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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

      This week’s riots on the Temple Mount were directly incited by the Palestinian Authority, whose official media outlets and institutions have been stoking Arab flames by claiming right-wing extremist Jews are attempting to threaten the Al Aqsa mosque.
 
      Official PA television and radio have been calling on Muslims to “storm” the Al Aqsa Mosque to “protect” the site from “Jewish threat.”
 
      Violence initially erupted when Israeli officers attempted to accompany a group of tourists on to the mount. Jerusalem police told this column they have film of several Muslim youth preparing the unrest by gathering rocks and pouring oil onto the ground to foil security forces.
 
      The PA is not just inciting violence; its officials are actually participating in it. During the riots Israeli police arrested PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s top adviser on Jerusalem affairs, Hatam Abd al-Qadir, on suspicion of disorderly conduct. Police said al-Qadir attacked officers and urged worshippers to hold protests.
 
      The PA-aligned Islamic Movement sponsored buses to transport young, riled-up Arab Israeli men to Jerusalem and the Mount from the fundamentalist-dominated Muslim city of Um Al-Fahem.
 
      Speaking to this column, Dimitri Diliani, the spokesman for Abbas’a Fatah party in Jerusalem, did not deny his group’s involvement in the riots.
 

      “Palestinian political factions, including Fatah, are firm on defending the political, national and religious rights of the Palestinian people,” Diliani said, “and it’s evident now we will continue defending the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as our rights in Jerusalem as a whole.”

 

Why Be Friendly When Antagonism

Works Just As Well?
 
 
      Amid recent White House overtures to Syria and Iran, some Mideast leaders are considering hardening their positions toward the U.S., believing they may extract more concessions from a conciliatory Obama administration.
 
      “Instead of being pro-American and receiving little, maybe we should change our model to blackmailing and cheating you. This way we will bring more American support,” a Palestinian Authority official told this reporter.
 
      The official was offering his analysis of the current U.S. position in the Middle East. He spoke on condition of anonymity. The official claimed some in the PA were considering adopting a stronger position “so we can have what Syria received without offering much in return.”
 
      The official was referring to a partnership deal announced earlier this month that will see billions of dollars in trade flow between the European Union and Syria. Egyptian and Palestinian diplomatic sources said the Obama administrationwas instrumental in facilitating the deal, which is worth an estimated $7 billion a year for the Syrian economy.
 
      The PA official who spoke to this column also noted U.S. willingness to engage with Iran despite “the idea of major compromise being rejected by the Iranians.”
 

      Separately, an Egyptian intelligence official said his country is also considering changing some of its attitudes in light of the U.S.’s new Syrian policies. He said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was contemplating a visit to Syria in the next few months.

 

Privatize Marriage, Says Obama Czar

 

      The U.S. government should abolish sanctioning marriage, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar. Sunstein proposed that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.
 
      Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.
 
      “Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government,” wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.
 
      Sunstein explained terminating the issuance of state marriage contracts would not affect the commitments of those in the “partnership.”
 

      “People take their private commitments serious,” Sunstein wrote. “Members of religious organizations, homeowners’ associations, and country clubs all feel bound, sometimes quite strongly, by the structures and rules of such organizations.”

 

Is Regulation Of The Airwaves

Around The Corner?

 

      The Federal Communications Commission’s unanimous support last week for a rule that would open the door to government regulation of the Internet has raised the concern of free speech advocates, but there are other members of the Obama administration who support similar measures.
 
      In his The Partial Constitution, published in 1993, regulatory czar Cass Sunstein drew up a “First Amendment New Deal”that would include the establishment of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves.
 
      Sunstein compared the need for the government to regulate broadcasting to the moral obligation of the U.S. last century to impose rules outlawing segregation. 
 
      In the book, Sunstein outwardly favors and promotes the “fairness doctrine,” the abolished FCC policy that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner the government deemed was “equitable and balanced.”
 
      Sunstein introduces what he terms his “First Amendment New Deal” to regulate broadcasting in the U.S. He proposes “compulsory public-affairs programming, right of reply, content review by nonpartisan experts or guidelines to encourage attention to public issues and diversity of view.”
 

      Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “The Late Great State of Israel.” Follow Klein on Twitter under the name “AaronKleinWND.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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