Iran: Foreigners Never Allowed to Visit Our Military Centers (Fars-Iran)
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brig.-Gen. Massoud Jazzayeri said on Sunday:
"We reiterate that the permission will definitely never be issued for any kind of access to the military centers, even if it runs counter to the acceptance of the additional protocol (to the NPT)....No protocol should disturb our country's national security."
Top Iranian General Killed in Syria - Sam Wilkin (Reuters)
Hadi Kajbaf, a major general in the Revolutionary Guards, was killed in Syria near Busr al-Harir, about 100 km. south of Damascus, the Guards-linked Tasnim agency reported on Friday.
Kajbaf was killed in April and his body was taken by the rebels. It was not clear how Iran had obtained the body, which was to be flown to Iran on Friday.
Israel Asks U.S. to Increase Aid to Druze in Syria - Amos Harel and Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
Israel asked visiting chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to increase U.S. aid to the Druze in Syria, where they are under attack from Sunni rebels.
Druze leaders in Israel recently appealed to the political and military leadership in Israel to help their brethren in Syria after a massacre took place in a Druze village in northern Syria last Wednesday.
See also Syria's Nusra Front Expresses Regret for Killing of Druze (AP-Ha'aretz)
In a statement posted on the Internet Saturday, the Nusra Front said members who participated in the killing of 20 Druze villagers in northern Syria last Wednesday acted in violation of orders and would face trial before an Islamic court and be punished.
Refusal to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital - Dror Eydar (Israel Hayom)
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling means that the U.S. does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Refusal to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people does not hurt us. A child knows exactly who his mother is, even if others don't acknowledge her identity.
Palestinian Who Threw Firebomb at Jeep Killed - Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy (Ynet News)
An Israeli army jeep struck and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian near Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday after he threw a firebomb at it.
A military spokeswoman said, "The driver was startled and swerved, hitting the man."
Video: Who Is Guilty of War Crimes in the Gaza War?
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Israel is accused of a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks. Is this accusation true?
How does Israel compare to other military forces fighting asymmetrical wars?
Facebook Photo of Israeli Soldier Pointing Gun at Palestinian Youth Was Staged - David Daoud (Algemeiner)
A photo circulating on Facebook showing an IDF soldier aiming his rifle at the neck of a Palestinian youth was staged, Israel Channel 2 news reported on Sunday.
A follow up-picture shows the pair standing together for a selfie shortly after the initial photo.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Says War in Gaza Was Moral and Deaths Are the Fault of Hamas - William Booth
Israeli officials issued a broad defense Sunday over how their country waged the war in Gaza last summer, making a case that Israel sought to minimize civilian casualties as the Islamist movement Hamas put its people in the line of fire and cynically used the ensuing death and destruction to stoke anti-Israel propaganda. The Israeli report is timed to preempt the imminent release of a critical report by the UN Human Rights Council on the Gaza war. Dore Gold, the new director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the war against Hamas was forced upon Israel by Hamas rocket fire aimed at Israeli civilian centers, which he called an obvious war crime. (Washington Post)
See also Israeli Report on 2014 Gaza War Accuses Hamas of War Crimes - Barak Ravid
The Israel Foreign Ministry's report on the 2014 Gaza War rejects claims that Israel committed war crimes during the fighting in Gaza, and accuses Hamas and other terrorist groups of committing war crimes and violating international law. The report includes declassified intelligence which proves that Hamas' strategy was to pull fighting into settled, urban areas and use the local Gazan population as human shields.
The report describes incidents in which Hamas terrorists pretended to be civilians, and lists examples of Hamas command posts being set up in civilians' homes, the use of mosques as sniper posts, and using schools to store weapons. It mentions cases in which Hamas forced civilians to ignore IDF warnings and remain in the vicinity of fighting. "These terrorist groups' activities constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of international law." (Ha'aretz)
See also Netanyahu: Israel Operates in Accordance with International Law
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "The report presents the background to Operation Protective Edge as well as the goals of the operation and includes a number of chapters on the war crimes that were perpetrated by Hamas and the other terrorist organizations during the operation, terrorist threats to Israel's citizens and the State of Israel's efforts to defend its citizens, IDF conduct during the operation with emphasis on the various steps that were taken in accordance with the rules of international law, the steps that were taken to minimize injury to the civilian population, and the system that has been in place since the end of the operation to inquire into and investigate claims regarding seeming violations of the laws of war by IDF soldiers."
"The report proves unequivocally that the actions carried out by the IDF and the security forces during the operation were in accordance with international law....Israel is a democracy and a moral country with values, which operates in accordance with international law." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also below Observations - The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Orange CEO Tells Netanyahu Firm Will Deepen Israel Ties - Dan Williams
Stephane Richard, the chief executive of French telecoms group Orange, told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday he profoundly regretted remarks he made last week which he said were misinterpreted to make it sound as if he supported a boycott of Israel. (Reuters)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: World Powers Accelerating Concessions to Iran as Nuclear Deadline Approaches - Barak Ravid
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "Iran has backed away from the agreements apparently reached in Lausanne. Unfortunately, the reports that have reached us from the world powers show that they are accelerating their concessions to Iran. Every day, this deal looks worse. It isn't too late to pull together and reject this bad deal, and to demand a better deal." (Ha'aretz)
- U.S. Trade Bill Seeks to Halt Boycotts of Israel - Yitzhak Benhorin
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a measure in a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Europe which would obligate EU countries to refrain from any kind of boycotts on Israeli goods. The measure would require the government to fight governments, international organizations, companies, and individuals working to boycott Israel.
- Preventing Iran's Nuclear Checkmate - Avner Golov
Iran's stated opposition to comprehensive inspections on military sites reflects a sophisticated strategy aimed to undermine the most important basis for the American policy in the post-nuclear agreement world. The Supreme Leader has been very vocal in rejecting inspections on Iran's military sites as part of a final agreement.
Iran's first goal was to secure Iran's right to enrich uranium despite five UN Security Council Resolutions that reject it, and achieved this goal in the interim agreement on November 2013. Iran's second objective was to avoid shutting down its enrichment sites and reactors, keeping its capability to rehabilitate its nuclear program in a relatively short time, which it achieved in the Lausanne declaration. The last move in the Iranian strategy is to take the edge off the inspection regime.
Intrusive inspections are fundamental to deter Iran from violating the agreement, detect an Iranian violation, and provide the international community sufficient time to respond. The Iranian Supreme Leader understands that, which is why he is now pushing America to make concessions over the final details of the inspections. Thus, the battle over the international inspections is the battle over the entire negotiations.
After the Lausanne declaration, President Obama noted that a nuclear deal with Iran "is not based on trust. It's based on unprecedented verification." U.S. negotiators should therefore ensure that any final agreement with Iran contains an unprecedented monitoring system that is able to verify Iran's compliance with the agreement and detects any violations.
This authority should extend to Iran's military sites where Iran's most suspicious activities in the past have taken place.
The writer is a researcher at the Center for a New American Security and a research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies.
- BDS: Is Anti-Israel Boycott Good News for Palestinians? - Christa Case Bryant
Palestinians engaging with Israelis - in business, sports, culture, and dialogue to address the conflict - are increasingly being pressured to quit. They are branded negatively as "normalizers" or even traitors, and some have received death threats.
Leslie Ordeman, press attache for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, says, "The anti-normalization movement feels almost Orwellian. It effectively cuts off any type of interaction between average Palestinians and average Israelis....There is no room to engage with anyone who might actually need to be convinced." (Christian Science Monitor)
See also Activists Stop Israeli-Palestinian Conference in Jerusalem
A group of Palestinian activists on Friday stopped a conference organized by the "Creativity for Peace" group in east Jerusalem from going ahead after accusing it of contributing to "normalization" with Israel. Creativity for Peace is a non-profit organization that works with young Israeli and Palestinian women on "collaborative leadership and peacemaking." (Ma'an News-PA)
The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
See also Ex-Generals: IDF's "Scrupulous Adherence" to Laws of War Cost Israeli Lives (Friends of Israel Initiative-UN Watch)
- Hamas and other terrorist organizations launched more than 4,000 rockets and mortars during the 2014 Gaza conflict which were deliberately directed at Israel's civilian population. The intent to target Israel's civilians was clearly shown both by the sheer volume of projectiles aimed at civilian areas, as well as by official Hamas statements such as, "our missiles accurately target the homes of the Israelis and the Zionists."
- Some 550 rockets and mortars were identified as being launched from within or near "sensitive sites" such as schools, UN facilities, hospitals, and places of worship. The range of these rockets covered more than 70% of Israel's civilian population, bringing the hostilities to the entire country. By deliberately targeting Israeli cities and the civilian population, as part of a widespread and systematic policy, Hamas and other terrorist organizations violated the Law of Armed Conflict and committed war crimes
and crimes against humanity.
- On four different occasions, armed Hamas militants, in some cases disguised as IDF soldiers, emerged from cross-border assault tunnels into Israeli territory, leaving nearby residents in constant fear of sudden attack. The militants of Hamas and other terrorist organizations frequently disguised themselves as civilians when carrying out attacks, a tactic that often directly violated international law. Furthermore, this tactic also made it possible for Hamas to depict militant fatalities as civilian.
- The extent of civilian casualties has been substantially overstated in certain reports about the 2014 Gaza conflict. Many of the purported
civilian casualties claimed were not, in fact, civilians. Palestinian civilians and property in Gaza were directly harmed by the hundreds of rockets and mortars that fell short after being launched by Hamas and other terrorist
organizations towards Israeli civilians. Likewise, what may appear to have been damage to ostensibly civilian structures in Gaza was in fact often
the result of the detonation of booby-trapped structures or improvised explosive devices placed by Palestinian militants within civilian areas.
- Of the Palestinians killed in the course of the 2014 Gaza conflict, 936 have been identified as militants and 761 as uninvolved civilians. Of the additional unidentified 428 males between the ages of 16-50, it is highly probable that some of these individuals were involved in combat against Israel.
- A multinational group of senior officers, including the former Chiefs of Staff of Germany, Italy and Spain, visited Israel on May 18-22, 2015, for a fact-finding mission on the 2014 Gaza conflict. While Israel made repeated efforts to terminate the fighting, the war that it was eventually compelled to fight was a legitimate war, necessary to defend its citizens and its territory against sustained attack from beyond its borders.
- None of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the IDF last summer to protect the lives of the Palestinian civilian population. In some cases, the IDF declined to attack known military targets due to the presence of civilians, risking, and in some instances costing, Israeli lives. We believe that in general Israeli forces acted proportionately as required by the laws of armed conflict and often went beyond the required legal principles.
- The measures Israel took to reduce the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza were often far in excess of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and they sometimes placed Israeli lives at risk. To an extent these steps also undermined the effectiveness of the IDF's operations by pausing military action and thus allowing Hamas to re-group and replenish. Supplies provided to the civilian population by Israel were often commandeered by Hamas for military use.
- Hamas and its terrorist associates, as the aggressors and the users of human shields, are responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths in Gaza this summer. Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard. In some cases Israel's scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers' and civilians' lives.
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