Indian Foreign Minister in Jerusalem: Ties with Israel of "Highest Importance" - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
India attaches "the highest importance" to the full development of ties with Israel, visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Monday. "Our bilateral cooperation has developed well in a number of areas over the past two decades, but the potential of our relations is much more."
During the meeting, Netanyahu showed Swaraj a two-minute video on Palestinian incitement - featuring statements by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and anti-Israel rants on PA television and in schools - that he said explained Sunday's killing of Dafna Meir and Monday's stabbing of Michal Froman.
See also Prime Minister Netanyahu Welcomes Indian Foreign Minister (Prime Minister's Office)
Video: Incitement and Education for Hatred in the Palestinian Authority (Prime Minister's Office)
The Palestinian Authority's incitement feeds terror, prevents peace and prolongs the conflict.
ISIS Cuts Fighters' Salaries in Half - Maayan Groisman (Jerusalem Post)
A document released in December by Bayt al-Mal, the Treasury Ministry of ISIS in Raqqa, reveals that ISIS has decided to cut the salaries of all its fighters in half.
Winds of Change in the Israeli Arab Sector - Prof. Amnon Rubinstein (Israel Hayom)
For the first time in years, the heads of Arab local authorities have voiced their unequivocal support for cooperating with Israel and the Jews, and have urged their publics to abandon the path of conflict.
An article in the financial daily The Marker in September quoted Talal Al-Krenawi, mayor of the southern Bedouin town of Rahat, saying, "I propose we change the conversation between us. Let's base it on shared successes, not tragedies. In other words, let's actually coexist instead of focusing on threats."
In October, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam told Israel Hayom, "The truth is, there is no other option but to live together. Do you know another way? Coexistence is the only [option], in Israel - between Jews and Israeli Arabs, living side by side, in equality."
"I have no problem living in peace in a state with a Jewish majority, and I'm telling you that 99% of the Arabs are like me. This is my country and I've never thought ill of Israel."
The writer, a former professor of law at Tel Aviv University, served in the Knesset between 1977 and 2002 and headed four Israeli ministries.
NGO Funding Data Base (NGO Monitor)
This database displays all the grants that were reported annually by 27 Israeli NGOs in the years 2012-2014.
Some 20 political NGOs in Israel receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments.
The EU is the largest governmental donor to these political NGOs, followed by Norway and Germany.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Iran to Test New Missiles Despite U.S. Sanctions
Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan says the Islamic Republic will unveil new missiles in the near future in defiance of new U.S. sanctions over its missile program.
"[Any] attempt to impose new sanctions [against Iran] under irrelevant pretexts is...a futile effort to undermine Iran's defense might," Dehqan said on Monday. Earlier Monday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the country will continue to enhance its missile capabilities in defiance of the "destructive" U.S. sanctions.
- Detention of Washington Post Reporter's Family Nearly Scuttled Iran Prisoner Swap - Peter Baker
Iranian authorities held the wife and mother of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian for hours at Tehran airport on Sunday before finally agreeing under American pressure to let them leave along with prisoners released in an exchange with the U.S. The last-minute conflict came close to unraveling the prisoner swap and underscored the strong resistance in Iran to any rapprochement with the U.S.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Arrests Palestinian Who Murdered Israeli Woman - Jonathan Beck
Israeli security forces overnight Monday captured Morad Adais, 16, the Palestinian who murdered Dafna Meir on Sunday in a terror attack at her home in Otniel. He was arrested in the village of Beit Amra, 3 km. from the scene of the attack. Residents of the village told security forces of his presence there.
Witnesses reported that Meir was painting her house's doorframe when Adais approached her from behind and stuck his knife in her head.
(Times of Israel-Ynet News)
Murder Is Not a Legitimate Form of "Resistance" - Bradley Burston
After 18 hours in which a woman was slaughtered in her own home in front of her children, and another woman, who was pregnant, was stabbed with a knife that pierced her lung, it's time we got real.
I do not accept that murder is understandable and excusable and legitimate as a form of resistance. Murder does not produce freedom. Murder is the polar opposite of self-defense. (Ha'aretz)
- U.S. Ambassador Criticizes Israel, Netanyahu Calls Comments "Unacceptable" - Itay Blumenthal
U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro directed harsh criticism at Israel at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv on Monday. Shapiro attacked Israel's policy towards the settlements and claimed that "too much vigilantism goes unchecked." He also said,
"At times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one for Israelis, and another for Palestinians."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office stated that "the ambassador's words, on a day when a mother of six is buried and a day when a pregnant woman is stabbed, are unacceptable and incorrect. Israel enforces the law equally against Israelis and against Palestinians. It is the Palestinian Authority which is responsible for the political deadlock and which continues to incite and refuses to negotiate." (Ynet News)
See also Israeli Justice Minister: U.S. Ambassador's Comments Are Factually and Morally Incorrect
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Army Radio on Tuesday: "The U.S. ambassador said a lot of positive things in his speech, but he uttered a sentence that was, to say the least, incorrect from a factual and a moral standpoint....We are being subjected to a terrorist onslaught that is simply unfamiliar to the U.S., and to pass judgment on us in such a one-sided manner is wrong." (Jerusalem Post)
- EU Again Criticizes Israel over Settlements - Raphael Ahren
The EU on Monday affirmed its earlier decision to require products made in settlements be labeled as such and stated that "all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967." However, the EU foreign ministers emphasized that this stance "does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the EU strongly opposes."
In response, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs castigated Brussels for its "double standard." "Out of 200 territorial conflicts in the world, the EU chose to discriminate only against Israel. This approach prevents the union from being a fair player in settling the conflict." In recent days, Israeli diplomats worked in European capitals to soften the EU statement.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the EU had "enlisted to help the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement." Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid said, "We must continue to fight against labeling of products from the West Bank and Golan Heights." (Times of Israel)
- Normalizing Iran - Bret Stephens
Some believe the best way to allay the suspicions - and diminish the influence - of Iranian hard-liners is by demonstrating ever-greater diplomatic flexibility. The Carter administration hailed Ayatollah Khomeini as "a saint." Our embassy was seized. Ronald Reagan sent Khomeini a birthday cake, along with secret arms, to facilitate the release of hostages in Lebanon. A few hostages were released, while others were taken in their place. The world welcomed the election of "moderate" President Mohammad Khatami in 1997. Iran's illicit nuclear facilities were exposed during his second term.
Iran will become a "normal" country only when it ceases to be an Islamic Republic. In the meantime, the only question is how far we are prepared to abase ourselves in our quest to normalize it.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Price of American Weakness - Prof. Eyal Zisser
The photo of 10 American sailors on their knees with their hands over their heads after being captured by the Revolutionary Guards illustrates the prevailing trend of U.S. capitulation to Iran. Many in the Middle East believe the current U.S. administration is willing to hand the "keys" to the region over to Iran.
Tehran publicized the humiliating photo in an effort to send a clear message to the Americans, and essentially to the entire world, that Iran is the "boss" in the region.
The writer is former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
See also America's New Ally Iran - Elliott Abrams
When the U.S. appears unable to differentiate between enemies and allies, it gets fewer allies and its enemies grow stronger. Iran is an enemy of the U.S., which has killed hundreds of Americans in terrorist attacks over the decades since 1979 and most recently in Iraq. The photo of the captured American sailors will deeply unsettle America's friends. The Obama administration's reaction was to thank Iran.
America's friends are without doubt thinking, "If this is how the Americans react to their own humiliation through an aggressive act, how will they react when we are in danger?" The writer, a senior fellow at CFR, was a U.S. deputy national security advisor.
(Council on Foreign Relations)
- Is It Iran's Middle East Now? - Jonathan Spyer
Perhaps the single best organized and most aggressive alliance active currently in the Middle East is the bloc of states and movements gathered around the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a result of sanctions relief after the nuclear agreement, Iran is well placed to continue supporting proxy political-military organizations in a variety of regional locations in pursuit of Iranian strategic goals.
Iran's strategic goal is to emerge as the dominant power in the Middle East and, eventually, the entire Islamic world. It seeks to roll back U.S. influence in the region and to work towards Israel's destruction.
Yet in every case of Iranian regional "outreach," the result is not Iranian strategic victory, but rather Iranian prevention of the defeat and eclipse of the local Iranian ally.
The export of chaos has the merit, perhaps, of keeping disorder far from Iran's own borders by ensuring that rivals to Tehran are kept busy engaged in proxy conflicts elsewhere. However, it is difficult to see how it can result in regional hegemony and leadership. Iran is a spoiler par excellence, but it does not look like the founder of a new Middle Eastern order.
Dr. Jonathan Spyer is Director of the Rubin Center (formerly the GLORIA Center), IDC Herzliya, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
IDF Chief of Staff: "Iran Is Fighting a Proxy War Against Israel" - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said Monday:
- "Iran is fighting a proxy war against Israel. Hizbullah is the most severe threat to Israel. Since 2006, it has been armed, funded, and even led by the Iranians."
Following sanctions relief, Iran's transfer of funds to Hizbullah, which has so far stood at around a billion dollars a year, will increase.
- Similarly, Hamas, which currently receives tens of millions of dollars from Iran, is set to receive more, while Tehran continues to try and smuggle weapons to Gaza.
- "The vision of acquiring nuclear weapons will persist in Iran. It comes out of Iran's self-perception as a regional power."
- In Syria, command and control roles are carried out by Iranian commanders who are overseeing battles involving Iranian soldiers and Shi'ite militias. Iran has lost 300-400 of its personnel in Syria so far.
- Eisenkot said he found it "disturbing" that ISIS receives the highest levels of support in the Arab world among Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
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