U.S. pressures Turkcell to abandon Syria deal & other Economic News

Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert shakes hands with U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Stuart Levey (R) March 4, 2007 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)

U.S. pressures Turkcell to abandon Syria deal
Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:13pm BST
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS (Reuters) – The United States is putting pressure on Turkish mobile phone operator Turkcell to abandon a $1 billion takeover of a cellphone company owned by a Syrian tycoon targeted by U.S. sanctions, diplomats and Arab financiers said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Treasury Department is warning American investors in Turkcell TCELL.IS (TKC.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which is listed on the Istanbul and New York bourse, about the company’s plan to buy the leading Syrian operator Syriatel, they told Reuters.

Syriatel is at least 69 percent owned by Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of President Bashar al-Assad. Washington imposed high profile sanctions on Makhlouf in February for alleged involvement in public corruption in Syria as relations between the Damascus government and the United States plummeted.

“The U.S. Treasury communicated indirectly with U.S. investors in Turkcell to reconsider the deal and hinted that there could be legal implications of doing a business transaction involving a huge amount of dollars upfront with Rami Makhlouf,” one of the diplomats following the deal told Reuters.

The sanctions explicitly state no U.S citizen can do business with Makhlouf. Several Turkcell executives have American citizenship and hold shares in the company, industry sources said.

Makhlouf, 39, has denied the U.S. charges, saying he does not have assets in the United States and his businesses that employ thousands of Syrians are legitimate.

“America is serious about making the sanctions against Rami (Makhlouf) stick. The way the Treasury is applying the pressure is through whispering to investors’ ears,” said the diplomat.

Makhlouf, Syria’s most powerful businessman, stands to receive close to an estimated $1 billion in cash if the deal for Turkcell to buy most of his shares goes ahead. The U.S. pressure has contributed to the delay in the deal, the sources said.

Turkcell said this month that “any possible U.S. citizenship” by its management would not affect the talks, despite the sanctions against Makhlouf, which were imposed while the deal was being negotiated.

“We are aware of the situation between the United States and Syria. But since Turkcell is a Turkey-based company and there is no legal restriction on the purchase of Syriatel, the situation does not have any impact on the talks,” Turkcell said.

Sureyya Ciliv, Turkcell’s chief executive officer, said in late February that he had expected to complete talks with Syriatel in a month.

A senior Arab banker said the deal could still be signed after Turkcell negotiated a lower price following the sanctions on Makhlouf.

“The Americans have succeeded in delaying the deal, but it is still on,” the financier said.

STRATEGIC RAMIFICATIONS?

Gulf mobile operator Zain (ZAIN.KW: Quote, Profile, Research) has said it was also interested in buying Syriatel. Saad al-Barrak, Zain’s chief executive, last week described competition to acquire Syriatel as strong but he could not be drawn on the status of any talks.

A Turkcell-Syriatel deal would be one of the largest in the region’s telecom sector. The two companies say they have a majority share of the market in their respective countries.

Political stakes are also high. Syria has been rebuilding ties with Turkey strained by Syria’s support for Kurdish separatists a decade ago, and Turkey has been mediating to relaunch peace talks between Israel and Damascus.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was in the Syrian capital on Saturday to open a large Syria-Turkish business forum. Makhlouf has said that a deal with Turkcell would further improve relations with Turkey.

High-level politicians from both countries have been consulted on the takeover, the diplomats said.

“The fate of this deal has strategic ramifications for relations between Syria and Turkey and the American-led drive to isolate Syria,” another diplomat said.

The United States imposed sanctions on Syria in 2004 for supporting anti-U.S. groups in the Middle East. The Treasury Department designated Makhlouf under an expansion of the sanctions announced in an executive order by President George W. Bush on February 13 as “a regime insider whom improperly benefits from and aids the public corruption of Syrian regime officials.”

The order freezes any assets Makhlouf holds under U.S. jurisdiction and forbids American citizens or entities from doing business with him.
[end]

Price of bread to remain unchanged: There is a political decision not to increase the price of bread and of basic food items, Prime Minister Naji Al-Otri said, amid growing concerns over spiralling food prices. Read

Economic Intelligence Unit: 29 Apr 2008

The Syrian government has revised upwards the official procurement prices for the country's main crops, notably wheat, in a bid to stimulate higher production and cut down on smuggling, as farmers and traders have been lured into taking advantage of higher prices in neighbouring countries. In the face of rising prices for most foodstuffs in local markets, the government has also slapped a ban on exports of tomatoes until the end of May.

These measures show that, even though Syria meets a large portion of its food requirements, with agriculture accounting for some 24% of GDP, it is by no means immune to the effects of global food inflation. Syria claims to be the only Arab country to be self-sufficient in wheat, and since 2001 has become a significant exporter of this staple crop. However, the last two harvests have been disappointing, as a result of poor weather conditions, and the government faces the risk of available domestic supplies being further constrained by smuggling as the fixed price paid to farmers has failed to keep pace with the rapid increase in international wheat prices. The cabinet accordingly announced on April 15th that the procurement price for hard wheat was to go up to S┬ú16,500 (US$360) per tonne and that for soft wheat to S┬ú16,000/t. The prices have been fixed for several years at Syp 11,800/t and Syp10,080/t respectively. Prices for barley and maize have beenvirtually doubled to Syp 11,800/t and Syp10,080/t respectively. Prices for barley and maize have beenvirtually doubled to S┬ú15,000/t, the cotton price has risen by 30% to Syp 35,000/t, and the price for sugar-beethas gone up by a similar margin to syp 3,500/t.

Prior to 2007 the price that Syria's state-owned General Establishment for Cereals Trade and Processing (Hoboob) paid to farmers for their wheat was comfortably above world prices. However, that situation has been turned around, and even with the latest increases the government procurement price is still some way short of the current world market price of some US$440/t. Farmers have been turning increasingly to private traders to buy their wheat, rather than selling to Hoboob. In announcing the new prices, the government said that it would seek to stamp out the activities of private wheat traders.

Syria's wheat production ranged between 4.7m t/y and 4.9m t/y between 2001 and 2005, but it slipped to about 4.2m tonnes in 2006 and to barely 4m tonnes last year. In the meantime, consumption has been rising fast, partly as a result of the influx of Iraqi refugees, and reached an estimated 4.7m tonnes in 2007. Syria has only been able to meet its export commitments through drawing on its stocks, which have shrunk from over 5.1m tonnes in 2005 to less than half that figure now. In 2007 Syria exported 1.2m tonnes of wheat to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, bringing in revenue of some US$270m, according to the government. Export volumes are likely to be significantly lower in 2008….

Mortgages for Syrians

Amlak Finance and Cham Holding Sign MoU to Launch Home Finance Solutions in Syria

Dubai, UAE, April 20, 2008 – Amlak Finance, the largest real estate financier in the Middle East, announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cham Holding, with the objective of making available Amlak's innovative and pioneering home finance solutions in the Syrian market. The new venture, to be called "Amlak Finance Syria", marks another feat in Amlak 's ambitious expansion plans across the region, which is currently operational in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and will launch in 2008 in Jordan and Qatar.

"Syria has witnessed a major real estate boom in the past few years, and as a leading financier in the region we are delighted to announce our partnership with Cham Holding, in order to make available our innovative and pioneering home financing solutions and services in the Syrian market," said H.E. Nasser Bin Hassan Al-Shaikh, Chairman of Amlak Finance. "Amlak is swiftly gaining a solid ground in the region following its market leadership in the United Arab Emirates, which will ultimately re-enforce the company's strong brand positioning across the Middle East."

Regional investments into the Syrian economy, coupled with the government's introduction of a series of regulations to organize wealth sectors, notably the passing of Investment Law (10) and the drafting of the Real Estate and Mortgage laws, have placed Damascus as a regional center for real estate investment activities. All such positive factors led to a soaring 80% increase in real estate turnover in 2006, reaching US$50billion.

Commenting at the signing ceremony, Mr. Nabil Al Kouzbari, Chairman of Cham Holding, said: "The Syrian economy is one of the key emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa region, and presents unprecedented growth opportunities. Our partnership with Amlak will result in great benefits to the Syrian citizens, and the Syrian real estate market will lend further momentum to our ambitious investment plans across the country."

According to Al-Shaikh, Cham Holding is "a key player and a reputable conglomerate in the Syrian market, and I am confident that our alliance will play a key role in the development of Syria's booming housing sector".

"The public sector is a red line that cannot be sold or privatized". Syria-News

Ehsani 2 writes: "I have news for MR. Usama Udai: "islah" or reforming this public sector WILL NOT WORK. Why on earth should the state be in the business of running 250 businesses from making biscuits to manufacturing car tires? What a hopeless case.

Exporting of tomatoes was banned for 45 days. As prices reached syp 60 a kilo internally, the government decided to ban exports. The end result is very unhappy farmers who clashed with police in Tartous (Syria-News)

Iraq and Syria have signed a transit agreement to expedite the transfer of imported food commodities from the Syrian ports by surface transport to the western provinces of Iraq, which are adjacent to the Syrian border. As part of the deal, Iraq will import Syrian products that are used in the rationing system in Iraq [which was established by Saddam Hussein to alleviate the impact of the international sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s but was kept in place by the subsequent Iraqi governments since the invasion in 2003].

Business Prevails
SYRIA | 28.04.2008
Oxfor Business Group
While political tensions are running high between the Syrian and Lebanese governments, it is a different story on the business front.
Both the Syrian state and the nation's business community have welcomed Lebanese companies. Nowhere is this enthusiasm more apparent than in the banking world. After Damascus's decision in 2001 to open up the sector, a number of overseas commercial and Islamic institutions have branched out into Syria in the past few years. Lebanese financial interests have benefited most from the new open door policy, with five separate Lebanon-based banks crossing the border and another two, Banque Libano-Française and the Bank of Beirut, having flagged their intention to join them.

The latest Lebanese entrant into the market, Fransabank Syria, has just conducted a highly successful initial public offering (IPO), after receiving a licence to operate in the Syria in April 2007.

Fransabank intends to start operations in the middle of this year, initially in Damascus, before expanding to Homs, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartus.

In an interview with the Lebanese press on February 29, before the IPO, Kassar said the move into the Syrian market had not been affected by the possibility of increased US pressure on Syria.

"We have entered Syria because we saw a good opportunity in this market," he said.

Comments (115)


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101. Shai said:

AIG,

I look at ultra-orthodox the same way you do. I also don’t need them to “hold the torch” for me. My points were regarding many (perhaps most) Israelis, who I believe haven’t come to this conclusion yet. But one thing seems to be quite clear, take away the ultra-orthodox, or their political control, and you’ll find Judaism (in Israel at least) being redefined in quite a few ways. Personally, I think Judaism has a better chance of survival if it becomes a more flexible religion. Some argue with me, claiming the opposite, that it is precisely because of these ultra-orthodox that Judaism is still alive. I’m merely pointing to this dichotomy, and its effect on many Israelis who are a little less “confident” than you and I are.

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May 1st, 2008, 7:53 pm

 

102. Shai said:

Hi Alex,

Not that I’m against the topic (the opposite), but I’m wondering if your visitors are going to feel this is becoming a Jewish Enlightenment blog… 🙂

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May 1st, 2008, 7:57 pm

 

103. Naji said:

I can’t imagine why someone found this thoughtful letter from honorable and honest individuals more distasteful than amicably engaging with unrepentant Zionists…!!?
_________________________________
We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary
The Guardian, Wednesday April 30 2008

In May, Jewish organisations will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This is understandable in the context of centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust. Nevertheless, we are Jews who will not be celebrating. Surely it is now time to acknowledge the narrative of the other, the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler’s genocidal policies. As Edward Said emphasised, what the Holocaust is to the Jews, the Naqba is to the Palestinians.

In April 1948, the same month as the infamous massacre at Deir Yassin and the mortar attack on Palestinian civilians in Haifa’s market square, Plan Dalet was put into operation. This authorised the destruction of Palestinian villages and the expulsion of the indigenous population outside the borders of the state. We will not be celebrating.

In July 1948, 70,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in Lydda and Ramleh in the heat of the summer with no food or water. Hundreds died. It was known as the Death March. We will not be celebrating.

In all, 750,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some 400 villages were wiped off the map. That did not end the ethnic cleansing. Thousands of Palestinians (Israeli citizens) were expelled from the Galilee in 1956. Many thousands more when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Under international law and sanctioned by UN resolution 194, refugees from war have a right to return or compensation. Israel has never accepted that right. We will not be celebrating.

We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land. We cannot celebrate the birthday of a state that even now engages in ethnic cleansing, that violates international law, that is inflicting a monstrous collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza and that continues to deny to Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.

We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East.

Seymour Alexander
Ruth Appleton
Steve Arloff
Rica Bird
Jo Bird
Cllr Jonathan Bloch
Ilse Boas
Prof. Haim Bresheeth
Tanya Bronstein
Sheila Colman
Ruth Clark
Sylvia Cohen
Judith Cravitz
Mike Cushman
Angela Dale
Ivor Dembina
Dr. Linda Edmondson
Nancy Elan
Liz Elkind
Pia Feig
Colin Fine
Deborah Fink
Sylvia Finzi
Brian Fisher MBE
Frank Fisher
Bella Freud
Catherine Fried
Uri Fruchtmann
Stephen Fry
David Garfinkel
Carolyn Gelenter
Claire Glasman
Tony Greenstein
Heinz Grunewald
Michael Halpern
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Anna Hellman
Amy Hordes
Joan Horrocks
Deborah Hyams
Selma James
Riva Joffe
Yael Oren Kahn
Michael Kalmanovitz
Paul Kaufman
Prof. Adah Kay
Yehudit Keshet
Prof. Eleonore Kofman
Rene Krayer
Stevie Krayer
Berry Kreel
Leah Levane
Les Levidow
Peter Levin
Louis Levy
Ros Levy
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Catherine Lyons
Deborah Maccoby
Daniel Machover
Prof. Emeritus Moshe Machover
Miriam Margolyes OBE
Mike Marqusee
Laura Miller
Simon Natas
Hilda Meers
Martine Miel
Laura Miller
Arthur Neslen
Diana Neslen
Orna Neumann
Harold Pinter
Roland Rance
Frances Rivkin
Sheila Robin
Dr. Brian Robinson
Neil Rogall
Prof. Steven Rose
Mike Rosen
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Leon Rosselson
Michael Sackin
Sabby Sagall
Ian Saville
Alexei Sayle
Anna Schuman
Sidney Schuman
Monika Schwartz
Amanda Sebestyen
Sam Semoff
Linda Shampan
Sybil Shine
Prof. Frances Stewart
Inbar Tamari
Ruth Tenne
Martin Toch
Tirza Waisel
Stanley Walinets
Martin White
Ruth Williams
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Devra Wiseman
Gerry Wolff
Sherry Yanowitz

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May 1st, 2008, 8:00 pm

 

104. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Haskalah means education. Maskil – someone with an education. It comes from the same root as school – Latin schola, Greek scholē and is not a semitic root.

Te’nu’at Ha’Haskalah – “the education movement” is the name for the enlightment or embracement of secular studies in Jewish circles.

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May 1st, 2008, 8:01 pm

 

105. ziad said:

Jailed Syrian rights activist wins award from Ireland

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK – 1 hour ago

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — One of Syria’s most prominent pro-democracy activists won an Irish award Thursday for his work trying to promote human rights for prisoners, political parties and journalists in his homeland.

But Anwar al-Bunni has yet to hear of the accolade. The 49-year-old lawyer has been imprisoned since May 2006 after Syrian President Bashar Assad launched a crackdown against opposition voices demanding greater freedoms.

Irish President Mary McAleese presented the annual Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk to al-Bunni’s wife, Ragheda Issa Refki, at a Dublin City Hall ceremony attended by politicians and ambassadors. Refki received two standing ovations, as well as a hug from the Irish head of state.

McAleese said promoting human rights in a one-party state like Syria was “a very, very lonely place. It takes a very, very special person like Anwar al-Bunni to confront the extraordinary range of forces arrayed against him.”

She expressed hope that the award would “send a message to his oppressors.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Refki said she did not risk telling her husband he had won the prize during their most recent prison visit a week ago because a guard, as usual, was standing beside them. She hopes to tell him of his honor next week.

“It is very important for Anwar’s work and sacrifice to be recognized, for him to be seen as a defender of human rights. It will remind the world there are prisoners of conscience in Syria,” Refki said through an Arabic translator.

Al-Bunni gained prominence in the 1990s by defending opponents of the Syrian regime and helping to organize a group called the Free Political Prisoners Committee.

He was arrested in 2006 after joining about 500 Syrian and Lebanese intellectuals in signing the so-called “Damascus Declaration,” which challenged the Syrian government to improve ties with neighboring Lebanon.

He is due for release in May 2011.

Since entering prison, al-Bunni has kept promoting political freedom, authoring hypothetical legislative bills that spell out how opposition political parties and elections should be organized.

After their publication, Refki said, guards “confiscated all his writing materials and said he was not permitted to write.”

She said her husband is kept in a room with more than 30 other prisoners, among them convicted killers, but is kept separate from any inmates convicted of political offenses.

Front Line is a Dublin-based group founded in 2001 to provide support for human rights activists operating in dangerous situations.

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May 1st, 2008, 8:06 pm

 

106. SimoHurtta said:

Sim,
You can claim what you want but it is just false. Your slander of Israeli soldiers is just a pure lie and prejudice on your side. Why don’t you back it with evidence? Please show us that “many” Israeli soldiers steal from Palestinians at checkpoints.

AIG I hoped that you want evidence. Will you reverse your word and ask me for forgiveness for calling me a liar? If not I recommend moderators take action against you along the new rules. 🙂

Well here you have the evidence.

This is from an Israeli Jewish newspaper.
Testimonies from Hebron: Soldiers choke, beat Palestinians

Theft:

Soldier: “There was a lot of theft… Once we were at these rich people’s house in Hebron. We found a ton of dollar bills in one of the drawers. Insane. The commander said to the two senior guys in the unit, ‘Okay, we’ll split the money.’ They split it. Left a little there and told me, ‘If you talk we’ll come back and slaughter you.'”

Interviewer: “Was looting normal?”

Soldier: “A little looting was normal. Backgammon and cigarettes, everything… Everything that looked nice we took. Other guys took presents for their girlfriends from stores.”

more

http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies_category_e.asp

AIG remember these are from an Israeli Jewish site testimonies given by your fellow Jews.

Rank: Staff sergeant
Place of incident: Village of Najba
Description:

April-May 2002

The Palestinians] would take stuff to pass through the checkpost. In a certain case, there was someone who had pita bread in the car…full with pita. So one of the officers said: “well…give [us] a package of pita and then you can pass through”. This was at the village of Najba at the time of a sudden curfew. This incident was never reported and was never informed to higher ranks.
In another case, one of the commanders took sweets from someone in order to let him through at the checkpost. I now know that the NCO sat in prison for a week or two for this. Other people were walking around with all sorts of Arab beads (Masbaha = praying beads) that they used to take at the checkpoints. If one’d ask them why they took it they’d answer: “what, he gave it to me…”
Regulations were that it is totally forbidden to take anything. Not a present and certainly not [something taken] by force. The officer who took the pita bread at the checkpoint was himself the one who lectured and briefed [the soldiers] on that matter!

Rank: First lieutenant
Unit: Redgiment 932, Nahal brigade
Place of incident: Ramallah
Description: During a search of a residence building of 7-8 floors, we found a locked empty apartment. As a result of using too much explosive (due to inexperience), blowing up the door caused serious damage to many apartments, and caused the the break up of all the water pipes in the building and the windows in the stairway.

The entrance room to the flat we broke into was totally destroyed. I was the last one to leave the apartment, as I noticed a laptop PC, on the TV set in the living room.

A few hours after the Platoon under my command had searched the building, Chen Livni, The commander of regiment 932 arrived at the scene. When he asked me about the serious damage caused to the building, he also asked about a broken TV, a smashed up bathroom and broken ceramic tiles. When I asked, he said there was no laptop in the living room.
In other words , and concisely: a force which arrived after me Stole a laptop, broke a TV set and destroyed a bathroom and a living room in a luxury apartment in Ramalla

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May 1st, 2008, 8:09 pm

 

107. SimoHurtta said:

Sim,
You can claim what you want but it is just false. Your slander of Israeli soldiers is just a pure lie and prejudice on your side. Why don’t you back it with evidence? Please show us that “many” Israeli soldiers steal from Palestinians at checkpoints.

AIG I hoped that you want evidence. Will you reverse your word and ask me for forgiveness for calling me a liar? If not I recommend moderators take action against you along the new rules. 🙂

Well here you have the evidence.

This is from an Israeli Jewish newspaper.
Testimonies from Hebron: Soldiers choke, beat Palestinians

Theft:

Soldier: “There was a lot of theft… Once we were at these rich people’s house in Hebron. We found a ton of dollar bills in one of the drawers. Insane. The commander said to the two senior guys in the unit, ‘Okay, we’ll split the money.’ They split it. Left a little there and told me, ‘If you talk we’ll come back and slaughter you.'”

Interviewer: “Was looting normal?”

Soldier: “A little looting was normal. Backgammon and cigarettes, everything… Everything that looked nice we took. Other guys took presents for their girlfriends from stores.”

more

http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies_category_e.asp

AIG remember these are from an Israeli Jewish site testimonies given by your fellow Jews.

Rank: Staff sergeant
Place of incident: Village of Najba
Description:

April-May 2002

The Palestinians] would take stuff to pass through the checkpost. In a certain case, there was someone who had pita bread in the car…full with pita. So one of the officers said: “well…give [us] a package of pita and then you can pass through”. This was at the village of Najba at the time of a sudden curfew. This incident was never reported and was never informed to higher ranks.
In another case, one of the commanders took sweets from someone in order to let him through at the checkpost. I now know that the NCO sat in prison for a week or two for this. Other people were walking around with all sorts of Arab beads (Masbaha = praying beads) that they used to take at the checkpoints. If one’d ask them why they took it they’d answer: “what, he gave it to me…”
Regulations were that it is totally forbidden to take anything. Not a present and certainly not [something taken] by force. The officer who took the pita bread at the checkpoint was himself the one who lectured and briefed [the soldiers] on that matter!

Rank: First lieutenant
Unit: Redgiment 932, Nahal brigade
Place of incident: Ramallah
Description: During a search of a residence building of 7-8 floors, we found a locked empty apartment. As a result of using too much explosive (due to inexperience), blowing up the door caused serious damage to many apartments, and caused the the break up of all the water pipes in the building and the windows in the stairway.

The entrance room to the flat we broke into was totally destroyed. I was the last one to leave the apartment, as I noticed a laptop PC, on the TV set in the living room.

A few hours after the Platoon under my command had searched the building, Chen Livni, The commander of regiment 932 arrived at the scene. When he asked me about the serious damage caused to the building, he also asked about a broken TV, a smashed up bathroom and broken ceramic tiles. When I asked, he said there was no laptop in the living room.
In other words , and concisely: a force which arrived after me Stole a laptop, broke a TV set and destroyed a bathroom and a living room in a luxury apartment in Ramalla

Well AIG waiting. 🙂

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May 1st, 2008, 8:12 pm

 

108. Nur al-Cubicle said:

a regime insider whom improperly benefits from and aids the public corruption of Syrian regime officials.

Gee, this so aptly fits Dick Cheney.

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May 1st, 2008, 9:09 pm

 

109. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
You are a liar. These are examples of a few not many soldiers acting inappropriately. These soldiers as you attest were disciplined because other soldiers complained about their action. This is exactly why so few of these things happen. It is against the norm of most Israeli soldiers and if they see other soldiers do it, they will complain. The fact that this was news in Israel shows you how irregular these actions are deemed to be.

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May 1st, 2008, 9:37 pm

 

110. SimoHurtta said:

AIG again you call me a liar. Alex and other moderators HELP, do something. 🙂

One soldier clearly says in the article that looting and theft was widespread. Look also at the several testimonies about unnecessary violence, murders etc at breaking the silence. WARNING not pretty reading.

It was AIG a news in Israel because some soldiers had finally the courage to stand up. By the way AIG they have to anonymously the testimonies so that fellow IDF “heroes” and the state do not retaliate. There is no honour among thieves.

Do you AIG seriously think that normal IDF cannon food or higher ranking IDF characters tell the truth of this when they are in the “business” high up in the command chain. Most of the thieves never confess and IDF generals do not care.

BTW AIG what happens to those numerous olive tries stolen from Palestinian farmers? Tell me more about that “Israeli” business. I remember you or another IG bragging in an comment not long ago that Israel was the only country where amount of trees did grow.

Ask Shai did he see or hear of thefts and looting by IDF “heroes”. He was there…

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May 1st, 2008, 10:18 pm

 

111. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
The soldier says it was widespread in his unit, not in the IDF. As usual you distort. And then you invent things about the IDF leadership. You are just plain wrong.

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May 1st, 2008, 10:30 pm

 

112. Nur al-Cubicle said:

looting and theft was widespread

Don’t be in denial, AIG. Noam Chomsky documents it in “Fateful Triangle”. And I saw that the IDF did to Orient House and Palestinian banks.

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May 1st, 2008, 10:44 pm

 

113. AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Nur,
I was in the IDF about 10 years. There are a few bad apples everywhere, but saying there are many is just a lie. Israelis are not more or less likely to steal than any other people. Implying otherwise is just plain bigotry.

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May 1st, 2008, 11:12 pm

 

114. Enlightened said:

Alex:

I want to change my name To Haskalah!

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May 2nd, 2008, 12:03 am

 

115. Rowan Berkeley said:

Naji, I’m English, I know these people. They are very comfortably off, genuine examples of latte-sipping Hamstead Village socialism (Hampstead is a perpetually trendy upper middle class inner suburb of London) posing as the conscience of the Anglo-Jewish community, which understands them perfectly and makes sure they get their annual ration of honours, titles, professoriates, knighthoods and damehoods from the British state. It’s a token gesture. If they really gave a damn, they wouldn’t have sent their letter to the so-called “Guardian,” they would have sent it to “The Independent” – especially since Johann Hari put his entire journalistic career on the line there four days ago, by writing an article about the Territories of a frankness that you will NEVER see in the sold-out cynical Guardian (and he is only in his twenties).

I’ll tell you another thing about Harold Pinter. When I was at a demonstration against the war in Trafalgar Square, last year, which was heavily attended by Muslims, including a number of women wearing hujub, Pinter did not bother to turn up, but sent a “poem” to be read on his behalf, which was so obscene – I mean really, deliberately, disgustingly obscene – that the entire Muslim community in attendance was visibly embarrassed and humiliated, but no one dared to say a word against it, either then or afterwards. This is absolutely typical of the anglo-jewish left – so much so that I think it is deliberate, like the trade-off between support for Muslims and support for “gay rights activists.”

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May 2nd, 2008, 3:42 am

 

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