Iran Opens Amusement Park to Teach Kids to Fight Israel, USA (MEMRI)
The City of Games for Revolutionary Children in Mashhad, Iran, is open free of charge to children aged 8 through 13.
In the park, the children wear military uniforms and undertake activities simulating fighting the enemies of the Islamic Revolution.
At 12 stations, children can launch plastic missiles and fire plastic bullets at targets such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. and Israeli flags, and members of the Saudi royal family.
At the final station, children are blindfolded and asked to throw a ball at a puzzle of an Israeli flag and knock it down.
Dutch Police Arrest Suspects in Planned Synagogue Attack (JTA)
Dutch police arrested several suspects in connection with jihadists' unrealized plan to attack a synagogue in southern Amsterdam last January, according to a police document obtained by the Telegraaf.
The main suspect in the ring, connected to Amsterdam's Arrayan Sunni mosque, is "Abdelhakim," of Moroccan descent. Several Muslims have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the plan.
The report came amid discussions on replacing the permanent police protection at some Amsterdam synagogues with a cheaper video surveillance system. The Jewish community of the Netherlands opposes the plan, citing elevated risk.
U.S. Security Aid to the PA - Alaa Tartir (Al Jazeera)
U.S. aid to Palestinians, averaging $400 million a year since 2008, has mostly been allocated to the PA's security sector. Half of Palestinian public sector civil servants are employed in security.
According to a recent unpublished report by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), there are 83,276 security sector personnel in the West Bank and Gaza, a very high number per capita by all international standards.
The PA, mainly drawing on international aid, spent almost a third of its total 2014 budget on security ($1 billion).
According to the DCAF report, the PA has 232 brigadier-generals and Hamas has 80. In comparison, the U.S. Army has 410 brigadier-generals in total.
This skewed proportion of high-ranking and highly compensated officers makes no sense.
More British Muslims Believe Jews Behind 9/11 Attacks than Al-Qaeda - Ian Drury (Daily Mail-UK)
A survey of 3,000 British Muslims found 96% did not believe Osama Bin Laden's terror group carried out the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.
Some 31% thought the American government was behind the strikes on the World Trade Center and Pentagon which claimed almost 3,000 lives.
Another 7% said it was a Jewish plot, and only 4% believe al-Qaeda was responsible, while 58% did not know.
One in four British Muslims did not believe extremist views existed, while almost half would not report it to the police if someone they knew was involved with supporters of terrorism in Syria.
See also Unsettled Belonging: A Survey of Britain's Muslim Communities - Martyn Frampton, David Goodhart and Khalid Mahmood (Policy Exchange-UK)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Egypt and Turkey Soften Positions on Syria, Benefiting Assad - Anne Barnard
Egypt and Turkey, countries that were once vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have softened their positions. Countries in the Middle East long aligned with the U.S. are hedging their bets and looking to Moscow for support as Russian intervention transforms the conflict in Syria.
Russia is asserting itself across the region to a degree not seen since Soviet times, partnering with an increasingly ambitious Iran.
Turkey has reached an understanding with Russia in northern Syria - slackening support for besieged rebels in Aleppo in exchange for a sphere of influence along its border with Syria to keep Kurdish militias away. (New York Times)
- Chilean Court Rejects War Crimes Suit Against Israeli Justices - Patricia Luna
A Chilean court rejected lawsuits filed by Chile's Palestinian Federation against three current or former Israeli Supreme Court justices for endorsing the seizure of land for the construction of the West Bank separation barrier. Israel says the barrier, built beginning in 2002, is needed to keep out Palestinian attackers.
The group contended that Chile's international agreements allow for suits involving crimes against humanity committed in other countries. But in their ruling, the judges said they did not have the authority to intervene in another country's court decisions.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman earlier said the lawsuit had no legal basis. Chile's Palestinian community is among the world's largest, with about 350,000 immigrants and their descendants.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: In the Middle East, "the Weak Don't Survive" - Eric Cortellessa and Tamar Pileggi
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the annual Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution on Sunday, "I believe the U.S. is the indispensable power in the world and in the Middle East, and I believe it must remain so." He added that "Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That has not changed and will not change....Since the deal was signed, Iran has become a more aggressive power....We have to stop Iran's march to the bomb; its development of long-range missiles; its support for terrorism in the Middle East and throughout the world."
Turning to the peace process, Netanyahu said, "I haven't changed my vision for two states for two peoples, it's the only way we'll get to peace. The core of the conflict is the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is what's always driven the conflict." He accused PA President Abbas of "refusing" to negotiate and said he did not understand why "the press doesn't get" that Israel is willing to negotiate and the Palestinians are the "rejectionists."
He stressed that, in the Middle East, "Nobody makes peace with the weak...the weak don't survive....The strong and the smart survive." (Times of Israel)
See also Kerry at Saban Forum: Israel "Heading to a Place of Danger" - Steve Herman (VOA News)
See also Text of Secretary of State Kerry's Remarks at Saban Forum (U.S. State Department)
- Rajoub, Abbas Strengthen Their Positions at Fatah Congress - Avi Issacharoff
Palestinian news agencies on Sunday published the results in the Fatah Central Committee elections for key positions in the party.
Coming in first was Marwan Barghouti, who is in prison for murder after orchestrating deadly terror attacks during the Second Intifada, followed by Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association. Next on the list are Mahmud Eshtawi, Hussein Eshtawi and Muhammed Al-Alul - all allies of Rajoub. Rajoub's biggest opponent in the elections, Tawfik Tirawi, was also chosen for the Central Committee, but few of his supporters made it onto the list.
Rajoub can't celebrate, however. The Central Committee, which chooses the secretary-general to be its head, will be supplemented by another four members appointed by Abbas. Then, it seems, Abbas will try to appoint top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat to the position of secretary-general. Abbas emerged from this congress as the unassailable leader of Fatah.
(Times of Israel)
See also Abbas' Fatah Victory - Prof. Eyal Zisser
At last week's Fatah congress, Abbas was elected for another five-year term. Only 1,400 delegates took part, compared to 2,600 who attended the congress seven years ago, which means that hundreds of participants who might have bolstered Abbas' rival were kept away.
- As Syria Burns, the UN Again Bashes ... Israel - Editorial
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last week demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the bloodshed in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad is butchering civilians. The Security Council didn't act - but the UN General Assembly managed to pass six resolutions targeting Israel. One of them even calls for putting more people under Assad's thumb, demanding that Israel cede the Golan Heights to Syria. As the Syrian regime kills "its own people by the hundreds of thousands," asks UN Watch's Hillel Neuer, "how can the UN call for more human beings to be placed under Assad's rule?" (New York Post)
- How Israel Can Help Europe - Marcus Dysch
In London last week, Dore Gold, until recently the director-general of Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry, explained why he is so bullish about his country's prospects. "Many people say Israel is more isolated than ever. But I saw foreign ministers pouring in to see our prime minister. We now have negotiations on free trade with pivotal countries in the Far East like South Korea, Japan, China and India. That's a different reality to a country that is isolated.
Africa is completely opening up. I would criss-cross the Sahara having meetings. Israel is in demand, it is not isolated."
"Israel has excellent relations with a number of key European states bilaterally. Many times you would find our problems were in Brussels, not in Paris, not in Munich, not in London. Israel has a better standing today than it did before....Remember, countries that are fighting ISIS, and are concerned about an attack on the streets of London, Madrid, Rome or any place else, often view Israel as a natural partner for European security."
He adds: "Right now the price of oil is low, but it will go up. If you're concerned about European energy stability in five or 10 years, the most stable source for European gas is going to be the eastern Mediterranean - the combined capabilities of Egypt, Israel and Cyprus.
So Israel should be proud of how it can help Europe." (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
- Who Is Responsible for the Shuafat Refugee Camp? - Jonathan S. Tobin
Rachel Kushner journeyed to Shuafat - inside Jerusalem's municipal borders but outside the jurisdiction of either Israel or the Palestinian Authority because of its status as a UN refugee camp - to write a feature titled "We Are Orphans: Life and Death in East Jerusalem's Palestinian Refugee Camp" for the New York Times Magazine. The piece was as sympathetic as advocates of the Palestinian cause could have asked for.
Shuafat is an awful place, but people are there and in every other Palestinian refugee camp because the Arab world and its leaders have kept them there for 68 years. In the years that followed World War II, conflicts created hundreds of millions of refugees in Europe and Asia. Only the Palestinians were kept in camps and deprived of the opportunity to be resettled elsewhere. They are still being told that someday they will return to their old places of residence when Israel ceases to be a Jewish state.
Israel lacks the power to improve conditions in Shuafat or other camps. The responsibility belongs solely to UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership, both of which remain content to continue the same cynical policies. (Commentary)
The War Isn't Over Yet - Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz (Ha'aretz)
- In the huge population transfer between India and Pakistan in 1947, 15 million people became refugees. In post-World War II Europe, 12 million Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe and over a million Poles left Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese fled from China after the Communists came to power in 1949, and over a million fled from North Vietnam to South Vietnam in the early 1950s.
- None of these situations gave rise to a "refugee problem" that hasn't been solved to this day. None of the millions who became refugees in the 1940s are seriously asking to return to their previous homes, and certainly they don't receive international recognition and institutional support for such a demand. The refugees were rehabilitated in the countries where they found refuge and began their lives again.
- Palestinian Arabs carried out total ethnic cleansing against the Jews, and did not leave a single Jew in the territory remaining in their hands at the end of the war in 1949. That was also the fate of many Jews who had lived in Arab countries for hundreds and thousands of years.
- The Palestinians refuse to see their departure from the land as something that happens during wars (in their case, the side that started the war and lost was the side that left), but as part of a conspiracy by a population group that had no rights to the land, which forced itself on a country that didn't belong to it.
- The continuation of the Palestinian refugee problem is a result of an Arab and Palestinian decision to convey a clear message: The war they began 69 years ago in response to the UN Partition Plan - a war whose objective was to prevent the Jewish people from realizing its right of self-definition in its homeland - isn't over yet.
Dr. Einat Wilf, a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute, is a former Knesset member.
Adi Schwartz was a staff writer and senior editor at Ha'aretz (1999-2009).
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