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February 22, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Sunni Insurrection Reported in Islamic State-Occupied Fallujah, Iraq - Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim (Washington Post)
    The Islamic State deployed snipers on rooftops in Fallujah on Saturday in an attempt to quell an insurrection by Sunni tribesmen, Iraqi officials said, a flare-up that appears to indicate the group's weakening grip on a city it has controlled for more than two years.
    Tribesmen have attacked checkpoints and an Islamic State building during three days of sporadic fighting.
    Some tribal fighters are pinned down in the Jolan neighborhood, said Sheikh Majeed al-Juraisi, a tribal leader from Fallujah.
    "Time is running out very quickly, and if there is no intervention by the government or the Americans, then there will be a massacre."

Report: Clinton E-Mail Reveals Hizbullah "Base in Cuba" (Naharnet-Lebanon)
    The U.S. State Department's latest release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's e-mails revealed that she had received a message claiming Hizbullah is seeking to set up a base in Cuba to carry out attacks in Latin America, several Cuban and Western news outlets reported.
    The Israeli Mossad believes that Hizbullah's targets were "Israel's diplomatic and business interests" in the region, wrote longtime Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal.
    The group had been "instructed to also begin casing facilities associated with the United States and the United Kingdom, including diplomatic missions, major banks, and businesses," he said.
    Hizbullah leader Hassan "Nasrallah also promised to take measures to avoid any trail of evidence that could lead back to Cuba in the event of a Hizbullah attack in Latin America," said Blumenthal.

Israel Assesses the Syrian Civil War - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    In light of the Assad regime's recent successes in Syria, assisted by Russia and Iran, Israel understands that an Assad victory would strengthen Iran.
    Should the regime take over southern Syria up to Israel's border in the Golan Heights, this would create a new line of contact with Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
    Yet Israel's security leaders tend to assume that it is too early to declare an Assad victory.

Israel, U.S. Begin Large-Scale Missile Defense Drill - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    Israel and the U.S. kicked off their biennial ballistic missile defense exercise - Juniper Cobra - on Sunday.
    Over "1,700 U.S. Service members, civilians and contractors" will take part in the multi-day drill, the eighth such exercise since the Juniper Cobra program began in 2001," said Maj.-Gen. Mark Loeben of U.S. EUCOM.
    "Support for Israel's defense has been an integral part of U.S. policy in the region for decades, and this exercise has, and will continue, to directly support that policy."

Video: Only in Israel! (Israel Video Network)
    Traveling all over Israel, we asked Israelis from all walks of life, "How does Israel inspire you?"

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • More Than 140 Killed by ISIS Bombings in Damascus, Homs in Syria
    At least four blasts struck the Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab, killing at least 83 people and wounding 178 on Sunday, state media said. The district was hit by suicide attacks last month that left 71 people dead. Earlier on Sunday in Homs, 57 people were killed in a double car bombing in a predominantly Alawite district. Islamic State said it carried out the attacks. (BBC News)
  • Saudi Arabia Cancels $3 Billion Aid to Lebanon - Awad Mustafa
    Saudi Arabia has suspended a $3 billion aid package to the Lebanese Army to buy French weapons, according to statement by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The kingdom also cancelled the remainder of $1 billion in aid it had earmarked for Lebanon's internal security service.
        "This shows that there is a consideration from the kingdom that the Lebanese government has very little control over the country's affairs, with Hizbullah and Iran having the majority control over affairs in Lebanon," said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Institute for Gulf and Near East Military Analysis, a Dubai think tank. He also noted "Lebanon's lack of support to Saudi Arabia in the international political arena like the Arab League where Lebanon has refused to support the Arab unanimous position condemning the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Iran."
        Over the past eight and a half years Lebanon has received U.S. military aid worth $1 billion, said David Hale, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. (Defense News)
  • Martyrs? Desperate? Crazy? Palestinians Define Palestinians Who Attack Israelis - William Booth
    After five months of near-daily attacks against Israelis, Palestinian society struggles with how to describe the wave of knife, gun and vehicular attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. Are the attacks helping the Palestinians get a state - or lose one?
        The aging, unpopular leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization are careful to neither openly support nor oppose the attacks. The Palestinian political class is wary of offending the international community, which has universally condemned the attacks. Palestinians struggle to explain how a Jewish mother of six stabbed to death in her kitchen is the same value target as an Israeli soldier with a gun at a checkpoint. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Attacks Against Soldiers in West Bank Continue Sunday - Jack Khoury and Amos Harel
    Kusay Abu Aruv, 16, from Qabatiya, was killed Sunday after attempting to stab IDF soldiers south of Nablus in the West Bank. Earlier, a 14-year-old Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier in Bnei Naim east of Hebron. He was arrested. A teenaged Palestinian girl was arrested at Tapuach checkpoint, south of Nablus, when a knife was found in her belongings.
        On Saturday, a Palestinian tried to attack police officers near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City. The officers managed to restrain him with the aid of a police dog. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Attempts to Run Over IDF Soldiers Friday - Elisha Ben Kimon
    A Palestinian attempted to run over Israeli soldiers with his car on Friday during rioting near the entrance to Silwad, near Ramallah, before he was shot and killed. (Ynet News)
  • Terror Victim's Wife at Funeral: "You Didn't Have a Gun But You Ran toward the Attackers" - Tovah Lazaroff
    St.-Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21, was killed Thursday while trying to stop two Palestinian teenage terrorists from stabbing shoppers at a Rami Levy supermarket in Sha'ar Binyamin. Yael Weissman said of her husband at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Military Cemetery on Friday, "You didn't have a gun, but still you ran [toward the attackers] without thinking twice. You are a true hero....I always knew that if something happened you would be the first person to respond."
        Tuvia Yanai's mother, Orly, brought the mourners to tears. "I am going to scream. It is a good scream," she said. And then she did, yelling out his name twice, loudly and clearly. Weissman also held U.S. citizenship. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Former Secretary of State George Shultz: A Great Friend of Israel - Moshe Arens
    Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz spoke in Jerusalem last week at a dinner in his honor at the Israel Democracy Institute. He symbolizes to me the best of America - principles, integrity, courage. No wonder he was and continues to be a great friend of Israel, seeing in Israel these very qualities.
        He recalled his Israeli graduate student in economics at the University of Chicago, Yossi Levy, who surprised him when on the eve of the Six-Day War he interrupted his studies to return to Israel to join his army unit. A week later he learned that Levy had fallen in battle. "I asked myself," Shultz said, "what kind of a country is this that commands such loyalty from such talented people."
        Shultz as secretary of state took up the cause of Soviet Jewry. In his negotiations with Soviet leaders attempting to wind down the Cold War, he would always bring up their names, pleading for their release. Shultz put together a deal with the Soviets for Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky to be released in exchange for a Soviet spy held by the Americans. Sharansky refused to be part of it. "I am not a spy," he insisted.
        "The integrity of the man is just stunning," Shultz said in his speech. Turning to Sharansky, who was in the audience, he said, "Thank you Natan for your integrity."  The writer was Israel's ambassador in Washington during the time that Shultz served as secretary of state. (Ha'aretz)
        See also If You Apply the Reagan Formula to Iran - Interview with George Shultz by David Horovitz
    Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, 95, said: "If you apply the Reagan formula to Iran, you'd say, Okay, we're going to negotiate with Iran, let's be realistic. What are they? They're the biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Number two: They want to get ballistic missiles. Why do they want ballistic missiles? Number three: They have a (repressive) method of internal government. Number four: They want nuclear weapons. So you don't just negotiate on the nuclear weapons. You negotiate the whole thing. People would say, they wouldn't do it. Well, then we won't negotiate."
    Q: Then they'll close in on the bomb.
    Shultz: "Well, maybe. Or maybe we do something about it....I'm not happy about the Iran deal. Probably has postponed their acquisition of nuclear weapons. Postponed is the word."  (Times of Israel)
  • Ivy League Crybullies vs. Survivor of a Soviet Labor Camp - David Bernstein
    An article from the Brown Daily Herald discusses how Brown students' emotional and academic well-being is suffering because they are so busy fulfilling their "social justice responsibilities" as student activists. One incident that took an emotional toll on activists was protesting an appearance on campus by Natan Sharansky, a former dissident and survivor of years of confinement, including solitary confinement, in harsh Soviet prison camps.
        Is there a better indication of the decline of American higher-ed culture than a bunch of Ivy Leaguers at risk of emotional breakdown due to the presence of one of the great, stoic heroes of the Cold War on their campus? (Sharansky took questions, including hostile ones, from the audience, and even tried to have a conversation with the protesters, who responded by shouting slogans at him.) (Washington Post)

Why Israeli Rule of Golan Heights Is Lawful - and Wise - Peter Berkowitz (RealClearPolitics)

  • Until the Six-Day War, Syria used the heavily fortified Golan Heights as a platform to fire at Israeli villages below. In exercising its right of self-defense, Israel seized the Golan, a strategically important plateau that looms over northeastern Israel, rising sharply from the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee to a height of more than 3,000 feet. Since June 1967 a powerful consensus has prevailed in the international community, including the U.S., that the Golan is occupied territory.
  • But the chaos in Syria has weighty legal and political ramifications that should impel the international community to revise its understanding of the Golan's status. Modern Syria has ceased to exist, while Assad's quest to retain power has produced carnage of epic proportions. Few informed observers think that a functioning nation-state can be reconstructed. In these dramatically transformed circumstances, Israel has the strongest legal claim to the Golan Heights.
  • Since 1992, four Israeli prime ministers have sought to achieve peace with Syria in exchange for withdrawing from parts or all of the Golan Heights. All initiatives proved futile. Israelis across the political spectrum today realize that had a return of the Golan been negotiated, Islamic State jihadists would now control the plateau.
  • In the meantime, the Golan has become a thriving site of agriculture, industry, and tourism. In addition to 20,000 Jewish Israelis, the Golan is home to about 20,000 Druze who reside in four towns. Israel does not face a large, restive population, as it does in the West Bank, but a small minority community pleased with their condition.
  • Under international law, Israel's territorial claim arises in part from the principle of "effective occupation," which provides that territory can be acquired through the exercise of sovereign power on a peaceful and extended basis. Moreover, public international law favors stability, order, and peace; it aims to avoid resolutions that expose individuals to death or injury.
  • The international consensus that the Golan belongs to Syria no longer fits the facts and the law. Nor does it coincide with America's interest in checking the spread of Islamist violence throughout the Middle East. The U.S. should affirm Israel's lawful and just exercise of sovereignty over the Golan Heights and urge the international community to do the same.

    The writer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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