Poll: Europeans View Islamic State as Top Threat (Reuters)
Europeans view the militant Islamic State as the biggest threat facing their countries, ahead of climate change, economic instability and refugees, a survey by the Pew Research Center showed on Monday.
93% of Spaniards and 91% of French described the group as a "major threat."
See also Poll: Europeans Rank Top Threats - Bruce Stokes (Pew Research Center)
Orlando Shooter Visited Saudi Arabia in 2011, 2012 (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Omar Mateen, who attacked a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, made an Islamic umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Mansour Turki said on Monday.
See also Orlando Shooter Scouted Walt Disney World During Search for Targets - Pervaiz Shallwani (Wall Street Journal)
Omar Mateen had visited Walt Disney World while he was searching for targets, two officials said.
Iran Steps Up Recruitment of Shiite Mercenaries for Syrian War - Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor)
Alongside its own troops in Syria, Iran has deployed Shiite mercenary forces of Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis, as well as Hizbullah fighters from Lebanon.
Of an estimated 3 million Afghans in Iran, only 1/3 are legal migrants. For taking up the cause of "defending" Shiite shrines in Syria, they receive upwards of $700 per month and promises of Iranian citizenship, schooling for their children, and jobs - if they survive the frontline.
Interviews of Afghans captured by Syrian rebels depict hapless men serving as cannon fodder, lost in a foreign war and not speaking Arabic.
Israel Aerospace Unveils Unmanned Combat Robot - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) this week unveiled the RoBattle unmanned, heavy duty, highly maneuverable combat and support robotic system.
The system is designed to support a wide range of missions including intelligence, surveillance, armed reconnaissance, convoy protection, decoy, ambush and attack.
Southeast Asian Nations Seek Israeli Weapons - Alvite Ningthoujam (National Interest)
Delegations from Southeast Asian countries including India, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar have been involved in high-level defense-oriented visits to Israel.
While armed forces in Southeast Asia still prefer military items and technologies developed by Russia and the U.S., Israel's expertise is widely acknowledged in the field of missiles, anti-missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles.
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- Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Killing French Police Captain - Alissa J. Rubin
A French police captain was fatally stabbed and his companion was also killed at their home in a small town northwest of Paris on Monday. Within hours the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murders, issuing a statement that said: "Islamic State fighter kills deputy chief of the police station in the city of Les Mureaux and his wife with blade weapons." (New York Times)
Police and judicial sources said that the attacker, Larossi Abballa, 25, had been monitored by security and anti-terrorist services after he received a three-year prison sentence in 2013 for helping Islamist militants go to Pakistan. (Reuters)
- Multi-Million Pound Foreign Aid Grant Spent on Encouraging Terrorism - Camilla Turner
A multi-million pound foreign aid project aimed at promoting Palestinian state-building and peace has instead encouraged terrorism and led to an increase in violence. The Department for International Development (DFID)'s £156.4 million grant providing financial aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) led to civil servants being "more likely" to commit acts of terrorism, an independent evaluation suggested.
The five-year project encouraged public sector employees to engage in "active conflict" since their salaries were paid to their families even if they were convicted and imprisoned for criminal acts, including terrorism.
On completing jail sentences, civil servants were able to return to their jobs which had been "kept open when they return from detention," and continue to draw a salary funded by the UK taxpayer.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu Said to Call on Arab States to Revise Peace Plan - Barak Ravid
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers Monday: "If the Arab nations grasp the fact that they need to revise the Arab League proposal according to the changes Israel demands, then we can talk. But if they bring the proposal from 2002 and define it as 'take it or leave it' - we'll choose to leave it."
The positive part of the plan was the willingness of the Arab nations to achieve peace and normalization with Israel. Its negative elements include the demand that Israel retreat to the 1967 lines in the West Bank, leave the Golan Heights, and agree to the return of Palestinian refugees.
- Israel to Head a UN Committee for the First Time - Itamar Eichner
After months of behind-the-scenes diplomatic struggles, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was elected to head the UN Legal Committee on Monday, which deals with sensitive topics including fighting global terrorism. This marks the first time an Israeli representative will head a permanent UN committee. Palestinian and Iranian representatives worked to oppose Danon's candidacy.
"Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world," Danon said.
- Israel Gets Singular Focus at UN Rights Body
Wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Enforced disappearances, torture and extremist attacks infringe on human rights worldwide. But only one country has its record inspected at every single session of the UN Human Rights Council: Israel. Both Israel, a democracy in a difficult neighborhood full of enemies, and the U.S. decry what they see as an entrenched bias in UN institutions and an obsession with the Palestinian issue at the expense of other crises around the globe.
Of 233 country-specific HRC resolutions in the last decade, more than a quarter - 65 - focus on Israel. Syria, where since 2011 at least 250,000 have been killed and over 10 million displaced, was the subject of 19 resolutions. David Keyes, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, said, "Imagine that. A country with free speech, free elections and minority rights is condemned more than mass murdering dictatorships like North Korea, Iran and Syria." (AP-New York Times)
See also Israel to UN Human Rights Council: "How Do You Expect Us to Take You Seriously?" - Tovah Lazaroff
"You have an obsessive, compulsive disorder regarding Israel," the country's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Eviatar Manor, told the Human Rights Council on Tuesday. "Politicized debates, biased resolutions, preposterous reports, discriminatory conduct and unfounded accusations characterize the attitude of this Council and of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights towards Israel," Manor said.
"This Council's priorities are wide off the mark." How is it, that it has "an agenda item specifically dedicated to my country when the tragedies of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, to name but a few, are unfolding and producing a tsunami of refugees about to engulf Europe? And you expect us to take you seriously?" (Jerusalem Post)
- 35 Years Since the Bombing of the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor - Eyal Zisser
In 1981, Israeli jets bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad, built by Saddam Hussein with French assistance, thus ending the Iraqi dictator's dream of acquiring a nuclear weapon.
In response, the U.S. placed a temporary embargo on arms shipments to Israel. Yet it is clear that acquiring nuclear weapons would have granted Saddam immunity from an American attack, like the one which led to his downfall in 2003.
The passing years not only strengthened and confirmed the justification and morality of the Israeli operation, but also its inherent diplomatic and military logic. Israel's determination to prevent its enemies from acquiring nuclear weapons helped stave off a regional nuclear arms race for two decades. We also learned that the international community is at best helpless when confronting the threats to regional stability, and at worst is often complicit in helping these threats develop.
Today we see similar cooperation with Iran, which is trying to succeed where Saddam failed. The writer, Vice Rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
- Hope for the Arab World? - Robert Fulford
The Arab Spring began as a time of revolutionary hopes, but ended in a nightmare of chaos and violence. It overturned Egyptian and Libyan governments but the new rulers were no better than the old. In Syria it ignited a long civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands. Why did it fail so calamitously?
Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, a Lebanon-born Christian Arab who lives in Canada, provides the answer in a remarkable book, Hostage to History: The Cultural Collapse of the 21st Century Arab World. He argues that Arab culture has developed in a way that makes a viable modern society impossible. The state demands obedience and silence, which creates a sheep-like populace.
Boycotting Israel Isn't Free Speech - Eugene Kontorovich (New York Daily News)
- New York Gov. Cuomo's recent executive order requiring state agencies to divest from companies that boycott Israel has led boycott proponents to claim he's violating the First Amendment, which safeguards free expression, and particularly political speech. But there is no free speech problem here. States have a right to refuse to spend their money on what they view as bigoted or improper conduct.
- The First Amendment protects speech, not conduct. The Supreme Court unanimously held, in Rumsfeld vs. FAIR, that the government can deny federal funding to universities that boycott military recruiters.
- Companies may boycott Israel to prevent further harassment from the BDS movement, to curry favor with Arab states or out of mere anti-Semitism. Those actions have no message. That is why refusals to do business are not speech.
- Federal law already bans participation in certain kinds of boycotts of Israel - those sponsored by foreign countries - and no one has ever doubted the constitutionality of these measures.
- Israel boycotts - which target all businesses from a particular country - have the key hallmark of impermissible discrimination: They cut off business to people and companies not because of their own particular conduct, but on the basis of who they are.
- Boycott activists claim they merely object to Israeli government policies. But it is not the Israeli government targeted by boycotts, but those with some Israeli connection.
The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
See also If You Boycott Israel, New York State Will Boycott You - Gov. Andrew Cuomo
There is a clear, well-established legal distinction between political speech - whom you vote for, whom you stand with in a public rally - and blatant discriminatory conduct such as BDS activities. If a business owner refuses to serve or hire someone based on race, religion or ethnicity, it is illegal and sanctionable. If that same person attends a political rally decrying one group of people - African Americans, Jews, the LGBT community - it is constitutionally protected speech.
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