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Weekly Radio Alert
July 17, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Bans U.S. Inspectors from All Nuclear Sites - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    U.S. and Iranian officials confirmed Thursday that no American nuclear inspectors will be permitted to enter the country's contested nuclear sites under the parameters of a deal reached with world powers this week.
    Under the terms of the final nuclear deal, only countries with normal diplomatic relations with Iran will be permitted to participate in inspections teams organized by the IAEA.
    Some analysts maintain that only American experts can be trusted to verify that Iran is not cheating on the deal and operating clandestine nuclear facilities.
    Elliott Abrams, a former White House deputy national security advisor, said, "It's ironic that after [U.S. nuclear negotiator] Wendy Sherman told us about how Kerry and Zarif had tears in their eyes thinking about all they had accomplished together, we learn that the Islamic Republic won't allow one single American inspector....We should have insisted that the 'no Americans' rule was simply unacceptable."
    Other parts of the agreement include a promise by the U.S. to help Iran combat nuclear sabotage and threats to its program.

House Speaker Boehner Says Majority of Congress Opposes Iran Deal (Reuters)
    John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Thursday, "It's pretty clear that a majority of the House and Senate, at a minimum, are opposed to this [Iran nuclear] deal. What those numbers look like post-Labor Day, we'll see."
    The House and Senate are expected to vote on the agreement after the Labor Day holiday in early September.

How Technology Will Help Enforce the Iran Deal - and Cheat on It - Patrick Tucker (Defense One)
    The technology for enforcement of the Iran deal has advanced considerably over the last decade as sensing devices have gotten much smaller and more capable.
    Yet monitoring Iran's nuclear activity will be incredibly challenging, said David Kay, a former UN chief weapons inspector who ran the Iraq Survey Group.
    For one thing, the agreement allows Iran scientists to continue some nuclear research. The Iranians will be allowed to keep centrifuges and uranium hexafluoride. The Arak heavy-water reactor will be modified to reduce plutonium enrichment but will still have fuel cores.
    All this radioactive residue will make it far more difficult to figure out what's new and what's old. "The Iranians have an easy out," said Kay. "They can say, 'That's from the old program.'"
    "If I had to place a bet on the first violation, it would be in the procurement of potentially nuclear-related - in other words, dual-use equipment. The Iranians have the best clandestine procurement at work that I've ever seen."

France Foils Plot to Capture, Behead Soldier - Pauline Talagrand and Eric Randolph (AFP)
    France has foiled a terrorist plot to capture and decapitate a member of its armed forces at a military base.
    Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said security forces on Monday arrested three people who were "planning to commit a terrorist act."

Islamic State Punishes 94 Syrians for Violating Ramadan Fast (Reuters)
    Islamic State militants have punished at least 94 people, including five teenagers, for not fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday.
    The people were flogged, hung up by their arms crucifixion-style or put in metal cages in Raqqa, Aleppo and Deir al-Zor provinces.
    The opposition Shaam News portal posted a picture last week showing a boy hanging by his arms with a sign around his neck saying: "Broke fast without justifiable excuse under sharia [Islamic law]."

ISIS-Linked Terrorists Set Egypt Navy Vessel Ablaze Off Sinai (Al Jazeera)
    An Egyptian naval vessel in the eastern Mediterranean was attacked by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula.
    A witness in Gaza told AFP the boat was struck at least three km. from shore. "We were sitting on the beach and suddenly there was an explosion," said Ahmed Nofal.
    Other navy boats came to rescue the crew as their vessel spewed smoke.

Volume of Goods Entering Gaza to Double This Year - Shani Shahmoon (Jerusalem Post)
    Some 140,000 truckloads of imports are expected to enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in 2015, double the 70,000 truckloads of cargo in 2014.

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As a Nuclear Power, Iran Will Become the Next North Korea - George Jonas (National Post-Canada)
    In 1994, then U.S. President Bill Clinton yielded to North Korean blackmail.
    The "Agreed Framework" negotiated between North Korea and the U.S. in Geneva provided that North Korea would dismantle its reactors and receive half a million tons of heavy oil annually in exchange.
    The North Koreans accepted the American oil, along with food shipments for their starving population, then merrily continued their nuclear development program.
    There are several nuclear powers on Earth. The problem is that Iran will become another North Korea: a hostile tyranny of obsessive megalomaniacs with nuclear power.

How the Islamic Republic Out-Negotiated the "Great Satan" - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)
    Iran's rulers remain the world's leading sponsors of terrorism, responsible for killing and maiming thousands of Americans.
    Their ambitions are hegemonic: They dream of a nuclear-armed Iranian empire powerful enough to threaten the very existence of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Middle Eastern states aligned with the U.S.
    Knowing the intentions of Iran's rulers, one can only be mystified as to why American and other Western leaders are giving them a path to capabilities that match those intentions - asking them only to please drag their feet for a while.
    And delaying Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability for a decade is the best-case scenario. I'm betting Iran's rulers will violate this agreement just as they have violated UN Security Council resolutions since 2006.
    The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Iran Delusion: A Primer for the Perplexed - Michael J. Totten (World Affairs)
    Trading sanctions relief for an international weapons inspection regime will have no effect whatsoever on Iran's drive for regional hegemony.
    Iran has been a regional power since the time of the Persian Empire, and its Islamic leaders have played an entirely pernicious role in the Middle East since they seized power in 1979.
    In 1982, they went international when Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders forged a network of terrorist and guerrilla cells among their coreligionists in Lebanon's Shia population.
    Until September 11, 2001, no terrorist organization in the world had killed more Americans than Hizbullah, the foreign legion of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
    We don't have to choose between ISIS and Iran's revolutionary regime. They're both murderous Islamist powers with global ambitions, and they're both implacably hostile to us and our interests.

Facebook Buys Israel's Pebbles for $60M - Laura Lorenzetti (Fortune)
    Facebook's Oculus VR snapped up Israel-based gesture-control company Pebbles for an estimated $60 million in a move to better integrate human movement with computer systems.
    Oculus is working to find new ways to advance virtual reality using more realistic tracking - one of Pebbles' specialties.
    Pebbles' technology enables users to see images of their arms and hands within VR headsets, including Oculus VR, a huge step for making VR more realistic.

Tourism to the Holy Land Triples in a Decade - Nicolas Parasie (Wall Street Journal)
    Tourist arrivals in Israel over the past 10 years have tripled to 3.3 million.
    Christians accounted for 56% of last year's tourist arrivals, up from 33% a decade ago.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Four U.S. Marines Killed by Muslim Gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee - Adam Goldman, Greg Miller and Thomas Gibbons-Neff
    Four U.S. marines were killed Thursday in shootings at an armed forces recruiting center and a Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The shooter, identified by the FBI as Mohammad Youssef Abdul­azeez, 24, was killed by police at the end of a rampage that also wounded a Chattanooga police officer and a member of the U.S. military. The assault comes amid warnings from U.S. counterterrorism officials that the Islamic State terrorist group has called on its followers to mount attacks against U.S. targets, including military installations. (Washington Post)
        See also Chattanooga Shooting: Questions of Motive - Catherine E. Shoichet and Gary Tuchman
    Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez was armed with an AK-47 style weapon and carrying 30-round magazines when he opened fire and kept police at bay for some time with the amount of ammunition he had, according to a source briefed by law enforcement officials. Witnesses saw Abdulazeez spray a hail of bullets at the glass doors of a military recruiting center in a strip mall. Then the gunman moved on to his next target more than seven miles away: a Naval Reserve center. Now, with the FBI in the lead, a terrorism task force is investigating, a law enforcement source said. (CNN)
        See also Chattanooga Gunman Came from a Middle-Class Muslim Family - Craig Whitlock and Carol D. Leonnig
    Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez was born in Kuwait to a conservative Muslim family, moved to the U.S. as an infant and became a U.S. citizen. (Washington Post)
  • Senators Urge Obama to Postpone UN Vote on Iran Deal Until after Congress Decides - Cara Anna
    After the UN Security Council scheduled a vote Monday on a resolution endorsing the Iran nuclear deal, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking member, on Thursday wrote a letter to President Barack Obama saying, "We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement."
        Bringing the agreement to a UN vote first "would be contrary to your statement that 'it's important for the American people and Congress to get a full opportunity to review this deal...our national security policies are stronger and more effective when they are subject to the scrutiny and transparency that democracy demands.'"  (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Congress Balks at Obama's UN Move on Iran Deal - Burgess Everett and Lauren French (Politico)
  • Iran Media Warn Against Optimism in Wake of Deal - Mehdi Khalaji
    Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is appointed by Khamenei, warned on July 14: "It would be super-optimistic and even naive to think that the deal is the end of the nuclear challenge." And in an editorial titled "Deja Vu Agreements for Our Nation," the paper emphasized America's longstanding untrustworthiness. Moreover, the agreement would not drastically change Iran's economic situation:
        "The deal would certainly decrease the price of oil, and unfortunately for now oil exports are the main pillar of our economy....The gradual sanctions relief over the next year would include at most 13% of all sanctions...[and] foreign investors might wait six months to see if the suspension of sanctions will be prolonged or not....The third dimension is the hidden U.S. pressure on some companies to prevent them from investing in Iran. The fourth dimension is the problem of banking transactions....The U.S. Congress is unlikely to approve the deal, so it would put the whole agreement in the darkness of ambiguity to the extent that it would become nonbinding for the United States, and the next president could even walk away from it."
        Accordingly, the editorial asked the government to control the false "excitement" and criticized those who might change their views on the U.S. after the deal: "Our people are followers of Imam [Khamenei], who said 'Be careful about the enemy even after the deal and peace.'"  (Washington Institute for Near East Policy )
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Countering Obama, Israel Says It Offered Alternative to Iran Deal - Raphael Ahren
    Israel forcefully rejected Thursday President Obama's assertion that critics of the nuclear agreement with Iran have failed to present better options. "We have consistently laid out an alternative, which is a better deal that actually blocks Iran's path to the bomb and links the lifting of restrictions on Iran to tangible changes in Iranian behavior," a senior Israeli official said.
        The official also disagreed that it would have been impossible to keep up the international sanctions regime against Iran. "We don't believe that sanctions would collapse; on the contrary, we sincerely believe that the sanctions can be maintained in place, if there is American leadership on this matter....If you're a German or a Swiss company and want to do business in Iran but in so doing have to give up on the American market, it's a no-brainer. If forced to choose between the American or the Iranian economy, what are most rational people going to do?"
        "The entire international community is not backing the deal. There is a lot of opposition to it, especially from countries in the region," the official added. "Iran's neighbors - those who know Iran best - are united in opposition to the deal."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Transcript: President Obama's Press Conference on Iran (White House)
  • ICC Orders Prosecutor to Reopen Mavi Marmara War Crimes Case Against IDF - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    In a 2-1 decision, the International Criminal Court on Thursday ordered its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to consider opening a full criminal investigation into war crimes allegations against IDF personnel relating to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, just seven months after she had closed the file. The ICC told Bensouda she should have considered more seriously the possibility that the deaths of those killed were "systematic or resulted from a deliberate plan or policy to attack, kill or injure civilians."
        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that the IDF acted "in self-defense in stopping an attempt to break a blockade established in accordance with international law," as confirmed by a report sponsored by the UN secretary-general and by a quasi-independent Israeli commission with international observers.
        Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said, "It is not clear why the court stubbornly persists in directing resources to superfluous work relating to complaints with cynical political motivations, instead of working on issues for which it was established," such as mass killings. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also ICC Declares War on Israel - Avi Bell
    The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court, for the first time in its history, has ordered the ICC Prosecutor to pursue an investigation she has decided to close. The Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor was wrong to close the preliminary investigation into war crimes charges against Israel for the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident of 2010.
        The ruling holds that the Prosecutor should assume the truth of even the wildest accusations in deciding whether to bring charges; in other words, there should be an irrebuttable presumption of guilt in the preliminary investigation stage. And it holds that crimes have sufficient gravity to interest the court, even if they have very few actual victims, as long as they are widely covered by the media, and are subject to a lot of political activity at the UN. It's a safe bet that these "rules" will never be applied to any non-Jewish, non-Israeli defendant.
        The ICC will earn its reputation as another failed hope for international law, and another embarrassing institution devoted to persecuting the Jewish state. And Israeli Jews will once again find themselves in a world where it is criminal simply to exist, and where stepping foot in the wrong country means instant arrest. The writer is a professor at Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Law and the University of San Diego Law School. (Times of Israel)
  • UN Commissioner Invited to Israel to Rectify Her Misconceptions - Lahav Harkov
    UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict chairwoman Mary McGowan Davis responded positively to an invitation from Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin to visit southern Israel and meet with its residents. Last month, Jelin, former head of the Eshkol Regional Council near Gaza, wrote to McGowan Davis following renewed rocket fire: "Last night, for the sixth time since the end of Operation Protective Edge, citizens of Israel, innocent men, women and children, experienced another night of sirens.... [Terrorists] were firing at innocent citizens who have done nothing to them."
        Jelin criticized McGowan Davis for not calling those who shoot rockets at Israel terrorist organizations in her report on the 2014 war and the UN for not acting to support the demilitarization of Gaza. "The commission expressed concern about Israel's use of force during the operation, but has no such concern about a terrorist organization routinely shooting at innocent civilians in Israel," he stated. "How could the rocket which exploded in Israel tonight, near a city, be anything other than a war crime? Would you define it as fire at military targets? Do you still stand behind the de facto comparison between a sovereign democratic state and a terrorist organization?"  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Rocket Fired from Gaza Thursday Lands near Ashkelon - Noam Amir (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Unplanned Results of the Iran Deal - Danielle Pletka
    Right or wrong, the perception of many in the Middle East is that Iran is looking to impose Shiite hegemony wherever possible. Expect the region's Sunni powers to do all they can to push back. In Shia-majority states dominated by Sunnis like Bahrain, or where there are substantial Shia minorities like in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen, there has always been suspicions that Shiites are fifth columnists for Iran. With those governments convinced that the nuclear deal empowers Iran, Shia life there is going to only get worse.
        Only financial constraints have limited Iran's support for Hizbullah and other proxies like Hamas. With cash washing in, these groups will receive the full benefit of Iranian military advances. In addition, the flow of fighters, weapons and money fueling the devastating conflict in Syria will only worsen.
        Once, a country that hid behind the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to violate safeguards agreements and work on nuclear weapons faced the certainty of international punishment. Iran is now being pardoned, rehabilitated and allowed to keep its nuclear infrastructure. We can expect other countries - especially those most worried about Iran's rising power - to emulate Iran in using the NPT as cover for advancing their own nuclear weapons programs. The writer is senior vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. (Politico)
  • A Deal with Gaping Failures - Yaakov Lappin interviews Dr. Emily Landau
    Dr. Emily Landau, head of the arms control and regional security program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, is one of Israel's keenest expert observers of the Iranian nuclear program. Landau told the Jerusalem Post she was at a loss to understand Washington's enthusiasm to conclude a deal with such gaping failures in it. The first of those problems, she said, is the deal's built-in sunset clause, making restrictions placed on Iran's nuclear program temporary.
        "This deal was supposed to add very strict verification measures that should have lasted forever." Instead, U.S.-led negotiators have agreed to a sunset clause "without any strategic indication that Iran has backed away from nuclear weapons, like Libya did 10 years ago. Why in the world would they lift restrictions in such conditions?" Only a clear strategic U-turn by the Islamic Republic could justify a sunset clause, Landau stated, "But we don't have that."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Trusting the Iranians? - Yair Lapid
    When the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, goes on Charlie Rose and says, without batting an eyelid, that "Iran never called for Israel's destruction," he knows it's a lie (and so does Charlie). Iran has called for Israel's destruction hundreds of times, at all levels starting from the Supreme Leader Khamenei in recorded conversations, through to General Qasem Soleimani who is charged with the destruction of Israel in the Revolutionary Guards.
        Iran lied about building the enrichment complex in Natanz, lied about the plutonium reactor in Arak, lied constantly to IAEA inspectors about everything, and lied when they told the world that they weren't trying to develop nuclear weapons.
        In my conversations in Washington last month, I said, "Like most Israelis, from the opposition and coalition alike, I think this is a terrible deal which threatens the peace of the world. But even if you disagree, you have to find a way to protect yourselves from the possibility that the Iranians are signing only to get an easing of the sanctions and then use the money which will flow to them to build nuclear weapons behind the world's back."
        After all, they have experience. They built two reactors without anyone noticing (it was the Iranian opposition which told the world about Arak and Natanz), they built second-generation centrifuges without the world suspecting, enriched uranium to a high degree in Fordow without the world knowing, and built missiles which can carry nuclear warheads at Parchin without the world guessing. The writer, chairman of the opposition Yesh Atid party, is a former Israeli finance minister. (Times of Israel)
  • The Iran Agreement Is Worse than the U.S. Deal with North Korea - Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
    Mr. Obama made his decision on the Iran nuclear deal aware that the national intelligence information and intelligence from U.S. allies in the region predict a worse outcome than in North Korea - and Iran will have access to billions of dollars. This deal will wreak havoc in the Middle East. People in my region now are consolidating their local capabilities and analyses with everyone except our oldest and most powerful ally. The writer was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. from 1981 to 2005. (Washington Post)
  • Iran Deal Worse than We Could Have Imagined - Charles Krauthammer
    Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations? When asked Wednesday at his news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks. Are conventional weapons not a separate issue?
        Congress won't get to vote on the deal until September. But Obama is taking the agreement to the UN Security Council for approval within days. Approval there will cancel all previous UN resolutions outlawing and sanctioning Iran's nuclear activities, dismantling the legal underpinning for the entire international sanctions regime against Iran. Ten years of painstakingly constructed international sanctions will vanish overnight, irretrievably. (Washington Post)
  • Instead of Turning the Screw, the U.S. Relieved the Pressure - Bret Stephens
    Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is an irascible and violent revolutionary bent on imposing a dark ideology on his people and his neighborhood. If there is evidence of an Iranian trend toward moderation it behooves proponents of a deal to show it.
        Serious sanctions were only imposed on Iran in November 2011. They cut the country's oil exports by half, shut off its banking system from the rest of the world, sent the rial into free fall and caused the inflation rate to soar to 60%. And that was only the first turn of the economic screw: Iran's permitted oil exports could have been cut further; additional sanctions could have been imposed. Instead of turning the screw, Mr. Obama relieved the pressure by signing on to the interim agreement. (Wall Street Journal)
  • We Should Not Let Euphoria about the Iran Nuclear Deal Cloud Our Judgment - Michael Herzog
    While the P5+1 negotiators celebrate the nuclear deal with Iran, in Israel, coalition and opposition are now united in deep concern about its long-term implications. Israel was not a participant in these negotiations, but its national security will be impacted more than anybody else's. After all, Iran combines ideological commitment to Israel's destruction with nuclear ambitions and the ability to project violence through proxies on Israel's borders. It is Israel that is targeted by tens of thousands of rockets supplied by Iran to armed groups on our borders, including Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, a former chief of staff to Israel's minister of defense, is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Guardian-UK)
  • Understanding the Argument for the Iran Deal - John Podhoretz
    At his press conference Wednesday, President Obama's argument boils down to this (these are my words, not his): "We wanted to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. We've done it. And if you say otherwise, you either don't know what you're talking about or you want war."
        The key to understanding the president's argument is his conviction that the Iranians will hold to its terms, and that the methods it lays out to ensure it holds to the terms are sufficient to make them do so even if they want to cheat. Those who oppose the deal do not believe the Iranians will hold to its terms, and do not believe its enforcement mechanisms will prevent them from doing whatever they feel they must.
        There is literally no way to resolve this difference. That's why the president can and will argue that, hey, it's at least worth a try; someone else can bomb them later, and that someone will have more international support if he or she does. (Commentary)
  • Netanyahu's Warnings Apt on Iran Nuclear Deal - Editorial
    Diplomacy is certainly preferable to war. But the stakes - a nuclear armed Iran, with all the danger and destabilization that would imply for the region and the world - are simply too high to accept just any deal, at any price. It is assumed that Iran will, in fact, honor the undertakings it has made. Yet its track record in this regard is not encouraging.
        The bottom line is this: the agreement assumes a desire on Iran's part to become a constructive member of the international community. Yet there is precious little evidence of this, from a regime that continues to destabilize the region and to threaten Israel, and gives every sign of doing so in future - only now with the status of a nuclear threshold state. If the U.S. won't work to contain Iran, you can't blame the locals for taking matters into their own hands. (National Post-Canada)

  • Palestinians

  • Hamas Set to Win Seat at UN Economic and Social Council - Gerald Steinberg
    On Monday, the UN Economic and Social Council is scheduled to vote on the application of the London-based Palestinian Return Center (PRC) for accreditation as a non-governmental organization in the UN system. If the application is granted, the group's leaders would receive open access to UN facilities in New York, Geneva and elsewhere, as well as the right to participate in committee meetings (including at the Human Rights Council).
        The PRC is headed by a number of Hamas activists, including Zaher al-Birawi, Majed al-Zeer, Sheikh Majdi Akeel, Ghassan Faour and Arafat Madi Shukri. According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center, Majed al-Zeer is a "Hamas activist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. He is the PRC's General Director and a member of its Board of Trustees." Birawi, chairman of PRC's board of trustees, was active in dispatching convoys to Gaza through former British MP George Galloway's organization, Viva Palestina. Akeel, a member of PRC's board of trustees, is also an activist with Interpal, which sends money to Hamas. The writer, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is president of NGO Monitor. (New York Post)
  • Fatigue in the Arab World with the Palestine Issue - Amir Taheri
    Prominent Arab writer Walid Abimerchid, in his latest newspaper column, described a "growing fatigue with the whole Palestine issue." For the first time in decades, Palestine has been shut out of the news in favor of Syria, ISIS, sectarian wars and the growing aggressiveness of Iran.
        As Jordanian businessman Abu Furas noted: "Today, no Arab feels safe in his country. Ironically, the sole exceptions are Palestinians in the West Bank because they know Israel will defend them if ISIS attacks. Even in Gaza, most people secretly believe that Israel is their ultimate protection against ISIS fighters trying to strike roots in the Sinai."
        Eyad Abuchaqra, a prominent Lebanese commentator and TV personality, citing reasons for dwindling interest in the Palestinian issue, says, "Arabs realize that there are many other issues that affect their lives, indeed their existence."  (New York Post)
  • Why Palestinians Cannot Make Peace with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinians will not sign a real and meaningful peace agreement with Israel in the foreseeable future because of a total lack of education for peace, as well as the absence of a leader who is authorized to embark on such a mission. Americans and Europeans who keep talking about the need to revive the stalled peace process in the Middle East continue to ignore these two factors.
        Indeed, the Palestinian leadership has long been inciting its people against Israel to a point where it has become almost impossible to talk about any form of compromise with the Israelis. If you want to make peace with Israel, you do not tell your people that the Western Wall has no religious significance to Jews and is, in fact, holy Muslim property. You cannot make peace with Israel if you continue to deny Jewish history or links to the land. Any Palestinian who dares to talk about concessions to Israel is quickly denounced as a traitor. (Gatestone Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • The Arab World's Anti-Israel Front Is Crumbling - Moshe Arens
    Hostility to Israel has been the one unifying factor in the Arab and Muslim world. Israel's existence was endangered in 1948, 1967, and 1973 by the combined attacks of Arab armies, which enjoyed the support of the entire Muslim world.
        But there is a change in the wind. For some Arab rulers greater enemies than Israel have appeared in recent years. Iran, reaching out for nuclear weapons, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hamas, and assorted Arab terrorist groups, are aiming for the jugular of the ruling classes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. They are a mortal danger to them, the kind of danger that Israel never constituted. In the eyes of these Arab rulers Israel is beginning to look not like an enemy, but rather like a potential ally.
        The Saudi ruling class is likely to be the first in line to be toppled as Iranian influence grows. As armed Islamic State terrorist gangs are knocking on Jordan's door, it is not hard to guess whose head is going to be severed first if they succeed in reaching Amman. Egypt is beset by Islamic terrorists in Sinai and in the streets of Cairo, where ruler Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has declared all-out war against them. Israel has enemies in the Middle East, but it is also gaining friends. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel's People Want Peace Too. Pressure Doesn't Help - Daniel Taub
    Polls consistently show a majority of the Israeli people want a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Yet those same polls show Israelis are also skeptical about the possibility of realizing such a peace. In part this skepticism relates to the ability of the international community to live up to its assurances. UN peacekeepers have not prevented the rearming of Hizbullah. Nor has the international community been able to stop the smuggling of weapons to Hamas in Gaza. As much as Israelis want peace, when they look at the fate of international assurances in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, they cannot help but ask what is to stop an evacuated West Bank turning into yet another launch pad for attacks against Israel, but this time only miles from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
        In a region where ungoverned spaces are increasingly dominated by brutal jihadist extremists and Iranian proxies, Israelis are perplexed that, away from our region, debate on the peace process continues as if Israelis and Palestinians exist in a vacuum. We must see the reality that exists today, not the reality of 10 years ago or of 1948. The writer is the ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom. (Guardian-UK)
  • Israeli Arabs: The Untold Story - Robert Cherry
    Affirmative action policies for Israeli Arabs initiated under Ehud Olmert were accelerated during the Netanyahu administration. These included allocating funds for joint industrial parks in Arab and Jewish towns, subsidies that helped firms hire Arab labor, and expanded transportation infrastructure which allowed Arabs to reach employment sites.
        In addition, the Israeli government developed a five-year plan for improving Arab education and established a special unit in the prime minister's office to promote economic development in the Arab community. Despite the opposition of Palestinian nationalists, more and more Arab communities began to cooperate with government agencies. At the same time, educational and occupational initiatives began to improve the possibilities for Arab women. Labor participation rates for women 30-39 increased from 24% in 2005 to 34% in 2010.
        These transformations also occurred in east Jerusalem, with investments in infrastructure and transportation, the building of schools, and a dramatic expansion of medical facilities. Today the health quality indices for east Jerusalem are the same as for west Jerusalem.
        Between 2005 and 2011, inflation-adjusted Arab net family income increased by 7.4%. The number of Arabs employed in government civil service rose from 2,800 in 2003 to 5,000 in 2011 - an increase of 78%, in comparison to a 12% increase in the number of Jewish workers during the same period. The share of Israeli Arabs who were "very satisfied" with their economic conditions rose from 40% in 2004-5 to 60% in 2010-11. The writer is a professor of economics at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center. (Mida)

Living With the Iran Nuclear Deal - Richard N. Haass (Project Syndicate)

  • No one should confuse the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," signed on July 14 by Iran, with a solution to the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions or its contributions to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. On the contrary, depending on how it is implemented and enforced, the agreement could make matters worse.
  • The agreement permits Iran to keep far more nuclear-related capacity than it would need if it were interested only in civil research.
  • The agreement also provides Iran with extensive relief from economic sanctions, which will fuel the regime's ability to support dangerous proxies throughout the Middle East.
  • Moreover, the accord does not rule out all nuclear-related research and does not constrain work on missiles. There is also the danger that Iran will fail to comply with parts of the agreement and undertake prohibited work.
  • Iran should be informed that the U.S. would undertake a preventive military strike if it appeared to be attempting to present the world with a fait accompli and put itself in a position to field nuclear weapons after 15 years. The world erred in allowing North Korea to pass the nuclear-weapons threshold; it should not make the same mistake again.
  • The notion that the nuclear agreement will lead Iran to moderate its radicalism and rein in its strategic ambitions should not be anyone's baseline scenario. In fact, the emergence of an ever more capable Iran, not a transformed one, is likely to be one of the main challenges confronting the Middle East, if not the world, in the coming years.

    The writer, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, previously served as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department (2001-2003).
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