White House Slams "Sick-Minded Terrorists" Flying Explosive Balloons into Israel
- Eric Cortellessa (Times of Israel
Jason Greenblatt, the White House's special envoy for Middle East peace, tweeted Friday:
"Sick-minded terrorists using toys as weapons. It's not enough to send projectiles from Gaza into Israel to destroy & kill directly. Hamas endangers Israeli kids with balloons & kites. Hamas should be ashamed."
Israel's Cabinet Delays Evacuation of Bedouin Encampment
- Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post
Israel's cabinet on Sunday delayed the evacuation of the illegal West Bank Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar by a few weeks.
Prime Minister Netanyahu requested additional time to allow for the Bedouin and the state to find a compromise solution.
Israel's High Court of Justice had ruled that there was no legal barrier to the removal of the encampment, but that it preferred to see a negotiated resolution.
Israel Arrests Palestinian Officials Suspected of Abducting Palestinian-American in Jerusalem
Israel has arrested two officials from the Palestinian Authority over suspicions they helped abduct a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem with U.S. citizenship.
Adnan Gheith, who holds the largely ceremonial post of Palestinian-appointed governor of Jerusalem, and Jihad Al-Faqeeh, the head of Palestinian intelligence in the city, are suspected of having assisted in the abduction two weeks ago.
The man was wanted by the PA for helping sell property in Jerusalem's Old City to Jewish buyers.
Hamas Planning Uprising in West Bank Against the PA
- Yaakov Lappin (JNS
Col. (res.) Dr. Moshe Elad, one of the founders of security coordination between the IDF and the Palestinian Authority, cautions that Hamas in Gaza is intent on preparing armed sleeper cells throughout the West Bank - not only to create an ability to attack Israel, but also to target the Palestinian Authority.
"They believe that the day will come when they can take over the West Bank, like they did in Gaza," he said.
Senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Arouri, currently based in Lebanon, manages this effort.
"He received a special budget to prepare an uprising in the West Bank. He is trying to arm sleeper cells for the day that Hamas decides to activate them. They are waiting for when they think the time is ripe to launch a revolution."
Anti-Money-Laundering Body Gives Iran until February to Complete Reforms
The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, the international group that monitors money-laundering worldwide, said on Friday that Iran had until February to complete reforms that would bring it into line with global norms, or face consequences.
In the meantime, the FATF said it had decided to continue suspending counter-measures.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Iran Sent Hizbullah Advanced Weapons to Turn Rockets into Precision Missiles - Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin
American and Western intelligence sources believe Iran has been increasing its shipments of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah, including GPS components to make previously unguided rockets into precision guided-missiles at Iranian factories inside Lebanon. One of the Iranian flights arrived in Lebanon on Tuesday, officials said. Iran has operated similar weapons factories in Syria and Yemen.
See also The Increasing Threat to Israel of Precision Missiles - Victor Cabrera
"Russia's delivery of advanced air defense systems to Syria has emboldened Iran to ramp up its shipments of weaponry to Hizbullah," said Meir Litvak, Director of the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University.
"Most [of Hizbullah's rockets] are not precise enough, making their potential threat tolerable to Israel. If Hizbullah succeeds in converting these missiles [to become more accurate], the new situation would represent a significant risk to Israeli airports, power stations, the Dimona nuclear reactor, and more." (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
- Jordan Plans to Revoke Parts of Its Peace Treaty with Israel - Ruth Eglash and Taylor Luck
Jordan's King Abdullah II announced Sunday that he does not plan to renew parts of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace agreement with Israel. Jordan wants to revoke the leasing of two parcels of land farmed by Israel along the Israel-Jordan border. The lease on Naharayim near the Kinneret and Zofar, 120 km. north of Eilat, was for 25 years and ends in one year.
The peace treaty with Israel is deeply unpopular in Jordan and the decision to downgrade its arrangement with Israel sparked celebrations. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said relations with Jordan were still strong and that he would try to negotiate an extension to the existing arrangement.
"This is not as dramatic as it sounds," said Shaul Mishal, a professor at Tel Aviv University. "Historically speaking, the relationship between Israel and Jordan has existed for many years, and, simply put, Jordan cannot exist without Israel." (Washington Post)
See also Jordan Dismantling the Isle of Peace at Naharayim - Raoul Wootliff and Adam Rasgon
Although the land near Naharayim had belonged to Israel for decades, under the 1994 peace treaty it was transferred to Jordan and then, in a spirit of cooperation, leased back to Israel so that the farmers could continue cultivating their fields. Israeli visitors were warmly welcomed to the enclave inside the Kingdom of Jordan (which hold the remains of a hydroelectric power station build by Jews in 1921).
In 1997, a Jordanian soldier massacred seven Israeli schoolgirls on an outing at Naharayim. Following that event, the late King Hussein made an unprecedented trip to each of the victims' homes to express his personal sorrow and the grief of his nation. The area became known as the Isle of Peace. On Sunday, Jordan's King Abdullah II announced he would not be renewing the leasing agreement - dismantling the Isle of Peace. (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israel Reopens Gaza Crossings after Decrease in Palestinian Violence - Judah Ari Gross
Israel reopened the crossings into Gaza on Sunday following a decrease in Palestinian violence along the border. The crossings were closed on Wednesday after a rocket launched from Gaza struck a home in Beersheba.
On Friday, there was a significant decrease in the amount of violence along the Gaza security fence compared to previous weeks. "Unlike past weeks, most of the rioters remained at a distance and did not try to reach the fence. Hamas acted for restraint on the ground," the IDF said.
(Times of Israel)
- Palestinian Stabs Soldier in Hebron - Yotam Berger
A Palestinian man, Muamar Arif al-Atrash, stabbed a soldier near the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday before being shot dead, the IDF reported.
See also Palestinian with Knife Arrested inside Israeli Community in West Bank - Yishai Porat
A Palestinian man armed with a knife was arrested on Saturday in the Israeli community of Har Adar near Jerusalem after being spotted by a security guard. A preliminary investigation found that he intended to carry out a terror attack. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Amb. Nikki Haley: Iran's Use of Child Soldiers Is a Moral Outrage
U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Thursday:
Some in the international community still labor under the misimpression that the Iranian regime might be a responsible international actor, or might abide by the laws of a civilized society. Many, many things about the Iranian regime contradict this premise.
One of the most glaring is the continued use of children to fight and die in Iranian aggression abroad. The use of child soldiers is a moral outrage that every civilized nation rejects, while Iran celebrates it. In the Iran-Iraq War, 36,000 school-aged Iranian children were killed acting as human mine sweepers.
The Basij Resistance Force is a paramilitary force operating under Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Basij indoctrinate school children and provide combat training to children as young as 12 years old. These children are then coerced into fighting abroad for the IRGC.
The Basij also targets Afghan immigrants in Iran, some as young as 14 years old, to fight in Syria. Last week, we identified the sources of the Basij's funding, and took action to cut them off from the global economy and financial system.
The sanctions the United States is leveling against Iran are broad and deep - and for good reason. Any company or individual that does business with this Iranian network is complicit in sending children to die on the battlefields of Syria and elsewhere.
(U.S. Mission to the UN)
- Did Camp David Doom the Palestinians? - Dennis Ross
Seth Anziska's new book, Preventing Palestine: A Political History From Camp David to Oslo, portrays the Camp David Accords as largely responsible for denying the Palestinians self-determination and statehood. But I was present at the meeting between Yasser Arafat and President Bill Clinton in December 2000 when Arafat said no to Clinton's parameters, which went well beyond what then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak proposed at the summit in July.
The Clinton parameters offered the Palestinians a viable state with 97% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, and a guaranteed corridor connecting the two; this would have been an independent state. Arafat's rejection and the resort to violence in the Second Intifada, in which 1,100 Israelis were killed, left the Israeli public believing that there was no Palestinian partner for peace.
Anziska blames the Camp David Accords, but those of us negotiating the agreements did not see them as denying Palestinian rights. Not only would the Clinton parameters have undone the autonomy noted in the Camp David Accords, had the Palestinians said yes or offered a serious counterproposal. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer in 2008 and the Obama/Kerry principles in March 2014 would have done the same.
Yet there was no serious Palestinian response to these proposals.
The sad truth is that at critical junctures, Palestinian leaders chose to say no and the Palestinian people have paid the price for their leaders' rejection. The writer is a former U.S. envoy to the Middle East and counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- Palestinians commonly describe their conflict with Zionism and Israel as an anti-colonialist struggle.
According to the rules of postcolonial discourse, those who fight against colonialism are in the right by definition and are never responsible for anything.
- But the Palestinians' ongoing refusal to accept that they are confronting a people and a rival national movement has been disastrous for them.
- The anti-colonialist struggles of the 20th century succeeded even though the colonial powers were always much stronger than those who fought them. The colonialist power ultimately gave up the fight and retreated.
- But Zionism was a national movement of a persecuted people whose ties to the land have been part of their identity and culture. The people who came here left behind them not a colonial mother country under whose auspices they were acting, but rather Czarist Russia, anti-Semitic Poland or Nazi Germany. Applying the term "colonialism" to such a situation empties this term of most of its moral and analytical significance.
- It's a pity that the leaders of the Arab national movement in Palestine did not make an effort to understand how the Jews perceived themselves, their situation and their connection to this land. They assumed that the founding of the Jewish national home was a luxury of sorts for the Jews, and that they could be made to give up their state, just as Britain and France were once "persuaded" to give up their overseas colonies.
- Someone who displays such a degree of blindness toward the other side's fundamental character is likely to bring disaster on his own people. The "anti-colonialist" blindness in relation to Israel fostered an expectation that Israel would crumble from within. After all, this wasn't a real people and a real nation-state, but some "invented" artificial entity.