Report: Hizbullah Wired Money to Bulgaria Bomb Suspects (AFP-Fox News)
Hizbullah wired almost $100,000 to the Canadian and Australian bank accounts of two men wanted over a bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year, the 24 Hours daily reported Friday.
The Presa newspaper reported that fake U.S. driver's licenses used by the men were made on a printer at Beirut's Lebanese International University, where they studied engineering, and that they had undergone military training in Lebanon during 2010-2011.
See also Bomb Parts in Bulgaria Attack Smuggled from Poland (AFP)
The detonator and remote control used in a Bulgarian bomb attack that killed five Israelis last year were smuggled in by train from Poland on June 28, the Trud daily reported Monday, citing investigators.
Israel Navy Installing System to Counter Yakhont Anti-Ship Missile - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
Israel's Navy has begun installing the Barak 8 medium-range missile, designed to intercept airborne threats, including enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles.
The Barak 8 would provide a defense against the Russian Yakhont missile.
Some Freed Palestinian Prisoners Return to Terror - Yoaz Hendel (Ynet News)
Of the 1,005 Palestinian prisoners who were released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal, 44 have already been arrested for involvement in terror.
Economic Ties Grow between Israel and Turkey - Busra Ozerli (Zaman-Turkey)
The rapprochement between Turkey and Israel is moving slowly, yet trade figures indicate the blossoming of economic activity between the two countries.
Data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) say there was an increase of 56% in exports to Israel in May 2013 compared to the same month of the previous year. Imports from Israel increased 22% compared to the figures of May 2012. From January to May 2013, Turkey's exports to Israel totaled over $1 billion, while imports from Israel were also around $1 billion.
Shmaya Avieli, director of the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization (SIBAT) at the Israel Ministry of Defense, stated that defense exports between Turkey and Israel never halted, underlining that these export contracts mainly consisted of past contracts, but that there are also requests from Turkey for new transactions.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Mideast Peace Talks Begin Amid Doubts on All Sides - Michael R. Gordon and Isabel Kershner
Middle East peace talks resumed Monday in Washington.
The prevailing narrative among the pundits, including more than a few experienced Middle East hands, is that while the Israelis and Palestinians may have sent their negotiators to Washington to placate Secretary of State Kerry, neither side appears remotely prepared to make the hard calls needed to cement a lasting peace.
"The existence of talks can have a calming effect while they continue, and if they continue for several months can get us through the UN General Assembly without bitter Israeli-Palestinian confrontations," said Elliott Abrams, a senior official on President George W. Bush's National Security Council. (New York Times)
- Abbas: "Not a Single Israeli" in Future Palestinian State - Noah Browning
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, presenting his vision for the final status of Israeli-Palestinian relations ahead of peace talks in Washington, said Monday, "In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands." He was, however, willing to consider "an international, multinational presence like in Sinai," referring to UN peacekeeping operations. Israel has previously said it wants to maintain a military presence at the border with Jordan to prevent any influx of weapons. (Reuters)
See also The Risks of Foreign Peacekeeping Forces in the West Bank - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- This Year's Ramadan TV Hit in Iran: Reza Shah Pahlavi - Farnaz Fassihi
This year's surprise Ramadan hit in Iran is a documentary lionizing Reza Shah Pahlavi, the father of the deposed shah, depicting him as a great nationalist and visionary. The London-based Persian satellite channel Manoto TV aired the documentary, which has taken Iran by storm. By Tuesday most Iranian media had published some sort of reaction.
The movie challenges a core principle of the Islamic Republic's regime: that monarchy was absolutely destructive and the Pahlavi dynasty, the last monarch overthrown in the 1979 revolution, did nothing good for Iran. The conservative news website Khabaronline.ir noted: "We can't deny history, people have eyes, they see the university and the railroad that he [Reza Shah] built." (Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Hamas Patches Up Ties with Iran, Hizbullah - Stuart Winer
In an attempt to restore its Iranian patronage, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk met with Hizbullah members at the Iranian embassy in Beirut last month. The meeting focused on increasing Iranian support for Hamas. According to a Hamas source in Gaza, there have been other meetings, all of which stressed that Hamas is a strategic partner to Iran. (Times of Israel)
See also Iran Enters the Peace Process - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas is so desperate following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi that it is now seeking to mend fences with Iran. Relations between Hamas and Iran became strained after Hamas supported the rebels fighting against Syrian President Assad's regime. Hamas leaders believed that the support of Qatar and Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood would make up for the loss of its allies in Tehran and Damascus. But now, Hamas has lost the backing of Egypt and its leaders realize they cannot depend only on Qatar's support.
With Iran's backing, Hamas and other Palestinian groups will do their utmost to foil any attempt to achieve peace between the Palestinians and Israel. (Gatestone Institute)
- PLO Faction Rejects Mideast Peace Talks
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a major faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has rejected new peace talks with Israel, calling it a unilateral move by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas which did not have the backing of the PLO as a whole.
- Israeli Ambassador: Palestinians Don't Yet Recognize Jewish Right of Self-Determination
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday:
"We were always ready to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians without pre-conditions....We support a solution based on two states for two peoples, a Jewish state of Israel living side-by-side in peace and security and mutual recognition with the Palestinian state."
"It was not the Palestinian position. The Palestinians had a number of pre-conditions. They were not willing to live in a situation of mutual recognition.
We recognize the Palestinians as a people endowed with the right of self-determination. They don't recognize the Jews as a people yet with the right of self-determination."
"When we say 'Jewish state,' what does it mean? It means that the Jewish state is permanent and legitimate. We're not interlopers. We're not trespassers. We're not a transient state.
And it also means there'll be an end of claims and end of conflict."
"There are about 193 states in the world. Most of them are nation states; the Bulgarians, the Hungarians, the Germans....It's very common, certainly in Europe. And there's nothing anomalous, nothing unusual about the arrangement which we're seeking." (CNN)
- The New Mideast Talks: Much Risk, Little Hope, But Still We Must Try - Aaron David Miller
Right now, there's almost no chance of achieving a conflict-ending agreement; yet by pressing the Israelis and Palestinians back toward the table, the U.S. has assumed responsibility for producing one.
A conflict-ending accord may not be possible now, but without a credible negotiation to manage the situation, it will only deteriorate further.
A conflict-ending accord that resolves the core issues - borders, Jerusalem, security, refugees, and recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people - and that also adjudicates all claims and forswears further ones seems almost unimaginable. The two sides don't yet share a common concept for reaching it. The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
(New York Times)
- Back on the Peace Train - Editorial
Gathering at John Kerry's home in Washington, Israeli and Palestinian officials on Monday relaunched peace negotiations. Syria is burning, Egypt is in turmoil and Jordan's king is under siege, but the Secretary of State will try to push this stone up the hill one more time.
An independent Palestine must not pose a threat to Israel's security and survival, and that means that a defensible border won't match Israel's pre-1967 frontier.
The biggest obstacle as ever will be the inability of the Palestinian leadership to compromise. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority for nearly a decade, inspires little confidence as a negotiating partner. His chief accomplishment has been to lose control of Gaza to Hamas, the terrorist group that denies Israel's right to exist.
The U.S. role should be as an honest broker, not as a backstage arm-twister of Netanyahu. Peace isn't possible if Palestinians aren't ready to make it on terms Israelis can live with.
(Wall Street Journal)
Wishing for an Iranian Moderate - Clifford D. May (Israel Hayom)
- Last week 131 House members urged President Obama to "pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran's recent presidential election." What "potential opportunity" is that?
- How much research is required to figure out that Rowhani has said nothing even to suggest that he opposes Iran's support for terrorism abroad (including its past attempts to blow up airplanes and restaurants in the U.S.), gross violations of human rights domestically, threats of genocide against Israelis, and, of course, illegal nuclear-weapons programs?
- It ought to be obvious that Rowhani is a loyal acolyte of Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader. There were 686 registered candidates for the last election. Only eight were allowed to run. Loyalty to the Supreme Leader and adherence to his ideology-theology were required.
- Rowhani has candidly written that "one of the goals of his nuclear diplomacy was to create a wedge" between the U.S. and its European allies so that Iran could import nuclear technology without incurring Western penalties. To Rowhani, "constructive interaction" means persuading the enemy to let down his guard.
- Rouhani has expressed the view that Iran's strategic interests are best served by developing an industrial-size nuclear capability to manufacture dozens of nuclear weapons.
- In the coming months (not years), American leaders will have to decide whether on their watch the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, a self-proclaimed revolutionary jihadist regime that calls America "Satan incarnate," will be permitted to acquire the nuclear weapons it needs to dominate the Middle East and reshape the world order.
The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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