Germany Cracks Down on Right-Wing Extremists Who Planned Attacks on Jews (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
German police on Wednesday arrested six members of the "Reichsburger" movement who are suspected of forming a terrorist organization that procured arms and ammunition.
They are accused of planning attacks on police officers, asylum seekers and Jews.
The movement, which refuses to recognize the authority of the German state, boasts 4,500 supporters.
Putin's Syria: Success through Strength - Prof. Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
Russian President Vladimir Putin is the most powerful man in the Middle East today.
The peace Putin is pushing in Syria is not a "just peace," but rather a peace completely based on force.
Putin is far from being a "fair mediator." He took a clear stance on one side of the conflict - Assad's side.
The military presence the U.S. maintains across the Middle East - soldiers, planes and warships - is 10 times as big as the Russian military presence in Syria, but everyone ignores them.
The lesson for Israel is that the key to success in our region is not in trying to appease anyone, but in standing up for our interests resolutely and showing strength.
Whoever wishes to advance Israeli-Palestinian negotiations should pay attention to this.
The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Defending the Civilized World - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)
Not for the first time is America threatened by totalitarian foes. The goal of the Communists was domination by one class. The Nazis sought to establish the supremacy of one race. Today, the Islamists fight for one religion uber alles.
They want all of us, Muslim and "infidel" alike, to obey sharia - Islamic law as they interpret it.
And if you don't think they've been making progress over recent years, you haven't been paying close attention.
The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Israeli Software Blocks Ransomware Attacks on Hospital (PR Newswire)
Assuta Medical Center in Israel has used cyber security solutions developed by Sasa Software of Kibbutz Sasa to block numerous ransomware attacks.
"In recent months, we have been the target of several ransomware attacks, including the notorious 'Locky' strain," said Assuta's chief information security officer Tamir Ronen.
Israeli Cybersecurity Industry Grows as Global Threats Multiply - Gwen Ackerman (Bloomberg)
Investments in Israel's cybersecurity industry jumped 9% in 2016, according to a new report from Start-Up Nation Central.
365 Israeli cybersecurity companies raised $581 million in 2016.
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News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. to Review Funding for International Organizations - Max Fisher
The Trump administration is preparing a draft executive order titled "Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations." It calls for terminating funding for any UN agency or other international body that gives full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, or supports any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran.
The draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that "is controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism." The order then calls for enacting "at least a 40% overall decrease" in remaining U.S. funding for international organizations. (New York Times)
- U.S. Considering Safe Zones for Refugees Inside Syria - Carol E. Lee
President Trump is preparing an executive order to direct the Pentagon and State Department to craft a plan to create safe zones in Syria for civilians fleeing the conflict. Trump has said such safe zones could serve as an alternative to admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
- Congressional Leaders Plan Response to Pre-Inauguration Day Money Transfer to Palestinians - Jenna Lifhits
Congressional leaders are moving to respond to a last-minute transfer of $221 million to the Palestinian Authority in the final hours of the Obama administration. "I don't know if we can recoup that money, but I intend to suspend future funding to the Palestinian Authority until they change their laws that reward young Palestinians for killing Israelis and Americans," said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Graham said he will reintroduce the Taylor Force Act, named after an Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist last March, which cuts funding until the PA stops directly or indirectly financing terrorism. The PA set aside roughly $140 million to support imprisoned terrorists and their families in 2016.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Two Palestinian Attacks Thwarted in West Bank - Yotam Berger and Gili Cohen
After Israeli soldiers were fired on Wednesday near Abud in the West Bank, the troops returned fire, injuring the assailant. A rifle was found in his vehicle.
Earlier Wednesday, Hussien Salem Abu Gosh, 24, from Kalandia, rammed his car into a bus stop outside Kohav Yaakov where soldiers and civilians were standing, before he was shot and killed by the soldiers. No Israelis were injured. (Ha'aretz)
- Giuliani: "It Makes No Sense for U.S. to Create Another Terrorist State" - Herb Keinon
The role of an effective U.S. Mideast negotiator should not be that of a broker, but rather one whose job is to get the Palestinians to be more realistic, and not think that they can get the world to impose a solution on Israel, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. "Someone has to get the Palestinians in the world of reality, as opposed to the unreal world that they have created," he said.
"If you are going to create a state, you want to create a healthy one, not a dangerous one," he said. "By using the UN...they have come to make it seem like there really is no burden on them, and they should just be given the land they want, and that's it. From the point of view of the United States, that makes no sense, it makes no sense for us to create another terrorist state." (Jerusalem Post)
- What Would the U.S. Gain from Moving Its Embassy to Jerusalem? - Robert Satloff
Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv would correct a historic injustice. Washington has never recognized a single inch of Jerusalem as legitimately part of Israel, not even "West Jerusalem," which Israel has controlled for nearly seven decades, nor the rest of the city which it has controlled for nearly 50 years. None of this has stopped five U.S. presidents from visiting Jerusalem and conducting official business there.
Moving the embassy is also about restoring balance to U.S. policy. While the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem has, since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, served as the de facto representative of the U.S. government to the Palestinian Authority, Washington lacks any formal presence in the capital of its main democratic ally in the Middle East. Thus, actual U.S. policy tilts toward the Palestinians. The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- UN Resolution Targets 250,000 Jews in Jerusalem - Rafael Medoff
UN Security Council Resolution 2334, adopted on Dec. 23 with the U.S. abstaining, asserted that Israeli settlement activities in "East Jerusalem" are "a flagrant violation of international law."
A number of major Jerusalem neighborhoods are situated in what the UN calls "East Jerusalem," the area that Jordan occupied from 1948 to 1967.
"My grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, going back seven generations, are buried on the Mount of Olives," said Washington, D.C.-based attorney Alyza Lewin. "Does the UN propose to ban Jews from using the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world?"
The Israeli branch of Conservative Judaism sponsors a school and synagogue in French Hill, a school in Gilo, and synagogues in the Ramot neighborhood and the Jerusalem satellite community of Ma'ale Adumim. "Many of the areas the UN purports to 'return' are historically and by rights Jewish territory recognized de facto by the parties themselves," said Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
Mordechai Nisan, a professor of Middle East studies at Hebrew University, said, "More than 250,000 Jews reside in parts of Jerusalem past the 1967 lines, and they are here to stay. The supporters of the recent UN resolution are delusional - they are living in their own little echo chamber, with no connection to reality." (JNS.org)
- Iran's Axis of Resistance Rises - Payam Mohseni and Hussein Kalout
What is known as the "axis of resistance," with Iran as its undisputed center, includes Iraq, Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas in Gaza. Iran and its partners, including Russia, are building a new regional political and security architecture, with Shiite armed movements, totaling hundreds of thousands of combatants, creating a transnational, multiethnic, political and security network that has made the axis more muscular and effective than ever before. The most important issue that the new U.S. administration will face in the Middle East will be the rise of the Iranian-led axis.
Pro-Iranian factions of Hamas have now taken over leadership of Gaza. Imad al-Alami, reportedly the new transitional leader of Hamas in Gaza, has cultivated close ties to the IRGC and Hizbullah over the past few decades, traveling frequently to Iran.
Growing Iranian power means that there is a real risk of the axis expanding across Shiite-majority Bahrain and into the Shiite eastern Arabian Peninsula where the main Saudi oilfields rest, or consolidating its position in Yemen and the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
Dr. Payam Mohseni is director of the Iran Project at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where Hussein Kalout is a research scholar.
Video: Rethinking the Iran Agreement - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- President Trump's invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Washington for a summit meeting is very likely to bring into relief the whole question of the future of the P5+1 agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. As currently constituted, the Iran agreement is extremely dangerous for Israel, Western European countries, and for the United States, and requires careful consideration about whether and how the West should proceed with it.
- First, the agreement doesn't cover, in any way, ballistic missiles. Back in the early 1990s when the UN had to define which Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to destroy, it related to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and ballistic missiles beyond a certain range - in those days 150 km. For some reason, when the Iran agreement was concluded, no prohibitions were put on Iran's ballistic missile program.
- Iran has the largest arsenal of missiles and it's growing. The Iranians are testing missiles of greater range and greater potency that perhaps today can strike at Israel or Turkey, but in a decade will be able to hit the English Channel or even the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. That can't be permitted.
- A second issue, even more fundamental, is the fact that the Iran agreement has a sunset clause. That's like a point in time in the future when the agreement is no longer in force. The Iran agreement is like a carton of milk that goes sour at some definite date in the future and what happens at that point is that Iran could then go ahead and enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants, including weapons-grade uranium, and the West can't say anything or do anything about it.
- If you take those missiles that the agreement allows Iran to manufacture and you marry them up with the weapons-grade uranium that Iran will be able to enrich in any quantity that it wants, what you're left with in another decade or so is another Soviet Union, not run by godless Communists, but run by ayatollahs with a Shiite ideology, radical Islamic in intent, and extremely dangerous not just for the Middle East but for the world.
- Therefore, the stakes behind these discussions over the future of the Iran agreement are so important. They're important for the security of America, they're important for the security of Israel, and they're important for the security of us all.
Dr. Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former Israeli UN ambassador and director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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