"Arab Quartet" Promotes Rapprochement with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
PA President Mahmoud Abbas is facing a new challenge from several Arab countries that have come together to demand that he reform his ruling Fatah faction and pave the way for the emergence of a new Palestinian leadership.
According to reports in Arab media,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE are seeking to end the state of political anarchy in the territories controlled by the PA and Hamas.
Abbas and Fatah leaders in Ramallah are convinced that the "Arab Quartet" is planning to pave the way for promoting "normalization" between the Arab world and Israel.
These countries have concluded that as long as Abbas and the current PA leadership are around, it would be very difficult to initiate any "normalization" with Israel.
Veteran Palestinian official Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala), a former PA prime minister and one of the architects of the Oslo Accord, come out in favor of the "Arab Quartet" plan, which basically envisions ousting Abbas from power.
Jordanian Writer Who Shared Cartoon Mocking ISIS Killed Outside Courthouse - Tim Hume and Jomana Karadsheh (CNN)
Nahed Hattar, a prominent Jordanian writer and member of the country's Christian minority, who faces charges for sharing a "blasphemous" anti-ISIS cartoon, was fatally shot on Sunday outside a courthouse in Amman where the case against him was being heard, the state news agency Petra reported.
Hattar was charged with the crime of insulting religion for having posted the image.
The cartoon depicted a bearded man in bed with two women in heaven as he instructs God to serve him wine and food.
Hattar explained that it was aimed at criticizing the twisted view of paradise held by ISIS.
The Prime Minister's office in Jordan denounced the killing.
Jordanian Military Delegation Visits Israel - Itamar Eichner
A delegation of 12 Jordanian soldiers recently concluded a three-day visit to Israel where they attended an international conference at Netanya Academic College on military forces in the region preserving the environment and natural resources.
IAF Helicopters Hold Two-Week Drill in Greece - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Israel Air Force CH-53 Sea Stallion and CH-60 Black Hawk helicopters
concluded two weeks of exercises in Greece's Olympic mountain range, together with helicopters from the Hellenic Air Force.
The exercises enabled flight crews to experience unknown terrain, as they would over enemy territory.
See also Video: Atop Mt. Olympus, Israeli Pilots Test Their Mettle - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
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- Islamic State "Dead Set" on Using Chemical Weapons to Defend Caliphate - Jeff Seldin
U.S. military officials fully expect IS militants to unleash their chemical weapons arsenal as Iraqi and Kurdish forces advance on the caliphate's Iraqi capital in Mosul. "This is real. They're dead set on it," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday, adding that the military has documented dozens of instances in which IS has used or tried to used chemical weapons.
The Pentagon says all U.S. personnel deployed to the region have been given equipment to protect themselves from possible chemical weapons attacks. It has also distributed thousands of gas masks to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga.
- U.S. Accuses Russia of "Barbarism" and War Crimes in Syria - Louisa Loveluck and Liz Sly
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power accused Russia of "barbarism" and war crimes in Syria at an emergency Security Council meeting on Sunday after Moscow's blistering airstrikes on Aleppo. "Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive," Power said. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in east Aleppo over the past week by white phosphorus, cluster munitions, barrel bombs and "bunker busters." (Washington Post)
- Iran Has No Reason to Point Finger over Sanctions, U.S. Says
The U.S. has kept its side of the nuclear deal with Iran, and Tehran has no reason to complain that Washington has not done enough on lifting sanctions against it, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said on Monday. Major foreign banks are wary of doing business with Iran because of fears that they would violate restrictions on U.S. banks, which are still banned from doing business with Iran because of core U.S. sanctions that remain in force.
"The sanctions that were to be relieved have been relieved. That's what was the commitment. That has happened," Moniz said, adding that Washington had gone beyond its obligations under the deal.
- Iran's Supreme Leader Tells Ahmadinejad Not to Run Again for President - Thomas Erdbrink
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out on Monday a return to politics by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for his denial of the Holocaust and for bombastic threats against Israel, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.
(New York Times)
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- Israel-U.S. Consortium Signs $10 Billion Gas Deal with Jordan
The partners in Israel's Leviathan gas field on Monday announced the sale of natural gas to Jordan worth an estimated $10 billion over 15 years. The deal is for one-tenth of the gas in the Leviathan field.
See also Jordan's Strategic Decision to Buy Israeli Gas - Simon Henderson
The notion of Jordan buying large quantities of gas from Israel to generate the bulk of its electricity is commercially logical but politically fraught, since most Jordanians do not want their country to buy Israeli gas. But the deal has become economically necessary since Egyptian gas is no longer available.
When gas starts flowing in late 2019, Leviathan production will double the amount of gas being produced off Israel's coast. The Tamar field is already responsible for more than half of Israel's electricity generation, and later this year a small portion of its supplies will flow to two industrial plants in southern Jordan. The writer is director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Women Combat Soldiers in the IDF - Yehuda Shohat
On October 21, 2015, Cpl. Dikla Megidish was stabbed in the neck by a terrorist. Cpl. Lihi Malka, who was standing next to Dikla, heard the terrorist shout "Allahu Akbar," cocked her weapon, and killed the terrorist.
Staff Sgt. Rachel Selfin said, "As soon as I saw the threat had been eliminated, I approached (Dikla) and immediately saw a spurt of blood pouring out of her neck. Out of instinct, I put my hands on (the wound) on what's called a 'pressure point'...[and] worked to stop the bleeding....All the while I kept talking to her so she wouldn't lose consciousness."
As Dikla was evacuated, Rachel and her soldiers resumed their assignment.
"It's part of the process. They didn't want any of us to go into shock, so we didn't leave....The public always has a hard time accepting that women can be combat soldiers. To me, this is proof for all female combat soldiers." (Ynet News)
- Palestinian Celebration of Munich Olympic Massacre Shows They Are Not Ready for Peace - Michael B. Oren
The International Olympic Committee erected a memorial in Rio to the 11 Israeli athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich games. Yet on Sep. 5, the anniversary of that horrific event, the official website of Fatah hailed the attack as a "heroic operation" and "one of the most important actions in modern history."
The PA's determination to instill hatred in Palestinians erases hopes of resolution. Bred on a constant curriculum of denying Israelis the right to life, much less to freedom in their homeland, generations of Palestinians are unlikely to reconcile with them. While Israel prepares its people for co-existence, the PA is educating Palestinians for bloodshed. The international community must insist that the PA refrain from praising all acts of terrorism, past and present. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
- Christian Criticism of Israel Ignores ISIS Persecution of Middle East Christians - Charles Moore
A Methodist church in London is exhibiting a border control point between Israel and the territories. The purpose is not to show how to deal with a terrorist threat, but to attack Israel. I have noticed these wall protests popping up on campuses, etc. They are propaganda. Serious issues certainly surround the whole question of Israel and its wall, but for churches to focus on this in the Middle East at this time is myopic. Not many miles away, their fellow Christians are being persecuted, expelled and murdered by ISIS, but their cries are virtually unheard in our comfortable pews.
- The Palestinians' Unsporting and Illegal Soccer War Against Israel - Eugene Kontorovich
Human Rights Watch published a report on Sunday denouncing Israeli soccer clubs in towns in the West Bank. A few weeks ago, a group of European Parliament members called on FIFA, the international soccer governing body, to expel the teams, or Israel itself, from world soccer. The legal arguments raised in these documents are entirely contrived. They contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel.
There is simply no support in international law for prohibiting business in occupied territories, as British and French courts have recently affirmed. Morocco maintains a team, part of its national football federation, in occupied Western Sahara. British Gibraltar's soccer federation is a member of the international soccer system despite being entirely located on what Spain claims as its sovereign territory. The Taiwanese (Taipei) federation is recognized, despite China's claim to the island. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
Cracking the Israeli-Palestinian Security Challenge - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog (Huffington Post)
- Twenty years after Israel and the Palestinians launched the Oslo process, there are real gaps between the parties on all core issues.
- Israel considers security to be paramount because although the country is militarily strong, it is highly vulnerable due to its lack of strategic depth, limited resources and location in a hostile environment.
- The 1967 lines, which the Palestinians see as a baseline for an agreement, leave Israel with a dangerously narrow waist along its coastal plain - less than 15 km. at its thinnest point - and overlooked by the West Bank's commanding hills.
- Israel is highly concerned about potential dramatic changes in the strategic regional landscape, which have happened more than once, especially in recent years. Israel therefore seeks solid arrangements which will compensate for the required compromise in a two-state solution and enable it to protect its critical national security if things go wrong.
- Israel seeks territorial adjustments to the 1967 lines to establish more secure, defensible boundaries, primarily by incorporating the major settlement blocs in order to modestly beef up the country's depth.
Israel wishes to create additional strategic depth through the demilitarization of a Palestinian state.
- Moreover, Israel seeks to establish a special security regime along the Jordan River. Such a regime would verify demilitarization, serve as a deterrent factor and tripwire against military threats, provide early warning, and deal with daily threats of terrorism. This position is informed by deep Israeli concerns about long-term stability in Jordan as well as hostile state, state-sponsored or jihadi threats from the east.
The writer, a former chief of staff to Israel's minister of defense, is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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