IDF Scours the West Bank for Kidnapped Teens - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
In Israel, the general consensus is that Thursday's kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers near Hebron was carried out by local Hamas operatives who had no connection to the leaders of Hamas in Gaza.
Israel's security services assume that the boys are alive and still in the West Bank. Searches and arrests are carried out with the teens' safety in mind.
At the same time, a counterterrorism operation is being executed against Hamas' civilian foundation in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
See also In Bid for Palestinian Street, Hamas Gambles All - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has come to realize that the recently inked unity pact with Hamas ended at the moment of the abduction of the three Israeli youths.
Confidants of Abbas say that Hamas will pay a steep price for the kidnapping. From the moment the unity agreement was finalized, some two weeks before the kidnapping on Thursday, Abbas' security forces realized that Hamas was trying to undermine the relative peace in the West Bank and foment unrest against both Israel and the PA.
History has shown that the immediate aftermath of such actions sees a surge in support for Hamas. Yet, Hamas leaders are painfully aware that, whatever befalls the three Israeli youths, they could eventually pay for it with their own lives.
So far, there's nothing to indicate that the kidnappers are seeking to trade the teens for Palestinian prisoners.
See also Hamas Kidnappings: A Constant Threat in Israel (Israel Defense Forces)
Last week's Hamas abduction followed dozens of attempts to kidnap innocent Israelis. Since the beginning of 2013, Israel has foiled 64 planned abductions, many of them at the hands of Hamas terrorists.
Photos: IDF Uncovers Hundreds of Palestinian Weapons in Nablus (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers seized several Palestinian weapons caches in Nablus on Monday evening, uncovering hundreds of weapons and explosives.
Jordan Prepares to Contain Fallout from ISIS Advance - Majid Al-Amir (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
The Jordanian government is set to take precautionary measures to contain the spread of Islamist insurgents from neighboring countries, as fears grow of al-Qaeda fighters extending their influence beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria.
Jordanian authorities have tightened control along the borders with Iraq, and stepped up security at border crossings between the two countries, an Amman security source said.
With large parts of the north and west of Iraq under the control of radical and tribal fighters, and the Syrian crisis drawing in Jordanian jihadists, authorities in Amman are considering new measures to curb a potential Islamist insurgency breaking out in the kingdom.
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- U.S., Iranian Diplomats Meet on Iraq - Zeke J. Miller
American and Iranian diplomats met briefly Monday in Geneva on the margins of the ongoing nuclear negotiations to discuss the ongoing crisis in Iraq, according to a senior U.S. State Department official. "These engagements will not include military coordination or strategic determinations about Iraq's future over the heads of the Iraqi people," the official said. "We will discuss how [ISIS] threatens many countries in the region, including Iran." (TIME)
See also Israel Concerned about U.S.-Iran Cooperation in Iraq - Dan Williams
Israel voiced concern on Monday at the prospect of the U.S. cooperating with Iran in Iraq. Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Iran should not be helped to extend its sway in Iraq. That would give Tehran an arc of control running through Syria, where the Iranians back President Assad, and on to Lebanon, where they have powerful allies in Hizbullah.
"We would especially not want for a situation to be created where, because both the United States and Iran support the government of (Iraqi Prime Minister) al-Maliki, it softens the American positions on the issue which is most critical for the peace of the world, which is the Iranian nuclear issue," Steinitz said.
- Video: We Have Three Young People Whose Lives Are in Danger - The Clock Is Ticking - Dore Gold
Former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold, today an advisor to the prime minister, discussed the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on BBC News.
Q: How can Israel blame the Palestinians if the teenagers went missing in Israeli-controlled territory?
Gold: If al-Qaeda struck New York in 2001 and the attack came from Afghanistan, you don't look for the problem in New York City. The terrorists came out of territory under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which means that the Palestinian Authority itself and Mahmoud Abbas are directly responsible for these events.
Q: The Palestinians say the detention of scores of people across the West Bank is a collective punishment against the entire Palestinian people.
Gold: We have three young people whose lives are in danger and we will have to move in any way possible to get that information to find out where those three teenagers are. The clock is ticking. (BBC News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Our Mission Is to Bring the Abducted Boys Home
After security consultations Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: We are in the midst of a complex operation. We need to be prepared for the possibility that it may take time. We are currently focused on one mission - bringing our boys, who were abducted, home. We are also operating against Hamas. I promise that those who try to attack Israeli citizens will be hit.
I expect all responsible elements in the international community - some of whom rush to condemn us for any construction in Jerusalem - to strongly condemn this reprehensible and deplorable act of abducting three youths. I expect other countries to join in these condemnations and to support the State of Israel's legitimate and necessary acts of self-defense.
(Prime Minister's Office)
- IDF Thwarts Infiltration into West Bank Jewish Community
IDF soldiers shot at three Palestinians trying to breach the security perimeter of Kochav Yaakov
in the West Bank late Monday night.
One man was injured, while the others fled, Israel Channel 2 TV reported. In another incident, two firebombs were thrown at the Beit Orot Yeshiva on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, causing a small fire.
(Times of Israel)
- Israel Summons EU Envoy over "Blatantly One-Sided" Declaration - Raphael Ahren
The head of the Israel Foreign Ministry's European division, Rafi Schutz, on Monday complained to EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen about a proclamation adopted by EU foreign ministers and their Arab colleagues last week in Athens.
"The declaration was so blatantly one-sided, it basically read as if it was dictated by the Arab League," a senior Foreign Ministry official said. "It hails the Fatah-Hamas union and praises the Palestinians' 'commitment to democracy and human rights,' but doesn't reflect negatively in any way on the rockets fired from Gaza at our citizens" or any other form of Palestinian terrorism. At the same time, the declaration contains harsh criticism of Israel. (Times of Israel)
- A Plan to Save Iraq from ISIS and Iran - Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka
Think subcontracting the job to Iran is the right call? Surely, no one wishes a Middle East managed by the ayatollahs in Tehran. Don't care? Remember the admonition of the 9/11 Commission: "The most important failure was one of imagination." Imagine what controlling vast areas of the Middle East will do for extremists of all stripes. Gen. Keane, a retired four-star general and former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, is the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. Ms. Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Loss of Mosul Was Predictable - Derek Harvey and Michael Pregent
Observers are stunned by the speed of last week's assaults on every major city in the upper Tigris River Valley - including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city - by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But they shouldn't be. The collapse of the Iraqi government's troops in Mosul was predictable. For more than five years, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has presided over the packing of the Iraqi military and police with Shiite loyalists, while sidelining many effective commanders who led Iraqi troops in the battlefield gains of 2007-2010.
The Sunni tribal "Awakening" had deployed 90,000 Sunni fighters against al-Qaeda in 2007-2008.
These 90,000 "Sons of Iraq" made a significant contribution to the reported 90% drop in sectarian violence. But al-Maliki dismantled the program, so that by 2013, the Sons of Iraq were virtually nonexistent.
There is probably little danger of Baghdad and other Shiite areas falling into Sunni insurgent hands. The Shiite troops unwilling to fight for Mosul will be far more motivated to fight to protect Shiite territories in central and southern Iraq and to defend their home territory. But at this point, al-Maliki does not have what it takes to address Iraq's problem - because he is the problem. Derek Harvey is a former senior intelligence official who worked on Iraq from 2003-2009. Michael Pregent is a former U.S. Army officer and former senior intelligence analyst who worked on Iraq from 2003-2011.
- The Collapse of Iraq: Strategic Implications - Oded Eran and Yoel Guzansky
After the fall of major Iraqi cities to Sunni extremists belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a coalition of sorts has formed comprising countries that have an interest in nipping the ISIS territorial entrenchment in the bud. In Iraq itself, the Kurdish military force, the Peshmerga, has begun to cooperate with the Iraqi army in order to repel the advance of ISIS forces. Oded Eran is a former Israeli ambassador to the EU and Jordan. Yoel Guzansky served at the National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Office.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Palestinians and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
- Two months ago, PA President Mahmoud Abbas requested that the "State of Palestine" participate in 15 international conventions, including the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.
- One may wonder how the UN Secretary General will now relate to contractual obligations incumbent on the Palestinians pursuant to those agreements in light of the kidnapping of three Israeli youths.
- Even more pertinent is how all the parties view the Palestinian abduction and hostage-taking of the Israeli children in light of the obligation pursuant to Article 34 of the Fourth Geneva convention (1949) according to which "The taking of hostages is prohibited."
- Similarly, how do they view the Palestinian violation of Article 11 of the Geneva Convention on the rights of the child to prevent illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad, or Article 19 which obliges parties to the Convention to protect children from "all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation"?
The writer, former legal adviser of Israel's Foreign Ministry and ambassador to Canada, is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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