Eleven Israelis Killed in Palestinian Terrorist Attacks in Past Month (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
During the past month Palestinian terrorist
killed eleven Israelis, more than all those killed in terrorist attacks
during the past two years.
The terrorists who carried out the Jerusalem synagogue attack were
Ghassan Abu Jaml, 27, and Uday Abu Jaml, 22, of east Jerusalem.
The cousins were related to Jamal Abu Jaml, an operative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who was
released from prison as part of the third phase of recent prisoner
releases and detained again on Nov. 6, 2014.
The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP's military-terrorist wing, issued a
statement stressing that the two terrorists belonged to its ranks - a claim it withdrew several hours later.
Militants in Benghazi Attack Tied to Al-Qaeda Affiliate - David D. Kirkpatrick and Somini Sengupta (New York Times)
The Libyan militant group accused of leading the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi two years ago had previously helped train a dozen fighters who went on to participate in a deadly attack on an Algerian gas plant, according to a UN Security Council document justifying new sanctions on the group Ansar al-Shariah.
In the year after the Benghazi attack, Ansar al-Shariah "also provided training and logistical support" to al-Qaeda's North African affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Qaeda group in turn helped Ansar al-Shariah orchestrate suicide bombings at the end of 2013 and the following summer.
Erdogan: Israeli Attack on Al-Aqsa Is Attack on Turkey (Zaman-Turkey)
Speaking in Algeria on Wednesday, Turkish President Erdogan said, "Israel's barbaric attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque is tantamount to an attack on Turkey and Algeria because Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to all of us."
Turkey had previously called on other Muslim countries to display a joint position to protest the actions of Israel.
See also Israel: Erdogan Rhetoric Befits Tehran or Damascus, Not a NATO Capital - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Responding to Turkish President Erdogan's remarks, one government official said that Israel has been facing "a malicious campaign of slander concerning a so-called threat to Al-Aqsa. This campaign has been led by Islamist extremists who claim there is a Jewish threat to Al-Aqsa. This is baseless and ridiculous, it is slander that has no relationship to the truth whatsoever."
"Ultimately this sort of extremist and malicious rhetoric is what one expects to hear from Tehran and Damascus, not from a NATO capital."
Reactions in the Arab Press to the Jerusalem Synagogue Attack: Congratulations and Justification (MEMRI)
Most articles in the Arab press on the synagogue attack expressed approval, welcomed it, and justified it.
Particularly noticeable were articles in the Syrian regime press, as well as in the Jordanian and Qatari presses.
The Truth Must Be Told: Terror Cannot Be Destroyed - Eitan Haber (Ynet News)
In many cases, like on Tuesday at the synagogue, a lone terrorist - or a pair of terrorists - will accomplish his mission because he is the only person in on the secret.
The answer to the popular question "how will it end?" seems to be that it won't end.
What is presumably needed here is a long-term investment in the education of our neighbors about love and good neighborly relations from a very early age.
Leaders who are capable of changing the mindset of people who think Jews don't deserve to live have apparently not yet been born.
The writer served as adviser and bureau chief to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Iran Firm Displays U.S.-Made Helicopters Obtained Despite Sanctions (AP)
An Iranian company on Thursday displayed four brand new U.S.-made R-44 helicopters it purchased through third parties, offering them as proof that the country could evade international sanctions.
In a Video, ISIS Fighters Call for Attacks in France - Dan Bilefsky and Maia dela Baume (New York Times)
A new propaganda video from the militant group Islamic State shows three French fighters calling on Muslims in France to carry out attacks there, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups' communications.
More than 1,000 French citizens have left or plan to leave to join the ranks of jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq, according to the French Ministry of the Interior.
Sisi: Egypt Won't Allow Terror from Its Territory toward Israel - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
Egypt "will not allow terrorism from our territory toward our neighbors, including Israel," Egyptian President Sisi told France 24 on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia Expands Buffer Zone on Iraq Border as Threats Mount - Glen Carey (Bloomberg)
Saudi Arabia has doubled a security buffer zone along its northern border with Iraq to 20 km. (12 miles),
to ward off potential threats.
Saudi Arabia has deployed forces and boosted patrols along its 800-km. northern frontier since June after militants seized large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.
UCLA Student Government Votes for Divestment in Israel - Stephen Ceasar (Los Angeles Times)
The UCLA undergraduate student government voted 8-2 on Tuesday to urge the UC system to sell off stock in companies that do business with the Israeli military. However, the UC Regents have said they have no intention of making any divestments in Israel.
On Wednesday, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block released a statement saying that UCLA divestment decisions "should not hold any one organization or country to a different standard than any other."
Chinese, Russian Lenders to Back Israeli Online Trading Company - Anna Irrera and Orr Hirschauge (Wall Street Journal)
Chinese financial powerhouse Ping An and Russia's largest lender Sberbank are in advanced discussions to back Israeli online trading company eToro.
As part of the move, eToro is expected to expand operations into China and Russia.
Ping An Ventures, the venture investment arm of China's largest financial conglomerates, last November launched a $100 million fund dedicated to investing in U.S.-Israel technology companies.
eToro, founded in 2007, enables retail traders to invest and share information about their trades, performance and strategies online, as on Twitter. The company has four million users in 170 countries.
Israeli Device Helping Brain Tumor Patients Live Longer (Ha'aretz)
Brain tumor patients can extend their lives by wearing a device on their scalp that creates an alternating electric field, Novocure, a commercial stage oncology company founded by Yoram Palti, a former Hebrew University and Technion professor of physiology and biophysics, announced Saturday.
The system, in combination with standard chemotherapy, extended the lives of patients in a phase III trial by three months overall. The percentage of patients surviving two years increased from 29% to 43%.
"A new standard of care for patients suffering from glioblastoma is born,"
said Dr. Roger Stupp, director of the University Hospital Cancer Center at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, who was the trial's principal investigator.
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- U.S. Lays Out Limits It Seeks in Iran Nuclear Talks - Michael R. Gordon
Iran has steadfastly refused to agree to a major reduction in centrifuges. Negotiators have been exploring a formula in which Iran could have as many as 4,500 first-generation centrifuges if it also agreed to ship much of its low-enriched uranium to Russia.
(New York Times)
See also Iran Reveals What the U.S. Is Demanding in Negotiations - Y. Mansharof and U. Kafash
On Nov. 18, Iran's Fars news agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), revealed what the American administration is demanding from Tehran in the nuclear negotiations. On the issue of uranium enrichment: Iran must cut to 500 kg. its reserves of uranium that it enriched to 3.5%, stop enriching uranium at the Fordow facility, and stop conducting tests of advanced-generation centrifuges. There is now an oral agreement that Iran may maintain a reserve of two metric tons of uranium enriched to 3.5% and that it may operate 4,700 first-generation centrifuges.
Iran must switch the heavy water reactor at Arak (the plutonium track) to a regular reactor generating power using enriched fuel (i.e., the uranium track), and may not conduct research on reusing spent nuclear fuel rods, which would allow it to develop a nuclear bomb on the plutonium track.
Iran must restrict the range of its missiles to a maximum of 150 km. Iran must join international nuclear conventions allowing snap inspections at every Iranian facility, including military ones.
The sanctions on Iran will be lifted gradually over a period of up to 30 years.
Tehran had rejected the proposal outright, calling it an American-Western plot aimed at dismantling the Iranian nuclear program. It should be noted that the Fars report may not be the final American text.
See also Iran Nuclear Talks Stuck, Deadline May Be Extended - Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi
A deadline for resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program may be extended from Monday until March because of sharp disagreements between Tehran and world powers, officials close to the talks said on Thursday.
- U.S. Lawmakers Warn Abbas: Curb Incitement or Risk American Aid
Top congressional appropriators wrote to PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to remind him that U.S. "aid is predicated on the Palestinian Authority's commitment to countering terrorism and pursuing a comprehensive peace with Israel....U.S. law also clearly stipulates that the Palestinian Authority must act to counter the incitement of violence against Israelis in order to continue receiving U.S. assistance."
The letter was signed by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), chairwoman of its foreign operations subcommittee.
The U.S. grants the PA $500 million in assistance annually.
- Syrian Islamists Attack Government-Held Town near Israel - Suleiman Al-Khalidi
About 2,000 fighters from al-Qaeda's Nusra Front and other insurgents attacked and briefly entered Baath City in southern Syria on Thursday, the Syrian army's last major bastion in Quneitra province flanking the Golan Heights along Israel's northeastern border. The insurgents were pushed back to the outskirts on Thursday, activists said.
Hundreds of Nusra fighters who fled from the eastern Deir al-Zor province after being driven out by Islamic State earlier this year have regrouped in southern Syria, boosting the rebel presence there, activists say.
Most of heavy weaponry and fighters in Quneitra province are drawn from hardline Islamist brigades such as Ahrar al-Sham and al-Muthana alongside Nusra.
They have eroded the dominance of the Western-backed rebels that control areas further southeast towards Deraa city and along the Jordanian border.
- Former Senior U.S. Officials Slam "Unjust Denial of Parole" for Jonathan Pollard
Eight former senior U.S. officials have written a letter to President Barack Obama that strongly protests the "unjust denial of parole" for Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen convicted of spying for Israel in 1985. The officials called the U.S. government's contention that Pollard's espionage "was the greatest compromise of U.S. security to that date" a "patently false claim."
The letter was signed by individuals with extensive first-hand knowledge of the Pollard case, including R. James Woolsey, former director of the CIA; Dennis DeConcini, former chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee; David F. Durenburger, also a former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Robert C. MacFarlane, former U.S. National Security Advisor; Lawrence J. Korb, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense; Prof. Angelo Codevilla, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer; Lee Hamilton, former chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence; and attorney Bernard W. Nussbaum, former White House counsel.
See also Former Senior U.S. Officials: Charge Used to Keep Pollard in Prison "Patently False"
Former senior U.S. officials said the Parole Commission relied on a "stale, largely discredited, 28-year-old classified memorandum written by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger" in making its decision.
"Mr. Weinberger himself discounted his original damage assessment of the Pollard case in a 2002 interview."
"It is clear that [Pollard's] sentence is far more severe than others in the U.S. convicted of the same offense. We are deeply troubled that his grossly disproportionate sentence is now continuing into a 30th year of incarceration, with no end in sight." (Ha'aretz)
See also Text of Letter on Pollard Parole (IMRA)
- Jury Trial Nears in Decade-Old Lawsuit over Palestinian Terrorist Attacks - Nate Raymond
U.S. victims of bombings and shootings in Jerusalem more than a decade ago have cleared a final hurdle to take the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization to trial in New York for supporting the attacks. U.S. District Judge George Daniels denied bids to dismiss the $1 billion lawsuit ahead of a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 12. The lawsuit under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act supports 11 families who say the PLO and PA provided material support and resources for seven separate attacks in Israel that killed and injured American citizens.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Hamas Planned RPG Attack on Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman - Gili Cohen
The members of a Hamas cell that planned to assassinate Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during the summer war with Hamas have been arrested and charged in a military court, the Israel Security Agency revealed on Thursday. The group planned to purchase a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher and attack the minister's car. Cell members had gathered intelligence about his movements and his security detail.
The cell was headed by Ibrahim Zir, 37, a senior Hamas activist from the village of Harmala, near Bethlehem, who previously served time in Israeli jails for membership in Hamas and subversive activity. Following the interrogation of the cell, another separate Hamas network was uncovered that was planning other attacks in the Gush Etzion area. (Ha'aretz)
See also Israel Nabs West Bank Terror Network "Commanded from Turkish Soil" - Avi Issacharoff
Israel has arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network operating throughout the West Bank in recent weeks who were planning a series of attacks against Israeli targets, senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel on Thursday. The network, they said, was funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey who have set up a de facto command center in the country.
As with a previous network uncovered in August, the man behind the terrorist group was Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas leader who was deported from the West Bank to Turkey in 2010. Arouri is reportedly aided by dozens of operatives, some of whom were deported by Israel in the wake of the Gilad Shalit prisoner deal in 2011.
Israeli officials accused Turkey as well as Qatar of enabling Hamas to operate freely within their territories to carry out attacks against Israel and undermine the PA.
(Times of Israel)
- Police Seize Weapons Disguised as Christmas Decorations Bound for East Jerusalem
Three Israeli Arabs from northern Israel are in custody after taking possession of two shipping containers full of fireworks, knives, swords and electroshock weapons shipped from China under the guise of Christmas decorations, Israel Police announced Thursday. In addition to 18,000 fireworks, including those that are restricted in Israel, the containers held 5,200 commando knives, 4,300 flashlights that can be used as electro-shockers, 5,500 Taser electro-shockers, and 1,000 swords. (Ha'aretz)
- Hamas Member Confessed to Ramming Vehicle into Three Soldiers - Gili Cohen
Hammam Masalma, 23, a Hamas member from the village of Beit Awwa near Hebron, has confessed that he deliberately struck and wounded three Israeli soldiers with his vehicle on Nov. 5 in Gush Etzion in the West Bank, and that it was not an accident, the Israel Security Agency said Thursday. Masalma said the incident was inspired by a similar attack in Jerusalem earlier that day, and confessed to planning other attacks.
Palestinians Attack Jerusalem Synagogue
- When "Rage" Is Policy - Editorial
There is something particularly horrifying about an attack inside a place of worship - and with hatchets, no less. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after prodding, condemned the attack, but also called for an end to Israeli "provocations" - a reference to disputes over access to Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is hard to fathom that level of hatred, but it is also hard to deny its existence - as U.S. foreign policy seems intent on doing. (Boston Herald)
- False Equivalence - Editorial
This administration, bolstered by Western media and a feckless United Nations, has promoted a false moral equivalence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Did they really expect to create a stable platform for diplomacy by elevating Palestinian leaders' hate-filled ambitions to parity with Israel's right to exist? Hasn't the U.S. learned by now that befriending terrorists doesn't make them friends?
Proponents of a two-state solution must acknowledge Palestinians might have already had their own nation-state had they laid down their weapons long ago. The surest way for peace to occur is for Palestinian leaders to choose it. Until then, there is no moral equivalence to Palestinian terrorism and bloodshed.
(Augusta [Ga.] Chronicle)
- Attacking a Synagogue Is No Way to Make a Lasting Peace - Editorial
The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue has rightly been condemned on all sides. There can be no excuse for the killing of civilians. The attack is, in every way, counterproductive because it does nothing to further the Palestinian cause.
- Hamas Endorses a Massacre - Jeffrey Goldberg
This is how a Hamas spokesman reacted to the massacre of Jews at prayer: "The new operation is heroic." Hamas' endorsement of the massacre confirms that its goal is the eradication of Israel and its Jews.
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called on his people to protect the Temple Mount and has warned of a "holy war" if it is "contaminated" by Jews." The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism. Abbas' belief that the presence of Jews "contaminates" the Mount speaks to his own susceptibility to Muslim supremacist ideology.
The events of the past couple of weeks in Jerusalem suggest that a core issue of the conflict remains the unwillingness of many Palestinian Muslims to accept the idea that Jews have rights in their ancestral homeland. And in the case of Hamas and like-minded groups, that Jews have a right to live. (Atlantic)
- Blaming Israel for Palestinian Violence Is Racist - Alan Johnson
Anti-Zionist ideology (a system of demonizing ideas and representations about Israel and the Jews) now exercises
profound influence in our culture. At the heart of the ideology is an often unconscious assumption about the natures of Israelis and Palestinians that warps our understanding of the conflict. Here it is: Palestinians (and Arabs in general) do not have agency and choice, and so cannot be held accountable and responsible. Israelis do and can; always, and exclusively.
Palestinians are understood as a driven people, dominated by circumstance and emotion, lacking choice, below the age of responsibility, never to be held accountable. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating, the root cause of everything, responsible for everything.
The Palestinians are affirmed as noble savages. It's a bit racist, to be honest. For example, the Liberal Democrat David Ward MP tweeted that the Palestinian synagogue terrorists had been "driven to madness" - which not only removes agency from them but also sanity.
This groupthink is the reason that parts of the media are reluctant to challenge the Palestinian national movement when it is guilty of rejectionism, terrorism, authoritarianism, corruption and the promotion of a vile culture of incitement, demonization and antisemitism. (Telegraph-UK)
- Politics Can't Explain the Israeli Synagogue Attack - Yishai Schwartz
In recent weeks, the usual hum of low-grade Palestinian incitement has been raised to a fever pitch. There have been allegations of murder and paranoid rumors of Israeli plans to dismantle Muslim sanctuaries.
The murder of Torah scholars is an attack on Jews more than Israel, and explaining it requires an understanding of hatred, not of politics. Rarely has it been clearer: these men were killed simply because they were Jews living in the land of Israel. (New Republic)
- Jews Bear the Brunt for Naive Hatred of Israel - Paul Sheehan
Tuesday's attack at a Jerusalem synagogue was the latest in a series of attacks on Jews by Palestinians in recent weeks, the same blood fever that has led hundreds of young men, and some young women, to travel from throughout the Muslim diaspora to join the butchery of Islamic State.
The core basis of hostility to Israel is a lack of acknowledgement that most of the constrictive actions Israel has taken in the Palestinian territories - the walls, roadblocks, security restrictions - have been in reaction to an intransigent Palestinian political culture.
When the Western media reports about Israel's continued building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, it rarely presents Israel's position that no new settlements have been allowed since 1999 and that all construction since 2004 has been within pre-existing settlement boundaries.
Israel's arguments are routinely greeted with eye-rolling cynicism, as if the Israelis are the bullies of the Middle East, rather than the only functional democracy in the region, the only place in the Middle East where Jews can live in safety. This moral relativism extends to endless rationalizations for the missteps by the Palestinians, the corruption, the internecine conflict, the state-sponsored racism, and the rocket attacks.
(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
- Stopping an Awakening in Iraq Before It Can Start - David Ignatius
A centerpiece of President Obama's strategy for defeating the Islamic State is mobilizing tribal fighters to join the Iraqi military in retaking Anbar province and others dominated by Sunnis. But new research shows that the jihadists have been working since 2009 to assassinate the very Sunni tribal leadership on which Obama's rollback depends - making the U.S. campaign much more difficult.
Research documenting the Islamic State's onslaught was compiled by Craig Whiteside, a former Army officer who fought in Iraq and now teaches at the Naval War College. By his count, at least 1,345 Awakening members have been killed in Iraq since 2009 by the Islamic State or its predecessor organizations.
- Arab States Voice Alarm Over Rebel Gains in Yemen - Jay Solomon
The capturing of Yemen's capital by a Shiite militia in September is stoking alarm in Arab capitals that Iran is using the conflict to widen its power in the Middle East, according to senior Arab and U.S. officials.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and other Persian Gulf states are concerned Washington is too preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq and its ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran to respond forcefully.
Washington has tracked a significant amount of Iranian arms support for a Yemeni rebel army known as the Houthis, which seized control of San'a, the capital, in September and have since entered into a power-sharing agreement with Yemen's government. Iranian officials and media personalities have made triumphant statements about the fall of San'a. (Wall Street Journal)
See also How Iran Views the Fall of Sana'a, Yemen: "The Fourth Arab Capital in Our Hands" - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- The Islamic State Has Made Violence Look Easy - Simon Cottee
Conventional wisdom holds that ISIS' savagery will be its undoing - that it will alienate ordinary Muslims. But ISIS' jihad isn't about winning hearts and minds. It is about breaking hearts and minds. ISIS doesn't want to convince its detractors and enemies. It wants to command them, if not destroy them altogether.
A Kurdish man fleeing ISIS told a British newspaper, "IS are animals. They're not human. They have a bloodlust the like of which I've never seen - it's as if they enjoy killing. They revel in cutting heads off - it's like their trademark."
This is now the dominant media narrative about the group and it's exactly the narrative ISIS wants to promote.
The writer is a senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Kent.
- If Palestine Is a State, How Can Palestinians Living in Palestine Be Refugees? - Einat Wilf and Jonathan Schanzer
Sweden has recognized the State of Palestine, saying it "fulfills the...criteria of international law: there is a territory, a people and a government." An estimated two million Palestinian refugees currently live in the West Bank and Gaza - the territory that Sweden recognizes as the State of Palestine. But how can they continue to be registered as "refugees from Palestine" - the country to which they demand to return - if a state already exists?
Is Sweden prepared to issue a clear statement that Palestinians living in Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) would no longer be recognized as "refugees"? Einat Wilf is a Senior Fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and an Adjunct Fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- European Academic Involvement in Occupied Territory - Eugene Kontorovich
While efforts by academic groups to impose boycotts on Israeli universities have gotten considerable attention, the widespread participation by mainstream universities in collaborations with institutions located in occupied territories has escaped notice.
Turkey has established 10 universities and many colleges in Northern Cyprus since seizing one third of the island in 1974. Yet universities in Northern Cyprus have won wide cooperation from institutions and academics elsewhere.
Professors from Ariel University in the West Bank were barred from mentioning their professional affiliations as a condition of participating in a conference this fall at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. Yet SOAS provided a special undergraduate course at the European University of Lefke, established by occupation authorities in Northern Cyprus.
Similarly, SOAS has held events with speakers from Turkish universities that have branches in occupied Cyprus. Indeed, British institutions are particularly active in Northern Cyprus because of Britain's history with the island. The writer is a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law.
(Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Modi Revives India-Israel Ties as Terrorism Threat Grows - N.C Bipindra and Natalie Obiko Pearson
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is openly boosting ties with Israel, strengthening a relationship that has largely grown outside of the public spotlight over the past two decades. Modi's public overtures to Israel since his Bharatiya Janata Party won a landslide election in May are bolstering a defense relationship as both countries face threats from Islamic terrorists. The previous Congress-led government kept ties with Israel quiet, partly over concerns it'd antagonize Muslim voters.
"The relationship is coming out of the closet," said Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "This is unquestionably the most pro-Israel government in India's history. It's one of the many signals of a more assertive India and one that takes terrorism very seriously." India has bought $662 million of Israeli arms since Modi took power six months ago.
While the U.S., Russia and European nations are likely to remain India's top suppliers of ships or aircraft, Israel's missile systems, surveillance, and ordnance systems are designed for the kind of threats posed by hostile neighbors and terrorists, according to Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific defense industry analyst for IHS Jane's.
- Israeli Drone Commander Took Life and Death Decisions in Gaza - David Blair
Major Yair, 31, one of Israel's most experienced drone commanders, served throughout the last three wars in Gaza. As the mission commander of a Heron TP drone, it fell to Major Yair (not his real name) to decide whether killing the human beings appearing on his computer screen would save more lives than leaving them unscathed. Today, 65% of Israel's military air operations are conducted by drones.
Major Yair stressed how he was constrained by rules of engagement designed to avoid innocent deaths. One sequence shot by a Heron showed four men preparing to launch a salvo of rockets under a screen of trees. Seconds later, the men were shown running to a nearby street filled with children. "They're untouchable now," he said. "It is sometimes frustrating because you feel that you're fighting with your hands tied. There are a lot of situations where you see your targets, but you will not engage because they're next to kindergartens, because they're driving with their wives and their kids." (Telegraph-UK)
- BDS Is Out of Step with Reality - Andrew Silow-Carroll
The most doctrinaire BDSers repel me because they refuse to support a two-state solution. "Moderates" in the movement invariably put all the blame and responsibility on Israel. The tendency to single out Israel is also suspicious. The list of countries with bitter ethnic conflicts - starting with China, Russia, and every Muslim country - is long and getting longer, and you seldom see boycotts aimed at any of them.
In the end, BDS is a terrible idea - not just for Israel, but for the Palestinians. Demonstrations against an Israeli dance company tell Palestinian nationalists that they have supporters abroad, but paint an exaggerated picture. The one-sided nature of BDS lulls Palestinians into thinking that time and momentum are on their side.
Israelis have made peace - with Egypt, with Jordan - when Arab leaders are willing to make bold conciliatory gestures that directly address Israeli fears. BDS sends Palestinians exactly the opposite message: Don't give up your maximalist dreams - Israel will collapse under the weight of negative world opinion. (New Jersey Jewish News)
Battle of Jerusalem: What Congress Should Do Now - Seth Lipsky (New York Post)
- Let the massacre of the rabbis in Israel serve as a wake-up call to the new Congress in January. Menachem Begin used to say that the status of Jerusalem can't be decided in the U.S. Congress. It has to be determined, and can only be won, by Israel. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan told me in the 1990s, that doesn't mean there's nothing Congress can do to help.
- Congress sought to force President Bill Clinton to move America's Israel embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 1995. At the last moment, Congress added into the law a waiver allowing the president to delay the move by six months at a time. The U.S. embassy is still in Tel Aviv.
- In 2002, Congress passed a law requiring the State Department to issue to an American child born in Jerusalem a passport saying he was born in Israel. The State Department - under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama - refused and the issue is before the Supreme Court.
- This is a fight Congress can take repeatedly to the State Department and to the UN, and to any other multilateral institutions that have anything to do with the Middle East. Congress can encourage Israel's expansion of housing in areas that will remain part of the Jewish state in any conceivable peace deal.
- Congress can pressure Jordan, which has control of the Temple Mount, and seek to force an end to the pact under which Jews walking near their holiest site are banned from praying, even by moving their lips in silent prayer.
- Congress can halt funding for America's separate consular mission in the eastern part of Jerusalem. That mission, a hotbed of anti-Israel activity, perpetuates Palestinian Arab hopes to repartition the city.
- Much can be done for the cause of peace as well as justice through a strong stand by Congress.
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