MOSCOW: Russia may not deliver a hugely controversial consignment of S-300 air defence missile systems to the Syrian regime this year, two Russian newspapers reported Friday, rejecting claims the weapons had already arrived in the country.
The Vedomosti daily cited a Russian defence industry source as saying it was unclear if the weapons would be delivered to Syria this year while the Kommersant daily quoted its source as saying that delivery was only planned in the second quarter of 2014.
After almost a century of existence, the borders that form the modern Mideast nation states appear to be on the verge of disintegration. Part of the driving force behind this meltdown, as observers are beginning to acknowledge, is of course the intractable sectarian war in Syria. But a far bigger part of the picture is the accelerating destabilization of Iraq. The breakdown of Iraq, with its far-reaching regional ramifications, is attributable in no small part to President Obama’s abandonment of the U.S.’s mission in the country, a betrayal committed in total defiance of the military establishment’s recommendations, which squandered the hard-won victory handed down by President Bush. As predicted, our precipitous withdrawal has left the once pacified nation riven with sectarian strife, primarily among Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurds. As the region descends, the consequences of Obama’s folly are only becoming more obvious: a nation that once stood a chance at being a source of stability in the region is instead rapidly becoming its maelstrom.
Israel’s Negev desert south east of the city of Beer Sheva, where signs warn drivers of camels on the road, an enormous military base is rising.
The facility, a training base for the Israel Defence Force, will also have an auditorium, three synagogues, shooting ranges, six basketball courts and a visitors’ park for swearing-in and handing-out ceremonies. When it is fully populated by the end of 2015, it will be home to 10,000 army personnel and 2,500 civilian staff.
“We will be the third-largest city in the Negev, after Beer Sheva and Dimona,” says Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Alfassy, who takes a visitor to the roof of an air-conditioned administration building to survey the huge site, ringed by a concrete fence. Newly planted palm trees mark the site of the visitor’s park and construction trucks throw up dust.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
“Israel Hayom”, May 31, 2013, http://bit.ly/1aHCWZh
The special ties between the US and the Jewish State are uniquely driven by people-to-people, bottom-up relationship, shaped by the American public more than by the American government. US ties with the Jewish state have been exceptionally-forged by shared Judeo-Christian values.
“Americans’ sympathy for Israel is at a high-water mark,” determined a March 15, 2013 Gallup poll. According to Gallup, there is “a steady increase in relative support for Israel over the past decade…. Americans’ sympathies lean heavily toward the Israelis over the Palestinians…. Today’s 64% (compared to 12% sympathizing with the Palestinians) ties the highest Gallup has recorded in a quarter century, last seen in 1991 during the Gulf War.”
A sustained and deep identification with the Jewish state has always characterized both chambers of the US Congress, which are the most authentic representatives of the US constituent – the chief axis of the US Federalist system. Moreover, the Federalist system derived its name from the Latin term, Foedus, which means “the covenant” in a Biblical sense.
You would think that following Israel’s ruinous unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, unilateralism would be dead in the water. For the majority of Israelis and Israeli strategic thinkers, I believe that this remains the case.
But the political Left is impatient. The same people who once sold us Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas as peace partners are now telling us that while peace is impossible, the existing situation is unacceptable, and unilateralism is the only remaining course of action for Israel.
In fact, there is a groundswell of “elite” (read: leftist) opinion building in favor of unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. I sense that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being pulled in this direction.
By Ted Belman
Sooner or later Israel will have to bomb Iran. Better sooner, because Iran is quickly approaching Israel’s red line. Since intelligence is never precise, why wait til the last minute?
Summer and early fall is the best time to attack because that’s when the sky is the clearest.
Israel is committed to destroying the S-300 missile defense systems should it arrive in Syria.
Close to 5,000 Hezbollah troops, if not more, are now fighting in Syria. Thus they are concentrated which makes their destruction easier. Also they are no longer guarding with full force, their missiles stored in Lebanon. Israel could call for a mobilization due to perceived threats from Syria. Then it could mount an all out ground attack on the stockpile of missiles in Lebanon. The Sunnis in Lebanon including the Lebanese government will probably stand aside and let Israel solve their Hezbollah problem. Israel could then go east and destroy the Hezbollah troops.
The poisonous role of the UN human rights world in demonizing and isolating Israel cannot be overestimated.
By Anne Bayefsky, JPOST
It is opening week of another session of the UN’s top human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council, and anti-Semitism will once again be promoted around the globe via an organization built on the ashes of the Jewish people and sworn to hatred’s eradication.
In March of last year, Israel decided not to cooperate with a UN “human rights” establishment that promises equality and delivers discrimination.
Under heavy pressure from the Obama administration and European governments not to spotlight the dark anti- Semitic underbelly of UN “human rights” operations, however, Israel is considering reversing this decision.
Netanyahu tells European foreign ministers that if the Russian missile systems get into Syria, Israel’s ‘entire airspace will become a no-fly zone’ and therefore it ‘cannot stand idly by.’
By Barak Ravid, HAARETZ
Israel’s National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror sketched out what Jerusalem’s “red line” is vis-à-vis the S-300 missile systems Russia intends to send to Syria before the 27 European Union ambassadors in Israel.
Two diplomats who were in the room during the briefing last Thursday, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was a closed event, said that Amidror stressed Israel will act “to prevent the S-300 missiles from becoming operational” on Syrian soil. This message was also conveyed by Defense Minister Moshe Yaâ€™alon when he said on Tuesday that if the missiles reach Syria “Israel will know what to do.”
By Jerry Gordon, Iconoclast
This Iran nuclear attack scenario by US and Israeli Gens. James Cartwright and Amos Yadlin is up on The Atlantic website, Israeli or U.S. Action Against Iran: Who Will Do It If It Must Be Done? .
It looks pretty much like the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) scenario played out last year at Tel Aviv U, the results of which indicated that Israel could survive a three day assault on Iran’s nuclear program, despite retaliation from Iran and Proxy Hezbollah that might set back the nuclear clock by three years. See our December 2012 NER article for a discussion about the INSS, here.
By Rachel Hirshfeld, INN
There is no contradiction between the proposed amendment to the Israeli Basic Law —which affirms the state of Israel’s Jewish identity— and the country’s democratic value system, said a representative of the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS).
The proposed amendment to the Israeli Basic Law, which seeks to uphold the essence of the Land of Israel as “the historic homeland of the Jewish people and the birthplace of the State of Israel” is not a novel idea, but was “inspired by the Israeli Declaration of Independence”, said Adi Arbel, project manager for the IZS.
Dr. Uri Yoel talks about his recent research, and the village for adults with special needs where he and his wife are raising their five kids.
Israeli internist Dr. Uri Yoel, 43, has demonstrated that dogs are indeed capable of differentiating between the scent of cancer cells and non-cancerous cells.
“Our research proves that dogs can smell cancer cells in vitro [in lab cultures], and that different types of cancer share the same smell print,” says Yoel, who practices at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva and teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
By Dr. Max Singer
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 204
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israeli advocates of the two-state solution should support the findings of the Levy Commission, which affirms Israel’s right to settle in the West Bank. Israel will thus be viewed as giving up its own territory in any future agreement. Israeli citizens should not deny their country’s rights in order to strengthen the argument for removing settlements.
Opponents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and supporters of a two-state solution should support the Levy Commission’s affirmation of Israel’s rights in the territories. The Commission concluded that “Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of a settlement cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.” It did not say, however, that the settlements should stay where they are.
It’s a mistake to think that the Negev Bedouin’s problems can be solved by adjudicating claims over landownership. It will not raise their education level.
Every few weeks Israelis get a reminder of the difficult conditions under which the Negev Bedouin live. This time it was the tragic case of the two little Bedouin girls strangled to death in the “unrecognized” Negev settlement of Al-Fura’a. There was also the bank robbery in Be’er Sheva, where a Bedouin customer, Omar Walid, was immediately suspected by the police. Even though he was wounded, he was arrested and handcuffed.
The Jordan Valley Regional Council will fight to prevent the construction of a PA city on its lands, the Council’s head said.
David Alhiani, chairman of the JordanValley Regional Council, told Arutz Sheva in an interview Tuesday that Israel was set to lose the Valley – and it was all the fault of the government. The construction of a new Arab city in the Jordan Valley, as announced by the Civil Administration, will effectively close off a large portion of the Valley to Israelis, he said.
Committee on burden equality votes in favor of imposing harsh sanctions on ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers • Defense minister bends to PM’s demand, vote carried 4:1, with one abstaining • Poll: 67% of Israelis favor jail time for haredi draft dodgers.
Members of the Peri committee on the equality of burden on Wednesday voted in favor of imposing extensive financial and personal penalties, including filing criminal charges, against ultra-Orthodox draft dodgers who fail to report for military duty. Wednesday’s vote, which was carried 4:1 with one abstention, brings to an end a coalition crisis that threatened to destabilize the government.
The committee, comprised of chairman Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi), Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beytenu), Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnuah), was tasked with formulating legislation to replace the Tal Law, which aimed to regulate yeshiva (religious school) students’ exemptions from military and national service and expired in August 2012.
We have entered a new and terrible epoch of war–and the President has announced that the war is over.
By David P. Goldman (Spengler), PJ MEDIA
The collapse of Middle Eastern states from Libya to Afghanistan vastly increases the terrorist recruitment pool, while severely restricting the ability of American intelligence services to monitor and interdict the terrorists. In addition, it intensifies the despair that motivates Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo to perpetrate acts of terrorism. That makes President Obama’s declaration that America is winding down the “war on terror”–a misnomer to begin with–the worst decision by an American commander-in-chief since the Buchanan administration, perhaps ever.
Kerry wants major Israeli concessions “for the sake of buying the Palestinian leader’s consent to sit down and talk.” Is he nuts. Sitting down at the table is of absolutely no value. Abbas is not willing to make concessions so why would we pay him to sit at the table. Like they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Ted Belman
US Secretary of State John Kerry put a package of proposals for reviving the moribund Israel-Palestinian peace process before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and peace negotiator Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and then returned to Amman Monday, May 27.
He keeps the package’s contents firmly under his hat. However, according to some of the details revealed here for the first time by DEBKAfile’s sources, Kerry’s top-secret plan places on Israel the onus of major concessions including strategic and national assets, for the sake of buying the Palestinian leader’s consent to sit down and talk. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is not required to pay anything real in return – although it was who stalled the peace negotiations in the first place.
By Barry Rubin
Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money?
Way back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said that people in the West didn’t understand revolutionary Islamism. “They think,” he explained, “the revolution is all about the price of watermelons. It isn’t.” In other words, this is an ideological cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.
1. The Palestinian Case
On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.
I have been discussing whether Netanyahu is just playing the game or really intends to try to make a deal even if the concessions are painful. One very knowledgeable academic believes that Bibi is ready for an act of “constructive unilateralism”. One journalist believes Bibi is just playing the game. . Whether Bibi means it or is just playing the game, I am against him either way. Two days ago Steinitz came out against Peres for the remarks he made. And now Steinitz is saying the government is in favour of the two-state solution. Notice that he didn’t say “along ’67 lines”. The Palestinians don’t accept anything less that a solution based on ’67 lines. So is Steinitz just playing the game on Bibi’s orders. Ted Belman
A senior cabinet minister on Tuesday endorsed the two-state solution as a framework for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rebutting Palestinian claims that the government has no unified position on the issue.
“The government’s position is very clear, and I support it: We do support [a] two states for two peoples solution,” Minister of Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told The Times of Israel. “We are ready to make painful concessions on two conditions: that there will be peace and security”
Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin, who believes justice system is skewed with a leftist worldview, wants ministers to have more say on who sits on High Court and to introduce U.S.-style confirmation hearings • Levin: Current system is undemocratic.
Coalition chairman and Likud faction leader MK Yariv Levin is again working on legislation that would overhaul the justice system and reduce the power the courts have over the Knesset, his main legislative platform.
Levin, who sits on the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, believes he can garner enough votes in the coalition and in the committee to pass the reforms. He believes that with former Likud ministers Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Michael Eitan no longer in the Knesset, his reforms would face much less internal opposition, as the three were generally considered stalwarts of the courts.