Episcopalians Say No to Israel Divestment, for Now - Rick Gladstone (New York Times)
The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, at the church's convention in Salt Lake City on Thursday, rejected a resolution that would have divested its holdings in companies that do not withdraw operations from the territories.
The resolution also would have obliged church members to boycott products from Israeli settlements.
See also Mennonites Delay Israel Divestment Vote (AP)
Delegates at a national meeting of the Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City, Missouri, voted 418-336 to table a resolution on divesting from companies with business tied to the territories until their next assembly two years from now, a church spokeswoman said Thursday.
U.S. Drone Strike Kills Senior Islamic State Militant - Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
A senior Islamic State fighter from Tunisia who oversaw recruitment of foreign fighters to be suicide bombers has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Syria, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Tariq bin Tahar al-'Awni al-Harzi, 33, helped raise money for Islamic State and oversaw efforts to bring in foreign fighters from Europe.
His brother, Ali, killed in a separate missile strike in Iraq disclosed last week, was suspected of a role in the 2012 attack on U.S. posts in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador.
Senior Israeli Officer Kills Palestinian Attacker in West Bank (Times of Israel)
Muhammad al-Kasbeh, 17, who attacked a military jeep with stones, shattering the windshield, in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, was shot by the commander of the Benjamin Brigade, Col. Yisrael Shomer, who was traveling in the vehicle.
"The troops were on a standard patrol when the suspect approached the vehicle, throwing stones and boulders at it and damaging it," the IDF said.
"The forces exited the vehicle, called for the suspect to stop and fired a warning shot into the air. The suspect did not stop and continued hurling rocks at close range."
"The forces, fearing for their lives, then shot at the suspect, who was injured and taken to the hospital in Ramallah."
Execution Video Shows ISIS Drowning Prisoners Accused of Spying (Syrian Observer-Al-Hadath-Lebanon)
A video depicting the drowning of five people in the Iraqi city of Mosul by ISIS was released online.
A masked man leads the five victims, charged with espionage, into an iron cage, which is then lifted into a swimming pool by a crane, as two cameras film the suffering of the people underwater.
Hizbullah Operative Planning Attacks on Jewish Targets Sentenced in Cyprus (Reuters)
Hizbullah operative Hussein Bassam Abdallah, 26, was sentenced in Cyprus on Monday to six years in prison for planning to target Jewish and Israeli targets with explosives.
Cypriot authorities arrested him in May after finding 8.2 tons of ammonium nitrate in a home in Larnaca.
Abdallah, a dual Lebanese-Canadian citizen, confessed to being a member of Hizbullah.
Israel Knew of Tunnels from Gaza - Yossi Melman (Jerusalem Post)
The claim that Israeli intelligence did not know about the tunnels Hamas had dug under the border with Gaza is not true.
Based on military sources, this writer wrote in October 2013 - nine months before the 2014 Gaza war - that Hamas had built 20-30 tunnels leading in the direction of Israel.
Israel Is the Original Startup and Was Built with a Crowdfunding Campaign - David Gilbert (International Business Times-UK)
"Israel is a country which in its own way is a start-up," said Israel's ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub.
"It started out as a group of relatively young people who had this idea of creating this state for all sorts of very important reasons."
"They did what we might call a crowdfunding exercise to get support from around the world."
Israel's Elbit Systems Wins $150M Benelux Contract - Tova Cohen
Israeli defense electronics firm Elbit Systems Ltd. said on Thursday a subsidiary won a contract worth $150 million from the Dutch Ministry of Defense to supply advanced systems for infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries.
The Smart Vest program will provide ground soldiers with a lightweight system to enhance survivability and safety while increasing their capabilities in the digital battlefield.
The program will include wearable, protective systems for the soldier, command and control systems, specialized displays and vehicle systems.
Israel Signs $111M Deal to Upgrade Argentinean Tanks (JTA)
Argentina's army signed a $111 million contract with Israel to upgrade 74 tanks made in Argentina.
Britain Approves Arms Deals with Israel - Cahal Milmo (Independent-UK)
The UK gave the go-ahead last year for dozens of military exports to Israel, including components for drones and air-to-surface missiles.
Other items included components for military radars, submarines and jet engines, as well as components for military pilots' head-up displays and military combat vehicles.
36 further export licenses were granted for British components sent to destinations including Germany, Italy and the U.S. for incorporation into weaponry which was then to be sold to Israel.
Ministers have previously defended Britain's exports to Israel by saying the country has a right to self-defense.
Jerusalem Couple Discovers 2,000-Year-Old Ritual Bath Under Their Living Room - Itay Blumenthal (Ynet News)
Renovations in a Jerusalem home recently uncovered an ancient mikve (ritual bath) dating from the Second Temple Period, believed to be over 2,000 years old.
Pottery and pieces of stone tools common in the Second Temple Period were found in the mikve, which is carved in stone.
Sir Nicholas Winton, 106, Saved 669 Jewish Children - Barry Davis (Jerusalem Post)
Sir Nicholas Winton, who died in Maidenhead, England, this week at the age of 106, saved hundreds of Jewish refugee children from Czechoslovakia in 1939.
The then 29-year-old stockbroker had been looking forward to spending his Christmas 1938 break skiing in Switzerland when he received a phone call from an old friend, Martin Blake, who was in Prague as an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia, asking Winton to lend a helping hand.
Winton immediately set up a makeshift office in his hotel room in Prague and began receiving parents who were desperate to get their children to the safety of Britain - the only country willing to take in Jewish children from Nazi-ruled countries.
Winton applied to the Home Office in Britain for visas for the children, and when the infamous British red tape slowed things down he had the requisite papers forged. Eventually 669 children got out.
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- Iran Takes Hard Line on Inspections, Sanctions at Nuke Talks - Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee
Iran took a hard line Thursday in talks on a nuclear accord, rejecting any extraordinary inspection rules and threatening to ramp up enrichment of bomb-making material if the U.S. re-imposes sanctions after the deal is in place. (AP)
- Israel Says Hamas Linked to IS Assault on Egyptians
IDF Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai told Al-Jazeera on Thursday:
"In the latest attacks Hamas gave support with weapons and organization to groups supporting IS. We have examples of Hamas commanders who actively took part in such support. Wael Faraj, a battalion commander in the military wing of Hamas, smuggled wounded from Sinai into Gaza. Abdallah Qishta, a senior Hamas military instructor, trained operatives of the Sinai Province organization" (the Egyptian affiliate of IS). (AFP)
See also Israel Prime Minister Offers Condolences over Sinai Attacks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday: "We see in front of our eyes IS acting with extraordinary cruelty both at our northern border and at our southern border. Our hearts are with the Egyptian people; we send our condolences to the Egyptian government and the families of those who were killed in battle with the cruel terror." (AP-ABC News)
- Arabs Fleeing Islamic State Upset Kurdistan's Ethnic Balance - Yaroslav Trofimov
Ever since Islamic State surged through Iraq's Sunni belt last summer, some 30,000 Arab Iraqis have moved to the Kurdish town of Shaqlawa, normally home to 25,000 residents. In all, more than 1.5 million people from elsewhere in Iraq have sought refuge in the Kurdistan region, with more arriving each day.
For a region with a population of 5.2 million, this is a huge demographic transformation. In addition to putting an enormous strain on public resources, the influx of Arab Iraqis threatens to reshape Kurdistan's very identity and to undermine the goal of establishing an independent state.
Rizgar Nasir, Shaqlawa's mayor, noted: "When we resisted ISIS, these Arab people didn't fight and escaped. Now, our Peshmerga [soldiers] are being martyred on the front lines every day, making sacrifices to protect these Arabs who are all staying here instead of fighting against ISIS themselves." (Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Is Egypt Losing Its War Against ISIS in Sinai? - Yossi Melman
Israeli intelligence sources estimate that the ISIS-affiliated Sinai Province numbers several hundred trained and armed operatives, as well as a similar number of collaborators. Most of them are local Bedouin, some of them from the Tarabin tribe which resides in north Sinai and has dealt in drug and weapons smuggling as well as human trafficking in recent years.
The Egyptian army has achieved relative quiet in central and southern Sinai after winning the loyalty of several tribal leaders in these areas through bribery, threats and punishment. However, the problem has persisted in north Sinai.
See also Biggest Battle in Sinai Since the 1973 War - Roi Kais and Yoav Zitun
In the IS attack in Sinai on Wednesday, security sources said 64 Egyptian soldiers were killed and 55 wounded. Some ISIS fighters were disguised as soldiers and wore Egyptian military uniforms.
See also Terror Escalation in Egypt - Yoni Ben Menachem
In recent months, Egyptian President Sisi has reinforced the Sinai front with additional army units and senior commanders experienced in fighting terror. Photographs released by the Egyptian military shows dead ISIS fighters all in uniforms and fully outfitted with military gear. Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that terrorists who infiltrated from Gaza through tunnels participated in the July 1 attacks against the Egyptian army.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Ya'alon: Terror Wave Result of PA Incitement, Iranian Funds - Shlomo Cesana and Daniel Siryoti
"The terrorist attacks over the past two weeks, Palestinian attacks, are the result of incitement, which has increased over Ramadan [the Muslim holy month]," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday. "Unfortunately, the atmosphere during Ramadan is one where incitement is not directed solely against the State of Israel and Jews, but also against the West. In the Palestinian arena, this leads to stabbing and shooting attacks."
"There's Iranian funding. [Ayatollah] Khamenei has declared that terrorists in Judea and Samaria must be funded and armed," he added. "There's also a push from Turkey, by Hamas headquarters, which relocated to Istanbul from Damascus - it's interesting how a NATO member allows terrorist headquarters to operate on its soil - and by Gaza, of course, where Hamas is naturally active and trying to have more of an impact on terrorist activity across Judea and Samaria." (Israel Hayom)
- Diplomats Urged to Reject UN Gaza Report - Gil Hoffman
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday sent a letter condemning the UN Human Rights Council's report on the 2014 Gaza war to ambassadors from 30 countries on the council, stressing that when it comes to security issues, there is no coalition or opposition in Israel.
"It is time to draw a clear line in the sand in the campaign against Israel," Lapid said. "This report and the farcical process accompanying it are just another step in the attempts to destroy the State of Israel by diplomatic means. Those who stand behind the ongoing campaign of delegitimization are not seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel but a Palestinian state instead of Israel, or rather on the ashes of Israel."
"This report undermines the legitimacy of sovereign states to defend themselves against an enemy that has no respect for international law," Lapid wrote. "During Operation Protective Edge the IDF did more than any military in history to protect innocent civilians. I sat in the Security Cabinet as we spent numerous hours discussing ways to reduce civilian casualties against an enemy who intentionally placed women and children in harm's way and used them as human shields." (Jerusalem Post)
- Iran's Intentions: In Defense of Pessimism - Jeffrey Herf
Since 1979, the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have said many despicable things about the State of Israel, including that they want to see what they call a "cancer" removed from the Middle East. In Washington and the capitals of Europe, we are told that our fears are misplaced and even a bit hysterical. The Iran debate is about whether the leaders of the U.S. government actually believe that the Iranian leaders believe what they say again and again, or whether our leaders assume Iran's rulers are as cynical and as rational as all other leaders who understand that using nuclear weapons brings with it a very high risk of committing national suicide. At its core, the debate about Iran is one about how we interpret the core beliefs of the Iranian regime.
The issue is whether the Iranian regime will use nuclear weapons in the future to attack the State of Israel and, for that matter, perhaps the U.S. as well. Though Hitler is dead and Nazi Germany is gone, the problem of underestimating the role of ideology in politics remains very much with us.
Taking the ideas of others seriously manifests our desire to avoid the condescension inherent in the belief that others don't really mean what they say. It is to acknowledge that others have beliefs that guide actions. We have no excuse for repeating the blunders of the past or for reassuring ourselves optimistically that things will turn out for the best.
The writer is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland.
- Caving In to Iran - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
The Americans are much more eager to reach a deal than the Iranians.
The U.S. is no longer operating under Secretary of State John Kerry's 2013 declaration that "no deal is better than a bad deal." The belief now is that any deal is better than no deal. To this end the U.S. is willing to compromise on nearly all of the West's demands. Iran's leaders understand this and they have no qualms about raising the stakes. The writer, former Israeli National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council, served 36 years in senior IDF posts.
- Iran's Dubious Track Record - Behnam Ben Taleblu
While negotiating with the IAEA, Iran's half-truths, delayed admissions of illicit activity, and lags in allowing inspectors' visits entrapped inspectors in a bureaucratic rigmarole. For example, Iranian authorities initially claimed that
Kalaye Electric, a centrifuge R&D firm, was private, unrelated to Iran's atomic industry. However, Kalaye was chaired by the then-head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. In February 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Kalaye over its role in Iran's centrifuge program.
Earlier, Iran had remodeled Kalaye and told the IAEA the plant was a "watch factory." In August 2003 the IAEA was finally allowed to take environmental samples, showing high- and low-enriched uranium particles.
The writer is an Iran research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Why Flotillas Sail to Gaza, Not Syria - Jonathan S. Tobin
The latest publicity stunt by pro-Palestinian activists ended harmlessly as the Israel Navy intercepted a ship off the coast of Gaza that was attempting to break the blockade. But, like previous Gaza flotillas, the effort has little to do with the plight of the people of Gaza and everything to do with the long war being waged to end Israel's existence. More to the point, the continued focus on Gaza by those calling themselves advocates for human rights at the very moment that a genuine human catastrophe is occurring inside Syria without much of response from the international community tells us all we need to know about the Israel-bashers.
While the situation in Gaza isn't pleasant, the popular notion of a humanitarian crisis there is a myth. That's because there is no shortage of food or medicine. It is true that there is a shortage of building materials because most of the concrete brought into Gaza is being used for tunnels or elaborate fortifications. Those who want to help Gazans need to think of ways to free them from the despotic control of Hamas, which executes its enemies without mercy and represses every kind of free expression as it enforces its ruthless Islamist ideas on the population.
- Does Israel Actually Occupy Gaza? - Ruth Eglash
The UN calls Gaza occupied territory, saying it does not matter that Israeli soldiers are not based inside the strip; they have "effective control." Israelis, however, argue that their withdrawal from Gaza 10 years ago means that the enclave is not occupied. In 2005, Israel dismantled 21 Jewish settlements, pulled troops out, and handed the area over to the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas took over Gaza by ousting its rivals by force in 2007. Israel says that tight border control with Gaza is essential because of threats from Hamas, which is seen as a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the EU. Egypt also tightly controls its border with Gaza.
Israel Ziv, who headed the Israel Defense Forces' Operations Directorate, says Israel does not occupy Gaza any more than the Egyptians are occupying Gaza. "Israel does not have any involvement at all in the day-to-day running of Gaza." "Although there is no formal arrangement, Israel opens the border every day, allowing the flow of raw materials, humanitarian aid, food and anything that cannot be used for military purposes." (Washington Post)
- The Next Time Hamas Fires Rockets at Tel Aviv, Should Israel Call the UN? - Robert Fulford
Hamas, the gang that controls Gaza and hopes to destroy Israel, randomly sends missiles across the border.
It spends a fortune digging tunnels under the border to Israel and places artillery on top of apartment buildings and beside schools.
Hamas built a military command center underneath Shifa hospital, which Israel built for the Gaza population.
Last week a UN committee passed judgement on last summer's Hamas-Israel war with a document that said both sides made war in ways that could amount to war crimes. It didn't say much about who started the war (Hamas). Nor did it say what Israel should do the next time unguided missiles fired from a housing complex begin falling on Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Call the UN? (National Post-Canada)
- The Palestinian Case Against BDS - Bassem Eid
As a Palestinian dedicated to working for peace and reconciliation between my people and our Israeli neighbors, I do not believe that the BDS advocates are helping our cause. On the contrary, they are just creating more hatred, enmity, and polarization.
Recently, when I was asked to talk at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, my talk was disrupted by students wearing BDS T-shirts. They interrupted me and did not allow me to continue speaking, and in the end the event had to be abandoned. As a human rights activist, I am used to hostile reactions from those who disagree with my standpoint. However, even in my own country, I have never witnessed the kind of raw hatred and sheer unreasoning aggression that confronted me on this occasion.
There is no connection between the tactics and objectives of the BDS movement and the on-the-ground realities of the Middle East. Most Palestinians continue to buy Israeli goods. The focus of PA leaders is on enriching themselves and their families, rather than uplifting their own people.
The Palestinians are tired of the peace process. Both sides have learned to manage the conflict, rather than solve it. There is only one way to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and that is for both sides to have sufficient goodwill to negotiate their own peace deal. It cannot be imposed by outside diplomatic or economic pressure.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Failing the "Land for Peace" Test - Clifford D. May
Ten years ago this summer, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to test the hypothesis that Israelis could trade "land for peace." He ordered the evacuation of all Israelis from Gaza - forcibly removing those who refused to quietly leave. He hoped Gaza would become a peaceful place whose leaders would focus on economic development. If that happened, the argument for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would become compelling. But if Gaza instead became a base for attacks on Israelis, they would be able to strike back hard - with the understanding and support of the international community.
That led to wars between Gaza and Israel in 2008, 2012, and 2014.
Despite the fact that Israel was attacked, many in the West blame Israel.
Based on this experience, most Israelis fear that withdrawal from the West Bank would be disastrous. From the West Bank, all of Israel's major population centers could be targeted with mortars that no missile defense system can knock out. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- The Nakba Profiteering Cliques - Samer Jaber
The great international powers have invested a great deal of time and money on managing the Palestinian refugee problem.
The Nakba profiteers are groups with established vested interests which live off the plight of the refugees. They include
international organizations, NGOs, academic entities - instructors and students, and Palestinian political factions.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is a direct provider of services to refugees, employs more than 30,000 people, including 28,000 Palestinians. A large percentage of its budget comes from Western European and North American countries.
For UNRWA to sustain its funding it has to maintain the status quo. Its managerial ranks have developed vested interests, including high salaries and generous perks based on UN standards. While UNRWA has been suffering chronic budget shortages, these tend not to affect the higher management ranks.
NGO personnel, especially in international NGOs, also enjoy high salaries in comparison with average local wages.
NGOs build their reputation and gain social status by presenting the miserable and dire conditions in the Palestinian refugee camps. These organizations have been critical in sustaining refugees' problems.
They realize that the continuation of the existing situation is their raisons d'etre.
- The Mideast Political Reality Does Not Smile on the Palestinians - Bassam Tawil
The countries that, until the Arab Spring, exerted the most pressure on Israel have become weak. Some of them are disintegrating and others consider the Israelis partners in the struggle against their common enemy, Iran. Our Arab brothers now consider us a nuisance, marginal to their struggle to survive in the face of the threats from the ayatollahs' increasing nuclear power in Iran and radical Islamists such as ISIS.
Furthermore, the Arab-Muslim world secretly collaborates with Israel on sensitive security issues, while behind our backs laughs at us and our ineffective boycotts. Israel has trade agreements with Arab countries worth tens of millions of dollars. It pastes fake stickers on its products, the Arab countries know it and do not care; the merchandise is good, they buy it, smile and keep quiet. (Gatestone Institute)
- Time for International Recognition of Israeli Rule on the Golan Heights - Zvi Hauser
Syria used to exist, but soon will no longer exist. The validity of the arrangements that defined borders in the Middle East after World War I has expired. In the Golan Heights there is no core element of ruling another people; the 22,000 Druze who are fortunate enough to live on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights are entitled to full Israeli citizenship. The region has a Jewish majority, with some 25,000 Jewish residents. Above all, there is no alternative to Israeli rule on the Golan.
In 1975, U.S. President Gerald Ford made a presidential promise in writing to then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which included American recognition of Israel's need to remain on the Golan Heights, even in peacetime. The writer was Israel's Cabinet Secretary (2009-2013).
- The Plan to Defeat ISIS - Yoram Schweitzer
The strategic plan drawn up by U.S. Gen. John Allen to halt the expansion of the Islamic State and bringing about its defeat, can be expected to present it with a challenge that is much more serious than what confronted it during its first year in existence. The plan includes military activity aimed at reducing the territory controlled by ISIS in order to sever the territorial contiguity; action aimed at cutting off the Islamic State from economic, financial, and natural resources; the creation of protected areas and safe havens for local populations; a halt to the flow of foreign fighters arriving in Syria, primarily via the Turkish border; and concerted activity against the dissemination of the Islamic State message and propaganda.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- Qatar Changes Course - Hussein Ibish
For the past 20 years Qatar has tried to leverage its vast energy wealth to build and project its influence throughout the Middle East. Now, however, a rapprochement between Qatar and its former rival, Saudi Arabia, marks a generational shift in strategic thinking. Qatar's regional strategy has focused on promoting Muslim Brotherhood parties throughout the Arab world, as reflected in the state-owned Al Jazeera television news network, as well as in Doha's financial support for Brotherhood groups, including Hamas in Gaza. But this approach provoked tensions with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both of which declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.
After reaching an agreement with the Saudis in November 2014, Qatar has notably reduced its support for Hamas, and there has been an exodus of Brotherhood leaders from Doha.
At the same time, Qatar is by far the most generous donor country investing in Gaza's reconstruction.
This has contributed to a thaw in relations with Israel, which cautiously welcomes Qatar's investments in Gaza and its efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire. In March, Qatar's representative in Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, praised Israel for facilitating Gaza reconstruction.
With Tehran and Washington moving toward a nuclear agreement, if not a broader rapprochement, Qatar's interest lies in closer ties with Gulf Cooperation Council allies, rather than going it alone. The writer is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
(New York Times)
- How Israel Defies Drought - Christa Case Bryant
At Ein Yahav in Israel's Arava desert, they grew roses when others said it was impossible. They created naturally air-conditioned greenhouses by setting up "wet curtains" - honeycombed walls that allowed water to seep through slowly. They planted flowers in trenches of volcanic ash instead of the sandy soil. Later they switched to dates and peppers. Today the former moonscape has become an agricultural Eden, with rows of greenhouses
This narrow strip of land along the Jordanian border produces 65% of Israel's vegetable exports.
Driven by a combination of necessity and inventiveness, Israel has become one of the world's leaders in how to wring the most out of parsimonious amounts of rainfall and turn a parched landscape into a productive garden. The Israelis are turning seawater into tap water, pioneering new types of irrigation, and reusing wastewater at the highest rate of any country in the world. (Christian Science Monitor)
See also Israel's Expertise at Water Management Seen as a Resource for Prosperity and Peace - John Yemma
According to a recent study, places already experiencing water stress include Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Yemen, India, China, and parts of the U.S. The decades ahead will require smarter water management.
Israel has mastered the water cycle and become the world's beta site for water management. Israel is exporting water to Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza. (Christian Science Monitor)
See also Tap Dance: Water's Effect on Arab-Israeli Relations - Christa Case Bryant
The dramatic increase in Israel's water supply over the past five years has opened the way for potential cooperation with its thirsty Arab neighbors.
"If Israel's water economy was 2 billion cubic meters per year five to seven years ago, today it's approaching 3 bcm, and that's a game changer," says Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East.
In March, Israel doubled its sales of water to Gaza from 5 million cubic meters to 10 mcm. Also in March, Israel and Jordan agreed to a water swap, in which Israel will provide water to northern Jordan from the Sea of Galilee, which will help to alleviate the stress on Jordan's resources caused by a massive influx of Syrian refugees. In exchange, Jordan will build a desalination plant in Aqaba to provide water to southern Jordan and Israel.
(Christian Science Monitor)
- Israeli Convicts Work with the Disabled - Abigail Klein Leichman
Three times a week, 26 non-violent prisoners from Israeli jails shed their inmate garb and travel to the ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran
rehabilitative village for severely disabled Israelis founded by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog.
"This is a wonderful way to rehabilitate prisoners," says ALEH-Negev CEO Masada Sekely. "There is a long line of people who want to participate. Whenever they come to the village, they are not in jail uniform and we don't call them prisoners; we call them volunteers. So they have a few hours where they are equal in society and feel like human beings."
"They work with residents in the gardens and in the occupational therapy center, and help the staff move residents from one area to another....Our residents benefit, the prisoners benefit, and also Israeli society benefits because maybe when they leave jail they will be better citizens." (Israel21c)
Anti-Israel Movement Based on Fallacies - Steve Huntley (Chicago Sun-Times)
- The BDS movement is based on two fallacies. First, Israel doesn't do enough to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Second, all Israeli "settlements" in the West Bank are illegal and should be abandoned in any negotiated peace agreement.
- Yet it is the Palestinians who have been the obstacle to ending the conflict and establishing a Palestinian state. Israel offered a comprehensive two-state proposal in 2000 and again in 2008.
- In 2000 Yassir Arafat responded with a terror war that killed, maimed and traumatized thousands of Israeli civilians. In 2008, the president of the Palestinian Authority was Mahmoud Abbas, labeled in the media as a "moderate." Yet he never responded to the peace offering.
- There are towns on the West Bank - the Jerusalem suburb Ma'ale Adumim and the Gush Etzion communities are just a couple of examples - that everyone acknowledges would be part of Israel under any conceivable peace deal.
- To target these communities for an economic boycott is unreasonable, unjust and counter-productive to reaching a peace agreement.
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