The New Hamas Tunnel - Amir Rapaport (Israel Defense)
The Hamas tunnel found near the Israeli community of Kerem Shalom was restored last year, part of the network of tunnels dug prior to the 2014 Gaza war.
At the same time, Hamas has signaled that it is not interested in a confrontation with Israel for the time being.
According to reports, a senior commander of the Gaza tunnel division has defected to Israel.
See also Video: New Hamas Terror Tunnel Uncovered in Israel (Israel Defense Forces)
Hamas' Tunnel Network in the 2014 Gaza War: A Massacre in the Making - Daniel Rubenstein (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Hamas' Weak Political Standing - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
Hamas doesn't currently have a patron in the Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood is weak in the region: they're being chased out of Egypt; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have outlawed them.
On Saturday, at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit in Turkey, Iran (terrorism's patron in Gaza) was "deplored (for its) interference in the internal affairs of the states of the region...and its continued support for terrorism." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani left the summit before its conclusion.
Egypt has strengthened its grip on Gaza and won't tolerate any violence on Hamas' part in the near future. Moreover, Hamas' military rehabilitation is so far only partial.
Rise of the Anti-BDS Movement - Robert Fulford (National Post-Canada)
The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign sometimes inspires organized anti-BDS protests.
One morning last week, students at the University of California's Santa Barbara campus woke to find themselves surrounded by posters attacking BDS and its "genocidal campaign to destroy the world's only Jewish state."
One poster names prominent campus BDS activists and explains: "The following students and faculty at UC Santa Barbara have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus."
Israeli Citizen Takes Kuwait Airways to Court (SWI-Switzerland)
A Geneva resident of Israeli nationality has filed a complaint against Kuwait Airways at a Geneva court, claiming that it refused to sell him a ticket to fly from Geneva to Frankfurt because of his nationality.
The complaint alleges a violation of Swiss law, which condemns discrimination based on race, religion or ethnic origin of a person.
This case was first publicized by the American organization The Lawfare Project, which has already confronted Kuwait Airways on the same issue in the U.S.
The airline decided in December 2015 to suspend its route between New York and London after the U.S. Transportation Department ordered it to stop denying Israeli nationals the right to board.
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- Bus Bombing in Jerusalem Wounds 21 - Isabel Kershner
A bomb exploded on a bus in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding 21 people. A fire caused by the explosion spread quickly to a second bus caught in a traffic jam. Prof. Avraham Rivkind, head of the trauma unit at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said the hospital received several of the wounded who had suffered burns as well as injuries from nails and bolts - "wounds that are familiar to us from past events in our city." (New York Times)
See also "My Daughter's Entire Body Was Burned"
Racheli Dadon desperately looked for her daughter Eden, 15, after the bombing of a bus in Jerusalem on Monday. "When I found her, I saw that her entire body was burned....Now she's sedated and on a ventilator." She added, "Someone had to have a limb amputated - she was next to my daughter." (Ynet News)
- World Bank Urges Arab Donors to Fulfill Gaza Pledges - Josef Federman
After the 2014 Gaza war, Arab countries led the way in pledging reconstruction aid to the enclave. But a new report released Monday by the World Bank shows that Qatar, the UAE and other Arab donors have delivered only a small fraction of what was promised. Qatar pledged $1 billion in 2014 but has delivered only $152 million, or 15%.
Saudi Arabia has delivered just over 10% of the $500 million it pledged, while the UAE has sent 15% of the $200 million it promised and Kuwait has delivered none of the $200 million it pledged. Turkey has delivered about one-third of the $200 million it pledged. In contrast, the U.S. has delivered all of the $277 million it pledged.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: "How Many Times Do I Have to Invite Abbas for Talks?" - Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was asked on Monday why he doesn't initiate something with President Mahmoud Abbas on the Palestinian track, said: "How many times do I have to invite him for talks? There is a certain conception toward Israel that blames it for everything no matter what." It is "impossible to start [negotiations] because Abbas talks about a willingness, but then runs away from them. Therefore, talk now of an initiative sounds rather hollow."
Netanyahu also came out strongly against a Gaza seaport, saying the port in Ashdod is capable of dealing with goods entering Gaza. "I will not enable the opening of a maritime artery to Gaza that will enable the smuggling of weapons for terrorism," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinians: We Will Not Accept a Jewish Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
In recent weeks, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has reiterated his strong opposition to recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. This Palestinian refusal is one of the main obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. PA complaints about settlement construction are nothing more than a smokescreen. Many Palestinians regard Israel as one big settlement that needs to be removed from the Middle East. Even those who say they have accepted the two-state solution are not prepared to recognize any Jewish link to or history in the land. (Gatestone Institute)
- Singapore Leader Thanks Israel for Defense Aid - Herb Keinon
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived in Israel on Monday for his first ever visit and noted with gratitude the defense aid and advice Singapore has received from Israel over the years.
"In August 1965, when Singapore unexpectedly became independent, the Israel Defense Forces helped us to develop the Singapore Armed Forces. We asked a number of countries [for assistance], but only Israel responded to us, and it did so very promptly....We will always be grateful that Israel helped us and stood by us at our time of great need." (Jerusalem Post)
- Jordan Cancels Plan to Install Cameras in Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Monday that due to Palestinian opposition, Jordan has decided to halt the implementation of its project to install surveillance cameras at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
- Is the U.S. Making a New Concession to Iran over Dollar Access? - Eric B. Lorber and Peter Feaver
The Obama administration has signaled that it is about to make an additional and unexpected concession to Iran that significantly weakens remaining U.S. leverage: giving Iran backdoor access to financial transactions in dollars. Congress is crying foul, asserting that such dollar access was not included in the original deal and constitutes a gift to Iran that should not be given without additional Iranian concessions. When selling the agreement to Congress, Acting Undersecretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin assured lawmakers on September 17, 2015, that "no Iranian banks can access the U.S. financial system." Eric Lorber is an adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Peter Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University.
See also Iran's Behavior Continues to Make It a Pariah State - Matthew Levitt
The governor of Iran's central bank warned last week that failure to do more to integrate Iranian banks into the global economy could jeopardize the international agreement over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran seems to expect the Obama administration to provide benefits beyond those in the nuclear deal, including access to the U.S. financial system.
The bottom line is that Iran has yet to curb or stop the illicit conduct that makes it a pariah state and a financial risk. Its government continues to support terrorism. The writer, former deputy assistant Treasury secretary for intelligence and analysis, directs the program on counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Internal Palestinian Fight for Jerusalem - Pinhas Inbari
East Jerusalem has developed an independent political system. The most significant actor on the Temple Mount is an international movement known as the Islamic Liberation Party, or Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Other forces in the city include Hamas, Fatah, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement led by Sheikh Raed Salah, the Muslim Brotherhood which is represented by the former Chief Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Akrima Sabri, Jordan, and Turkey.
This author met with members of Hizb ut-Tahrir at their mosque in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa, where they explained that if Israel was to withdraw from the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza, they would then enter it and proclaim an Islamic caliphate. Tahrir strives to keep the PLO, which it views as a secular-nationalist movement, out of the mosque plaza and views all Western-type agreements, such as the Oslo agreements, as invalid. Tahrir is opposed to intifadas and believes Jerusalem will only be liberated by the armies of the Muslim caliphate.
Saudi Arabia has no interest in promoting its status in Jerusalem; the Wahabi kingdom regards the city as a competitor of Mecca. Turkish institutions are directly involved in Jerusalem's affairs, particularly TIKA, identified with the president of Turkey. This association's website makes clear that it works in all the territories of the Ottoman Empire to rehabilitate the old Ottoman heritage.
The writer is a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Israel Acts as a Strategic Partner to America - Yoram Ettinger (inFocus Quarterly-Jewish Policy Center)
- The annual U.S. investment in Israel - erroneously defined as "foreign aid" - has yielded one of the highest rates of return on U.S. investments overseas.
At a time when the Pentagon is experiencing draconian cuts in its defense budget,
Israel has been the most cost-effective laboratory for U.S. defense industries, sharing with the U.S. unique intelligence, battle experience, and battle tactics.
- Israel's Air Force, which flies American-made aircraft, shares with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. manufacturers real-time, daily operational maintenance and repair lessons derived from Israel's daily battle experience. For example, the plant manager of General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-16, asserted that Israeli lessons have spared the manufacturer 10-20 years of R&D, leading to over 700 modifications in the current generation of the F-16, "valued at a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the manufacturer."
- Similar lessons have been shared with the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps and the U.S. manufacturers of tanks, armored personnel carriers, missile launchers, missiles, night navigation systems, and hundreds of additional military and homeland security systems manufactured by the U.S. and utilized by Israel.
- According to Gen. George Keegan, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence chief, the value of intelligence shared by Israel with the U.S. - exposing the air capabilities of adversaries, their new military systems, electronics, and jamming devices - "could not be procured with five CIAs....The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the Army in general, to defend whatever position it has in NATO owes more to Israeli intelligence input than it does to any other single source of intelligence."
- In 2014, Gen. (ret.) Chuck Krulak, former Commandant, USMC, stated: "The U.S. battle tactics formulation at Fort Leavenworth, KS - the intellectual Mecca of the U.S. Army - is based on the Israeli book."
- Recently, Israel's Air Force developed a groundbreaking method of identifying, repairing, and preempting cracks in old combat planes, such as the F-16, using ultrasound machines, and promptly shared that information with the U.S. Air Force and the manufacturer. Instead of grounding planes for six months and preoccupying hundreds of mechanics, the Israeli-developed system requires two weeks and only a few mechanics, yielding significant economic and national security benefits.
- Israel is the only stable, reliable, predictable, capable, democratic, and unconditional ally of the U.S. Israel constitutes a critical obstacle to Islamic imperialism, enhancing the security of the U.S. and its Arab allies. Unlike Europe, Israel is able and willing to flex its muscles. Thus, Israel acts as a special strategic partner to America.
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