Bahrain King Denounces Arab Boycott of Israel, Says Countrymen May Visit - Tom Tugend (Jerusalem Post)
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa last week denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state.
The King spoke at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles at an event denouncing religious hatred and violence.
Former U.S. Mideast Envoy Dennis Ross: Saudis Could Lead Delegation to Israel - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
Saudi Arabia "could lead a delegation to Israel...to discuss common security threats in the region" as part of an initiative to help jump-start the peace process, former U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross told the Jerusalem Post.
"There is one new element in the equation...this convergence of threat perception between Israel and the Sunni Arab leaders. Below the radar screen, there is already a level of cooperation that goes on that you have never seen before. The question is, can you take advantage of it for this issue?"
"You bring the region into this process, because neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will make a move to each other unless there is an Arab cover. Nothing gets launched without the Arab cover."
Iran Is Doing Big Business in Syria - David Rosenberg (Ha'aretz-VOA News)
Iran signed a contract last week to provide five gas-fired power plants to the Syrian city of Aleppo.
In January, the two countries signed deals that gave Iran a mobile telephony license and right to build a new network, develop an oil terminal, and operate phosphate mines. Iran is also getting grants of land for farms and industrial facilities.
Tehran regards the contracts as payback for the money, men and materiel it provided that kept Assad in power.
Mitchell Flint, American Aviator Who Helped Form Israel Air Force, Dies at 94 (AP-NBC News)
Mitchell Flint, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who served in Israel's first fighter squadron in 1948, died Saturday in Los Angeles at 94.
Flint was one of the founding members of "Machal," a group of non-Israelis who fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and helped train Israel's first military pilots.
"He was a humble man who did what he did and never looked for glory," Michael Flint said of his father. "He was proud of what he did until the very end."
Last Surviving U.S. Pilot Who Brought Yemenite Jews to Israel Honored - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
An event was held in New York last week by NGO StandWithUs to honor Captain (ret.) Elgen M. Long, 91, the last surviving crew member of Alaska Airlines who participated in Operation On Wings of Eagles to bring 47,000 Yemenite Jews - as well as 3,000 from several other countries - to Israel in 1948-1950 to save them from rising anti-Semitic violence.
Long said, "We are all proud of the historic role we played in the realization of the prophecy of the return of Jews to Zion."
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- Tillerson Says Iran "Clearly in Default" of Nuclear Deal's Terms - William James
Iran is "clearly in default" of expectations under its 2015 nuclear deal, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday. "In our view, Iran is clearly in default of these expectations...through their actions to prop up the Assad regime (in Syria), to engage in malicious activities in the region, including cyber activities, aggressively developing ballistic missiles. We have to consider the totality of Iran's activities and not let our view be defined solely by the nuclear agreement." (Reuters)
- London Subway Bomb: Main Charge Failed to Explode - Joe Sheppard
The main explosive charge of the device that went off in a London subway on Friday at Parsons Green failed to detonate, said former Metropolitan counter-terrorism detective David Videcette, who investigated the 7/7 bombings. He said the bomb is larger than those that went off in the 2005 attacks. "Had it gone off successfully it would have caused a huge loss of life. Whoever built this was not an amateur - it has many of the hallmarks of devices used by terror groups." (Daily Mail-UK)
See also British Police Investigating Two Bombings in Manchester Last Week - Sebastian Murphy-Bates
At 12:30 a.m. last Tuesday, a bomb packed with nails and screws exploded outside a cafe in Salford in Greater Manchester. Three days earlier, a car was blown up with an industrial-style firework in Eccles, also in Greater Manchester. Police believe the incidents could be linked.
- Amb. Nikki Haley Says UN "Israel-Bashing" Becoming More Balanced
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told CNN on Sunday:
"We saw a United Nations where the United States was giving over 25% of the funding and was being utterly disrespected and a United Nations that was bashing Israel every chance they get, a United Nations that talked a lot, but didn't have a lot of action. And now we can say, it is a new day at the UN. What you are now seeing is the Israel-bashing has become more balanced." (CNN)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Says IAEA Is Failing to Inspect Iranian Nuclear Military Research Facilities - Barak Ravid
In 2016, a few months after the nuclear agreement with Iran went into effect, a Western entity gave the International Atomic Energy Agency information regarding sites that Iran did not report as part of its nuclear program and where forbidden nuclear military research and development activity was being conducted, Israeli officials involved in the issue told Ha'aretz. Almost all the sites have not been visited by IAEA inspectors - either because of Iran's refusal to grant entry or UN officials' reluctance to confront Iran on the issue.
"There is a whole list of suspicious sites where the Iranians do not allow inspectors to visit and no one enforces the supervision mechanisms established in the nuclear agreement. There is simply a demonstration of weakness in the IAEA when it comes to Iran....When it comes to visits to suspicious sites, the agreement is not implemented." (Ha'aretz)
- Half of Jerusalem Arab Parents Want Israeli School Curriculum - Yori Yalon
48% of parents whose children are enrolled in Arab schools in Jerusalem do not want them studying the curriculum provided by the Palestinian Authority, according to a recent poll conducted by the Jerusalem Municipality.
For decades, students in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem studied the Jordanian curriculum. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, its leadership pressured the Arab residents of Jerusalem into using the PA's curriculum. But now, more and more Arab residents of Jerusalem are expressing a desire to use the Israeli curriculum, which is used by Arab public schools elsewhere in Israel.
The number of Arab students in Jerusalem who have opted for the Israeli curriculum jumped by 20% this year. Seven years ago, only 300 Arab students in Jerusalem were using the Israeli curriculum. The number now stands at 5,800.
- The Iran Nuclear Deal: One Option for the U.S. - Lee Smith
The U.S. administration's larger message about Iran is that the problems it poses go far beyond the nuclear program. These include support for terrorism and criminal enterprises, threats to strategic waterways, and ballistic missile development.
One option would be to decertify Iran's compliance with the deal but not reinstate sanctions, not yet anyway. "Trump can decertify on the condition that the JCPOA is not in the U.S. national interest," says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "Then it goes to Congress for debate for 60 days where the president needs to lay out a persuasive case that this is not the time for Congress to reinstate sanctions and abrogate the deal."
Dubowitz says this tactic not only puts Iran on notice but gives our European allies plenty of advance warning to develop a common policy on how to fix the fatally flawed nuclear deal. Everyone needs to understand that the U.S. is prepared to reimpose sanctions instead of giving Iran patient pathways to nuclear weapons and ICBMs. (Weekly Standard)
- How Improved Relations with U.S. President Strengthen Israel - Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet President Donald Trump on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Almost every Netanyahu-Obama meeting was preceded by dire descriptions of their relationship, and of trouble ahead for the U.S.-Israel relationship. The forecast was always stormy. Fast forward eight years and the overall atmosphere has changed fundamentally.
It is not as if there are no disagreements, there are - but they are less about settlement policy and more about what needs to be done to keep Iran from setting up a permanent military presence in Syria. And the disagreements are for the most part kept behind closed doors, not aired publicly. That is not an insignificant shift. And the world is watching and taking note.
While some have expressed concern that Netanyahu has tied himself to a divisive president, Netanyahu's close relationship with Trump gives Israel added value in dealing with countries that don't enjoy such a strong relationship with the president, would like to, and may look to Netanyahu to help them make it happen.
- Iraqi Jewish Archive Must Not Be Returned - Dr. Edy Cohen
In 2003, American forces in Baghdad discovered an archive of thousands of photos, documents and books pertaining to Iraqi Jewry in the waterlogged basement of the Iraqi security services' building. To save the archive, the U.S. military secured the permission of the Iraqi government to send the boxes to the National Archives in Washington, where most of the documents were restored. Last week, a final decision was taken to hand the collection back to Iraq about a year from now.
This decision is like giving a thief back what he stole. It is stolen Jewish property. Why should the U.S. return the collection to a place that is no longer home to Jews? When Israel was founded in 1948, the Iraqi government permanently revoked the citizenship of Jews and expelled them from the country, freezing their bank accounts and confiscating their property.
It's a question of historic justice. The Iraqi government should apologize to Iraqi Jews for attacking them, for the ethnic cleansing and the theft. The archive should be kept in a place where there are Jews - either in the U.S. or in Israel. Ideally, it would be sent to Israel to the Heritage Center for Babylonian Jews in Or Yehuda. The writer is a research fellow at Bar-Ilan University.
Hamas' Sudden Pragmatism Is a Mixed Blessing for Abbas - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
See also The Doomed Palestinian Reconciliation Plan - Grant Rumley (Atlantic)
- Hamas announced on Sunday that it would dismantle its government in Gaza, hold general elections, conduct negotiations with PA leader Abbas, and form a national unity government.
- Later this week, Abbas will meet with President Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
- How will Abbas' agreement to form a national unity government with a terror group be perceived, especially if he speaks about reconciliation with Hamas in his UN address? It would be odd for Abbas to talk up a Palestinian state after agreeing to share power with a group that calls for the destruction of Israel.
- Hamas' new political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, understands that, with little hope on the horizon, the severe economic crisis in Gaza can end in one of two ways: war with Israel, which could decimate the movement's leadership and turn the population against it, or a "Gaza Spring" that would have similar results.
- Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the Islamist terror group Hamas, which wrested control of Gaza in a civil war in 2007, have waged a low-intensity conflict for over a decade. Between flare-ups, the two have often announced various unity agreements, none of which have led to actual national harmony.
- It's all cosmetic at this point. Neither side will be able to bridge the ideological divide or forget their blood-soaked history anytime soon. If actual unity was possible, the two Palestinian factions would have likely found the formula in their six previous agreements.
- The reality is that Hamas is unlikely to ever give up military control over Gaza. The latest announcement is just another move in a decade-long game of chess where everyday Palestinians continue to pay the price.
The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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