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NEWS - News of the Lodges

By Gilberte JACARET

Ben Gourion called the United Nations an "oom shmoon" meaning that it had no importance whatsoever and that one cannot rely on it.

-Germany's normalisation of relations with Iran are tied to Tehran's recognition of Israel, according to a letter released on Tuesday.

The letter, written in the name of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration said: "There cannot be normalised, complete relations with Iran so long as Iran does not recognize Israel's right to exist."

The comments, released on Tuesday, were submitted to the head of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group, Volker Beck, in response to a July 6 parliamentary question.
The statement continued, "At the same time, the federal government has an interest in dialogue with Iran's government over critical topics."

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Polish soccer fans torch 'Jewish' effigies, fly banner calling for burning of Jews

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Ahead of town rivalry game in Polish city of Łódź, ruffians reportedly held rally against team that is often derided as "Jewish."

Argentinian pupils in Nazi uniforms attack Jews

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Children from a German school in Buenos Aires wearing swastika armbands and fake Hitler moustaches attacked pupils from a Jewish school in a resort where several Nazi war criminals lived for decades...

UCLA campus leader leaves over 'hostile, unsafe' climate for pro-Israel students

Milan Chatterjee says school administration failed to address bullying from students and groups supportive of BDS

By JTASeptember 2, 2016, 4:06 am

The former president of the UCLA Graduate Students Association has left the university's law school over what he calls a "hostile and unsafe campus climate."
Milan Chatterjee will complete his third year of law school at New York University School of Law, the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal reported.


'It felt like an earthquake'

At least 2 killed, 7 missing as Tel Aviv parking garage collapses on workers

Multiple-story underground structure under construction caves in, reportedly after tractor drives across roof; 24 injured

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Troops raze home of Palestinian who took part in rabbi's slaying

IDF destroys Hebron-area house belonging to Mohammed Omaireh, who confessed to driving the car from which Miki Mark was shot dead in July

Israeli soldiers destroyed the West Bank home of a Palestinian accused of taking part in a July shooting attack near Hebron that left a rabbi dead, the army said.

In an operation early Tuesday, troops razed the Hebron-area home of Mohammed Omaireh, accused of driving the car from which Muhammad al-Fakih shot at a passing vehicle, killing Rabbi Miki Mark and wounding his wife and two of his children.

Light clashes broke out outside the home in the West Bank town of Dura during the operation, the army said.

"During the [demolition], a number of violent riots erupted. Rioters rolled burning tires, and hurled Molotov cocktails and rocks at the forces," a military spokesperson said.

"In order to prevent the escalation of violence, forces responded with riot dispersal means, including stun grenades, 0.22 caliber rounds and rubber-coated bullets," the army said.

According to the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, some demonstrators were also detained, though this was not immediately confirmed by the IDF.

The army said IDF troops together with border police officers and Civil Administration personnel took part in the home demolition "in compliance with instructions from the political leadership."

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An Israeli car hit in a drive-by shooting near Hebron that killed Miki Mark on July 1, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

Israel's government has recently ramped up a program of home demolitions against Palestinian terrorists and terror suspects, touting the controversial measure as a key deterrent against future attacks.
Human rights groups and some Israeli security officials argue that it is a form of collective punishment, or that it is not an effective deterrent.

Omaireh was arrested on July 4, three days after the Hebron area attack that killed Mark, the director of the Otniel Yeshiva, as he was driving in the southern West Bank with his family.

Mark's wife Chava was seriously injured as her husband lost control of the vehicle and drove off the road, and two of his teen children were lightly and moderately hurt in the incident.

Omaireh — a member of the Palestinian Preventive Security Services — told Shin Bet officials during questioning that that it was he who drove the car on the night of the attack, but that it was Fakih who had actually fired the shots, according to the security agency.

Fakih was killed by anti-tank fire in a shootout with IDF troops in the West Bank village of Surif, north of Hebron, after a several-week manhunt. Two other members of the cell, all Hamas terrorists according to Israel, were also arrested: Fakih's brother, Sahir and their cousin Muaz Fakih.

After bulldozing the house where Fakih was hiding out, troops said they found a weapons belt with an improvised hand grenade, a Kalashnikov rifle, and magazines of bullets beside his body.

Forces also stormed adjacent buildings and arrested others suspected of helping to conceal Fakih.

Supreme Court orders outpost demolished, Justice Minister tries to bypass it.

Supreme Court President Miriam Naor decreed Thursday that the structures in the Way of the Patriarchs outpost, set up on private Palestinian land, be torn down by March 2018; amid much criticism from the right, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked promises to work with the Ministry of Defense to stop the houses' demolition.
Ynet, Telem Yahav, Moran Azulay and Tova Tzimuki|Published: 03.09.16 , 10:41

EU expresses 'serious concern' over Israel's decision to approve construction of 465 new housing units in the West Bank
Written by EJP Friday, 02 September 2016

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The Civil Administration's High Planning Committee has approved the construction of the new housing units in Elkana, Ofarim, Beit Aryeh, Givat Ze'ev and Har Gilo.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---The European Union has expressed 'serious concern' over Israel's decision to approve 465 new housing units in the West Bank and to retroactively approve 179 existing units.
The Civil Administration's High Planning Committee, Israel's governing body in the West Bank, which had been convened at the insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, approved the construction of the new housing units in Elkana, Ofarim, Beit Aryeh, Givat Ze'ev and Har Gilo.
The largest single bloc, in the settlement of Elkana, east of Tel Aviv, entails the construction of 234 housing units.
In a statement, an EU spokesperson reiterated the EU's ''strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and all actions taken in this context.''
It said that ''since January 2016, Israeli authorities have promoted or retroactively legalised 2,706 units in West Bank settlements.''
The EU referred to the Quartet report published last July which, it said, ''identified such action as undermining the prospects for peace and steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution.''
''The report recommended that any expansion of settlements be frozen,'' the EU added.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the "significant expansion of the settlement activity" a "serious and growing threat to the viability of a two state solution."
He said the US was "particularly troubled by the policy of retroactively approving illegal outposts and unauthorized settlements."
"As the Quartet report highlights, we are concerned about a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations," he said.
Last Updated on Friday, 02 September 2016 13:44

The "Other" Palestinians
by Khaled Abu Toameh • August 31, 2016 at 5:00 am

Nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since 2011. But because these Palestinians were killed by Arabs, and not Israelis, this fact is not news in the mainstream media or of interest to "human rights" forums.
  • How many Western journalists have cared to inquire about the thirsty Palestinians of Yarmouk refugee camp, in Syria? Does anyone know that this camp has been without water supply for more than 720 days, and without electricity for the past three years? In June 2002, 112,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk. By the end of 2014, the population was down to less than 20,000.
  • Nor is the alarm bell struck concerning the more than 12,000 Palestinians languishing in Syrian prisons, including 765 children and 543 women. According to Palestinian sources, some 503 Palestinian prisoners have died under torture in recent years, and some female prisoners have been raped by interrogators and guards.
  • When Western journalists lavish time on Palestinians delayed at Israeli checkpoints, and ignore bombs dropped by the Syrian military on residential areas, one might start to wonder they are really about.

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Palestinians flee Yarmouk refugee camp, near Damascus, after fierce fighting in September 2015. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

It seems as though the international community has forgotten that Palestinians can be found far beyond the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These "other" Palestinians live in Arab countries such as Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and their many serious grievances are evidently of no interest to the international community. It is only Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that garner international attention. Why? Because it is precisely these individuals that the international community wield as a weapon against Israel.

UN pays tens of millions to Assad regime under Syria aid programme

Exclusive: Guardian analysis shows series of contracts awarded to government and charities linked to president's family
The UN says it must work with the Syrian regime, led by Bashar al-Assad, to reach vulnerable civilians.

Nick Hopkins and Emma Beals Monday 29 August 2016 17.00 BST Last modified on Tuesday 30 August 2016 00.50

The UN has awarded contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to people closely associated with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, as part of an aid programme that critics fear is increasingly at the whim of the government in Damascus, a Guardian investigation has found.

Businessmen whose companies are under US and EU sanctions have been paid substantial sums by the UN mission, as have government departments and charities – including one set up by the president's wife, Asma al-Assad, and another by his closest associate, Rami Makhlouf.

The UN says it can only work with a small number of partners approved by President Assad and that it does all it can to ensure the money is spent properly.

"Of paramount importance is reaching as many vulnerable civilians as possible," a spokesman said. "Our choices in Syria are limited by a highly insecure context where finding companies and partners who operate in besieged and hard to reach areas is extremely challenging."

Analysis How Assad regime controls UN aid intended for Syria's children

Guardian investigation identifies dozens of deals that raise new questions about the UN's role in Syria, and its impartiality
However, critics believe the UN mission is in danger of being compromised.
They believe aid is being prioritized in government-held areas and argue UN money is effectively helping to prop up a regime responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens.
UN insiders admit the relief mission in Syria is the most expensive, challenging and complex it has ever undertaken.
But the contentious decisions it has had to make are now exposed for the first time by a Guardian analysis of hundreds of contracts it has awarded since the operation began in 2011.
This shows that:
• The UN has paid more than $13m to the Syrian government to boost farming and agriculture, yet the EU has banned trade with the departments in question for fear of how the money will be used.
• The UN has paid at least $4m to the state-owned fuel supplier, which is also on the EU sanctions list.
• The World Health Organisation has spent more than $5m to support Syria's national blood bank – but this is being controlled by Assad's defence department. Documents seen by the Guardian show funds spent on blood supplies came directly from donors who have economic sanctions against the Syrian government, including the UK. They also show the WHO had "concrete concerns" about whether blood supplies would reach those in need, or be directed to the military first.
• Two UN agencies have partnered with the Syria Trust charity, an organisation started and chaired by President Assad's wife, Asma, spending a total of $8.5m. The first lady is under both US and EU sanctions.
• Unicef has paid $267,933 to the Al-Bustan Association, owned and run by Rami Makhlouf, Syria's wealthiest man. He is a friend and cousin of Assad, and his charity has been linked to several pro-regime militia groups.
• Makhlouf runs the mobile phone network Syriatel, which the UN has also paid at least $700,000 in recent years. Makhlouf is on the EU sanctions list and was described in US diplomatic cables as the country's "poster boy for corruption".
• Contracts have been awarded across UN departments with companies run by or linked to individuals under sanctions.
These contracts show how the United Nations operation has quietly secured deals with individuals and companies that have been designated off-limits by Europe and the US.
On top of this, analysis of the United Nations own procurement documents show its agencies have done business with at least another 258 Syrian companies, paying sums as high as $54m and £36m, down to $30,000. Many are likely to have links to Assad, or those close to him.
The UN says that its relief work has already saved millions of lives and argues it has to work with the regime if it wants to operate in Syria.
It highlights the money it has spent putting up staff at the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus as a case in point.
UN agencies paid $9,296,325.59 to the hotel in 2014-15 – which is understood to still be one-third owned by Syria's ministry of tourism, a department outlawed under EU sanctions.
The hotel is deemed the safest place for UN personnel to stay in the Syrian capital.
"Operating in Syria, with the conflict now entering its sixth year, forces humanitarians to make difficult choices," a UN spokesman said.
"When faced with having to decide whether to procure goods or services from businesses that may be affiliated with the government or let civilians go without life-saving assistance, the choice is clear: our duty is to the civilians in need."
The UN also points out it does not have to abide by EU or US sanctions. It only needs to abide by UN sanctions.
But one serving UN official told the Guardian there was unease within some of its agencies about the grip Assad's government has on the relief effort.
The official, who has worked extensively inside Syria, said that while operating inside the country was challenging, the UN's position was disappointing. Another said that all conflicts presented difficult working conditions but the "situation in Syria just doesn't happen anywhere else".
Another UN official who worked in Damascus early in the conflict told the Guardian: "The UN country team knew from the early days of the conflict that neither the government nor its authorised list of local associations for partnership with the UN could be considered as befitting the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality.
"This important consideration was stepped aside by the UN to satisfy the government's leadership demand for the humanitarian response. This set the tone for UN entanglement with entities closely associated with the government."
Sources also describe a worrying "culture of silence" about the internal workings of the UN's Damascus operation.
Dr Reinoud Leenders, an expert in war studies based at King's College in London, said the UN needed to rethink its strategy because it had become too close to the regime.
"UN officials argue that given the complex and often dangerous realities in which they are expected to provide aid, some concessions and accommodation of the government's demands are inevitable. Yet ... the UN's alleged pragmatism has long given way to troubling proximity to the regime."
Leenders said UN agencies had paid "lucrative procurement contracts to Syrian regime cronies who are known to bankroll the very repression and brutality that caused much of the country's humanitarian needs".

UN's $4bn aid effort in Syria is morally bankrupt Reinoud Leenders

It is perverse that agencies intent on helping the most vulnerable in the civil war can throw a lifeline to such a brutal regime.

The academic has interviewed many independent aid workers for a study on Syria. They told him some UN officials were displaying signs of "clear-cut Stockholm syndrome".

A senior member of the humanitarian community who leaked information to the Guardian said: "There are obviously questions over some of these UN procurements."

But at least the UN publishes the names of their suppliers. Many of the international NGOs won't even do that. Very limited transparency is a problem that affects the whole aid effort in Syria. Given that the aid industry has been talking [about] the need for more transparency for decades, it's high time we had proper independent scrutiny of where this money is going and how it is being spent."

In June, the Syria Campaign accused the UN of breaching its principles in the conflict by effectively letting the government control aid deliveries.

More than 50 humanitarian, human rights and civil society groups back a report which said the UN had given in to demands not to help rebel-held areas, contributing to the death of thousands of civilians.
The report said the Assad government controlled aid by threatening to remove the UN's permission to operate within Syria.

"The Syrian government has used this threat consistently since then to manipulate where, how and to whom the UN has been able to deliver humanitarian aid," it adds.

Israeli scientists are reportedly participating with colleagues from Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Jordan on a $100 million project to develop the Middle East's new particle accelerator — the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications, or Sesame.

Construction of the site, which is due to be formally inaugurated next spring in the hillside town of al-Balqa, northwest of Amman, is underway and the first experiments are expected to take place this autumn, The Guardian reported.

Sesame's members are Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Bahrain — a group among which diplomatic discomfort is rife: Iran and Pakistan don't recognize Israel, for example, nor does Turkey recognize Cyprus.

Iran's participation continued even after two of its scientists, who were involved in the project, quantum physicist Masoud Alimohammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, were assassinated in operations blamed on Israel's Mossad, The Guardian said.

"We're cooperating very well together," said Giorgio Paolucci, the scientific director of Sesame told The Guardian. "That's the dream."

"I don't know how many places there are where all these governments have representatives who have the opportunity to come and talk to each other," he added.

Progress on the accelerator is made through government officials meeting, discussing technicalities and coming to agreements, unaffected by the enmity they may feel outside the conference halls, the report said.

The aim of Sesame is to "foster scientific and technological excellence in the Middle East and neighboring countries" and prevent or reverse regional brain drain "by enabling world-class scientific research in subjects ranging from biology, archaeology and medical sciences through basic properties of materials science, physics, chemistry, and life sciences," Sesame says on its website.

It also aims to build "scientific and cultural bridges between diverse societies, and contribute to a culture of peace through international cooperation in science."

At 130 meters in diameter, Sesame's particle accelerator is smaller than the Large Hadron Collider, the structure in Switzerland that last year detected the "God particle" also known as the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that gives other fundamental particles their mass, the Guardian said.
Even so, the project is sophisticated enough to have many applications and offer research opportunities, the report said.
Sesame is a synchrotron — a large device that accelerates electrons around a circular tube, guided by magnets and other equipment, close to the speed of light. This creates radiation that is filtered and flows down long pipes in which instruments are placed, to gather the radiation and undertake experiments.

Technion (Israel) : Water From Thin Air, The New Way Israel Is Harvesting Water

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An innovative atmospheric moisture harvesting system is proposed, where water vapor is separated from the air prior to cooling and condensation. The system was studied using a model that simulates its three interconnected cycles (air, desiccant, and water) over a range of ambient conditions, and optimal configurations are reported for different operation conditions. Model results were compared to specifications of commercial atmospheric moisture harvesting systems and found to represent saving of 5–65% of the electrical energy requirements due to the vapor separation process. We show that the liquid desiccant separation stage that is integrated into atmospheric moisture harvesting systems can work under a wide range of environmental conditions using low grade or solar heating as a supplementary energy source, and that the performance of the combined system is superior.

On September, 04 2016 by Israël Science Info desk

Scientists at Technion have proposed an innovative system for harvesting safe drinking water from air. Capturing atmospheric moisture is not a new invention in itself because atmospheric water generators for commercial and domestic use already exist. But the new device requires less energy to produce high-quality water from air compared to existing systems.

Atmosphere contains water vapour in amounts comparable to all the surface and underground water on the planet. But current machines that collect water from the atmospheric reservoir have major limitations. They use electrical refrigeration to cool the air and condense the vapour and that consumes a lot of energy.

The new system designed by Israeli scientists uses a liquid desiccant to first separate the water vapour from air and then cool only the vapour. Their calculations show that this approach would result in 20 to 65 per cent energy savings over the standard system.

"We show that the liquid desiccant separation (LDS) stage that is integrated into atmospheric moisture harvesting (AMH) systems can work under a wide range of environmental conditions using low grade or solar heating as a supplementary energy source, and that the performance of the combined system is superior," the report says.

Desalination of seawater by reverse osmosis is also a potential source of fresh water, but it is not applicable in countries that do not have access to the sea. Besides, desalination requires large capital investments in piping and pumping infrastructure and in its operation and maintenance. "Atmospheric moisture is accessible essentially everywhere," says the report.

The atmosphere contains about 13,000 cubic kilometres of freshwater, 98 per cent of it in the form of water vapour, says the report. The vapour must be condensed to liquid water. The existing atmospheric moisture harvesting (AMH) systems, where standard electrical compression-expansion refrigeration unit is used, can save significant energy by first separating the vapour from the bulk air before it enters the condenser, such that only the vapour is cooled rather than the entire air bulk.

In the new design, separation of water vapour from the air is achieved by using a liquid desiccant. The water vapour absorbed by the desiccant can be liberated using low-grade or solar heat. The liquid-desiccant vapour separation (LDS) subsystem was designed to operate continuously in a closed-cycle, says the report. "The product of this subsystem is pure water vapour, which is then condensed by a standard refrigeration system without the burden of cooling the air."

In general, the combined LDS-AMH system is expected to save up to 65 per cent of the energy expenses of water production relative to off-the-shelf direct-cooling AMH systems, the scientists claim. "Scaling up the LDS system to produce larger amounts of freshwater is possible simply by installing additional absorbing units around a single desorber-condenser core."
Another important advantage, according to the report, is that the water coming out of the LDS-AMH system will be free of airborne bacteria since "the coil of the condenser does not come into contact with the ambient air but only with pure vapour that has been liberated from the desiccant solution."

Publication in Environmental Science & Technology, July 20th 2016.