Top War Crimes Expert Resigns from UN's Syria Inquiry - Josie Ensor (Telegraph-UK)
Carla Del Ponte, a senior war crimes prosecutor who previously sat on tribunals that investigated atrocities in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, has resigned from a UN panel on Syria, saying she has lost faith it will ever bring criminals to account.
The three-member commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria was set up in August 2011 by the Human Rights Council and has released a dozen reports.
But Del Ponte said that as long as the Security Council did not put in place a special tribunal for war crimes in Syria, all such reports were pointless.
"I give up. The states in the Security Council don't want justice," said Del Ponte, a Swiss national.
Palestinians Pressuring Jordan to Allow the Return of Israeli Embassy Staff - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom)
The Palestinian Authority is pressuring Jordan to allow the return of Israel's diplomatic staff to the Israeli Embassy in Amman, a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah said.
The reason: Hundreds of Jordanian passports are being held in the embassy awaiting processing for entry permits to Israel.
Most of the passports belong to Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin who want to visit relatives in Israel or the territories, or to businessmen with direct ties to the Jordanian royal family and the office of President Abbas, who are being prevented from traveling anywhere abroad without their passports.
Iran Threatens to Ban Two Soccer Stars for Playing Against Israeli Team - Marissa Payne (Washington Post)
Iranian soccer players Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi have become public enemies in their homeland after playing for Greece's Panionios of Athens on Friday in a Europa League qualifier against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv.
In February, the country's national chess team kicked a 15-year-old boy off the team for taking on an Israel opponent. His sister was banned for not wearing a hijab.
Israeli Dogs Help Protect Indian Prime Minister - Imran Ahmed Siddiqui (Telegraph-India)
India has obtained elite sniffer and attack dogs from Israel to add teeth to the security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A senior security official said around 30 "attack dogs, bomb sniffers and chasers" had been imported from Jerusalem over the past year.
"The new four-legged recruits to the Special Protection Group (SPG) are considered the best in the world in sniffing out explosive booby-traps," the official said.
"Israel is also helping us upgrade the dog-training center," said an official at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police dog-training center at Bhanu in Chandigarh.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. Urges UN Force in Lebanon to Prevent Hizbullah Weapons - Edith M. Lederer
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Monday to step up efforts to prevent the spread of illegal arms in the south, which she said "are almost entirely in the hands of Hizbullah terrorists." Haley said the U.S. is seeking "significant improvements" to the UN force. Israel has long complained that Hizbullah operates freely in southern Lebanon.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "The government of Lebanon must exercise effective authority over all Lebanese territory, prevent hostile actions from its territory, ensure the safety and security of the civilian population, in addition to United Nations personnel, and also ensure the disarmament of all armed groups."
- Iran Ridicules U.S. Push to Inspect Its Military Sites
After U.S. officials said last month that the Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites in a bid to test the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on Monday called the request a "ridiculous dream that will never come true." (AP-ABC News)
- Israel Opens Cyber-Security Training Center in Maryland - Richard Tomkins
Israel's Elbit Ltd. announced the opening of a cyber-security training and simulation center in Maryland in cooperation with Baltimore Cyber Range LLC. The center is powered by Elbit's Cyberbit Range Platform and provides simulation training in protecting national assets and infrastructure. Elbit said the center is a response to the critical shortage of capable IT and cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. It can simulate large-scale virtual networks and attacks based on real-world incidents, pinpoint system vulnerabilities, and help users develop counter-measures.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- U.S. Democratic Leader: Support for Israel Not Waning - Herb Keinon
The Democratic Party remains "overwhelmingly" supportive of Israel, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday during a visit to the country by 52 U.S. Congressmen including 18 Democrats and 33 Republicans. Israel-U.S. ties are not about one prime minister or another, or one president or another. "This is about a consensus that Israel's security is critical to the security of the United States of America," said Hoyer, speaking alongside the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (Jerusalem Post)
- A Day Inside the Palestinian Authority - Aviva Klompas
As part of a study tour for American academics, I spent a day in and around Ramallah. The al-Am'ari refugee camp, just east of Ramallah, is one of 19 in the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In reality, the Palestinian government refuses to take responsibility or provide basic services for the 7,000 residents. As a result, it has become a hotbed of resentment toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The shutters of shops are papered in posters of "martyrs" killed while perpetrating terror attacks against Israelis.
Ramallah, by contrast, is a prosperous cosmopolitan center, clean and contemporary, boasting museums, cultural centers and cafes. We meet with Jibril Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and a leading candidate to succeed Abbas. I ask about the ongoing payments by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists in Israeli prisons.
Rajoub proceeds to yell that it is "a crazy question" and that his government had a "social responsibility" to support the 7,000 prisoners. He bangs his fist on the table and declares, "Of course we must pay. If we don't pay, Iran will pay." He eventually calms down and asks if I have another question. I ask how he can speak to us about non-violent resistance while simultaneously endorsing payments to terrorists. He again explodes with anger, banging the table, and railing at the "absurdity" of my question.
One of the academics shares that we had come from the al-Am'ari refugee camp and he asks why the PA doesn't assist the people living there. Rajoub dismisses the question, saying, "What do you expect me to do about the refugees? It's Netanyahu's problem." The writer is Associate Vice President of Strategic Israel Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.
(Times of Israel)
- Who Are the Palestinians? - Pinhas Inbari
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat frequently claims that the Palestinians are descended from the Canaanites who lived in the land of Canaan before the Israelite tribes settled there.
The name "Palestine" is not Arab. The Roman Emperor Hadrian named the land "Palestina" after defeating the Jewish Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE, erasing the name "Judea" in order to negate any connection of the land with the Jews.
According to Palestinian historian Muhammad Y. Muslih, during the entire 400-year period of Ottoman rule (1517-1918), "There was no political unit known as Palestine." In Arabic, the area was known as the holy land or southern Syria. After the First World War, the Palestinians defined themselves as part of Syria. The Zionists called themselves "Palestinians" - with institutions such as the Anglo-Palestine Bank and the Palestine Post - while the Arabs simply identified themselves as Arabs, with institutions such as the "Arab Higher Committee."
Almost every Palestinian family describes its origins as either from Egypt, the northern Arabian tribes or Yemen. We did not find a single Palestinian family or tribe that referred to a Canaanite origin, including the Erekat tribe, which locates its lineage in the northern Arabian tribes. A study published in 2017 by the American Journal of Human Genetics reports that descendants of the Canaanites have indeed been found - they are "modern Lebanese." The writer is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Egyptian Emigres in the Levant of the 19th and 20th Centuries - Prof. Gideon Kressel and Dr. Reuven Aharoni (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- To Secure Peace, Palestinians Must Accept Jewish History - Yehudah Mirsky
Any hope for a sustainable future requires Palestinians to accept the historic tie and sacred nature of the Temple Mount for Jews. Rather than denying Jewish history, Palestinians must instead construct secular political institutions and partnerships with the many Israelis who would be glad to maintain a peaceful status quo on the Mount for the sake of a livable Jerusalem. Absent this, the Palestinians will find themselves without Israeli partners, and peace, or even coexistence, will be ever harder to achieve.
The writer, a former U.S. State Department official, teaches at Brandeis University's Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.
For Peace, the Palestinians Must Change Their Narrative - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser interviewed by Sam Nurding (BICOM)
- As long as the narrative of the Palestinians espouses a commitment to all of Palestine, it is clear they continue to refuse to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
The Palestinian narrative says there is no such thing as a Jewish people, and because of this, Palestinians argue that Jews should not be allowed a state of their own.
- "Incitement" is the broad effort to incubate in the hearts and in the minds of Palestinians the following elements of the Palestinian narrative: That there is no Jewish people, that Jews don't have any sovereign connection to the Land of Israel, that Jews are a problematic people that should be demonized, that Israel is an apartheid state, that the struggle against Zionism should continue until the end of Zionism, and that any kind of activity to these ends is justified, including terrorism.
- This narrative justifies the Palestinians paying salaries to terrorists and considering terrorists to be heroes. In the Palestinian narrative, the Jews cannot be victims and cannot complain about being attacked because they insist on living here.
- Q: Is the status quo sustainable?
Kuperwasser: Israel can manage the situation for a long time. The stupidest thing for us would be to insist on moving away from an unpleasant status quo to another status quo that is even worse. There is not much sense to all the ideas of unilateral moves that would give something to the Palestinians and enable them to carry out attacks from a better striking position. As long as nobody offers a preferable alternative, the situation is sustainable, and we will sustain it.
- The reason the Palestinians have not changed their narrative - and the reason why there is no progress for peace - is because the Palestinians have never felt that there is an international expectation or pressure for them to change their narrative. Now there is a golden opportunity to make progress on this front because the new administration in the U.S. is willing to speak a different language to the Palestinians and the U.S. Congress is discussing the Taylor Force Act that calls upon Palestinians to stop paying salaries to terrorists.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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