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Report: Iranian Scientist Tortured After Return - William Yong (New York Times)
Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri, who said he had been abducted by the CIA, has been imprisoned and tortured since his return to Iran in July, an opposition Web site reported Monday.
Amiri spent the past two months in solitary confinement in a military prison and was hospitalized at least once because of physical and psychological pressure, according to the report on IranBriefing.net.
American officials said Amiri was a CIA informer who voluntarily defected to the U.S. in 2009.
Iran Invites Some Nations, Not U.S., for Nuclear Tour - Mark Landler (New York Times)
Iran has invited Russia, China and several EU members to visit its nuclear facilities this month, but pointedly snubbed the U.S., European diplomats said on Monday.
"It's a clever ploy, but it's not a substitute for Iran's responsibilities to the I.A.E.A.," said State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Video: Women Fighters Willing to Die for Gaza - Paula Hancocks (CNN)
With faces covered and guns loaded, Palestinian women militants are training among the sand dunes of Gaza with shouts of "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - followed by intense target practice.
One veiled woman tells me: "I am trained and ready to be a suicide bomber against Israeli soldiers."
Israel Focuses Its Energy on Clean Technologies (AP)
After a successful run of high-tech and computer-related innovation, Israel is focusing its ambitions on becoming a world leader in alternative energy.
On a 10-meter stretch of a north Israel highway, the firm Innowattech tested out its system of generators installed under roads that convert the weight and motion of passing vehicles into electricity.
Eight Israeli companies have been named in each of the past two years to the Global Cleantech 100 - a respected industry barometer of the top 100 companies worldwide.
When General Electric Corp. handed out $100,000 grants in July as part of its international challenge to companies to build the next-generation power grid, two of the five winners were Israeli companies.
Deer, Oryx Return to Galilee and Negev - Zafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
The wild oryx, fallow deer and roe deer became extinct in this region. Yet a practical plan by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has been successfully implemented and such animals have returned to the Galilee and Negev.
The Parks Authority raised these animals in facilities on the Carmel and in the Arava, and returned them gradually to nature over two decades.
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- Israel Arrests UK Consulate Staff over "Stadium Plot"
Two Palestinian employees of the UK consulate general in east Jerusalem have been arrested over a plot to fire a rocket at Teddy Stadium, the home of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, Israeli officials say.
The men, who had maintenance jobs and did not have sensitive security clearance, allegedly helped obtain weapons for two others behind the plot. The incident raises concern about vetting procedures at the consulate.
- Iran's Education Reform Takes Anti-Western Tack - Thomas Erdbrink
Iran is overhauling its education system to rid it of Western influence.
In universities, the curricula will be drastically altered, with officials from the Science Ministry working to strip out "Western theories" and replace them with Islamic ones. Dozens of professors have already retired or been fired. The Education Ministry will also introduce new courses designed to help students ages 12 to 17 acquire political analysis skills and prevent them from "being trapped by perverted movements and enemy plots or be imprisoned by satellite channels, the Internet and cyberspace." (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- IDF: No Proof Palestinian Woman Died from Tear Gas at Protest - Anshel Pfeffer
The Israel Defense Forces said on Monday that the medical report on the death of a Palestinian woman said to have been killed at a West Bank protest on Friday after inhaling tear gas contains significant inconsistencies regarding the circumstances of her death. Military sources said that there was no evidence that Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, even participated in the demonstration against the security barrier, or that she died from inhaling tear gas.
IDF officials say the medical report on her death turned over by
the Palestinian Authority on Monday contradicts the family's version of events. Her family says Abu Rahmah's death was caused by tear gas, but they cannot explain why other demonstrators did not need medical care. Her brother Samir said that for several weeks his sister had complained of bad headaches and dizzy spells, and underwent a CT brain scan four days before her death.
See also Did Palestinians Lie about Protestor's Death? - Hanan Greenberg
According to the medical report, there was no clear cause of death, the burial was undertaken via an accelerated procedure, and no post-mortem was performed.
The information also reveals that Abu Rahmah was administered an unusual quantity of drugs, used to offer treatment against poisoning, drug overdose, or leukemia. The IDF also discovered that the deceased was recently treated at a Palestinian hospital, a fact that was not mentioned in the medical reports.
- Outgoing Mossad Chief: I Did the Best I Could
At Sunday's cabinet meeting, outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan summarized his term, saying, "I did the best I could."
Dagan is retiring after more than 43 years of service to the state and 8 years as director of the Mossad. Dagan lauded members of the Mossad.
"They are an excellent and unique group of both women and men, who act with originality and daring, who are imbued with a sense of mission, and who work unselfishly night and day."
"They operate with the sole protection of their sharp wits, their cover story and their courage. They cannot even tell their loved ones about what they are doing," Dagan added. "What motivates them is the need to protect the Jewish People and the State of Israel."
Dagan had first been appointed to his post by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
See also Remarks of Outgoing Mossad Director Meir Dagan (Prime Minister's Office)
- Egypt's Prison of Hate - Bret Stephens
Essam El-Irian, a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, says that while he believes the Israeli Mossad was behind the New Year's Eve massacre of a score of Coptic Christian worshippers outside a church in Alexandria, he won't rule out the possibility that al-Qaeda itself may now be under Israeli operational control.
Even if Egypt's leaders don't believe the preposterous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that circulate in their streets and newspapers, the regime understands that hatred of Israel remains the string that binds an increasingly fractious country together. For the West, it means an Egypt that resembles Iran in the waning days of the Shah, in which a comparatively moderate regime led by a sickly despot confronts a restive and radical public.
The ultimate source of Arab backwardness lies in the debasement of the Arab mind. When the only diagnosis Egyptians can offer for their various predicaments is that it's all a Zionist plot, you know that the country is in very deep trouble.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Killing Iran's Energy Industry - Mark Dubowitz
The Reserve Bank of India has opened up a major new front in the global effort to tighten the economic screws on Tehran. Under pressure from the United States, the Indian central bank last week blocked domestic buyers of Iranian oil from making payments through the Asian Clearing Union. While oil sales to India can still clear through commercial banks, they will be more transparent. Many international banks will not get involved at all, given the potential penalties. Every bank CEO is aware of the almost $2 billion in fines levied by the U.S. government against some prominent European banks for violations of U.S. laws against business with Iran.
Sanctions need time to work. The near-miraculous attack of the Stuxnet virus on Iran's centrifuges and the untimely deaths of key Iranian nuclear scientists may have bought the administration that time, and further strengthened those who want to use economic sticks to beat back Iran's nuclear aspirations. The writer is executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also India Gets Tougher on Iran - Sumit Ganguly
With an eye on a permanent UN Security Council seat, India is starting to get tougher with Iran.
- Israel's Diplomatic Achievements - Zaki Shalom
The starting point of relations between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration was inauspicious. Netanyahu's first meeting with President Obama (May 2009) and President Obama's speech at Cairo University (June 2009) in many ways seemed to augur a new low in bilateral relations. It appeared that the administration was seeking to ignore the understandings reached between the Sharon and Olmert governments and the Bush administration on the issue of settlements. The administration announced a goal of the total cessation of building in the settlements and presented it as a unilateral diktat by the United States, rather than as an objective achieved through dialogue, as is required by the relationship that has developed between Israel and the U.S. over the years.
Ultimately, the Netanyahu government succeeded in redirecting the president's demands into an ongoing dialogue with Middle East envoy George Mitchell. At the end of this dialogue, rules of the game were established that were largely different from those that the Obama administration had sought to establish. In practice, the administration accepted Israel's position that the peace process must be advanced within the framework of negotiations between the two sides, and not through imposed dictates.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
The Doctrine of Defensible Borders - Harry Kanigel (American Thinker)
- Arab strategists have, for decades, waged an economic, diplomatic and propaganda campaign whose object is to isolate Israel and shrink it to indefensible size and configuration. In view of such an existential threat, Israel must steady its adherence to the doctrine of defensible borders.
- Israel's security arrangements cannot be dependent on transitory political conditions in the U.S. or the Arab states, whose overt hostility to Israel waxes and wanes but whose ingrained commitment to its destruction is well-nigh a law of nature.
- The principle of defensible boundaries, as applied to the West Bank, draws on the foundational work of former Foreign Minister Yigal Allon, architect of Israel's defensible borders template, dubbed the Allon Plan.
- The major topographical feature in the West Bank is a mountain ridge running north-south and rising thousands of feet over the coastal plain to the west and the Jordan Valley rift to the east. From vantage points along the mountain ridge, an observer gazing down on the coastal plain would see a narrow band of real estate jam-packed with vital infrastructure, an international airport, all of the major highways, 80% of the nation's industrial capacity, and 70% of its population.
- The Allon Plan makes ingenious use of this topology, envisioning a 12-mile security belt comprising the topographically rugged Jordan Valley and the ridge above. The combined height of the ridge and the rift presents a 4,200-foot barrier that would defend against attackers from the east (Jordan) and retain positions that oversee the coastal plain to the west.
See also Defensible Borders for a Lasting Peace (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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