Israel Destroyed Dozens of Missiles in Syria Headed for Hizbullah - Gili Cohen (Ha'aretz)
The Israel Air Force destroyed around 100 Syrian missiles in its attack last month on weapons in Syria - many of which were to be delivered to Hizbullah, a senior Israeli officer said Tuesday.
Britain Refuses Palestinian Request for Apology over 1917 Balfour Promise (Reuters)
Palestinian leaders said on Tuesday Britain had rejected their request for an apology for the 1917 Balfour Declaration that helped pave the way to the State of Israel.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has invited Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to attend events commemorating the Balfour Declaration in November.
A British Foreign Office spokesman described the Balfour Declaration as "an historic statement.... We continue to support the principle of a Jewish homeland and the modern state of Israel, just as we support the critical objective of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state."
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to Britain, told Voice of Palestine Radio on Tuesday that unless Britain apologized and cancelled planned celebrations, the Palestinians would pursue international court action against Britain.
Report: Palestinian School Curriculum Becoming More Radical - Eldad J. Pardo (IMPACT-se)
The Palestinian elementary school curriculum for 2016-17 is significantly more radical than previous curricula.
To an even greater extent than the 2014-15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel, and focuses on a "return" to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.
Children are taught to be expendable ("I shall sacrifice my blood to saturate the land"). Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic.
The writer teaches at Hebrew University in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies.
Israeli Firms Revolutionizing Financial Technology - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel 21c-Jewish Journal-UK)
Much of the innovation in how we move and protect our money is coming from Israel.
At least 430 Israeli fintech companies are developing products for needs ranging from digital banking to fundraising and have lured $650 million in venture capital.
Payoneer, founded in 2005 by Israeli serial entrepreneur and investor Yuval Tal, has more than 700 employees globally across 12 offices, and recently completed a $180 million growth equity financing round. Clients include Airbnb, Amazon and Getty Images.
OurCrowd is a global online crowd-investing platform with five investment funds in which $320 million has been invested.
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- Iranian Supreme Leader Condemns USA and Israel
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday accused the U.S. and Israel of promoting a belligerent policy against Iran. Khamenei ascribed the USA-Israel showdown with Iran to "the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where a characteristic of the prophet's rule emerged and continues emerging."
Khamenei stressed that the creation of terrorist groups in the name of the Islamic faith and the initiation of divisions among Muslim nations are among the conspiracies conceived by the U.S. and the devilish Zionist regime to fight Islam. (Prensa Latina-Cuba)
- Iranian Vessel Approaches U.S. Navy Destroyer in Persian Gulf - Lucas Tomlinson
A U.S. Navy destroyer had another close encounter with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard "fast attack craft" in the Persian Gulf Monday.
Two U.S. officials said the Iranian ship came within 1,000 yards of the guided missile destroyer USS Mahan with its weapons manned. The Mahan altered course to avoid the Iranian warship, sounded the danger signal, fired flares and manned its own weapons. According to the U.S. military, Iran harassed U.S. Navy warships through "unprofessional" interactions at least 35 times in 2016.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu Cancels Meeting with German Foreign Minister - Herb Keinon
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Tuesday because he insisted on meeting with "organizations that defame IDF soldiers and try to prosecute our soldiers as war criminals."
Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren asked how Germany would react if foreign leaders went there and met with German organizations that portray German soldiers in Afghanistan as war criminals. "We had a situation here that was anomalous, and not in accord with normal behavior between states, certainly not between allied democratic states," he added. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Netanyahu: I Will Not Meet Those Who Meet with Groups that Slander IDF Soldiers as War Criminals
The Prime Minister's Office issued the following statement on Tuesday:
"Imagine if foreign diplomats visiting the United States or Britain met with NGOs that call American or British soldiers war criminals. Leaders of those countries would surely not accept this. Prime Minister Netanyahu's policy is not to meet foreign visitors who, on diplomatic trips to Israel, meet with groups that slander IDF soldiers as war criminals." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Palestinian Tries to Stab Soldier in West Bank - Judah Ari Gross
IDF troops shot a Palestinian man, Amjad Maher Salah, 17, who attempted to stab them on Tuesday at a bus stop outside the headquarters of the IDF's Samaria Regional Brigade, near the Hawara Junction outside Nablus. He "took out a knife and ran at the troops," an IDF spokesperson said. (Times of Israel-Ha'aretz)
- International Red Cross Official: Israel Is Not an Apartheid State - Sever Plocker
Jacques De Maio, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, said in an interview:
"Israel gives us - unlike the security establishments in many other countries, including Western ones - quick access to senior officials in the IDF, the Prison Service, and other security services. We have useful, productive and professional dialogue with them. We clarified with them the issue of shooting assailants who carry out terror attacks and we reached an unequivocal conclusion that there is no IDF order to shoot suspects to kill, as political officials tried to convince us. The rules of engagement haven't changed, and have actually been made stricter."
"We respond to anyone who makes the argument that Israel is an apartheid state: No, there is no apartheid here. There isn't a regime here that is based on the superiority of one race over another; there is no disenfranchisement of basic human rights based on so-called racial inferiority." (Ynet News)
- Israel Won't Allow Iran's Militias Close to Its Border - Caroline Akoum and Nazir Al-Majli
Israel attacked a Syrian National Defense Forces (NDF) camp in Quneitra on Sunday, killing three and injuring two others, an NDF official told AFP. Israel refused to confirm or deny the report.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdul Rahman said the site targeted may have been used by Lebanese Hizbullah as an armory.
A Syrian source inside the camp told AFP that "security guards at the camp saw what looked like three fireballs coming towards the camp. Then there were several consecutive blasts because of the explosion of ammunition warehouses."
The NDP is trained by Hizbullah, according to Abdul Rahman. It was formed in 2012 and includes 90,000 fighters across Syria. Sami Nader, director of Beirut's Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, said the Israeli attack is part of attempts to limit Iran's control in the region through Hizbullah.
- How Hamas Exploits Israel's Humanitarian Efforts - David M. Weinberg
Two Gazan women headed to Jerusalem for cancer treatment were caught smuggling explosives into Israel for Hamas last week.
Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan revealed that Hamas was using Gazan cancer patients to smuggle money and gold into Israel to finance terror operations. In 2005, Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, 21, from Gaza, was caught with 10 kg. of explosives in her underwear, en route to blow up Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba where she was being treated for burns.
Despite the security risk, Israel allows tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave Gaza every year for medical treatment in Israel. For a decade, I served as a public affairs and development officer at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer hospital. At any given time, a quarter of all patients in that institution's Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital are Arabs from Gaza. Doctors and administrators at Sheba and other Israeli hospitals offer similar care to Palestinians from the West Bank, to Syrian refugees, and, quietly, to Arabs from across the Middle East.
Several years ago, a Palestinian child at Sheba was ill with a rare form of cancer and was clearly going to die without a bone marrow transplant. The doctors found an 18-year-old brother who was an almost perfect bone marrow match, but he was a Hamas activist with ties to known terrorist operatives. Doctors at the hospital successfully petitioned the Defense Ministry to grant special dispensation to allow him into Israel to save his little brother's life.
Just before the brother was due to donate the bone marrow, he was taken into custody by security officials. The Israel Security Agency heard him giving instructions on his cell phone to his Hamas handlers in Gaza on how to get past the security at Sheba Medical Center and blow the place up. (In the end, the bone marrow was taken and the child's life was saved.)
The writer is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Examining Iranian Non-Compliance with the Nuclear Deal - David Albright (Institute for Science and International Security)
- The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) needs to be implemented more effectively and its nuclear conditions strengthened and better verified.
The deal's implementation under the Obama administration was too permissive and tolerant of Iran's violations of the deal, its exploitation of loopholes, and its avoidance of critical verification requirements. The result was that Iran was able to push the envelope of allowed behavior in directions harmful to U.S. national security.
- At its core, the Iran deal is a bet that by the time the nuclear limitations end, Iran, the region, or both will have changed so much that Iran will no longer seek nuclear weapons. But despite immense sanctions relief, Iran has been increasing its conventional military power and efforts at establishing regional hegemony, including interfering in the affairs of and threatening its neighbors. The bet does not appear to be winnable under the current circumstances, and Iran's current trajectory is a threat to the U.S. and its allies in the region.
- Armed with substantial funds and a
growing economy, Iran is challenging the U.S. in the region and appears as committed to maintaining the capability to pursue a nuclear weapons path as before, just a longer path. A solution needs to be thought through, and a remediation path developed that will strengthen and fix the deal.
- Based on available information, certain patterns of Iranian non-compliance are clear. Iran often conducts small-scale cheating on the JCPOA's nuclear limitations. It misinterprets clauses to justify actions that should more properly be viewed as violations.
- Some have tried to state that the IAEA has judged Iran in compliance with the JCPOA. However, making this determination is not the responsibility of the IAEA. Moreover, the IAEA regularly states that it is still unable to determine the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and thus unable to provide assurance that Iran's nuclear program is truly peaceful.
The writer is founder and president of ISIS. This is from his testimony before the House Subcommittee on National Security, April 5, 2017.
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