White House: Netanyahu to Visit Washington on Feb. 15 - Louis Nelson (Politico)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Washington on Feb. 15, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.
"Our relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East is crucial to the security of both our nations and the president looks forward to discussing continued strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation with the prime minister," Spicer said.
Jordan's King Abdullah Visits Washington - David Schenker (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Jordan's King Abdullah arrived in Washington on Monday for meetings with the new administration.
While the king may emphasize the issue of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, his country has more acute problems. The past year saw a spike in terrorist incidents inside Jordan, including an attack in December by homegrown terrorists in Karak that killed 13 and injured 34.
Jordan is a major base of U.S. air operations for the campaign in Syria, a key intelligence sharing partner, and a leading Arab ally in the battle of ideas against radical Islam.
The U.S. provided $1.6 billion in military and economic assistance to Jordan last year.
Any further U.S. contributions to preserving a stable Jordan at peace with Israel would be a sound investment.
The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.
Israel's Technologically Advanced Military - Yaakov Katz (New York Post)
Today, Israel is a high-tech superpower and one of the world's top weapons exporters with $6.5 billion in annual arms sales.
Since 1985, Israel is the world's largest exporter of drones, responsible for 60% of the global market, trailed by the U.S., whose market share is 25%.
Israel's customers include Russia, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany and Brazil.
In 2010, five NATO countries were flying Israeli drones in Afghanistan.
Israel has been in a perpetual state of conflict since its inception. This reality, of having your back up against the wall, sharpens the mind. It forces Israelis to be creative and come up with innovative ways and weapons to survive.
See also Germany Extends Leasing of Israeli Drones for Operations in Afghanistan - Barbara Opall-Rome
Germany has extended a leasing contract to operate the Israeli Heron-1 unmanned aerial system for another year in support of its operations in Afghanistan, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced Thursday.
The German Air Force began operating the system in 2010. The Heron has also been used in Afghanistan by France and Canada.
The German Air Force also is operating the Heron-1 in Mali as part of a UN policing mission.
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- U.S.: Iran Tested Medium-Range Ballistic Missile - W.J. Hennigan
The Iranian government carried out a medium-range ballistic missile test Sunday that may be a violation of a UN Security Council resolution, U.S. officials said. The missile was tracked flying 650 miles before exploding when its reentry vehicle failed. UN Resolution 2231, passed shortly after the nuclear deal was signed, calls on Iran "not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology." (Los Angeles Times)
See also U.S. Calls for Security Council Meeting to Discuss Iran Missile Test - Joshua Berlinger and Ryan Browne
The U.S. Mission to the UN has requested that the UN Security Council hold a closed-door meeting to discuss the Iranian missile test. Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
said, "No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security." (CNN)
See also Netanyahu: Iran Missile Test Must Not Go Unanswered
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of carrying out a missile test in "flagrant violation" of a UN Security Council resolution. "Iranian aggression must not go unanswered," he said. (BBC News)
- Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Attack Saudi Ship in Red Sea
Three Houthi rebel boats attacked a Saudi frigate on patrol in the Red Sea west of Hodeida in Yemen.
One of the boats collided with the back of the ship and exploded. Two Saudi crewmen were killed and three were wounded. Riyadh accuses Iran of arming the Houthis.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Car-Ramming Palestinian Terrorist Sentenced to Life Plus 20 Years - Liran Levy
Palestinian terrorist Khaled Kutina, 39, who was convicted of the murder of Shalom Sharki and the attempted murder of Shira Klein in an April 2015 car-ramming attack in Jerusalem, was sentenced on Monday to life imprisonment plus 20 years by the Jerusalem District Court.
The judges stated in their verdict that "the murderous terror attack executed by the defendant, which was meant to sow death and destruction in the lives of innocent people simply for the fact of being Jewish, is a diabolical act."
- Palestinians Jailed for Planning ISIS-Inspired Attack in Jerusalem - Liran Levy
Musab Aliyan and Samir Abed Rabbo, both residents of east Jerusalem, built an explosive device and planned to use it against Israeli security forces. On Monday they were sentenced to 10 and 9 years in prison respectively after being found guilty of planning a terror attack inspired by Islamic State.
- PA Threatens to Downgrade Ties with U.S. If It Moves Embassy to Jerusalem - Editorial
The Palestinian leadership is appealing to the world to agree with its absurd policy that the Jewish people's capital for 3,000 years is occupied Palestinian territory. Fatah Central Committee member Nasser al-Kidwa threatened to downgrade the PA's ties with the U.S. if it moves the embassy to Jerusalem. He even threatened to close the Palestinians' office in Washington and to launch a complaint against the U.S. at the UN Security Council.
It is time for the Palestinian leadership to wake up and realize that no U.S. president could endorse the PA's ridiculous attempt to revise history as part of its campaign to destroy the Jewish state.
- Former Pentagon Analyst: Iran Regime's Threats Reveal Its "Anxiety" - Ruthie Blum
Former Pentagon analyst Harold Rhode, an expert on Islamic culture, said Monday that continued Iranian public threats are "an indication of anxiety." "The last thing the regime wants or can afford is for the Iranian people to perceive it as weak, because if the Iranian government appears weak in the eyes of the Iranian people - as history has repeatedly shown - they will take matters into their own hands and denounce their leaders."
Sunday's Iranian ballistic missile test is an example of the regime's attempt to exhibit strength. "They know that if they provoke Trump and he escalates the situation, they're in real trouble, because they're no match for America." (Algemeiner)
- Approval of New Housing in Jerusalem Will Have No Impact on Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Alex Traiman
The Israeli government's plans to build new apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem
will not hinder Israel's ability to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, residents, experts and government officials say.
Veteran Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, contended that the new housing units are in already-large, well-established Jewish neighborhoods. "Building these apartments has no impact on the possibilities for a Palestinian state....Over 220,000 Jews live in what is known as east Jerusalem, compared to 340,000 Arabs."
"What is referred to as east Jerusalem is not only the eastern sections of the city. It is north, south and east; anything that is over the Green Line," Shragai said. "There is a deficit of apartments in the entire city. Jews who live in Jerusalem, in west and east, need more apartments." (JNS.org)
- Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem - Hassan Mneimneh
Half a century after the 1967 war, Jerusalem remains a subject that enrages and enflames much of the Arab world. The Arab "street" shows few signs of outrage at the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Syria but is certain to voice its passionate rejection of any action that affects the status of the Holy City.
The value of symbols superseding the concern for suffering human beings has been demonstrated repeatedly in Arab culture.
It is rather odd that the national will of a sovereign country to identify its own capital is not honored by its closest ally, which furthermore is the most powerful nation in the world. The U.S. is best advised to present the embassy relocation for what it is: the long overdue correction of an anomaly in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. (Fikra Forum-Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Iran Has Changed, But for the Worse - Heshmat Alavi
The pro-Iran engagement camp has long advocated that a nuclear agreement with Iran would lead to numerous changes in the regime. More than one year down this road, the changes in Iran are nothing to boast about.
Tehran continues its atrocious executions, human rights violations and ongoing oppression of ordinary citizens inside the country. And the mullahs have continued their mantra of exporting "Islamic Revolution" throughout the Middle East, as we are unfortunately witnessing so vividly today in Syria.
The change the world has witnessed in Iran's pursuit of a vast weapons-of-mass-destruction program is its bold new approach in efforts to master ballistic missiles. Iran's missile tests have continued to violate UN Security Council resolutions, yet there has been hardly any serious global response. (Forbes)
Yitzhak Rabin's Vision of Defensible Borders for Israel - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, almost everything has changed. Above all, new threats have emerged with a previously unknown military logic of their own.
- The Oslo idea, in its quest to end Israeli control over Palestinian citizens, was largely realized by 1996, when Israel concluded the withdrawal of its forces from the populated territories of the West Bank. Some 90% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank has been controlled since then by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Moreover, the Israeli presence in Gaza ended in 2005.
- Eastern Jerusalem and Area C in the West Bank, held by Israel, are the minimum required for the conservation of a defensible territory. Without the buffer area of the Jordan Valley, it would be impossible to prevent the quick arming of Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
- Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in his last speech in the Knesset (October 1995), was resolute on Jerusalem and emphasized the crucial hold by Israel of the Jordan Valley and the lateral routes leading to it. Rabin envisaged a political entity short of a fully-fledged Palestinian state.
- Rabin implemented the Oslo Accords to reshape the area delineated by Israeli security interests.
As part of this effort, he led a drive to construct a network of bypass roads in Area C, without which the IDF would have had great difficulty advancing its forces during Operation Defensive Shield (2002).
- Without a constant hold on Area C, Israel has no defensible borders. The way Rabin delineated the expanse of Area C demonstrates his farsighted understanding of the importance of those areas beyond the 1967 borders, which must be in Israel's full control.
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts.
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