Israel Removes Buried Explosive Spy Gear in Jordan - Dana Al Emam (Albawaba-Jordan)
Hamas Renews Rocket Production - Or Heller (Israel Defense)
Hamas has returned to manufacturing rockets inside Gaza, after some 50%
of its rocket lathes were destroyed during the recent fighting.
Hamas has fired five test rockets into the sea since the war ended a month ago.
Jordan's armed forces are working to remove old Israeli spyware in
six locations in the kingdom, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff
Gen. Mashal Al Zaben said on Tuesday. "For over a year-and-a-half, JAF
has been involved in an operation to identify and remove the devices."
The spying devices, rigged with explosives, were planted in 1969 after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Zaben noted that the Ajloun site, near Ajloun National University,
was the last site on the list, and was treated by the Israeli side
working at the location under JAF supervision. "With ultimate security
measures in place," there was no collateral damage caused when the
explosive device was detonated.
Police Suspect Palestinians in Israeli Death at Construction Site - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
Israeli police are investigating the death of Netanel Arami, 26,
the owner of a rappelling company, who died after falling from the 11th
floor of a building under construction.
Police investigators found that the cable he was tied to had been
deliberately cut. The only other people in the vicinity at the time of
Arami's death were Palestinian workers.
Azerbaijan: Israel's Closest Muslim Ally - Zulfugar Agayev (Bloomberg)
What started as a marriage of convenience has netted Israel its
closest Muslim ally. The majority Shiite nation of Azerbaijan provides
about 40% of Israel's oil. Israel reciprocates by selling sophisticated
arms including missile systems and drones.
President Ilham Aliyev, whose family has run the country for four
decades, has forged close ties with Israel in the face of criticism from
neighboring Iran. The two countries share a 756-km. border, and
almost a quarter of Iran's 75 million people are ethnic Azeris.
Israel Gas Deal Will Save Jordan $986 Million Annually - Mohammad Ghazal (Jordan Times)
The Jordanian government said Thursday the state-owned National
Electric Power Company is expected to buy 250-300 million cubic feet
per day of natural gas from Israeli gas fields, which experts said will
save around $986 million annually on Jordan's energy bill.
Israeli Rhythmic Gymnasts Take World Championship Silver - Uri Tashir (Ha'aretz)
Israel's national rhythmic gymnastics team took home the silver medal Sunday in the World Championship in Izmir Turkey.
The five Israeli girls ages 16 and 17, who worked 10 hours a day to
create a faultless performance, were ranked second in the world.
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- U.S. Continues Airstrikes Against ISIS - Felicia Schwartz
The U.S. continued military operations against Islamic State militants
on Monday and Tuesday, conducting 11 strikes in Syria and another 11 in
Iraq, military officials said.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also British Jets Strike IS Targets in Iraq
RAF jets have carried out their first strikes on Islamic State targets
in northwestern Iraq in support of Kurdish units, attacking a "heavy
weapon position" and an armed pick-up truck. (BBC News)
See also Photos after U.S. Airstrike on Khorasan Group - a Unit of the Nusra Front - Jenan Moussa
Al Aan TV has received access to the bombed out headquarters of
the Khorasan group in Syria. Sources say that thirteen members of the
Wolf unit of the Nusra Front lived in the compound, which was hit by
U.S. airstrikes. Most of them are non-Syrian al-Qaeda members who have a
history in Pakistan and Afghanistan and are now present inside Syria.
50 members of the Nusra Front died in the air raids, 200 escaped alive.
See also Report: Islamic State Beheads Captured Kurdish Fighters
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that nine
Kurdish fighters captured during fighting over the northern Syrian town
of Kobani were beheaded by Islamic State militants.
- White House Exempts Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq from Tight Standards on Civilian Deaths - Michael Isikoff
The White House has acknowledged that strict standards President Obama
imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes
will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq. Dozens of
civilians, including women and young children, were reported killed
when an errant Tomahawk cruise missile destroyed a home for displaced
civilians in Kafr Daryan in Syria's Idlib province on Sept. 23.
Images of badly injured children appeared on YouTube, helping to
fuel anti-U.S. protests in a number of Syrian villages last week. The
village has been described by Syrian rebel commanders as a stronghold
of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front where U.S officials believed members
of the Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international
Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said
that a much-publicized White House policy that President Obama announced
last year barring U.S. drone strikes unless there is a "near certainty"
there will be no civilian casualties - "the highest standard we can
meet," he said at the time - does not cover the current U.S. airstrikes
in Syria and Iraq. Hayden added that U.S. military operations against
the Islamic State, "like all U.S. military operations, are being
conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality
and distinction." (Yahoo News)
See also Report: U.S. Airstrikes in Syria Kill Civilians
U.S.-led air strikes in the northern Syrian town of Manbij controlled by
the Islamic State killed only civilians, not fighters, Rami
Abdulrahman, who runs the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,
- White House Official: Nuclear Deal Could Portend Iran Ties
Philip Gordon, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, said
that a nuclear deal with Iran could start the way toward a possible
resumption of ties.
"A nuclear agreement could begin a multi-generational process that could
lead to a new relationship between our countries," he told the National
Iranian American Council. Gordon made clear that Iran had much to do
in order to remove its pariah status, but his casting a nuclear deal as
part of a normalization process and not an end in itself represented a
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu to Tell Obama of Arab States' Role in Peace Process - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak with President Obama about the
"possibility of involving the Arab states in the peace process" between
Israel and the Palestinians, the prime minister told 300 American
Jewish leaders on Tuesday. Letting Arab states participate in
developing a solution would "promote peace" with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu held up a photograph of a man with a gun standing over a
kneeling, hooded man wearing an orange shirt, reminiscent of videos
released of IS executions.
"ISIS and Hamas are different because ISIS beheads people and Hamas
shoots them in the head," he said. (Times of Israel)
- Defense Minister Ya'alon Rules Out Notion of West Bank Withdrawal - Yaakov Lappin, Yonah Jeremy Bob and Tovah Lazaroff
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Institute for National
Security Studies on Tuesday that in the aftermath of the Gaza war, talk
of any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank is irrational. If there was
a withdrawal, how would the IDF defend Ben-Gurion Airport or Tel Aviv,
he asked, adding that a mortar could be used to attack the airport from
the nearby West Bank hilltops.
If the IDF leaves, Hamas will take over and other terrorists groups such
as the Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate in the
West Bank, he added.
"When we talk about a new diplomatic horizon, we have to look for
new directions," Ya'alon said. "The changing Middle East offers new
regional opportunities. That is where we should seek new diplomatic
horizons and not in the same concepts that have collapsed time after
- Top Israeli Official Meets Palestinian Prime Minister over Gaza - Elior Levy and Attila Somfalvi
A top Israeli official met Tuesday with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami
Hamdallah to discuss cooperation between the sides as well the
rehabilitation of Gaza, top officials from Israel and the PA confirmed.
A senior Israeli political official said, "The goal is to make sure
that there is oversight about what is happening in Gaza, and that can be
done either with the UN or the Palestinian Authority. For the PA to do
that, we need to coordinate our moves and change the situation on the
ground for regular Gazans. The goal is to cement the cease-fire." (Ynet News)
- Paradigm Change for Solving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Editorial
Prime Minister Netanyahu broke new ground in his speech Monday before
the UN General Assembly, speaking of a "historic opportunity." Countries
in the region that were antagonistic toward Israel - ostensibly because
of its conflict with the Palestinians - increasingly realize that they
share common interests with the Jewish state. Jordan, Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, and the UAE all see a nuclear Iran, an exultant Islamic State,
and a reactionary Muslim Brotherhood as direct threats.
Jews share with the Christians, Kurds and Yazidis of the region
similar threats and interests as well. For all these groups, defeating
militant Islamists is an existential imperative.
Rapprochement with the Arab world could also radically transform the
paradigm for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
Increasing cooperation between Israel and its neighbors can serve as a
catalyst for a new, more creative solution that will enable Palestinians
and Israelis to live together in peace.
We Jews - like the Kurds, the Christians, the Yazidis and other
non-Muslim faith and ethnic groups - are an integral part of this
region. Our roots go back over 3,000 years. It is only logical that a
solution will be found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that includes
input and support from the entire region in an atmosphere of mutual
respect and cooperation.
- Islamic State's Bloody Message Machine - Walter Pincus
The Islamic State may practice medieval barbarism in Syria and Iraq, but
its worldwide media operations are 21st century.
It's active on social media, it has pamphlets, weekly illustrated
magazines, billboards, T-shirts, baseball hats and even propaganda
offices in Syria and Iraq. Its recent output of videos has been
The three professionally staged beheadings of two American
journalists and a British aid worker shocked the world. Whatever their
original purpose, they instead generated U.S. public demand for
immediate action against the Islamic State and greater international
support for President Obama's decision to expand the bombing to Syria.
In a Sept. 21 speech, the Islamic State's chief spokesman, Abu
Muhammad al-Adnani, says Americans "will pay the price as you walk on
your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not
feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this
crusade of yours collapses and thereafter we will strike you in your
homeland." (Washington Post)
Why Does State Dept. Defend UNRWA's Artificial "Refugee" Designations? - Steven J. Rosen (Gatestone Institute)
UNRWA, the UN agency that manages the Palestinian refugee issue,
follows rules that contradict U.S. law, and its practices result in
perpetuating and multiplying the refugee problem rather than resolving
it. Yet the U.S. Department of State gives unquestioning support to
UNRWA's refugee designation rules.
For example, almost two million Palestinians who have for
decades enjoyed Jordanian citizenship are routinely counted as
"refugees," in spite of the fact that, under U.S. law, a person who
has citizenship in the country where he resides, and enjoys the
protection of that state, cannot lawfully be eligible for refugee
Another two million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, by
their own account, lived in the declared Palestinian state as its
citizens under a Palestinian government, but are registered as
"refugees" by UNRWA. By American legal standards, these Palestinians are
"firmly settled" and therefore ineligible for "refugee" status.
Under U.S. laws and regulations, only an individual who was
personally displaced, or is a spouse or an underage dependent of such an
individual, can be eligible for refugee status or derivative refugee
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren are specifically not entitled to
inherit refugee status. But under UNRWA practices, any descendant of a
male refugee, no matter how many generations and decades have passed, is
automatically entitled to be counted as a "refugee."
More than 95% of today's "refugees" were not even alive when
Israel was born in 1948 and were never personally displaced by Israel's
creation. UNRWA beneficiaries may be needy people deserving of
assistance, but they are not "refugees." Supporting UNRWA's schools and
hospitals, and its stabilizing role, does not require that the U.S.
government continue to call UNRWA beneficiaries "refugees" when they are
The writer is Director of the Washington Project of the Middle East Forum.