Israel Has Foiled 5 Suicide Bombings This Year (Times of Israel)
The Israel Security Agency foiled 77 terror attacks since the beginning of 2016, including 5 suicide bombings and 10 other bombings, 7 kidnappings, and 34 shooting attacks, the ISA said Sunday.
In 2015, the ISA foiled 239 attacks, among them 12 suicide bombings, 19 kidnappings, 41 bombings and 120 shootings.
In the past five years, 65 Islamic State members were arrested in Israel and 8 attacks on Israelis by IS members were foiled.
Hizbullah Accused of Stockpiling Chemical Weapons in Lebanon, Syria (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
Syrian opposition activists accused Lebanon's Hizbullah of using chemical weapons again in rebel-held areas in collaboration with the Syrian regime.
"It was proved that chemical (arms) were used in some neighborhoods of Aleppo and Ghouta, areas which have a clear Hizbullah presence," said Abou Mohammed Al-Assi, a member of the Free Army's military council.
Europe Deploys Its Armies at Home - Giulio Meotti (Gatestone Institute)
Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools.
In a new large-scale military operation within France, "Operation Sentinelle," the army is now protecting synagogues, art galleries, schools, newspapers, public offices and underground stations.
More than half of the 11,000 Italian soldiers currently engaged in military operations are in "Operation Safe Streets," keeping Italy's cities safe.
UK Navy Officer Joins ISIS - Omar Wahid and Mark Nicol (Mail on Sunday-UK)
Kuwaiti-born Ali Alosaimi, 28, a navy officer who trained at one of Britain's most prestigious maritime colleges, has fled to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group.
Defense experts warned that his high-level skills and exhaustive knowledge of the UK's shipping fleet represented a terrifying security threat.
"Someone with his knowledge opens up a whole new area where terrorism can take place," said former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West.
Even Palestinian Leaders Want Jewish Doctors - Micah Halpern
(New York Observer)
When Palestinian leaders need medical care, many reach out for care in Israel.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas' younger brother, Abu Louai, was recently treated in Assuta Hospital in Tel Aviv. Abu Louai, 76, suffers from cancer and lives in Qatar.
Last year Abbas' brother-in-law was admitted to an Israeli medical facility to undergo heart surgery, and last June, Abbas' wife had surgery in the same hospital.
The daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was admitted to Icholov Hospital in Tel Aviv after a routine operation went wrong and she required emergency treatment.
Haniyeh's sister was treated in an Israeli hospital several years ago following an emergency, and his granddaughter was once airlifted by helicopter from Gaza to an Israeli hospital.
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- Iran Suffers Losses in Syria - Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
Iran's Fars news agency reported on Saturday that 13 Iranian military advisors had been killed and 21 wounded in a battle with Islamist militants near the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the death of 20 Iranians, including 13 advisors. It said that 6 Hizbullah fighters and 15 Afghan Shi'ite fighters were also killed.
- Muslim Leaders in the West Wage Theological Battle, Stoking ISIS' Anger - Laurie Goodstein
Imam Suhaib Webb, a Muslim leader in Washington, has held live monthly video chats to refute the religious claims of the Islamic State. Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, an American Muslim scholar based in Berkeley, has pleaded with Muslims not to be deceived by the "stupid young boys" of the Islamic State.
Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, who runs an Islamic educational institute in Tennessee,
argued that the terrorist attacks of recent years had clearly violated Islamic teaching because they "cause more harm than good....These radical groups have harmed the image of Islam infinitely more than all of the foreign policy of Western lands combined."
The Islamic State, however, has taken notice. The group recently threatened the lives of 11 Muslim imams and scholars in the West, calling them "apostates" who should be killed. The recent issue of the ISIS online magazine Dabiq called them "obligatory targets," and said supporters should use any weapons on hand to "make an example of them." Several of the targeted Muslim leaders said in interviews that, while they were taking the threat seriously, they had no intention of backing off. They have hired security guards and fortified their workplaces, and some keep guns at home. (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Defense Sources: Calm Returning to Gaza Border - Yaakov Lappin
The Israel Air Force struck two Hamas targets in Gaza early Saturday in response to a rocket attack on Israel. Still, defense sources on Saturday evening said the latest escalation appears to be coming to an end as Hamas halted its mortar attacks on IDF units searching for attack tunnels.
- Netanyahu Offers Jewish History Lesson to UN Diplomats
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he was "shocked to hear that UNESCO adopted a decision denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site." He expressed disbelief that "anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link which spans thousands of years." Netanyahu offered to personally host a lecture at his office on Jewish history for local UN staff. "The seminar will be given by a leading scholar of Jewish history and will be free to all UN staff and diplomats, including of countries which voted for this outrageous decision." Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, rejected Netanyahu's offer on Saturday.
- After Fire Kills 3 Palestinian Children in Gaza, Hamas and PA Trade Blame - Avi Issacharoff
Three Palestinian children perished in a fire in their home in Gaza on Friday night caused by candles lit in their room. By Saturday, a vitriolic blame game between Hamas and Fatah was in full swing over who is responsible for the continual power outages in Gaza that led the bereaved family to light candles. At the heart of the dispute is an excise tax on fuel that comes from Israel via the PA. The PA is paying half of the tax and says Hamas must pay the other half.
On Saturday morning, members of the extended family of the victims published pictures while standing amid the rubble of the house, holding portraits of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. On the pictures was written "child killers." Soon afterwards, Jamal al-Muhsin, a member of Fatah's central committee, said Hamas was responsible because it does not allow the PA to operate in the Strip and deal with the power problem.
(Times of Israel)
- Former Defense Secretary Panetta: Is the President Serious about Stopping Iranian Nukes? - David Samuels
Leon Panetta was Obama's head of the CIA and secretary of defense. I ask him about a crucial component of the administration's public narrative on Iran: whether it was ever a salient feature of the CIA's analysis when he ran the agency that the Iranian regime was meaningfully divided between "hard-line" and "moderate" camps. "No," Panetta answers. "There was not much question that the Quds Force and the supreme leader ran that country with a strong arm, and there was not much question that this kind of opposing view could somehow gain any traction."
As secretary of defense, he tells me, one of his most important jobs was keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, from launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. "They were both interested in the answer to the question, 'Is the president serious?'" Panetta recalls.
"My view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they're developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen." "Would you make that same assessment now?" I ask him.
"Would I make that same assessment now?" he asks. "Probably not." (New York Times Magazine)
- Khamenei's Anti-Americanism - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Some argue that Iran's sanctions relief would push Iran towards moderation in dealing with the U.S. and Israel, as well as scaling down Iran's expansionist and hegemonic ambitions. The realities on the ground suggest otherwise.
As Tehran's revenues are rising, anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is escalating.
At the end of the day, the key decision-makers in Iran's political establishments are Khamenei and the senior cadre of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
As long as the Supreme Leader is alive, one should not expect Iran's reintegration into the global economy to moderate the country, or that its anti-American, anti-Semitic sentiments and fundamentals of foreign policy will change. The writer, an Iranian-American political scientist and Harvard University scholar, is president of the International American Council.
- Iran in the Post-Nuclear Deal Era: Iranian Dissidents' Perspective - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Dr. Avi Davidi
Following the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, experts at the Jerusalem Center met with prominent Iranian dissidents outside Iran to analyze the implications of the agreement. All agree that the deal grants legitimacy to the regime and that, after improving the economy and strengthening its international stand,
the Iranian regime will violate the nuclear deal.
Any economic solution for Iran must include a massive reform of domestic banking. Yet such a reform will entail a huge loss for the revolutionary institutions which owe banks much more than the banks were allowed to lend. As a result, cleaning up domestic banking will cause a political explosion.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, where Dr. Avi Davidi was formerly Iran Director and Senior Advisor.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Israel that Arabs Don't Know - Ramy Aziz (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited me to visit Israel as part of a delegation of European-based Arab journalists. Arab media coverage of Israel continues to be characterized by a lack of clarity and misrepresentation, making it difficult for Arab citizens to truly understand the country. Do the Jews in Israel actually hate Arabs?
- My visits to places of worship were not stopped by either the Israeli army or police force, as they have been rumored to do. I visited the University of Haifa, considered a model and reflection of Israeli society. Within its walls, students of Jewish, Arab, Druze, and Circassian origin study together.
- I also visited the Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel, where the elders recalled the experience of Druze integration into Israeli society and informed me that they now preferred to call themselves Israelis instead of Arab citizens of Israel. They hold Israeli citizenship, enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, and are treated as full citizens with equal rights.
- Ben Gurion Street in Haifa is filled with Arab cafes and restaurants, identifiable by the songs they play and their customers' conversations. I struck up discussions with various restaurant patrons and employees regarding life in Israel, and these Arab Israelis informed me that in Israel, the law is equally applied to everyone without distinction or discrimination.
- I heard the call to prayer from mosques in various cities - a religious expression that is banned in Europe. I saw Christians with crosses who had no fear of exposing their identities, a marked contrast to some neighboring states. I saw Baha'i gardens the like of which exist nowhere else in the world.
- I saw, without exaggeration, a bright flame in a pitch-black region, a society composed of so many different yet coexisting segments and components.
The writer is an Egyptian journalist based in Europe.
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