Month: August 2015


We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.



Vital Points on the Iran Deal: Major Flaws and Positive Elements: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser & Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Aug. 27, 2015 — In light of the centrality and vast importance of the debate around the July 14, 2015, agreement between Iran and the main world powers – “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA )1 – and with a view to analyzing in a straightforward manner the various aspects of this agreement, this analysis lists the major flaws of the agreement, as well as its positive elements.

Military Officers Come Out Strongly Against Nuclear Iran Deal: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press, Aug. 27, 2015— President Obama and fellow supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal boasted that it must be the right deal because they were able to gather 36 military officers to endorse it.

If Iran’s Behavior Calls for Plan B: Shoshana Bryen, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015 — In an interview on CNN, President Obama eschewed the notion of “Plan B” in case the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran failed to pass Congress. “I don’t plan to lose,” he said.

Thinking About the Unthinkable: An Israel-Iran Nuclear War: John Bosma, American Thinker, Aug. 23, 2015 — In an interview on CNN, President Obama eschewed the notion of “Plan B” in case the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran failed to pass Congress. “I don’t plan to lose,” he said.


On Topic Links


Surviving the Obama Presidency and the Iranian Bomb: Noah Beck, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 27, 2015

Former Intel Chief: US, Israel Should Reach Parallel Iran Agreement: Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2015

Israel Keeps Wary Eye on Iranian Missile Buildup: Barbara Opall-Rome, Israel Defense, Aug. 29, 2015

My Position on the Iran Deal: Charles E. Schumer, Aug. 6, 2015




MAJOR FLAWS AND POSITIVE ELEMENTS                                                       

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser & Amb. Alan Baker                                                               

JCPA, Aug. 27, 2015


In light of the centrality and vast importance of the debate around the July 14, 2015, agreement between Iran and the main world powers – “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA ) – and with a view to analyzing in a straightforward manner the various aspects of this agreement, this analysis lists the major flaws of the agreement, as well as its positive elements. It concludes with a discussion of some of the dilemmas inherent in the agreement and its implications.


Flaws of the agreement: The agreement is set to enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power. The agreement will legally provide Iran with the capability to shorten the time required to produce such an arsenal within the next 10-15 years (including the production of fissile material, weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program), so that it would be practically impossible to stop it. This is in exchange for a questionable and barely verifiable Iranian commitment to avoid producing arms and some limited restrictions on its nuclear program for 10-15 years.


Reliance on Iran’s open reaffirmation in the agreement that it will not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons is untrustworthy and even naïve, given Iran’s past record of concealing its nuclear activities, its periodic declarations of hostility vis-à-vis the U.S. and Israel, and its regime’s messianic aspirations.


The agreement fails to empower the international community with the means to prevent Iran’s crossing the line that keeps it from producing a nuclear weapon even during the 10-15 years in which there are restrictions on its enrichment. Iran could accomplish it via various paths: First, through a “break out” policy, since, unlike the main argument of the U.S. Administration that Iran will need a year to acquire enough fissile material for its first nuclear explosive device, in fact it is going to need only about six months to acquire the necessary amount. Second, Iran can adopt a “sneak out” policy since its nuclear activities outside the declared sites are not going to be effectively monitored, if at all, and since there is no real monitoring of its cooperation with other rogue countries such as North Korea.


In short, the agreement unilaterally and unconditionally grants Iran everything it has been seeking without any viable quid-pro-quo from Iran to the international community. Inasmuch as the agreement paves the way for Iran to produce an arsenal of nuclear weapons through the enrichment of uranium before the 10-15 year period, after the period, and certainly later through the production and processing of plutonium, the agreement is clearly a danger to the world order and to the future of the Middle East, as well as to U.S. interests and to the security of Israel…


In order to obtain a nuclear arsenal, Iran has to acquire sufficient quantities of fissile material (uranium enriched to around 90 percent or processed plutonium), gain the ability to turn this material into a weapon (“weaponization”), and produce delivery systems, with an emphasis on long-range missiles. In addition, it has to be able to protect its nuclear facilities from attack so that it may safely cross the sensitive period in which it is trying to produce a nuclear arsenal but it has not yet completed a nuclear bomb (the “threshold”).


The deal solves all of Iran’s problems, if it is ready to wait 10-15 years, by shortening the threshold that separates it from a nuclear arsenal to practically no time. It does not effectively prevent Iran from breaching the agreement and achieving its goal even earlier, if it decides that the conditions justify it…


Three paths are open for Iran to secure the enriched uranium for a nuclear weapons arsenal: break out, sneak out, or wait out patiently until the sunset of the restrictions on its (military) nuclear program in 10 or 15 years which are included in the agreement. It has to be emphasized that Iran does not have any civilian justification for its vast nuclear program, a fact affirmed by the United States and the European Union. Therefore, the entire logic of the agreement is baseless and stands in striking contradiction to the November 24, 2013, Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which states that the enrichment capabilities will be in line with Iran’s civilian needs.


Break out – Rather than blocking Iran’s ability to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level to produce nuclear weapons, the agreement enables Iran, if/when it decides to breach the agreement and dismiss the inspectors, to do so within a six-month period and not in a year as the U.S. Administration repeatedly and falsely claims. By activating the 13,000 centrifuges and related equipment that are going to be uninstalled, rather than destroyed or sent out of Iran (the agreement requires Iran merely to store the equipment under IAEA monitoring), Iran will need only six months to produce enough fissile material for the first nuclear explosive device.


Moreover, the agreement imposes only very minor limitations on the continued development of highly sophisticated and advanced centrifuges and basically allows Iran to proceed with them. Part of these centrifuges may be installed in the deep underground facility in Fordow. Despite President Obama’s declaration that there is no justification for Iran’s Fordow military enrichment facility – the sole purpose of which is to create weapons-grade uranium – the agreement makes no requirement that Iran dismantle that military facility…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





AGAINST NUCLEAR IRAN DEAL                                                                                       

Lori Lowenthal Marcus                                    

Jewish Press, Aug. 27, 2015


President Obama and fellow supporters of the Nuclear Iran Deal boasted that it must be the right deal because they were able to gather 36 military officers to endorse it. Well, a group of five volunteers in less than a week were able to gather more than 190 retired officers to sign on to a letter in opposition to the deal.

Those officers include 22 Admirals and 4 star generals, 46 vice admirals and lieutenant generals, 96 Rear admirals and Major Generals and 24 brigadier generals.


The letter they signed unequivocally states that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed by the United States and its partners in the P5+1, rather than “‘cut[ting] off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons,” instead actually “provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal.” The letter, the full text of which appears below, was delivered on Wednesday, Aug. 26, to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid…


The letter to the members of Congress, as delivered, reads as follows: Dear Representatives Boehner and Pelosi and Senators McConnell and Reid:


As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect. Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East. There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.


The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal. JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced.Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor. Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.


The agreement is unverifiable. Under the terms of the JCPOA and a secret side deal (to which the United States is not privy), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be responsible for inspections under such severe limitations as to prevent them from reliably detecting Iranian cheating. For example, if Iran and the inspectors are unable to reach an accommodation with respect to a given site, the result could be at least a 24-day delay in IAEA access.The agreement also requires inspectors to inform Iran in writing as to the basis for its concerns about an undeclared site, thus further delaying access. Most importantly, these inspections do not allow access to Iranian military facilities, the most likely location of their nuclear weapons development efforts. In the JCPOA process, there is substantial risk of U.S. intelligence being compromised, since the IAEA often relies on our sensitive data with respect to suspicious and/or prohibited activity.


While failing to assure prevention of Iran’s nuclear weapons development capabilities, the agreement provides by some estimates $150 billion dollars or more to Iran in the form of sanctions relief. As military officers, we find it unconscionable that such a windfall could be given to a regime that even the Obama administration has acknowledged will use a portion of such funds to continue to support terrorism in Israel, throughout the Middle East and globally, whether directly or through proxies. These actions will be made all the more deadly since the JCPOA will lift international embargoes on Iran’s access to advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology.


In summary, this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies. In our professional opinion, far from being an alternative to war, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests. Accordingly, we urge the Congress to reject this defective accord…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]






Shoshana Bryen                                                                                                  

Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015


In an interview on CNN, President Obama eschewed the notion of “Plan B” in case the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran failed to pass Congress. “I don’t plan to lose,” he said. No one “plans” to lose, and Mr. Obama may be headed to a win over Congress, meaning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will become operational. However, it’s far from apparent that the White House has a Plan B thought out for either the vote or for the day after, an essential tool for ensuring the safety and security of the United States and its interests abroad.


What if the Iranians cheat or there is at least mounting evidence of malfeasance? What if President Hassan Rouhani is overthrown and his successor is even more anti-American? Well, what if? What if the next crisis isn’t even in the Persian Gulf? Regardless of the fate of the Iran agreement, America needs Plan B to reverse the most egregious effects of military decline, restore America’s global capabilities, and assure both allies and adversaries that the United States has not gone on permanent hiatus. Sequestration, Congress‘ option for restraining spending, was enacted in 2011. As Congress prepares the 2016 defense spending bill, the services have spent five years deferring training and maintenance, and watching troop levels decline. Long-term planning in the absence of a long-term spending plan has become almost impossible.


In a recent hearing, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, said it would take “eight to 10 years to return the Air Force to full readiness.” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said it would be 2018 before the delayed maintenance on ships is complete, and an additional two years is needed to perform all deferred maintenance on aircraft. During that time and beyond, said Republican Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio, “We can lose, people will die, and people will be injured,” as a result of decreased readiness.


It isn’t just money. “Our requirements have been more unexpected, our enemies more unpredictable, and our ability to handle multiple simultaneous situations more uncertain,” said Army Secretary John McHugh.


An informal poll of priorities among experts in the services — most of whom preferred to remain anonymous — elicited the following:


For one retired Marine major general, it was funding the soon-to-be-selected new Amphibious Combat Vehicle. “We are at least a decade behind in ground vehicle modernization in general, and a new ACV in particular. Another priority should be new amphibious shipping. The joint USN-USMC power-projection requirement is for at least 38 amphibious ships; we have 29.”


For the Navy, a civilian analyst responded, “Congress should raise the number of carriers that the Navy is legally required to have from 11 to 12 and pay for Ohio-class replacement submarines over, above, separately and independently of the Navy’s [already insufficient] shipbuilding budget.” A retired Coast Guard admiral wanted accelerated ship replacement, specifically offshore patrol cutters and Polar-class icebreakers. “Funding has been limited so far resulting in loss of capability as old ships break and significant reduction in being able to take advantage of production efficiencies and savings.”


One Army answer focused on Iran: Special Forces “to go one-on-one against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps worldwide,” cybercapabilities to “make sure Iran needs to worry about our ability to completely turn off the grid in Iran,” and advanced upper-tier missile defense, “to ensure that if Iran develops a ballistic nuclear capability, it doesn’t get beyond Iranian territory before being shot down.”


Not everyone was service-specific. While noting problems with flying hours, aircraft maintenance and pilot retention, a retired Air Force general pointed to a comment by a Marine as the chief challenge for all the services. “The fundamental job of the military, ‘kill bad people and break things,’ has become critically hampered by ‘rules of engagement’ [and policies] whose guiding logic is political outcome, not successful combat.” A stronger American approach to NATO, including more forward-deployed troops would help the Baltic States and Poland, both increasingly unnerved by Russian cyber-attacks and adventurism in Ukraine. The United States should also revisit installation of the missile defense radars in Poland and the Czech Republic that were approved in the George W. Bush administration but canceled by President Obama.


In the Pacific, Australia has been increasing its defense budget in light of Chinese expansion in the South China Sea. The U.S. has allies and friends in the Pacific and should be leading an effort to better define boundaries and resource rights — with China, if China wants to be cooperative; without it, if necessary. With these priorities and others, it is time for the United States to embark on a serious program to find, fund and execute Plan B to defend America, its allies and its interests.





AN ISRAEL-IRAN NUCLEAR WAR                                                                                           

John Bosma                                                                                                        

American Thinker, Aug. 23, 2015


The signing of a Munich-class agreement with Iran that hands it more than it ever hoped to pull off represents a shocking, craven American capitulation to an apocalyptic crazy state: a North Korea with oil. Nothing in Western history remotely approaches it, not even Neville Chamberlain's storied appeasement of another antisemitic negotiating partner.


But it also augurs the possibility of a nuclear war coming far sooner than one could have imagined under conventional wisdom worst-case scenarios. Following the US's betrayal of Israel and its de facto detente with Iran, we cannot expect Israel to copy longstanding US doctrines of no-first-nuclear-use and preferences for conventional-weapons-only war plans. After all, both were premised (especially after the USSR's 1991 collapse) on decades of US nuclear and conventional supremacy. If there ever were an unassailable case for a small, frighteningly vulnerable nation to pre-emptively use nuclear weapons to shock, economically paralyze, and decapitate am enemy sworn to its destruction, Israel has arrived at that circumstance.


Why? Because Israel has no choice, given the radical new alignment against it that now includes the US, given reported Obama threats in 2014 to shoot down Israeli attack planes, his disclosure of Israel's nuclear secrets and its Central Asian strike-force recovery bases, and above all his agreement to help Iran protect its enrichment facilities from terrorists and cyberwarfare – i.e., from the very special-operations and cyber forces that Israel would use in desperate attempts to halt Iran's bomb. Thus Israel is being forced, more rapidly and irreversibly than we appreciate, into a bet-the-nation decision where it has only one forceful, game-changing choice — early nuclear pre-emption – to wrest back control of its survival and to dictate the aftermath of such a survival strike.


Would this involve many nuclear weapons? No – probably fewer than 10-15, although their yields must be sufficiently large to maximize ground shock. Would it produce Iranian civilian casualties? Yes but not as many as one might suppose, as it would avoid cities. Most casualties would be radiological, like Chernobyl, rather than thermal and blast casualties. Would it spur a larger catalytic nuclear war? No. Would it subsequently impel Russia, China and new proliferators to normalize nuclear weapons in their own war planning? Or would the massive global panic over the first nuclear use in anger in 70 years, one that would draw saturation media coverage, panic their publics into urgent demands for ballistic missile self-defense systems? Probably the latter.


The Iranian elite's ideology and controlling political psychology is inherently preferential towards nukes and direct population targeting as a way to implement Shi'ite messianism and end-times extremism. Iran is a newly nuclear apocalyptic Shi'ite regime that ranks as the most blatantly genocidal government since the Khmer Rouge's Sorbonne-educated leaders took over Cambodia in April, 1975. Senior Iranian officials have periodically tied nuclear war to the return of the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi, which Iran's previous president anticipated within several years. This reflects not just the triumphalist enthusiasm of a new arriviste nuclear power that just won more at the table than it dared to dream. It also reflects a self-amplifying, autarchic end-days theology that is immune to both reality testing and to Western liberal/progressive tenets about prim and proper nuclear behavior.


Admittedly, Iranian leaders have lately resorted to envisioning Israel's collapse in more restrained terms through Palestinian demographic takeover of the Israeli state and asymmetric warfare. Still there remains a lurid history of Iranian officials urging the elimination of Israel and its people, of allocating their nukes to Israeli territory to maximize Jewish fatalities, of Iranian officials leading crowds in chants of “Death to Israel!” Iran's government also released a video game allowing players to target various kinds of Iranian ballistic missiles against Israeli cities – this as part of intensive propaganda drumming up hatred of Jews. A more recent video game envisions a massive Iranian ground army marching to liberate Jerusalem. In all, Iran's official stoking of genocidal Jew hatred is far beyond what Hitler’s government dared to advocate before the 1939 outbreak of World War 2.


The deliberate American silence over Iran's genocidal intentionality sends an unmistakable signal to Israel that the US no longer recognizes a primordial, civilizational moral obligation to protect it from the most explicit threats imaginable. It is truly on its own, with the US in an all-but-overt alliance with its worst enemy. The shock to Israel's leaders of this abrupt American lurch into tacitly accepting this Iranian intentionality cannot be understated. Iran is violating the core tenets of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, a US initiative after the Tokyo and Nuremberg war-crimes trials to codify genocide as a crime against humanity. Now the US is silent…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic


Surviving the Obama Presidency and the Iranian Bomb: Noah Beck, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 27, 2015—When, in 2012, I authored a cautionary tale about the dangers of a nuclear Iran, I never imagined a U.S. president who would, just a few years later, actively try to strengthen Iran’s geopolitical and financial position while providing international legitimacy to the Iranian nuclear program. But sometimes truth is scarier than fiction.

Former Intel Chief: US, Israel Should Reach Parallel Iran Agreement: Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2015 —The US and Israel should enter into a bilateral, parallel agreement in response to the highly problematic Iran nuclear agreement, former Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin said over the weekend.

Israel Keeps Wary Eye on Iranian Missile Buildup: Barbara Opall-Rome, Israel Defense, Aug. 29, 2015— Israel is keeping a “very sharp eye” on Iran’s modernized ballistic missile arsenal and will be “ready to respond” should the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) attempt to export the new Fateh 313 to Lebanon- or Syria-based proxies, a defense official says.

My Position on the Iran Deal: Charles E. Schumer, Aug. 6, 2015 —Every several years or so a legislator is called upon to cast a momentous vote in which the stakes are high and both sides of the issue are vociferous in their views.




Monday, August 31, 5:30-7:30 PM – Florida

South Florida: Stop Iran Rally

Rally at the office of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, serving Florida's 23rd District.

Where: 19200 W. Country Club Drive, Aventura FL 33180


Tuesday, September 1, 5:30 PM – New York City

Press conference and rally against nuclear Iran

Where: Outside Senator's Schumer's and Gillibrand's office 780 Third Avenue, NYC (at 49th street)


Tuesday, September 8, 12:30 PM  Washington, D.C.

Iran Deal Press Conference, featuring Members of Congress, Americans effected by Iranian terrorism, and luminaries to speak out against the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

Where: Washington DC: "West Grassy Area," facing the ellipse, in front of the Capitol building.


Wednesday, September 9, Washington, D.C.

Tea Party Patriots, Center for Security Policy, Zionist Organization of America To Host DC Rally

Where: West Lawn of the Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Keynote speakers: Sen. Ted Cruz , Donald Trump


Wednesday, September 9, 8:00 PM – New Jersey

Where: Congregation B'nai Tikvah, 1001 Finnegan Lane, North Brunswick Township, NJ





The Jewish Thought of Emil L. Fackenheim: Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, Israel

8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Canadian Institute for Jewish Research

& Beth Tikvah Synagogue present:


The Annual Sabina Citron International Conference


The Jewish Thought of Emil L. Fackenheim:

Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, Israel


The commemoration of one of our time's greatest Jewish philosophers and Holocaust thinkers.


   Emil L. Fackenheim (Halle, 1916 – Jerusalem, 2003), studied with Leo Baeck in the Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums (Berlin). Following arrest in Sachsenhausen after Kristallnacht (1938), he narrowly escaped Nazi Germany to Scotland. Subsequently interned by the British in Quebec, he completed his philosophy doctorate at the U. of Toronto after his release. After a long career there, Fackenheim made aliyah to Israel in 1983.
    Fackenheim’s ground-breaking texts on modern philosophy and Judaism include The Religious Dimension in Hegel’s Thought (1967) and Encounters between Judaism and Modern Philosophy. A Preface to Future Jewish Thought (1973). After Israel’s miraculous Six Day War victory in 1967, he focused on God’s Presence in History: Jewish Affirmations and Philosophical Reflections (1968), The Jewish Return into History. Reflections in the Age of Auschwitz and a New Jerusalem (1978), and To Mend the World. Foundations of Future Jewish Thought (1982).






Posted in Uncategorized


We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Should Netanyahu Suspend Israel’s Confrontation With Obama?: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Aug. 25, 2015 — In examining Iran’s attitudes toward the Arab world in light of the Iranian nuclear deal, it is important to remember that Iranian interests in the Arab world have a long history beyond the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Poof Goes the Big Enchilada: David M. Weinberg, Israely Hayom, Aug. 28, 2015— Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

Palestinians Flock to Islamic State: Khaled Abu Toameh, Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015 — This year marks the tenth anniversary of an Egyptian-Israeli economic partnership that has quietly pumped billions into Cairo’s vulnerable economy.

‘No End of Secrets’: Dry Polish Rivers Recede, Revealing Downed Soviet Fighter Plane and Jewish Tombstones: Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera, National Post, Aug. 25, 2015 — Good evening. It is my pleasure to speak to you on this evening that represents the end of one chapter in our lives, and the start of another.


On Topic Links


More Than Seven Decades Later, Monaco Apologizes for Deporting Jews: Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 2015

These 1,200 German Jews Survived Hell And Were Saved By The Philippines: Israel Video Network, Aug. 24, 2015

From Kaifeng to the Kotel: Chinese Jews in Jerusalem: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015

Iran Deal Could Reboot America's Big Enchilada Policy in the Mideast: Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2015




CONFRONTATION WITH OBAMA?                                                                                          

Isi Leibler                     

Candidly Speaking, Aug. 25, 2015


The US-Israeli tensions that have escalated over the Iranian issue during the past month have led to waves of criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet in reality, Netanyahu has proven to be an impressive statesman. His address to the joint meeting of Congress, though initially harshly condemned, was far from being a disaster and served to establish the parameters of the debate. His widely disseminated statements articulating the case against the Iranian deal resonated widely among the American public and he is due much of the credit for persuading the majority of Americans to oppose the disastrous capitulation to Iran.


It is surely absurd to suggest that out of deference to a delusional American president, Israel’s prime minister should tread softly when his country faces an existential threat as the US empowers our most dangerous Islamic terrorist neighbor to become a threshold nuclear state. All the more so when some of its leaders are undeterred by mutual assured destruction and are even now reiterating their determination to wipe the “cancer” Israel off the face of the earth.


The reality is that the US administration is entering into a pact with a terrorist state that is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel. Moreover, the US will be releasing over $150 billion into its coffers, which the Iranians openly boast will be employed to bolster terrorist activities by its surrogates against Israel. For Netanyahu not to oppose such a policy, irrespective of the outcome, would have been unconscionable and a dereliction of his responsibility as head of the Jewish state.


As further horrific details emerge of the ineptitude and immorality of the US administration in its negotiations with Iran, some of Obama’s former Democratic supporters have begun to publicly question his rationality. That the US agreed to cede responsibility to the duplicitous Iranians to selfcheck compliance in lieu of an independent body is mind-boggling. This highlights the delusional nature of the administration and exposes Obama’s duplicity when he assured the world that compliance would be rigorously monitored. It exemplifies the farce of this utterly sordid “deal” capitulating to genocidal Islamic terrorists.


Obama’s betrayal was further compounded when it was recently disclosed that he had already secretly offered concessions (which were rebuffed) to the satanic, genocidal then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That was long before the “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani, who this week accused Israelis of killing and raping women and children, assumed office. Clearly, Obama’s long-term strategy from the outset was to create a realignment in the Middle East through a US engagement with the most dangerous Islamic rogue state and thus abandon Israel, the only genuinely democratic ally in the region.


Obama’s commitment to ongoing military cooperation and repeated assurances that he “has Israel’s back” cannot be relied upon following his failure to provide political support for Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. In that war, he repeatedly condemned Israel for lack of proportionality, applied moral equivalence to Israel and Hamas and even withheld arms shipments to Israel. This follows a clear pattern in which Obama has consistently ignored Palestinian incitement and terrorism, reneged on the Bush endorsement of Israel’s retention of the major settlement blocs and defensible borders, and has threatened to abrogate the US veto at the United Nations, enabling the Security Council to apply sanctions against Israel. It was also despicable to see a US president repeatedly humiliate and denigrate the Israeli prime minister while simultaneously groveling and capitulating to the Iranian ayatollahs.


The extent of Obama’s frenzied efforts to appease the ayatollahs despite their repeated calls for death to America was exemplified in his hysterical personal attacks and intimidation of those urging Congress to reject the deal. He was especially vicious in relation to Jewish opponents, whom he went so far as to accuse of warmongering, providing legitimacy to the hoary allegations of dual loyalties, extended in the past by traditional anti-Semites.


Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the few Democratic legislators courageous enough to oppose Obama, was accused of dual loyalties and subjected to unprecedented anti-Semitic venom. Obama’s hysteria even stunned some of his own Democratic supporters, who urged him to restrain himself and avoid using “anti-Jewish incitement” to promote his position.


This was also a turning point for the Jewish leadership. It is regrettable that until last month, the vast majority of normally robust American Jewish organizations, fearing a confrontation with Obama, remained silent – with the exception of the Zionist Organization of America and a number of small groups. Had they spoken up a year ago, they would be in a much stronger position today…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




POOF GOES THE BIG ENCHILADA                                                                                            

David M. Weinberg                                            

Israel Hayom, Aug. 28, 2015


Just in case there was any doubt as to what U.S. President Barack Obama is up to, Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University has laid it out for us in a series of recent articles. Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is meant to reboot and redirect the entire vector of American Middle East policy: to retreat from Pax Americana and allow Iran to take its rightful place as a major regional power.


For decades, two tenets have informed U.S. policy in the Middle East. The first is that U.S. interests there are best served by the position of unquestioned American pre-eminence. The second is that military might holds the key to maintaining that dominant position. (In this context, Israel has been an important U.S. regional ally). This approach is what Bacevich calls the "Big Enchilada" — the America-as-top-dog approach that Obama is seeking to overturn.


Obama rejects this notion, since he essentially views America's preponderance in world affairs as arrogant and sinful. He feels that American "bullying" has brought about disastrous results. Most telling was Obama's infamous lament in 2010 about America as "a dominant military superpower, whether we like it or not." In other words, he really doesn't like it at all. No statement could be more revealing of Obama's disgust for American global leadership.


In the context of the current deal with Iran, Obama has been equally clear as to how he expects this play out. If successfully implemented, the agreement that slows Iran's nuclear program will also end Iran's isolation. This will allow Tehran, over time, to become a "legitimate" and "extremely successful regional power" and a "powerhouse in the region." These are Obama's own words. All this leads, of course, to American retreat — blessed retreat from Obama's perspective — from the projection of power in the region. Replacing America will be a revanchist, greatly emboldened, anti-Semitic and genocidal (toward Israel), Islamic Republic of Iran. Poof goes the Big Enchilada.


Obama has been mostly dismissive of Iran's "bad behavior," as he flippantly calls it. He says that he "hopes to have conversations" with Iranian leadership that might lead someday to their "abiding by international norms and rules"; that he "hopes and believes" that Iranian "moderates" will leverage their country's reintegration into the global economy as an opportunity to drive kinder, gentler and less revolutionary foreign policies.


Whether Obama himself believes such nonsense is moot. The rub is that Obama doesn't view American behavior in the region over past decades as any more moral or legitimate than Iran's behavior. Consequently, the main thing for him is the humbling and retreat of America. What happens after that? Well, that will be some other president's problem, and Israel can lump it.


It is against the backdrop of such unfounded expectations and dangerous strategic vision that Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading the fight against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, otherwise known as the nuclear agreement.


Netanyahu understands that the nuclear agreement isn't just about Iran's nuclear program. It's about American detente with Iran and a perilous rejigging of America's global strategic posture. As such, Netanyahu's main goal is to prevent American retreat from the region, to thwart any intensification of American rapprochement with Iran and to avert the inevitable corollary of this: the further downgrading of U.S.-Israel ties. To do so, the Iran deal must be kept strategically disputed and politically fragile. Even if (or when) Obama steamrolls over Congress, the deal must remain controversial and questionable. It needs to become politically toxic.


American and European companies must know that investing in Iran is still a risky business. Iran must know that it is under extraordinary scrutiny, and that American opponents of the deal will jump at every opportunity to scuttle it if red lines are crossed. Space must be cleared for the rescinding or cancellation of the accord in the face of Iranian "bad behavior." Obama's successor should be under pressure to vigorously oppose Iranian hegemony in the region and to act more forthrightly than Obama to block Tehran's nuclear program.


In fact, a climate must be created that will encourage the next U.S. administration to backtrack from the deal, to reassert and reinvigorate America's traditional foreign policy approach, and to revitalize the U.S.-Israel relationship.


This explains why Netanyahu has rebuffed all attempts by dozens of well-meaning mediators to scale down his opposition to the deal and cut a compensatory deal with Obama. Aside from the fact that Obama never rewards his "friends" and has little to offer Israel of meaningful counterweight to this terrible deal, Netanyahu understands that far more is at stake. It's the big enchilada…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





PALESTINIANS FLOCK TO ISLAMIC STATE                                                                          

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                           

Breaking Israel News, Aug. 25, 2015


Hardly a week passes without another report of a Palestinian killed while fighting for the Islamic State terror group. The reports have raised deep concern among many Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A recent report estimated that some 100 Palestinians have already joined Islamic State. Other reports claim that the number is much higher. According to the report, most of the Palestinians who joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are from the Gaza Strip. Another 1000 Palestinian men are believed to be preparing to join Islamic State, but have been unable to fulfill their dream for various reasons, the report revealed.


It is no surprise that most of the Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State are from the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007. In the past year, various reports have suggested that Islamic State and its supporters have managed to infiltrate the Gaza Strip, where they pose a major threat to Hamas’s rule over the area, home to some 1.6 million Palestinians. Earlier this year, Islamic State supporters organized their first public appearance on the streets of Gaza City, where they called for an Islamic army to destroy Israel and the “enemies of Islam.”


Earlier this week, the Islamic State informed the Yehia family from the West Bank city of Jenin that their son, Said, had been killed while fighting for the terror group near Aleppo in Syria. The family was told that Said had joined the Islamic State seven months ago. Said’s family members said he told them he was travelling to Europe to look for work. Later, however, they learned that he had headed to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. The two strangers who arrived at the family’s home even provided Said’s parents and brothers with a photograph of Said’s dead body.


In recent months, at least four Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were also reportedly killed while fighting for the Islamic State. One of them, Abed al-Elah Kishta, 29, of the southern town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, was killed while fighting for the Islamic State in eastern Libya. Weeks before he was killed, Kishta contacted his family to inform them that he had joined the group.


The second Palestinian from the Gaza Strip was identified as Musa Hijazi, 23. His father, Hassan, said that his son was killed while fighting for the Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. The Islamic State later mourned Hijazi as one of its martyrs, referring to him by his nickname Abu Mu’men al-Maqdisi.


A third Palestinian was identified as Wadi Washah, 21, from the Jebalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Washah’s family said they were shocked to hear about his death while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. The family said their son had previously joined Palestinian Islamic Jihad before escaping the Gaza Strip through a smuggling tunnel along the border with Egypt. Wadi’s father said that his son had travelled to Syria on instructions from Islamic State-affiliated salafi-jihadi leaders in Gaza. According to the father, Wadi had told him that he had managed to kill dozens of Iranians in Syria.


The fourth Palestinian was identified as Ahmed Badwan, 26, nicknamed Abu Tarek al-Ghazawi, of the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Sources close to the family said that Badwan had left the Gaza Strip through a smuggling tunnel run by Hamas, and had first joined the Islamic State in Syria, before moving to the group’s branch in Iraq. He was killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on an Islamic State base in Iraq, the sources said.


Although the number of Palestinians who have joined the Islamic State remains relatively low, it is evident that the terror group has become extremely popular among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Four public opinion polls published a few weeks ago showed that at least a million Palestinians support the Islamic State.


The polls found that 24% of the Palestinians hold positive views about the Islamic State. Given that there are 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and another 2.7 million in the West Bank, this means that there are more than one million Palestinians who support Islamic State.


Commenting on the results of the polls, Christian activist Sam Butrous noted that the widespread support for the Islamic State among Palestinians is a sign of increased extremism and a denial of Christians’ rights in the Holy Land. “Apparently, 20% of the Palestinians have no problem with expelling their Christian brothers and destroying their churches and turning them into mosques,” he wrote. “This is what the Islamic State terror group is already doing in areas under its control.”


Christians are not the only ones who should be worried about the Islamic State’s growing influence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians’ two governments, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), also have good reason to be worried. In recent weeks, Islamic State spokesmen have issued threats against both the PA and Hamas, accusing them of “collaboration” with the “Zionist entity.”


But the PA and Hamas can only blame themselves for the surge of Palestinians joining the Islamic State. The two governments allow anti-Western incitement in their mosques and media outlets. Their leaders regularly glorify and endorse Palestinians who carry out terror attacks against Israelis, thus encouraging other Palestinians to follow suit. And if these Palestinians are unable to carry out attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they travel to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad against Israel’s allies, namely the U.S. and other Western countries.


Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot evade responsibility for inspiring dozens of Palestinians to join the Islamic State. The fiery rhetoric of these leaders, in addition to the ongoing incitement against Israel and the West, is further radicalizing Palestinians and driving them into the Islamic State’s open arms.






Monika Scislowska &Vanessa Gera                                                                                       

National Post, Aug. 25, 2015


As river levels in Poland fall to record lows amid a prolonged drought, Jewish tombstones and a Soviet fighter plane with the remains of its pilots have been found in the riverbank, evidence of Poland’s tortured 20th-century history. Those discoveries follow the findings of stone fragments from the early 20th-century Poniatowski Bridge across the Vistula River in Warsaw, which the Germans blew up in 1944 as they crushed the Warsaw Uprising. The bridge was rebuilt after the war.


“The Vistula River is hiding no end of secrets. They are everywhere,” said Jonny Daniels, the head of Jewish foundation “From the Depths,” who waded Tuesday into a shallow area of the Vistula, picking up fragments of stones with Hebrew lettering. Officials knew that archaeological remnants remained hidden under wild and murky waters of the Vistula River and its tributaries, but it was impossible to carry out searches for them until now. The Vistula, which flows 1,047 kilometres from the Beskidy Mountains to the Baltic Sea, is now at its lowest level since measurements started in the late 18th century.


On Sunday, explorers found the remnant of the Soviet fighter bomber in the Bzura River, a Vistula tributary, near the village of Kamion in central Poland. The pieces have been moved to a museum in nearby Wyszogrod for examination, with more recovery work planned for Saturday. The head of the museum, Zdzislaw Leszczynski, told The Associated Press that parts of Soviet uniforms, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar, parts of boots, a pilot’s TT pistol and radio equipment were found, along with a lot of heavy ammunition. The inscriptions on the control panel and the radio equipment are in Cyrillic.


It’s all part of the devastating war that played out across Poland from 1939-45: a German invasion from the west, a Soviet invasion from the east, the murder of Jews across occupied Poland and fighting between the Soviets and Germans after Adolf Hitler turned on former ally Josef Stalin. Leszczynski said, according to witnesses, the plane was hit while flying low in January 1945 and crashed through the thick ice into the river. At the time, the German army was retreating toward Berlin before the Red Army’s advance. “Until now, the water level did not allow for the search and there was no one willing to enter this swamp,” he said.


Russian Embassy spokeswoman Valeria Perzhinskaya said she considers the discovery important and believes the crew could be identified by the numbers on the wreckage and properly buried. About 600,000 Soviet troops were killed fighting the German army on Polish territory. The Jewish tombstones found in Warsaw are believed to come from the Brodno cemetery in the Polish capital’s Praga district. Once the resting place for 300,000 Jews, only 3,000 tombstones remain there today. The rest were removed during and after the war, used as building materials and to reinforce the Vistula’s banks.


Two weeks ago, a man walking along the river in Warsaw came across fragments of the tombstones with Hebrew lettering. On Tuesday, he took Daniels there. In the meantime, some had already been removed, although a few fragments were still lying on the riverbed. Now Daniels hopes to take students there to do a more thorough search and return anything he can find to the cemetery. “Jewish history is buried in the Vistula,” he said.


   CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!






On Topic


More Than Seven Decades Later, Monaco Apologizes for Deporting Jews: Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 27, 2015—Monaco committed the "irreparable" injustice of deporting Jews to Nazi camps during World War II, Prince Albert II said Thursday in belated apology for the action 73 years ago that sent scores of residents and refugees to their deaths.

These 1,200 German Jews Survived Hell And Were Saved By The Philippines: Israel Video Network, Aug. 24, 2015

From Kaifeng to the Kotel: Chinese Jews in Jerusalem: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015—On a brisk winter day seven months ago, three young men from Jerusalem named Moshe Li, Gideon Fan and Yonatan Xue showed up at the military induction center in Tel Hashomer to formally enlist in the IDF.

Iran Deal Could Reboot America's Big Enchilada Policy in the Mideast: Andrew J. Bacevich, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 6, 2015 —At American University on Wednesday, President Obama defended his Iran nuclear agreement and depicted the issue at hand as a choice between "diplomacy or some form of war." To walk away from the deal was inevitably to plunge into armed conflict.






We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication.


Iran’s Old-New Role in the Region: Rami Aziz, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2015 — In examining Iran’s attitudes toward the Arab world in light of the Iranian nuclear deal, it is important to remember that Iranian interests in the Arab world have a long history beyond the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Egypt and the Hamas "Cockroaches": Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 26, 2015— Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians.

Trading Peace in Egypt and Israel: Oren Kessler, Foreign Affairs, Aug. 23, 2015 — This year marks the tenth anniversary of an Egyptian-Israeli economic partnership that has quietly pumped billions into Cairo’s vulnerable economy.

Israel: An Unexpected Surprise: Haisam Hassanein, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 2015 — Good evening. It is my pleasure to speak to you on this evening that represents the end of one chapter in our lives, and the start of another.


On Topic Links


Islamic State Branch Says Caliphate’s ‘Soldiers’ Bombed Cairo Courthouse, National Security Building: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal, Aug. 20, 2015

Russia, Egypt Set to Sign Deal For Nuclear Plant, Jordan as Leaders Visit Moscow: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2015

Egypt Turns to Russia to Combat Terrorism: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015

Egyptians and Their Leaders are Warming to Jews, Israel: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2015




Rami Aziz                              

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2015


In examining Iran’s attitudes toward the Arab world in light of the Iranian nuclear deal, it is important to remember that Iranian interests in the Arab world have a long history beyond the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

From Persia to the Islamic Iran, the country has consistently demonstrated its desire for the land and wealth of the Arab states and the rest of the region. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s views are only the most recent expression of this desire.


In his July Id al-Fitr speech, Khamenei stated that, “Whether or not the draft text of the nuclear agreement is ratified, Iran will not relinquish its support for the government of Syria, the oppressed people of Yemen and Bahrain, or the loyal fighters of Lebanon and Palestine.” Khamenei’s words underscore longstanding Iranian policy, with Iran’s effective occupation of the three Emirati Islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, along with Iran’s indirect meddling through proxy forces such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine.


Nor have Iranian actions suggested a policy different from that outlined by the ayatollah. Iran has proven particularly obtrusive in Bahrain, where according to Sky News Arabia, Bahrain Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa recently accused Tehran of opening terrorist training camps, sheltering wanted individuals and smuggling explosives, weapons and ammunition into the country.


Moreover, it is clear that at least some Iranian officials are presenting Iranian expansionism in the context of ancient Persian territorial goals. Rouhani’s advisor and former intelligence minister Ali Younis, in a forum titled “The Iranian Identity” held in Tehran this March, stated that, “Today, Iran has once again become an empire as it has been throughout history. This empire’s capital is Baghdad, the center of our civilization, culture and identity today as it was in the past.” These remarks are a clear reference to an attempted restoration of the pre-Islamic Sassanian Empire, which occupied Iraq and took the city of al-Mada’in (Csestephon) as its capital.


Younis continued in this vein, stating that “the entire Middle Eastern region is Iranian… we will defend all of the region’s people because we consider them part of Iran. We will stand against Islamic extremists who label others as infidels as well as the neo-Ottomans, the Wahhabis, the West and the Zionists.” All of these examples confirm the aspirations of the Islamic Republic of Iran to take on a new role in the region through which it can achieve its undying dreams of past glory. And these sentiments have created noticeable effect on Arab states’ understanding of and responses to current Iran-centric issues such as the nuclear deal.


For many in the Arab world and greater international community, the ayatollah’s statements suggest little interest in neighborly cooperation and a state policy incompatible with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s outward presentations of Iran’s goals. Gulf Cooperation Council General Secretary Abdullatif al-Zayani and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry have responded by denouncing Khamenei’s remarks, describing them as contradictory and damaging to the establishment of good relations. Non-Arab states have also expressed concern, with US Secretary of State John Kerry describing Khamenei’s words as “disturbing” to Al Arabiya.


Many facets of Arab media have recognized Iran’s expansionist tendencies and the Iran nuclear deal’s potential boost of them. Writing in the Egyptian government newspaper al-Ahram, former Egyptian foreign minister and ambassador to the United States Nabil Fahmy has written several articles presenting different aspects of this issue. In the articles, Fahmy calls on the Arab states to safeguard their own interests and end their reliance on the West – represented by the United States. Fahmy’s article alludes to the growing lack of confidence between the countries of the region – particularly the Gulf countries – and the United States, previously considered their first line of defense against Iranian aggressions.


It is unfortunate that the Iranian state has not followed a policy of neighborliness supported by many Arab states and even Iranian politicians like President Rouhani, since Iran and Arab states’ close proximity in the region can produce nuanced economic and territorial relationships. Iranian and Arab heads of state have exchanged a variety of visits in the past decade. Economic considerations also demonstrate the complicated ties between Iran and Arab states. Despite Iran’s occupation of the Emirati islands, the Emirates tops the list of Arab trade with Iran by exchanging $17 billion in trade in 2014. Prior to the most recent batch of sanctions, imposed on Iran in 2011, the Emirates’ trade with Tehran was even higher, reaching a record $23b.


Both Kuwait and Bahrain also engage in trade and economic cooperation with Tehran, although the volume of trade is somewhat less significant than that of the Emirates. During the Morsi presidency, Egypt also engaged in trade with Iran, although this quickly ceased after his overthrow, and Sisi’s decision to not invite President Rouhani to the opining of the extended Suez canal demonstrates the poor quality of relations…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




EGYPT AND THE HAMAS "COCKROACHES"                                                                                   

Khaled Abu Toameh

Gatestone Institute, Aug. 26, 2015


Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Sisi has once again proven that he and his country will not tolerate any threats from Hamas or other Palestinians. The crisis that erupted between Sisi's regime and Hamas after the removal from power of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi two years ago, reached it peak in the past few days with the kidnapping of four Hamas operatives in Sinai.


The four men were snatched from a bus shortly after crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egyptian territory on August 19. Reports said that unidentified gunmen stopped the bus and kidnapped the four Hamas men, who are wanted by Egypt for their involvement in terrorism. Although initial reports suggested that the kidnappers belonged to a salafi-jihadi group based in Sinai, some Hamas officials have accused Egyptian security forces of being behind the abduction. The Hamas officials even issued veiled threats against Sisi and the Egyptian authorities, and said that they held them fully responsible for the safety of the Hamas men.


A statement issued by Hamas warned the Egyptian authorities against harming the four men. "These men were the victims of deception and their only fault is that they are from the Gaza Strip," the statement said. "This incident shows that the criminals are not afraid to target our people." Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk said that his movement holds the Egyptian authorities fully responsible for any harm caused to the abductees. He said that the kidnapping raises many questions and its circumstances remain unclear.


Hamas claims that salafi-jihadi groups in Sinai have informed its representatives that they did not kidnap the four men. According to Hamas officials, the abduction took place near the border with the Gaza Strip — an area where the Egyptian army maintains a large presence. Sources in the Gaza Strip, however, have confirmed that the four men belong to Hamas's armed wing, Ezaddin al-Qassam. The sources said that the men were apparently on their way to Iran for military training. The sources pointed out that the four had received permission from the Egyptian authorities to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing. The visas, however, are supposedly for civilians, not for Hamas operatives.


Hamas's threats against Egypt have, meanwhile, enraged the Egyptian authorities as well as some top journalists in Cairo. Egyptian authorities responded by refusing to give permission to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and some leaders of his movement to travel to Qatar and Lebanon through the Rafah border crossing. The Hamas leaders were hoping to hold talks with some of their colleagues in those two countries about the possibility of reaching a long-term truce with Israel.


The Egyptians' refusal to allow the Hamas leaders to leave the Gaza Strip has further strained relations between the two sides. Hamas representatives in the Gaza Strip were quoted as accusing the Egyptian authorities of "conspiring" against the movement and all Palestinians. In Cairo, Egyptian security officials denied any link to the kidnapping of the four Hamas men. However, the denials have fallen on deaf ears and no one in Hamas seems to believe the Egyptian authorities. Even worse, Hamas representatives continued over the past few days to issue warnings and threats against Egypt.


As in the past, each time tensions rise between Hamas and Egypt, the Egyptians unleash some of their senior journalists against the Islamist movement. Since President Morsi's removal from power, the Egyptians have displayed zero tolerance when it comes to Hamas. They are particularly fed up with reports about Hamas's increased involvement in their internal affairs and links to terror groups in Sinai.


During the last war between Israel and Hamas, several Egyptian journalists and public figures openly expressed hope that the Israelis would destroy the movement for once and for all. Other journalists in Cairo, who are openly affiliated with the Sisi regime, have even urged their government to launch attacks against Hamas bases in the Gaza Strip.


This week, and in wake of the renewed tensions between Hamas and Egypt, Egyptian journalists resumed their rhetorical attacks against the movement. The question that most of these journalists asked was: What are Hamas members doing on Egyptian soil in the first place? The journalists accused Hamas of exploiting Egypt's humanitarian gestures to smuggle its men out of the Gaza Strip.


One of these journalists, Dina Ramez, who is known as a staunch supporter of President Sisi, launched a scathing attack on Hamas, calling its members and leaders "cockroaches." Referring to the Hamas threats against Egypt, Ramez said: "Has anyone ever heard of cockroaches or ants that could threaten lions? These cockroaches belong to Hamas, which is threatening Egypt following the abduction of four of its men. I want to ask the Hamas cockroaches a simple question: What were your four men doing in Sinai? Haven't you denied in the past the presence of any Hamas men in Sinai? So where did these men pop up from? I dare you to approach the border with Egypt. We have confidence in our army and our response will be painful. It will be a strong and deterring response against any cockroach that dares to come close to our border or threaten Egypt."


Regardless of the identity of the kidnappers, the incident shows that Sisi and the Egyptian authorities continue to view Hamas as a threat to Egypt's national security. The incident also proves that Hamas does not hesitate to take advantage of Cairo's humanitarian gestures to smuggle its men out of the Gaza Strip. Obviously, the four Hamas men were not on their way to receive medical treatment or pursue their studies in Egypt or any other country.


That they are members of Ezaddin al-Qassam speaks for itself. Instead of dispatching its fighters to Iran and Turkey, Hamas should have allowed medical patients and university students to leave the Gaza Strip. But Hamas does not care about the well-being of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Rather, it cares about sending its men to Iran and Turkey to receive military and security training. This practice by Hamas is something that the Egyptian authorities have come to understand, which is why they are refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The question now is whether the international community will understand Hamas's true intentions and plans — namely to prepare for another war against Israel.                                                              



TRADING PEACE IN EGYPT AND ISRAEL                                                                              

Oren Kessler                                                                                                        

Foreign Affairs, Aug. 23, 2015


This year marks the tenth anniversary of an Egyptian-Israeli economic partnership that has quietly pumped billions into Cairo’s vulnerable economy. The free-trade framework known as Qualifying Industrial Zones, or QIZs, is one of the few points of economic normalization to have grown out of Israel’s 1979 peace agreement with Egypt and subsequent deal with Jordan. Given the flagging Arab economies and regional instability, the success of QIZs has implications far beyond the bottom line.


Essentially, QIZs are industrial parks through which participating countries—specifically Egypt and Jordan—can export goods under the flag of the U.S.-Israeli free-trade agreement. Egypt is now home to 15 QIZs and Jordan to 13, which together account for some $1 billion in exports a year. QIZs differ from other free-trade zones in that they are not the purview of a single country. Rather, they are jointly operated by Israel and either Egypt or Jordan, with oversight from Washington. Moreover, their products all have a single destination: the United States.


QIZs are the brainchild of Omar Salah, a Jordanian businessman—who, like 70 percent of his countrymen, is of Palestinian descent—seeking to capitalize on the optimism that followed the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords and the following year’s Israeli-Jordanian peace deal. He was particularly keen to find a way to take advantage of a free-trade agreement that the United States had signed with Israel eight years prior.


Rebuffed by Jordanian officials as “naive,” Salah traveled to Washington to lobby the State Department, White House, and U.S. trade representative, whose interest finally piqued that of Salah’s own government in Amman. The QIZ agreement was signed into law by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1996, and stipulated that at least 35 percent of the product content of QIZ exports to the United States must come from Jordan, Israel, or the Palestinian territories, whereas the rest could come from anywhere in the world (but would be funneled through the QIZs). At least 11.7 percent of the material (later reduced to 8 percent) had to be Israeli. Everybody won: Jordan now had duty-free trade with the world’s largest consumer market and Israel had achieved the first economic agreement with any of its neighbors, one with labor costs 40–70 percent lower than its own.


Inspired by that example, Egypt followed suit in late 2004 with its own QIZ deal with Washington, which went into force in early 2005. In the decade since, Cairo has tripled textile exports to the United States, and Egyptian QIZs now supply fabrics to American brands such as Gap and Levi Strauss. All told, the QIZs house nearly 700 companies, export nearly $1 billion in goods to the United States (according to State Department figures), and provide a livelihood for nearly 300,000 people. Roughly half of Egyptian exports to the U.S. now come from QIZs.


Egyptian cotton is famously high quality, and textiles are a pillar of the country’s export economy. Still, that economy remains hobbled by a soaring population, low foreign-exchange liquidity, rising inflation, and a growing terrorist menace that has curbed tourism. In response, Egypt has doubled down on the QIZ program. In February, Cairo announced plans to double its QIZ textile exports within three years—something it seems serious about doing—and in May it proclaimed that more industrial areas and product sectors were in the works.


As for Jordan, the kingdom has less than one-tenth Egypt’s population, and its economy is correspondingly smaller. Like its more sizable neighbor, however, the kingdom faces daunting economic challenges, including scarce natural resources, six percent inflation, and the burden of housing, feeding, and employing some 600,000 Syrian refugees. For Jordan too, the QIZ has been a blessing. In the decade after the program’s founding in 1997, the kingdom’s exports to the United States spiked from $15 million to $1.2 billion. This success led to the Jordanian-U.S. free-trade agreement of 2000, Washington’s first with an Arab state. That agreement has partially overshadowed Jordan’s QIZ program, but it still rests largely on the infrastructure created by it. Today, Jordanian QIZs outfit brands from Walmart to Calvin Klein to Victoria’s Secret. They employ 43,000 people, most of them women.


To be sure, the QIZs achievement is not unqualified. Critics note, accurately, that a significant portion of the zones’ investment comes not from local investors but from other Arab states and Asia. Much of the revenue, they say, accrues to a few big firms. In Jordan, a majority of the QIZ workforce is foreign, and labor-rights groups have highlighted potential abuses.


The loudest criticism of all comes from the overwhelming majority of Egyptians and Jordanians who still oppose normalizing ties with Israel. For years after the Egyptian-Israeli QIZ agreement, for instance, the Egyptians balked at joining their neighbors in joint trade roadshows in the United States. Oddly enough, it was in 2013, during the short-lived presidency of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Mohammed Morsi, that the cash-strapped Egyptians finally asked their Israeli counterparts to hit the road together. That joint marketing strategy has continued, and earlier this year, North America’s largest textile trade show held a gala dinner in Las Vegas to mark ten years of the Egyptian-Israeli QIZ. Bilateral cooperation now extends beyond the QIZs: Israel recently signed preliminary deals to sell natural gas to Jordan and Egypt.


These are small steps. Yet in the era of ISIS, civil war in Syria, and turmoil over the Iranian nuclear program, it is encouraging to witness some Middle Eastern entrepreneurs promoting a daring idea: that decades-long enmities can fade, and that doing business with old foes may even pay off.




ISRAEL: AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE                                                                           

Haisam Hassanein                                                                                                       

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 2015


Good evening. It is my pleasure to speak to you on this evening that represents the end of one chapter in our lives, and the start of another. I’d like to invite you all to take a moment to reflect about the beginning of your adventure in Israel. Do you remember receiving your acceptance letter? You were probably excited to come to Israel. Then, you started telling people you were coming to Israel, and maybe you started to get a little nervous. Everybody is in this room has had a friend or a family member who warned him not to come to Israel.


There’s war there! Aren’t you afraid of being blown up? Do they even have water there? Do Jews speak English? If you think you heard a million reasons why not to come to Israel, I heard a million and a half. Growing up in Egypt, my entire country had opinions about Israel, and none of them were positive. All we knew was that we had fought bloody wars, and they were not like us. My exposure to Israel was through music and television. On the radio, there were anthems about the destruction Israel had caused. In the movies, Israelis were spies and thieves, and in spite of the fact that our countries struck a famous peace accord in 1979, the Israelis, I was told, were our worst enemies.


A recent Egyptian action film called Cousins, a box-office hit, told the story of an Israeli spy who married an Egyptian woman and had a family with her, only to kidnap her and her children to Israel. When I told my mom I was coming to study in Israel, she was understandably terrified that I would get a girlfriend. I arrived to Israel knowing only what I had learned in the movies and in the media. So, at the airport, when the security official asked why I decided to come here, I half-joked, “I always heard the Jews are bad people, and I came to see this for myself.”


I expected to find that people here were unfriendly, and especially unhappy to meet Egyptians. I was pleasantly surprised to find just the opposite. I was invited everywhere, from Shabbat dinner, to Ramadan Iftar meals, to plays and even to political gatherings. And the diversity I found here was as surprising as the warmth of the people.  On my very first day here at the university, I saw men in kippot and women in headscarfs and hijabs. I saw soldiers walking peacefully among crowds of lively students. I learned there were people of every kind on campus, and that the university had a space for all of them – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druse, Beduin and even international students. I discovered that the diversity of the Tel Aviv University campus was reflected in Tel Aviv too.


How fascinating is it to be in a country where you can to go a beach and see a Muslim woman, a gay couple kissing, and a Hassid sharing the same small space? Where else can you find a Christian Arab whose apartment is decorated in posters of Mao and Lenin? Where else can you see a Beduin IDF soldier reading the Koran on the train during Ramadan? Where else can you see Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews arguing about whether or not Ashkenazi families had kidnapped Yemenite babies in the 1950s? To be sure, my experience here has been defined by the unexpected…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]





On Topic


Islamic State Branch Says Caliphate’s ‘Soldiers’ Bombed Cairo Courthouse, National Security Building: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal, Aug. 20, 2015—The Islamic State’s branch in Egypt has claimed responsibility for a bombing near two government buildings in Cairo earlier today.

Russia, Egypt Set to Sign Deal For Nuclear Plant, Jordan as Leaders Visit Moscow: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2015 —Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi were set to sign a deal for the construction of a nuclear power plant at a meeting on Wednesday in Moscow, a source close to the negotiations said, according to a report by Russia’s state news agency, Sputnik International.

Egypt Turns to Russia to Combat Terrorism: New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015—Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday called for a coalition to combat terrorism in the Middle East.

Egyptians and Their Leaders are Warming to Jews, Israel: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2015 —It’s been a particularly challenging summer for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Within one week in late June and early July, his attorney general was assassinated in the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis and an Islamic State affiliate launched a two-day siege in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.