Rights Watchdog: Rein in Palestinian Security Forces - Noah Browning (Reuters)
Human Rights Watch on Monday rebuked the Palestinian Authority for failing to prosecute members of the security forces over beatings and abuse of protesters, journalists and detainees.
The group called on the U.S. and EU, the major donors to the PA, to reevaluate their security aid.
U.S., Egypt Discuss Aid Package (Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats is set to arrive in Cairo on Tuesday to resume negotiations regarding an economic aid package to Egypt.
Sources said the Egyptian government will ask the U.S. to
forgive the $3.2 billion debt that Egypt owes the U.S., and to allocate $1 billion to open credit lines for Egyptian goods or to ensure Egyptian bonds issued internationally.
Libya's Fighters Export Their Revolution to Syria - Steven Sotloff (TIME)
Hundreds of Libyans have flocked to Syria to help rebels there bring down another strongman.
They have brought their fighting experience to the battle, and may even be arranging weapon shipments to the Syrians.
Muppet Urges Israelis to Prepare for Possible Emergency - Jeffrey Heller (Reuters)
The Israeli muppet version of Oscar the Grouch - Moishe Oofnik - appears on the cover of a new, emergency pamphlet being distributed nationwide in a country preparing for possible war with Iran.
The pamphlet instructs Israelis how to prepare a safe room or shelter for emergency situations, and reminds people that they have between 30 seconds and three minutes to find cover between the time air raid sirens sound and rockets slam into their area.
The pamphlet urges Israelis to have a "family talk" about getting ready for any national emergency.
Egypt's Garbage Crisis - Ernesto Londono (Washington Post)
Garbage in Cairo has traditionally been collected by the Zabbaleen, Coptic Christians who for decades made the city's waste their livelihood.
After sorting organic waste from glass and plastic, the trash collectors sold the recyclable goods to national and international companies.
Pigs, once omnipresent in predominantly Christian neighborhoods, would eat the rest. When the animals were fat, they were sent to slaughterhouses that catered to hotels.
In the spring of 2009, alarmed by the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, Egyptian authorities ordered the immediate slaughter of all pigs in the country.
But since the health code outlawed the practice of owning pigs that feed on garbage, the trash has been stacking up.
After the revolution, Christian trash collectors asked the Health Ministry to lift the pig ban. So far, it has not.
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- Iran Said to Send Troops to Bolster Syria - Farnaz Fassihi
Iran is sending commanders from its Revolutionary Guard Corps and hundreds of foot soldiers to Syria, on top of cash and arms, according to current and former members of the corps. The moves undergird a growing perception that the Syrian regime's military is increasingly strained. "Today we are involved in fighting every aspect of a war, a military one in Syria," Gen. Salar Abnoush, commander of the IRGC's Saheb al-Amr unit, said Monday.
On Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said if Syria fails to put down the uprising, Iran would send military help based on a mutual defense agreement between the two countries. Iran is now sending hundreds of members of the IRGC and the Basij militia to Damascus, said two people in the IRGC familiar with the movements. Iran is also deploying IRGC commanders to guide Syrian forces in battle strategy and help with military intelligence. (Wall Street Journal)
- Rachel Corrie's Death an Accident, Israeli Judge Rules - Harriet Sherwood
The death of pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 was not caused by the negligence of the Israeli state or army, Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa district court has ruled, dismissing a civil lawsuit brought by the family.
There had been no fault in the internal Israeli military investigation clearing the driver of the bulldozer who had not seen the American activist. Corrie could have saved herself by moving out of the zone of danger as any reasonable person would have done, said the judge.
- New Egyptian Islamist President Steps Out on World Stage - Samia Nakhoul and Edmund Blair
Egypt's new Islamist president Mohamed Morsi said in an interview on Monday that "International relations between all states are open and the basis for all relations is balance. We are not against anyone but we are for achieving our interests." Regarding Egypt's military operation in Sinai, he said, "Egypt is practicing its very normal role on its soil and does not threaten anyone and there should not be any kind of international or regional concerns at all from the presence of Egyptian security forces." The military campaign was in "full respect to international treaties," he said.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Military Intelligence Sees Greater Regional Instability - Yoav Zitun
In presenting the IDF Military Intelligence's annual situation assessment, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Monday: "We predict that in the next year, the State of Israel will encounter a regional environment that is more unstable, tense and Islamist than in the past." (Ynet News)
- IDF Strikes Gaza Weapons Factories - Elior Levy
The Israel Defense Forces retaliated for the recent firing of rockets at Sderot and bombed two weapons production and storage facilities in northern Gaza.
- Reinforced School Protects Israeli Kids from Gaza Rockets - Aron Heller
On Monday, many students in Sderot started the school year safe from attack in a new, fortified, rocket-proof school building.
The $27.5 million structure features concrete walls, reinforced windows and a unique architectural plan all designed specifically to absorb and deflect rocket fire.
Notices on the walls remind the 1,200 students that in case of a warning siren, they are to stay put. "You can finally teach without constantly worrying about what to do when there is a rocket attack," said Zohar Nir-Levi, the principal of the junior high school inside the complex. "It used to be that even before you said hello in the morning you were telling people where to run."
In the 12 years since rockets began raining down on Sderot, just kilometers from Gaza, eight people have been killed and hundreds wounded. The new school features concrete shelters in the school yard as well, to allow students on recess to find cover when they hear the siren.
(Times of Israel)
- International Solidarity Movement Culpable
in the Death of Rachel Corrie
International Solidarity Movement activist "Rachel Corrie's death [in 2003 in Gaza] was a tragedy, but it could have been prevented. Leaders of the ISM movement have repeatedly made statements in support of violence," said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. The ISM has a long record of encouraging activists to take "direct action," even if that means putting them in harm's way, often in direct confrontations with the Israel Defense Forces.
"ISM co-founder Thomas Saffold showed an utter lack of regret over Corrie's death, boasting afterwards that 'we're like a peace army. Generals send young men and women off to operations, and some die'," Steinberg noted.
In 2002, ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf stated: "Yes, people will get killed and injured," but these deaths are "no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation." (NGO Monitor)
See also Israel Not Guilty over Rachel Corrie, But What of Those Who Encouraged Her to Go to Gaza?
We must not forget the vast international network of anti-Zionist fanatics that helped encourage a naive young American woman to believe it was reasonable to head half way round the world to "defend" the Palestinians against Israeli "oppression."
See also The Rachel Corrie Trial: Key Questions - Lenny Ben-David (I*Consult)
- The Secular Beatification of Rachel Corrie - Brendan O'Neill
Over the past decade Rachel Corrie's supporters have elevated her to saintly status, turning her into a paragon of virtue who wanted merely to "protect Palestinians." This secular beatification of Corrie captures everything that is wrong with modern-day solidarity with Palestine.
There was a time when supporting Palestine meant looking upon Palestinians as a people capable of governing their own lives, free from the meddling of outsiders. Now, Palestinian solidarity is all about treating Palestinians as the ultimate victims, as helpless creatures who need decent Westerners to come over and "save" them, in a not dissimilar way to how Bible-wielding white folk once tried to save the savages of Africa.
Solidarity activists who travel to Palestinian territories are becoming secular versions of the crusaders of old. They are going to Palestine to find themselves, to try to give meaning to their potentially shallow lives through imagining that they can "save" an entire people by standing in front of a tank or writing some blog posts.
- Nuclear-Weapon States Aren't Created Equal - Warren Kozak
Between July 16, 1945, the day the U.S. tested the first atomic device in New Mexico and realized that it actually worked, and Aug. 29, 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb, the U.S. held a nuclear monopoly.
Yet between 1945 and 1949, America's friends and enemies lost very little sleep, because the idea of the U.S. using its great nuclear advantage to take over the world was ludicrous to all but the most irrational minds.
Similarly, it has been widely speculated that Israel has had a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East for perhaps half a century. Yet when the Saudis or Syrians or Egyptians have turned off their lights during this period, the last worry on their minds has been an Israeli nuclear bomb.
In spite of a world-wide chorus of detractors, the sound mind understands that Israel is one of the few rational actors. Israel has never threatened the existence of its neighbors or threatened to wipe another country off the map. It has never held large "Death to (fill in the country) rallies" in its public squares. In fact, Israel's public demonstrations have consisted of peace rallies, musical concerts, gay-pride rallies and public mourning of its victims of terror.
A British bomb? No one says boo. But people rightly grow anxious when the irrational mind with greater and greater global ambitions takes control of this deadly weaponry. And this anxiety increases further when those irrational minds have proven time and again their determination to create havoc.
(Wall Street Journal)
Iran Ramps Up Its Genocidal Rhetoric - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Each year since the 1979 revolution, the Iranian regime marks international Jerusalem (Quds) Day on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan. As in previous years, the Iranian leadership called for the destruction of Israel and of "world Zionism," as demonstrating masses shouted: "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" during rallies and addresses by the leadership.
- For Shia Iran, the struggle against Israel and its Western allies is almost its sole common denominator with most of the Sunni Arab domain. Now, with the rise of Islamist regimes - especially in Egypt, which Iran views as having broken the taboo on peace accommodations with Israel - Iran is making enhanced use of the Palestinian issue and denial of Israel's right to exist, in order to win the hearts and minds of Muslims across the Middle East and beyond.
- From Iran's standpoint, the Arab Spring - or Islamic Awakening as Iran terms it - has revalidated Ayatollah Khomeini's vision, and Iran feels great confidence in the righteousness of its approach, which it sees as part of a broader historical course of divine intervention. The gathering of more than 100 non-aligned nations in Tehran this week together with the participation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the newly elected Egyptian president - despite U.S. efforts to prevent it - further strengthens Iran's belief in the triumph of its alternative Islamic revolutionary vision of the new world order.
- The current leaders of Iran also associate Khomeini's vision with repeated successes in the national and regional arenas: the nuclear program that keeps advancing despite the West's and Israel's efforts to stymie it, the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, Hizbullah's "victory" against Israel in the Second Lebanon War, the Palestinians' firm stance in the subsequent Gaza War, and the Islamic Awakening, which Iran appropriates to itself.
- It is believed that, like the fulfillment of Khomeini's prophecies about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of Saddam, his prophecy of Israel's destruction will also be realized and the mission is in Iran's hands.
- The Iranian leadership's virulent anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric, much in evidence before and during Jerusalem Day on Aug. 17, in fact recycles the original slogans of Khomeini's revolution, recalibrated to the Islamic mood now prevalent in the Middle East. In this context, Iranian spokesmen claim that the Syrian crisis is not part of the Islamic Awakening but an attempt by the West to strike at one of the main strongholds of the anti-Israel and anti-U.S. struggle.
The writer, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, terrorism, and the Middle East, is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Terrogence company.
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