Iranian Defense Minister: Iran's Missile Capacity Non-Negotiable (Press TV-Iran)
"Iran's missile capacity is defensive, conventional and deterrent and it is not up for negotiations,"
Iran's Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan said Sunday.
His comments came in response to repeated U.S. calls for the inclusion of Iran's missile program in a final nuclear agreement between Tehran and the West.
Dehqan further called for the elimination of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of both Israel and the U.S.
Hamas Leader Meets Iranian Official in Qatar - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal met with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian last Thursday in Doha, Qatar, where Mashaal has been living since 2012.
Hamas is extremely keen to improve relations with Iran following last year's collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.
Mashaal praised Iranian support for the "axis of resistance."
Video: Is the EU Deploying a Double Standard toward Israel? (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Is the European Union consistent in restricting economic activity in Israel's disputed territories?
How does the EU operate in occupied territories such as Morocco, Northern Cyprus and Kashmir?
Oil Tanker Sets New Course for Iraqi Kurdistan - Emre Peker, Justin Scheck, and Matt Bradley (Wall Street Journal)
An oil tanker carried more than a million barrels of crude from Iraqi Kurdistan across the Mediterranean Sea on Friday.
The ship bears the first load of oil piped from Iraq's semiautonomous Kurdish region into neighboring Turkey in an act of defiance by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of the Iraqi government.
The new oil shipments will be a boon for the Western companies that have been spending billions of dollars to develop Kurdish fields.
Three Gaza Terrorists Die in Accidents (Times of Israel)
Islamic Jihad operative Nizar Said Issa, 25, died Monday while handling explosives in Jabalia in Gaza, Israel Channel 2 TV reported.
On Saturday, two Islamic Jihad members were killed, and at least two more injured, during a training accident in Gaza.
Germany Relies on Israeli Drones (Reuters)
Airbus signed a deal on Wednesday with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to team up on a bid to supply the German armed forces with military drones until 2020.
The armed forces currently use an IAI Heron 1 unmanned aerial system made by the Israeli firm and operated by Airbus Defence & Space.
Airbus Defence & Space said on Wednesday it had struck a deal with IAI to make an offer to supply Germany with an upgraded drone, the Heron TP, after 2015 to allow the country to keep its surveillance capabilities until the arrival of a European drone.
Currently Europe relies on Israeli or U.S. companies for its drone needs.
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- Four Dead in Shooting at Jewish Museum in Belgium - Laura Smith-Spark, Elwyn Lopez and Pierre Meilhan
Four people were killed in a shooting Saturday at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. A person arrived by car at the museum, entered, and quickly opened fire before leaving the scene.
See also Israeli Couple among Brussels Shooting Victims - Lior Zilberstein and Itamar Eichner
Emanuel (54) and Miriam (53) Riva, an Israeli couple from Tel Aviv, were killed in the shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum Saturday. A third casualty was a French volunteer at the museum, a woman in her 60s. The fourth victim, a 24-year-old Belgian man, worked as a receptionist at the museum.
See also Netanyahu: Brussels Killings Due to "Incitement" Against Jews
Responding to the murders at the Jewish Museum in Brussels,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday:
"This act of murder is the result of constant incitement against Jews and their state. Slander and lies against the State of Israel continue to be heard on European soil even as the crimes against humanity and acts of murder being perpetrated in our region are systematically ignored. Our response to this hypocrisy is to constantly state the truth, continue a relentless fight against terrorism and build up our strength." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Israel-Egypt Anti-Terrorism Cooperation at Zenith - Ben Caspit
Security collaboration between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Egyptian military is at its zenith. Unlike during the time of Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptians have a dedicated battalion that is deployed in the area from which rockets could be fired at Eilat. "What has happened in Egypt is that they switched from a mode of repression and denial to taking responsibility and taking resolute action," an Israeli security official said.
Khaled Mashaal, the chairman of Hamas' political bureau, recently met with a senior al-Qaeda member. This nexus between al-Qaeda and Hamas proves the point the Egyptians - as well as the Israelis - have been making for a long time, thus bringing into sharper focus the new emerging camps in the Middle East.
Presently, the Egyptian military has two infantry brigades, a tank battalion, an Apache helicopter gunship squadron and engineering forces in Sinai, a far larger force than what Egypt is allowed under the peace accords. This arrangement is being renewed by Israel every few months.
In recent months, these forces have been operating with persistence, resolve and perseverance, demonstrating effective capability. (Al-Monitor)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Prime Minister Netanyahu Welcomes Pope Francis to Israel
After Pope Francis arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told him:
"Welcome to our land, the Land of Israel, the Holy Land. You bring with you the spirit of reconciliation, faith and peace of millions of Christians worldwide, and also of many who are not Christian, yet who are caught up in the spirit of love for humanity which you embody. Your visit is an important chapter in the history of the relations between Christians and Jews."
"I welcome the good relations between the Holy See and the Jewish people and Jewish state that have been built during our generation. We admire and appreciate your decision to lay a wreath on the grave of Benjamin Zeev Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement. We know that when you light the eternal flame at Yad Vashem in memory of the one-third of our people who were murdered in the Holocaust, it will be another expression of your belief that anti-Semitism is a crime against God and against humanity."
"In the heart of the Middle East, the turbulent and violent Middle East, where Christians are often persecuted, Israel is an island of tolerance. We safeguard the rights of all faiths. We guarantee freedom of worship for all and we are committed to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites of Christians, Muslims and Jews." (Prime Minister's Office)
See also Text: Pope Francis' Speech on Arrival in Israel (Times of Israel)
See also Photo: Pope Francis Prays at Western Wall in Jerusalem (AP)
- Residents Show Support for Hamas in Northern West Bank - Spencer Ho
West Bank support for Hamas, particularly among Palestinian youth, was on full display at a recent memorial service in the Jenin refugee camp for Hamas and Islamic Jihad members killed in a raid by Israeli forces two months ago.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad members were greeted with cheers, Israel Channel 2 TV reported, as they took the stage, armed with rifles, to address the crowd.
A militant, who shot his rifle in the air, said: "With the Jewish Israelis, there will only be peace through the rifle. Only like this do we talk with Israelis and only like this will we liberate our land, with the help of Allah." An eight-year-old boy wearing an improvised weapon said: "I want to die in a war with the [Israeli] army because they killed my uncle and we want to free Palestine." (Times of Israel)
- Kerry's Delusions about Mideast Peace - Aaron David Miller
John Kerry's recent failed effort to get the Israelis and the Palestinians closer to a peace agreement shows what happens when you see the world the way you want it to be rather than the way it really is.
He wanted talks far more than the Israelis and the Palestinians did. The secretary of state fell into one of the classic traps of negotiation and mediation: He became convinced of his own indispensability and centrality to the process - and badly exaggerated his ability to achieve a breakthrough.
Without enough urgency to do a deal, the talks became Kerry's process far more than one fashioned and owned by Israel and the Palestinians. The writer, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has served as a Middle East adviser for Republican and Democratic secretaries of state.
- Hamas: We'll Use Unity Accord to Move Terrorism to West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh
Senior Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Zahar have both made it clear that their movement is planning to continue "resistance" actions against Israel even after the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Mashaal vowed that Hamas will never abandon the armed struggle against Israel, seeing the "reconciliation" as an opportunity for Hamas and all Palestinians to "solidify the resistance" against Israel.
Zahar disclosed that Hamas is planning to take advantage of the unity deal to move its terror attacks against Israel to the West Bank. Moreover, he declared that after its men enter the West Bank, Hamas will target Palestinians who "collaborate" with Israel. He also said Hamas would pursue the fight against Israel until the "liberation of all Palestine....We believe in what was mentioned in the Quran: that Palestine, all of Palestine, will be liberated."
- The Lag B'Omer "Pogrom" - Ben-Dror Yemini
A Jewish friend from the U.S. called me last week to inquire about a pogrom committed by Jews against Palestinians. A pogrom? He had irrefutable proof. Peter Beinart wrote the words "A Lag B'Omer pogrom" on his Twitter page, with a link to a report on Ha'aretz newspaper's English-language website. The report's headline read, "Settlers Torch Palestinian Orchard."
Torching an orchard is a serious matter, but the Presspectiva website, which looked into the issue, found that the original report, on Ha'aretz's Hebrew-language website, said that "settlers lit a bonfire in an olive grove." Not a single tree was torched. There are such bonfires all over the country on the Lag B'Omer holiday. But with a distorted translation to English the story became about an orchard being torched. And it evolved into a pogrom, no less.
Following an appeal from Presspectiva, the newspaper published a small correction.
Israel's Eastward Shift - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)
- Slowly but surely Israel is pivoting toward the East. Since most of Israel's population originated from Europe, and most of its leadership had its roots in Europe, for many years Israel might have been considered an outpost of Europe in the Middle East. Europe remained Israel's closest connection to Western civilization.
- For many years, economic development in China, Japan, India, and South Korea has been outpacing economic development in Europe. It is natural that Israel's economic relationship with these countries would begin to rival its relationships with the countries of Europe, which seem to be in permanent economic crisis.
- But that is not the only reason for this turn to the East by Israel. Europe is the graveyard of European Jewry. Moreover, Europe, in recent years through the machinery of the EU, has waged a constant campaign of criticism and condemnation of the policies pursued by Israeli governments, going so far as imposing economic sanction against Israel.
- By contrast, the Far East and India have no history of anti-Semitism. Quite the contrary - they demonstrate admiration for the ancient Jewish civilization and Israeli achievements in science and technology, and are eager to expand cultural and economic relations with Israel.
The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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