The Daily Brief – Wednesday January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011

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5, 2011
Globe and Mail: Josef Federman: "Israeli blockade meant to push Gaza economy ‘to the brink of collapse:’ WikiLeaks" (5/1/2011)
"Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip was meant to push the area’s economy “to the brink of collapse,” according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks on Wednesday, signaling that Israel was well aware that the policy was taking a heavy toll on the area’s civilian population."
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Toronto Star: Muhammad Lila: "Believe it — Beirut is back" (5/1/2011)
"Things stayed that way until 2006, when Beirut’s streets once again became battlegrounds during the 34-day Israel-Lebanon War. It took a United Nations-brokered ceasefire to stop the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. In the end, some 1,300 Lebanese — mostly civilians — were dead, and much of southern Beirut was reduced to rubble."
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Toronto Star: Star Wire Services: "Netanyahu makes plea to Obama to free spy" (5/1/2011)
"Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a public appeal Tuesday for the freedom of an American who spied for Israel, asking in a letter to President Barack Obama for clemency after the spy has spent 25 years in jail."
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Vancouver Province: AFP: "Sharon in coma five years" (5/1/2011)
"With little fanfare, Israel on Tuesday marked five years since former prime minister and tough army general Ariel Sharon fell into a coma, ending a controversial political and military career."
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Winnipeg Free Press: AP: "EU foreign policy chief urges progress in peace process" (5/1/2011)
"EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says she will push for urgent progress in the peace process involving Israel and the Palestinians when she visits the area Wednesday."
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24 Hours: Reuters: "Western powers snubbed" (5/1/2011)
"Iran invited Russia, China, the European Union and others on Tuesday to visit key nuclear plants, but left out Britain, France, Germany and the United States — the countries most opposed to its nuclear program."
See also: National Post

National Post: Araminta Wordsworth: "Egypt’s beleaguered Copts under fire" (4/1/2011)
"In his New Year’s address, Pope Benedict called for tolerance of all religions and noted Christians were under attack in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria."
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National Post: AFP: "Shah Of Iran’s youngest son kills himself" (5/1/2011)
"The Shah of Iran’s youngest son has committed suicide in Boston, his family said Tuesday. Ali Reza Pahlavi, 44, who was studying at Harvard University, had struggled to come to terms with the political troubles in his native Iran, said his eldest brother Reza Pahlavi."
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Toronto Star: Aron Heller: "Call for former Israeli president to be spared jail time for rape" (5/1/2011)
"A former Israeli justice minister on Wednesday said ex-President Moshe Katsav should be pardoned to spare Israelis the sight of a former head of state serving jail time for rape.’
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Waterloo Record: Trudy Rubin: "Hoping for progress on world stage" (5/1/2011)
"Iran. Last year a mysterious computer worm, along with accidents to key Iranian nuclear scientists, set back Iran’s nuclear program."
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Today’s News and Views About Israel & Mideast

Toronto Star: NYT: "Sharp debate surrounds death of Palestinian woman" (5/1/2011)
"Clashing narratives over the case of a 36-year-old Palestinian woman who died Saturday is fast making her a new symbol of the enduring conflict here, with the Israeli military anonymously casting doubt on Palestinian accounts — backed by medical documents — that she died from inhaling tear gas."
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National Post: Stewart Bell: "Controversial anti-Islamist group plans rally in Toronto" (5/1/2011)
"A British right-wing group responsible for a wave of violent anti-Islamist street protests in the United Kingdom will attempt to spread its message to Canadians at a rally in Toronto next week."
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Ottawa Citizen: David Warren: "Exposing the hypocrites" (5/1/2011)
"The Egyptian government in Cairo and the Alexandrian governate immediately and simultaneously said "foreign elements" were behind the attack, as if there were no Islamist fanatics within Egypt herself. Egyptian media, under close government supervision, began speculating that the Israeli Mossad might be behind the attack, and a leading spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood was widely quoted wondering if al-Qaeda might be under the control of "the Zionists."
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National Post: Philippe Agret and Charly Wegman: "Peace deal will take 10 years: Israeli minister" (5/1/2011)
"Controversial hard-right Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said "at least a decade" would be needed to reach a peace accord with the Palestinians."
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National Post: Matt Gurney: "Tehran will never get a Gary Powers" (5/1/2011)
"In recent days, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards claimed to have shot down "many" Western spy planes, including some over the Persian Gulf. The Guards did not offer any proof for this claim, such as footage of the shootdowns or scraps of wreckage. Nor has any Western country reported the loss of any planes. If there is any truth at all to the claims, it probably means the Iranians have knocked down one or more unmanned reconnaissance drones."
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Manitoban: Matt Abra: "Low academic standards detrimental to life-changing Holocaust tour" (5/1/2011)
"Why Jennifer Peto’s anti-Zionist master’s thesis is dangerous: Whenever the world is confronted by an example of slapdash lunacy and psychobabble, the best thing is to simply ignore it. Shameless propaganda grows legs only if we give it the attention it undoubtedly craved in the first place."
Send letter to editor  Submit online comment Gwynne Dyer: The vanishing two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" (5/1/2011)
"What does it mean when the United States, Britain, France and Spain upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinian delegations in their capitals, as they all did in the past year? When the number of countries recognizing Palestinian statehood now exceeds one hundred?"
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24 Hours: Reuters: "Contemporary comment" (5/1/2011)
"An Israeli soldier holds baby Jesus in a nativity scene constructed by U.S. born actor Leo Bossi of what he says depicts what it would be like if Jesus were to be born in modern day Bethlehem.

National Post: Rizwan Jabbar: (letter to the editor) "The price of peace" (5/1/2011)
"I disagree with certain assertions of this editorial. Don’t forget that many "Arab dictatorships" are supported by Western democracies because of their subservient nature and dependency on handouts. The West kept Egyptian strongman Hosni Sayyid Mubarak in power for decades. We restored the sheikhs of Kuwait back to power and we also supported the Shah of Iran. I agree that pluralism is needed in many Muslim countries, but it is also lacking today in the so-called "Western Civilization," as evidenced by recent restrictions on issues like minarats, hijabs and the construction of mosques."

National Post: Michael N.W. Baigel (letter to the editor) "Killing Christians" (5/1/2011)
"The recent attacks on Christians in Iraq, Indonesia, Gaza, Nigeria and now Egypt should not be a surprise to anyone…"

Ottawa Citizen: Wajid Sayeed (letter to the editor) "Tired tropes" (5/1/2011)
"Osama bin Laden, the poster boy for Muslim radicalism, in his video following the attack on the World Trade Center, listed a series of purely material grievances which justified the attacks. Central to his speech were the crippling sanctions and bombing campaigns against Iraq, and American military aid to Israel, most of which is used to enforce its dehumanizing treatment of the indigenous population. When the London tube bombers released their videos, they too mentioned almost exclusively material justifications for their acts, again putting paid to the notion that spiritual angst is the sole motivation for these types of attacks. Regardless of the religious undercurrents, there are obvious material grievances that cause some Muslims to seek retribution."
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