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MidEast, Media, & Jewish World Wrap-up

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Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Israel Hayom on Tuesday that Clegg’s comments were “gratuitous and ill informed,” and damaged chances for peace by giving more excuses to the Palestinians not to negotiate or compromise. Ayalon added that he would be delivering this message to his counterparts in London.

Clegg was speaking alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also was holding talks in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, both of whom have previously expressed concern over settlements.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Clegg’s choice of language would do little to help attempts to restart peace talks. “It would be much better to contribute to peace by encouraging the fragile revival of Israeli-Palestinian talks rather than engaging in gratuitous bashing,” Palmor said.

IDF ready to welcome Syrian Muslim refugees if Assad fallsThe Israeli Defense Sources (IDF) announced it plans to absorb Alawite Muslim refugees in the Golan Heights if Syrian President Bashar Assad loses power, the Israel National News reported. The Alawites are a Syrian minority group.

“The day the Assad regime falls, this is expected to hurt the Alawite sect,” Lt. Gen. Gantz told the Knesset.

Forty thousand Jews currently live in the Golan Heights, an area not recognized as part of Israel but the International community. Critics of the move say that this will increase the Muslim population in the region and threaten its Jewish majority. This in turn could lead to more pressure by foreign powers to give up the strategic region to Syria in return for a peace agreement.

Syria has long been interested in the Golan Heights because of its water resources, which Syria, like the rest of Israel, lacks. Left-wing Israeli politicians, like Likud Knesset Member Dan Meridor, have said they would be willing to give up the region in exchange for peace.

India, Greece and Cyprus to cooperate with IsraelIndia and Israel are committing to cooperate more on issues of counterterrorism and trade, while both Cyprus and Greece have pledged to boost their defense ties with the Jewish state, news outlets reported last week.

Indian Minister S. M. Krishna visited Israel and said India and Israel must address the “scourge of international terrorism which has become the curse for the entire humanity.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said the two countries are “two ancient peoples seizing the future in technology, in innovation, [and] in enterprise,” Voice of America reported.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also visited Greece and Greek Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the two countries are trying to “make up for lost time.” Greece was a pro-Palestinian country for many years, not recognizing Israel until 1991, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Cyprus also signed two agreements on defense cooperation and protection and exchange of classified information. Details of the agreements were not fully released, but they do include the monitoring of the island’s airspace, according to Cyprus Mail.

Islamists call for re-Islamization of Spanish regionIslamists are calling to reclaim parts of Spain for their own rule as the number of Muslims rises in the country, the Stonegate Institute reported. Specifically, Islamists are calling for the Islamization of Andalusia, a region in southern Spain.

Andalusia’s name is of Arabic origin, from Al-Andalus; it was occupied by Muslims between the years 711 and 1492. According to the Stonegate Institute, Islamists believe that all territories once under Muslim rule, like those lost in the Christian Reconquista of Spain, must be reclaimed. Calls for Spain to be brought back under Islamic Sharia law are now rising across the country and throughout the Internet.

The rising Muslim population in Spain serves as the foundation for Islamists’ claim to the land. While the Muslim population has risen from just 100,000 since 1990 to an estimated 1.3 million in 2011, more than 150,000 native Spaniards left Spain in 2011 to seek better economic opportunities.

MEDIA
Al-Jazeera English a different face from the Arabic channelSince the Al-Jazeera news network began broadcasting its English-language counterpart to New Yorkers in August of 2011, the network has been praised by U.S. officials for its coverage of the Arab Spring. However, the Arabic language Al Jazeera broadcasting channel is being accused of promoting anti-Americanism and extreme Islamism, the Middle East Forum reported.

Journalist Fouad Ajami, who covered the Arabic channel for New York Times Magazine, wrote that the Arabic “Al Jazeera deliberately fans the flames of Muslim outrage.”

Just after 9/11, the channel frequently aired idealized footage of Osama Bin Laden and later referred to suicide bombings killing US soldiers in Iraq as an armed resistance struggle.

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the English channel as “real news,” Dave Marash, who previously worked for that channel, said that even there he felt an underdone of anti-Americanism and witnessed “really shoddy reporting.”

YouTube freezes, then reopens Palestinian Media Watch account

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