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This weekend's Israeli-Iranian clashes in Syria
Israeli soldiers inspect the wreckage of the downed F-16 Saturday

This weekend's Israeli-Iranian clashes in Syria Categories: Israel, Syria, Updates    

As readers will be hopefully aware, there was a major escalation in the undeclared conflict between Israel and Iran over Syria on Saturday. An Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace and was then shot down, (video of the drone being shot down can be seen here); then Israel attacked the drone's controlling base in Eastern Syria near Palmyra, but lost one F-16 jet over Israel to a massive barrage of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles on the way back (footage of the jet's crash is here  - both pilots were hurt but survived.) In retaliation, Israel then struck a series of 12 additional sites in Syria, including numerous Syrian anti-aircraft sites, as well as "four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.

Biblio File: War by Other Memes
Hamas proved in 2014 that moral distinctions count for little in the face of emotive social media posts

Biblio File: War by Other Memes Author: Jamie Kirchick Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

By any traditional standard, Israel won its 50-day war against Hamas in 2014. It incurred far fewer casualties than its Palestinian adversary. It rooted out much of the Gaza Strip's terrorist infrastructure... And it put an end to incessant rocket attacks on Israeli towns...

Alas, according to David Patrikarakos, author of the fascinating War in 140 Characters, the traditional metrics of determining winners and losers no longer apply to armed conflict. War has entered a postmodern phase in which victories and losses on the "discursive level" matter more than casualty figures or captured territory.

Noted and Quoted - February 2018
US Vice-President Pence addresses the Knesset

Noted and Quoted - February 2018 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

On Dec. 18, the Australian chided Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' "ill-judged refusal" to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence during a planned but ultimately postponed December visit to the Middle East because of US President Trump's Jerusalem recognition statement.

Teheran's Weak Hand
Rouhani: Cannot afford to walk away from a deal that rescued the economy

Teheran's Weak Hand Author: Jason Brodsky Categories: International Security, Iran, United States    

With US President Trump's decision to lay down a red line on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and slap more onerous non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, its clerical establishment has vowed a "severe response." But while Teheran's rhetoric has been threatening, its riposte is likely to be restrained due to three inconvenient realities...

UNICEF's war on the IDF
UNICEF is supposed to remain neutral and independent to aid children, but UNICEF Palestine is not meeting these criteria

UNICEF's war on the IDF Author: Liora Cohen Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations    

Anti-Israel activity at the United Nations is mainly associated with UNRWA and UNESCO.

UNRWA, the aid agency for Palestinian refugees, has a reputation for inciting to violence and perpetuating the Palestinians' refugee status, while UNESCO, the UN's cultural agency, consistently denies any Jewish links to Jerusalem.

Israel's air campaign in the Sinai

Israel's air campaign in the Sinai Categories: Egypt, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update deals with the alleged revelation, reported in the New York Times over the weekend, that Israel has secretly been conducting extensive airstrikes against ISIS-linked Islamic militants in Sinai over the past two years, with the agreement and cooperation of the Egyptian government.

The fallout from Poland’s controversial new law on the Holocaust

The fallout from Poland’s controversial new law on the Holocaust Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Europe, Holocaust/ War Crimes, International Jewry, Updates    

In recent years, Poland has become one of Israel's best friends in Europe. However, that relationship appears to have been badly fractured with Poland's President Andrzej Duda signing a bill into law on Feb. 6 which calls for prison terms for people blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

Behind the News - February 2018
Hamas tunnels from Gaza: Not built with good intentions

Behind the News - February 2018 Categories: Hamas, Iran, Israel, Russia, Syria, United States    

On Jan. 13 an Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza destroyed a Hamas tunnel that extended from Gaza into Israeli and Egyptian territory. The tunnel was dug below the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Gaza and reached 180 metres into Israeli territory. According to Israeli news reports, security forces believe the tunnel was built to facilitate a planned attack on the border crossing

Lessons from the arrest of a Palestinian icon
Arafat with the once ubiquitous Mohammed Al-Dayeh

Lessons from the arrest of a Palestinian icon Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Palestinians    

Al-Dayeh's fall from grace was rapid once his boss, Arafat, died in 2004. This is typical for dictatorial regimes that are run as a one-man show. Arafat managed the Palestinian Authority (and PLO) as if it were his private fiefdom. When the emperor falls, so do many of those around him, particularly his personal picks.

Asia Watch: A Leopard and his Spots
Dr Mahathir Mohamed: An improbable reformist candidate

Asia Watch: A Leopard and his Spots Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Israel    

With Malaysia's next national election due to be held by August this year, voters will have their say on a government that over the past five years has been wracked with financial scandals, a crackdown on dissent, the jailing of the popular opposition leader, and religious bigotry fed by Islamic hardliners, not to mention a leader - a scion of the establishment - accused of massive corruption.

Deconstruction Zone: Lebanon's Destabilising Fiction
Hezbollah fighters: The group not only dominates Lebanon but has intervened in several regional conflicts

Deconstruction Zone: Lebanon's Destabilising Fiction Author: Evelyn Gordon Categories: Lebanon, Middle East    

If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran's foreign legion, Hezbollah.

Print edition
India and Israel:  When interests align
Netanyahu opens the flagship Raisina Conference as part of his tour de force six-day India visit

India and Israel: When interests align Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: India, Israel    

Today, as reflected by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's high-profile visit to India in January, and by PM Narendra Modi's visit to Israel last July, the Asian giant that once treated Israel as a diplomatic pariah has made a strategic U-turn.

Addressing UNRWA as an obstacle to peace
UNRWA runs schools, healthcare and other services even for Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories who are considered PA citizens

Addressing UNRWA as an obstacle to peace Author: Einat Wilf Categories: NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations    

One of the greatest obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and certainly the least acknowledged, is the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem and the inflation of its scale by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Europa Europa: Trading in the shadows
MI5 chief Andrew Parker: Running operations to contain 3,000 known extremists

Europa Europa: Trading in the shadows Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism, United Kingdom    

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lifted that veil for a tantalising moment in Jerusalem last month when he told a group of ambassadors from NATO member-states what many might have already known: that Israel's intelligence services provided information that had thwarted "several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries."

UNESCO's Culture of Denial
UNESCO indulges in historical revisionism in the name of “democracy”

UNESCO's Culture of Denial Author: Sean Durns Categories: Israel, United Nations, United States    

In October, the US State Department notified the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that America would be withdrawing from the UN body. The US cited the need for fundamental reform, mounting arrears and "continuing anti-Israel bias" at the organisation. But the problem is much deeper: UNESCO denies Israel's very right to exist...