Tuesday, December 29, 2015

From Ian:

Israeli Aid Workers Abused at UN Refugee Camp
This article was apparently very poorly researched and Israel  Today removed it.
Only Palestinians are 'martyrs'

I will open with greetings for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, whom I view as true friends. As a writer and journalist from Kuwait, who is following the current wave of Palestinian knife and rock terrorism and Palestinian crimes against IDF soldiers and innocent Israelis, I can only express my support for every civilian and military action the free and independent State of Israel takes for the legitimate defense of the lives of its citizens and its land.
I am baffled by the international community's silence in the face of the crimes committed by Palestinian terrorists against the Israeli people. I am equally baffled by the international community's outcry against Israel's legal right to defend itself and its soldiers and against Israel's legitimate right to live and stand strong.
The Arab media has become afflicted with stupidity and delusion and has lost its ability make true distinctions. The words "wisdom" and "reason" are no longer part of its lexicon. It has become debased and mentally challenged. It considers the victims of battles in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. "casualties," whereas the Palestinian terrorists killed in the Gaza Strip or in the West Bank are dubbed "shahids" (martyrs). This same media, which is biased in favor of a group of people called "Palestinians," neglects every human, Arab, or Muslim issue and associates shahada (a martyr's death in the name of belief) with them only.
Israel likens Palestinian incitement to Nazi propaganda
The Foreign Ministry on Monday released a video on social media equating anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian media with Nazi-era imagery and propaganda.
The 49-second clip, which is titled "Nazi Propaganda returns in Palestinian incitement," shows anti-Semitic cartoons that were used in Europe to foment anti-Jewish animus.
The video then cuts to a number of anti-Israel cartoons that use similar themes and which appear regularly in Palestinian and Arab media and textbooks.
Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority of inciting the masses to commit acts of violence, including stabbings and car rammings, against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Nazi Propaganda returns in Palestinian incitement

This should be the fate of all the Kuntars of the world
The citizens of Israel deserve an offensive policy aimed at dismantling and defeating terrorist organizations and eliminating terrorists on an ongoing basis.
It is status-quo maintenance, in which the existing terrorist entities in Gaza and Lebanon are to be tolerated, not defeated.
In Israeli military-speak, only when the grass grows too high must it be cut and deterrence and quiet restored.
Until the next round, that is.
Maintaining the status quo on so many fronts, however, may be impossible. There is bound to be a breach, including due to battle fatigue or national exhaustion.
Examples include territorial withdrawals and terrorist releases by the hundreds or more, of which Kuntar was only one. Maintaining the status quo also means tolerating a certain level of terrorism perpetrated against Israelis.
The citizens of Israel deserve more. They deserve an offensive policy aimed at dismantling and defeating terrorist organizations and eliminating terrorists on an ongoing basis; a policy in which their government, not terrorism, is an irresistible force of nature, and stops at nothing to bring the people of Israel the terrorists’ heads on spikes and declares: thus ever to the Kuntars of the world.
Why Gaza Remains Isolated
There are two basic elements left out of the Times account of this incident and virtually every story in the international press about the plight of Gazans and the blockade.
One is that, contrary to most of the propaganda generated by the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Virtually every day, including during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas last year, there are convoys of food and medicine that enter the Strip from the Jewish state. Gaza may be poor, but its people are not starving or lacking medicine. Even the restrictions imposed by Israel that prevented the entry of building materials into Gaza have been eased since last year, although it is clear that — just as the Israelis feared — the concrete that has been allowed in has been used for the most part to rebuild Hamas fortifications not the homes of Palestinians. Moreover, those who need more advanced medical care than can be found in Gaza have the option of applying for entry to Israel. The Jewish state has admitted countless Palestinians who have gotten the benefit of the country’s excellent medical service.
Interestingly, the Hassan story revolves around his unsuccessful effort to get into Egypt for better medical care. If that is the case, then perhaps the Egyptians are even more wary of terrorists entering their country in the guise of medical patients, something that has happened numerous times at Israeli checkpoints with resultant casualties that can be credited to a willingness to treat Palestinians humanely.
But that brings us to the main point that is left out of the discussion about Gaza’s isolation: terrorism.
The Strip isn’t subject to a blockade because Israelis and Egyptians don’t like the Palestinians. It is cut off because, since the bloody 2007 coup in which Hamas seized power there from the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority that runs the West Bank, Gaza has been run by an organization that is designated as a terrorist group by the United States as well as neighboring Egypt and Israel. As a result of that coup that followed the complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, there is now an independent Palestinian state in all but name there. With its power, Hamas has converted this compact area into a fortress filled with underground warrens for their fighters and a vast store of rockets and munitions. It has used this base to launch cross-border terror raids via tunnels as well as to shoot thousands of missiles at Israeli cities, towns, and villages.
Douglas Murray: ‘Religion of peace’ is not a harmless platitude
We’re closing 2015 by republishing our ten most-read articles of the year. Here’s No10: Douglas Murray’s piece about Islam and violence, first written in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks but read most (and shared most widely) after the Bataclan atrocity.
The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.
In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.
All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.
Democrats Don't Know ISIS
Neither Obama nor Clinton ever mentions the three primary motivators of the Islamic State: Islamic tradition, its own successes and American weakness.
First, the desire to impose Sharia Law through a global Caliphate adhering to Islamic tradition is the number one motivational force behind the Islamic State. As it expands, the Islamic State is returning to the 7th-century practice of offering limited options to those it conquers: submission (i.e., conversion to Islam), death or the third choice, dhimmitude — a Jim Crow-like system under which the Caliphate forced non-Muslims to live in disarmed, captive thralldom. The Democrats never speak the word "dhimmitude," let alone explain ways that the Islamic State imposes it on the conquered.
Second, the phenomenal success that the Islamic State has achieved in a relatively short time has inspired many to join. Even the New York Times has recognized this fact.
And third, American and Western weakness in the face of the Islamic State expansion is a powerful motivator. As Osama bin Laden liked to say, when people have the choice between a strong and a weak horse, they invariably choose the strong one. Since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the restoration of the Caliphate, the Islamic State looks like the strong horse while the U.S. policy of "leading from behind" seems the epitome of weakness.
That the two most important Democrats fail to understand the enemy they face is a terrifying development, one that should undermine the public's faith in their leadership and honesty, if not their intelligence.
Trauma doctor: Terrorists know where to stab to maximize damage
The terrorists who are committing the stabbing attacks that have become all-too-prevalent in recent months seem to be operating in a calculated manner and are aiming their weapons deliberately, intending to kill, says Dr. Ofer Merin, head of the Trauma Unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
"The attackers know where they need to hit; it's not something random," Merin, who has become a familiar media figure in the past few months given the number of wounded requiring treatment, told a Magen David Adom conference on updates in emergency medicine Monday.
"Three weeks ago, we received a wounded [man] who is still hospitalized with four [stab] wounds: one to the lungs, one to the right atrium, one to the right ventricle, and one to the neck," Merin said. "It's as if someone read the manual, and a wounded person comes in with two wounds to the heart. You learn that they [the attackers] know where to strike."
The wounded man Merin mentioned is still listed in very serious condition and is on a respirator in a medically induced coma in the hospital's intensive care unit.
IDF deploys concrete barriers to northern border
The IDF began placing concrete barriers along Israel’s border with Lebanon in preparation for an expected Hezbollah attack in retaliation for the assassination — reportedly by Israel — of the terrorist Samir Kuntar in mid-December.
On Tuesday, barriers were placed along a section of Route 899, the mountainous road that follows the border between Israel and Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon.
The latest addition to the border follows months of bolstered fortifications along the border, along with other security measures.
The IDF has ordered farmers in the Metullah area not to approach the border fence, and bolstered the forces deployed to protect Israeli towns and village near the Lebanese border.
Report: Palestinians Using Laser Pointers to Blind Israeli Drivers
Palestinian agitators have purportedly been using laser pointers recently to blind Israeli drivers, local news website 0404 reported on Monday.
At least three such “laser attacks” have occurred on different routes in the West Bank, according to the report. During the latest incident, Palestinians from a village near Nablus used a green laser light to target one vehicle.
Israeli drivers said the lights severely hamper their vision and ability to safely operate their vehicles.
“You’re suddenly struck with a flash of light [aimed] at your eyes and it’s incredibly dangerous. High beams from an oncoming car are disruptive; so imagine what it’s like to have a laser beam directed right at your eyes,” one driver said.
Official: PA Lost $1.3 Billion in 3 Months Since Terror Wave Started
The Palestinian economy lost about $1.3 billion since the beginning of the recent wave of terrorism, Azmi Abdul Rahman, the official in charge of economic policy in the Palestinian Economy Ministry told Ma’an on Monday. According to Abdul Rahman, the provinces hit the hardest are Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Shechem and eastern Jerusalem, which used to welcome tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers, is standing empty now, which severely damages the Palestinian merchants in town,” he said. In addition, Abdul Rahman said, “60% of the businesses in eastern Jerusalem are now in danger of being closed down according to orders issued by Israel,” which he expects would bring up the poverty rate in the city to about 90%.
As a result of the escalation in violence, there was a sharp loss in Palestinian GDP following a drop in the size of the Palestinian labor force in Israel, both inside the “green line” and in Judea and Samaria, with preliminary figures standing at around $65 million, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Economy. Also, according to Abdul Rahman, the increased clashes between enthusiastic Arab youths and IDF soldiers over the past three months have sent to PA hospitals an estimated 6,000 injured, costing the Palestinian Authority coffers a whopping $65 million.
There are no hard and fast figures on the PA annual GDP, but it is estimated to hover between a low of $3 billion and an all time high, in 2012, of $6 billion. Israel’s annual GDP currently stands at $304 billion.
In WABC Report, Palestinian Assailants Are the Victims
An egregiously misleading and distorted Channel 7 WABC Christmas Eve news broadcast in New York (11 pm) depicts Palestinian assailants as victims. Anchor Shirleen Allicot concludes a brief report about Christmas in Bethlehem as follows:
They were not kept away by the recent wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Four Palestinians died in attacks across the West Bank. (Emphasis added.)
Viewers have no way of understanding from this skewed account that three of the Palestinians were killed as they carried out attacks against Israelis. The fourth was killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.
BESA: Jordanian Security and Prosperity: An Essential Aspect of Israeli Policy
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel has a strategic interest in, and long-standing commitment to, the safety, security, stability and prosperity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In current times, the relationship is buttressed by a broad-ranging series of cooperative ventures in the strategic, security, diplomatic, economic and energy fields.
An important common thread runs, if sometimes invisibly, through a number of apparently unrelated policy decisions and actions made by Israel in recent years. All have to do with Israel's strategic interest in, and long-standing commitment to, the safety, security, stability and prosperity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Among the decisions and actions that fall under this rubric are the understandings reached as to the maintenance of the status quo in the Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif compound; strategic advocacy on regional affairs with friends in Washington (particularly on Capitol Hill) and elsewhere; the stance taken by Israel towards the challenge posed by the so-called "Islamic State"; actions taken to prevent Iran and Hizbullah, directly or by proxy, from gaining a steady hold in the Golan, particularly in its southern parts; and the construction of a physical barrier along segments of Israel's border with Jordan.
Likud's first openly gay MK is sworn in, ultra-Orthodox absent
The newest MK arrived for his swearing-in ceremony accompanied by his partner, Alon, and their two young children, who were born to a surrogate mother in the U.S.; his parents; and many of his supporters in the gay community.
In his first Knesset speech, Ohana characterized himself as "a Jew, an Israeli, a Mizrahi [Jew from Arab countries], a homosexual, a Likudnik, strong on security, a liberal, and a supporter of a free economy."
"When a Jew is chased by shouts of 'Itbah al Yahud' ['Slaughter the Jew'] -- I am first and foremost a Jew," he said.
"When people shoot, boycott, label, and expel -- I'm a settler. When anyone seeks to eradicate a culture, minimize it, ignore it -- I'm Mizrahi. When IDF soldiers and the security forces are slandered -- I'm a soldier. When entire neighborhoods are not what they used to be and elderly women are forced to live out their lives barricaded inside and in fear -- I'm a resident of south Tel Aviv.
"When a person's appearance is sufficient reason to hate him, keep him out of the neighborhood and business -- I'm a haredi Jew who is unafraid. When a baby is burned alive with his family, damn it, 'ya ikhwan' ['we're brothers']. And when a young woman is stabbed to death at a march for love and tolerance -- I'm gay. A gay man who is longing for a better day -- who maybe gets up and brings it! A gay man who understands that the flag we carry -- lesbians, gays, trans people, and bisexuals -- is the flag of the colors of the rainbow. Colors -- members of the community -- not a color."
PreOccupiedTerritory: Herzog To Knesset Security: No Visitor IDs; ‘Jews Don’t Label Jews’ (satire)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog objected today to the current security measures in place at the parliamentary compound, by which non-dignitary visitors are issued a special sticker designating their status for security purposes, saying that such a policy violates the important principle of Jews not labeling other Jews.
Herzog made his remarks after the cabinet approved legislation requiring representatives of NGOs receiving more than half their funding from foreign government entities to wear a tag indicating that status whenever they have official interactions with State officials or institutions. Herzog and his political allies on the Israeli Left, especially human rights organizations, have compared the law to the unsavory policies of fascist regimes, and accused the government of attempting to silence dissent. In opposing the legislation, which still must pass several votes in the Knesset plenum to become law, Herzog invoked the identifying badges or garments Jews were forced to wear at various times and places in history, and declared that Jews should know better than to subject one another to such labels. As such, he stated, the security policy requiring visitors to apply an identifying sticker to their clothes smacks of the same discrimination and must cease.
“Jews do not label other Jews,” he averred, as he and other Opposition legislators wore a tag with the same slogan on it. “Any policy of requiring them to bear an indication of their difference from those around them recalls some of the darkest periods in our past, and blackens the name of Israeli democracy. The practice of degrading visitors by forcing them to wear such badges should never have been adopted to begin with, and must end immediately.”
Israel returns tomatoes to Gaza, sparking rumors
An IDF source confirmed to The Times of Israel on Tuesday that the tomatoes were rejected, but said there was no connection to cancer-causing chemicals. “Last Thursday there was a shipment of cabbage from the Gaza Strip to Israel that had within it a concealed shipment of undeclared tomatoes,” the source said. “This is against the protocols of the Agriculture Ministry and the tomatoes in question were sent back.”
Tahsin Al-Saqa, the head of marketing for the Gazan Agriculture Ministry, told Palestinian media Monday that the tomatoes were indeed hidden in a shipment of other vegetables. But, he claimed, the rumors of cancer-causing chemicals were malicious lies “spread by the occupation.”
According to Saqa, the tomatoes were embedded among the cabbages by enterprising Gazan agricultural traders who were trying to bypass a ban against tomato exports issued by his ministry two weeks ago. “Tomato exports to Israel are currently banned due to their scarcity in the Gaza Strip and the rise in price,” he said, attributing the dearth of tomatoes to a recent cold snap.
Al Jazeera Charts Home-Grown Rockets, Missiles Used by Gaza Terrorists Against Israel
Al Jazeera published an infographic purporting to show the rocket and missile arsenal belonging to Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
The chart allegedly lists Gaza’s domestically manufactured arsenal, only including models fired by Palestinian groups since 2001 — roughly a year after the start of the Second Intifada.
It also features a graphic of a map of Israel, along with the approximate range of each missile and rocket, illustrating that virtually the entire Jewish state is within the scope of Gaza’s missile capabilities — as far north as Haifa.
The longest-range rocket is the R-160, which apparently has a reach of 150-160 kilometers and carries a 175-kilogram payload. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas claimed on the website of its armed wing, the Izzadin Al Qassam Brigade, to have fired nine of these rockets, according to the Times of Israel. Al Jazeera says it was made in honor of Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, a co-founder of Hamas killed by the IDF in 2004.
Another rocket, the J-80, was used by the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigade during Operation Protective Edge, and has a range of 80 kilometers. The J-80 was apparently named after Ahmed Jabari, the reported second-in-command of Hamas’ military wing, who was liquidated by Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
Saving Gazans or Saving Gaza’s Terrorist Tunnels?
Fourteen Gaza tunnel diggers were rescued on December 28, 2015 after their smuggling tunnel collapsed, purportedly because of Egyptian flooding of the extensive tunnel system in Gaza.
Four days earlier, a militant Palestinian advocacy group, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), published an article and photographs headlined, “Egypt’s seawater pumping project endangers Gazan’s lives.”
“A great number of international NGOs saw [the Egyptian] project as “a new threat for the food security and the access to drinking water for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” ISM warned. “The Palestinian Government in Gaza [Hamas] demands that international agencies, such as the UN, take the required measures in order to stop and cancel this project that represents a clear violation of the international and humanitarian law and of the international conventions and principles regarding common cross-border water resources.”
Palestinian sources charged, “Besides the flooding, we are suffering from the contamination of the aquifers with sea water, the salinization of the croplands… And moreover, this project broke several pipelines that supplied drinking water and destroyed as well the sewage system in some areas near the border,” ISM reported.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas security forces round up Fatah activists in Gaza
Hamas security forces have rounded up scores of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip aimed at foiling Fatah’s plans to celebrate the 51st anniversary of its founding later this week, Fatah officials said on Monday.
Among those detained by Hamas are prominent leaders of Fatah in different parts of the Gaza Strip, the officials said.
They condemned the crackdown on their activists in Strip and said it would sabotage efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two rival parties.
Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah official in Gaza, said his faction planned to celebrate its anniversary in spite of the Hamas clampdown with rallies in the southern part of the Strip to mark the occasion.
Lebanese Military Court Accuses UNIFIL Worker of Collaborating With Israel
A Lebanese judge has issued an indictment against an employee of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on a charge of “collaborating with Israel.”
Lebanese Military Investigative Judge Riad Abou Ghida issued the order of indictment on Tuesday against UNIFIL employee Hani Matar. The judge also issued a similar indictment against Syrian national Ramez al-Sayyed and his wife, according to LBCEurope.
UNIFIL announced last month that one of its Lebanese employees had been transferred to Lebanese authorities after being accused of spying for Israel.
Although the charges were brought in Lebanon’s military court, Lt. Colonel Lila K. Chhetri, listed on the UNIFIL website as the agency’s senior military public information officer, declined to comment on the issue. JewishPress.com was unable to reach UNIFIL Public Information spokesperson Andrea Tenenti.
Poll: Record Level of Americans Say Terrorists Are Winning
The percentage of Americans who say the terrorists are currently winning the war against the U.S. is at its highest level since September 11, 2001, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.
The poll found that 40 percent of Americans say the terrorists are winning the war on terrorism, while just 18 percent said the U.S. and its allies are currently winning. Another 40 percent of Americans said “neither side” is winning and two percent had no opinion.
The share of Americans who said the U.S. and its allies are winning is at its the lowest point since CNN/ORC began asking the question following the September 11 attacks. Meanwhile the percentage of Americans who say the terrorists are winning is at its highlight point.
Prior to Monday’s poll, previous lows regarding success of the U.S. and its allies were in January 2007 when just 28 percent said they were winning and June 2006 (29 percent). Previous highs about the terrorists winning occurred in August 2006 and August 2005 when 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively said the terrorists were winning.
Fake US bills featuring face of IS boss found in Galilee
Fake American $100 bills featuring an image of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have been found scattered around several locations in the Galilee, Israel Police spokesperson Luba Samri said Monday.
The fake currency features al-Baghdadi in place of founding father Benjamin Franklin, and the reverse side shows an image of a dead jihadi fighter impaled by Independence Hall in Philadelphia, alongside the Arabic message: “This is the end of dirty money. Return to your God, the best sinners are the ones who repent.”
All the bills were found in locations with predominantly Jewish populations, including Sde Eliezer, Yesod HaMa’ala, Kibbutz Hulata, and around Hula Lake.
Iraqi VP Fails to Acknowledge U.S. Role in Liberation of Ramadi
Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki failed to acknowledge the U.S.-led coalition air support in a statement about the liberation of Ramadi, although it was an integral part of the offensive to wrest control of the Iraqi city from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Instead, the former prime minister congratulated the Iraqi armed forces and the people of Iraq and praised the Shiite militias, many of which are backed by Iran, for seizing back Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province some 60 miles west of Baghdad.
The strategically important Anbar is Iraq’s largest and westernmost province. It shares a border with Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Maliki, a Shiite himself, said the army, anti-terrorism squad, and the Iraqi air force dislodged ISIS in Ramadi, Rudaw reports.
Netanyahu answers Nasrallah: We will aggressively retaliate to any attack
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday sent an apparent message to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, warning, "Our enemies should know that we will aggressively retaliate to any attack against us."
Netanyahu made the comments at an awards ceremony for outstanding Mossad employees just two days after Nasrallah warned Israel that Hezbollah would retaliate for the assassination of its operative Samir Kuntar. Kuntar was killed in a missile attack in a Damascus suburb last week that Hezbollah has accused Israel of perpetrating.
Netanyahu discussed the changing role of the Mossad amid new threats facing Israel.
"Because of the rise of extremist Islam, we find ourselves...in a world war against two large factions of extremist Islam which spread across the globe," he said, in reference to Sunni extremist groups such as ISIS and Shi'ite extremist groups such as Hezbollah and its patron Iran.
"We are obligated to deal with these threats," the prime minister stated. "These two threats are linked to one another."
IDF chief pledges ‘harsh’ response to Hezbollah threats
In response to a threat of an imminent attack on Israel by Hezbollah, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot fired back at the terror group Monday, promising swift retaliation and “harsh results.”
Eisenkot warned the Iran-backed Lebanese militia that “we stand ready for every challenge.” His remarks followed a speech Sunday night by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who vowed revenge for the alleged Israel Defense Forces airstrike that killed terrorist Samir Kuntar last week.
“The retaliation for Samir’s assassination will inevitably come,” regardless of the “repercussions,” Nasrallah said, in a lengthy televised address marking a week since the death of Kuntar, according to a translation by Lebanese news site Naharnet.
In his speech Monday, Eisenkot admitted that Israel was now in a “complex defense reality,” but said the IDF was prepared to counter any threat.
Israeli Expert Says Hezbollah Retaliation for Kuntar Assassination Likely to Come in Asia, Thailand
Hezbollah’s retribution against Israel for allegedly assassinating arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar in Syria will likely be against a target outside the Jewish state, said Professor Uzi Rabi, the director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, according to Maariv on Monday.
Predicting a “measured and calculated response” by Hezbollah, Rabi said it could happen in “Thailand, Asia or somewhere abroad.” Because of the volatility in the Middle East, as well as Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, the group probably would not stage an attack against targets in Israel, said Rabi.
“We should remember that Hezbollah is bogged down in the Syrian quagmire,” he told an Israeli radio station, according to Maariv, “which has taken the lives of thousands of its people. I believe one third of their forces met their ends there.”
In 2012, a series of explosions in Thailand turned out to be a botched attempt at assassinating Israeli diplomats. Thailand and neighboring Asian countries are also popular tourist destinations for Israelis.
Foreign Ministry Director Confirms: Israel Foiled Transfer of Arms to Hezbollah
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold confirmed to a Saudi-owned website on Monday that the IDF thwarted attempts to transfer advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah. This is the first time an Israeli official makes such a statement not under the cover of anonymity.
Speaking to the London-based Saudi-owned website Elaph, Gold said Israel managed to foil an attempt to transfer Russian-made SA-22 missiles to Lebanon.
“We in Israel did not take sides and did not interfere in the Syrian war,” Gold said in a rare interview of an Israeli official to Saudi media. “We have interests that we will protect and red lines. When we saw that there are those who wanted to transfer Russian missiles from Syrian warehouses to Hezbollah, we had to disrupt that activity, and we will not allow it.”
Iran Extends Invite to Hamas Chief for First Time in Four Years, Sources Say
Hamas sources told Breitbart Jerusalem that the group’s chief, Khaled Mashaal, has been invited to Tehran by the Iranian government for the first time since 2011.
The sources confirmed that Mashaal received a formal invitation, though they emphasized that he has yet to accept, fearing a backlash from Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar.
Sources in Hamas added that Ali Barakeh, Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, quietly visited Tehran on Friday to participate in a discussion on Islamic unity.
Although a formal Mashaal visit to Iran is yet to take place, Tehran has resumed its financial support for Hamas following a protracted hiatus, the Hamas sources said. Initially, funds were channeled to the movement’s military wing, which was soon followed by a full resumption of aid.
Iran’s invitation comes at a crucial moment for Hamas, which has been gravely affected by Egypt’s clampdown on cross-border smuggling of weapons and goods that have shored up the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
Kerry hails ‘significant progress’ in Iran deal implementation
The United States has “seen important indications of significant progress towards Iran completing its key nuclear commitments,” Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday shortly after a senior Russian diplomat suggested that key progress had been made toward removing enriched uranium stocks from the Islamic Republic.
In a written statement, Kerry described the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as “truly one of our most important accomplishments of 2015,” saying he “remains so proud of our team” that hammered out the agreement over the course of some 18 months.
“As we get closer to Implementation Day, the next major milestone in the JCPOA, I am pleased to report that we have seen important indications of significant progress towards Iran completing its key nuclear commitments under the deal,” Kerry wrote.
Earlier Monday, a senior Russian diplomat told The Associated Press that Iran had agreed to transfer most of its enriched uranium to Russia, bringing Iran a step closer to meeting its obligations under the JCPOA, which seeks to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.
US Senate seeks to extend Iran sanctions
Dozens of U.S. senators are trying to prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions on Iran and are seeking to extend them, citing concerns about possible military dimensions of Tehran's nuclear program, the political website The Hill reported Monday.
Extending the sanctions against Iran may impede the agreement signed between world powers and Iran in July.
Congress is reportedly seeking to extend the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act for another decade, before it expires next year. The law subjects foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy sector or contribute directly or indirectly to its missile program to U.S. government sanctions.
"It think that it is likely that the Congress will act on that measure any time next year," Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), a member of the Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill. Cardin said the senators would pursue the move as early as January or February.
Separately, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) said the forum will turn its focus to Iran and the sanctions law, as he and Cardin have pledged "rigorous" oversight of the deal.
A-G decides not to pursue Barak for spilling Iran attack details
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has decided not to open a criminal investigation into former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak for tapes revealed on Channel 2 in the summer in which Barak can be heard speaking to the authors of his biography about a cabinet decision in which plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities were cancelled.
On the tape, Barak says a plan to attack Iranian nuclear facilities when he was defense minister was sabotaged by the hesitancy of fellow cabinet members Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Ya’alon, the man who would replace him at the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv.
Barak said the attack plans against Iran were drawn up and approved by him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sometime between 2009 and 2010.
Saudis Shoot Down Scud Missile Fired from Yemen
Saudi Arabia’s air force intercepted a Scud missile launched from Yemen Saturday night, according to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Yemeni rebels known as Houthis and their allies.
The coalition, in a statement carried by the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA), said the ballistic missile was fired from the Yemeni capital Sanaa toward the southwestern Saudi city of Narjan before it was shot down by Patriot missiles.
“Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted at about 11 P.M. (2000 GMT) yesterday a Scud missile launched from Sanaa, in Yemeni territory, toward the city of Najran… the air force immediately destroyed the rocket launch platform,” the Saudi statement said, according to Reuters.
Shiite Houthi rebels have controlled Sanaa since September 2014.
Arab News quoted the statement as saying that the “coalition jets immediately launched retaliatory strikes and have neutralized the missile launch base within Yemeni territory.”
Gold stresses common Israeli-Arab interests in unprecedented interview to Saudi paper
In the Foreign Ministry’s first interview granted to a Saudi news outlet, director-general Dore Gold said Jerusalem would not allow the transfer of weapons from Russia to Lebanon or attacks from Syria on Israel.
The headline of the interview with the Saudi-owned Elaph online newspaper read, “Israel: Iran creating anarchy in order to market itself as a solution,” while the subhead read “Dore Gold tells Elaph that ISIS is a joint threat.”
“History teaches that when Israel signs a peace treaty with the Arabs, Israel honors the treaty forever,” Gold is quoted as saying at the beginning of the article.
The director-general is described in the story as being close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s stated that the Foreign Ministry appointment lends him the ability to maneuver and engage with various states as Netanyahu’s representative.
Appointed in May, Gold said Israel views Arab states with great importance and that it has an interest to reach agreements with them. He stressed the use of technology and resources to create a better Middle East.

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