Report: Iran Tested Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile (Reuters-Daily Mail-UK)
Iran tested a "Sumar" cruise missile that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons in addition to test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, the German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday.
Record Number of Anti-Semitic Incidents in UK (BBC News)
Britain's Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 1,309 incidents in 2016 - surpassing the previous high of 1,182 in 2014.
More than 3/4 of all recorded incidents took place in Greater London and Greater Manchester.
There were 81 recorded incidents of damage and desecration to Jewish property, and 107 violent anti-Semitic assaults.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said, "It is vital we ensure the safety and security of our Jewish community and this government will continue to do all we can to stamp out these vile attacks and encourage those who experience them to come forward."
German Police Arrest Tunisian Asylum Seeker Who Plotted Islamic State Terrorist Attack - Stephanie Kirchner (Washington Post)
German police on Wednesday arrested an asylum seeker from Tunisia for plotting an Islamic State-linked terrorist attack.
Another rejected asylum seeker from Tunisia, Anis Amri, plowed a truck into the Berlin Christmas market on Dec. 19, killing 12 people.
Unemployment in Israel Dropped to 4.3% in December - Danielle Roth-Avneri (Israel Hayom)
Israel's unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% in December 2016, compared to 4.5% the previous month, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday.
IDF Sees Spike in Number of Women Serving in Combat Units - Gideon Allon (Israel Hayom)
This year, 2,800 women will serve in combat roles in the Israel Defense Forces.
The number of women serving in combat roles in the Homefront Command is up 38%, the number of women combat soldiers in artillery units is up 19%, the Israeli Navy has seen the number of women in combat roles increase by 93%, and the number of women in combat service in the Border Police has doubled.
Brig. Gen. Eran Shani, head of the Planning Brigade and Manpower Administration in the IDF Personnel Directorate, said 90% of all service positions in the IDF are now open to women.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. Warns Iran after Ballistic Missile Launch
U.S. National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn said Wednesday:
"Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore...Iran's destabilizing behavior across the Middle East. The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls upon Iran 'not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.'"
"Tehran's malign actions includ[e]...weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms. The Trump Administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk....Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice." (White House)
- House Foreign Affairs Committee Leaders Call for Review of U.S. Policy on Iran - Barney Breen-Portnoy
Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking Democratic on the committee, on Wednesday called for a new look at U.S. policy toward Iran.
Royce said, "I think we should be tightening the sanctions against the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]. I think we respond to Iran's ballistic missile production demonstrably...[and] begin to rebuild international sanctions on Iran. We need to rebuild the consensus that the regime is a bad actor, so that means doing more to highlight what's going on internally in Iran, which is a human rights nightmare."
Engel said, "Iran needs to suffer consequences for its dangerous behavior....We should slam the door, be firm with them and make them understand that we're not going to put up with their nonsense." He added that "one of the ways we can show Iran we mean business is we can keep up our close alliance with Israel." (Algemeiner)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- U.S. Warns Palestinian Leaders Against Suing Israel in International Courts - Jack Khoury
The U.S. has warned Palestinian leaders that suing Israel in international courts would trigger severe steps including the closure of PLO offices in Washington and an end to economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. A high-ranking Palestinian source told Ha'aretz that President Trump signed an order to execute a congressional resolution, passed in 2015, to bar the transfer of any funds to the Palestinian Authority were it to initiate any investigation against Israel at the World Court or support such an investigation.
"Messages arriving from Washington in recent days made clear that any such step by the Palestinians would lead to a severe American reaction, so much so that some talked about returning the PLO to the list of terrorist organizations," said the Palestinian source. Palestinian leaders consider the messages from Washington an attempt to sabotage the Palestinian strategy of recent years which involves international diplomacy. (Ha'aretz)
- Expert: Threat to Israel from International Criminal Court Is Exaggerated - Yonah Jeremy Bob
Former Israel Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker told the Jerusalem Post that the threat posed to Israel by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been exaggerated and is very unlikely to turn into anything concrete. He believes there is no chance the ICC will go after the settlement enterprise as war crimes because they do not meet the "gravity" requirement - meaning that the ICC was founded to go after genocide, not housing. "If [the ICC] wants to maintain its status of probing the most serious crimes as a whole, which threaten peace and security and threatened millions, can anyone genuinely say Israeli settlement activity meets those criteria?" (Jerusalem Post)
- How Do Israel's Tech Firms Do Business in Saudi Arabia? Very Quietly - Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman
Over the course of 30 years working in Israeli intelligence, Shmuel Bar came to recognize the distinctive language and religious phrases that suicide bombers used in their farewell videos. After leaving government service in 2003, he founded a company called IntuView, a miner of data in the dark web, adapting his analyst's ear for language to custom algorithms capable of sifting through unending streams of social media messages for terrorist threats. He sold his services to police, border, and intelligence agencies across Europe and the U.S.
Two years ago the Saudis contacted him, wanting his help identifying potential terrorists, on condition that he hide IntuView's Israeli identity. Not a problem, he said, and he went to work ferreting out Saudi jihadis. These days, trade and collaboration in technology and intelligence are flourishing between Israel and a host of Arab states, even if the people and companies involved rarely talk about it publicly.
The volume and range of Israeli activity in at least six Gulf countries is getting hard to hide. One Israeli entrepreneur set up companies in Europe and the U.S. that installed more than $6 billion in security infrastructure for the UAE, using Israeli engineers. Other Israeli businesses are working in the Gulf, through front companies, on desalination, infrastructure protection, cybersecurity, and intelligence gathering. (Bloomberg)
- Jericho Prison: The PA's Fort of Torture - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas and Palestinian Authority media outlets regularly report about the abuse of human rights and torture in each other's prisons and detention centers. While the PA is asking to win recognition for a Palestinian state, is the international community willing to welcome yet another Arab state that tramples upon human rights, and practices torture in its prisons?
A recent report by a Hamas-affiliated website sheds light on some of the torture methods employed by PA interrogators at the notorious Jericho Central Prison. A recently released Palestinian described how anyone who arrives at the facility is first blindfolded and his hands tied behind his back before he is severely beaten. One of the most common forms of torture, he recounted, is where a prisoner's hands are shackled and he is hung from the ceiling for several hours while being beaten.
In another form of torture, the victims are whipped on their bare feet. In 2013, two Palestinian detainees reportedly died from torture in Jericho Prison five days apart. A London-based human rights organization reported 3,175 cases of human rights violations by the PA security forces in the West Bank during 2016. Meanwhile, the rest of the world closes its eyes and ears and continues to pretend that all is rosy in the land of Abbas.
Are Israeli Settlements Illegal? - Jason Reiskind (National Post-Canada)
- Canada's current position on Israeli settlements is that they are illegal because they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention regarding the transfer of population. Yet Canada must apply Article 49 equally to all states.
- Canada accepted the massive Soviet settlement of Russian citizens into the Baltic territories after the Second World War and even discouraged those states from removing the settlers when they renewed their independence in the 1990s. Canada has accepted Turkey's settlement of Turkish farmers into Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, and we've been conspicuously silent on the vast Chinese settlement of occupied Tibet.
- At the very least, we can no longer state that Article 49 applies to Jews living in and moving to the ancient Hebrew city of Hebron or the ancient Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.
- Jews lived in Hebron for thousands of years and the founders of Judaism are buried there. In 1929, a genocide occurred when the entire Jewish population was attacked and either killed or scattered. For Canada now to take the position that Jews cannot live in Hebron is to legitimize the 1929 genocide.
- Likewise, Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem over much of two millennia. Jordan, on conquering the Old City in 1948 shortly after Israel declared its independence, killed or displaced every single Jew.
The writer, a specialist in international law formerly at the department of External Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada), was a Foreign Service officer and Justice Canada counsel.
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