Shorts: Mideast

Muslim cleric calls for murders of Jews | A top Islamist cleric delivered a speech last week on Qatari television calling on Muslims to murder Jews in “in the name of Islam.”

Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi told viewers, “Everything will be on our side and against Jews on [Judgment Day]. At that time, even the stones and the trees will speak, with or without words, and say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslim, there’s a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ They will point to the Jews.”

Qaradawi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was invited to London in 2004 by Mayor Ken Livingstone, who then described the cleric as a “progressive figure.”

Dubai firm boycotts Israel

jerusalem (jps) | The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm over the management of U.S. ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel.

The firm, Dubai Ports World, examines “certificates of origin” to make sure that products entering Dubai do not originate in Israel.

U.S. law prohibits complying or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.

Amona commission summons Olmert on withdrawal

jerusalem ( | Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was summoned to testify before the parliamentary commission investigating the Amona riots.

He is scheduled to appear 10 days before the March 28 election.

The Kadima Party has chosen to ignore the commission’s existence, and Olmert has said that he will close down the commission if he wins the election.

“We could certainly force him to show up, it doesn’t make sense that he would decline. We never had a case of a PM refusing to appear in front of a Knesset committee,” said Yuval Steinitz, head of the commission.

“I don’t believe anyone would tamper with the committee’s decision. It is unreasonable that Olmert would send the army chiefs to appear in front of the commission and he would not.”

High Court rejects El Al’s petition

jerusalem (jps) | Israel’s highest court cleared the way last week for Israir Airlines to fly its scheduled flights to New York after it rejected El Al’s petitions against the Tourism Ministry.

El Al claimed the decision was a violation of a commitment made by the government, on the eve of the El Al privatization in 2003, to hold off on introducing local competition on any particular route until certain conditions in the aviation market were met.

Israir, which over the last year has operated three to four weekly flights to New York as a charter carrier, will now fly daily.

Israeli population tops 7 million

jerusalem (jta) | Israel’s population is believed to have passed the 7 million mark.

Ma’ariv reported this week that the population now stands at around 7.1 million, based on extrapolating from its size at the end of 2005 — 6.99 million — and an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent.

Israel’s population is projected to pass 10 million in 2024.