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October 6, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Iran's Khamenei Vows "Zionist Regime Close to Collapse and Total Extinction" - Yasser Okbi (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
    Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed on Friday that "the Zionist regime and its supporters are very close to collapse and total extinction."
    On the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the Iranian leader urged the Islamic world to unite in waging war against "the enemies of Islam, chief among them Israel."
    He also claimed that Islamic State and al-Qaeda are "creations of the West, particularly the Americans and their allies in the region."

    See also Iranian Nuclear Negotiators Attend Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Conference - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    At least two former Iranian nuclear negotiators, Saeed Jalili and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, joined with Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truthers, and anti-Semites last week in Tehran for Iran's New Horizons conference, an anti-American hate fest.
    The conference's participants were greeted on day one by high-ranking Iranian cleric Mohsen Ghomi, a close adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Israel to Send Aid to Africa to Combat Ebola (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Israel will send three mobile emergency clinics to areas in western Africa where there is a risk of infection with Ebola, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday.
    A staff of medical experts will be attached to each clinic, and will train local practitioners in the operation of the clinic and its equipment.
    An Israeli team has already been sent to Cameroon, emergency equipment has been sent to Sierra Leone, and personal protection equipment was sent to teams of the African Union.

Palestinians Riot Against Visit to West Bank University by U.S. Consular Officials - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Palestinian students rioted last Monday at An-Najah University in Nablus in the West Bank in protest against a visit to their campus by U.S. consular officials, Ma'an News reported.
    According to Palestinian sources, the visit was part of continued U.S. efforts to support educational and cultural activities on campus.
    Dozens of students, chanting anti-U.S. slogans, surrounded one of the U.S. vehicles and tried to prevent it from entering the university.
    It does not matter whether the U.S. officials came to Nablus to help Palestinians. They were attacked because they represent a country that is viewed by many Arabs and Muslims as an enemy because of its support for Israel's right to exist.

India Seeks Extradition of Plotter of Attacks on U.S., Israeli Consulates (ColomboPage-Sri Lanka)
    Indian authorities are seeking to extradite Mohammad Hussain Mohammad Sulaiman, a Sri Lankan national, arrested in Malaysia for planning to carry out terror attacks on the U.S. and Israeli consulates in South India.
    Indian police arrested a second plotter, Mohammed Sakir Hussain, 37, a Sri Lankan national, on April 29.
    Hussain told interrogators that he had been hired to carry out reconnaissance of the U.S. consulate in Chennai and Israeli consulate in Bangalore, while Sulaiman was to ferry two suicide attackers to India to carry out the terror strikes.
    Pictures of the consulates showing various gates and roads leading to them were recovered from Hussain's laptop.

Former Mavi Marmara Activist Becomes Swedish Minister (Fars-Iran)
    Sweden has appointed Turkish-born Mehmet Kaplan, a pro-Palestine activist who was on the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza in 2010, as its new minister of urbanization.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Islamic State Beheads Second Briton, Threatens to Kill Ex-U.S. Army Ranger - Adam Goldman and Griff Witte
    A new Islamic State video released Friday depicts the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, 47, and shows American hostage Peter Edward Kassig, 26, a former U.S. Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq war. Former hostages told the Kassig family that their son converted to Islam in captivity. (Washington Post)
        See also UN: Islamic State Committing "Staggering" Crimes in Iraq - Stephanie Nebehay
    Islamic State insurgents in Iraq have carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used child soldiers in what may amount to systematic war crimes that demand prosecution, the UN Human Rights Office reported on Thursday. "The array of violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups is staggering, and many of their acts may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity," said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein.
        The report also said Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused "significant civilian deaths" by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law. At least 9,347 civilians had been killed and 17,386 wounded so far this year through September, the report said. (Reuters)
  • U.S.: "International Recognition of Palestinian State Is Premature"
    Asked about the Swedish prime minister's announcement that his country would recognize the state of Palestine, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said Friday, "We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature. We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues, and mutual recognition by both parties."  (State Department)
        See also Israel Criticizes Swedish Plan to Recognize State of Palestine - Dan Williams
    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday responded to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's plan to recognize the state of Palestine. He said Lofven had "hastened to make declarations...apparently before he could delve into the matter and understand it is the Palestinians who have constituted the obstacle to progress" in reaching a peace accord with Israel. "Prime Minister Lofven must understand that no declaration nor move by an external player will replace direct talks between the sides that will be part of a comprehensive accord between Israel and the entire Arab world," Lieberman said. (Reuters)
  • Al-Qaeda Affiliate Battles Hizbullah in Lebanon
    Hundreds of Sunni Muslim insurgents from the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's wing in Syria, on Sunday attacked at least 10 Hizbullah bases in eastern Lebanon along a mountain range close to the Syrian border. At least 16 insurgents and five Hizbullah fighters were killed. (Reuters-New York Times)
        See also Lebanon: The Next Front Line in the Islamic State Onslaught - David Schenker
    ISIS is kidnapping and decapitating Lebanese citizens too, and in recent weeks two Lebanese soldiers were killed. Beirut is in a state of paralysis, fearing the execution of about two-dozen other Lebanese troops and police currently held hostage. On Sept. 12, the Lebanese press reported that "more than 40" ISIS cells were currently operating on Lebanese territory and planning terrorist attacks. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sinai Militants Say They Have Beheaded Three Egyptians
    The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis released a video on Sunday showing militants beheading three Egyptians whom they accused of being informants for Israeli intelligence. A fourth man, shown confessing to being an informant for the Egyptian military, is then mown down by bullets. Egyptian security sources estimate that up to 8,000 Egyptians are fighting abroad with militant groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda. (Reuters)
        See also Egyptian Police Uncovers Islamic State Recruitment Cell in Port Said (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Opens Fire on Infiltrators on Lebanese Border - Yoav Zitun
    IDF troops on Sunday opened fire at two or three men who crossed into Israeli-controlled territory from Lebanon in the Har Dov area, where there is no border fence. "An IDF force on operational duty identified a cell crossing the border. The force opened fired with light weapons, hitting one of the suspects," an IDF spokesman said. "The cell escaped north into Lebanese territory."  (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Navy Intercepts Weapons-Building Material Bound for Gaza - Yaakov Lappin
    The Israel Navy has intercepted multiple attempts to smuggle weapons-manufacturing material into Gaza since the end of the war in August, Cmdr. Eli Soholitski said Thursday. "The terrorists still have one big smuggling tunnel, and it's called the Mediterranean," he said. He added that Hamas fires rockets into the sea every few days, as part of its weapons upgrade program.
        During the summer war, Squadron 916, commanded by Soholitski, fired on terrorist launch sites in Gaza, hitting rocket launchers as well as Hamas cells firing mortars at IDF ground units. The squadron killed 120 terrorists in Gaza through sea-based strikes. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jerusalem Court: Palestinian Authority Must Compensate Families for 2001 Terror Attack - Aviram Zino
    Judge Moshe Drori of the Jerusalem District Court ruled Sunday that the Palestinian Authority was legally obligated to pay compensation to the families of three Israelis killed in a shooting attack on Highway 443 in August 2001 and to those wounded in the attack. Yaniv and Sharon Ben-Shalom, and Sharon's brother Doron Yosef Svari, were killed in the attack.
        "The weapons and the funding were transferred from the Palestinian Authority to the commanders in the terrorist organizations, and the PA knew and understood the purpose for these transfers," Drori stated in his 1,000-page decision. "Because the Palestinian Authority has an obligation to act with care with regard to an individual who may be injured by its weapons, the Authority is obligated to pay damages to that individual if this obligation is breached."
        Drori found that Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader serving life in prison for multiple deadly attacks, "knew about the attack and was given a report following the act."  (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Obama Administration Admits Its Rule on Civilian Casualties Is Unworkable in Fighting ISIS - Alan M. Dershowitz
    Last year the Obama administration issued, with considerable fanfare, a new military policy designed to reduce civilian casualties when U.S. forces are attacking enemy targets. This policy required "near certainty" that there will be no civilian casualties before an air attack is permitted.
        When Israel acted in self-defense this summer against Hamas rocket and tunnel attacks, the Obama administration criticized the Israeli army for "not doing enough" to reduce civilian casualties. Now the Obama administration has exempted itself from its own "near certainty" standard in its attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Its statement came after a Tomahawk missile last week struck the village Kafr Daryan in Syria, reportedly killing and injuring numerous civilians including children and women.
        In every attack on terrorists who operate from civilian areas, there will be civilian casualties. The Obama administration's theoretical "near certainty" policy has proved to be unworkable and unrealistic in actual battle conditions involving human shields and enemy fighters embedded in densely populated areas.
        There must be a single universal standard for judging nations that are fighting the kind of terrorism represented by ISIS and Hamas. This standard must be both moral and realistic, capable of being applied equally to all nations committed both to the rule of law and to the obligation to protect citizens from terrorist attacks. The writer is a law professor emeritus at Harvard University. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Genome of Islamic Terrorism - Moshe Arens
    It took the grizzly, televised beheadings of two journalists by an Islamic State executioner to arouse the Western world to the dangers of Islamic terrorism. In short order, President Obama assembled a coalition to fight Islamic State and within days the bombing of IS targets by coalition aircraft began. They evidently did not take the kind of precautions taken by the Israeli Air Force in Gaza - prior warnings, "knocks on the roof," a call for civilians to evacuate the area - in order to minimize casualties among innocent civilians, and there was the inevitable collateral damage.
        Israel has been contending with Islamic terrorism for many years, alone - against Hizbullah, funded, armed and directed by Iran, and against Hamas, an ideological affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, also armed by Iran. Although both Hizbullah and Hamas are considered by the U.S. and EU as terrorist organizations, Israel has received little sympathy when battling them, and on occasion has even come in for severe criticism for causing collateral damage. So far no coalition has been organized to fight Hizbullah and Hamas. That job has been left to Israel.
        Yet IS, Hamas, and Hizbullah are similar versions of Islamic terrorism. They all have a common denominator - they see the West as their enemy and they all carry the gene that calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. It is a myopic view to see IS as the only terrorist threat to the world. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)

Netanyahu: Iran Is More Dangerous than ISIS - Bob Schieffer (CBS News)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told "Face the Nation" on Sunday:

  • "The difference between ISIS and Hamas and ISIS and Iran and so on is, they all agree that the world should be an Islamist hill, but each of them wants to be king of the hill."
  • "But if you think ISIS is dangerous, and should be defeated, as I do - and I completely support President Obama's effort, leadership in this regard - then think how much more dangerous Iran is. Iran doesn't have two million petrodollars a day. It has 100 million petrodollars a day. And it is working on obtaining nuclear weapons."
  • "I don't understand why we should let the world's most dangerous regime [Iran], which practices terrorism all the time... have the ultimate weapon of terror, which is nuclear weapons....To the extent you give them thousands of centrifuges, that becomes a bad deal, a very bad deal, not merely for us in Israel but for you and, I think, for the peace of the world."
  • [Iran could enrich] "enough material to make an atomic device, which they can put on a container ship and they can bring it to any port in the world. We don't want to be there and you don't want to be there."
    See also Netanyahu: "I Negotiate with an Enemy Who Wants to Stop Being My Enemy" - Fareed Zakaria (CNN)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday:
  • "All the Arab states identify, as we do, these twin challenges of a nuclear Iran and the radical Sunnis making inroads into Sunni states. And they recognize that it imperils their societies....So we share the common interest to address those dangers. My hope is that we can pivot on this to a productive relationship and also to advance a realistic Palestinian-Israeli peace."
  • "I have no desire to govern the Palestinians, none whatsoever. But at the same time, I don't Iranian state, a third Iranian enclave around Israel's borders. And I think the solution lies in long-term security arrangements that involve Israel for a protracted period of time."
  • Q: Are you saying that you will never negotiate with Hamas?
    "I negotiate with an enemy who wants to stop being my enemy. That's how you make peace. An enemy who wants to destroy you, who remains committed to your obliteration, is not someone you can negotiate with. You don't negotiate with al-Qaeda. You don't negotiate with this latter-day Caliph, with Baghdadi, because these people want to destroy you. As long as Hamas remains committed to our destruction, what's there to negotiate?"

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