Report: Iran Refused Assad's Request to Hit Back at Israel (Times of Israel)
Syria's President Bashar Assad asked Iran to hit back at Israel on its behalf for a reported air strike, Israel's Channel 10 said Monday, but the Iranians told him, "You need to take care of your business."
At the same time, many Syrians are calling on Damascus to attack Israeli interests on the Golan Heights, Channel 2 Arab affairs analyst Ehud Yaari reported Monday, showing clips of a succession of Syrian civilians repeating the mantra that they "want to open up the Golan front."
See also Syrian Defense Minister: "No Need to Retaliate for Israeli Airstrike" (Times of Israel)
Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij said Sunday that his country had no need to respond militarily to last week's reported Israeli airstrike on his country since the Israeli attack was itself a retaliation.
Israel, he claimed, was hitting back against the regime for its successes against what he said were Israel-backed Syrian rebels.
Israeli Airstrike in Syria Targeted Weapons Shipment, U.S. Officials Say - Ernesto Londono and Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
An Israeli airstrike in Syria last week targeted a shipment of weapons and caused minor collateral damage to a nearby research center that deals with chemical weapons, two U.S. officials said Sunday.
Syrian television showed broken glass and other damage at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which is suspected of involvement in developing missiles to carry chemical weapons.
But the video contained no evidence of a crater or the type of damage that would have been expected from a direct bombing.
"The main target was a shipment of weapons in a convoy, potentially headed to the wrong kinds of people," said one senior U.S. military official.
U.S. officials suggested that the research center was damaged by secondary explosions from munitions in the convoy.
German Customs Stops Iranian with Unexplained $70 Million Check (AP-Fox News)
German customs officials at Duesseldorf airport found a check for 300 million Venezuelan Bolivars issued by the Bank of Venezuela, worth about $70 million, in the hand luggage of
an Iranian man who arrived on a flight from Turkey.
Customs officials said Friday that the check was impounded since the Iranian was unable to offer a plausible explanation about its intended recipient and purpose.
See also German Check Bust Man Is Ex-Iran Central Bank Head (AP-Miami Herald)
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News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel: Iran Has "All the Ingredients Necessary" to Make a Nuclear Weapon - Phoebe Greenwood
Iran has enriched more than seven tons of uranium to 5%, which with further enrichment could create five atom bombs, former head of IDF military intelligence Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the head of
the Institute for National Security Studies think-tank, said Monday.
"They have all the ingredients necessary to make a nuclear bomb."
The Israeli institute's analysis suggests that Iran has set a "hold" on its nuclear program at a spot on the edge of Israel's so-called "red line." "It would take four or six months for Iran to enrich enough military-grade uranium, and in their eyes this is too long," he said. "They don't think they can get away with it." "They are waiting for some international crisis, a distraction big enough to draw the eyes of the world away from their nuclear activity."
Yadlin said it would be "doable" for Israel to tackle the Iranian threat alone, but that he had advised the government it should act only backed by the understanding of the international community - at the very least the U.S. - that all other options have been exhausted.
He said Iran's response would not be as catastrophic as many feared. "There will be a reaction - they won't be surprised like Saddam Hussein - but it will be calculated and efficient, because they know there will be a reaction to their reaction." (Telegraph-UK)
See also Strategic Survey for Israel 2012-2013 - Anat Kurz and Shlomo Brom (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- Ahmadinejad Arrives in Cairo, First Visit by an Iranian Leader since 1979
Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Cairo international airport on Tuesday, the first visit by an Iranian leader to Egypt since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Ahmadinejad is to attend the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which starts Wednesday. (AP-Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Nabs Islamic Jihad Cell Plotting to Kidnap Israeli Soldier - Yaniv Kubovich and Gili Cohen
Three members of an Islamic Jihad cell have confessed to plotting to kidnap an Israeli soldier, the Israel Security Agency said Saturday.
Yusef Warda from the Israeli Arab town of Tira, and Tawfiq Agbariya and Said Jassr from the West Bank city of Jenin, told investigators they had scoured local hitchhiking stations in late December with the intention of finding a soldier to kidnap.
They intended to smuggle the abductee into Jenin to be used as a negotiating chip for the release of Palestinian security prisoners jailed in Israel. They told investigators they offered a group of soldiers and civilians a ride, but no one took them up on it.
In recent months, the ISA has disclosed several attempts to abduct Israeli civilians.
Officers from the IDF Central Command said that nearly every terrorist in the West Bank was plotting to kidnap Israelis.
See also Palestinian Gunmen Arrested in West Bank Shooting Attack - Asher Zeiger
The Israel Security Agency said Monday it had arrested two Palestinian gunmen connected to Fatah in Ramallah,
who opened fire at the West Bank settlement of Halamish on Dec. 13.
(Times of Israel)
- Israeli Official: Turkish Tirades Reveal "Brazen Hypocrisy" - Herb Keinon
Turkey's leaders have become the "laughingstock of the international community with their self-righteous discourse," an Israeli official said on Monday in response to yet another anti-Israel tirade by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Referring to Davutoglu's recent thrashing of Israel for its settlements policy, the Israeli official said: "It is rather quaint to be lectured about settlements from the representative of a country which has ethnically cleansed the northern part of Cyprus and illegally settled 200,000 Turks in that territory."
With Davutoglu publicly chiding Syria for not responding to Israel's purported operation in Syria, the Israeli official noted that Ankara has repeatedly carried out military action in Iraqi and Syrian territory, and is "brutally muzzling journalists who dare to displease the powers that be." (Jerusalem Post)
- Take Iran at Its Word - Douglas Murray
Those with ears to hear might hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promise to "wipe Israel off the map" or "erase Israel from the page of time." Furthermore, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said exactly the same things over many years. But there remains a strange chorus who try to tell us otherwise.
In recent days there have been hints that Iran might be open to new talks on its nuclear program. But how many times have we gone through this now? After ten years, the only real development is that Iran is now far closer to its ambition of gaining a nuclear bomb.
Tehran's defenders and apologists say the regime has never acted in a hostile manner against any other neighbors. But what of Iran's arming and funding of terrorist proxies, including Hamas and Hizbullah?
Rafael Bardaji, a former national security advisor to the Spanish prime minister, met with Khamenei some years back. When he asked what was the Supreme Leader's job, Khamenei replied,
"My job is to set Israel on fire." The writer is an associate director of the London-based Henry Jackson Society.
(Wall Street Journal Europe)
See also The Iranian Leadership's
Continuing Declarations of Intent
to Destroy Israel - Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum and
Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- F-16s to the Muslim Brotherhood - Dore Gold
During January, the U.S. supplied four F-16 fighter aircraft to Egypt, out of 20 originally agreed upon when Mubarak was still in power. The U.S. will also be supplying 200 Abrams tanks to Egypt.
There is a more fundamental issue that needs to be addressed in this discussion about advanced arms for Egypt. Morsi's statements point to the fact that he is still strongly tied to the hard-line ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a revolutionary movement that could down the line put at risk important Arab allies of the U.S.
Indeed, during 2011, Jordanian officials accused the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of being involved in growing street disturbances in Amman. In December 2012, security forces in the UAE uncovered a Muslim Brotherhood plot to overthrow its government. Egyptian nationals were arrested and imprisoned. Cairo sent a high-level delegation, including Morsi's intelligence chief, to Abu Dhabi to help reduce tensions with the UAE, but they came back empty-handed. Both the UAE and the Saudi press have been notably critical of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in recent months.
The writer, a former Israeli UN ambassador, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
See also Apes, Pigs, and F-16s - Andrew C. McCarthy (National Review)
Israeli-Palestinian School Book Study Is Strongly Misleading (Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs)
- A U.S.-funded study that faulted both Palestinian and Israeli textbooks attempts to create
an artificial and inaccurate balance between the two. The study provides a highly-distorted depiction of the PA's systematic
efforts to educate and indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate, violence
and non-acceptance of Israel's existence.
- Official PA and PLO educational platforms, including formal and informal
educational frameworks, summer camps, children's magazines, television
programs, and cultural events, systematically promote the following messages:
- The dispute with Israel is not over territory, but over the legitimacy of
Israel's very existence (let alone Israel's existence as a Jewish state).
- The ultimate goal is to eliminate the Jewish state and reclaim the
historic Land of Palestine.
- Jews/Zionists/Israelis possess demonic characteristics.
- All forms of struggle - including terrorism - are legitimate in pursuit of
the ultimate goal. Terrorists are national heroes and role models.
- The Palestinian educational system contains no curriculum promoting a
lasting peace and co-existence between a Palestinian and an Israeli state.
In contrast, the Israeli educational system clearly promotes a culture of
- As long as Palestinian children are taught that terror is legitimate
and Israel's existence is not, a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace will
remain beyond reach.
See also A Study in False Moral Equivalence - Jonathan S. Tobin
Some Israeli books have maps that do not show the border between the West Bank and pre-1967 Israel while all Palestinian books depict both Israel and the territories as the state of Palestine.
That sounds like the same thing but it really isn't.
Israeli books depict the reality that the Jewish state does have control over the entire area. Asking them to show maps of a state of Palestine that doesn't exist is absurd. On the other hand, what the Palestinians are showing not only contradicts reality but also shows their dream of destroying Israel.
State Department Strains to Avoid Israeli-Palestinian Textbook Dispute - Anne Gearan (Washington Post)
See also The Role of Hate Education in Promoting Violent Conflict - Yael Stein and Elihu Richter (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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