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December 7, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

San Bernardino Gunman's Father: Son Supported ISIS, Fixated on Israel - Dana Ford (CNN)
    The father of Syed Rizwan Farook told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that his son, one of two shooters in last week's San Bernardino massacre, supported ISIS ideology.
    "He said he shared the ideology of [ISIS leader] al-Baghdadi to create an Islamic State, and he was fixated on Israel," the elder Farook said.
    On Friday, U.S. officials said that Farook's wife, Tashfeen Malik, posted to Facebook a pledge of allegiance to al-Baghdadi.
    See also Islamic State Says "Soldiers of Caliphate" Attacked in San Bernardino - Rukmini Callimachi (New York Times)

EU Report: ISIS Has Smuggled WMD Materials into Europe - Darren Boyle (Daily Mail-UK)
    ISIS has recruited experts with chemistry, physics and computer science degrees to wage war with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against the West, a European Parliament report has claimed.
    The document, which was compiled in the aftermath of the deadly attacks on Paris, claimed that ISIS has already smuggled WMD material into Europe.
    Rob Wainwright, head of Europol, said after the attacks on Paris: "We are dealing with a very serious, well-resourced, determined international terrorist organization that is now active on the streets of Europe. This represents the most serious terrorist threat faced in Europe for 10 years."
    Nomi Bar-Yaacov, Associate Fellow in Chatham House's International Security Department, said: "There is a very real risk of ISIS using unconventional weapons in Europe and beyond."

Terror Groups Tried to Strike Israeli Oil Rig during 2014 Gaza War - Avi Bar-Eli (Ha'aretz)
    Terror groups attempted to sabotage an Israeli offshore platform in the summer of 2014, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen told a Knesset hearing on Sunday.
    "During Operation Protective Edge there were attempts to hit a drilling platform, and to our relief the weapon used was not precise enough to hit the rig," he said.
    He warned that "the weapons that are in the hands of the terror organizations that surround us today are already far more sophisticated and precise."

Egyptian Gas Providers Ordered to Pay Israel $1.76 Billion (AP-Wall Street Journal)
    The Israel Electric Corp. said Sunday that an international arbitrator had ordered Egyptian natural-gas companies to pay it $1.76 billion in compensation for halting gas supplies in 2012 after months of attacks on a pipeline by militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
    The electric utility had sued for $4 billion in damages after gas supplies were halted and it was forced to buy more expensive fuel to generate electricity.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • After San Bernardino Attack, President Obama Addresses the Nation on Terrorism - David Nakamura
    President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Sunday night: "On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays....I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism and how we can keep our country safe."
        "So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people."
        "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won't depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values or giving into fear....Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless. And by drawing upon every aspect of American power."
        "ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim."  (Washington Post)
  • California Attack Has U.S. Rethinking Strategy on Homegrown Terror - Peter Baker and Eric Schmitt
    In the deadliest terrorist attack in America since Sept. 11, 2001, homegrown, self-radicalized individuals operated undetected before striking one of many soft targets that can never be fully protected in a country as sprawling as the U.S.  Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, said Saturday that terrorists have "in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland."
        Some administration officials said they needed to escalate efforts to stimulate contrary Muslim voices to counter extremist propaganda by the Islamic State. "Frankly, we've got to do a better job of approaching this in a way that allows us to...break the brand of ISIL's message," said Lisa Monaco, the president's counterterrorism adviser.
        Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the couple identified as the attackers in San Bernardino, seemed to have been inspired by the Islamic State but were not acting directly on its orders. (New York Times)
  • Knife Attacker Slashes Man in London "Terrorist Incident" - James Davey and William James
    A knife attacker slashed a man at the Leytonstone Underground station, about six miles (10 km.) east of central London, reportedly screaming "this is for Syria," in what police described as a terrorist incident. The man was arrested after police used a Taser to subdue him. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Rejects Kerry's Warning that Israel Will Become a Binational State - Yoni Hersch
    After U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Saban Forum in Washington on Saturday that "current trends are leading [toward] a one-state reality," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet on Sunday: "I want to make it clear - Israel will not become a binational state. But in order for there to be peace, the other side needs to decide that it also wants peace. Unfortunately, that is not what we are seeing. First of all, the Palestinian Authority's incitement continues. This must stop."
        "I saw that the chief Palestinian negotiator paid a condolence visit to the family of a terrorist who tried to kill Jews. So not only did [Erekat] not condemn the attack, he expressed his condolences to [the terrorist's family], thereby giving encouragement and support for terrorist actions. Whoever wants peace needs to condemn these things unequivocally."  (Israel Hayom-Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinian Wounds Three Israelis in Jerusalem on Sunday
    On Sunday night in Jerusalem, Amar Yasser Skapi, 21, from Beit Hanina, first tried to run over a child, then drove his car into a pedestrian, and then exited his vehicle brandishing a knife and stabbed a police officer before being killed by security forces. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Finds Dozens of Pipe Bombs in West Bank Village
    IDF soldiers uncovered dozens of pipe bombs in an underground hideout on Saturday in the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. Earlier Saturday, a Palestinian woman was arrested at the entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron after pulling out a knife.
        On Friday, a Palestinian driver plowed his car into two soldiers near Silwad, north of Ramallah in the West Bank. The driver, Anes Hamad, 21, was shot and killed at the scene. A short time earlier, a soldier was injured in a stabbing attack near Abud, northwest of Ramallah, by Abdel Rahman Barghouti, 26, who was shot dead at the scene. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • President Obama's Liaison to the American-Jewish Community: We Can Disagree But Respect Each Other's Opinions - Matt Nosanchuk
    As President Barack Obama's liaison to the American-Jewish community, I had a front seat in the national debate over the Iran nuclear deal. I and other colleagues had the opportunity to interact with members of the Jewish community, all of whom care deeply about the future of Israel and the Jewish people. I was inspired by their passion even when we disagreed on policy, and appreciated when they took the time to hear us make the president's case.
        At the heart of our surface-level disagreement is a core-level consensus. The strength of the Jewish community derives from our passion, our commitment to rigorous advocacy and our deep concern about important issues. It is a community whose members may disagree with each other on those issues, but who can express those differences with mutual respect and devotion to shared values. The writer is associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House liaison to the American-Jewish community. (Ha'aretz)
  • Lighting Candles for Liberty - Ruth R. Wisse
    Those who light the candles for Hanukkah beginning Sunday night are involved in a struggle for freedom. Today's defenders of Israel fight not only for their own restored political and religious freedom but for the right of all nations to freedom from increasingly violent and maddened enemies. Hanukkah celebrates not war but the self-rule that was unattainable without it.
        Arab and Muslim leaders who fomented anger, grievance, blame and aggression against the State of Israel unleashed a violence they can no longer contain, one that has spread across the globe. Israel applies its ingenuity and resources to helping to stave off the resulting carnage and safeguard the civilized world. The writer, a former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of Jews and Power (2007). (Wall Street Journal)

Netanyahu: The Terrorists Are Attacking in California, Israel, and Paris (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Saban Forum by video on Sunday:

  • "The terrorists are attacking in California or in Israel, or for that matter in Paris. They are attacking the very values that we hold dear - freedom, tolerance, diversity. All the things that define the value of life and society in our eyes, they find anathema and that's why they attack us....They think that we are hedonistic and weak; we're actually very strong societies, very resilient, because of the very values that they despise so much."
  • "Many used to say that the core of the conflicts in the Middle East, and from there the rest of the world, were rooted in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That was never true, but it's now demonstrably false. And what we see is the old order established after the Ottoman Empire collapsing and militant Islam, either of the Shiite hue led by Iran, or the Sunni hue led by ISIS, rushing in to fill the void."
  • "Insofar as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is concerned...people have long said that the core of this conflict is the acquisition of territories by Israel in the 1967 War. That's...not the core of the conflict. In Gaza...we gave territory and got 15,000 rockets on our heads. We took out all the settlements; we disinterred people from their graves; and did we get peace? No. We got the worst terror possible."
  • "In the West order for us to ensure that it doesn't happen again, we have to address the root cause of the problem. Why has this conflict not been resolved for a hundred years? Why has it not been resolved after successive Israeli prime ministers, six in fact after the Oslo Agreement, have offered to make peace, have offered the Palestinians the possibility of building a state next to Israel? It's because the Palestinians have not yet been willing to cross that conceptual bridge, that emotional bridge, of giving up the dream not of a state next to Israel, but a state instead of Israel."
  • "Ultimately the only workable solution is not a unitary state, but a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state....But the Palestinians...refuse to recognize a nation-state for the Jewish people in any boundary. That was and remains the core of the conflict. Not this or that gesture or the absence of this or that gesture, but the inability or unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to make the leap."

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