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Resources updated between Monday, January 05, 2015 and Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 10, 2015

Victims of Paris kosher market attack (clockwise from top left), Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, François-Michel Saada, Yohan Cohen.

"The names of the four victims of Friday's standoff at a kosher supermarket in Paris were released on Saturday by the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), a national organization representation French Jewry.

According to witnesses, Yohan Cohen (22), Philip Braham (40), Francois-Michel Saada (60s) and Yoav Hattab (21), were shot in the early stages of the seven-hour standoff at the HyperCacher kosher market, which ended when police stormed the shop and killed the hostage taker - a 32-year-old man identified as Amedi Coulibaly."

Four French Jews named as victims of Paris kosher market attack Article

Raif Badawi

"A Saudi Arabian blogger has been publicly flogged after being convicted of cybercrime and insulting Islam, reports say.

"Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail, was flogged 50 times. The flogging will be carried out weekly, campaigners say.

"Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a now banned website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012...

"The flogging took place outside a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after Friday prayers, witnesses said.

"AFP news agency, quoting people at the scene, said Mr Badawi arrived at the mosque in a police car and had the charges read out to him in front of a crowd.

"He was then made to stand with his back to onlookers and whipped, though he remained silent, the witnesses said..."

Blogger Given First 50 Of 1,000 Lashes As Saudis Deny Mercy Document

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) today made this statement on the Palestinian Authority's (PA) decision to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The Palestinian Authority's (PA) decision to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) is deplorable, counterproductive, and will be met with a strong response by the United States Congress. 

"Israel, like the United States, is not a member of the ICC and therefore is not subject to its jurisdiction. Further, existing U.S. law makes clear that if the Palestinians initiate an ICC judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, all economic assistance to the PA must end. In light of this legal requirement, Congress will reassess its support for assistance to the PA and seek additional ways to make clear to President Abbas that we strongly oppose his efforts to seek membership in the ICC. If the ICC makes the egregious mistake of accepting the Palestinian Authority as a member, given that it is not a state, Congress will seek ways to protect Israeli citizens from politically abusive ICC actions. 

"Palestinian leaders will no doubt try to do to the ICC what they have done to international organizations like the UN Human Rights Council - take an organization with laudable goals and undermine its credibility by turning it into a political battering ram against Israel. The ICC and its members would be making a terrible mistake if they allow their important global role to be compromised. 

"Today there is no viable Palestinian state, and nothing will bring about that goal other than direct negotiations. Rather than committing to direct negotiations with Israel for a sustainable, realistic two-state compromise, President Abbas seeks to launch unilateral, politicized investigations of Israel citizens. He would do better to commit to the exacting, demanding work of diplomacy. As an immediate demonstration of his intentions, President Abbas should end Palestinian actions to join the ICC and pledge to re-enter negotiations with Israel for an enduring, realistic solution to this ongoing conflict. We renew our calls for the Palestinian Authority to end its pact with Hamas, a recognized terror organization that is committed to Israel's destruction and whose charter calls for the murder of Jews."

Bi-partisan support in Senate for strong penalties on Palestinians for joining International Criminal Court Article

January 9, 2015

The site of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery at the Porte de Vincennes

"At least four people were killed by a gunman who took hostages in a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris, a police source told Reuters on Friday...

There were unconfirmed local media reports that the man was the same as the one suspected of killing a policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday.

A police source had told Reuters earlier he was a member of the same jihadist group as the two suspects in Wednesday's attack at weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo."

At least four killed in second hostage situation at kosher supermarket in Paris Article

January 8, 2015

Blogger Raif Badawi

The tweet came in: "Urgent: It is confirmed that #RaifBadawi will be lashed tomorrow. The lashing order says Raif should 'be lashed very severely.'"

More on Raif Badawi can be found in "Eroticized Violence, Savage Justice in Saudi Arabia," by Valentina Colombo, published by the Gatestone Institute on July 7, 2014 (excerpted below):

Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for a blog regarded by Saudi Arabia's regime as insulting Islam.

"My commitment reject any repression in the name of religion...a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way." - Raif Badawi

Badawi was condemned, according to Amnesty International, for having co-founded a website, "Saudi Arabian Liberals," and for having written and publishing on it his blog and other writings, as well as on Facebook and Twitter, -- as well as for other "offenses to Islamic precepts.

He criticized and made fun of Saudi institutions such as the Commission for the Promotion of Goodness and the Prohibition of Vice (also known as "the religious police"), the Saudi Grand Mufti, other Saudi ulema [religious scholars].

The long sentence of the Criminal Court of the district of Jeddah stated that he had undermined the "public order."

In an interview published in August 2007 by the liberal website Afaaq, Badawi stated that "liberals in Saudi Arabia live between the anvil of State and the hammer of the religious police." On that occasion, he described himself thusly: "Raif Badawi is nothing more than a Saudi citizen. My commitment is to the advancement of civil society in my country, to reject any repression in the name of religion, to promote liberal enlightened Saudis whose primary objective is being active in civil society, a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way."

Badawi's words are not apostasy, just a call for a deep reform and change in his country.

Read more from "Eroticized Violence, Savage Justice in Saudi Arabia," by Valentina Colombo

Raif Badawi To "Be Lashed Severely" Tomorrow Document

Women protesting domestic abuse laws (File photo)

China's Anti-Domestic Violence Measure Falls Short, Critics Say Article

"The Palestinian Authority is aggressively seeking to have itself declared a "state" by joining treaties and international organizations, thereby pressuring Israel and the U.S. to accept outcomes they long ago rejected. The Palestinians believe they can create "facts on the ground" in the UN's hallways.

U.S. law requires cutting off funding to UN agencies that admit the PA as a member state. Since UNESCO admitted the PA in 2011, Washington has withheld its UNESCO assessments, amounting to 22% of the agency's budget, a loss that was devastating to UNESCO. The potential consequences for the entire UN system are enormous if PA memberships continue to grow. These likely consequences of the PA's efforts should spur the administration to intense efforts to prevent the Palestinians from marauding their way through the UN."

Palestinian diplomatic push imperils Obama's internationalism Article

January 7, 2015

Among the killed were 10 newspaper staffers and two police officers

"At least 12 were killed in a terrorist attack at a Paris newspaper known for taking satirical shots at the prophet Mohammed early Wednesday morning.

Among the killed were 10 newspaper staffers and two police officers, Fox News reported.

France President Francois Hollande is terming the attack - carried out by two men wearing masks and carting Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher - an act of terror...

Gunmen attacked the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper - the same publication that was firebombed years ago after printing a cartoon that poked fun at the Muslim prophet, Mohammed.

Benoit Bringer, a witness to Wednesday's attack, told a media outlet in France: 'Two black-hooded men entered the building with Kalashnikovs. A few minutes later, we heard lots of shots.'

National Review Online, meanwhile, reported tweets from witnesses, with one writing: 'Several men in black cajoles were heard to shout 'the Prophet has been avenged.'

The newspaper offices were firebombed in 2011 after publishing a satirical cartoon about Islam - and have not let up on their coverage of the faith."

Paris terror attack kills 12: 'Prophet has been avenged' heard at scene Document

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"The International Criminal Court late Monday announced that it had received documents from the Palestinians indicating they were moving toward going after Israelis for alleged war crimes on two separate tracks...

The UN secretary-general issued a notification Tuesday stating that: 'The Statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on 1 April 2015 in accordance with its article 126 (2) which reads as follows: 'For each State ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Statute after the deposit of the 60th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, the Statute shall enter into force on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.'

Monday's announcement indicated that the Palestinians had also filed an "Ad Hoc Declaration" for the ICC to investigate war crimes as of June 13, which would include both Operations Brother's Keeper and Protective Edge.

Ad Hoc Declaration functions under different rules than the effect of joining the Rome Statute fully playing out, and while they have some greater limits, they can also potentially move on a faster track with less of a waiting period.

In other words, Palestinians alleged war crimes complaints might be able to move ahead faster on that track, while others might move ahead later once the signing of the Rome Statute takes full effect on April 1."

Ban Ki-moon says Palestine to join ICC on April 1 Article

January 6, 2015

An Egyptian Coptic Christian collapses after losing two sisters and a niece in an apparent suicide bombing during midnight Mass

"Two police officers standing guard at a Coptic Christian church just south of Cairo were gunned down early Tuesday morning, just as those of the faith were preparing to celebrate their Orthodox Christmas Eve.

"The attack went forth in Minya, a provincial capital located 135 mils from Cairo where the majority of Egypt's Coptic Christians live, The Associated Press reported.Police blocked off the area and scoured for the gunmen, who fled the scene shortly after opening fire.

"Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 90 million residents and have complained about discrimination from the majority Muslim population for some time. Nobody has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, AP said."

Cairo-Area Coptic Christian Church Left Vulnerable As Guards Gunned Down Document

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah

"The Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center filed lawsuits on Monday at the International Criminal Court against PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, top official Jibril Rajoub, and PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj, all from Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, for war crimes, terrorism and human rights offenses. The NGO filed cases against Abbas last November and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in September 2014.

'Fatah openly boasted in Facebook pages and other media channels that it launched projectiles that caused the injury and death of Israeli civilians - a war crime under international law,' the NGO said. The case against Faraj and Hamdallah details widespread torture and killings of Palestinian residents in areas under PA control."

Israeli group files war crimes suits against Palestinian leaders Article

January 5, 2015

Boko Haram abducts 40 boys, young men in northeastern Nigeria

"The Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped 40 boys and young men -- ages 10 to 23 -- from a village in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, some of those fleeing said Saturday.

"The terrorists arrived in the village of Malari carrying assault rifles and then preached to them about the group's extremist ideology before forcibly taking 40 hostages and driving toward the Sambisa forest on December 31, villagers who fled to Maiduguri said.

"It took days for information on this mass abduction to emerge due to poor communications stemming from the destruction of cell phone towers in previous Boko Haram attacks.This act, while horrific, is hardly unprecedented. Boko Haram has been blamed for numerous attacks, from assassinations of officials to bombings of crowded markets, in recent years as part of its quest to impose a strict version of Sharia law across Nigeria..."

Villagers: Boko Haram abducts 40 boys, young men in northeastern Nigeria Document

Picture of Netanyahu next to noose posted on Fatah Facebook page.

"Days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Facebook page of his Fatah movement displayed a picture of Netanyahu next to a noose, with the word 'soon,' written both in Arabic and Hebrew.

The post also displayed the words International Criminal Court, with the body's scales of justice symbol...

Last week, on the occasion of Fatah's 50th anniversary, the same Fatah website posted a picture of a mountain of skulls marked with Jewish stars, and the words, 'lingering on your skulls.'"

Fatah website posts photo of Netanyahu next to noose with word 'soon' and ICC logo Article

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has not given up on his unilateral U.N. initiative

"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday he was discussing with Jordan plans to resubmit to the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state that failed to win enough votes last week.

Jordan remains a member of the Security Council while several other countries with revolving membership were replaced over the New Year...

Speaking at a cultural conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of self-rule government, Abbas said there would be no let up on the Palestinians' effort to gain membership.

'We didn't fail,' Abbas said. 'The U.N. Security Council failed us. We'll go again to the Security Council. Why not? Perhaps after a week. We are studying it and we will study this with our allies and especially Jordan; because they are close to us and they care about us. You all know the historical relationship (with Jordan), but also Jordan is a member of the U.N. Security Council. We will discuss with Jordan, to submit the resolution again, a third time or even a fourth time. We will not give up until the Security Council gives us admission.'"

Abbas seeks to push ahead with unilateral statehood bid Article

Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat at the White House

"By petitioning the UN, the International Criminal Court and international organizations to recognize them and accept them as a full member state, and by their unification with the Hamas terror organization, the Palestinians have knowingly and deliberately bypassed their contractual obligations pursuant to the Oslo Accords in an attempt to prejudge the main negotiating issues outside the negotiation."

The Fundamental Breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords Article