Palestinian Prisoners to Be Released on Tuesday - Sammy Hudes (Jerusalem Post)
The Palestinian prisoners to be released include:
Fayez Mutawi al-Khur, who murdered Menahem Dadon in Gaza in 1983.
Salah Ibrahim Ahmed Mugdad, who murdered Israel Tenenbaum in Netanya by striking him on the head with an iron bar.
Samir Nayef al-Na'neesh, who murdered IDF reservist Binyamin Meisner in 1989.
Salameh Abdallah Musleh, who murdered Reuven David in 1991.
Salah Mahmoud Mukled, who stabbed to death his Jewish employer Yeshayahu Deutsch in 1993 in a Gush Katif greenhouse.
Mohamed Abdel Majid Sawalha and Hosni Faregh Sawalha, who stabbed to death Baruch Yaacov Heisler on a bus in 1990.
Midhat Fayez Barbakh, who stabbed to death his employer Moshe Beker in Rishon Lezion.
Ali Ibrahim al-Rai, who murdered Moris Eisenstatt, 79, by striking him in the head with an axe as he sat on a public bench in Kfar Saba.
Faraj Saleh al-Rimahi, who murdered Avraham Kinstler, 84, with an axe.
Ala Eddin Ahmed Abu Sitteh and Ayman Taleb Abu Sitteh, who stabbed to death David Dadi, 43, and Hayim Weizman, 33, in their sleep in Ramle.
Khaled Mohamed Asakreh, who stabbed to death French tourist Annie Ley.
Nihad Yusef Jundiyeh and Mohamed Mahmoud Hamdiyeh, who stabbed to death Zalman Shlein.
Congressman: No One Is Thinking about U.S. Troops as Part of Peace Accord - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
U.S. Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that the deployment of U.S. troops anywhere in the West Bank was very unlikely.
"I would doubt that the prime minister, the Palestinians or the United States are contemplating the deployment of U.S. troops on the ground," Hoyer said.
He said one of the major problems with deploying U.S. troops would be that they themselves would become the targets of terrorist attacks.
Hoyer also dismissed the notion that support for Israel was slipping in the Democratic Party, saying that the recent House vote for more stringent sanctions against Iran, which passed by 400 to 20, included 178 Democrats for, and 17 against.
PA Plans to Build Housing in Jerusalem's Western Wall Plaza - Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
A documentary broadcast twice on PA TV declared that the PA plans to destroy the Western Wall Plaza, Judaism's holiest place of prayer, and build residential homes there instead.
The PA documentary stated that Jews praying at the Western Wall were "sin and filth."
The PA rejects the fact that the Western Wall is a Jewish holy site and claims it as an exclusively Islamic holy site.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Intercepts Sinai Rocket Targeting Eilat
Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket targeting the Red Sea resort town of Eilat early Tuesday.
See also Jihadists Claim Rocket Attack on Eilat - David Barnett
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC), a consortium of Salafi jihadist groups based in Gaza, took responsibility for the attack on Eilat.
(Long War Journal)
- Al-Qaeda Expands in Syria - Liz Sly
A rebranded version of Iraq's al-Qaeda affiliate is surging onto the front lines of the war in neighboring Syria, expanding into territory seized by other rebel groups and carving out sanctuaries in the northern and eastern provinces of the country. The Iraqi al-Qaeda group, now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has been bolstered by thousands of foreign fighters from the region and beyond. At the same time, Jabhat al-Nusra, the original Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate, has resisted efforts by the Islamic State to absorb it.
The U.S. military claimed it had subdued al-Qaeda in Iraq by the time it withdrew from Iraq in 2011. Evidently it did not, said Bruce Hoffman, director of security studies at Georgetown University, who thinks Syria is even more strategically significant for the group than Iraq. (Washington Post)
- Casualties of Syria's War Find Salvation in Israel - Inna Lazareva
13-year-old Zeinah was walking to the supermarket in her village in Syria when she heard a loud explosion. "When I woke up...after a few hours I realized I was in Israel," she says. Israel and Syria have been enemy states for decades. But since February 2013 over 100 injured Syrians, including children, have been transferred to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
Dr. Zeev Zonis, head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, explains: "For the Syrians...on this side of the border there are monsters - Jews. You probably saw some of the propaganda - of Jews cutting pieces of Arabs and eating them....So they grew up on this feeling and their anxiety is even greater, especially if they arrive alone."
Sara Paperin, the international affairs officer at the hospital, adds: "When you start to receive children to your medical facility, you understand very clearly these are not rebels or Assad supporters - these are children, casualties of the violence, and they need to be treated with the most advanced care that you can provide." (Independent-UK)
See also Syrians Brave Risks to Seek Treatment in Israel - Max J. Rosenthal (AP)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Refuses to Apologize for Building in Its Capital - Mati Tuchfeld
As Israel was set to release the first wave of Palestinian prisoners as part of its deal to start peace talks, tenders were announced for hundreds of new housing units in Jerusalem. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel noted:
"No other nation on the planet accepts diktats from other countries on where it can build and where it can't. We're going to continue issuing tenders for apartments and we're going to build all over Israel, according to our citizens' needs." (Israel Hayom)
See also Kerry: Israeli Housing Announcement Was Expected - Adiv Sterman
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that he didn't think the recent flap over Israeli settlement announcements will derail Mideast peace talks, which are scheduled to resume this week.
According to Kerry, the Israeli move was expected.
Israeli diplomatic sources quoted by Channel 10 News noted that while the Palestinians demanded a settlement freeze as a precondition to peace talks, Israel did not accept such terms.
"Israel has never promised not to build," adding that the approved units were in a location which, Palestinians agree, will remain in Israeli hands even after the signing of any future agreement.
(Times of Israel)
See also New Apartments Are a Scarce Commodity in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
Over the past several years the average construction rate in Jerusalem was 1,000 to 1,500 housing units per year, which doesn't even come close to meeting the annual demand of 4,500 units. Each year the city's Jewish population shrinks by about 18,000 inhabitants, largely due to the shortage in available dwellings.
- Netanyahu: EU Settlement Directives "Undermining Peace"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Tuesday: "The European guidelines by the EU have actually undermined peace. They've hardened Palestinian positions, they seek an unrealistic end that everybody knows is not going to happen, and I think they stand in the way of reaching a solution which will only be reached by negotiations by the parties, and not by an external dictate."
(Prime Minister's Office)
- Without Stronger Sanctions, Iran Will Go Nuclear - Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Eliot Engel
The Islamic Republic of Iran, one of the most brutal regimes in the world, stands at the threshold of a nuclear-weapons capability. The thought of dictators - who disregard the value of human life at home and pledge genocide abroad - having a nuclear weapon should frighten every American.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran's new president, is no reformer. For more than two decades, he served as the supreme leader's personal representative to Iran's national security council. The council oversees a range of illicit activities - from cracking down on student protestors at home to supporting terrorist groups, like Hizbullah, abroad.
After many years of fruitless negotiations, it is clear that talks will only succeed if the regime feels pressure to change course - and not as a result of misplaced optimism over a new face for the same regime that has not wavered in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. (Wall Street Journal)
- Iran's Next Nuke-Talk Ploy to Con the West - Amir Taheri
Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, has declared the lifting of sanctions on the country as his top priority - even as he insists that he won't budge an inch on the country's controversial nuclear program. He has chosen a tactic developed by the mullahs over centuries - mumatilah, or temporizing. It's designed to buy time without giving concessions. Rouhani practiced mumatilah for years while serving as point-man on the nuclear issue. The time he bought enabled Iran to transform an embryonic project into a full-scale program covering the entire scientific and industrial cycle to produce a nuclear arsenal.
(New York Post)
- EU Settlement Ban Casts Shadow over Palestinian Industry in West Bank - Asher Schechter
Thousands of workers - half Israelis and half Palestinians - work in dozens of factories in Barkan Industrial Park in the West Bank. With its 120 industrial plants, Barkan is one of 14 industrial zones operating in the West Bank and employing nearly 20,000 people, half of them Palestinians.
But hovering in the air are the EU's new guidelines that limit cooperation with the settlements.
Yehuda Cohen, the CEO of Lipski, a maker of sanitation and plumbing products, notes: "The average monthly salary in the Palestinian Authority is between NIS 1,500 and 2,000. Here our employees begin with a minimum salary and can earn up to NIS 9,000 a month, more than three times the average salary in the PA. They work shoulder to shoulder with Israelis, so this is a chance for Israelis and Palestinians to work together, to talk to one another, to trust one another." "Do they [the EU] understand how many Palestinians will lose their jobs if we leave?"
"They [the EU] want peace? So do I. But why should the livelihood of thousands of people be impaired along the way? Unfortunately, people in Europe don't understand the ramifications of their declaration: 'We won't buy products from the settlements.'" (Ha'aretz)
Can Israel Depend on U.S. Security Guarantees? - Elliott Abrams (Weekly Standard)
- Secretary of State John Kerry told a group of key Jewish leaders last week that the regional strategic environment has become favorable for a peace agreement because opponents of peace have weakened over the past two years. But few were persuaded by Kerry's arguments.
- Mubarak is gone and Egypt is unstable. Jordan has seen more demonstrations against the king in the last two years than in the ten before that, and now houses about 600,000 Syrian refugees. Syria is at war and the jihadi presence on Israel's border is growing. Moreover, Iran is moving closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.
- Kerry also said one of the lynchpins of the current peace process is the separation of Israel's security assurances from the general negotiations, assurances that would be guaranteed in a separate agreement with the U.S. The security track is being worked out under the auspices of retired Marine Corps general John Allen, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's special adviser for Middle East peace.
- This suggests that Israel is negotiating security matters with the U.S. rather than with the PLO, which is unworkable because the PLO, not the U.S., has to agree and sign the deal.
How does a separate American "guarantee" help? If the Palestinians do not agree, the U.S. cannot enforce it.
- And will such a guarantee be trusted? In 2004, President Bush gave Prime Minister Sharon certain guarantees about American policy, but the Obama administration treated those as a kind of private letter having no binding policy impact.
The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush.
See also Israel's Critical Security Requirements for
Defensible Borders - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Uzi Dayan, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, and Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Udi Dekel (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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