were not released. This looks to be aimed at pressuring security forces to stop following the chain of involvement at a certain level, preventing the discovery of its various branches, something which seems to have happened, at least temporarily.
This leaves us with Roumieh prison. On July 29, Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil revealed that the jail contains one of the command rooms for terrorist groups, fully equipped with communication and internet devices. This was either due to the inability to stop them or for other reasons. Bassil spoke of blatant official neglect, including official correspondences turning a blind eye to these facilities for terrorist commanders in Roumieh. This occurred in the absence of an official vision or even a government decision on any level to solve this situation.

Official and national institutions are stronger than any terrorist threat.

However, another indicator appeared a few days ago linking Roumieh and the hotspots in the north, threatening to impose a new situation on the Lebanese state. Trusted politicians with a high level of responsibility revealed that around 10 days ago, a major European nation relayed new intelligence to Lebanese security agencies.
The information indicated that an armed takfiri group has been training in Wadi Jahannam in the north. They were estimated at around 100 gunmen and were preparing to storm a village nearby to kidnap a large group of unarmed civilians. They intend to take them to a safe location to begin negotiating with Lebanese authorities for the release of their comrades in Roumieh, threatening to gradually kill the hostages.
As the European intelligence information reached Beirut, residents of the region indicated they had been hearing close and intermittent gunfire for several days. According to the politicians informed of the dossier, however, some official sides are taking it slowly, if not lightly. Official patrols to the indicated location waited until the news has spread enough to be leaked and they returned empty handed.
The army command, however, took the issue more seriously. In the past several days, it has been sending patrols, combing the area, and constantly monitoring the situation from the air. Moreover, the politicians revealed that the field was prepared in several sensitive locations to protect the possible targets of the terrorist operation. Due to the danger and sensitivity of the situation, several opposing political factions agreed to the preparations.
There is no need for panic, according to inside sources. Official and national institutions are stronger than any terrorist threat. However, what remains is full official and national preparedness on the decision-making level for confrontation, regardless of any consideration, in order to avert a catastrophe.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Should The Jewish Defence League Be Dissolved? Yes it’s a terrorist group

Should The Jewish Defence League Be Dissolved?  YES IN ACID


Quotidien Libération’ has put the subject on Thursday: the Ministry of the Interior explore the possibility of a ban on the Jewish Defence League. “We use the finest possible legal analysis, in accordance with the law,” confirmed a source close to the case. Asked about the fate of the JDL Thursday morning during a visit to Marignane (Bouches-du-Rhône), the Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has expanded its response to all groups that may pose problem. 

JDL is under fire from critics since some of its members have violently clashed with pro-Palestinian activists on July 13 in Paris, near the synagogue of the Rue de la Roquette. The group denies any illegal act in France, although it is inspired by the Jewish Defense League, described as a “terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001 and features the emblem (a fist brandishing a star David black on yellow background) of an illegal party in Israel, Kach.

Divides the subject into the Jewish community. Without sharing or ideology or methods” of the JDL, the president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), Roger Cukierman, for his part, found “surprising” on RMC, some pro-Palestinian organizations are not also in the sights of the place Beauvau.

In your opinion, should dissolve the JDL?

Vote here: http://m.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/selon-vous-faut-il-dissoudre-la-ligue-de-defense-juive-31-07-2014-4039431.php

Germans Say MH17 Shot Down by Ukrainian Migs probably in collaboration with the USA

Shocking Analysis of the ‘Shooting Down’ of Malaysian MH17

By Peter Haisenko


 Zur deutschen Version bitte hier anklicken


The tragedy of Malaysian MH 017 continues to elude any light of clarity being cast over it. The flight recorders are in England and are evaluated. What can come of it? Maybe more than you would assume. Especially the voice recorder will be interesting when you look at the picture of a cockpit fragment. As an expert in aviation I closely looked at the images of the wreckage that are circulating on the Internet.

First, I was amazed at how few photos can be found from the wreckage with Google. All are in low resolution, except one: The fragment of the cockpit below the window on the pilots side. This image, however, is shocking. In Washington, you can now hear views expresssed of a “potentially tragic error / accident” regarding MH 017. Given this particular cockpit image it does not surprise me at all.

Entry and exit impact holes of projectiles in the cockpit area

I recommend to click on the little picture to the right. You can download this photo as a PDF in good resolution. This is necessary, because that will allow you understand what I am describing here. The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation:

The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likeley that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile. The edge of the other, the larger and slightly frayed exit holes showing shreds of metal pointing produced by the same caliber projectiles. Moreover, it is evident that at these exit holes of the outer layer of the double aluminum reinforced structure are shredded or bent – outwardly! Furthermore, minor cuts can be seen, all bent outward, which indicate that shrapnel had forcefull exited through the outer skin from the inside of the cockpit. The open rivets are are also bent outward.

In sifting through the available images one thing stands out: All wreckage of the sections behind the cockpit are largely intact, except for the fact that only fragments of the aircraft remained . Only the cockpit part shows these peculiar marks of destruction.

This leaves the examiner with an important clue. This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion. The destruction is limited to the cockpit area. Now you have to factor in that this part is constructed of specially reinforced material. This is on account of the nose of any aircraft having to withstand the impact of a large bird at high speeds.

You can see in the photo, that in this area significantly stronger aluminum alloys were being installed than in the remainder of the outer skin of the fuselage. One remembers the crash of Pan Am over Lockerbie. It was a large segment of the cockpit that due to the special architecture survived the crash in one piece. In the case of flight MH 017 it becomes abundantly clear that there also an explosion took place inside the aircraft.

Tank destroying mix of amunititon

<img class=”aligncenter” alt=”” src=”http://www.anderweltonline.com/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_mh17-einschu__sse_c43fcedbcc.jpg” width=”296″ height=”198″ />
Bullet holes in the outer skin
So what could have happened? Russia recently published radar recordings, that confirm at least one Ukrainian SU 25 in close proximity to MH 017. This corresponds with the statement of the now missing Spanish controller ‘Carlos’ that has seen two Ukrainian fighter aircraft in the immediate vicinity of MH 017. If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment! Now just consider what happens when a series of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells hit the cockpit. These are after all designed to destroy a modern tank. The anti-tank incendiary shells partially traversed the cockpit and exited on the other side in a slightly deformed shape. (Aviation forensic experts could possibly find them on the ground presumably controlled by the Kiev Ukrainian military; the translator).

After all, their impact is designed to penetrate the solid armor of a tank. Also, the splinter-explosive shells will, due to their numerous impacts too cause massive explosions inside the cockpit, since they are designed to do this. Given the rapid firing sequence of the GSh-302 cannon, it will cause a rapid succession of explosions within the cockpit area in a very short time. Remeber each of these is sufficient to destroy a tank.

What “mistake” was actually being committed – and by whom?

<img class=”aligncenter” alt=”” src=”http://www.anderweltonline.com/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_MH17_Schusse_Tragflaeche_c5b6a474a4.jpg” width=”300″ height=”181″ />
Graze on the wing
Because the interior of a commercial aircraft is a hermetically sealed pressurized chamber, the explosions will, in split second, increase the pressure inside the cabin to extreme levels or breaking point. An aircraft is not equipped for this, it will burst like a balloon. This explains a coherent scenario. The largely intact fragments of the rear sections broke in mid air at the weaker points of contstruction most likely under extreme internal air pressure. The images of the widely scattered field of debris and the brutally damaged segment of cockpit fit like hand in glove. Furthermore, a wing segment shows traces of a grazing shot, which in direct extension leads to the cockpit. Interestingly, I found that both the high-resolution photo of the fragment of bullet riddled cockpit as well as the segment of grazed wing have in the meantime disappeared from Google Images. One can find virtually no more pictures of the wreckage, except the well known smoking ruins. If you listen to the voices from Washington now who speak of a “potentially tragic error / accident”, all that remains is the question of what might have been the nature of this “mistake” perpetrated here. I am not given to hover long in the realm of speculation, but would like to invite others to consider the following :

The MH 017 looked similar in it’s tricolor design to that that of the Russian President’s plane. The plane with Presdient Putin on board was at the same time ”near” Malaysia MH 017. In aviation circles “close” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Also, in this context we might consider the deposition of Ms. Tymoshenko, who wanted to shoot Presdient Putin with a Kalashnikov.

But that this remains pure speculation. The shelling of the cockpit of air Malaysia MH 017, however, is definitely not.

Top Zionist scientist says Ashkenazi Jews came from Khazaria, not Palestine

Another Israeli myth exposed


An Israeli geneticist challenges the “Zionist” hypothesis that all Jews belong to one race and are intimately related, thus giving them a common ancestor in the Holy Land and a Biblical claim to Palestine. 

Scientists usually don’t call each other “liars” and “frauds.”

But that’s how Johns Hopkins University post-doctoral researcher Eran Elhaik describes a group of widely respected geneticists, including Harry Ostrer, professor of pathology and genetics at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of the 2012 book “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People.”

For years now, the findings of Ostrer and several other scientists have stood virtually unchallenged on the genetics of Jews and the story they tell of the common Middle East origins shared by many Jewish populations worldwide. Jews — and Ashkenazim in particular — are indeed one people, Ostrer’s research finds.

It’s a theory that more or less affirms the understanding that many Jews themselves hold of who they are in the world: a people who, though scattered, share an ethnic-racial bond rooted in their common ancestral descent from the indigenous Jews of ancient Judea or Palestine, as the Romans called it after they conquered the Jewish homeland.

But now, Elhaik, an Israeli molecular geneticist, has published research that he says debunks this claim. And that has set off a predictable clash.

“He’s just wrong,” said Marcus Feldman of Stanford University, a leading researcher in Jewish genetics, referring to Elhaik.

The sometimes strong emotions generated by this scientific dispute stem from a politically loaded question that scientists and others have pondered for decades: Where in the world did Ashkenazi Jews come from?

The debate touches upon such sensitive issues as whether the Jewish people is a race or a religion, and whether Jews or Palestinians are descended from the original inhabitants of what is now the State of Israel.

Ostrer’s theory is sometimes marshaled to lend the authority of science to the Zionist narrative, which views the migration of modern-day Jews to what is now Israel, and their rule over that land, as a simple act of repossession by the descendants of the land’s original residents. Ostrer declined to be interviewed for this story. But in his writings, Ostrer points out the dangers of such reductionism; some of the same genetic markers common among Jews, he finds, can be found in Palestinians, as well.

By using sophisticated molecular tools, Feldman, Ostrer and most other scientists in the field have found that Jews are genetically homogeneous. No matter where they live, these scientists say, Jews are genetically more similar to each other than to their non-Jewish neighbors, and they have a shared Middle Eastern ancestry.

The geneticists’ research backs up what is known as the Rhineland Hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, Ashkenazi Jews descended from Jews who fled Palestine after the Muslim conquest in the seventh century and settled in Southern Europe. In the late Middle Ages they moved into eastern Europe from Germany, or the Rhineland.

“Nonsense,” said Elhaik, a 33-year-old Israeli Jew from Beersheba who earned a doctorate in molecular evolution from the University of Houston. The son of an Italian man and Iranian woman who met in Israel, Elhaik, a dark-haired, compact man, sat down recently for an interview in his bare, narrow cubicle of an office at Hopkins, where he’s worked for four years.

In “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses,” published in December in the online journal Genome Biology and Evolution, Elhaik says he has proved that Ashkenazi Jews’ roots lie in the Caucasus — a region at the border of Europe and Asia that lies between the Black and Caspian seas — not in the Middle East. They are descendants, he argues, of the Khazars, a Turkic people who lived in one of the largest medieval states in Eurasia and then migrated to Eastern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. Ashkenazi genes, Elhaik added, are far more heterogeneous than Ostrer and other proponents of the Rhineland Hypothesis believe. Elhaik did find a Middle Eastern genetic marker in DNA from Jews, but, he says, it could be from Iran, not ancient Judea.

Elhaik writes that the Khazars converted to Judaism in the eighth century, although many historians believe that only royalty and some members of the aristocracy converted. But widespread conversion by the Khazars is the only way to explain the ballooning of the European Jewish population to 8 million at the beginning of the 20th century from its tiny base in the Middle Ages, Elhaik says.

Elhaik bases his conclusion on an analysis of genetic data published by a team of researchers led by Doron Behar, a population geneticist and senior physician at Israel’s Rambam Medical Center, in Haifa. Using the same data, Behar’s team published in 2010 a paper concluding that most contemporary Jews around the world and some non-Jewish populations from the Levant, or Eastern Mediterranean, are closely related.

Elhaik used some of the same statistical tests as Behar and others, but he chose different comparisons. Elhaik compared “genetic signatures” found in Jewish populations with those of modern-day Armenians and Georgians, which he uses as a stand-in for the long-extinct Khazarians because they live in the same area as the medieval state.

“It’s an unrealistic premise,” said University of Arizona geneticist Michael Hammer, one of Behar’s co-authors, of Elhaik’s paper. Hammer notes that Armenians have Middle Eastern roots, which, he says, is why they appeared to be genetically related to Ashkenazi Jews in Elhaik’s study.

Hammer, who also co-wrote the first paper that showed modern-day Kohanim are descended from a single male ancestor, calls Elhaik and other Khazarian Hypothesis proponents “outlier folks… who have a minority view that’s not supported scientifically. I think the arguments they make are pretty weak and stretching what we know.”

Feldman, director of Stanford’s Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, echoes Hammer. “If you take all of the careful genetic population analysis that has been done over the last 15 years… there’s no doubt about the common Middle Eastern origin,” he said. He added that Elhaik’s paper “is sort of a one-off.”

Elhaik’s statistical analysis would not pass muster with most contemporary scholars, Feldman said: “He appears to be applying the statistics in a way that gives him different results from what everybody else has obtained from essentially similar data.”

Elhaik, who doesn’t believe that Moses, Aaron or the 12 Tribes of Israel ever existed, shrugs off such criticism.

“That’s a circular argument,” he said of the notion that Jews’ and Armenians’ genetic similarities stem from common ancestors in the Middle East and not from Khazaria, the area where the Armenians live. If you believe that, he says, then other non-Jewish populations, such as Georgian, that are genetically similar to Armenians should be considered genetically related to Jews, too, “and so on and so forth.”

Dan Graur, Elhaik’s doctoral supervisor at U.H. and a member of the editorial board of the journal that published his paper, calls his former student “very ambitious, very independent. That’s what I like.” Graur, a Romanian-born Jew who served on the faculty of Tel Aviv University for 22 years before moving 10 years ago to the Houston school, said Elhaik “writes more provocatively than may be needed, but it’s his style.” Graur calls Elhaik’s conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews originated to the east of Germany “a very honest estimate.”

In a news article that accompanied Elhaik’s journal paper, Shlomo Sand, history professor at Tel Aviv University and author of the controversial 2009 book “The Invention of the Jewish People,” said the study vindicated his long-held ideas.

”It’s so obvious for me,” Sand told the journal. “Some people, historians and even scientists, turn a blind eye to the truth. Once, to say Jews were a race was anti-Semitic, now to say they’re not a race is anti-Semitic. It’s crazy how history plays with us.”

The paper has received little coverage in mainstream American media, but it has attracted the attention of anti-Zionists and “anti-Semitic white supremacists,” Elhaik said.

Interestingly, while anti-Zionist bloggers have applauded Elhaik’s work, saying it proves that contemporary Jews have no legitimate claim to Israel, some white supremacists have attacked it.

David Duke, for example, is disturbed by the assertion that Jews are not a race. “The disruptive and conflict-ridden behavior which has marked out Jewish Supremacist activities through the millennia strongly suggests that Jews have remained more or less genetically uniform and have… developed a group evolutionary survival strategy based on a common biological unity — something which strongly militates against the Khazar theory,” wrote the former Ku Klux Klansman and former Louisiana state assemblyman on his blog in February.

“I’m not communicating with them,” Elhaik said of the white supremacists.

He says it also bothers him, a veteran of seven years in the Israeli army, that anti-Zionists have capitalized on his research “and they’re not going to be proven wrong anytime soon.”

But proponents of the Rhineland Hypothesis also have a political agenda, he said, claiming they “were motivated to justify the Zionist narrative.”

To illustrate his point, Elhaik swivels his chair around to face his computer and calls up a 2010 email exchange with Ostrer.

“It was a great pleasure reading your group’s recent paper, ‘Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era,’ that illuminate[s] the history of our people,” Elhaik wrote to Ostrer. “Is it possible to see the data used for the study?”

Ostrer replied that the data are not publicly available. “It is possible to collaborate with the team by writing a brief proposal that outlines what you plan to do,” he wrote. “Criteria for reviewing include novelty and strength of the proposal, non-overlap with current or planned activities, and non-defamatory nature toward the Jewish people.”

That last requirement, Elhaik argues, reveals the bias of Ostrer and his collaborators.

Allowing scientists access to data only if their research will not defame Jews is “peculiar,” said Catherine DeAngelis, who edited the Journal of the American Medical Association for a decade. “What he does is set himself up for criticism: Wait a minute. What’s this guy trying to hide?”

Despite what his critics claim, Elhaik says, he was not out to prove that contemporary Jews have no connection to the Jewish people of the Bible. His primary research focus is the genetics of mental illness, which, he explains, led him to question the assumption that Ashkenazi Jews are a useful population to study because they’re so homogeneous.

Elhaik says he first read about the Khazarian Hypothesis a decade ago in a 1976 book by the late Hungarian-British author Arthur Koestler, “The Thirteenth Tribe,” written before scientists had the tools to compare genomes.

Koestler, who was Jewish by birth, said his aim in writing the book was to eliminate the racist underpinnings of anti-Semitism in Europe. “Should this theory be confirmed, the term ‘anti-Semitism’ would become void of meaning,” the book jacket reads. Although Koestler’s book was generally well reviewed, some skeptics questioned the author’s grasp of the history of Khazaria.

Graur is not surprised that Elhaik has stood up against the “clique” of scientists who believe that Jews are genetically homogeneous. “He enjoys being combative,” Graur said. “That’s what science is.”

British MPs demand tougher action over Israeli bombardment






Gaza: British MPs demand tougher action over Israeli bombardment

Senior MPs and advisers call on Cameron and Miliband to speak out more forcefully against killing of Palestinian civilians

David Cameron and Ed Miliband have been urged by senior MPs within their own parties to demand more forcefully that Israel stops its bombardment of Gaza.

In a significant intervention, Margot James, a No 10 policy board adviser and parliamentary aide to William Hague, has written to the new foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, urging him to rethink the government’s stance, calling Israel’s actions disproportionate.

Stressing that she has been a firm supporter of Israel for many years, James wrote to Hammond: “I ask that the government rethinks policy towards the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The scale of suffering in Gaza is far too great, the loss of life, and particularly the lives of children and other vulnerable individuals, cannot be justified on the grounds of defence in proportion to the level of threat faced by Israel from Hamas.”

So far, Cameron has stood up for Israel’s right to defend itself and blamed Hamas for starting the conflict, while calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the bloodshed.

The former Northern Ireland minister Sir Peter Bottomley wrote to the chief whip, Michael Gove, criticising the “devastation and death” and arguing that most MPs in the centre of the Conservative party felt the same.

“We all know that Israel has the right to exist, we all know that the attacks on Israel should cease, we know that Israel’s settlements and their treatment of Palestinians is provocative. That’s the foundation. The issue now is if Israel is relying on other people to be silent, they’ll go on with a lack of proportionality and the devastation and the death.

“Anyone who looks at the pictures of what’s going on presently in Gaza must know that the Israelis know what they’re doing and what they’re doing is wrong,” Bottomley told the BBC. “Many Israelis know it’s wrong. [The prime minister Binyamin] Netanyahu may have support, but Israelis know that if you go killing people at this rate, the disregard for the life of Palestinians is going to show up in the world as a bad mark for Israel.”

In contrast to the Conservatives, Labour opposes the invasion of Gaza.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, said: “The growing number of Palestinian civilians being killed is rightly provoking international outrage, and the continuing incursion into Gaza risks further international isolation for Israel and further international condemnation of its actions.”

However, Diane Abbott, a Labour MP and former shadow minister, said she would like to see Cameron, Miliband and the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, do more to put pressure on the Israelis to stop the shelling.

“Leaders of all the parties need to be a great deal more emphatic in their condemnation of what’s happening in Gaza,” she told the Guardian. “Public opinion in all quarters, including Margot James who has always supported Israel, is horrified about what is happening. There is increasingly a consensus among ordinary people that they want to see the British political leadership speak out more emphatically. Part of it is people trying to keep in step with America, but things have gone so far, British leadership have to be prepared now to question America’s support for what Israel is doing.”

Several other senior Labour MPs had tweeted about the issue. Jon Trickett, a shadow cabinet office minister, wrote: “My mothers [sic] family were Jewish but what’s happening in Palestine is #NotInMyName.” Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, quoted the words of the UN’s Ban Ki-moon, who said shelling of a school in Gaza was “Outrageous, unjustifiable and demands accountability and justice”.

The US said on Thursday that casualties in Gaza were “too high” and Israel needed to do more to protect civilian life. However, the Foreign Office position remained the same. A spokesman said: “The UK is deeply concerned about the current situation in Gaza and the tragic loss of life on all sides. The foreign secretary has been absolutely clear that there needs to be an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to help alleviate the appalling humanitarian situation. All our efforts must be focused on achieving that ceasefire. Demands to take a different tack will simply dilute attempts to secure that.”


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