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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian statehood’

Danny Ayalon Shows his True Colors

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

When he served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States during the Disengagement, Danny Ayalon did not merely execute his duties as ambassador, but threw his personal support behind the Disengagement.

For instance in an interview a month before the expulsion was carried out, Ayalon said that “The prime minister had to make the decision because he knew this was the best course of action to take and the best way to strengthen Israel” (emphasis added).

When Ayalon returned to Israel and jumped into politics, he joined Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor Liberman who opposed the Disengagement as a Minister in Ariel Sharon’s government.

Yisrael Beitenu presented itself as being to the right of the Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu (though now the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu sit together as one faction in the Knesset).

In the last government, Liberman served as Foreign Minister and Ayalon served as his deputy. Ayalon even released an English version of video explaining Israel’s right to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and narrated the video himself. Needless to say, Israel, Liberman and Ayalon worked against Palestinian efforts to get recognized as a state without Israeli agreement at the United Nations.

Ayalon, for instance, was quoted as criticizing the Palestinians’ statehood bid, saying:

The Palestinian Authority, which cannot even collect municipal taxes, wishes to pose as a state… It is clear that the P.A. does not meet the minimum requirements of a state. It also fails to meet another requirement of the U.N. Charter — to be a peace-loving nation. Ayalan also took up Yisrael Beitenu’s Anglo division-campaign, which focused on recruiting the support of Israel’s English-speaking immigrant community which is a little bit more conservative, especially on foreign policy, than the rest of Israel.

Then, unexpectedly  Liberman informed Ayalon that he would not be included in Yisrael Beitenu’s Knesset list. Not long after that Ayalon recalled things he did previously did not which were added to the indictment against Liberman.

Now, Ayalon has taken up the left-wing position regarding the U.N. General Assembly vote recognizing Palestinian statehood, arguing that Israeli should offer the Palestinians recognition as a state:

“Israel will give the Palestinians sovereignty and independence and in return, they will recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and will guarantee security arrangements.” That’s a position which doesn’t quite match his prior criticism of the Palestinian’s U.N. bid, his assertion that regardless of what recognition they may receive the Palestinian Authority simply is not a state, his previous criticism of Palestinian Authority funding going towards terrorism, or the general realistic approach towards the Palestinian Authority, which he, Liberman and Netanyahu have championed during the government’s term.

Far from punishing the Palestinians from their efforts to side step Israel at the United Nations, such an offer would reward them and would incur immense amount of international pressure on Israel to sweeten the deal by making more unilateral concessions or to just recognize Palestinian statehood regardless of what the Palestinians agree to.

Aside from the merits of Ayalon’s new position, his zigzagging over the years is yet another lesson in how political ambitions affect a politician’s positions or at least the part of his philosophy he chooses to emphasize to the public.

Peace Process is Gone, But the Pressure Remains

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

From Barry Rubin‘s recent article, “Murdered Diplomacy“:

…any talk of Israel-Palestinian negotiations, peace process activity, compromise diplomacy, and all that stuff is meaningless now and here’s why:

The U.N. General Assembly made the Palestinian Authority (P.A.)-ruled entity a non-member state. Many in the West rationalized providing supporting votes or abstentions by saying this would do no harm and make Palestinians feel good…

Those of us who opposed this change explained that it means destruction of the 1993 Oslo agreement and the “peace process,” as moribund as it was, by handing the Palestinian Authority (at least on paper) everything it wanted without a single compromise on its part, not even living up to previous commitments.

And since the P.A. has just thrown away all the previous agreements it made with Israel, why should Israel pin its fate on some new one? Just as the P.A. took all the benefits it could from the Oslo agreement and then tore it up the same thing would happen–with a far more dangerous situation resulting–with a peace treaty in which Israel pulled out of the rest of the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Why is it that this issue is never even mentioned in the Western mass media, or by “experts” and politicians as a central aspect of the problem?

Mahmoud Abbas has now ordered that official documents bear the name “State of Palestine” rather than “Palestinian National Authority,” marking the end of the Oslo framework. Rubin continues,

In other words, the U.N. General Assembly’s action was the single most effective sabotage to a two-state solution since the Palestine Arab leadership’s rejection of a two-state solution based on partition in 1947. Much of the media, “experts,” and Western politicians will no doubt blame Israel and especially the Netanyahu government for the absence of a diplomatic miracle. In fact, though, Israel’s stances have now been rendered irrelevant in this regard. [my emphasis]

In a speech on January 4, Abbas made clear that he sees the Palestinian goal not as the establishment of a peaceful state alongside Israel, but the replacement of Israel by an Arab state. Jonathan D. Halevi describes it,

In his speech Abbas avoids all mention of a historic compromise with Israel that would bring the conflict to an end. Nor does he mention the land-for-peace formula, the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel, recognition of Israel, or Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Instead, Abbas chose to reemphasize that the Fatah movement has not changed since the day of its establishment – marked by its first anti-Israel terror attack on January 1, 1965 – and that the Palestinian people remain on the path of struggle. The keywords in his speech were the “dreams” and “national goals” to be achieved; that is, “historical justice,” as the Palestinians view it. Translated into the language of action, that means, according to Abbas, “realizing the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Abbas reinforced his uncompromising message with a pledge to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians, including Halil al-Wazir Abu Jihad (Fatah), Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (Hamas), Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi (Hamas), Fathi al-Shikaki (Islamic Jihad), George Habash (Popular Front), Abu Ali Mustafa (Popular Front), Abu al-Abbas (Arab Liberation Front), and Izzadin al-Qassam (leader of the jihad war against the Jewish Yishuv and the British in the 1930s).

Abbas refrained from setting red lines for the “Palestinian struggle,” condemning terror, or denouncing Palestinian terror organizations and leaders. All of these, in his view, are equal and suitable partners in the Palestinian struggle, and their ideological platform, even if it is terrorist and/or radical-Islamist, is a source of inspiration for the Palestinian people in their ongoing endeavor to achieve their national goals.

In short, no more “peace process.” But that doesn’t mean the end of diplomatic pressure on Israel. On the contrary, the thugs on the ground in Europe and the Obama Administration now simply want to impose the U.N.’s diktat on Israel.

In an ugly salvo in this direction, the administration spoke through the pen of the friendly Jeffrey Goldberg:

In the weeks after the U.N. vote, Obama said privately and repeatedly, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” With each new settlement announcement, in Obama’s view, Netanyahu is moving his country down a path toward near-total isolation…

…what Obama wants is recognition by Netanyahu that Israel’s settlement policies are foreclosing on the possibility of a two-state solution, and he wants Netanyahu to acknowledge that a two-state solution represents the best chance of preserving the country as a Jewish-majority democracy.

I find it impossible to believe that Obama honestly thinks that construction anywhere east of the Green Line is what prevents an agreed-upon two-state solution. And it cannot have escaped his attention that the Palestinians are not on board for any kind of ‘solution’ that isn’t totally one-sided.

Nevertheless, he plows on, playing the good cop to the Europeans’ bad one, pretending that the pressure is for Israel’s own good. For some reason, no issue seems to be as important in U.S. and E.U. policy than shrinking Israel.

Israel can go along with the program and endanger its chances for survival, or it can run the risk of whatever sanctions the Europeans and the U.S. may dish out.

Neither option is terribly good, but in my opinion Israel should take the unilateral steps necessary to protect its security — and let the E.U. and Obama do their worst.

Why Liberals Blame Israel for their Rejection

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

There’s been a strange phenomenon building in the last few weeks that’s been puzzling me. But I’ve just figured it out. Various people—there are many examples so you can insert your own–have been writing that Israel is making some big mistake. It is losing support, especially liberal and American Jewish support, they explain, because of the way it’s been behaving.

What’s puzzling about this is that nothing has actually happened to imply that any great opportunity is being missed that might justify this attitude. There has been no recent turn toward peace by the Palestinian Authority; no great new idea promising a breakthrough; no change in personalities that offers some shocking new opportunity. The regional picture has been getting worse for reasons having nothing to do with Israel; Hamas stronger; and the Palestinian Authority equally intransigent.

Equally, Israel hasn’t done anything new or startling. The most important thing that can be said about Jewish settlements is that Israel hasn’t created any new ones in almost 20 years. True, there has been construction on existing settlements but that’s been going on since 1993 on a fairly regular basis. If anything, I think it has declined in pace and mostly in Jerusalem rather than farther out in Judea and Samaria. And, of course, all the settlements in the Gaza Strip have been dismantled.

One factor that might be mentioned is that the critics are far out of date. They describe the situation as it existed, say, in the 1980s when many Israelis believed that a negotiated deal with the PLO was possible and claimed that rightists were blocking this great opportunity because they were so suspicious of the Palestinians and so fond of settlements. Since then, that proposition was tested and found wanting in the 1993-2000 peace process era. Yet many American Jews and others simply haven’t noticed that things didn’t turn out the way the doves had hoped. To their credit, many of them (and I might as well say “us” rethought our assumptions).

Yet that was a dozen years ago. The behavior of the Palestinian Authority since then and the rise of revolutionary Islamism, among other factors, have underlined the skepticism engendered by the terrible peace process experience. If you claim the right to determine Israel’s fate and put its people’s lives at risks you might be expected to go to the trouble of doing a little research and serious thought on these matters.

So what is the great urgency here, the dramatic change, the Palestinian moderation that offers a real chance for peace, or the Israeli misbehavior that throws away a great opportunity to achieve it? Other than pure perversity, ideological nastiness, or a panic derived from mass media antagonism toward Israel or due to the sharp Obama era turn to the Left, the claim that Israel was doing something reckless which was antagonizing would-be supporters doesn’t make sense.

And then it hit me.

There has just been still another in a long series of polls about what Americans think of Israel and the Palestinians. These polls have been broadly consistent. In 2012, about 71 percent of Americans say they side with Israel, as high as that number has ever been in all of history! And that’s compared to only twenty percent who say they side with the Palestinians, a figure that has been stable now for three years. Here are the numbers from Gallup.

But here’s the point: apparently, Democratic and liberal support for Israel has gone down. The idea of supporting Israel’s control over Jerusalem was at first left out of the Democratic platform, then booed and opposed by a majority of the delegates voting (though undemocratically added anyway by the leadership). Of course, they did the same to mentioning God so Israel is, as so often historically, in good company.

The point, however, is that this isn’t really about Israel itself; it’s about the liberal Democratic intellectual (or pseudo-intellectual) upper middle class milieu of people claiming that Israel is wantonly throwing away support by acting irrationally. After all, these people have a choice in how to respond to the situation:

Option 1: Israel is at fault for losing the Obama cult crowd and a small but vocal increasingly left-wing sector of Americans (many of whom aren’t that thrilled with the United States either) because of something that it has done. If only Israel would show itself ready to take risks for peace, elect a prime minister who was ready to recognize a Palestinian state and give up almost all of the territory captured in 1967, show the Palestinians that Israelis aren’t horrible monsters, let Palestinians rule Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, help them get billions of dollars in aid, and let them create their own armed force to stop the real extremists then peace is possible!

Oh, wait a minute, that already happened. And there were three such prime ministers: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak.

Option 2: Given an increasingly left-wing ideology that’s based on faulty assumptions and neglects the dangerous radicalism of Islamist forces and other enemies of America, it is the dominant worldview in the mass media, academia, and ruling circles in America that is to blame for turning away from Israel.

Understand this well: Option 1 requires Israel to change; Option 2 requires the people voicing such complaints about Israel to change.

Well, these people don’t want to examine their assumptions and change their views. They’d end up suffering for their support of Israel, they’d be out of step with the mob; they might have to—shudder!—step away from what’s popular and “in.” My goodness, they might even have to question Obama’s brilliance and policies!

No contest.

So it’s not surprising that Option 1 wins out. And the exact same point would apply if you substitute the word America for Israel and revised as required the details.

Hey, do what you have to do to avoid admitting you’re wrong and paying some price for telling the truth. But don’t blame us.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Who Said, ‘I Oppose the Creation of a Palestinian State’?

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Quiz: Who is the “I” in this headline in Time Magazine?

“I Oppose the Creation of a Palestinian State”

Answer: Yitzchak Rabin in an interview in Time Magazine:

I Oppose the Creation of a Palestinian State
By Lisa Beyer/Tel Aviv and Yitzhak Rabin
Monday, Sept. 27, 1993

Q. Now that you’ve signed this agreement with the Palestinians, what next?
A. For me, the main test is the implementation, especially in Gaza. Jericho is symbolic. In Gaza there are three-quarters of a million Palestinians, poverty, economic and social problems. The real problem is to what extent the P.L.O. will have the means to take over. They have never been responsible for running a large community — to maintain law and order, to prevent terror, to run an economy, to build houses, to run schools, to develop industries. The whole future depends on how it works in Gaza-Jericho.
Q. How do you think the Palestinians will manage self-rule?
A. I believe there is a good chance they will succeed. But without a tremendous amount of money from the outside, I don’t see great hope that they will manage even in Gaza.
Q. How do you assess the security risks to Israel?
A. The Palestinians don’t present militarily a threat to the existence of Israel. There are certain risks to the personal security of a limited number of Israelis.
Q. What if the personal-security risks to Israelis increase?
A. If terror will continue, it means the Palestinians cannot keep their commitments, so what is the meaning of the agreement?
Q. In that case the accord would be rolled back?
A. I didn’t say so. You said it.
Q. How will your government respond if the right wing in Israel rebels against the accord?
A. I don’t believe that there will be rebellion. Israel is a democracy. There might be expressions of opposition, but I believe that whatever the government and Knesset approve will be carried out.
Q. What about rebellion against the Palestinian authorities?
A. No doubt they’ll have problems, mainly with Hamas. They will focus on increased terror activities against Israelis. They believe that the best way to foil the deal is to create antagonism to the agreement among the Israelis. We had lately suicide terror acts. It creates problems.
Q. The Labor Party seems to be softening its opposition to a Palestinian state.
A. No. I am against this. I oppose the creation of an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan, and I don’t believe that at this stage it would be a good idea if I brought out the options.
Q. How will the accord affect your negotiations with Syria, Lebanon and Jordan?
A. We expect the other partners in the peace negotiations to assist in the implementation of what has been agreed upon with the Palestinians. Idon’t see a problem signing a peace treaty with Jordan tomorrow if they limit the issues to Jordanian-Israeli problems. It will facilitate negotiations with Syria, but maybe on a longer timetable.
Q. When you shook Arafat’s hand in Washington, you managed a smile. Or was it a grimace?
A. I can’t remember. I stood there for about one hour. Do you expect me to remember every expression that I had?
Q. It must have been a memorable moment. How did you feel?
A. It was not easy.
Q. What made you decide finally to deal directly with the P.L.O.?
A. It took me and others a long time to overcome the mental and practical block to this. For 30 years the P.L.O. carried out terror activities, among them many cases I can call atrocities. But mutual recognition, in my humble opinion — to the extent that they will keep their commitment, and I assume they will — made the P.L.O. entirely different from what it was before.
Q. You are 71 years old, late in your political career. Did this motivate you to reach a solution now?
A. It is not a question of my age but a question of my purpose in being in politics. When I decided to run for Prime Minister, I believed that the coincidence of events on the international scene, in the Middle East, in Israel were ripe to achieve two goals: peace and security, and changing the order of national priorities for the people of Israel — not to look at the territories as the main issue. At least 96% of Israeli Jews live on sovereign Israeli soil, within the green lines, including united Jerusalem. The future of Israel depends much more on what that 96% of Jews and about 1 million non-Jewish Israeli citizens will achieve in their economy, social progress, cultural and scientific achievements.

How right he was – and how wrong.

Visit My Right Word.

The Ultimate ‘Settlements are not the Problem’ Article

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

It must be a new year. The Washington Post had an editorial last week explaining that Israeli settlements are not the main problem in the Middle East.

The Post editorial is amazing since such sanity is so rare. It begins:

“Two mistaken but widely held notions regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace are that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible.”

And then it continues by laying down a detailed, factual case that’s worth repeating:

–“Following the 1993 Oslo accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, like several before it, has limited building almost entirely to areas that both sides expect Israel to annex through territorial swaps in an eventual settlement….”

–Almost all of the Jewish settlers live on only four percent of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.], the sector that Israel has been seeking to annex as part of a peace plan that was first presented twelve years ago.

–Israel’s latest construction, which will connect Maale Adumim—a short walk from Jerusalem—with the rest of the city is hardly the destruction of any chance for peace which has been portrayed in much of the Western media and by some Western governments. The worst-case scenario would be that if this corridor determined the ultimate border between two states, Palestinian motorists might have to take a detour of about ten minutes.

–Those who “are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood…will press [Palestinian Authority leader Mahmud] Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for intransigence – and cool their own overheated rhetoric.”

One of the questions I’m most often asked is about Israeli settlements. It is ridiculously easy to prove they are not the factor preventing Israel-Palestinian peace. I favor the eventual dismantlement of almost all of them–but only if and when there is a comprehensive peace which results in the annexation of some–that would be in Palestine’s territory. That is a long way off.

The problem with demonstrating that settlements are not the problem is that it is so hard to get those arguments to a big audience in the West. Many people also have a pre-1993 image of the situation in their minds.

Briefly, here are two points that make the case. The first shows that the claims about settlements are contrary to the facts; the second that they are contrary with logic.

First, the day after the Israel-PLO agreement was signed in 1993, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin made it clear that Israel’s interpretation was that it permitted continued construction on existing settlements. The Palestinian Authority did not object and that policy did not prevent it from negotiating over the next seven years. (Deliberate?) misrepresentations often make people think that Israel is establishing new settlements or expanding the size of existing ones. Both claims are untrue.

Second, if the Palestinian side wants an end to settlements that should be an incentive for reaching a peace agreement faster and thus getting rid of all settlements on the territory of the new state of Palestine. Notice that Israel—under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon no less—demolished all of the settlements in the Gaza Strip as, among other things, a sign of what could be gained by a peace deal.

Yet the Palestinian side has been in no hurry to make a deal. In theory, when it complains about settlements the response should be: So why don’t you compromise for peace and get rid of them rather than having them become “larger?”

But you don’t have to think this is a new idea. That was exactly what King Hussein of Jordan told the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s “legislative” body, on November 22, 1984. He explained:

“The years go by….The holy and cherished land is being swallowed up every day….How long shall we heed those among us who say: Leave it for future generations….? What makes them believe that the circumstances of future generations will be more conducive [when postponement is merely] giving the enemy more time….?

In other words, your refusal to make peace makes things worse.

“We thus enabled the enemy to exploit time in order to change reality on the land of Palestine in its favor….Brothers and sisters, because we will be harmed the most as a result of the continuation of the present state of affairs….experience taught us to renounce immobility…..”

Or, to put it bluntly, stop quarreling and using violence, and demanding too much and expecting to gain total victory that will wipe Israel off the map and just make a compromise two-state solution.

Likud-Beiteinu Leader: I Oppose a Palestinian State

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The idea that a Palestinian state can lead to enduring peace in Israel has become a diplomatic obsession for Israeli and American policy makers. Ironically, it was former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin who was in favor of territorial compromise but opposed a Palestinian state. Despite this, establishing such a state has become the equivalent of a “Messiah” that will bring the long awaited peace to the region. President Shimon Peres declared that there is a majority that supports a two state solution. Such a declaration shows that the President is not updated because a recent poll by Mina Tzemach proves just the opposite namely there is a solid majority in Israel against a Palestinian state.

The fact of the matter is that a Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would increase the tension and usher in permanent instability to the region. Such a state would immediately ally itself with and become a client of rivals and enemies of America such as Iran, would harm American, Israeli, and even Arab interests. A Palestinian State would be a tailwind to insurgent terrorists in Iraq. It would provide Russia and possibly China and North Korea with a foothold in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean at the expense of vital US interests.

The history of the PA’s Abu Mazen tells us something important about the likely character of a Palestinian state. Abu Mazen who will be heading this state is afraid to call for elections in the Palestinian Authority out of fear that Hamas would gain control. In other words, he lacks public support even now. Besides that, he is a graduate of Moscow University (Ph.D. thesis: Holocaust Denial) and it was he who managed the logistics of the Munich Massacre of eleven Israeli athletes in 1972. Abu Mazen is one of the engineers of contemporary Palestinian hate education, which has become a production line for terrorists.

This history is not that of a peace maker, and the PLO’s track record of inter-Arab treachery, non-compliance, corruption, repression and terrorism does not give evidence of a peaceful Palestinian state of the future. Since its makeover from a terrorist organization to a semi-independent entity in 1993, the Palestinian Authority, is led by PLO graduates of terrorist bases in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia

The proposed Palestinian State would inflict destruction upon America’s Arab allies and would enhance the fortunes of its rivals and enemies. Other states in the region know this. During the October 1994 signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, top commanders of the Jordanian military urged their Israeli counterparts to stop short of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, “lest it destroy the [pro-US] Hashemite regime east of the River.”

Even more worrisome are the ties between the PLO and Iran. The PLO was one of the earliest allies of the Ayatollah Khomeini when he toppled the Shah of Iran in 1979. After his 2005 election to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen’s first visits were to Teheran and Damascus. A Palestinian state would extend Iran’s long terrorist arm, facilitating subversive operations against pro-Western Arab regimes. It would also enable Iran to enhance its intelligence and military operations in the region, including port facilities in Gaza.

The long and determined effort by Israeli leaders to promote a Palestinian state and to soften the Palestinian Authority’s harsh features cannot change the fact that a Palestinian State would add fuel to the fire of terrorism in the region. Besides all that, it is not hard to forsee rockets flying into Israel from Judea and Samaria as they did after the disengagement from Gaza in the south. In summation: we must remove the idea of a Palestinian state in our area from the Israeli agenda immediately if not sooner.

Poll: More Israelis Against the Two-State Solution than For it

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

In a poll commissioned by Israel’s Reshet B, 45.4 percent of Israelis said they were against the view that “two-states for two peoples is the desired solution for a peace agreement with the Palestinians,” while only 40.6 percent said they were in favor.

Fourteen percent had no answer.

The poll of 500 potential voters was conducted by Geocartographia by telephone yesterday and had a 4.2 percent margin of error.

That showing of only 40.6 percent in favor of the two-state solution comes on the heels of another set of polls which claimed that Israelis supported the two-state solution by a margin of 67-68 percent.

The wording of those polls was criticized for presenting a fantasy scenario in which, according to Ha’aretz, the Palestinians would give up their claim to the “right of return” to the State of Israel and “[t]he Palestinian state would be demilitarized and its boundaries would be based on the 1967 lines with exchanges of equal-sized territory” which “would take into consideration Israel’s security needs and would retain the large settlement blocs in Israeli hands.”

The Geocarographia poll also asked Israelis for whom they were planning to vote, and gave the Jewish Home party 17.5 seats and the Strength to Israel party 6 seats, both of the parties’ best showings yet.

For full results relating to the Knesset elections click here.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/poll-more-israelis-against-the-two-state-solution-than-for-it/2013/01/03/

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