Intercepted Syrian Missile Carried 200 Kg. of Explosives - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
The Syrian SA5 missile intercepted by Israel's Arrow 2 defense
system on Friday carried a warhead with 200 kg. of explosives and would
have landed in the Jordan Valley.
The Syrian missile was launched from a base near Homs around 2:40
a.m., and Israel's aerial defense forces had less than a minute to
decide to launch the Arrow.
"It is a heavy-weight Syrian armament," said a senior Air Force
officer on Monday.
"We didn't care if it was a surface-to-surface missile or a
surface-to-air missile.... The Arrow was chosen in accordance with the
level of threat and the availability of the defense systems on hand.
There was no other option except to intercept."
The commander of the IAF's Aerial Defense, Brig.-Gen. Zvika
Haimovich, said: "The missile fired posed a threat to Israeli citizens.
The guidelines are to protect the people of Israel and that is what we
Iran Loses Thousands, 10 Generals in Syria-Iraq Wars - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center analyzed the
different estimates of Iranian losses in the Syria-Iraq wars on
Washington Institute for Near East Policy researcher Ali Alfoneh
recently put the number of losses under Iranian command at 2,603,
including 511 Iranians, 1,045 Hizbullah fighters, and 1,047 Afghan,
Pakistani and other Shi'ite militia fighters.
More than 10 Iranians of the rank equivalent to brigadier-general have been killed.
Hamas Leader: The Quran Tells Us to Drive the Jews Out of All of Palestine (MEMRI TV)
Hamas co-founder and senior official Mahmoud al-Zahar told Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on March 8:
"Removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle, because it appears in the Book of Allah."
"Let me advise our brothers and sisters from the Islamic movement -
from Hamas and Islamic Jihad - never to use the term '1967 (borders)'."
"Our position is: Palestine in its entirety, and not a grain of soil less."
Inside an Israeli Hospital that Treats Wounded Syrians - Tim Samuels (BBC News)
BBC Radio 4's Tim Samuels spent 24 hours in Ziv hospital in
northern Israel where Israeli doctors tend to Syrians who have been
smuggled over the border for life-saving treatment in a country with
which Syria is technically still at war.
Several thousand Syrians have been treated in Israel.
In the children's ward, a mother who has brought her son for
treatment describes how her trip to Israel must remain a secret - or
she could be killed when they return.
In the hospital - staffed by Jewish, Muslim and Druze medics - the
doctors talk about the psychological toll of treating the war wounded.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. Boycotts UN Rights Council Debate Due to "Long-Standing Bias Against Israel" - Jamey Keaten
The U.S. on Monday boycotted a Human Rights Council session focusing on
Palestinian areas, saying the council's "long-standing bias against
Israel" threatens the credibility of the UN body.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley denounced how Israel was the only
country that is a permanent fixture on the HRC's calendar. "It is not
Syria, where the regime has systematically slaughtered and tortured its
own people. It is not Iran, where public hangings are a regular
occurrence. It is not North Korea, where the regime uses forced labor
camps to crush its people into submission. It is Israel, the only
democracy in the Middle East." (AP-ABC News)
- Istanbul Conference Asserts Right of Return to Israel for Millions of Palestinian Refugees - Ali Younes
Thousands of diaspora Palestinians converged on Istanbul last month to
demand an end to what they see as concessions made by the political
leadership based in Ramallah in their name that favor Israel and demand
the right to return to Palestine.
The final statement of the two-day conference demanded the right of
return of millions of refugees and their descendants to what is now
Israel views this demand as beyond consideration because it would,
for all practical purposes, undermine its founding principle as a state
created for the Jewish people.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Foiled 400 Terrorists in 2016 - Jonathan Lis
Nadav Argaman, head of the Israel Security Agency (ISA), told the
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that the ISA
foiled over 400 potential terrorists last year before they could execute
their plans. "The infrastructure of Hamas and global jihad is
constantly trying to mount attacks in Israeli territory. Sadly, during
the last year, 16 people and one foreign national were killed by terror
attacks in Israel." In addition, in 2016, 149 people were injured. In
2015, there were 20 deaths in terror attacks and 188 injuries.
Argaman said that in 2016 the ISA frustrated 344 major terror
attacks, including 184 that involved guns; 16 potential abductions; 16
suicide attacks; and 86 attacks using knives or vehicles.
During 2016, 1,035 Hamas activists were arrested in the West Bank and
114 local Hamas cells were apprehended. There were 44 terror attacks
that originated in Gaza, but for the first time in 30 years there were
no Israeli casualties. Some 29 Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem were
involved in terrorism in 2016, up from three in 2015.
- Iran Accused of Planning Attack on Head of French-Israel Business Group - Benjamin Weinthal
Iran's Quds Force plotted to surveil - and possibly assassinate -
French-Israeli business professor David Rouach, the head of the
French-Israeli chamber of commerce.
The Berliner Zeitung reported that Pakistani citizen Syed Mustafa, 31, spied on Rouach,
who teaches at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP).
The Quds Force, a U.S.-classified terrorist entity, paid Mustafa at least 2,052 euros. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel, Lebanon on Gas Tender Collision Course - Nati Yefet
Israel has asked the U.S. and the UN to pressure Lebanon to change the
oil and gas exploration tenders it has planned in five maritime blocks,
three of which are within Israel's marine border.
- Syrian Militia Leader Killed in Drone Strike - Daniel Siryoti and Lilach Shoval
Yasser al-Sayed, who commanded Iranian-backed Druze and Palestinian
militias loyal to Bashar Assad, was killed on Sunday in an alleged
Israeli drone strike while traveling in a vehicle in the Syrian Golan
According to media reports, al-Sayed recently had been in contact with
senior members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and was
planning and trying to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel with
- The U.S. Human Rights Report Travesty - Evelyn Gordon
The U.S. State Department's latest report on human rights practices
around the world, published in March, channels the Israel obsession of
the UN Human Rights Council. The document devotes 141 pages to the
human rights situation in Israel and the territories, more than any
other country except China, which gets the same number. Israel alone,
excluding the territories, gets 69 pages; by comparison, Iran gets 48
and Syria 58.
The report becomes even more surreal when you start examining the
"Residents suffered from the dust raised by construction [in the planned
new town of Hiran]."
Do State's human rights gurus seriously think people suffering from the
dust of nearby construction constitutes a human rights violation? By
that logic, we'd essentially have to shut down all construction
The report also traffics in unsupported libel: "NGOs reported
employers subjected Palestinian men to forced labor in Israeli
settlements." The State Department apparently just copy-pasted anything
it could find from such organizations, no matter how ludicrous or
- Islamic State's Wane Sets the Stage for Regional Superpower Iran - Avi Issacharoff
Iran is looking more and more like the big winner of the Arab Spring.
The Shiite crescent, which King Abdullah of Jordan warned about, is
amassing unprecedented power even without possessing an atomic bomb.
Iran is in control of swaths of territory running from the Persian Gulf
to the Mediterranean Sea; it has taken control of Iraq and is expelling
Islamic State from there using Shiite militias under its command.
The Hebrew-language Walla news site reported this week that
Iran has been paving a "trans-Iraq" highway from Iran to Syria.
Iran operates a cellular franchise throughout Iraq, and is working to
build a port in Latakia, Syria. The proposal states that Iran will
lease land for fifty years for a port that would be under Iranian
sovereignty, and the Syrians would have no access to it, like the naval
base that the Russians established in Tartus.
Roughly 1,300 to 1,500 Iranians - combat soldiers, intelligence
personnel, members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, logistics
personnel - currently operate in Syria. In addition, there are
7,000-10,000 Iranian-funded Shiite fighters and another 8,000
Hizbullah Shiite fighters on Syrian soil who take orders from Tehran.
(Times of Israel)
- Iran Looks to Profit in Syria - Tony Badran and Saeed Ghasseminejad
In January, Iran signed five economic memorandums of understanding with
Syria, which gave Iran important assets in the country. One of the
agreements grants the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MCI), a
company controlled by the IRGC and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, a license to operate a mobile network in Syria.
In addition, Iran was granted leases on 12,000 acres of land in
Homs and Tartous provinces to construct oil and gas terminals, and a
long-term lease to develop the Sharqiya phosphate mines in eastern Homs
province. The Syrian regime will award another 12,000 acres of farmland
to Iranian agricultural companies. Tony Badran is a senior fellow and Saeed Ghasseminejad is an associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Offering Carrots to the Palestinians Before They Have Committed to Peace Negotiations - Efraim Inbar
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
In March 2017, Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's Special
Representative for International Negotiations, was sent to Jerusalem and
Ramallah to test the waters for a peace deal between Israel and the
The Israeli consensus is that there is no peace partner in
Ramallah and/or in Gaza. Yet, in the absence of a Palestinian peace
partner, there is some merit to engaging in a "process" that lowers
tensions in the region and removes a sticky, if increasingly marginal,
issue from the diplomatic table.
Greenblatt stressed how important it was to President Trump to
stimulate the Palestinian economy and improve the quality of life for
Palestinians. However, it is odd to offer carrots to the Palestinians
before they have committed to returning to the negotiations table they
left in March 2014.
The impulse to give out carrots displays the conventional
wisdom that the Palestinians must be well fed to prevent their erupting
into violence. However, short-term calculations of this kind only
prolong the conflict. Indeed, the campaign of terror that started in
September 2000, dubbed the Second Intifada, took place after several
years of economic progress during which the Palestinian standard of
living was the highest in history.
The carrots awarded the Palestinians indicate that their
intransigence and unwillingness to compromise have no correlation to the
level of support they receive. They will never change if their poor
decisions never exact a cost.
Palestinians are still committed to unrealistic goals like Jerusalem
and the "right of return." Yet without tacit and/or manifest threats,
there is little chance that their behavior will improve.
The writer is professor emeritus of political studies at Bar-Ilan
University and the founding director of the Begin-Sadat Center for
Strategic Studies (1991-2016).