NBC News Correspondent "in Awe" of Israeli Medics in Philippines - Dr. Nancy Snyderman (NBC News)
I've always been fascinated by how well the Israel Defense Forces delivers emergency response medical care in extremely poor conditions.
My first experience with the IDF was in Haiti after the devastation of the earthquake there. They were remarkable then, triaging and treating patients in the midst of the devastation.
As we walked up to the tent where incoming patients were being processed at the IDF's emergency response center, I saw the electronic medical records technology that I had first seen in Haiti. Each patient's medical record is created using a photograph to ensure accurate identification.
As I left, I walked away in awe of this group of doctors: physician humanitarians, and medicine at its very best.
See also Israeli Hospital in Philippines Treats Hundreds a Day - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
The Israeli field hospital on the island of Cebu in the Philippines has become the central medical facility for a population of 250,000 and is treating 300 patients per day, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, who otherwise serves as deputy director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, said Sunday.
The staff have treated over 710 people thus far, the bulk of them suffering from injuries sustained in the typhoon. 12 babies have been born in the field hospital.
"We all know that when there is a disaster - wherever it happens in the world - everyone is ready to drop everything and come and assist wherever we are needed," Merin said.
The unit trains precisely for such scenarios and has had extensive experience, most recently in Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011.
IDF Soldier Reports from the Philippines - Lt. Libby Weiss
(Israel Defense Forces)
See also Video: The IDF Field Hospital in the Philippines (Israel Defense Forces)
Poll: 66% of Jewish Israelis Oppose Iran Agreement (IMRA-Israel Hayom)
66% of Jewish Israelis oppose and 16% support the agreement being developed with Iran,
according to a survey published in Israel Hayom on Friday.
In the event that a bad agreement is signed and Iran
continues to advance its nuclear program, 52% would support and 27% would oppose an
independent Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Kerry to Visit Israel on Friday to Discuss Iran Deal (Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he will discuss a proposed deal between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program with visiting French President Francois Hollande later that day.
"I will do the same with President Putin in my visit to Moscow on Wednesday and I will do the same with John Kerry, who is coming here on Friday."
Palestinians Shower Freed Prisoners with Cash (Jerusalem Post)
The Palestinian Authority doled out handsome payments and monthly stipends to the convicted terrorists who were freed as part of Israeli peace gestures toward Ramallah.
Israel Radio reported on Monday that each of the freed Palestinians received a $50,000 payment from the Ramallah government. In addition, they are also given a monthly stipend that ranges from $2,200 to $4,000.
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- U.S. Moves to Clear Obstacles to Iran Nuclear Deal - Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee
Obama administration officials said they have taken a series of steps in recent days to overcome the sticking points that tripped up an international agreement over Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. negotiators will join with global powers for three days of negotiations with Iran starting Wednesday in Geneva.
The offer to be presented to Tehran in Geneva includes a provision requiring Iran to stop the production of uranium enriched to 20% purity, and to convert all of its stockpile into an oxide not usable in weapons. Other provisions would limit the numbers and capacity of Iran's operating centrifuges; enable more expansive UN inspections; and include an Iranian agreement not to make the Arak plutonium reactor operational.
U.S. officials said sanctions relief will be implemented in stages to assure that Iran is complying with its agreements.
While the administration is working aggressively to keep lawmakers from passing new sanctions while talks are ongoing, a senior administration official said "the potential for additional sanctions is leverage....So it is good that Iran knows that new sanctions is an option." (Wall Street Journal)
See also Compromise May Be Near for Iran Nuclear Deal, U.S. Official Says - Michael R. Gordon
A senior Obama administration official said on Friday that a solution could be found for one of the major stumbling blocks to an agreement that would freeze Iran's nuclear program. Iran insists that the international community formally acknowledge its "right" to continue to enrich uranium. The U.S. asserts that there is no such right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
American officials appear to be seeking a solution in which Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium at the level of 3.5% on condition that Iran accept a series of limitations, including stringent verification, on its nuclear program to ensure it does not further enrich the uranium to bomb-grade levels and use it to make a nuclear device.
(New York Times)
- Amidror: Israel Willing to Strike Iran on Its Own - John Reed
In an interview with the Financial Times, Israel's outgoing national security advisor Yaakov Amidror, who stepped down last month, said Israel could halt Iran's nuclear weapons capability "for a very long time," and added its air force had been conducting "very long-range flights...all around the world" as part of preparations for a possible military confrontation with Iran.
"We are not the United States of America, of course, and...they have more capabilities than us," he said. "But we have enough to stop the Iranians for a very long time."
"We are not bluffing," Amidror said. "We are very serious - preparing ourselves for the possibility that Israel will have to defend itself by itself." "It is not just a threat to Israel, it is a threat to the whole of the Middle East and, towards the end of this decade, to the world," Amidror said. "But we cannot count on others to do the job if the others don't want to do the job." (Financial Times-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- French President Hollande Assures Israel France Will Stand Firm on Iran Deal - Noam Dvir
French President Francois Hollande arrived in Israel on Sunday for a three-day visit. In a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hollande assured Israel that France would continue to oppose an easing of economic sanctions against Iran until it was convinced Tehran had given up any pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Hollande reaffirmed France's conditions for an interim deal: put all Iranian nuclear installations under international surveillance, suspend 20% uranium enrichment, reduce existing enriched uranium stocks and stop construction of a heavy water plant at Arak. "These are the points that are essential to us to underpin a deal," Hollande said.
See also France-Israel Relations and the Iranian Nuclear Bomb - Freddy Eytan (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Prime Minister Netanyahu Welcomes President Hollande of France (Prime Minister's Office)
- Ya'alon: Assad Has Fired Half of Syria's Missiles at Rebels - Adiv Sterman
Syrian President Bashar Assad's missile stockpile has dropped by half, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday.
Commenting on the recent talks with Iran in Geneva, he said: "There is a willingness to ease sanctions way too soon....There is no argument that this project is a nuclear military one, with the aim of reaching a bomb." "One way or another, we must prevent [Iran] from attaining nuclear capabilities." (Times of Israel)
- Egypt's Brotherhood Calls for National Dialogue
Egypt's National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a pro-Morsi coalition, called Saturday for a national dialogue as a way out of the country's political strife. This statement marks a shift in policy, as it was the first time the coalition did not demand the return of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.
- If Attacked, How Would Iran Respond? - Amos Yadlin and
main Iranian military threat in the event of an
attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a
volley of conventional missiles and rockets launched at Israel's cities
and nuclear installations by Iran and Hizbullah, along with the threat of terrorist attacks
against military and civilian targets. A review of Iranian capabilities indicates that
Israel can successfully deal with Iranian responses to an attack. These
scenarios are far from large-scale war, which is highly improbable.
Nevertheless, the risks of escalation must be minimized through pinpoint strikes on the infrastructures that support Iran's military
nuclear program that leave Tehran with all the other assets that
are important to the Iranian economy and the survival of the regime. In such a situation, the regime would have a great deal to lose from escalation.
Many experts argue correctly that an attack, no matter how successful,
cannot stop Iran's military nuclear program forever. Nonetheless,
this does not justify inaction and passivity. If Iran does not agree to an
acceptable settlement that will ensure that its breakout time to a bomb
allows for detection and response in time, use of the military option
could buy time until there is regime change. It could also send a very
clear message to the Iranians that their attempts to arm themselves with
nuclear military capabilities will be thwarted in the future as well.
and Western cooperation can significantly reduce the chances of a
regional war in the wake of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin is the Director of INSS, where Avner Golov is his research assistant.
(Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies)
- Iranian Confidence-Building Measures: Real or Illusory? - Ephraim Asculai
The November 2013 International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran disclosed several interesting facts: No new gas centrifuge machines for the enrichment of uranium had been installed at any of the known Iranian facilities; construction of the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak was not progressing; the 20%-enriched uranium UF6 stocks increased very little; and the IAEA concluded an agreement with Iran on the implementation of several inspection rights and the provision of additional information that the IAEA requested.
However, these can also be viewed as minor actions, with no real consequence regarding slowing down or halting Iran's development of the capabilities for producing nuclear weapons. Moreover, the production of enriched uranium in Iran has not slowed down, contrary to what some in the media have been implying. Iran continued enriching uranium to the level of 3.5% at much the same rate as before. Iran has yet to make its first big concession to prove to the world that it is trustworthy.
The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Netanyahu: Iran's Nuclear Program Threatens the "Survival of My Country" - Candy Crowley (CNN)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview broadcast Sunday:
- "I prefer a peaceful solution. Who wouldn't? Israel has the most to gain from a peaceful diplomatic solution, because we're on the firing line."
- "The problem with the partial deal is that you reduce the sanctions...let out a lot of pressure, and Iran is practically giving away nothing. It's making a minor concession, which they can reverse in weeks, and you endanger the whole sanctions regime that took years to make....Iran...is getting just an enormous deal, from their point of view, and it's giving practically nothing in return. They're keeping their infrastructure to make nuclear bombs."
- "There's a third option. Sanctions. Increase the sanctions. And in fact, if you do a bad deal, you may get to the point where your only option is a military option. So a bad deal actually can lead you to exactly the place you don't want to be.
I think, if you want a peaceful solution, as I do, then the right thing to do is ratchet up the sanctions."
- "People of good faith can have different opinions. And friends, and the best of friends, can have different opinions. We agree on a lot of things. There's some things we disagree on....I'm the prime minister of Israel, and I have to care for the survival of my country. And Iran maintaining its nuclear weapons capability - that is, the capacity to produce nuclear weapons - threatens directly the future of the Jewish state."
- "It's no secret that many of the Arab leaders around us have the same view....When Israelis and Arabs are saying the same thing, that doesn't happen very often. It's worthwhile paying attention. We're here. We're close to Iran, and we understand what Iran is doing."
- "If you want to do a partial deal, then decide what the final deal is, and then do one step. Decide that the final deal will actually implement the very terms that you, the P5+1, have put in the Security Council resolution. Namely, that Iran dismantle all its centrifuges and the plutonium reactor, which are used only for one thing: to make nuclear weapons....Iran...is receiving, as a first step, which may be the final step, a reduction of sanctions which could eliminate the sanctions down the line. Not a good idea."
- "A real peaceful solution with Iran, which I and Secretary Kerry want and President Obama wants, we all want the same thing....To get it, we have to make sure that Iran doesn't have the capacity to make nuclear bombs. Unfortunately, with the proposed deal, they get to maintain that capacity. And I think that doesn't bode well for peace."
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