Intifada in Jerusalem Is Not Spontaneous - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
The disturbances and continuous attacks on Jews in Jerusalem has long not been spontaneous.
It is organized and funded by elements identified with Fatah and Hamas.
Many of the 900 arrested enjoy legal defense funded by the Palestinian Authority.
Many small organizations operate on the neighborhood level. They all
carry the slogans of a "popular resistance" preached to them by PA
President Mahmoud Abbas.
U.S. Strikes Cut into ISIS Oil Revenues - Julie Hirschfeld Davis (New York Times)
The American military campaign against the Islamic State has begun
to cut into the Sunni militant group's substantial oil revenues, the top
counterterrorism official at the Treasury Department, David S. Cohen,
said on Thursday, but starving its cash flow will be a slow process.
Cohen said the group was "the best-funded terrorist organization we've
confronted." The group takes in tens of millions of dollars each month,
including about $1 million a day through black-market sales of oil
extracted from territory it controls. The group also runs extortion and
Treasury is focusing on choking off the oil revenue and leaning on
countries in the region to shut down cross-border smuggling routes.
"The middlemen, traders, refiners, transport companies and anyone else
that handles ISIL's oil should know that we are hard at work identifying
them, and that we have tools at hand to stop them," Cohen said.
Cohen is also pushing to enlist other countries to join the U.S. in
adopting a no-ransoms policy for kidnapped hostages. Kidnappings for
ransom have netted the Islamic State at least $20 million this year
alone, he said.
Islamic State Militants Used Chlorine Gas in Iraq - Loveday Morris
11 Iraqi police officers in Duluiyah, north of Baghdad, were
poisoned by chlorine gas last month by Islamic State extremists, the
first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the
Saudi Arabia Jails al-Qaeda Suspects over Plot to Hit U.S. Forces (Reuters)
A Saudi court on Tuesday sentenced 11 Saudis, one Qatari and one
Afghan to prison terms of up to 30 years who had used Saudi territory
"to form a terrorist cell seeking to carry out a terrorist operation in
the state of Qatar against American forces, supplying the cell with arms
and money for that operation, [and] recruiting people for that cell."
The men were also convicted of "preparing to participate in a
terrorist operation in the state of Kuwait targeting American forces
Elbit Systems Wins Contracts Worth $85M in Asia (Globes)
Israel's Elbit Systems announced Wednesday that it has been awarded
contracts from an Asian country that total $85 million for an F-5
aircraft avionics upgrade program and for the supply of electro-optic
and communications systems.
Imperus of Canada Acquires Israeli Gaming Firm for $100M (The Marker-Ha'aetz)
Diwip, a Tel Aviv-based social gaming company, has been acquired by
Canada's Imperus Technologies, for a purchase price as high as $100
Diwip claims to have 24 million registered customers across its numerous games.
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- Israel Voices Alarm about U.S. Position in Iran Nuclear Talks - Jay Solomon
Israeli officials are increasingly voicing alarm about the Obama
administration's negotiating position with Iran as diplomacy aimed at
curbing Tehran's nuclear program nears a Nov. 24 deadline. A steady
stream of Israeli officials have visited Washington in recent weeks,
including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe
Ya'alon, and publicly expressed fears that the U.S. is preparing to
accept a deal with Iran that they don't believe goes far enough in
denying Iran the capability to produce atomic weapons.
Israel, along with many of the U.S.'s Arab allies, has been calling
for a complete dismantling of Iran's nuclear infrastructure as part of
any agreement with Tehran that would also see an easing of international
sanctions on the country. Mr. Netanyahu's government also has argued
that Iran's ballistic missile program needs to be discontinued as part
of the talks.
U.S. and European officials involved in the negotiations, however,
have indicated Iran will be able to maintain thousands of centrifuge
machines used to produce nuclear fuel as part of any final agreement.
They've also said the status of Tehran's missile program has largely
been taken off the negotiating table.
(Wall Street Journal)
- White House Seeks Support from Allies, Congress for Potential Iran Deal - Jay Solomon and
Carol E. Lee
The Obama administration is promoting a possible nuclear agreement with
Iran to allies, Congress and U.S. policy makers in an effort to win
support ahead of a late November deadline. Significant divisions remain
between Tehran and global powers in negotiations to constrain Iran's
nuclear program, but senior officials said important progress has been
made in recent talks.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also U.S.: "We Have Made Impressive Progress" in Iranian Nuclear Talks
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said
Thursday: "If Iran truly wants to resolve its differences with the
international community and facilitate the lifting of economic
sanctions, it will have no better chance than between now and November
24th. This is the time to finish the job.
Will that happen? I don't know. I can tell you that all the components
of a plan that should be acceptable to both sides are on the table. We
have made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed
intractable. We have cleared up misunderstandings and held exhaustive
discussions on every element of a possible text." (State Department)
- Yemen: Houthis Storm Interior Ministry, Set Up Iranian Cultural Centers in Hajjah - Hamdan Al-Rahbi
Houthi fighters stormed Yemen's Interior Ministry in Sana'a on
Wednesday. The Houthis are continuing to advance in a number of other
Yemeni provinces while meeting little or no resistance from government
forces. Meanwhile, Iranian culture centers are being established in
Yemeni provinces under Houthi control, including Hajjah province which
borders Saudi Arabia, with the objective of spreading Shi'ism. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
- Israel's Defense Minister: Mideast Borders "Absolutely" Will Change
Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says, in an interview with NPR,
that a future map of the Middle East will look very different than the
one that exists today. "Egypt will stay Egypt," Ya'alon said. In
contrast, "Libya was a new creation, a Western creation as a result of
World War I. Syria, Iraq, the same - artificial nation-states - and what
we see now is a collapse of this Western idea....Can you unify Syria?
[President] Bashar al-Assad is controlling only 25% of the Syrian
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Abbas' Fatah Honors Jerusalem Hit-and-Run Terrorist - Elhanan Miller
Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement published a poster Thursday celebrating
Palestinian terrorist Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, who killed
three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and injured eight other Israelis in a
hit-and-run car attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
"The Silwan branch of Fatah honors the heroic martyr Abdel Rahman
al-Shaludi, who executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the
running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem," read the
notice, posted on Fatah's official Facebook page. (Times of Israel)
See also Hamas Confirms Driver in Jerusalem Attack was Group Member - Qais Abu Samra
The Palestinian driver who ran over and killed an Israeli baby and
injured eight other people in Jerusalem on Wednesday was a member of
Hamas, the group said Thursday in a statement.
- Ya'alon: Terror Attacks Result of Palestinian Education System
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday in Washington:
"For the Palestinians, the conflict will not end at the 67' lines. The
heart of the conflict is the lack of desire to acknowledge us and our
right to exist as a Jewish state. The Palestinian educational system and
rhetoric are the causes of the events occurring in Jerusalem."
"Yesterday we saw the result of this in the murder of a baby girl
in Jerusalem by a young man with a Hamas background and a history of
security offenses. Why did this happen? It happened because in PA
preschools, children as young as three are taught, for example, to wear
an explosive belt in order to kill Jews. As long as the situation is
like this, and young Palestinians are taught to kill Jews, there will
not be real peace here." (Jerusalem Post)
- Steinitz: Israeli Withdrawal from West Bank Would Be "Committing Suicide"
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Bloomberg TV
"After the extremely negative experiences following [Israel's] complete
withdrawal from Gaza nine years ago, it would be difficult to take
similar risks with the West Bank - especially when taking into account jihadist
groups popping up [throughout the Middle East], taking large areas
under their control....If what happened in Gaza, in Iraq, in Syria and
Libya would repeat itself in the West Bank, this would be committing
- The Middle East in Chaos - Reuel Marc Gerecht
Modern Middle Eastern states, with the limited exceptions of Iran,
Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey, were created intentionally or by default by
Europeans and Westernized native elites who dropped older imperial or
tribal ideals for more empowering modern imports.
Despite the best efforts of Western or Western-inspired modernizers,
everywhere in the Middle East, for everyone, religion is the primary
identity - cherished and nurtured by fundamentalists and the common
faithful or constrained, submerged, and coopted by nationalists and
Secular military dictatorship among Muslims has been a double-edged
sword: It helped to build nationalist consciousness; but its injustices
and brutality degraded the legitimacy of the state, collapsed
traditional mores, and fueled the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.
The promise of a new conquest society by self-appointed caliph of
the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, offers a tempting chance to
get even for young men who've not hitherto enjoyed much fortune, in the
Middle East or in the West. Add the Islamic State's anti-Americanism,
and it's not surprising how well the organization has done.
And then there are the nuclear negotiations, where the White House
keeps giving ground to Iran's continuing progress toward a bomb. The
Islamic Republic's pursuit of nuclear weapons is a strategic
game-changer. All of the region's problems, especially those that hurt
us, will worsen when the mullahs go nuclear. The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Twenty Years of Israeli-Jordanian Peace - David Schenker
October 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Israeli-Jordanian peace
While the treaty was celebrated by Israelis, it has not been popular
with the Jordanian public. In a 2011 poll, 52% of Jordanians said their
government should cancel the agreement.
Once the treaty was signed, it opened the floodgates of U.S.
economic and military assistance to Jordan. In 1993, Washington provided
Amman with just $35 million in economic support; the 2014 figure is
$700 million. Moreover, last year, U.S.-Jordanian trade reached $3.3
billion, a nearly tenfold increase from 1994.
Similarly, Jordan received just $9 million in U.S. Foreign Military
Financing in 1993, compared to $300 million this year. Washington has
provided 58 F-16s and a state-of-the-art counterterrorism facility - the
King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) - constructed
by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2006-2007. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- No Shift with New Head of Iran's National Security Council - Mona-Lisa Freiha
After Ali Shamkhani was appointed as the Secretary of Iran's Supreme
National Security Council in September 2013, there was much speculation
about a new Iranian policy towards the Arabs.
Shamkhani's historical relations with the Gulf states, especially Saudi
Arabia, gave rise to some optimism that the wall of hostility between
the Sunni kingdom and the Shiite Islamic republic may be torn down.
Moreover, his old connections in Iraq and his contacts with the
authorities in Baghdad, Najaf, and Irbil to end the Iraqi government
crisis last August, fed the rumors that he had been put in charge of the
The devastation that befell the Iranian-led axis, stretching from
Iran to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, gave the
impression that the man's appointment was a manifestation of political
realism, indicating that Iran was heading towards abandoning
Revolutionary Guard al-Qods Brigade commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani's
military and security approach to the region's issues, in favor of a
calmer political approach.
But the course of events has proven that the Iranian position only
changed due to developments on the ground and ISIS's invasion, more
than due to any substantive shift in policy. And the situation in Syria
is no different, with Tehran still clinging to the same policy towards
the regime as before.
The renewed verbal exchanges between Riyadh and Tehran are evidence that
this old warrior is still determined to pursue politics in his military
uniform, and that he stands in the line of defense behind the immediate
line of fire - one where he continues to be in charge.
(An-Nahar-Lebanon-Middle East Mirror)
Defensible Borders in the Age of the Islamic State - Dore Gold (Mosaic)
- The terrorist threat to Israel from the east is unlike anything
Israel has seen before in terms of scale and character.
Today, organizations like the Islamic State (IS), in possession of
robust weaponry that includes sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft
missiles, have defeated whole divisions of the Iraqi army and
confiscated vast amounts of equipment and money. This year, operating
with battalion-size formations, IS and its ideological cousin the
al-Nusra Front have defeated Syrian armored forces and made deep inroads
into the heart of Iraq.
- More fundamentally, at present, no one has sovereignty over the
West Bank. The last sovereign power there was the Ottoman Empire. After
World War I, the West Bank became a part of British Mandatory
Palestine, which was designated to become the Jewish national home.
- The 1948 Arab war to annihilate the newly established State of
Israel ended with the West Bank in Jordanian hands, and there it
remained until 1967. In June of that year, Jordan joined an Arab war
coalition, led by Egypt, that was aimed explicitly at finishing the job
begun in 1948. That war ended with Israel in control of the West Bank.
- Because Israel had acted in self-defense in 1967, noted
scholars of international law, including Stephen Schwebel, who later
served as president of the International Court of Justice, and Eugene
Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School and Undersecretary of State in
the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, recognized its claims as stronger
than those of any other party.
- Indeed, UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in the
aftermath of the June 1967 war, affirmed that Israel was not required to
withdraw fully from the West Bank or return to the pre-1967 lines, but
rather was entitled to "secure and recognized boundaries" that were
still to be determined through negotiation.
- In short, the West Bank remains disputed territory to which
both Israel and the Palestinians have claims. The West Bank is not
"Palestinian" territory; there was no Palestinian state there prior to
1967, and the Palestinians never had sovereignty there. Israel has
legal rights that need to be acknowledged, and security concerns that
must be incorporated into any understanding of where the final borders
The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs.