Suicide Bomber in Germany Confirmed ISIS Loyalty in Video (ABC News)
A Syrian suicide bomber who injured 15 people and wounded dozens at a musical festival in Ansbach, Germany, on Sunday pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video found on his phone, according to Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann.
In addition, a source told Amaq, the official ISIS media arm, "The attack was carried out by a soldier" who "executed the operation" in response to "calls to target" Western countries fighting ISIS.
Last Monday, an asylum seeker attacked passengers on a commuter train in Bavaria with an axe and a knife, injuring five people. On Friday, a German-Iranian killed nine people in a shooting in Munich. On Saturday, a Syrian refugee killed a woman and injured four others with a knife in Reutlingen.
Netanyahu Offers Abbas Condolences over Brother's Death - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday evening and offered his condolences over the death of Abbas' brother, Omar, 76, who died in Qatar after a long battle with cancer.
In recent years Omar traveled to Israel regularly to receive medical treatment.
ISIS, Nusra Front Recruiting among Palestinians in Lebanon - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
The Islamic State and the Nusra Front are both trying to recruit fighters among Palestinians in Lebanon, according to Lebanese security sources.
They are particularly active in Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon, where sources said more than 200 had been recruited, with dozens crossing the border into Syria to join ISIS.
Hamas Vows to Join Palestinian Municipal Elections - Grant Rumley (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
Hamas announced that it would participate in municipal elections across the West Bank and Gaza in October.
Hamas boycotted the previous municipal elections in 2012.
In those elections, rogue members of Fatah ran against the party and won in key districts, including in the de-facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah.
Egyptian Statue Unearthed in Northern Israel - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
On Monday, during a dig in Tel-Hazor, a UNESCO Heritage Site north of the Sea of Galilee, an American volunteer uncovered a large limestone fragment of an Egyptian statue depicting an ancient official's foot on a square base containing a few lines in hieroglyphic script.
Bryan Kovach, 42, who unearthed the fragment, has volunteered periodically at the excavation site since 1997.
"This was really strange and exciting... when I rolled it over and realized that it was an Egyptian statue," he said.
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- To France from Israel: Lessons on Living with Terror - Isabel Kershner and James Glanz
For many Israelis, the horrifying images of a truck plowing through crowds in Nice, France, struck a familiar chord. In a 2014 Palestinian attack, a tractor flipped over a bus with its bucket, killing an Israeli. In 2011, an Arab-Israeli man's truck barreled down a Tel Aviv street for a mile, killing one and wounding 17. Since October, 32 Palestinians have rammed vehicles into people at bus stops, intersections and checkpoints.
That the Nice attack occurred at a mass gathering for Bastille Day, France's national holiday, had Israelis shaking their heads. Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said that to secure a major event like Independence Day celebrations, officers gather intelligence for weeks beforehand, and erect a 360-degree enclosure of the area, with layers of security around the perimeter. Main roads are typically blocked off with rows of buses, and smaller side streets with patrol cars. In addition to a large uniformed and undercover police presence, counterterrorism teams are strategically placed to provide a rapid response if needed. (New York Times)
- Iran to Protest to IAEA over Leaked Nuclear Document on Secret Side Deal
Last week, the Associated Press cited a classified document stating that Tehran's scaling back of its nuclear program "will start to ease years before the 15-year accord expires."
Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said Sunday that "the parts [of the document] published were confidential and were supposed to remain so....Our assumption is that it has been leaked by the (International Atomic Energy) Agency."
AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi said Saturday Iran had asked the IAEA to keep the data on Tehran's long-term nuclear program confidential.
- Court Halts U.S. Seizure of New York Building Linked to Iran - Barry Meier and Benjamin Weiser
In a setback for victims of attacks linked to Iran, a federal appeals court in New York on Wednesday threw out a lower-court ruling that had upheld the government's move to seize a landmark Manhattan building at 650 Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center on charges that it was a front for Iran.
The office tower is the largest single asset seized by the Justice Department as a result of charges that its owners acted on behalf of the Iranian government in violation of economic sanctions against Iran and also engaged in money laundering. Estimates of the property's value range from $800 million to $1 billion.
(New York Times)
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- Abbas Prepares to Sue Britain over Balfour Declaration - Jack Khoury
PA President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Arab states to help the Palestinians prepare a lawsuit against Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration which voiced Britain's support for establishing "a national home for the Jewish people." After World War I, the League of Nations, the predecessor to the UN, incorporated this goal into the British Mandate for Palestine.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced the intention on Wednesday at the Arab League summit in Mauritania. Maliki also spoke out against regional cooperation with Israel.
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said, "Palestinian leaders haven't been interested in peace for some time already. The only goal is to delegitimize Israel." (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinians, Sudan Working to Restrain Israeli Breakthrough in Africa - Adam Rasgon
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced on Wednesday in Khartoum that "President Mahmoud Abbas and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir discussed developing a strategy for the African continent and coordinating to restrain Israeli attempts to make a breakthrough in Africa." (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel, Jordan Discuss Energy, Water and Employment Cooperation - Hedy Cohen
Earlier this month a senior Israeli delegation led by Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara met with Jordanian Prime Minister Dr. Hani Al-Muki to discuss closer cooperation on water, electricity, and natural gas. Jordanian sources attending the meeting said that Jordan's King Abdullah is committed to joint projects with Israel even though a large part of the Jordanian public opposes such a policy.
- Saudi Arabia's Diplomatic Dance with Israel - Simon Henderson
While retired Saudi major-general Anwar Eshki's visit last week may not have been his first trip to Israel, this time he was accompanied by a number of Saudi academics and businesspeople. In the absence of mutual diplomatic recognition, all of these individuals would have needed special dispensation from the Saudi government to make the journey.
The main Saudi personality in the slow process of publicly acknowledging Israel has been former intelligence chief and ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal, a more high-profile figure than Eshki but also not a current official. So far this year, Turki has shaken hands with then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and debated with Netanyahu's former national security advisor Yaakov Amidror.
The writer is director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- How Iran Ruined Nuclear Deals for Everyone - Behnam Ben Taleblu
Last summer's Iran nuclear deal establishes larger lessons for potentially problematic nuclear actors. The first is that steadfastness and even intransigence can lead the international community to accept domestic enrichment.
The second lesson is that being a Western ally does not guarantee more flexible treatment when accessing nuclear technology. Key American allies that have previously limited their nuclear activities - like South Korea or the United Arab Emirates - have already noted that Iran has been permitted to sign a deal allowing it to develop industrial-scale nuclear capacity. As a Foundation for Defense of Democracies report last year noted, "Few countries...may be willing to accept greater constraints on their nuclear activities than were demanded of Iran." The writer is an Iran Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Should Canada Be More Balanced on Israel and the Palestinian Authority? - Robert Fulford
"Balance" implies that the opinions of two antagonists should be regarded as morally equivalent. It would mean that we would consider that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are similar entities, with similar goals and similar methods, to be taken seriously in a similar way. But how could Canada do that?
In many ways Israel lives by the same principles as Canada. It is a democracy, with rival political parties. Its government lives under constant scrutiny. It has independent judges, a free marketplace, freedom of speech and media. It has academic freedom. In all these ways, Israel is unique in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority has none of those attributes.
The Palestinian Authority just installed a monument to Ahmed Jabara, who killed 15 people and injured 60 in 1976 by leaving a refrigerator packed with explosives in Zion Square in Jerusalem. A bust of him in white marble sits in a square in Ramallah. Should a Canadian treat with balance a community that teaches young people to revere terrorist martyrs? Sympathy, perhaps, or some level of understanding. But balance? No.
Israel's Foreign Ministry Chief: "If Paris Goes Ahead with Peace Summit, I Doubt We'll Be There" - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
- Dore Gold has become the face of Israel's foreign policy since he became the director-general of the Foreign Ministry in June 2015. He said in an interview that Israel will likely boycott a French-planned international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Paris, if it goes ahead later this year.
- "The French initiative unfortunately is an alternative to direct negotiations.... It's undermining the whole peace process that was begun in Madrid," referring to a 1991 summit attended by Israel.
- "Madrid, and afterwards of course the Oslo accords, envisioned specifically direct negotiations without preconditions. That's the international consensus, and the French initiative is a deviation."
- In the 1990s, Gold spent many hours negotiating with now PA President Mahmoud Abbas. "He has certain maps in his mind that are beyond the maps the people of Israel can accept. He dabbles in the delegitimization of Israel and in the total denial of Jewish history. That raises serious questions whether he can deliver, or wants to deliver, a permanent solution. I'm not sure he wants to."
- "Unfortunately, he has fallen into a pattern of behavior of relying on vicious incitement against the people of Israel, which simply cannot be accepted....His need for using incitement to violence and condoning terrorist acts after the fact just raises serious questions about whether he can ultimately be relied upon to produce a political settlement."
- Gold also rejected international criticism that expanding Jewish communities is rendering a two-state solution impossible.
The international reaction to the "addition of another row of houses in an existing settlement" in the West Bank is "very difficult to understand."
- Most of the Jews live in settlement blocs that are expected to be annexed to Israel in a peace deal. "The addition of Jews is not what's blocking a peace settlement....What's blocking the peace settlement is this Palestinian resorting to violence."
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