Israel Can Hack Advanced Hizbullah Rockets - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
Israel has the ability to hack advanced Hizbullah rockets to stop them from posing a threat, former IDF Brig.-Gen. Pinchas Barel Buchris said Wednesday at Tel Aviv University.
Although the majority of Hizbullah's 100,000 rockets are low-tech and cannot be hacked, its more powerful hi-tech rockets are vulnerable.
PA Targets Former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has frozen the bank accounts of former PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, accusing Fayyad of money laundering.
In the past, the main complaint against Fayyad was always his honesty. He actually fought against and reduced corruption. For the powers that be in Ramallah to accuse Fayyad of money laundering is absurd and disgusting, and no one is going to believe it.
Fayyad represents an independent voice, an alternative to Abbas' Fatah Party cronies.
Fayyad's NGO, "Future for Palestine," has had support from the UAE, with whom Abbas is feuding.
Members of Congress who appropriate money for the PA ought to let it know that this kind of tinpot dictatorship move won't be tolerated.
Palestinian ICC Submissions over Gaza Unlikely to Herald Progress - Thomas Escritt (Reuters)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki will hand evidence of alleged Israeli crimes in the West Bank and in the 2014 Gaza war to the International Criminal Court on Thursday, the Palestinian mission in The Hague said.
But the submissions will have no legal force and progress in the court's examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unlikely for many months.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has launched a preliminary inquiry into alleged crimes committed by all parties in last year's Gaza war.
Poll of U.S. Muslims Reveals Support for Supremacy of Shariah Courts (Center for Security Policy)
According to a new survey of 600 Muslims living in the U.S., 51% agreed that "Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah [Islamic law]."
Only 39% said that Muslims in the U.S. should be subject to American courts, while an earlier national survey of the general population found by a margin of 92%-2% that Muslims should be subject to the same courts as other citizens.
24% of the Muslims polled believed: "It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed."
19% of Muslims said that the use of violence is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in the U.S.
Study: German Schoolbooks Biased Against Israel - Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post)
German schoolbooks present Israel as an aggressive, warlike country while ignoring that the Jewish state is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, according to a new study by a joint Israeli-German commission reported on Monday by the daily Tagesspiegel.
The study examined 1,200 history, geography and social studies textbooks and found
"tendentious and one-sided photographic presentations" of Israeli soldiers inflicting violence on weak-appearing Palestinians.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Ex-Advisers Warn Obama that Iran Nuclear Deal May Fall Short of Standards for a Good Agreement - David E. Sanger
Five former members of President Obama's inner circle of Iran advisers have written an open letter expressing concern that a pending accord to stem Iran's nuclear program "may fall short of meeting the administration's own standard of a 'good' agreement" and laying out a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to in coming days for them to support a final deal.
Signatories include Dennis Ross, who oversaw Iran policy at the White House during the first Obama term; former CIA director
David Petraeus; Robert Einhorn, a State Department proliferation expert who helped devise and enforce the sanctions against Iran; Gary Samore, Obama's former chief adviser on nuclear policy; and Gen. James E. Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (New York Times)
See also below Observations: Bipartisan Statement on U.S. Policy toward the Iran Nuclear Negotiations (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Pro-Israel Lobby Prepares to Battle over Iran Deal - Eli Lake
As U.S. and Iranian negotiators approach the June 30 deadline to reach a nuclear deal, AIPAC, America's largest pro-Israel lobby, is campaigning to kill such an accord in Congress. Since last month, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has mobilized its members to press legislators to endorse five principles for a nuclear deal that are almost certain not to be reflected in a final agreement.
See also below Observations: Five Principles for a Good Nuclear Deal with Iran (AIPAC)
- Israel Links Ratifying Nuclear Test Ban to Iran Ties
Israel wants Iranian recognition before it ratifies the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Merav Zafary-Odiz, Israel's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna, said Wednesday. Israel has signed but not ratified the treaty. "Iran does not recognize Israel....How can any country be expected to join an arms control arrangement with a country that doesn't even recognize its right to exist?" she told Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- U.S. Congress Passes Landmark Anti-BDS Law - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
Congress passed a trade bill containing provisions opposing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel on Wednesday. The bill requires U.S. negotiators to make rejection of BDS a principal trade objective in negotiations with the EU in order to discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities.
"The recent wave of boycotts originating in Europe...demands a robust response from the United States. This is that response," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). "If you want free trade with the United States, you can't boycott Israel." (Times of Israel)
- Israel: PA Refusing to Cooperate on Easing Palestinian Travel Restrictions for Ramadan - Daniel Bernstein
Israel on Wednesday accused the Palestinian Authority of hindering efforts to relax restrictions on the movement of Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli authorities had agreed to permit West Bank residents to take direct buses from Palestinian cities to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem with only minimal security screening. But, according to a senior Israeli security official, the Palestinians were not cooperating with the agreed process and were preventing worshipers from entering into Israel in an orderly way. Nevertheless, 48,000 Palestinians from the West Bank visited Al-Aqsa last Friday, compared to a few thousand on an average Friday.
On Wednesday, the IDF announced it was revoking permits for 500 Palestinians from Gaza to enter Jerusalem because of rocket fire at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday.
(Times of Israel)
- U.S. Should Not Be Swayed by Khamenei's Nuclear Threats - Editorial
The speech delivered Tuesday by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spelled out conditions that would make an accord impossible, short of a complete capitulation by the U.S. He rejected a long-term limitation of Iran's uranium enrichment, curbs on its research and development, and international inspections of military facilities, and he said all U.S. and UN sanctions must be lifted "immediately after the signing of the agreement."
It's possible that the ayatollah's speech was a bluff intended to improve Iran's bargaining position. A more disturbing possibility is that Iran's ruler is setting the precedent for disregarding a deal sometime after it is concluded and after the regime pockets the tens of billions of dollars in immediate financial relief it could receive. Whatever the case, the Obama administration must resist the temptation to respond with eleventh-hour concessions.
Throughout the Iran negotiations, Mr. Obama has insisted that he is ready to walk away rather than accept a bad deal. In light of the Khamenei speech, the White House must be ready to act on that threat. (Washington Post)
See also Ayatollah Khamenei's Fateful Choice - Editorial
The latest comments by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are at odds with a framework agreement reached on April 2. Khamenei's public demands in reopening settled commitments will undercut rather than strengthen the hands of his negotiators. Of course, it's also possible that he now has no intention of accepting any nuclear agreement with the West.
(New York Times)
- The UN's Israel Inquisition - Editorial
The UN Human Rights Council's report on last summer's war between Israel and its terrorist enemies in Gaza purports to be even-handed by citing both Israel and Hamas for possible war crimes and violations of international law. Yet the report is fundamentally an anti-Israel document. The bias begins with a preposterous claim that Israel continues to "occupy" Gaza, despite its 2005 withdrawal, on the theory that Israel has the capacity "to send troops within a reasonable time to make its power felt." By that standard, the U.S. occupies Canada. (Wall Street Journal)
- Is It "OK to Drop a One-Ton Bomb in the Middle of a Neighborhood" if You're at War? - David Bernstein
Mary McGowan Davis, who headed the UN commission that investigated last summer's Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, told Ha'aretz: "It is not OK to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood." Yet if the rule was "you may never bomb in a residential neighborhood if civilian casualties may result, regardless of the value of the military target," it's pretty obvious what would happen - enemy forces would simply plant themselves in residential neighborhoods, knowing they would be immune from attack. So, for example, Hamas could launch all the missiles it wanted at Israel from the middle of Gaza City, and use apartment buildings, schools, etc. as staging grounds and headquarters, and Israel would be helpless to respond.
Surely it can't be the rule that if you're at war and there are high-value military targets in a civilian neighborhood, you are absolutely forbidden from using "explosive weapons" against them. (And it's not like the alternative, sending in ground forces to fight house-to-house, is likely to result in fewer overall civilian casualties than precision bombing campaigns.)
Has any country actually adopted such a policy? Would the public of any country stand for its leaders adopting such a policy, exposing the country's own population to attack while their own military stands down?
The writer is a professor at the George Mason University School of Law.
Bipartisan Statement on U.S. Policy toward the Iran Nuclear Negotiations (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
See also Five Principles for a Good Nuclear Deal with Iran (American Israel Public Affairs Committee-AIPAC)
- The emerging agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran's nuclear enrichment infrastructure. It does not address Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its interventions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, its ballistic missile arsenal, or its oppression of its own people.
- The emerging nuclear agreement must provide the following:
- Monitoring and Verification: The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must have timely and effective access to any sites in Iran they need to visit in order to verify Iran's compliance with the agreement. Iran must not be able to deny or delay timely access to any site anywhere.
- Possible Military Dimensions: The IAEA inspectors must be able, in a timely and effective manner, to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran's past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities. This work needs to be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief.
- Advanced Centrifuges: The agreement must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment in the first ten years, and preclude the rapid technical upgrade and expansion of Iran's enrichment capacity after the initial ten-year period.
- Sanctions Relief: Relief must be based on Iran's performance of its obligations. Suspension or lifting of the most significant sanctions must not occur until the IAEA confirms that Iran has taken the key steps required to come into compliance with the agreement. Non-nuclear sanctions (such as for terrorism) must remain in effect and be vigorously enforced.
- Consequences of Violations: The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access.
- Congress must continue to insist on a good deal that eliminates every Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon. When reviewing the deal, Congress must ensure that each of the following five minimum criteria is met:
- Inspections and Verification -
Inspectors must be granted unimpeded access to suspect sites for "anytime, anywhere" inspections, including all military facilities.
- Possible Military Dimensions -
Iran must completely explain its prior weaponization efforts. Otherwise, it will be impossible to establish a baseline to measure Iran's true capabilities and future actions.
- Sanctions -
Sanctions relief must only begin after the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies that Iran has complied with its commitments under the agreement.
- Duration -
A deal must last for decades to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear threshold state with a virtually instant breakout time after 12 or 13 years.
- Dismantlement -
Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure such that it has no path to a nuclear weapon.
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