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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian statehood’

US: Israel’s Prosperity a Problem

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

At first blush, it might have sounded like praise, but it wasn’t. Before meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced Israel’s prosperity an impediment to “peace” with the Palestinians. “I think there is an opportunity [for peace], but for many reasons it’s not on the tips of everyone’s tongue. People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity.”

So, Secretary Kerry thinks it would be better for Israel to approach negotiations from a position of precarious poverty? Does he think Israel’s quest for legitimacy and security in an unstable, over-armed and hostile region would be better received if Israel were a needy, insecure supplicant to Palestinian and Arab interests? Or that the Palestinians would have pity on an unnerved and anxious Israel struggling with a bankrupt, aid-dependent economy?

There are people – not necessarily Secretary Kerry – who prefer their Jews as needy supplicants, but that is not a role Israel is prepared to play, thank you. The entire Zionist enterprise is designed precisely to ensure that Jews in the State of Israel are able to wake up every day with a “sense of security” and determine their own interests. The fact that Israelis also wake up with a hard-earned and well-deserved “sense of accomplishment and of prosperity” is icing on the cake.

What Kerry appears to have meant was that this is somehow a pivotal moment for Israel because its prosperity and security may be evanescent. He continued, “Over the horizon… one can see the challenges,” that make it important “to resolve this at this moment, when there is a willingness for people to look for a way [to achieve an agreement].”

“At this moment” Israel is a stable, educated, increasingly energy independent, democratic, prosperous country with a military that appears willing and able to defend the people from threats over the horizon. It has a clear understanding with the Kingdom of Jordan for security along the Jordan River that protects both neighbors. It has an almost clear understanding with the President of the United States (and certainly has one with Congress) that the main threat to its security lies in the nuclear aspirations of Iran.

This, says Kerry, is “the moment” Israel should feel a pressing imperative to dump King Abdullah and cut a deal with a Palestinian polity that is bifurcated between a kleptocratic, autocratic, openly anti-Semitic West Bank ruled by a man whose sole elected term ended in 2009, and a corrupt, Islamist, Gaza ruled by terrorist-worshipping, Iranian-sponsored Hamas. Hamas and Fatah are at war with one another and their only point of agreement appears to be that the independence of Israel in 1948 was a mistake waiting to be “rectified.” A deal with Mahmoud Abbas, old, ailing, and very unpopular at home, would be a temporary deal at best. If Hamas wins its war, Israel will have stripped itself of vital territory only to find its heavily populated coastline under the same rocket and missile fire that southern Israel now absorbs. And Jordan would similarly find hostile forces aligned with Iran overlooking the Kingdom.

Under those circumstances, the U.S. would do better to tell the Palestinians that there is no deal to be had unless they – both factions – demonstrably accommodate the reality that Israel is a legitimate, permanent part of the region. Otherwise, it is for Israel to determine how best to defend itself from those “challenges over the horizon.”

The boundaries of the Levant determined by the British and the French early in the last century are being erased; there is little border left between Lebanon and Syria as militias on all sides fight in both countries. Tribalism and religious enmity from both radical Sunni and radical Shiite expansionists have produced monstrous swamps of Arab blood, and atrocities that rival Rwanda and Cambodia. Iraq is devolving into Sunni and Shiite cantons at war with one another. Turkey, long a country tolerant of Jews and engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel, has become a financial and political backer of Hamas, which is sworn to the bloody destruction of Israel. Qatar is second only to Turkey in its willingness to be seen as Hamas’s benefactor, not to mention Qatar’s pledge of $1 billion to “protect the Arabic and Islamic heritage of Jerusalem” (meaning to erase what it can of Jewish patrimony there). Egypt, after a 30-year stable peace, is ruled by a party that eschews relations with Israel and is constrained mainly by its military and its own economic debacle from acting on its ideological platform.

Lapid, Livni, Bibi… All the Same Dangerous Mistake

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

According to the headlines P.M. wannabe the present Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid doesn’t like the “Leftist” label.

Speaking at a meeting of his Yesh Atid party Monday, Lapid said that he had very clear ideas about Israel’s relations with the PA, and that his views should not come as a surprise to anyone. “Whoever thinks that a diplomatic solution will not entail two states for two peoples is mistaken. Any idea of a bi-national state, whether on the left or the right, would mean the end of Zionism, and I am a Zionist,” Lapid said.

With that, he added that “I do not plan on falling into the classic trap of the left, which at the beginning of negotiations reveals immediately what it plans to give away – a situation that turns what is supposed to be the end of the negotiation process into the beginning. You don’t come to negotiations with just an olive branch in your hand,” Lapid added. “We are looking for a fair divorce from the Palestinians.” (Arutz Sheva).

I don’t think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept it for himself too.  Livni once was comfortably in the more right-wing Likud with Bibi.  Only Shimon Peres isn’t shy about calling himself Left.

The big problem with what all of them, Lapid, Livni, Peres and Netanyahu preach, whether they call themselves, Right, Left or Center is that it’s all the same.  They all believe two dangerous things can and should be done: (1) negotiate with the Arabs for peace; (2) give the Arabs a state they’ll call “Palestine.”

Both of those things will seriously endanger the very existence of the State of Israel.  At the event memorializing Emanuel (Manny) Winston, Caroline Glick and other speakers spoke about the terrible mistakes the State of Israel has been making.  One of them is that we, the State of Israel, demand security rather than sovereignty.  With true sovereignty comes security. The late Manny Winston understood it.  And unfortunately the Arabs do, too.

True peace is not the result of negotiations.  True peace is something that evolves when neither side aims to destroy the other one.  It takes time.  Whenever people claim that if we don’t hurry we’ll miss the “window of opportunity” they are not referring to true peace.

What they, the Left-no matter which label they use for themselves, propose is like a cake or bread quickly baked with too high heat.  On the surface, at least for the first few minutes it may look fully baked, but it will quickly fall, collapse, all wet and soft inside.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

China’s Peace Plan: Outrageously One-Sided

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

I’ve heard suggestions that Israel should be looking east for allies, rather than toward the U.S. and Europe. Judging by the four point “peace plan” proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping while both PM Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas were in China, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Do we really need another plan that doesn’t mention recognition of Israel as a Jewish state?

Here are the four points, with a few comments interspersed. You can decide for yourself if this represents a positive breakthrough.

First, the right direction to follow should be an independent Palestinian State and peaceful co-existence of Palestine and Israel. To establish an independent state enjoying full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the key to the settlement of the Palestinian question. At the same time, Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns should also be fully respected.

Just in case we have any question about whether the Chinese are taking sides, the “Palestinian people” have “inalienable rights” to specific territory while Israel has only a “right to exist.” The word “legitimate” is ambiguous, too — does it mean that Israel’s concerns are legitimate, or does it mean that only “legitimate” concerns should be ‘respected’?

As we know, there are no “1967 borders,” only 1949 armistice lines which neither side accepted as having any permanent significance, and which were understood by the drafters of UNSC resolution 242 as needing to be replaced by “secure and recognized” boundaries. And if “full sovereignty” includes militarization and control of airspace, then that is simply inconsistent with Israel’s security.

Second, negotiation should be taken as the only way to peace between Palestine and Israel. The two sides should follow the trend of the times, pursue peace talks, show mutual understanding and accommodation, and meet each other half way. The immediate priority is to take credible steps to stop settlement activities, end violence against innocent civilians, lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and properly handle the issue of Palestinian prisoners in order to create the necessary conditions for the resumption of peace talks. Comprehensive internal reconciliation on the part of Palestine will help restart and advance the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Ending violence against innocent civilians, if this means stopping Arab terrorism, would be great. But keep in mind that the PLO promised — when it signed the Oslo accords, and received weapons, money and training for its “police force” — to do just that. PLO-supported terrorism continued, before, during and after the murderous Second Intifada, under Arafat and Abbas, on both sides of the Green Line, and is even increasing today, giving rise to fears of a third intifada. So any agreement must include a way to ensure that the PLO would honor it, as well as a way to restrain Hamas and the other extremist factions.

I recall the ill-fated “Road Map,” whose full name was, “A Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” It called for “ending terror and violence” and stopping incitement as part of Phase I. Supposedly there would not be a Phase II if this didn’t happen. Of course it didn’t. Along the way, the idea of conditioning Israeli concessions on Palestinian performance seems to have been given up.

Regarding “settlement activities”: the argument has been that even if a “settler” adds a bedroom onto his house within an existing settlement, then he is somehow creating facts on the ground which prejudice a future agreement with the Palestinians. This is illogical, considering that (a) the settlement blocs where most Jews live are expected to remain part of Israel under any reasonable agreement, and (b) there is established precedent for Israel withdrawing from inhabited settlements.

But more important: Arabs, too, are building “settlements,” especially in Area C, the part of Judea/Samaria that is supposed to be under full Israeli control. Will they agree to stop their “activities” as well? Because they are the ones creating facts on the ground today.

Ten Points the U.S. Must Consider in Dealing with the Palestinians

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

It is hard to find one Palestinian who believes that U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region will lead to a breakthrough in the Middle East “peace process.”

Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said they too are not pinning any hopes on Obama’s visit. “The situation is much more complicated than Obama thinks,” remarked a top P.A. official in a briefing ahead of the U.S. president’s visit. “We do not believe we will see any changes on the ground.”

But as Obama visits the region, he would do well to take the following facts into consideration:

1. Any agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be rejected by a large number of Palestinians, especially Palestinian refugees who continue to insist on the “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

2. A majority of Arabs and Muslims would also reject a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of the “Arab Spring,” which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries. It is hard to see how the ruling Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt, for example, would welcome any peace agreement with the “Zionist entity.”

3. Even if a Palestinian state were established in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], Hamas and other groups would work to take control of it and, with the help of Iran and Al-Qaeda, turn it into a launching pad for attacking Israel and other neighbors. The Palestinian Authority is in power there thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Force. Ironically, ending Israeli “occupation” would also bring an end to Abbas’s rule.

4. Most Palestinians do not see the U.S. as an honest broker. Any agreement reached under the auspices of the U.S. Administration would be received with utmost suspicion. Already, many Palestinian activists are waging a campaign on Facebook and Twitter to “prevent Obama from desecrating the land of Palestine.” The activists have called for “huge demonstrations” to protest against Obama’s visit; they are even preparing shoes to throw at his motorcade.

5. With the exception of Fatah, all Palestinian organizations — primarily Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — would automatically reject any peace agreement with Israel for various reasons. Some of these groups want to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth, while others believe that Israel would never accept all their demands, such as a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

6. The Palestinians are divided into two camps not only geographically, but also ideologically. The first is a radical camp that does not want to deliver on any front: it believes that Israel has no right to exist. The second is the less-radical camp, or the “moderates.” This second camp is also not able to deliver: it does not have enough control over the Palestinian territories, let alone a mandate from the Palestinians.

7. Abbas is opposed to the idea of reaching an interim agreement with Israel that would lead to the establishment of a temporary Palestinian state on the parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] that are controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

8. Even the Palestinian Authority appears to be divided into two camps, one headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the second led by Abbas. Tensions between the two have been mounting in wake of the resignation of Palestinian Finance Minister Nabil Qassis. While Abbas has rejected the resignation, Fayyad has accepted it, triggering a crisis with the Palestinian Authority president.

9. Many Palestinians, including Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership, are opposed to the resumption of peace talks unless Israel releases a significant number of Palestinian prisoners, halts all construction in settlements, as well as east Jerusalem, and accepts the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

10. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Would PA Allow Jews in Jerusalem?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

With Tzipi Livni a possibility to head Israel’s negotiating team in talks with the Palestinian Authority, it is important to review her stance on the future status of Jerusalem – and to investigate what really is holding up all chances of a successful peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In late 2008, Livni was elected to replace Ehud Olmert as head of the Kadima Party. She then proceeded to fail in her attempt to form a new government under her leadership – and the reason for this was her consent to grant Arab control to parts of holy city. This, together with the economic decrees against the “disadvantaged population,” led the Shas Party to refuse to join her government.

As foreign minister in 2008, Livni promised P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas that Israel would cede it the entire Atarot airport complex in northern Yerushalayim in the framework of a peace agreement. She repeatedly stated that though she believes strongly in historic Jewish rights to the entire Land of Israel, she also believes in the “right of our children to live in peace” – to which end she was willing to make far-reaching territorial concessions even in Yerushalayim.

Is there any chance of reaching an agreement with the PLO that does not include some form of dividing Jerusalem with Muslims? The answer appears to be negative. Former Israeli ambassador to Canada Alan Baker, of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has written an important and thorough historic study of the issue, concluding that the current P.A. mindset “clearly render[s] hopeless any possibility of peacefully governing Jerusalem.”

Specifically, Baker writes, standing in the way of an agreement is the Moslems’ refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s religious and historic rights to Yerushalayim, even without accepting these as absolute and exclusively binding.

Just a few months ago, Abbas referred to “the alleged [Jewish] Temple” in Jerusalem, and vowed that “there will be no peace, security, or stability unless [all Israelis are] evacuated from our holy city and the eternal capital of our state.”

“This statement,” Baker wrote, “basically denying any Jewish linkage or right to Jerusalem, uttered by the head of the Palestinian Authority who is considered in the international community to be moderate and reasonable, serves as an example of the tremendous political, historical, psychological, legal, and religious challenge that the issue of Jerusalem poses to the Middle East negotiating process.”

Any agreement regarding Jerusalem, he continued, must be “predicated on absolute acknowledgement of, respect for, and acceptance by each side of the historic and religious rights of the other in Jerusalem. Continued mistrust, attempts to dislodge, undermine or destabilize the other side vis-à-vis its own constituency or the international community, and attempts to delegitimize the integrity or historical rights of the other side would clearly render hopeless any possibility of peacefully governing Jerusalem.”

It is not only Abbas who negates Jewish rights in Jerusalem. A P.A. survey in 2011 found that nearly three-quarters of the respondents – 72 percent – support the denial of thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem.

We must remember, too, that Abbas has said no Jews would be allowed to live anywhere in a Palestinian state.

From Israel’s side, 77 percent told Dahaf public opinion pollsters in December that “Israel could not rely on the Palestinians to ensure freedom of worship” even in the framework of a peace agreement. Interestingly, it is not well-known that non-Muslims are prohibited from entering both Mecca and the center of Medina. Undoubtedly, if this fact were to be exposed more widely, it would dramatically increase the number of Israelis who realize the division of Jerusalem means the end of their visits to the Western Wall – for there is no reason to believe that if Jews may not visit Mecca or Medina, they would be able to visit the Temple Mount or anywhere else in the Old City under Muslim rule.

Ambassador Baker notes in his article that even when Israel supported various internationalization schemes in Jerusalem, this was basically to ensure universal freedom of worship in all holy places, not to give up sovereignty. The Arab sides did not accept even this.

Regarding the Arab refusal to accept the 1947 Partition resolution, historian Shlomo Avineri has written that unlike in the Jewish community, there was no debate within the Arab community: There, “an absolutist position – ‘we have all the rights, the Jews don’t have any right’ – continued to be the foundation of their response…”

Why Israel Should Recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The Republic of Cyprus has decided to upgrade the Palestinian delegation to Cyprus in order to make it an “embassy.” The Republic of Cyprus did this despite the fact that they are opposed to other countries recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, also known as Northern Cyprus, which comprises the north eastern portion of the Island and desires recognition as a state.

Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention states that for an entity to be a state under international law it must possess: a permanent population; a defined territory; a government; and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Presently, Northern Cyprus meets all of these criteria. They have a permanent Turkish Cypriot population that makes up the majority of the population in Northern Cyprus, with an effective united government ruling over this territory and they furthermore have the ability to enter into relations with other states, if only the international community was receptive to them.

Contrast that with the Palestinians who are divided between Fatah in Judea and Samaria and Hamas in Gaza. Israel also controls 60 percent of Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their capital. The Palestinians thus neither have a defined territory or government. Furthermore, with a great part of the Palestinian’s “refugee” population living in exile and Jewish communities scattered throughout areas that the Palestinians claim for a state (with Jews making up the majority of the population in what is known as “Area C”), it is questionable whether the Palestinians possess a permanent population as well.

The Turkish Cypriot cause is also one that Israelis should sympathize with. The London and Zurich Agreements of 1959 proclaimed that the island of Cyprus was supposed to be a partnership between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities. The Greek Cypriots violated this agreement in an attempt to unite the island with Greece, in order to deny the Turkish Cypriots political equality (just as the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world were against permitting Israel to exist under any borders). During 11 years of bloodshed, 103 Turkish Cypriot villages were destroyed. By the Turkish Intervention of 1974, the junta government of Cyprus had demonstrated genocidal ambitions against the Turkish Cypriots. As Nicos Sampson, then ruler of Cyprus, himself declared, “Had Turkey not intervened I not only would have declared Enosis (unification with Greece) but I would have annihilated the Turks in Cyprus.” That mirrors similar and continuing statements from Palestinians.

Since then, the Turkish Cypriots, like the Israelis, have been attempting to reach a peace agreement. Very much like the Israelis, the Turkish Cypriots have not had much luck in this regard. Under the most recent peace proposal, the U.N.-backed Annan Plan, 65 percent of the Turkish Cypriot population accepted while 76 percent of the Greek Cypriot population rejected the peace agreement. The Greek Cypriots have since remained intransigent in their positions – an intransigence Israel has similarly felt from the Arabs.

Regardless of the justice of the Turkish Cypriot’s cause, as of last November, 131 countries have recognized the fictitious “State of Palestine” – despite the fact the Palestinian’s seeking of such a status without Israeli agreement violates the Oslo Accords – and the Israeli government has yet to take punitive action against any of them. If Israel recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, it would send a strong message to all states that have elements that seek to secede and form separate states, that they too will face the consequences.

The Cyprus issue is also considered a top priority in Turkish foreign policy. Recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, has the potential to significantly lesson the hostility between Israel and Turkey, despite the fact that the Islamist AKP is in power, without Israel having to issue any apology for the Mavi Marmara affair or making any other concessions to the AKP leadership. This could be good for regional stability and would lesson Israel’s isolation within the Islamic world.

Such a move might also enable Israel to build relations with the Turkish Cypriot nation, which is significantly more secular than the AKP government in Turkey and thus is not inherently hostile towards Israel. Israel could enjoy a similar relationship with the Turkish Cypriots that Israel presently enjoys with Azerbaijan, offering Israel many business and tourism opportunities.

The UN Plan For ‘Palestine’: Terror Without End

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Editor’s note: This article appeared in print under the title, “The U.N. Plan For ‘Palestine’ and its Aftermath (Fourth of Four Parts).” Find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

“NAIL IN BRAIN; nail in heart.” For a time, such graphic labels attached to X-Rays in Israeli hospitals had become routine. Several years ago, a victim of Palestinian suicide terror arrived at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva with nearly fifteen nails and metal fragments embedded in his body. One of the “merely wounded,” this thirty-one year old man had multiple shrapnel penetrations along the left-side of his body and second and first-degree burns on the left side of his face and chest, on his hands, and on his left leg. His injuries required five types of surgery. After regaining consciousness, he was weaned from a ventilator and now – in 2013 – still faces additional years of painful rehabilitation.

What kind of people fighting for “national self-determination” inflicts such harms on defenseless noncombatant populations, and then cheers the most awful casualties in gleeful ceremonies conducted with their own young children? What kind of an America or U.N. General Assembly could ever accept such harms as understandable, or even permissible? Is there any reasonable way in which any civilized international community could justifiably equate the search for self-determination of such a people with the victims of the Holocaust?

Palestinian terror seeks national self-determination but shouts endlessly to the world that even after statehood violence will continue against “The Jews.” Significantly, every map of every Palestinian group features a new Arab state (the 23rd) that incorporates all of Israel. Therefore, not only Hamas but also “moderate” Fatah has already exterminated Israel cartographically.

Terrorism has brought suffering throughout the world, but Palestinian terrorism in particular will remain fiendishly unique even where it is manifestly counterproductive. Given the opportunity, it is probable that, ultimately, Palestinian terror groups will seek to exploit the particular horrors that still lie latent in weaponized pathogens and/or fissile materials. Earlier, in Latin America, groups such as MRTAand Sendero Luminoso (“Shining Path”) had resorted to extensive bloodshed in a more or less class-based fight for social, economic and political equality.

But their violence was plainly instrumental, and limited by specific objectives. Their ultimate goals had nothing to do with genocide. In Peru, moreover, whenever Sendero Luminoso exploded bombs in cars and buses, the citizens themselves uniformly condemned the terror.

If undertaken by Palestinians, who would openly condemn bioterrorism against Israel? Certainly President Obama would, but to what end? The proper position of any American president seeking peace in the Middle East must be to prevent war and terror, not to use American resources after the fact to help bury the dead.

All Palestinian terror groups are relentlessly determined to use violence against noncombatants, even on those occasions where it is plainly unsuitable for political gain. To these organizations, “Palestine” refers to all of Israel proper, as well as to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. As for Palestinian civilian populations, they still regularly applaud even the most heinous forms of anti-Jewish terrorism.

When, years back, two lost Israelis were lynched outside a P.A. “police station” in Ramallah, a mob of literally thousands danced a frenzied bacchanal on top of the mutilated bodies. This is undeniable. We know this because of the heroic film work done that day by an Italian television crew in the area.

What defensible human emotions can move a mob of “ordinary” Palestinians to torture, gouge out the eyes of, beat and then burn two utterly helpless human beings? What, one must inquire, was more incomprehensible that October morning in Ramallah, the elbows-deep-in-blood attacks launched by a desensitized people, or the spontaneously twisted celebrations of the multiple Arab bystanders?

Arab women as well as men could not contain the ecstasy of their cruel involvement. What kind of human beings can commit the horrors that Palestinian mobs inflicted on that terrible day upon Vadim Norjitz and Yossi Avrahami? While the answers to these questions are complex, they have a great deal to do with understanding the incessantly distinctive barbarism of Palestinian terror groups, a barbarism that now frequently manifests itself in intra-Palestinian battles between Fatah and Hamas as well.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-un-plan-for-palestine-and-its-aftermath-fourth-of-four-parts/2013/02/20/

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