66 thoughts on “Meet the New Gaza Ceasefire, Same as the Old Ceasefire – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Individual conscience:

    “In cases such as stoning a rebellious son or destroying a city tainted with idolatry, the rabbis simply conclude that such a son or city ‘never was and never will be’.”

    Keep up the ezcellent writing. Thank you.

    1. What the hell are trolls coming to these days? Richard was criticizing this journalist for using the Monty Python allusion, not citing it with approval.

  2. “That’s why BDS is so important. ”

    It’s no secret that the BDS National Committee’s current members include, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP, under the rubric of the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine. See for yourself.


    1. Soda stream has conceded to BDS and is moving its factory from mishor adumim to the Negev.
      900 Palestinians will lose their Israeli sized salary and join the unemployed.
      But the so called ‘peace activists’ will be thrilled from their middle class villas and claim victory.

        1. [comment deleted: your comment about Sodastream was off-topic, not to mention the claim in it was a lie that wasn’t supported by evidence.]

          1. There’s no free lunch. You cannot win anything without losing something else.

          2. @ Shmuel: Apologies for deleting this comment as your reference to BDS was NOT off topic as I wrote above. But I do think you’d repeated the argument in an earlier comment (not that I would’ve deleted your comment for that reason alone).

        2. [comment deleted: violation of comment rules. Lies may not be published in comments. If you wish to make a statement containing such a claim, you MUST provide evidence to support it. Such bald unsupported claims as yours will not be published here.]

          1. Black Canary found this stuff in a long (and tedious) treatise by “Ambassador Alan Baker”, that is how he calls himself on his blog. Mr. Baker was indeed ambassador of Israel for a while (to Canada). He was also, at one stage, military prosecutor for the IDF. Fairly recently (2012) he was part of the Netanyahu appointed three member Levy-committee that had to inquire into “real estate issues” in the West Bank. The committee came “to the conclusion that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation, and that the settlements are legal under international law” (Wikipedia). It is of course well known that the highest authority on international law, the International Court of Justice, holds exactly the opposite opinion and that this is shared by virtually all Western governments. But never mind. Let us listen to Ambassador Baker’s objections to BDS. He has something against “ the oft-repeated anti-Israel slogans prevalent in resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Durban NGO Plan of Action. Such slogans include accusations that Israel is an “apartheid and colonizing state,” ” a “discriminatory occupation regime,” a violator of international law, a “repressive occupier,” and the like.”
            Well, slogans are frequently imprecise but, sorry Mr.Baker, these seem to me remarkably accurate.
            Prosecutor Baker believes he can discredit the BDS movement (and so, obviously, does Black Canary) by pointing to some Palestinian organisations that support it, which, he says, have been stamped as terrorist by the US and the EU. Well even if that were the case so what? I, for one, take these official labels (if they indeed exist) with a very considerable dose of salt but for the rest the principle holds that you can’t condemn a movement by the nature of some of those who support it. The Zionist movement, for instance, has had some very unlikely supporters indeed (see http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/24/zionism-in-the-age-of-the-dictators/).

            So let me refer to support that Ambassador Baker does not mention and that to declare terrorist would be too much for even his prosecutorial instincts.

            “In 2010, a group of nearly 60 Israeli actors, directors, and playwrightsreleased a statement declaring that they would not perform at the new theatre in Ariel, Israel’s fourth largest settlement, while urging “the boards to hold their activity within the sovereign borders of the State of Israel within the Green Line.”[71] Theodore Bikel, a Jewish American actor has also been vocal in the cultural boycott debate, also signed the petition.[72] Following the publication of that letter, 150 Israeli academics and university faculty from across Israel voiced their support of the group of theatre professionals, releasing both a statement of support as well as a vow to engage in a cultural and academic boycott of the settlements. Signatories include Zeev Sternhell, Anat Biletzki, Shlomo Sand, Neve Gordon, Oren Yiftachel.[73] The declaration was also supported several prominent Israeli authors, including A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Sami Michael.” (Wikipedia)
            “European Union[edit]
            In 2014, amid growing public pressure in the European Union against the occupation, the governments of 12 EU nations have issued official warnings to its citizens not to engage in business, investments, or any financial activity in Israeli settlements in Palestine. In total, 12 of the EU nations have released the warnings, including the five largest EU nations: Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The European Union and its member states do not recognize Israeli rule in the occupied Palestinian territories.” (Wikipedia)

          2. I read Black Canary’s comment before it was deleted but didn’t have the time to find and post the list of the Palestinian organizations that endorsed the BDS declaration back in 2005. I can’t remember his words exactly but as far as I remember he stated that Hamas and other ‘terrorist’ organizations were included – which is true.
            First organization on the list: “Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine” include Hamas, the PFLP, the DFLP and others considered ‘terrorist’ by many Western countries. So what ? As far as I’m concerned Likud is a terrorist organization….

      1. @ Shmuel: I absolutely reject this argument. If you think Sodastream located its factory in the West Bank (or the Negev) for altruistic motives you’re deluded. It did so purely for profit. It can pay rock bottom Israeli wages in both places and the depressed work force will lap the jobs up with joy, whereas Israelis would never work for such a pittance. Not to mention that the government will offer huge subsidies to Sodastream. The company has had to downsize because it’s stock & sales are in the tank. If they weren’t Sodastream would’ve kept both the old plant and new operating.

        This has nothing to do with BDS since Sodastream could’ve left the West Bank plant open & not opened the Negev plant at all had it chosen to do so.

        It’s funny that you pride yourself on your centrism when this argument is anything but. In fact, it’s taken right out of the Likudist handbook. You live in your Zio-villa yourself. That’s nothing to be proud of.

    2. @ Black Canary: You will be moderated for spouting obvious hasbara memes. I find insulting & blatantly false the claim that Islamic Jihad or even Hamas have endorsed BDS. Can you provide any statement by any senior leader of either that they have done so explicitly? I don’t allow commenters to publish bullshit arguments like this one. If you respect comment rules in future your comments will be approved. But if you continue in this vein, future comments may lead to further restriction of your privileges.

      1. In July 2005, a document titled “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS” was released online. Its manifesto called for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights.“
        This document sports a long list of over 100 endorsers of this call for BDS. However, a closer look reveals several reoccurring problems with this list:
        Some of the endorsers are ambiguous at best. It is entirely unclear precisely where, who, or what the Consortium of Professional Associations or the Independent Federation of Unions are, as no reference or description is given.
        Several of these BDS endorsers are evidently or virtually non-existent. There is no mention of the General Union of Palestinian Writers or the Jerusalem Cultural Association, to name just a few, anywhere other than the BDS website.
        However, the list of endorsing organizations includes illegal associations, terror organizations, and their affiliates, such as the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which is a coordination forum for all Palestinian terror organizations in their ongoing fight against Israel. This forum includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian Liberation Front (acknowledged as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, and Canada) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (acknowledged as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, UK, Japan, Australia, and Canada).

        1. Oh, that’s the comment by Black Canary that I actually thought about when I commened further up the thread.

          1. @Deir Yassin
            @Arie Brand

            “First organization on the list: “Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine” include Hamas, the PFLP, the DFLP and others considered ‘terrorist’ by many Western countries. So what ?”

            First. Thank you Deir for acknowledging that my post was truthful, and that the Council, which supports BDS, does indeed include the member groups Hamas, PFLP, etc.

            If Deir or Arie, or anyone else, disputes that these are terror organizations, that’s fine. If you want to argue that the Likud is a terrorist organization that’s fine by me too.

            BDS hasn’t repudiated the support given by the Council members, including Hamas, and that’s fine too.

            Just don’t call me a liar or hasbarist when I point out that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, etc. do, quite openly support, BDS, and that BDS accepts that support, whether it’s moral support, or something more.

          2. I specifically challenged you to produce any statements by any leaders of either Hamas or Islamic Jihad that they support BDS. You haven’t done so.

            I don’t give a crap whether the Martian Chronicles endorse BDS. If Hamas or IJ don’t explicitly endorse BDS it means nothing.

            If you’re Israeli & yr army killed civilians in cold blood does that mean you’re personally responsible for war crimes since you’re Israeli?

            You’re a hasbara bullshitter. BTW can we hear you explicitly accuse Likud of being a terror entity as you so disingenuously mentioned above?

          1. Richard said:
            ‘I specifically challenged you to produce any statements by any leaders of either Hamas or Islamic Jihad that they support BDS. You haven’t done so.’

            Here is the statement.

            ” We in Hamas appreciate and welcome these economic boycotts against the Zionist occupation and we consider it a step in the right direction toward pressuring the occupation to stop its settlement activities and its Judaization of the Palestinian land.”

          2. @ Black Canary: I said find a statement from a senior IJ or Hamas leader. I didn’t say find a statement from a hasbara shmatteh like JPost. Try again.

            Even if Khaled Meshal endorsed BDS, what does it mean? That Hamas is lending Qassams to BDS to fire at Israel? That BDS is prepared to wage acts of violence or terror against Israel? Of course not.

            What humors me is that hasbarists like you muster information recycled from tainted propaganda sources (because you can’t be bothered to find any information from sources anyone here would consider credible). You consider the info sensational or troubling or whatever & spout it here as if it will blow someone’s mind and turn them against justice and national rights. All you do in this futile exercise of yours is prove how lame and unpersuasive your efforts are.

            Do you really think that a propagandist like Alan Baker is going to impact anyone here? Really? You’re a hasbarist of very little brain as Pooh says. But I’d like to be able to expect better of those holding your views. A bit more research, thought, & rhetorical skill would be nice.

  3. Thank you Richard. Israel, like the United States, has lost it’s soul. I long ago gave up any allegiance to either. What after all, is a country but artificial and exclusionary boundaries, nationalism, militarism (as Einstein feared) and some ludicrous form of egotistical identity? We can tolerate these artificial entities as long as they don’t become belligerent and destructive to human beings and nature. Israel and it’s sponsor, the United States have become monstrous artificial entities – as have many, if not most countries, but these two stand out because of their impact. We need, as compassionate human beings to throw patriotism away, throw this infantile national allegiance away. We need to “stay human.”

    1. When I was in primary school I wrote an essay on why money ought be abolished but rather every one gives and takes as he needs. My teachers comment to the essay was ‘All Utopias stink’
      He would have written the same comment on your theory of countries.
      I’ve grown up since then, but keep on dreaming, Tarak, maybe you’ll change 4000 years of mankind arranging itself into countries.

  4. Sadly, after many years of following this saga, and feeling deeplythe need for there to be a place such as Israel, I have come to feel very similarly as you Richard about what Israel has grown to become. What a shame because there are good people and forces for good within. What a shame because people I love, my family, live there. What a shame because I have been there a few times and been infected by the beauty, the awesome history of this ancient land as well as it’s remarkable development in modern days. But this Israel polity, through who it elects to lead, has been totally insensitive to what and who it has displaced, and so self righteous, greedy, racist in the process. And in the name of all the Jewish people and Judaism too! (I evencan’t talk to members of my family about this either- the subject is forbidden now after long arguing- such is the difference.)

    Thank you for your heartfelt writing here. You are not alone in this feeling. I think what with this latest war on Gaza, there are many Jews who have humanism in their blood, who have a conscience, who are not able to say “these are animals” about their cousins. (Yes they do say that!!!) Shameful.

      1. [comment deleted: you’ve violated several comment rules. First, you haven’t read the comment rules. Second, you’ve falsely accused me of “hating Israel.” Those are false claims no one may make here.

        The rest of your commment was worth engaging. But I have a rule that if you violate a major comment rule as you have, I don’t edit. I just delete. Read the comment rules & publish comments that respect them.]

      2. Not only in Israel is this word used, but here amongst those of a certain mindset (my own family, sadly), such is the hatred and racism/prejudice against all Arabs/Muslims; they are not people, or they are barbaric. The wall, checkpoints, (no contact) help cement this attitude and so when there is a violent act of defiance/resistance from the Palestinian side this proves the point that “they are animals and they want to destroy us”. Israeli violence, the everyday type and the extraordinary kind we see in this Gaza War does not register or can’t be absorbed as such. And so the consequences of it cannot be assigned to that either. Then the propaganda (Netanyahu’s etc) ices the cake. It includes “we are trying to end this but look at what we are dealing with!”

  5. [comment deleted: you violate a major comment rule by making claims & then repeating them in future comments. Repetition is death here. This is not a football game. You don’t root for one side & boo the other. THis is a serious enterprise in which you argue and offer evidence. If you want to be taken seriously don’t let us mistake you for a football fan.]

    1. Andrew your obvious moral obtuseness, which seems to be widely shared by your compatriots, comes at a price. This vindictive triumphalism after the slaughter, on a pretext, of more than 2,000 people will rob your “shitty little state” (that French ambassador had it right) of the support it needs among diaspora Jews.

      I understand that there has always been tension between the traditional liberalism of most jewish Americans and their adherence to a very illiberal state, but that this now has become particularly acute. “The ground is shifting” wrote M.J.Rosenberg recently in the Huffington Post. Though it would be rash to predict that this will ultimately lead to a break up between the US and this robber state on the Mediterranean, a more critical American Jewry might ultimately lead to a more critical American government.

      Israel might look around for new alliances with countries with which it has more in common – as it did some forty years ago with apartheid South Africa. None of these will pay off as handsomely as the “special relationship” with the US did.

      1. Thanks for calling me dumb! You got in some swear words too. I disagree with almost everything said on this website, but I still put in a respectful comment. I didn’t realize only Israel haters are allowed here.

        I think my points are all still valid: BDS is mostly a failed effort. Hamas got little or nothing. Israel is doing well (regardless of whether anyone is happy about it). Israel got a lot of support from its Arab neighbors. Gaza needs more pragmatic rulers. Gaza will become uninhabitable if it doesn’t stop fighting and focus on the water supply. It doesn’t matter who you think is at fault for the fighting. The water supply will still run out.

        Next time I’ll be sure to throw in some hate to establish my bona fides.

        1. Well your post got through which seems pretty clear evidence that not “only Israel haters are allowed here.” And your post was not “respectful” but stank with disdain for and Schadenfreude about the Palestinians.

          BDS is only at its beginning – too early to call it a “failed effort.” Your country’s recent display of fire power at the expense of a largely defenceless people might have given it some extra impetus.
          Gaza is not uninhabitable because it is addicted to fighting but because you people have turned it into an open air prison and have done your level best to make it uninhabitable.

          Israel is doing well you say? How well would it do without the annual largesse supplied by the American government? One day you might have to do without that. It seems unlikely that any other state will provide you with such a tit to suck on.

          You are not having support from your Arab neighbours but from their autocratic leaders who might be themselves on the way out.

          1. @Andrew Fenster: My apologies about deleting your comment. BDS was indeed mentioned in my post and I should not have deleted comments from those of you who mentioned BDS as your comments were not off-topic as I wrote.

        2. @ Andrew Fenster: Everything in your comment is absolutely wrong. Nor are any of your claims supported by evidence. Expressing opinions as you’ve done is a useless exercise. No one here except pro-Israel commenters believe a word of it. BDS is not failed. Hamas got much from the war including being seen in the Muslim world as the only movement standing up to Israel, fighting it, and making it bleed. At least on paper it got major concessions from Egypt and Israel, while Israel in turn got almost nothing from Hamas in the short term except an end to hostilities. Israel got nothing of any use from its Arab neighbors. Remaining silent as Gaza bled as many Arab regimes did, doesn’t contstitute “getting a lot of support.”

          As for telling Gaza what it needs, Palestinians and readers here are as interested in hearing that from you as we are in hearing you reading the marine weather forecast.

          As for becoming uninhabitable: there is only one party at fault for that & it ain’t Hamas. I find it objectionable for anyone to blame Hamas for Israel’s wanton devastation of Gaza. I warn you that you have raised my hasbara antennae. I won’t hestitate to moderate you if you continue in this vein.

    2. Huge Israel elements? Or huge monetary and political subsidized for these companies to be in Israel?

      Even though there is a great US-Israel cooperation and the great Israeli lobby in US, Israel is far from being even a tertiary military ally of US. It’s role in middle east is like of a rabid dog that barks and assaults at everyone. US just feeds it with good meat as it feeds its other rabid dog, Egypt. Google, Microsoft and Forcebook work also as spy companies, supplying NSA with information (I doubt that their are not just innocent in handing over information).

      As for the Intel foundry there, it’s about the same level of the recent one in Vietnam. Their team had luck in that their Pentium M, aimed at low power chips, had a success, since Pentium 4 hit at the GHz layer to strongly. So, it was used later to make further generations of Intel chips, specially Core 2. Note a caveat, during the time of low sales, Intel aggressively hit AMD with all kinds of competitive malpractices, derailing its development path.

      And, anyway, because of Israel, I don’t buy things for Intel. There are equivalent products with similar or better quality.

  6. “Gaza’s economy will take years to recover from the devastating impact of the war, in which more than 360 factories have been destroyed or badly damaged and thousands of acres of farmland ruined by tanks, shelling and air strikes, according to analysts” (Guardian)

    In the hey-day of imperialism Britain made, after the Boer War, a decent effort to repair what it had destroyed (countless boer farms). You will leave it again to others to pay for the damage you have caused.

    There is more to say on this bitter topic but it is bedtime in this part of the world.

  7. I wonder Richard if people who are of the Jewish faith who say they support Israel ever look at the criminal state from the point of view of billions of us who see those people slaughtering children, stealing land, committing acts of great terrorism over and over for 60 years think about Israel.

    It’s always been a vicious thug with racists plonking themselves by force on someone elses land, sort of like new age colonising poms who did that to my country Australia and America, Canada, New Zealand, Rhodesia, Singapore and other places.

  8. The lesson of Israel to me is that there is no limit to what people can believe about others when they don’t have contact with them. I continually read of Israelis saying “they want to kill us all” which seems an odd view considering the number of Israelis who go into the West Bank to stand with Palestinians and receive nothing but courtesy. Isolation is not a good thing. For anyone to have understanding, the common voice of society has to be ignored and one has to investigate for oneself. This applies everywhere and at all times.

    As for this latest episode of slaughter and destruction – it is only another chapter, each one of which opens the eyes of more people around the world. Horrific scenes grab attention. Each time Israel lashes out it draws tighter the circle within which its actions are circumscribed. The last bastion of unquestioning support, the U.S., is waking up. Billboards are appearing, an Israeli ship is being delayed, more people are joining JVP. Little by little the costs of ethno-centrism are piling up.

  9. [comment deleted: it’s a comment rule violation to think that rooting for one team or another as if this is a football game constitutes acceptable discourse here. I’m not interested in your personal pt of view or claims that one side kicked another’s butt. Present arguments, evidence to support claims which are not clearly accepted by all. If not, your cheerleading will not survive here.]

    1. Yes, you are right. It seems both the style and the damaged parts are similar:

      And how it was:


      It seems that it is in a worst state than after the British bombarded it…

    2. [comment deleted: if you want to claim I got something wrong you must produce proof. A mere claim that I’m wrong will earn you a deleted comment.]

    3. @ Leeor: You should never dream of claiming no mosque was ever damaged because it would be a lie. In fact 10 mosques were completely destroyed, 80 partially destroyed and 2 churches as well. It would more truthful to claim that the IDF engaged in a holy war against Islam in Gaza. As for pictures, why is that more important to you than the massive, wanton destruction of Muslim holy sites???

      1. @Richard, of course mosques were hit, so were hospitals and schools – there’s a pile of evidences they were used to launch attacks on IDF, or used as weapon storage and gathering areas for militants. This includes filmed footage, interrogation data, and was witnessed by IDF forces during the ground operation. Does that settle it? Probably not, you’d ask for specific incrimination for each target, and would be right in doing so – I don’t have the means to produce this, but it’s safe to establish that some of these targets were legitimate military ones, and most of these attacks were not done just for the heck of it. You’re free to think otherwise, but I haven’t seen any proof to counter it.

        As for pictures, you’re right, it doesn’t really matter, it just goes to show that some people would believe any lie they’re being told if it matches their viewpoint. Since this entire post was based on your feelings regarding your twitter feed, i’d take that as a wakeup call to ask yourself which other assumptions may also be based on “mistakes”.

        1. Horse manure. Produce real evidence from credible sources any weapons fire came fr hospitals or mosques. So far you’ve offered nothing but your big fat mouth, which is worthless.

          Oh & I presume if it’s OK to destroy Gaza’s religious heritage you wouldn’t mind if rockets hit the Kirya. Right?

  10. I reacted in the first instance to letters by Andrew Fenster that have disappeared. It would, in my humble opinion, have been better to leave them since they were representative of the attitude I tried to castigate in mine.

    1. @ Arie Brand: I can’t run the blog for your convenience. I understand why you wanted the original comment to remain so that yours made more sense. But there are so many commenters who come here with a hasbara agenda. If I leave one comment up & delete others, then I’m giving special treatment to one over others.

      What I suggest is that if you think I might object or delete a comment, that you quote from the original in your own comment (using blockquotes). That will allow readers to follow your train of thought & argument.

  11. Well here is my “parting shot” Andrew. Your last letter is quite different from your earlier ones (that have disappeared). Now you seem to follow the new hasbara rules that look like they have been inspired by Dickens’ Uriah Heep (be ever so ‘umble).

    1. Sorry for the repetition folks. Since the post was placed in an inappropriate place it looked as if it didn’t come through. I recently had trouble of that nature and thus kept repeating it.

  12. Dear Mr Silverstein,
    I admire your moral stance, and am grateful for your fight for justice.
    However, I think you are mistaken to expect both a democratic Israel and its keeping the same demographic and ethnic composition. To ensure that in our times, a State would need authoritarian measures. At least, I cannot imagine how my country (Venezuela) could enforce keeping its current demographic and ethnic composition (the Chinese wouldn’t be happy).

    1. @ eliav: You people are idiots and insulting ones at that. I took the picture from a Twitter posting of before & after pictures. If the person posting this made an error, who the hell cares. Is the mosque not destroyed? Are not 10 others completely destroyed as well? Are not 80 other mosques partially destroyed along with 2 churches?

      So cut the shit. I have no patience for it.

  13. Israel, or it’s ‘leadership’-Netanyahu, has, apparently, lost it’s soul.
    You have not, Richard.
    Thank you for your courage in sharing your insights and reflections.
    Justice, equality and freedoms for all, must prevail.

  14. It is very powerful these images of hell and heaven accordingly to Jewish midrash, it is really the portrait
    Of what is happening in Israel/Palestine. And how simplewoul be if everyone locked and starving, change its mind and help each other and flourish.
    Thanks a lot for learning me that.

  15. I came here to judge for myself, after reading a letter on theblogs of war. I just finished reading the essay above. I believe that I have similar feelings about Israel (a kind of adopted homeland, because, I am a follower of the owners of the “Persian Gardens” on Mt. Carmel. This last military activity is just too much for me, from my safety in middle class Japan to relate to. I have nothing, absolutely nothing in my life to compare to the suffering that I have seen in so many photos of the women and children and youths in Gaza. I have often thought of the anger and fear, etc. day by day for the average individual. Of course there are the exceptional ones, the ones the press can focus on who, by a miracle rise above their histories and transcend….but I more often than not identify with the average joe.. I realize the debt I probabl owe to Israel for its protection of Mt. Carmel. However it is only a mountainside, just materials of the physical world. My destiny would contine, even if Iran vaporized that mountain. I try to put my soul in God’s hand, but, it keeps falling out….Israel, Israel, what are you doing to yourself??? And I doubt that I have a drop of Jewish blood in my veins…… I appreciate reading your blog and I will come back.

  16. no need to waste space publishing this. I have just finished scanning your comment section and editorial activism 😉 reminds me so much of my only close Jewish friend, who lives and teaches Math at Eagle Rock HS in LA. I always knew the guy would give me whatever he could afford to share…his heart was/ is still gold; Except, regarding one topic, there is one thing which we cannot discuss, and that is “Palestine issue”. I would go crazy if I thought about it too much…Now reading your blog reminds me of him…..I want to ask you over and over “Why?” but it seems almost as useless as questioning the weather…I’ve got to get to work, Regards, Thomas

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