Israel Shoots Two Hizbullah Terrorists on Syrian Border (Reuters)
Israeli troops shot two Hizbullah fighters who tried to plant a bomb near the fence between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights on Wednesday.
An IDF spokeswoman said Israeli intelligence had identified the men as members of Hizbullah.
Egypt's El-Sisi: "I Cannot Turn My Back When Majority Wants Me to Run for President" (MENA-Al Ahram-Egypt)
Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said Tuesday, "I cannot turn my back when the majority wants me to run for president."
"The formal procedures will be finalized over the coming days."
Egyptian Official Demands Eastern Jerusalem Be International City or Palestine's Capital (Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)
Amr Moussa, chief of Egypt's constitutional panel and former chief of the Arab League, has called for eastern Jerusalem to become an international city with no supervision from any country or that it become capital of a Palestinian state.
Hamas and BDS - Dan Diker (Jerusalem Post)
Much of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign in Europe and the U.S. is connected to radical Islamic groups and Palestinian terror organizations such as Hamas.
Hamas and its parent Muslim Brotherhood fuel and direct BDS and anti-Israel political activities on hundreds of university campuses via the Muslim Students Association, with 600 chapters in North America.
BDS groups such as American Muslims for Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Hamas.
IDF Intelligence Warns of Palestinian Plots to Kidnap Soldiers - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
There has been a sharp rise in the number of intelligence warnings of Palestinian plots to kidnap IDF soldiers in the West Bank, the IDF said Sunday.
A senior military source said the number of alerts is "far more than the same period last year."
Japan and the Palestinian Authority: Foreign Policy and Economic Interest - Pinhas Inbari
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Unlike the U.S. and Europe, Japan funds only development projects on which it exercises direct oversight or supports through international bodies such as the World Bank.
Japan makes no direct contributions to the PA budget and does not support its salary payroll.
Israel Preparing Emergency Shelters in West Bank for Israelis Threatened by Rockets - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan dedicated a new emergency absorption center in Tal Menashe in the West Bank on Sunday for Israeli residents of the coastal region in the event of possible rocket attacks.
Erdan explained that the northern West Bank's closeness to Israel's large population centers make it the best place to send evacuees in case of an emergency.
The new facility can hold hundreds of people for 72 hours without any external aid. Two more centers are planned.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Seizes Gaza-Bound Rocket Shipment from Iran
The Israeli navy seized a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria that were intended for Palestinian militants in Gaza.
The Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Klos-C was boarded in international waters without resistance and is being escorted to the Israeli port of Eilat.
IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said dozens of M302 rockets were found.
"The M302 in its most advanced model can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis under threat." Lerner said the rockets were flown from Syria to Iran, from which they were shipped first to Iraq and then toward Sudan.
Iran had orchestrated the shipment, Lerner said, describing the process as months in the making. (Reuters)
See also Israel Seizes Ship with Missiles Heading from Iran to Gaza - Gili Cohen
The Iranian arms vessel was intercepted about 930 miles from the Israeli coast by special forces from the Flotilla 13 (naval commando) unit. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday: "It has once again become clear that Iran continues to be the greatest exporter of terror in the world...and its failed effort to transfer the weapons discovered this morning is additional evidence. The Iranian regime continues to deceive the world; while it shows its smiling face it continues to be the biggest threat to world peace." (Ha'aretz)
See also IDF Intercepts Iranian Rocket Shipment (Israel Defense Forces)
- Netanyahu Promotes Efforts Toward a Peace Deal - Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Tuesday made an enthusiastic pitch for a peace accord with the Palestinians, saying it would enable Israel to tighten ties with its Arab neighbors and "catapult the region forward" on issues like health, energy and education.
"We could better the lives of hundreds of millions," Netanyahu said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). "We all have so much to gain from peace."
"I hope that the Palestinian leadership will stand with Israel and the United States on the right side of the moral divide, the side of peace, reconciliation and hope," Netanyahu said.
(New York Times)
See also Iran Should Face More Pressure to Dismantle Nuclear Program, Netanyahu Tells AIPAC - Karen DeYoung (Washington Post)
See also below Observations - Netanyahu at AIPAC: Iran Wants a Military Nuclear Program (Prime Minister's Office)
- Israel Suffering from Unprecedented Drought - Gwen Ackerman
Israeli winter rainfall is at a record low, drying rivers and waterways and failing to replenish underground aquifers. "Such low supply during this period has never before been documented and is unprecedented in Water Authority records," the agency said. The lack of rain and risk of higher food prices is being felt as well in neighboring Jordan, where its Water and Irrigation Ministry is considering nationwide rationing because rainfall is at 34% of average.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Obama Promises Netanyahu to Press Palestinians on Peace Framework
President Obama committed to Prime Minister Netanyau that he would push Palestinians to match any Israeli concessions as he seeks to negotiate a framework for peace talks. Despite frank statements on Middle East diplomacy before the meeting from both leaders, the talks were not as contentious as some previous encounters between the two men, a senior Obama administration official told AFP Tuesday. "It was not a confrontational meeting, it was not a difficult meeting," the official said.
- IDF Undercover Unit Nabs Wanted Hamas Commander in West Bank - Elior Levy and Yoav Zitun
An IDF unit working undercover in Hebron on Tuesday arrested Ayoub al-Qawasmi, one of Hamas' military commanders in the West Bank. Qawasmi, 50, was involved in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada and has recently sought to renew Hamas' terror infrastructure in the West Bank.
He was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority in January 2010 but was released two weeks ago. Palestinian sources said soldiers from the IDF's Duvdevan undercover unit arrived at a store that belongs to Qawasmi's family in a car with Palestinian license plates to arrest him.
- Islamic Movement Leader in Israel Sentenced to Eight Months for Incitement to Violence
Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, was sentenced to eight months in prison Tuesday for inciting to violence in a 2007 sermon in Jerusalem.
Judge Miriam Lump wrote in the decision that in Salah's speech "he repeated the words 'blood' and 'martyrs' which can lead to violence." Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to "save Al-Aksa Mosque" and "free Jerusalem." (Jerusalem Post)
- Obama's Settlement Construction "Facts" Are Wrong - Evelyn Gordon
In his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg on Sunday, President Barack Obama said, "We have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we've seen in a very long time." But as a simple glance at the annual data published by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reveals, there has been less settlement construction during Netanyahu's five years as Israeli premier (2009-13) than under any of his recent predecessors.
During those five years, housing starts in the settlements averaged 1,443 a year. That's less than the 1,702 a year they averaged under Ehud Olmert in 2006-08 or the 1,652 per year they averaged under Ariel Sharon in 2001-05. And it's far less than under Ehud Barak (4,683 in the year 2000).
It's true that settlement construction more than doubled last year, but it doubled from a low base.
- Will Syria's Chemical Weapons Arsenal Be Eliminated? - Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham
Syria is now running two months behind schedule in removing its chemical arsenal and it is apparent that the June 30 deadline will not be met. Assad's commitment to eliminate his chemical weapons arsenal bolsters his position considerably, as he is the only person capable of carrying out the destruction orders. This means that prolonging the elimination process could preserve Assad's position. This is likely an incentive for Assad to drag out the process, and buys him time to salvage some of the arsenal, either inside Syria or by smuggling the weapons to Iran, Russia, or Hizbullah.
The international community must ask what portion of Syria's huge chemical weapons cache Assad intends to retain and hide, and where he is likely to hide them. Iran would likely prefer to preserve considerable portions of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and transfer them to Iran or Hizbullah rather than see them destroyed.
Lastly, Syria has been developing biological weapons since the 1980s; its biological weapons depots must be dealt with.
The writer, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, is a former senior intelligence analyst in the IDF and the Israel Ministry of Defense.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
See also Syria Accelerates Chemical Weapons Disarmament - Naftali Bendavid
Syria is expected to have removed 23% of its most dangerous chemicals by the end of the week, according to international weapons inspectors Tuesday.
(Wall Street Journal)
Netanyahu at AIPAC: Iran Wants a Military Nuclear Program (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the AIPAC policy conference in Washington on Tuesday:
- American support for Israel is at an all-time high and there is no country on earth that is more pro-American than Israel.
- We must prevent Iran from having the capability to produce nuclear weapons; not just to prevent them from having the weapon, but to prevent them from having the capacity to make the weapon. That means we must dismantle Iran's heavy water reactor and its underground enrichment facilities. We must get rid of Iran's centrifuges and its stockpiles of enriched uranium and we must insist that Iran fully divulge the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
- 17 countries have peaceful nuclear energy programs. They're doing this without speeding centrifuges, without enriching uranium, without heavy water facilities and without conducting military nuclear research.
Iran insists on doing all these things that the other countries don't because Iran doesn't want a peaceful nuclear program, Iran wants a military nuclear program.
- The leading powers of the world are talking about leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium.
That would be a grave error. It would leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power. It would enable Iran to rapidly develop nuclear weapons at a time when the world's attention is focused elsewhere.
- If we allow this outlaw terrorist state to enrich uranium, how could we seriously demand that any other country not enrich uranium?
Letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the world.
- Of course we want diplomacy to succeed, because no country has a greater interest in the peaceful elimination of the Iranian nuclear threat.
You know how you get that agreement with Iran? Not by relieving pressure but by adding pressure. Pressure is what brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, and only more pressure will get them to abandon their nuclear weapons program.
- Greater pressure on Iran will not make war more likely; it will make war less likely - because the greater the pressure on Iran and more credible the threat of force on Iran, the smaller the chance that force will ever have to be used.
- I'm prepared to make a historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors - a peace that would end a century of conflict and bloodshed. Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state. President Abbas, recognize the Jewish state, and in doing so, you would be telling your people, the Palestinians, that while we might have a territorial dispute, the right of the Jewish people to a state of their own is beyond dispute.
You would be finally making clear that you are truly prepared to end the conflict.
- Experience has shown that foreign peacekeeping forces keep the peace only when there is peace.
But when they're subjected to repeated attacks, those forces eventually go home. So the only force that can be relied on to defend Israel is the force defending its own home - the Israeli Army.
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