Support for Iran Nuclear Agreement Falls (Pew Research Center)
As Congress prepares to vote on the Iran nuclear agreement, public support for the deal has declined to 21%, according to a survey conducted on Sept. 3-7. Support for the deal in July was 33%.
49% now disapprove of the agreement, up from 45% in July.
Ayatollah Khamenei: "Zionist Regime Will Cease to Exist in 25 Years" (Jerusalem Post)
Israel will cease to exist within 25 years, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed in his official Twitter account on Wednesday.
"God willing, there will be nothing of the Zionist regime by the next 25 years."
"Until then, struggling, heroic, and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists," Khamenei tweeted.
See also Khamenei's Twitter Post (Khamenei.ir)
German Intelligence Has Evidence IS Used Mustard Gas in Iraq - Frank Jordans (AP-ABC News)
Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND has collected evidence of mustard gas use by the Islamic State group, the German daily Bild reported Monday.
BND intelligence agents collected blood samples from Kurds who were injured in clashes with IS.
BND chief Gerhard Schindler said the mustard gas either came from old Iraqi stockpiles produced under Saddam Hussein's rule or was manufactured by IS after it seized the University of Mosul.
Israeli Firefighters Increasingly Under Attack in Jerusalem Arab Neighborhoods - Roi Yanovsky (Ynet News)
The Israeli Fire Department has reported a sharp increase in violent attacks against its firefighters in Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods over the past two years.
"It's dangerous, and it's mostly sad, and a shame," a source in Jerusalem's Fire Department said. "We come to rescue civilians, and their neighbors attack us with serious violence," with barrages of stones, firebombs, and violent physical attacks.
While only a few dozen such incidents were reported in 2013, in 2014 the number of incidents surpassed 100. In the first half of 2015, over 70 violent incidents were reported, with several firefighters wounded and damage caused to fire trucks.
Israel Develops Flying Nuclear Detectors (Times of Israel)
Israeli nuclear researchers have developed a micro-copter capable of tracking nuclear radiation in difficult terrain.
The palm-sized drones were developed at Israel's Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The micro-copters are essentially undetectable and can collect data on radioactivity emanating from underground sites. The applications for Western detection of Iran's nuclear program are clear.
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- Kerry, Netanyahu Reaffirm Need to Push Back on Iran's Destabilizing Activities
"Secretary Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by phone over the weekend," State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday. "The Secretary and the prime minister reiterated the need to continue pushing back on Iran's destabilizing activities in the region." "The Secretary reaffirmed the United States' commitment to Israel's security and continued military and security relationship. They also discussed concerns about reports...of potential Russian military buildup inside Syria." (State Department)
- Iran Deal Fight May Sideline U.S. Push on Palestinians - Dan Perry and Josef Federman
Once the Iranian nuclear issue was resolved, some had assumed the U.S. would make another push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But the opposite seems more likely. After a drawn-out confrontation with Israel over the Iranian nuclear deal, the White House seems to have little appetite for a new round of tensions over the terms of Palestinian statehood. With the odds of success slim and U.S. elections approaching, President Obama seems more interested in repairing his relationship with Israel.
A U.S. State Department official told AP that the U.S. is not planning any bold new diplomatic initiatives after the Iran deal. Two decades of on-again, off-again Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have strongly suggested the sides are genuinely unable to meet in the middle on a deal.
- Islamic State Has Killed Many Syrians, But Assad's Forces Have Killed More - Hugh Naylor
President Assad's government has killed far more people in Syria this year than the Islamic State, monitoring organizations and analysts say.
Between January and July, Assad's military and pro-government militias killed 7,894 people, while the Islamic State killed 1,131, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
The Syrian leader has increasingly relied on his air force as his military suffers huge losses to advancing rebels.
The government's Russian-supplied aircraft can fly practically unopposed over rebel-held areas to launch airstrikes, which include releasing barrel bombs. During a 10-day period in August, air bombardments killed or wounded 1,300 people in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, and surrounding areas. In July, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented nearly 7,000 government airstrikes conducted around Syria. (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel: Fight Against Iran Deal Changed American Public Opinion - Barak Ravid
Senior Israeli officials on Tuesday said that even though President Obama has managed to secure 41 senators in favor of the Iran agreement, the majority of Senators, most members of the House of Representatives, and the majority of the American public oppose the deal. "Even those Americans backing the deal say that the U.S. should further strengthen its relationship and alliance with Israel," officials said, adding that the American mindset believes that Israel is an ally and Iran is a terror-enabling state.
- Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire on Israeli Nurses - Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Lappin
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on an Israeli vehicle carrying two nurses on their way to work south of the West Bank town of Nablus on Wednesday. The bullets penetrated the vehicle without causing injury.
- IDF Uniforms and Guns Found in West Bank Counter-Terror Raids - Yaakov Lappin
Israeli police and army units operating in Beit Umar near Hebron in the West Bank on Saturday night found two handguns, ammunition, two radio devices and army uniforms. Security forces also seized firearms in Al-Aroub near Bethlehem. In a third raid in Yatta near Hebron, police reported capturing handguns, rifles, and ammunition. (Jerusalem Post)
- The Mistaken Rationale Behind the Iran Nuclear Deal - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
The claim that Iran's enrichment routes to a nuclear bomb have been blocked has no basis. In fact, Iran will have four routes to enriching uranium to a military level.
The nuclear agreement with the main world powers is set to enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power.
The agreement will legally provide Iran with the capability to shorten the time required to produce such an arsenal within the next 10-15 years (including the production of fissile material, weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program).
The writer was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research and Analysis and Production Division of IDF Military Intelligence.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Impact of Falling Oil Prices on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States - Yoel Guzansky and Shmuel Even
In August 2015 the price of oil averaged about $45 a barrel, compared to $100 a barrel at the same time last year. The drop in oil prices will make it difficult for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to maintain their development momentum and high standard of living. At present, almost all the Gulf states have budgetary deficits eating away at their reserves.
Saudi Arabia is expected to end the year with a deficit of $150 billion, the largest in its history. It has already started cutting project budgets and even military acquisitions, while allocating $10 billion a month from foreign currency reserves to finance expenses. Yet its reserves are still large - $660 billion in June 2015. The less wealthy monarchies, such as Bahrain and Oman, are particularly at risk.
The situation in the Gulf affects Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Lebanon, all of which are experiencing severe economic difficulties. They are sustained by the money from their workers in the Gulf, investments and trade with the Gulf states, and outright aid.
Yoel Guzansky, a research fellow at INSS, was formerly in charge of strategic issues at the National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Office.
Col. (ret.) Dr. Shmuel Even, a senior research fellow at INSS, had a long career in the IDF's Intelligence Branch.
(Institute for National Security Studies)
- New Poll Shows Why Palestinians Have No Interest in Peace - Evelyn Gordon
A poll published last week by David Pollock of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that 81% of West Bankers and 88% of Gazans asserted that all the territory of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza "is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land." This has serious implications for how Israel should be handling the Palestinian issue. The fact that most Palestinians still aspire to Israel's ultimate eradication makes the widely accepted principle of "land for peace" completely inapplicable.
The same poll found that in 30 to 40 years, only a quarter of the Palestinian respondents expected Israel to "continue to exist as a Jewish state." The poll shows an overwhelming majority of Palestinians think they're on track to achieve their goal of eradicating Israel within a few decades. In other words, they think their current strategy of refusing to sign a permanent peace deal is working, so why would they want to change it?
As the poll shows, the crux of the conflict is the Palestinian belief that "Jews have no rights to the land." Palestinians also believe they are succeeding in converting the rest of the world to this view, which merely fuels their conviction that they will ultimately succeed in destroying Israel.
Netanyahu to EU: Stop Pressuring Us to Endanger Our Existence (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday:
- The militant Sunnis led by Islamic State and the militant Shiites led by Iran are moving into the ruins of shattered states in the Middle East and they each want to establish their own Islamic empire. They fight each other over who will be king of this empire.
- But make no mistake about it. Whom they target is, first, us, other Muslims, and Christians, but then you. Iran is building ICBMs for Europe, not for us. They can reach us already. They're building intercontinental missiles for Europe and for the United States.
- I find it perplexing that some in Europe are still possessed by the anti-Israeli obsession. Hundreds of thousands are being slaughtered in the Middle East, millions are being displaced, but some in Europe believe the only thing they have to do is to press, boycott and vilify the Middle East's only true democracy.
- Israel is the only vanguard of liberty in the region, the only country where human rights are respected, where there is a free press and where the values that we share with Europe serve as our map and our compass and our way of life. We are the guardians of civilization here in the heart of the Middle East against this new barbarism.
- I want to discuss with you how Europe and Israel can cooperate to assure the progress of modernity for all the peoples of the Middle East, for peace with all our neighbors, but also for the sake of our common future; and to see if we can steer Europe into a more productive course rather than the one that seeks to unilaterally press Israel into agreements that will endanger our very existence and therefore your very defense.
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