Tuesday, January 05, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: PA and Fatah: Israel steals organs of dead terrorists
As the Palestinian wave of terror attacks against Israelis continues and more terrorists are killed while attempting to murder Israelis, the PA and Fatah have revived an old libel, often documented by Palestinian Media Watch, which claims that Israel steals body parts from the dead terrorists before handing them over to the PA.
Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen stated on PA TV that Israel's takes whatever organs it needs:
Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen: "There are Israeli testimonies acknowledging that organs are being taken from the bodies of young Martyrs. While the body is with the Israelis, organs are taken according to Israel's needs, and afterwards they hand over the body [to the PA] with conditions... including not allowing the body to be autopsied, in order to cover it up."[Official PA TV, Dec. 27, 2015]
The Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain Khaled Aref added to the allegations, saying Israel trades in the stolen organs: Israel "steals the Martyrs' organs, and sells them," he said. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 17, 2015]
Fatah official: Israel steals organs from “Martyrs” and forbids Palestinians to do autopsies

Caroline Glick: The return of the rule of law
Last October, as the Palestinians began their latest round of terrorist war against Israel, lawmakers from the Joint Arab List participated in mass anti-Israel rallies in major Arab towns. One such rally in Nazareth in mid-October attracted some 2,500 participants. After it ended, some demonstrators started throwing rocks at Jews.
The next day, MK Ayman Odeh, who heads the Joint Arab List stood on a street in Nazareth and gave a live interview to Channel 2 news.
Just as the camera began filming, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam drove down the street. Seeing Odeh, Salam stopped his car and began bellowing, “Get out of here! Enough of your interviews. Go ruin things somewhere else!” Odeh tried lamely to get the camera to stop filming. But Salam continued shouting.
“You guys ruined the city. I’m the mayor… there wasn’t even one Jew here today. Not even one! What are you being interviewed about? What are you doing to us?... You had a march, you guys torched the world. Shut up! Leave! Move it!” Salam’s outburst did not come out of nowhere. He was voicing the frustration that most Israeli Arabs feel towards their Knesset representatives who spend far more time demonizing Israel than advancing the interests of Arab Israelis inside of Israel.
According to the latest detailed survey of Arab Israelis published in November by Prof. Sami Smooha, 60 percent of Israeli Arabs do not trust their representatives in the Knesset. Two thirds of Israeli Arabs say that their Knesset representatives are not advancing their interests.
A full 80% of Israeli Arabs believe that it is the job of the Arab members of Knesset to advance their communal interests rather than concentrate on political war against Israel.
Jews and Palestinians — The difference between us and them
The survey, which was carried out by Dr. Khalil Shikaki among a random sampling of some 1,270 Palestinians adults, firmly puts to rest the assertion that only a small fraction of our foes support violence and terrorism against innocent civilians.
The numbers speak for themselves: A whopping 67 percent of Palestinians – two out of every three! – support stabbing attacks against Israelis.
Think about that for a moment. It means that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians see absolutely nothing wrong with the act of picking up a knife and plunging it into another human being simply because he or she is an Israeli Jew.
This is not a matter of moral cowardice, it is a collective descent into depravity.
Of course, every society has its fringes, those who embrace immoral or destructive behavior. But when such immorality becomes the norm, when tormenting the innocent is considered a socially acceptable path, then how can one possibly even consider making peace with such people? The study also revealed that 60% of Palestinians support a return to an armed intifada and that 66% believe that such a violent uprising would “serve Palestinian national interests.”
This data indicates the extent to which carnage and bloodshed are viewed as being legitimate tools of political expression by Palestinian society.

Why the World Blames Israel for ISIS and All Other Problems
ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently turned his threats towards Israel. In the war against ISIS, while other countries are perceived as victims of radical Islam, Israel is perceived as its perpetrator. So when ISIS sets its eyes on Israel, the world is more likely to sigh in relief than in concern. Fortunately, Israel is the only country that can land a lethal blow against ISIS.
Europe’s greatest fear today is fundamentalist Islam, and many Europeans openly proclaim that their problems are Israel’s fault. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, Dutch Socialist Party leader Jan Marijnissen, and Albrecht Schröter, the mayor of Jena, Germany, are a few of the many who blame Israel for Islamic terror.
Another visible example of the global mindset concerning Israel is the grossly one-sided media coverage of the current wave of terrorism happening in Israel. Imagine the uproar if the headline of a respectable newspaper reported the San Bernardino massacre like this: “16 people die in gunfire episode in San Bernardino, California.” Or in traditional anti-Israeli media style: “Police shoot dead two people in San Bernardino, California. 14 others are hurt as well.”
So why do otherwise sensible, enlightened people become almost blind fanatics when it comes to Israel? Clearly, reason has nothing to do with it. It is a gut feeling that tells people that they are right to blame Israel and the Jews for everything, even if they can’t explain it logically.
John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, We Must Fight Ideology — Not Terrorism
This approach is pure fantasy. Our actions did not cause radical Islamists to hate us. Western efforts at appeasement will not induce more “moderate” policies from them.
We cannot remain crouched in the fetal position, hoping not to offend anyone, or respond to terrorism’s global reality only after we are attacked. We could make innumerable “reforms” to Western behavior that the radicals deem offensive, but it would not alter their ideology. If anything, it would only convince them that many in the West have lost faith in their basic values and philosophy of freedom. Our efforts at appeasement, in this uncomfortably accurate light, are simply evidence of the underlying decay of Western culture itself.
Similarly, ad hoc law-enforcement responses to individual terrorist acts are insufficient. There are simply too many aspiring San Bernardino shooters; too many Tsarnaev brothers; too many Major Nidal Hasans; too many Boko Harams; too many terrorists in Benghazi, the Islamic State, and Afghanistan. Even legitimate law-enforcement surveillance efforts, themselves under assault, will never suffice to protect the United States and our allies against an army of hostile, ideological terrorists.
Refusing to acknowledge that we face an ideologically motivated foe is not a grand strategy. It has already failed for almost 30 years, even as the radical ideology fueling terrorism has spread, gaining countless new adherents. In the war we are in, not of our choosing but because we are being attacked, the only long-term strategy is to destroy the enemy, not try to appease it. That is what the voter should be demanding to hear from the presidential candidates. For as Winston Churchill said, confronting the Nazi ideology, “without victory, there is no survival.”
Father of alleged TA gunman suspected of being accomplice
The Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday remanded for two days the father of a fugitive man suspected of shooting up a Tel Aviv bar on Friday, killing two Israelis, before going on to kill a cab driver elsewhere in the city.
Mohammed Milhem, the father of 29-year-old Nashat Milhem, was arrested and questioned Tuesday along with five others. He is suspected of being an accessory to the murder, and of obstructing the investigation.
Police had asked the court to keep Mohammed Milhem in custody for 12 days.
The suspected killer’s uncle and several other unnamed relatives and friends were also remanded Tuesday in connection with the attack.
But the court ordered police to release Milhem’s brother Jaudat from custody.
Police suspect Tel Aviv terrorist's family hid him
In addition five others were arrested, two of them family members of the terrorist and three others acquaintances of his. Among them was a man who worked with Nashat Melhem at a construction site in Tel Aviv.
Two of Melhem's brothers were also arrested in the last three days on similar suspicions to those leveled against his father, although the Haifa Magistrate's Court on Tuesday ordered police to release one brother, Juadat, to house arrest, after his detention had already been extended once.
Police reportedly estimate that those who were arrested helped the terrorist escape from the Tel Aviv area and hide, and therefore searches have begun in the Wadi Ara region on Tuesday.
The terrorist intentionally threw away his phone before carrying out the attack, showing his cunning in making it harder to track him. Police believe he contacted his family through other means after having ditched his phone.
Nahmi Feinblat, the lawyer of Mohammed Melhem, told Walla on Tuesday that the arrest of Melhem's father and family members is meant to pressure the terrorist to turn himself in. According to the lawyer the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) is under pressure to catch the terrorist before he strikes again, and therefore it is targeting the family as a pressure tool.
Melhem's father Mohammed on Monday called for his son to turn himself in to authorities, and initially he reported to police that it was his son who conducted the shooting, in which Nashat murdered two people in a Tel Aviv pub. An hour later he apparently murdered a taxi driver as well.
Unnerved Tel Aviv Parents Keep Their Children Home From School Fearing Gunman on the Loose
As the manhunt continued for the perpetrator of last Friday’s shooting at a popular outdoor pub in central Tel Aviv, parents defied defense officials’ urging for normalcy and kept their children home from school.
According to Israel’s army radio, Galatz, only 30 percent of students showed up for class at the Alliance high school in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood in northern Tel Aviv, where the cell phone of the shooter was discovered on Sunday and searches were especially heavy.
In the rest of Tel Aviv, municipal authorities said school attendance hovered at around 80%.
At the same time, city officials said the city was functioning on heightened security. Additional police — both undercover and uniformed — as well as Shin Bet agents were deployed round-the-clock, they said, according to Israeli news website nrg. Security was bolstered around schools until the evening hours.
MEMRI: Palestinian Journalists, Intellectuals Speak Out Against Children Participating In Terrorist Attacks And Against Targeting Civilians
The PA and Fatah do not condemn stabbing or even shooting attacks, and its officials and media outlets justify the current wave of terrorism, lionize its participants, commemorate attackers who were "martyred" and praise perpetrators who survived the attack. They also accuse Israel of executing Palestinians, especially children, and claim that it still intends to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Despite the atmosphere of incitement and accusations against Israel by the PA, several Palestinian intellectuals and journalist, including Hafez Al-Barghouti, the former editor of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and a Fatah Revolutionary Council member, have criticized the attacks, and especially those carried out by children. They expressed outrage at the participation of teenagers, including very young ones, in stabbing attacks against Israelis, claiming that it was not the place of children, and that their childhood and lives must be protected. They accused the leadership of Palestinian organizations of "trading in the blood of children" and sending them to die by encouraging them to carry out such attacks and praising and glorifying those who do. Some intellectuals called to instill in the public and the youth values of life, study and work, rather than values of seeking death.
Some writers also urged the Palestinians to avoid harming Israeli civilians, for both moral and practical reasons. On the moral level, they claimed that Palestinians must preserve their humanity; on the practical level, they argued that harming civilians, especially at the present time, harms the Palestinian struggle and casues it to be associated with the global terrorism led by ISIS. Some even called to cease stabbing attacks due to their lack of effectiveness and their heavy cost in Palestinian lives, and called to find alternative modes of struggle.
Suspected East Jerusalem terrorist caught after Herzliya manhunt
An East Jerusalem man in his 20s who is suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, has been caught, police say Tuesday.
The suspect told family members he was going to carry out an extreme act.
He was caught on the corner of Sokolov and Ahad Haam streets in the city.
Investigators are continuing to search for possible accomplices, but police say the danger to Herzliya residents is over.
According to reports, the suspect fought with his father before leaving his family home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Tsur Baher saying he planned to carry out an attack.
IDF to deploy neck armor as answer to stabbing attacks
In the coming weeks, the IDF will distribute a newly designed neck guard to better protect soldiers serving in the West Bank against the threat of knife attacks, an army official said Monday.
Stabbings have become a method of choice for Palestinians in the latest round of violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers that has swept the country since mid-September. Though IDF soldiers are mostly protected from attacks with helmets and ceramic bulletproof vests, one sensitive area remains exposed: the neck.
This type of attack is relatively new to the IDF. In the beginning of November, the IDF’s Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank, contacted the army’s Logistics and Technology Directorate to request new equipment that could protect the soldiers serving there from the kind of attack they were liable to face, Lt. Col. Liron Segel, who runs the directorate’s Personal Protection and Equipment Department, said Tuesday.
Segel’s unit set out to create such a device, one that would “strike a balance between the amount of area protected and comfort of the soldier,” he said.
70-Year-Old Light Rail Passenger Has Panic Attack, Faints When Jerusalem Train Pummeled in Palestinian Rock Attack
A 70-year-old Israeli woman fainted on the Jerusalem light rail on Monday when the train was attacked by rocks, the Hebrew news site 0404 reported.
The attack was carried out by Arab assailants in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. Though no passengers suffered from physical injury, the woman in question had a panic attack, causing her to lose consciousness.
The woman was treated on the scene by Hatzalah paramedics.
The Choice Facing Israeli Arabs
Prior to the 1993 peace accords, Israeli Arabs didn’t refer to themselves “Palestinians” but instead insisted on being called as well as being treated as “Israelis.” Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as the governing body of the West Bank and Gaza (which is now ruled by Hamas), that changed. Though few would wish to be governed by the Fatah kleptocracy that runs the West Bank or the Islamist tyranny of Hamas, the notion of a specifically Israeli Arab identity has been downgraded in favor of a more general Palestinian one. That doesn’t relieve Israel of its obligation to serve all of its citizens equally. But it does exacerbate the issue of divided loyalties that has afflicted Israeli Arabs since the inception of the state. That’s especially true if Israeli Arabs are now thinking about the conflict with the same level of extremism and intolerance that characterizes the views of most Palestinians.
In that sense Netanyahu is right. Israeli Arabs cannot believe themselves as being at war with the country in which they are living and expect this situation to be blithely accepted by their Jewish neighbors or to not damage the society from which they rightly demand equal rights.
We must hope that the New Year’s Day horror in Tel Aviv won’t be repeated but Israel has a right to expect all its citizens will denounce this crime and oppose those who call for its repetition. Israel isn’t perfect but, in its 67+ years of existence, it has proved that a Jewish state can survive while offering its Arab minorities equal rights. But Israeli Arabs must understand that by not standing up against incitement to violence and supporting political parties that call for Israel to be abolished, they are not helping the cause of equality or coexistence. Those who concentrate their fire on Netanyahu while ignoring this growing problem are doing Israel’s Arab citizens no favors.
Hebrew U lecturer: Arab terrorists braver than Jews
Dr. Dmitry Shumsky of Hebrew University published an article in Ha'aretz Monday in which he pointed out alleged differences between Arab terrorism against Jews and the attack on the Dawabshe family in the village of Duma, which Israeli security forces found to have been perpetrated by Jews.
Shumsky is a former director of the university's Bernard Cherrik Center for the Study of Zionism, the Yishuv and the State of Israel.
He said that, while Arab terrorism is "an extreme and illegitimate component" of the otherwise "legitimate" Arab "resistance" to Israeli "occupation" of Arab land, Jewish terrorism is "an extreme and illegitimate component" of the Israeli "occupation," which is ab initio illegitimate and unjust.
Another difference, he argued, is that the Arab attacks on Jews – including those against children and the elderly – are usually carried out by people who are "clearly willing to die on the spot and thus pay the price for their deeds." While Shumsky denied that he was encouraging this terror or expressing admiration for its perpetrators, he insisted that "no small degree of courage" is required for a person to attack armed soldiers with a knife, for instance.
Dagbladet is more worried about stone throwing Palestinian dolls than murdered Israelis
Dagbladet got hold of the story how the Israeli Foreign Ministry is distributing seized stone throwing Palestinian dolls, on their way to gladden the heart of Palestinian children (or incitement, depending on your point of view), among diplomatic stations around the world. An outrage if we are to believe Dagbladet’s choice of commentator, the leader of the Pal Com!
Its almost too fantastic to be true! Rather than being concerned about what such dolls might do to fragile children’s minds (because if somebody distributed anything like this in Norway, particularly if it could be construed to be against immigrants, then all hell would break loose), they seem more concerned that Palestinian children who do attack, murder or maim Israelis more often than not end up dead.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ecology-Minded Palestinians Send Children To Attack: ‘Renewable’ (satire)
Environmental organizations praised Palestinian leaders today for their use of children and teens in attacks on Israel, noting that the phenomenon indicates the society’s awareness of the importance of using renewable resources.
Following this morning’s (Tuesday) stabbing attack by a Palestinian fifteen-year-old on Israelis at the Gush Etzion Junction south of Jerusalem, the Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, and the Nature Conservancy issued a joint statement of appreciation for the continuing effort of Palestinian leaders in encouraging the use of renewable resources such as children as part of their militancy. A large percentage of Palestinian attackers have been minors, and the Palestinian population is disproportionately youthful, and tends to marry and reproduce at a young age, facts that the organizations pointed to as evidence that the Palestinian leadership is making wise use of such renewable assets in encouraging that youthful demographic to try to kill Jews and likely die in the attempt.
“While the rest of the Middle Eastern societies mired in violent conflict make profligate use of weapons and logistical equipment that exacerbate the problematic level of atmospheric carbon and depletes our world of precious natural materials, Palestinians have applied principles congruent with the conservation of our precious resources,” said the statement. “This is visible both in the emphasis on encouraging children to fight and in using such manifestly renewable items as rocks.”
Analysis: Hezbollah's revenge against Israel shows a weakened terrorist organization
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave no less than three speeches in the last week in which he vowed to avenge the death of Samir Kuntar.
On Monday afternoon he tried to follow through on the promise and, fortunately, he did not have much success. Hezbollah can tell its supporters that it avenged the death of Samir Kuntar and embellish the lie published in the Lebanese media that the attack's target was a senior IDF officer or Mossad operative. Israel could have retaliated to the attack with great force by deploying the air force, but made due with a minimal response.
The incident reflects the new reality on the northern border. The Syrian civil war, in which Hezbollah is involved up to its neck and has already lost about a quarter of its military force, has neutralized the Shi'ite-Lebanese organization's ability to act against Israel. Almost ten years have passed since the Second Lebanon War, and Israel's deterrence is still holding. Hezbollah does not want to find itself in a conflict with Israel on the border, forced to open up a second front in addition to its ongoing role in the Syrian conflict.
However, if Hezbollah acts in accordance with its image, the group cannot let slide the series of hits it has taken at the hands of Israel in recent years. According to reports, Israel has opened up a second front against Hezbollah in Syria. On at least ten occasions in the last three years, the air force has attacked convoys carrying long-range missiles and air defense batteries from Syria to Hezbollah.
IDF Refutes Hezbollah Version of Attack on Israeli Patrol Along Lebanese Border
Hezbollah news sources Al-Manar and Al-Ahed claimed the organization had targeted a high-ranking Israeli officer in its attack on the Shebaa Farms, also known as Har Dov, with an explosive device. Other Lebanese news sites said that a senior Mossad official was the target, without explaining why such an official would be present at the location of the attack.
The attack, carried out by the terror group’s “Martyr Samir Kuntar Brigade,” was said to be a response to last month’s assassination of Hezbollah official Kuntar, for which Hezbollah holds Israel accountable. In its statement claiming responsibility for the attack, Hezbollah said it had “destroyed a Humvee vehicle and inflicted casualties on those inside it.” Al-Manar quoted “security sources” saying that one of the targeted vehicles was carrying the senior IDF officer.
The IDF denied all the above reports, asserting that no Israeli casualties had been incurred. IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Moti Almoz said that two heavy armored vehicles, one of which was a D-9 armored bulldozer, were attacked, and not a Humvee as claimed by Hezbollah.
UN envoy: Israel will act forcefully against those who attack it
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, has filed an official complaint with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council after a bomb set by Hezbollah detonated near IDF forces along the Lebanese border.
"This is a blatant violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701," Danon charged, adding that "the UN must condemn the terror attacks against Israel and demand Lebanon stop all terrorist activity coming from its territory."
Danon stressed that Israel will not accept an attack on its sovereignty and will act on all fronts against those who us violence against it.
While the UN peacekeeping force that monitors the area did urge an end to violence, it also singled out Israel for responding with artillery fire to Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.
UNIFIL Steps up Patrols in Southern Lebanon Following Hezbollah Attack on IDF
The head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon urged all sides to “exercise utmost restraint” in the wake of the Hezbollah terror group’s attack on two Israeli army vehicles at the Israel-Lebanon border on Monday.
“The need of the time is to maintain security vigil and to exercise utmost restraint against any provocation,” U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano said, noting that UNIFIL has stepped up patrols in the area.
“General calm has been restored in the area and the parties have reassured me of their continued commitment to maintain the cessation of hostilities in accordance with [UN] resolution 1701,” he added.

New Law Forces International Banks to Blacklist Hezbollah or Face U.S. Sanctions
The law, which is modeled on previous legislation that targeted Iran, will impose sanctions on any bank that facilitates transactions on Hezbollah’s behalf. Because Hezbollah often sets up front companies to handle its finances, the banks will be required to ensure that they are not conducting business even indirectly with the terror group.
Late last month, The Times of Israel reported that Hezbollah is suffering from a financial crisis and failed to pay salaries to its officials in November and December.
In September, Iran announced that it was boosting its funding of Hezbollah and Hamas in anticipation of the sanctions relief that Tehran is expecting to receive from the nuclear deal.
Russia asks Hezbollah to calm tensions with Israel
Following yesterday’s incident on Israel’s northern border, Russia has asked Hezbollah to calm down. According to Al-Arabia reports, Moscow, which assists the terror organization in Syria, has made a direct request to desist from further “igniting the wick of confrontation” between the terror organization and Israel.
Israel and Russia are in direct communication regarding the airspace over Syria, in an effort to prevent any mishaps between the two countries. Russia, however, is afraid that the situation, which has already deteriorated since the death of Samir Kuntar two weeks ago, will continue to deteriorate.
Context Goes Missing From Hezbollah Border Attack
So what is the context that the above media outlets are missing?
Hezbollah has used the presence of Israeli troops in the area to justify continued attacks after the Jewish state withdrew from south Lebanon in May 2000. …
Israel maintains that the sector is part of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981.
Lebanon also claims sovereignty over the area.
The border between the two countries was set by the United Nations after the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.
The exact border was never clearly established, however, because the British and French colonial powers did not decide in 1923 precisely where they felt Lebanon, British-mandated Palestine and Syria intersected.
Syria took advantage of the oversight to extend its domination over the area in 1957, and held it for 10 years.
In 2000, the UN concluded that the Shebaa Farms were Syrian, but Lebanon has since asked the global body to reexamine the issue.

Despite this important background information, it appears that some media are simply too lazy to entertain anything other than framing the story as one of legitimate Hezbollah grievances against Israeli ‘occupiers’ of Lebanese land.
Return Meaning to Terrorism List
Over the last 24 hours, Pakistani-harbored terrorists attacked India’s Pathankot base in the Punjab province, and subsequently attacked India’s consulate in the northern Afghan town of Mazar-i-Sharif. The attackers appear to have been trained by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Diplomats might try to obfuscate, but the facts are clear: Pakistan is a state-sponsor of terrorism.
That it is not listed as such, however, is a castigation of just how meaningless the State Department’s “State Sponsors of Terrorism List” has become. Created in 1979, the List was for decades a rogue’s gallery: North Korea, Iraq, Libya, South Yemen, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Designation as a state sponsor of terrorism brought with it mandatory sanctions and restrictions which both by law and because of reputation risk undercut the ability and willingness of many companies to invest within a designated country.
A generation of diplomats, however, has moved to treat the list as subjective rather than objective, thereby undermining both the stigma associated with being listed as well as the very real fight against terrorism. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for example, de-listed North Korea in 2008 less because Pyongyang had ceased its support for terrorists and more to try to jump-start a peace process, a political ‘Hail Mary’ pass to change her boss’s foreign policy legacy. Meanwhile, regime change in Libya and Iraq led to their removal from the list.
President Barack Obama entered office promising to talk to any enemy with whom he could engage diplomatically, and he wasted no time doing so. By the time Iranians rose in protest against fraudulent elections in June 2009, he had written a couple of letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who returned the favor by mocking Obama on the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
JPost Editorial: Sunni versus Shi’ite
If Iran and Saudi Arabia openly clash, stability in the region will be compromised. And stability is important for Israel. The fragile situation on our northern border is an example of how conflicts in one area of the region metastasize to other areas. Fighting in Syria and Iraq has attracted thousands of extremists and has essentially given birth to the phenomenon of Islamic State.
Also, notes Guzansky, if Saudi Arabia and Iran were to be tied down in a fight, it would weaken the coalition against Islamic State. And fighting IS is, after all, an Israeli interest.
Finally, says Guzansky, the former head of the Iran desk in the National Security Council, while Saudi Arabia is certainly no friend of Israel, the two countries share their own common enemy – Iran. The Iranians, unlike the Saudis, have declared themselves to be enemies of the Jewish state and have threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” Iran with nuclear weapon capability is as much a threat to Saudi Arabia as it is to Israel.
Perhaps one good thing might come out of the recent tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, says Guzansky. Yet another example is being provided of how absurd it is to talk of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the catalyst of all that goes wrong in the Middle East. It is the Sunni-Shi’ite divide, more than any other factor, that is driving unrest in the region, and clashes between Shi’ites and Sunnis are not an Israeli interest
Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli angle
Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the National Security Council and, before that, of Military Intelligence, told The Jerusalem Post there could be two immediate ramifications for Israel.
The first, he said, is that the crisis will prolong the Syrian civil war, in which Iran and Saudi Arabia are backing different forces, and the second is that the crisis with Riyadh will mean Tehran will have an additional front and point of friction to keep in mind when making decisions, including those having to do with Israel.
Referring to attempts to negotiate an end to the Syrian crisis, Amidror, who is now a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, said: “Anyone who thinks he will be able to bring about calm here does not know where they are living. It is clear that so much oil has been poured on the flames now that I don’t know how long it will take to put them out.”
The second immediate fallout from the diplomatic crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia is that the Iranians will now have to factor in another point of friction in their decision making, he said.
No country has infinite energy, he said, and Iran – when making its decisions – will now have to take into consideration their considerable conflict with Saudi Arabia.
“They will be busy with other things,” he said.
“That doesn’t meant they won’t do anything [toward Israel]. This doesn’t mean, for instance, that this will influence Hezbollah [backed by Iran] not to carry out revenge attacks against Israel. But it means that whenever there is something, there will be someone in Iran who will say that they have other problems to think about; we will not be the only issue they will be focusing on.
Bernard-Henri Lévy: The World Must Stand Up to Saudi Arabia
In the face of this disaster the international community is doing precisely nothing.
The democracies, in particular and as usual, have daintily averted their gaze.
No one even seems to want to recall, for example, that a representative of this country gone mad chairs a key panel of the UN Human Rights Council. What a cruel irony!
No one has the power to change the nature of the Saudi regime. But it should not be so difficult for the country’s partners, those that sell it fighter planes and buy its black gold, to curb its homicidal enthusiasm by telling it that in addition to oppressing its people it is threatening the peace of the region and the world.
“It’s the oil, stupid!” — a knock-off of the signature slogan of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign against Bush Senior — works in both directions. In this fool’s game writ large where each takes the other hostage, the one who has the greatest interest in coming to terms and who will, therefore, be the first to yield, is not necessarily the one we think.
Iran and Russia Seek to Topple the Saudi Monarchy
There is plenty of bad blood between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the champions of the warring Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam, but there is also a simple dollars-and-cents reason Iran and Russia want to take out the Saudi monarchy: oil.
Iran already has ample reason to want to topple the Saudis, who are its main antagonist in the Shiite vs. Sunni conflict that has swept the region amid America’s retreat. The two are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, after a Saudi-led coalition intervened to stop a takeover by Iran’s Houthi allies. The Saudis are also the leading supporter of the non-Islamic State Sunnis who are fighting Syria’s ally Bashar Assad. Russia and Iran are allied with Assad.
Then there’s Saudi oil production keeping oil prices low. As the biggest exporters in OPEC, the Saudis have refused to cut production to stem a supply glut that has cut prices to $37 a barrel. This means Iran will get much less benefit from its renewed ability to export oil under its nuclear accord with Mr. Obama.
Saudi exports are also punishing Russia, the world’s second largest oil producer, which by some accounts needs oil at $100 a barrel to satisfy Vladimir Putin’s domestic promises. The ruble dropped to its lowest level to the dollar in 2015 last week on the prospect of still-lower oil prices. Russia and Iran would benefit greatly from internal Saudi turmoil or the threat of a larger regional war that caused oil prices to spike.
Kuwait, too, recalls its Iran ambassador
Kuwait recalled its ambassador to Iran on Tuesday, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Sudan did the same and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) downgraded diplomatic ties with Tehran.
The growing rift between Iran and the Sunni Arab states follows attacks mounted on Saudi missions Sunday by Iranian protesters, who are upset over the execution of a Shi'ite preacher by the Saudis.
"An official source at the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said that the ministry recalled the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Islamic Republic of Iran on Tuesday morning Jan. 5, 2016, against the backdrop of the attacks carried out by crowds of demonstrators," Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA reported.
Bahrain cut ties with Iran on Monday and gave Iranian envoys 48 hours to leave its territory, shortly after Saudi Arabia issued a similar ultimatum. The Gulf allies accused Tehran of meddling in their affairs and giving safe haven to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.
Kirby: ‘Too Soon to Tell’ Whether Iranian Government Responsible for Embassy Attack
State Department spokesman John Kirby could not say Monday whether the Iranian government was at fault for recent attacks on the Saudi embassy in Iran.
When AP reporter Matt Lee asked Kirby whether the U.S. held the Iranian government responsible for the ransacking, Kirby said that it was too soon to judge.
“I think it’s too soon to tell right now,” Kirby said. “I mean, it just happened. It’s difficult with attacks like this of a violent nature to determine who exactly and precisely is at fault certainly in the hours afterward.”
He said that whoever is responsible for the attack should be punished, but that it is unclear who that is.
“Um, obviously, for an attack like this we want to see the perpetrators brought to justice. That’s clear, we’ve said that before. But I don’t know that we’re in a position now to know with any great detail who exactly is responsible,” he said.
UN Security Council condemns attacks against Saudi embassy in Iran
Member states of the United Nations Security Council released a statement on Monday evening condemning “in the strongest terms” the attacks against Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, and its Consulate General in Mashhad, in Iran.
The Security Council pointed out that diplomatic and consular premises are subject to a “fundamental principle of inviolability”. They added that the host governments of any embassy have an obligation, under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to “take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity.”
Members of the Council then called on the Iranian authorities to “protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel, and to respect fully their international obligations in this regard.”
They also called on Saudi Arabia and Iran to maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region.
Russia Bans Turkish Employees, Turkish Hackers Breach Moscow Instagram Acct
Tensions in the wake of the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey have not diminished at all since the incident occured on November 24; in fact the state-sponsored and non-governmental back-biting continues unabated.
Russian firms have been ordered to cease hiring Turkish citizens, and the Instagram account of at least one Russian governmental minister was breached by a Turkish cyberhacker group.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree December 1 “on measures to ensure national security of the Russian Federation from criminal and other illegal activities and the use of special economic measures against the Republic of Turkey.”
The restrictions on work visas do not, however, apply to some 53 construction and other firms with long-term contracts in Russia, according to the Sputnik news agency.

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