European Source: Bulgaria Links Hizbullah to Burgas Bombing (Daily Star-Lebanon)
Bulgaria has informed European officials of evidence implicating Hizbullah in last year's attack on an Israeli bus at the Black Sea airport of Burgas, Al-Hayat reported Tuesday, quoting a "European source."
Bulgaria's interior minister informed his European counterparts during a closed-door meeting last Thursday of evidence collected by authorities indicating Hizbullah's involvement in the July 18 bomb attack that claimed the lives of five Israeli tourists and a local busdriver.
Syrian Regime Builds New Paramilitary Force Aided by Iran (Naharnet-Lebanon)
President Bashar Assad's regime has put together a new paramilitary force of men and women, some trained by Iran, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.
The force, dubbed the National Defense Army, gathers together existing popular committees of pro-regime civilian fighters under a new, better-trained and armed hierarchy.
The popular committees were originally formed to protect pro-regime neighborhoods from rebels.
Jewish Immigration to Israel: 18,691 in 2012 (JTA)
Jewish immigration to Israel stood at 18,691 in 2012 compared to 19,135 in 2011, according to an annual analysis by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
7,755 came from the former Soviet Union, 3,389 from North America, 2,432 from Ethiopia, 1,907 from France, 925 from Latin America, and 698 from the UK.
Report: Israel Brings Yemeni Jews - Eli Leon (Israel Hayom)
The Iranian news agency Fars, quoting the Palestinian weekly Al-Manar, reported Sunday that a group of Yemeni Jews had flown to Tel Aviv via Doha on a Qatari flight.
The report indicated that Israel is working to bring more Yemeni Jews to Israel in the near future.
The Jewish community in Yemen last year numbered 130. Some 100 Yemenite Jews arrived in Israel between 2009 and 2012. (JTA)
Study: Allow Gaza Population to Expand into Sinai - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
A study published Monday in Al-Quds by Palestinian engineer Mustafa al-Farra recommends solving Gaza's "population explosion" by allowing the enclave to expand into the Sinai Peninsula, and transferring some Gaza residents to the West Bank.
A number of Egyptian newspapers recently claimed that Hamas has been planning to settle Palestinians in Sinai and declare a Palestinian state there.
Writing in Al-Ahram last October, Ahmad Naguib Roushdy said: "If these rumors are true, the Palestinians have shown themselves to be ungrateful and could be considered to be Egypt's enemies."
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Russia Sending Aircraft to Evacuate its Citizens from Syria - Thomas Grove and Steve Gutterman
Russia is sending two planes to Lebanon on Tuesday to evacuate more than 100 of its citizens from Syria in the clearest sign yet that Moscow may be preparing for President Bashar al-Assad's possible defeat. Moscow is also carrying out its largest naval exercises since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, including off Syria's coast, which analysts say are meant to underscore its interest in the region.
- Senior Israeli Diplomat: Turkey Chose to Downgrade Relations with Israel - Irem Koker
Ankara lost a great opportunity by not initiating contact with Israel during the Gaza crisis last November, a senior Israeli diplomat has said.
"The Turkish government could have played a mediating role but it refused to do so," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor recently told Hurriyet.
When reminded about a recent statement by Israel's deputy foreign minister that Israel was ready to send a letter - such as the one Washington recently sent to Islamabad over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers - in order to mend ties with Turkey after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, Palmor said:
"I was quite surprised that Danny Ayalon's statement made the headlines because he said nothing new. He only repeated what [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman said three or four months ago....He said he was willing to accept the same formula that the Americans used with Pakistan."
"There was a compromise on the table. Then we suspected that this would not lead us to restore relations, because there was a deliberate intention on the part of the Turkish government to downgrade relations with Israel as much as possible. This was a strategic choice by the Turkish government."
- Hagel Meets with Top Jewish Leaders - Ron Kampeas
Top Jewish organizational leaders met with Chuck Hagel, President Obama's defense secretary nominee, and Vice President Joe Biden.
A statement Monday issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations described the Jan. 18 meeting in Washington as "an important opportunity for a serious and thorough discussion of key issues of importance to all of us."
Those present included the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Election Day in Israel
Israelis vote in a parliamentary election on Jan. 22. The 120 seats in the single-chamber Knesset are allocated by proportional representation to party lists, which secure seats after passing a minimum threshold of winning at least 2% of the national vote. (Reuters)
See also List of 32 Parties Seeking Election to Israel's Knesset (Israel Central Elections Committee)
- Upgraded Iron Dome Intercepts Medium-Range Missile - Ilan Ben Zion
The Israeli Defense Ministry on Monday announced the successful testing of an upgraded version of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
According to Channel 10 TV, Iron Dome intercepted a missile heavier than a Fajr - the type fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by Hamas in November - and fired from a greater distance. This suggests that Iron Dome is being upgraded to protect Israeli cities against longer-range missile threats.
(Times of Israel)
- Iranian Support for Palestinian Terrorist Organizations
The military capabilities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, revealed in Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, were the product of massive Iranian support including an arsenal of thousands of rockets, both standard and manufactured by the terrorist organizations themselves (using Iranian technical knowhow). The massive rocket fire targeting the Israeli civilian population was made possible by Iran's support. Iran, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah initiated a media campaign showering praise on Iran's military, financial and technical support for Gaza.
Hamas' dependence on Iran for military support is still strong. Iran has a clear interest to rebuild and upgrade the Palestinian rocket infrastructure in Gaza and to maintain Hamas affiliation with the "resistance camp." (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
- Obama's Wishful Thinking Abroad - Editorial
In his second inaugural address, President Obama suggested a barrelful of wishful thinking when he pronounced: "A decade of war is now ending." That would come as news to the Afghan soldiers still dying at Taliban hands; to the families of more than 60,000 people killed in Syria in the past two years; to French soldiers who have taken on, in Mali, al-Qaeda affiliates who are as much enemies of the U.S. as of France; to the families of American hostages just slain in a terrorist attack in Algeria. America's adversaries are not in retreat; they will be watching Mr. Obama in his second term to see if the same can be said of the United States.
See also Obama's You're-on-Your-Own World - Bret Stephens
The message to U.S. allies that gets louder by the year is that it's a you're-on-your-own world as far as this administration is concerned.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Can Israel Live with a Nuclear Iran? - Haim Handwerker
Before a recent Intelligence Squared Debate between two panels of experts in New York, the audience was asked if Israel can live with a nuclear Iran. 25% said it could, 35% said it couldn't and 40% had no opinion. When the audience was asked the same question after the debate, 37% said Israel could tolerate the threat, 55% said it couldn't, and only 8% remained undecided.
- The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations - Arnold Ages
There is a shocking, racist bigotry against Arabs that
displays itself regularly in the reportage over the "Arab Spring" and Syria's casualty count.
Arabs are depicted inferentially, by the major news outlets, as being incapable of measuring up to the high expectations of international morality.
The perception in the Western media is that one cannot really expect Arab nations to embrace the idea of the sanctity of life.
This is a deplorable indictment of a civilization that has contributed so much to humankind. The reluctance to expose and condemn unequivocally the savage murder of Arab innocents victimized by Arab governments is soft bigotry that must stop. The author is a distinguished emeritus professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.
- Raised on Hatred - Ayaan Hersi Ali
As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews. Those Muslims who think of Jews as friends and fellow human beings with a right to their own state are a minority, and are under intense pressure to change their minds.
Millions of Muslims have been conditioned to regard Jews not only as the enemies of Palestine but as the enemies of all Muslims, of God and of all humanity. In 2011, a Pew survey found that 95% of Jordanians, 94% of Egyptians and 95% of Lebanese hold a "very unfavorable" view of Jews. The writer is a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.
(New York Times)
Peace Is Impossible without a Credible Palestinian Partner - Douglas J. Feith (Foreign Policy)
Israelis continue to crave peace, but the state of Palestinian politics leaves them hopeless. According to recent Dahaf Institute and Smith Consulting polls, more than two-thirds of Israelis support the creation of a non-threatening Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. If extra security provisions are assumed, support rises to 75%. But many Israelis do not believe "that the Palestinians will uphold the conditions of peace and especially those elements dealing with security."
- In the Oslo process, Israel gave governmental power to the new Palestinian Authority (PA), including control over the territories in which virtually all the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza live. Terrorism against Israelis, however, intensified with PA support. In 2000, Arafat rejected an extraordinarily forthcoming peace offer from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and launched the Second Intifada, which lasted more than four years and cost more than 1,000 Israeli lives.
- After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, won parliamentary elections there and seized executive power, forcibly expelling PA officials.
In 2006 and again in 2012, Palestinians provoked wars with Israel by firing rockets from Gaza indiscriminately against Israeli civilians.
- Palestinian schools, whether run by the PA or Hamas, persist in teaching hatred of Israel and Jews and exhorting children to armed resistance. Rather than move toward compromise to end the conflict with Israel, Palestinian leaders have been competing with each other in vowing eternal resistance and rejection.
- Peace is not a unilateral choice for Israel. The notion that Israelis can make peace with people committed to killing them is impractical. Hence the widespread despair in Israel about peace.
The writer served as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert