Monday, September 23, 2013

From Ian:

JPost Editorial: The price of prisoner swaps
Every time Israel agrees to an unequal prisoner swap, a dangerous dynamic is set in motion. If large numbers of prisoners are released in exchange for a few kidnapped Israeli soldiers – alive or dead – Palestinian terrorists such as Amar are encouraged to kidnap, and kill, more soldiers. Not surprisingly, Israel currently faces a concerted effort to do just that on the part of Palestinian terrorist groups. Twenty-seven attempts to abduct soldiers were foiled in the first six months of the year – twice as many as the same period in 2012.
And when prisoners – including those “with blood on their hands” – are released before they serve their sentences, it emboldens Palestinian terrorists such as Amar who rightly gamble that they too will be released early in a prisoner swap or a “goodwill gesture.” And they have good reason to be optimistic.
David Horovitz: Tackle incitement, stop the killings
So the relentless anti-Israel material continues to spew out in Palestinian-controlled media, streets and squares are named in honor of terrorist murderers, and Abbas demands the release of the most ruthless killers as a precondition for peace talks. Why would Abbas seek their freedom? Because in the unchanged Palestinian narrative, the killers are heroes in a struggle against Israel that, all too plainly, continues.
This is the cycle that has to be reversed if, 20 years from now, we are to find ourselves in a safer, quieter place. There has to be a change of climate — wrought by a change in what is taught and what is written and what is broadcast.
Bennett: Reconsider the Peace Negotiations
Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening, demanding that he reconsider the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the latest attacks on IDF soldiers.
Palestinian Authority refrains from condemning soldier killings
EU, US and UN denounce the attacks, Hamas hails them; PA’s foreign minister says they are no reason for Israel to divert from peace process
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister said Monday that the slaying of two Israeli soldiers by Palestinians in separate incidents in three days should not influence peace negotiations. The statement marked the only official comment on the issue from Palestinian officials, who refrained from condemning the killings.
Fatah Wing: We're Behind Kidnap, Murder of IDF Soldier
Fatah's military wing, the Al Aqsa Brigades, on Sunday took responsibility for the murder of IDF soldier Tomer Hazan Friday. According to Israeli officials, Nadal Amar, the terrorist who killed Hazan, was not affiliated with any terror group.
Netanyahu: Resettle Beit Hamachpela in Hevron
In the wake of the killing of an IDF soldier by a Palestinian sniper in Hebron Sunday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the immediate resettlement of Beit Hamachpela, a building near the West Bank city’s Tomb of Patriarchs which was previously boarded up by order of the Defense Ministry.
Sgt. Gal Gabriel Kobi, 20, from Tirat HaCarmel was shot in the neck at an IDF checkpoint near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and succumbed to his wounds in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
“Those who try to uproot us from Hebron, the city of our forefathers, will only achieve the opposite,” said Netanyahu in a statement. “We will continue to fight terrorism with one hand, and strengthen settlements with the other.”
IDF still combing Hebron for sniper who killed soldier
Israeli security forces searched Hebron throughout Sunday night and into Monday morning in a hunt for a sniper who shot dead an IDF soldier, the second serviceman to die at the hands of Palestinian attackers in the West Bank in as many days.
Two suspects were reportedly arrested overnight and two hunting rifles confiscated in the course of the IDF’s operations in the city.
'An Amazing Son, a Wonderful Brother and a Good Friend'
One of Gal's friends, who studied with him at the Shipman School before his enlistment to the army, told Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom: "Gal was an amazing son to his parents, a wonderful brother and a good friend. He was the salt of the earth. Gal was so motivated about the army and always dreamed of serving in the Givati Brigade."
MK Regev: Ahmed Tibi A 'Traitorous Trojan Horse'
Knesset Interior Committee chairperson MK Miri Regev (Likud) on Sunday slammed Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, calling him a “trojan horse” who was working to destroy Israel from the inside.
Regev made the comments in the wake of a video publicized by Arutz Sheva, in which Tibi is seen saying that Jews should be prevented from visiting the Temple Mount, because they would “contaminate” it.
Rights group slams PA treatment of demonstrators
In a report, Amnesty detailed “unprovoked and unlawful attacks on peaceful protesters” by police and security personnel, and accused the Palestinian Authority of allowing them to do so with impunity.
“Standards during the policing of demonstrations in the West Bank continue to fall woefully short of those prescribed by international law,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa director of Amnesty International. “As a result, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are being severely eroded.”
Iran reportedly resumes backing of Hamas
On Monday, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported that Egyptian security had stopped coordinating with Hamas, insisting on speaking solely to the “official Palestinian authority,” a reference to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
“Coordination with Hamas is out of the question at the moment, especially given the attacks on [Egyptian] police and army posts, and the plan to occupy Sinai in a bid to expand Hamas’s foothold for the benefit of others,” Al-Akhbar’s unnamed security sources said.
Flotilla Group IHH Slams Egypt for Gaza Suffering
An international anti-Israel group that has sponsored several flotillas to Gaza is now taking aim at Egypt, accusing the new government there of imposing a blockade on the area.
Since the deposing of President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian army, Egyptian soldiers have cracked down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood - arresting scores, including most of the movement's leadership, routing Islamists in Egypt's large cities and pursuing them into the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, they have taken steps to prevent entry of Gazan Arabs – who are largely supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood – into the Sinai region.
How Iran Uses Terror Threats To Successfully Deter U.S. Military Action
Iran and its allies have proven their willingness to use force against America—as witnessed by the April 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut; the October 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut; the 1998 bombing of Khobar Towers, which housed U.S. servicemen in Saudi Arabia; and Iran’s war against American troops in Iraq, which lasted until Obama’s 2011 withdrawal.
And those are just the operations that the Iranians pulled off. Iran has also launched plenty of other operations against the United States and its allies that are no less menacing, even though they failed. In the last few years, Iran and Hezbollah have plotted attacks in, among other places, Thailand, India, Kenya, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. A recent bombing in Bulgaria and a terror plot in Cyprus sent the clear message that Iran has also resumed operations in Europe after many years of avoiding violence on the continent.
Anne Bayefsky: President Obama Doesn’t Understand Rouhani
Nevertheless, the person who really runs Iran — Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — has decided a new tone is in order. President Obama is clearly desperate for any lifeline. Why not toss him a “moderate” Iranian that the American president can use to avoid doing anything serious about preventing an Iranian nuke.
In light of Obama’s extreme reluctance to use “unbelievably small” force — as Secretary of State John Kerry described Obama’s Syria plan — manufacturing Rouhani’s moderate credentials is proving to be a piece of cake.
Iran's Disinformation War
In addition, in 2013, pro-regime activists established hundreds of fake social media accounts and blogs, purporting to belong to BBC journalists and their Iranian colleagues. Iranian agents even created an imitation BBC website, persianbbc.ir. The fake site mirrors the BBC's actual site in design and fonts, but includes stories such as, "Death of Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein: fabricated stories by Washington" and "BBC colluding with Israel to attack Iran." Further articles accuse the BBC and other Western press of censorship and media manipulation; blog posts within the sham website include articles by BBC journalists in which they supposedly confess to acts of sexual deviancy.
Meanwhile, relatives of BBC Persia's actual staff have been arrested and threatened by Iranian intelligence agents. Anonymous callers have also accused the BBC Persian staff of being drug dealers and apostates.
Syria: 'Bashar al-Assad ordered me to gas people - but I could not do it'
Gen Sakat says he was ordered three times to use chemical weapons against his own people, but could not go through with it and replaced chemical canisters with ones containing harmless bleach.
He also insists that all such orders had to come from the top – President Assad himself – despite insistent denials by the regime that it has never used chemical weapons.
Jews, Germany, Syria, and Poison Gas
In 1991, investigative journalist Kenneth Timmerman’s book, The Death Lobby, annotated in great detail the German businesses that sold poison gas components and missile technology to Saddam Hussein with the complicity of the German government. More recently Timmerman wrote, “The overwhelming majority of technical expertise, know-how, and design information of the Iraqi dictator’s chemical weapons plants came from German companies. The nerve and mustard gas was produced in German-built factories in Samarra and Fallujah.” Tens of thousands of Iranians and as many as 5,000 Kurds were killed by Saddam’s use of poison gas.
And along with the poison gas capabilities, German companies sold missile technology to Saddam. And not just to Saddam.
Russia Mulls Sending Troops to 'Monitor' Syrian Chemical Weapons
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested his country could send a small contingent of military personnel to monitor the handover of Syrian chemical weapons to international observers.
Under the terms of a Russian-brokered deal, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would avoid western military strikes in response to a chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus which killed more than 1,000 people, by agreeing to hand over its entire chemical arsenal to international monitors. Following a comprehensive handover, the weapons would then be destroyed.
Fears Grow Over Potential Arab Pivots to Russia, China
Foreign policy watchers are increasingly fearful that U.S. policy in the Middle East is pushing long-time U.S. allies to pivot to American geopolitical rivals such as Russia and China. Tom Nichols and John R. Schindler, foreign policy scholars who make it clear that they agree on almost nothing, co-published an article this week in the National Interest that was perhaps the precise opposite of sanguine:
Pakistan: 75 Dead in Attack on Church
A double bombing at a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan has killed at least 75 people. The bomber struck as hundreds of worshipers walked out of church toward a food distribution area on the lawn outside.
The attack is one of the deadliest to target Pakistan’s Christian minority in years. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it is widely assumed to be the work of a militant Muslim group.


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