ISIS' Intelligence Service Refuses to Die - Vera Mironova, Ekaterina Sergatskova, and Karam Alhamad (Foreign Affairs)
While ISIS is disintegrating, its Emni Internal Security bureau still presents a major challenge. In Iraq, many of the most experienced and dedicated Emni members were able to escape when ISIS fell.
According to one senior Emni member currently in hiding, there are around 1,500 ISIS members stationed in Mosul and ready to take up weapons.
Emni foreigners (and in particular, its leadership) were among the most likely to escape Iraq and Syria and head elsewhere - including to Europe.
Some still work for Emni and, as a result, can simply pick up ISIS activities in a new place.
Islamic State Beheads 15 of Its Own Fighters in Afghanistan (Reuters)
Islamic State beheaded 15 of its own fighters due to infighting in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, officials said.
Nangarhar, on the porous border with Pakistan, has become a stronghold for Islamic State. Security officials believe Islamic State is present in nine provinces.
Palestinian Factions Leave Cairo with Little Reconciliation Progress - Mai Yaghi with Shatha Yaish (AFP-France 24)
Palestinian leaders left Cairo Thursday after fresh unity talks that resulted in calls for elections, but a three-page document agreed between the 13 largest political parties Wednesday offered little substantive change.
Hamas Remotely Strengthens Grip in West Bank - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Hamas' newly-appointed deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri has been tasked with constructing and directing his organization's military and civilian infrastructures in the West Bank.
He has tasked Hamas representatives in Jordan, the Gulf countries and Lebanon with orchestrating West Bank operations.
Some were prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and deported to other countries.
Falklands Islands to be Protected by Iron Dome Technology (Jewish News-UK)
Britain's Falklands Islands in the South Atlantic are to be protected by the same technology behind Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.
The UK Ministry of Defense appears to have opted for the £78 million Sky Sabre missile shield after the Argentine air force purchased five advanced French fighter jets which come armed with Exocet missiles. The Sky Sabre system is to come online in 2020.
Pakistan Court Orders Release of Islamist Blamed for Mumbai Attacks - Mubasher Bukhari
A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered the release from house arrest of Hafiz Saeed, an Islamist leader accused by the U.S. and India of masterminding attacks on Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed, including at a Jewish center.
Saeed heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) charity that the U.S. says is a front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group.
With Iran on Its Doorstep, Israel Quietly Readies Game-Changing Air Power - Yaakov Lappin (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
Israel is making clear to Iran and its agents that it has no intention of allowing them to proceed with their plans to create a military outpost in Syria.
Israel's new aerial strike capabilities might well surpass any display of air power seen in military history thus far.
The Israel Air Force, together with the Military Intelligence Directorate of the IDF, has been quietly developing the ability to use precise intelligence, combined with precision-guided weaponry, to destroy up to several thousand targets in just a matter of hours.
As ISIS crumbles and the remainder of the Syrian Sunni rebels face defeat in Syria, Iran, which runs Assad's ground war, will be free to shift the focus of its Syrian presence towards Israel.
The writer is a research associate at the BESA Center.
New Palestinian City Rises with Sleek Homes, Boutiques (AFP)
Some 3,000 people live in the newly built Palestinian city of Rawabi, the dream of developer Bashar al-Masri, with its wide boulevards and fashionable shopping.
It boasts an extreme sports center and 15,000-seat amphitheater hung with giant pictures of Arab and Western entertainment stars.
International brands are sold in the sleek Q Center mall, built like the rest of the city with the help of state funds from Qatar.
Poll: 60% of Israeli Arabs Are "Proud" to be Israeli - Baruch Ron (Israel Hayom)
73% of Israeli Arabs feel a sense of belonging and 60% are proud to be Israelis, according to a new poll commissioned by Israel Hayom that was released Tuesday.
46% identified as Israeli Arabs and 42% identified as Palestinian Arabs.
82% said they had no desire to live under Palestinian rule.
New Israeli Banknotes Feature Women Poets - Greer Fay Cashman (Jerusalem Post)
On Thursday, Israel introduced a new NIS 20 banknote featuring female poet Rachel Bluwstein, while the new NIS 100 bill depicts poetess Leah Goldberg.
The new currency includes Braille for the blind and vision-impaired.
First Israeli Marine Station Launched in Mediterranean - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
The Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute (IOLR) and Bar-Ilan University are launching the first permanent marine station to study the deep sea off the coast of Israel.
Located 50 km. from the Haifa shore, the Deep Sea Research Station will monitor environmental changes in the open sea that may be a result of offshore gas drilling.
The station contains state-of-the-art measuring instruments to enable continuous study of the physical and ecological system in the eastern Mediterranean.
Israel Joins U.S. to Bring Solar Power to Africa - Max Schindler (Jerusalem Post)
Israel will join the U.S. Agency for International Development's Power Africa program, connecting millions of people to electricity with renewable energy projects.
Israeli companies will now be eligible to receive USAID grants to penetrate the African market.
Israeli companies will be able to negotiate contracts in countries where there is no official Israeli presence, advancing major clean-energy projects and counterbalancing Chinese solar companies.
Two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa lack reliable electricity.
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- Ayatollah Khamenei: We Will Help Wherever Needed to Confront U.S., Israel
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei said Thursday in Tehran:
"With deep regret, we should admit that there are people within the Muslim nation and states acting upon what the U.S. and Zionists desire."
He went on express hope that Palestine would be given back to the Palestinian people one day, adding "that day will be an occasion for celebration for the Islamic World; it will be a real blow to the arrogant front; and, that day will come....This cancerous tumor [Zionist regime] should be fought against."
"Wherever there is a need for our presence, we will provide help and are not afraid to say so. We will have no inhibitions when confronting arrogant powers," he stressed. (Mehr-Iran)
- Report: Under Pressure, Abbas Retreats from Prosecuting Israel in International Courts
In response to Saudi and Egyptian pressure, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged not to take steps to prosecute Israeli officials in international courts, Al-Khaleej Online (Dubai) revealed Wednesday. A senior PA official said Saudi Arabia and Egypt put pressure on Abbas to bring the dispute with the U.S. regarding the suspension of the license of the PLO office in Washington to an end. Early this week, the U.S. State Department announced it would renew the license of the PLO office in Washington on condition that the PA enter into unconditional peace talks with Israel and does not prosecute Israeli officials before international courts.
(Middle East Monitor-UK)
- Netanyahu Talks Up "Fruitful Cooperation" with Arab States
"Our fruitful cooperation with Arab countries is, in general, secret, but I am confident that relations with them will continue to mature and that this will allow us to enlarge the circle of peace," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday in a speech to mark the 44th anniversary of the death of Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion. Netanyahu insisted that peace between Israel and Arab countries would "happen in the end, because there are a lot of things going on all the time beneath the surface." (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Captured Hamas Member Tells Israel about Gaza Terror Tunnels - Stuart Winer
Ahmad Avid, 23, from Gaza, was captured on Sep. 27 after crossing the border fence, the IDF said Thursday.
Avid joined Hamas' military wing in 2013 and trained in the use of anti-tank weapons, military engineering operations, and sniping. He was also involved in tunnel digging and was a member of the Hamas border patrol forces.
During his interrogation, Avid revealed information about Hamas tunneling operations, including attack tunnels leading into Israel and tunnels inside Gaza. (Times of Israel)
- Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely Apologizes for Comments about American Jewry - Herb Keinon
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely apologized Thursday for comments she made Wednesday on i24 News that were deemed disparaging of American Jewry. She said the point she was trying to make was that "the realities of life in Israel and in the U.S. are very different."
"American Jewry is very important to me," she said in a filmed statement. "The connection, the dialogue like that between siblings in a family, is the most important thing. It is permissible to criticize, permissible to express pain, but it is important to remember that there is only one state for the Jewish people and that is Israel, and it has a commitment to all the Jews of the world."
- IDF Arrests Terrorists Who Threw Bombs at West Bank Highway near Jerusalem
The IDF on Thursday arrested five members of a terror group who threw a number of bombs at Israeli traffic on the tunnel road leading to Jerusalem from Gush Etzion near Beit Jala in the West Bank. When questioned, the five admitted to the incidents.
(Times of Israel)
- Video: Any Future Security Arrangements for Israel Will Have to Be Far Stronger - Dore Gold
Amb. Dore Gold told the StandWithUs organization in New York last week,
"We've had a lot of lessons we've learned from past diplomatic initiatives. The people of Israel really do want peace, but they want peace with security. Unfortunately we've learned the hard way that if our security interests are not protected, if our vital interests are ignored, we invite the next round of conflict."
"Those of you who were in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv during the second intifada know what an exploding bus looks like - and those buses exploded when we had already signed peace agreements. We can never let that happen again, period."
"So any arrangements we might make with our Palestinian neighbors, first of all, will not just be with them. It will have to be with Arab states as well. And second of all, the security elements in any understanding with our Palestinian neighbors are going to have to be far stronger than anything you've seen before in diplomacy. And I believe the Trump Administration understands that."
Amb. Dore Gold, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- The Palestinians Have Always Rejected a Two-State Solution - Efraim Karsh
The Zionist leadership accepted the two-state solution as early as 1937 when it was first raised by a British commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel.
It was the Zionist leadership that 10 years later spearheaded the international campaign for the two-state solution that culminated in the UN partition resolution of November 1947. By contrast, the Palestinian Arab leadership invariably rejected the two-state solution from the start.
Had the Palestinians accepted the two-state solution in the 1930s or 1940s, they would have had their independent state over a substantial part of mandate Palestine by 1948, if not a decade earlier, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersal and exile.
Had Arafat set the PLO on the path to peace and reconciliation instead of turning it into one of the most murderous and corrupt terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established in the late 1960s or the early 1970s; in 1979, as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; by May 1999, as part of the Oslo process; or at the very latest, with the Camp David summit of July 2000.
Had Abbas abandoned his predecessors' rejectionist path, a Palestinian state could have been established after the Annapolis summit, or during Obama's presidency. The writer, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London.
- The Impossible Deal of the Century - Ze'ev B. Begin
Israeli peace activist Uri Avneri recently described the required formula for a joint Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the refugee issue: "The principle [of the right of return to Israel] cannot be rejected. It belongs to the individual refugee. It is anchored in international law. It is sacred. Any future peace agreement between the State of Israel and the Palestinian State will have to include a clause confirming that Israel accepts, in principle, the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. No Palestinian leader will be able to sign a treaty that does not include such a clause."
This is correct, but it is equally true that no Israeli leader will be able to sign a treaty that does include such a clause. The writer, a member of Israel's Knesset, served as a government minister three times.
- Before Any Talks, the Palestinians Must Move from Rejection to Recognition - Avraham Neguise
Some cling to the belief that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is overwhelmingly a territorial issue that can be concluded by marked lines on a map. However, a recent attempt by the Palestinian Authority to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration demonstrates how seriously their rejection of any form of Jewish self-determination stands at the root of their position vis-a-vis Israel. Abbas and his predecessors have repeatedly rejected any form of a Jewish state regardless of its borders. Palestinian rejectionism of Israel, reaffirmed every day through their political, religious, education and media systems, remains the greatest obstacle to peace.
The roots of the conflict are ideological and not territorial. For the conflict to finally end, a prerequisite to any negotiations has to be the end of the rejection of the Jews' right to self-determination. The Palestinians must cease their terrorism and their diplomatic, political and ideological war.
Once they stop spending their funds and resources on the destruction of Israel, terrorist attacks, payments to terrorists, and institutional incitement, they can instead focus their energies on stabilizing Palestinian democratic institutions and social issues and create a win-win for the region and its people. The writer chairs the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.
- Russia Seeks Israel's Cooperation on Syria - Prof. Eyal Zisser
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to concoct a deal to end the war in Syria. Within the parameters of Putin's deal, Israel is being asked not to interfere and even accept Iran's continued presence in Syria. In return, the Russians have agreed to keep the Iranians away from Israel's border on the Golan Heights; and it is safe to assume they will still turn a blind eye to Israel's ongoing activity against national security threats on its northern front.
It was to this end that Putin spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, as the Russian president considers Israel a partner whose agreement is essential to the Russian plan. The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
- It's Not the Saudis Destroying Lebanon - It's Iran - Benny Avni
Saudi officials point out it was their country that spent a fortune rebuilding Lebanon after the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah left it in ruins. But rather than regaining its status as "Paris on the Mediterranean," Beirut became an Iranian stronghold and Hizbullah now controls every aspect of Lebanese life.
Under plans enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions, the Lebanese Army was supposed to disarm all militias. Instead, Hizbullah now controls the army.
What happened since the 2006 war was a spectacular Lebanese takeover by Hizbullah. Created by Iran in the 1980s to counter Israel's military power, Hizbullah became Iran's model proxy army and its global gun for hire. Hizbullah agents are in Iranian outposts in Asia, Africa and South America. They even tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.
(New York Post)
- Iran Nuclear Deal: Fix It or Nix It - Steve Forbes
The murderous mullahs are going full bore expanding their lethal missile program, lavishly financing their proxies (principally Hizbullah, which now has some 150,000 rockets it can launch against Israel), and sending their forces (as well as militias recruited from Afghanistan and Pakistan) to further their imperialist ambitions in the region, while crushing any domestic dissent and alleged heretics and persecuting minorities. And, of course, they taunt us with the occasional arrest of Americans on various bogus charges.
Given the obvious crisis caused by North Korea, why would we not do everything possible to prevent a repetition with the Islamic extremists of Iran? A nuclear-armed, religiously fanatic and ambitious Iran is a far greater long-term threat than North Korea. (Forbes)
- Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at Last - Thomas L. Friedman
The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia. The country is going through its own Arab Spring.
This one is led from the top down by the country's 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and, if it succeeds, it will not only change the character of Saudi Arabia but the tone and tenor of Islam across the globe. Only a fool would predict its success - but only a fool would not root for it.
I flew to Riyadh to interview the crown prince, known as "M.B.S." He is on a mission to bring Saudi Islam back to the center.
He has curbed the authority of the Saudi religious police and has let women drive. M.B.S. instructed me: "Do not write that we are 'reinterpreting' Islam - we are 'restoring' Islam to its origins." At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, there were musical theaters, there was mixing between men and women, there was respect for Christians and Jews in Arabia. So if the Prophet embraced all of this, M.B.S. asked, "Do you mean the Prophet was not a Muslim?"
One of his ministers got out his cellphone and shared with me pictures and YouTube videos of Saudi Arabia in the 1950s - women without heads covered, wearing skirts and walking with men in public, as well as concerts and cinemas. If this virus of an antipluralistic, misogynistic Islam that came out of Saudi Arabia in 1979 can be reversed by Saudi Arabia, it would drive moderation across the Muslim world. (New York Times)
- Israel and Saudi Arabia: What's Shaping the Covert "Alliance" - Jonathan Marcus
To all intents and purposes, Saudi Arabia and Israel are de facto allies in the struggle against Iran's rising influence in the region. A former senior Israeli military figure speaking in London told of two recent meetings with senior Saudi princes, both of whom said to him words to the effect that, "you are not our enemy anymore."
Such signals are carefully coordinated and intended to warn Iran as well as to prepare Saudi society, given the likelihood that such ties may become ever more apparent.
The Israelis - given the nature of their political culture - tend to speak rather more openly about the relationship than do the Saudis. We know little about its practical realities or its strategic content. But it is real and it is developing.
Israelis see Syria as "a laboratory" of what could be the region's future. They have watched with horror at what some see as the "normalization" of the use of chemical weapons, prompting a very limited response from the international community.
- An Egyptian Goes to Israel - Haisam Hassanein
As a child in Egypt, my image of my Jewish countrymen was shaped by the numerous Egyptian television dramas that depicted them as spies, thieves and fifth columnists. It came as a shock when, during my first visit to Israel in 2014, I met a man who spoke to me in perfect Iraqi Arabic. For more than a thousand years, Mizrahi Jews from eastern lands lived and thrived from Morocco to India and Central Asia. This story came to a crushing end for most Jews in 1948, when Arab states responded to the creation of Israel by forcing out their Jewish populations.
Today, as Israeli society becomes more inclusive, eastern Jewish culture is honored. Intermarriage between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim is a nonissue. A Mizrahi Jew, Avi Gabbay, heads the Israeli Labor Party, the historic domain of Ashkenazi Jews. As a Muslim, I am acutely aware of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who have been left to languish in camps for decades, unwelcome in the lands of their Arab and Muslim neighbors. The successful absorption of Jews from eastern countries in Israel is a modern-day success story that deserves to be remembered, celebrated and emulated. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Wall Street Journal)
- The Betrayal of Kurdistan Is a Warning Sign for Israel - Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar
If war breaks out between Israel and Iran (including Hizbullah), Israel sacrifices hundreds of soldiers and civilians, and the Iranian problem ceases to exist, will the Arab and Western worlds be grateful to Israel and act to protect its interests? Look at the Kurds. What happened to them will happen to Israel.
The Kurds fought ISIS, sacrificed their soldiers and people, and were thrown to the wolves once they had outlived their usefulness. That is exactly what will happen to Israel once it saves the Arab states from the Iranian threat. It is the immediate interests of each state, not the moral rights of the Kurds and the Israelis, that make the world go round. The writer, who served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence, is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- New Museum of the Bible in Washington Focuses Heavily on Judaism and Israel - Ron Kampeas
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, dedicated last Friday, celebrates Jews and Judaism as the noble, beloved antecedents to Christianity, and argues that its best modern expression is in the State of Israel.
One permanent exhibit is dedicated to the biblical underpinnings of the abolition of slavery and of the civil rights movement. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador, noted, "Those ideas inscribed in your founding documents and etched on your statues are not merely the values of America, they are the values of the Bible."
On the fifth floor are artifacts contributed by Israel's Antiquities Authority. The exhibit is permanent, but the Israeli authority will rotate the items. (JTA)
See also Ritual Scribe from Israel Featured at Washington Bible Museum - Amy Spiro
Rabbi Eliezer Adam from Israel will be working in the new Museum of the Bible in Washington for the next year writing a Torah scroll. "For every 20 minutes of writing, I have another at least half an hour of talking," Adam said, since people stop and ask questions.
In just the few days since the museum's opening, he said he has had many fascinating discussions, including with pastors and even a cardinal. He found that many were shocked to learn that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew. (Jerusalem Post)
- Rescued Children Finally Identify Irish Aid Worker Who Saved Them from Auschwitz - Michael Riordan
Two young boys huddled silently under a blanket in the back of a large black car as it crossed under the gaze of French prison guards and out the gates of Rivesaltes internment camp on Sep. 25, 1942. Escaping deportation to Auschwitz and certain death in the gas chambers, Rene and Mario Freund, aged 2 and 6, were driven to a remote village in the Pyrenees Mountains, where they were enrolled in a Catholic school and hidden by local families.
Decades later, Rene and Mario - now named Ronald Friend and Michael Freund - identified their heroic liberator who took them out of the camp, the Irish aid worker Mary Elmes, and nominated her as Righteous Among the Nations. She was recognized by Yad Vashem in 2013, becoming Ireland's first recipient. Elmes saved 200 children, driving many of them through the mountains to Catholic orphanages, and smuggling others across the border into Spain.
In 1943, Elmes was arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion of aiding Jews and sent to prison in Fresnes near Paris. She spent six traumatic months there until, after intervention by the Irish Consulate and the International Red Cross, she was released. After the war Elmes remained in France where she married a French man. She died in 2002. The story of her personal valor has been highlighted in a new documentary, "It Tolls for Thee," narrated by Winona Ryder. (Times of Israel)
The Myth of the Deir Yassin Massacre - Dr. Arnon Groiss (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- In the recently published Hebrew-language Deir Yassin: The End of the Myth, Prof. Eliezer Tauber of Bar-Ilan University gathered all the available testimonies related to the Deir Yassin battle from all involved parties, both surviving villagers and attackers, and provides a minute-by-minute analysis of the battle and the death circumstances of each victim.
- According to Tauber, Deir Yassin was the first case of house-to-house fighting in the 1948 war, as the defenders did not run away. The attackers broke into the houses by blowing up their doors, hurling hand grenades inside, and storming in while shooting. This resulted in many casualties, including non-combatants. Yet except for one case in which an attacker shot dead non-combatants who had surrendered, all the rest were killed during house-to-house fighting.
- The false accusations of civilian massacres appeared after the battle had ended, when forces of the mainstream Hagana entered the village, saw the many corpses, including women and children, and concluded that they must have been murdered by Etzel and Lehi fighters. Due to the bitter enmity between the Hagana and the two groups, the atrocity charges became widespread and hugely inflated. The Palestinian Arab leadership also
inflated these charges to stir up public opinion in the neighboring Arab states to join the war against the Jews after the end of the British Mandate.
- The Deir Yassin episode was unique because its pattern of house-to-house fighting did not recur on a similar scale. According to Arab claims, verified by most scholars, the mere mention of Deir Yassin brought about mass flight or hasty surrender of villagers elsewhere, which made house-to-house fighting largely unnecessary.
- Those who speak of the Nakba inflicted by the Jews rarely mention that it was the Palestinian Arabs who waged a war of annihilation against their Jewish neighbors in the first place, in an attempt to prevent the creation of a Jewish state in accordance with the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947. Had this assault not taken place, there would have been no Nakba.
- Also ignored is the fate of the 17 Jewish localities occupied by the Arabs in 1948. The surviving inhabitants of Kfar Etzion were massacred after their surrender. A total deportation of the Jewish population took place in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The Jews let tens of thousands of Arabs stay in their homes under Israeli rule. The Arabs, by contrast, did no such thing, destroying entire localities and expelling their populations to the last person.
Dr. Arnon Groiss, a scholar of Middle Eastern studies, has 42 years' experience as a journalist at Israel's Arabic radio station.
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