ISIS Using Quadcopters to Drop Bombs on Iraqis - Jeff Schogol (Military Times)
Islamic State fighters in Mosul are using quadcopters to drop
munitions "akin to a small, little grenade" on Iraqi security forces
and civilians, said Col. Brett Sylvia, a U.S. Army commander in Iraq.
ISIS has "the same ability that any 13-year-old kid in the States" has to purchase quadcopters online.
Sylvia said U.S. troops have been able to "bring to bear some of our
technical capabilities" to help the Iraqis shoot down nearly a dozen
Video: Does Israel Prevent Palestinian Freedom of Movement in the West Bank? - Ami Horowitz (Fox News)
One of the main accusations against Israel is that it has installed
numerous checkpoints across the West Bank that disrupt Palestinian daily
life and make it difficult to travel between Palestinian cities.
To verify this, I traveled in a Palestinian car with a Palestinian driver throughout the West Bank. We were never stopped.
There are checkpoints where one enters Israel from Palestinian
territory, which were set up after a rash of terrorism. Thousands of
Palestinians use these points of entry into Israel in order to get to
At the Kalandia checkpoint into Jerusalem, I asked Palestinians how long it takes them to cross over into Israel.
Three different people replied, "Ten minutes." One said the actual
time that "the soldier checks my ID or my work permit is just one
Israel Cracks Down on Palestinian Weapons Factories - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
Israeli security forces have been cracking down on clandestine
Palestinian weapons factories in the West Bank, leading to a significant
increase in the purchase price of such weapons.
A year ago a homemade Carlo sub-machine gun cost NIS 1,500; today it costs NIS 7,000.
An improvised Kalashnikov assault rifle that cost NIS 25,000,
today costs NIS 40,000. An M-16 rifle that cost NIS 50,000, today costs
Tourism to Israel Up 3.6% in 2016 - Michal Raz-Chaimovich (Globes)
Incoming tourism in 2016 totaled 2.9 million tourists, up 3.6%,
compared with 2015, with 250,000 tourists arriving in Israel in December
The countries from which tourism grew the most were China (69%),
Croatia (62%), Belarus, Latvia, and Georgia (41%), Malaysia (35%),
Philippines (27%), and India (13%).
The U.S. and Russia continue to lead in the number of tourists, followed by France, the UK, Germany, and Ukraine.
Israeli High-Tech Firms Raise Record $4.8 Billion in 2016 (Reuters)
Israeli private high-tech companies raised an all-time high of $4.8
billion in 2016, up 11% from 2015, a report showed on Tuesday.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson Criticizes U.S. Decision to Abstain from UN Israel Vote - Steven Mufson and Karoun Demirjian
At a confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on
Wednesday, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson condemned the Obama
administration's decision not to veto a UN Security Council resolution
critical of Israel's settlements in the West Bank. He said the
resolution was "not helpful" and "undermines" the conditions for peace
talks to continue.
He described Secretary of State John Kerry's subsequent speech
criticizing Israel as "quite troubling." He also suggested the onus was
on the Palestinians to make a "serious demonstration" of good faith
toward negotiations before there could be a discussion about settlement
Tillerson said it was important for the U.S. to recommit to its
alliance with Israel, which he said "is, was and always has been our
most important ally" in the Middle East. (Washington Post)
- Is Europe's Jihadist Problem Generating Empathy toward Israel? - Cnaan Liphshiz
Following Sunday's terror attack in Jerusalem which killed four
Israeli soldiers, the Israeli flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate
in Berlin and Paris City Hall, while Rotterdam City Hall flew the
Israeli flag at half-mast - all signs of solidarity with the Jewish
"I think it's a new development that sincerely stems from the
change in the mind of many people in Europe, in government and beyond,
who now understand better than a few years ago the impact and influence
of terrorism on the daily lives of innocent victims," Oded Eran, a
former Israeli ambassador to the EU and a senior research fellow at the
Institute for National Security Studies, said Wednesday.
Yet the gestures of empathy toward Israel will not likely carry over
to EU policy, said Eran. "These gestures are heartwarming and
indicative of a positive change, but there is a clear distinction
between empathy and policy in the corridors of the European Union, which
is likely to remain as critical as ever." (JTA)
- Israel Confirms Strong Cooperation with Egypt - Josef Federman
An Israeli defense official on Wednesday confirmed that his country has
allowed Egypt to beef up its forces in Sinai as part of a shared
struggle against Islamic militants, after Egyptian President Sissi
said Monday that there are 25,000 Egyptian troops operating in Sinai.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Calls for Anti-Terrorism Coalition with U.S. and Moderate Arab States - Yaakov Katz
The U.S. should establish a regional coalition to fight terrorism that
would include Israel alongside moderate Arab states, Israeli Defense
Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview. This coalition would be
similar to the one the U.S. established ahead of the First Gulf War in
1991, but would this time include Israel. "The moderate Arab world
understands that the real threat against it is not Jews, Zionism or
Israel, but rather the radicals in the Muslim world," he said.
- PA to Pay Monthly Stipend to Wife of "Martyr" Who Killed 4 Israelis on Sunday - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
The Palestinian terrorist who drove his truck into a group of Israeli
soldiers in Jerusalem on Sunday, murdering 4 and wounding at least 15,
was described by the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Monday as a "martyr." Official PA TV referred to him 7 times as a "martyr" (shahid) in its report of the incident.
According to its policy of supporting all Palestinian terror, the
PA will reward the wife of this murderer with a lifetime monthly
allowance of 2,900 shekels ($760), in addition to a one-time grant of
6,000 shekels ($1,580). PA President Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the
(Palestinian Media Watch)
See also Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- IDF Prepares for Next War with Hamas in Gaza - Yoav Zitun
Both the IDF and Hamas are already preparing for the next war in Gaza.
As Hamas prepares to bring thousands of fighters into Israel through a
network of subterranean tunnels with the intent to murder and kidnap
Israelis, "We plan to turn the enemy's tunnels into death traps," said
Colonel Yuval Ben-Dov of the IDF Southern Command. Israel's policy is
to end the next war with Hamas' defeat rather than buying two or three
more years of calm. (Ynet News)
- Division of Jerusalem Is No Solution to Terror - Nadav Shragai
Anyone who demands after Sunday's ramming attack that Jerusalem be
divided is fleeing from terrorism rather than confronting it. Anyone who
deludes the public by saying that cutting Jabel Mukaber - the home town
of the terrorist - off from Jerusalem will contain terrorism will
quickly discover that terrorism is following them into their own
Hundreds of terrorist attacks have been thwarted thanks to the
presence of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Security Agency in
east Jerusalem neighborhoods. More walls and fences and separation will
make it more difficult to operate against, frustrate, and gather
intelligence on potential terrorism - allowing those who plan terrorism
to make it many times more powerful.
Residents of east Jerusalem as a whole are not the enemy. The enemy
is the minority among them who attack us and instill fear in their own
community. Most of the residents of east Jerusalem want to continue
living in a unified Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Often, residents
of east Jerusalem are the ones who beg the Israeli authorities to
protect them from Hamas thugs.
See also Video: Indivisible Jerusalem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Syria Hardly Exists - David W. Lesch and James Gelvin
More than 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line and nearly 70%
live in extreme poverty, meaning they cannot secure basic needs,
according to a 2016 report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research. The
unemployment rate is 58%, with a significant number of those employed
working as smugglers, fighters or elsewhere in the war economy. Life
expectancy has dropped by 20 years since the beginning of the uprising
in 2011. About half of children no longer attend school. Diseases
formerly under control, like typhoid, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and
cholera, are once again endemic.
Upward of 500,000 are dead from the war and more than two million
are injured. Close to half the population of Syria is either internally
or externally displaced. And the battle is, in reality, far from over. David
W. Lesch is a professor of Middle East history at Trinity University in
San Antonio, Texas. James Gelvin is a professor of Middle East history
(New York Times)
- Commercial Diplomacy in the Middle East - Haisam Hassanein
The Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) protocol between Egypt and
Israel, guided by U.S. commercial diplomacy, helped save the Egyptian
textile industry. After the QIZ's inception, Egyptian ready-made garment
exports jumped from $288.3 million in 2005 to $636.2 million in 2006,
reaching $842.4 million in 2015.
Today, QIZ locations include Alexandria, the greater Cairo area,
the central Delta region, the Suez Canal area, and upper Egypt. As of
2015, the QIZs had helped create 280,000 new jobs in the textile and
apparel sector. The initial list of 397 QIZ-approved companies has
expanded to more than 700.
Egyptian-born Haisam Hassanein received an M.A. in Middle Eastern
studies from Tel Aviv University, where he was named the graduate school
valedictorian, and is currently a fellow at the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy.
Arab World: A Violent Region in Turbulent Times - Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli (MEMRI)
The sixth report on Arab development
issued by the UN Development Program was released on Nov. 29, 2016, at
the American University in Beirut.
The report highlights the fact that in the last decade the Arab world
has experienced "the most rapid increase in war and violent conflict"
compared with other regions of the world.
The Arab world also has "the dubious distinction" of comprising
the largest number of failed states, showcasing a high scale of
"fragility and failure" in addition to being the source of the largest
number of refugees and displaced people.
The report shows that the Arab world is home to 5% of the
global population but had a 45% share of global terrorist attacks in
2014, claiming the lives of 21,000 people, and 68.5% of battle-related
deaths in that same year.
The Arab countries have pursued an economic model that "for
financing, counts heavily on external windfalls, including aid,
remittances and rents from oil revenues."
Income and wealth are not derived from "work, innovation and
risk-taking," but rather from public largesse.
the fast-growing East Asian countries which relied heavily on the
manufacturing sector as a vehicle for job creation, the Arab economies
have registered low if not negative growth.