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September 22, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Sends Experts, Aid to Africa to Fight Ebola - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Israel will send medical aid and experts to Africa to help combat the raging Ebola epidemic.
    The Foreign Ministry has already sent two doctors to Cameroon, and additional doctors will be deployed in the near future.
    Later this week, Israel will send a shipment of medicine and medical equipment to the affected countries.
    The Israeli aid group IsraAid will also be sending two teams of medical experts to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Report: Hizbullah Drones Attack Al-Nusra Front at Syrian-Lebanese Border (Fars-Iran)
    Hizbullah drones for the first time bombed al-Nusra Front bases in the Lebanese town of Arsal near the border with Syria.
    See also Israel Studies Iran's Claim of Armed Hizbullah Drones - Arie Egozi (Flightglobal)
    Israel has not yet verified claims that Hizbullah used an armed UAV to attack a target with a missile in Lebanon.
    "We see a target hit by something," says Tal Inbar, a senior researcher at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Israel. "I'm not sure what caused the explosion and I'm not sure where it was filmed."
    The Israeli air force is preparing for a UAV attack in future confrontations.

Gaza War's Economic Impact on Israel Was Minor (Globes)
    International rating agency Standard and Poor's sees the fiscal effects on the Israeli economy of the Gaza war as minor.
    "In our view, the recent Gaza conflict will lead to only a modest weakening of Israel's fiscal trajectory," the agency said in affirming its 'A+/A-1' foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Israel, with a stable outlook.
    "The fighting has not changed our view of Israel's core credit strengths, such as its prosperous and diverse economy, [and] the contribution of natural gas production to a healthy external balance."

Report: Iraqi Forces Foil Islamic State Gas Attack (Press TV-Iran)
    Iraqi forces dismantled seven rockets filled with chlorine gas in Diyala province that were to be launched by Islamic State terrorists against civilian compounds in the city of Muqdadiyah, Iraqi lawmaker Foral al-Tamimi said Saturday.

Hamas and Fatah Already Fighting over Gaza Funds - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Hamas and Fatah are already accusing each other of stealing funds meant for the reconstruction of Gaza.
    They know that hundreds of millions of dollars will sooner or later be allocated by Arab and Western donors for the reconstruction of Gaza and both are determined to lay their hands on the funds, knowing that he who controls the money controls the people.
    Sources in Gaza said that last week Hamas security officers raided the Bank of Palestine in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood and "seized" $750,000 in cash.

Chinese Warships Dock in Iran (Press TV-Iran)
    Two Chinese warships docked on Saturday at the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
    In addition, the Iranian Navy said on Sep. 17 that its forces rescued a Chinese container ship from an attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
    See also China and Iran to Conduct Joint Naval Exercises in the Persian Gulf - Thomas Erdbrink and Chris Buckley (New York Times)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Wants Western Concessions on Uranium Enrichment in Return for Cooperation Against Islamic State - Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau
    Iran is ready to work with the U.S. to stop Islamic State militants, but would like to see more flexibility on Iran's uranium enrichment program, senior Iranian officials told Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating the Islamic State. Iran "can help in the fight against the ISIL (IS) terrorists...but it is a two-way street. You give something, you take something," said a senior Iranian official. (Reuters)
  • Syrian Kurds Flee to Turkey after IS Advance
    Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that more than 60,000 Syrian Kurds had crossed into the country on Saturday, fleeing an onslaught by the Islamic State. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 300 Kurdish fighters had entered Syria from Turkey to reinforce the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that are fighting the militants.
        "The IS came to our village and threatened everyone. They bombed our village and destroyed all the houses. They beheaded those who chose to stay," said Mohammed Isa, 43. (France 24)
        See also 130,000 Syrians Reach Turkey, Fleeing IS
    130,000 Syrian refugees have reached Turkey in the past four days after fleeing the advance of Islamic State militants, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday. (AP-Washington Post)
  • IS Releases 49 Turkish Hostages - Raja Abdulrahim
    Questions emerged Saturday over what Turkey gave in exchange for 49 hostages from the Turkish consulate in Mosul who were released by Islamic State militants in Syria after being held for more than three months. The release was particularly significant in light of Turkey's reluctance to join a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.
        "I think it's self-evident that there was some sort of quid pro quo," said Howard Eissenstat, a Turkey expert at St. Lawrence University in New York. "I think what's likely is Turkey gave some sort of guarantee that its actions against ISIS would be limited in nature."  (Los Angeles Times)
  • ISIS Calls for More Attacks on Egyptian Security Forces
    The Islamic State called on insurgents in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday to press ahead with attacks against Egyptian security forces and continue beheadings. "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads," ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said.
        He added, "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him."  (Al Arabiya)
        See also French Warplanes Strike Islamic State Supply Depot in Iraq - Loveday Morris
    France conducted its first airstrike Friday against Islamic State targets in Iraq. Rafale fighter jets destroyed an Islamic State supply depot in northeastern Iraq, President Francois Hollande said. (Washington Post)
  • Hundreds of Iraqi Soldiers Missing or Trapped after Islamic State Attack on Army Base - Loveday Morris
    Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers were trapped or missing Sunday after a chaotic retreat from an army base in western Iraq, Iraqi military officials said. At least 820 soldiers were stationed at Camp Saqlawiyah in Anbar province, north of Fallujah, when it came under attack from five suicide bombings. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • UN Wants Hundreds of Gaza Monitors to Supervise Rebuilding - Barak Ravid
    The UN's top Mideast envoy, Robert Serry, wants to station between 250 and 500 international monitors in Gaza, European diplomats and senior Israeli officials say. A senior Israeli official said 50 UN monitors are already in Ramallah and ready to go to Gaza.
        The monitors would be stationed at major construction zones and at storage sites for construction materials like cement and concrete, and dual-use materials such as metal pipes or iron rods. Monitors would also be at sites where heavy mechanical equipment is parked. The function of the international monitors would be to ensure that construction materials and heavy equipment would be used solely to rebuild Gaza and wouldn't reach Hamas for digging tunnels or building bunkers.
        Israel is willing to allow massive amounts of building materials to enter Gaza in exchange for UN monitoring. A senior Israeli official said the system would also include the installation of security cameras at Palestinian building supply and storage facilities, and heavy equipment locations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Children and Teenagers Served as Military Operatives in Gaza War
    An examination of names of Palestinians killed in the Gaza war revealed several children and teenagers serving as military operatives in the terrorist organizations. The examination also revealed instances in which the ages of Palestinian casualties were falsified by Gaza's Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health. Boys aged 15 and 17 were integrated into the terrorist operative networks; a terrorist operative in his twenties was listed as 13 years of age.
        Examples of teenagers killed in the fighting include Wasim Rida Salhia, 15, from Khan Yunis, an operative in the Abu Rish Brigades of Fatah, and Anas Qandil, 17, an operative in Islamic Jihad's Jerusalem Brigades. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Iranians Caught in Kenya with Fake Israeli Passports - Itamar Eichner
    Two Iranians in their early 20s, a man and a woman, were arrested in the Kenyan capital Nairobi last week using fake Israeli passports. The two were arrested at Nairobi Airport after they tried to board a flight to Belgium, and from there to board a flight to Tel Aviv. The passports were real passports stolen abroad, with the photos replaced. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Gazans Speak Out on Hamas War Crimes - Mudar Zahran
    Gazans spoke of Hamas atrocities and war crimes implicating Hamas in the civilian deaths of its own people. D said: "There were two major protests against Hamas during the third week of the war. When Hamas fighters opened fire at the protesters in the Beit Hanoun area and the Shijaiya, five were killed instantly. I saw that with my own eyes. Many were injured. A doctor at Shifa hospital told me that 35 were killed at both protests. He went and saw their bodies at the morgue."
        S, a medical worker, said: "The Israeli army sends warnings to people [Gazans] to evacuate buildings before an attack....Hamas' strict policy, though, was not to allow us to evacuate. Many people got killed, locked inside their homes by Hamas militants. Hamas' official Al-Quds TV regularly issued warnings to Gazans not to evacuate their homes. Hamas militants would block the exits to the places residents were asked to evacuate."
        K said: "When people stopped listening to Hamas orders not to evacuate and began leaving their homes anyway, Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot without being asked any questions. That way Hamas made sure people had to stay in their homes even if they were about to get bombed."
        H lost his leg in an Israeli raid. I asked him who was responsible for his injury. "Hamas was. My father received a text-message from the Israeli army warning him that our area was going to be bombed, and Hamas prevented us from leaving....Hamas has fired rockets from every residential spot in Gaza."
        S said: "Gazans are not in love with Israel yet, but they do not want to fight Israel anymore....We want to live and work in Israel like we used to. We are under Hamas occupation."  (Gatestone Institute)
  • Growing Unrest Among Palestinians in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    Hundreds of Palestinian rioters have been arrested in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods in recent weeks. In A-Tor, the dominant player behind the disturbances is Fatah. In Issawiya, it's the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In Jabal Mukaber, it's Hamas. In Shuafat, both Fatah and Hamas are in charge. Somebody is subsidizing the thousands of packs of fireworks that are being launched by the rioters. Their legal fees are covered by the Palestinian Authority. Hamas websites are calling it "the third intifada."
        A group of Palestinians ambushed the Cohen family as they made their way to the Western Wall through Wadi Joz. In the French Hill neighborhood, a group set fire to a gas station. Palestinians in Shuafat have been firing on the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev. In May, shots were fired at the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. Shuafat residents said that armed gangs wielding handguns and AK-47 and M-16 rifles roam the streets. During their interrogation, some of the rioters said there is another layer of leadership beyond the local level that is guiding these events.
        After Palestinian attacks during the summer, the northern section of Jerusalem's light rail has seen a 70% drop in usage, leading to major traffic jams as commuters return to driving. On the Temple Mount, Palestinian demonstrators fly Hamas flags, while in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, residents see their Arab neighbors flying black flags similar to those of the Islamic State. Fatah and Hamas are trying to outdo each other in disseminating hatred of Jews and Israel, even while PA President Abbas speaks of nonviolence. (Israel Hayom)

Fighting Terrorism under the Rule of Law - Alan M. Dershowitz (Boston Globe)

  • Employing military force against terrorists who use human shields: While the commitment to the rule of law constrains democracies in fighting terrorists who have no concern for international law, and we must fight terrorism with one hand behind our back, that does not mean that we cannot use the other hand forcefully, effectively, and legally.
  • Surveillance and the right to privacy: The government is entitled to keep secret the technical aspects of our surveillance programs that give us a competitive advantage over our adversaries, and whose disclosure might provide terrorists with information useful to circumvent our legitimate efforts to keep track of their nefarious plans.
  • Should terrorists who cannot be tried be detained?: Guantanamo contains several detainees who, if released, would almost certainly return to a life of terrorism. Imagine if the masked man who recently beheaded the two American journalists were captured, and a valued undercover source, who couldn't testify without blowing his cover, identified him as the killer. What should we do?
  • Should terrorists be targeted for assassination?: What should a democracy, constrained by the rule of law, do if a dangerous terrorist cannot be captured, or can only be captured with undue risk to our soldiers? The U.S., UK, and Israel have opted for targeted killing. The use of drones with GPS-guided missiles has made this easier and more accurate.
  • Is torture ever justified?: I am categorically opposed to torture, without exception. But I think every president would at least consider the option of torture of one terrorist, rather than permitting thousands of innocent Americans to be blown up.

    The author is an emeritus professor of law at Harvard University and the author of Terror Tunnels: The Case For Israel's Just War Against Hamas.

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