October 02 30/14

ible Quotation for today/Humility
Sirach 3/17- My child, be humble in everything you do, and people will appreciate it more than gifts. The greater you become, the more humble you should be; then the Lord will be pleased with you. The Lord's power is great, and he is honored by those who are humble. Don't try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know. Concentrate on the Law, which has been given to you. You do not need to know about things which the Lord has not revealed, so don't concern yourself with them. After all, what has been shown to you is beyond human power to understand. Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment. Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end. If you live dangerously, it will kill you. A stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. Sinners go on adding one sin to another. There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in them. Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn.

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 01, 02/14

Netanyahu’s words matter/
By RUTHIE BLUM/J.Post/October 02/14

Netanyahu's double standard/By: Aviad Kleinberg/Ynetnews/ October 02/14
Did US intelligence truly underestimate ISIS/Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq AlAwsat/October 02/14
A warning to the Lebanese army/By: Diana Moukalled/Al Arabiya/October 02/14
Fighter jets cloud the skies over the Golan Heights/By:
Yossi Mekelberg /Al Arabiya/October 02/14
Lebanese Related News published on October01, 02/14

Moqbel due in Tehran to receive military aid
Joreige warns media against jihadist plots
Mosques should adopt moderate speech: Saudi envoy

Arsal gunmen snatch stone dealer

Jumblatt: relations with Hezbollah "excellent"

FM Bassil explains controversial New York video

Lebanese Parliament fails to pass wage hike bill
Lebanon needs to embrace moderate Islam: Saudi ambassador

Lebanese defense minister to visit Tehran over promised military aid

Protesters to HK boss: Quit or we occupy buildings

Lebanon minister urges TV stations to resist jihadist manipulation
Rent law to trigger tenant-landlord legal feuds

Maronite Bishops Reject 'Necessary Legislation': Electing President Must Be Priority

Defense Minister to Propose Army Pay Raise Bill after Objections over Public Sector Wage Scale

Judge Charges Man Arrested in Tripoli with Belonging to Terror Cell

Gunmen Abduct Barouk Resident on Outskirts of Arsal

High-ranking Military Delegation in Moscow Ahead of Arms Deal

Conference to Gather Tripoli's Muslims, Christians

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on October 01, 02/14

Netanyahu to Obama: Israel committed to two states, but it will require 'outside-the-box thinking'

Israeli PM,'committed to peace'; Obama: End the status quo

War with ISIS could foster terror in Arab states

Obama-Netanyahu: It’s not personal

British warplanes destroy IS targets in Iraq

Iran rejects Netanyahu’s ‘baseless allegations’

Khorasan Group targeted by US in Syria a special unit of al-Qaida

Kurdish forces recapture Syria-Iraq border crossing

Amid jihadi gains, priceless Iraqi artefacts hit black market

International coalition target ISIS near Kobani

France to boost military presence in fight against ISIS

Islamist Watch Launches 'Islamist Money in Politics'

Before discussing Gaza, White House lowers own standard on civilian deaths

Abbas issues ICC threat over IDF withdrawal

ree soldiers who fought in Gaza commit suicide

ISIS beheads Kurds as coalition jets hit group

New NATO chief: better ties with Russia possible
Palestinians urge end to occupation by 2016
Denzel's “The Equalizer” soars at Lebanon's Box Office

France to deploy 3 more fighter jets, frigate, in IS fight: military

Syrian school blasts kill 22, including 10 kids
Israeli plans underway to build 2,610 homes in east Jerusalem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, Deluded and deplorable

Egypt offers military training to Libya, cites ISIS threat
U.N. draft resolution sets deadline for end of occupation of Palestine


Lebanon needs to embrace moderate Islam: Saudi ambassador
Oct. 01, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: ISIS does not follow Islam and should not be called Islamic, the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon said Wednesday, calling on Dar al-Fatwa to take the leading role in bringing back moderate preaching to Lebanon’s mosques.
“Calling ISIS an Islamic state is unfair to Muslims,” Ali Awad Asiri said at a dinner held in his honor by Mohammad Sinno, president of the Dutch-Lebanese Businessmen Association. “It is not a state, but a terrorist organization, and what it is doing is far from Islam and its teachings.”Praising the newly elected Mufti Abdel-Latif Derian for his moderate approach, Asiri called for the moderation shown by Lebanon's highest Sunni Muslim authority to spread throughout the country.
“The approach adopted by grand mufti is the real Muslim approach, and it is the moderate one that we all call for,” he said, adding, however, that “one hand alone cannot applause.” “We shall not forget our brethren in north Lebanon who deserve all the care from Dar al-Fatwa,” he said. “What we are witnessing in this area can only be resolved by creating a new hope through moderation in religious speech.”
Asiri said he hoped to see an initiative starting from Dar al-Fatwa, one that could “correct the wrong notions” adopted by some extremist religious speeches “that do not suit Islam or Lebanon.”“We are in the 21st century,” Asiri said, “and we need to treat things with wisdom rather than emotion.”“We need to practice what we perceive; teachings and religious speech should be on top of our list of things to reconsider.”

Arsal gunmen snatch stone dealer

Oct. 01, 2014 /The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Gunmen on Wednesday abducted a Lebanese man near the northeast border town of Arsal while he was picking up an order of stones from a quarry in the area, security sources told The Daily Star. The victim was identified as Maher al-Ammatouri, in his 30’s, from the Mount Lebanon village of Barouk. An official from Barouk's municipality said Ammatouri had travelled in his pickup truck to Arsal in the morning to load it with stones. “Other dealers with their pickups were with him, but he was the only one who insisted on crossing the Army checkpoint to reach a quarry located deeper in the town’s outskirts,” the official told the Daily Star. He said Ammatouri’s colleagues became alarmed when he did not show up hours later. “We were informed that a carload of gunmen intercepted Maher’s truck and took him away,” he added. News of the abduction triggered an uproar in Barouk where residents gathered in the main square, with many threatening to kidnap Arsal residents to trade them for Ammatouri. The official said two of Ammatouri’s five brothers headed to Arsal to inquire into his whereabouts and meet with the mayor and other local officials. “We very much doubt that the residents of Arsal have anything to do with the kidnapping because Maher has old business relations in the town and they know him very well. It is not the first time he goes there,” the official said. He said the kidnapping could be motivated by ransom. “We need to wait for more information and clarification, but if there is a need to carry out a counter-kidnapping, we will do it,” the official added. Kidnappings have increased significantly in east Lebanon since jihadist militants took at least 30 Lebanese soldiers and police hostage, and started executing them in August. A gang in Baalbek released earlier Wednesday a Bekaa resident, Khodor Darwish, who was kidnapped six days ago. Local sources told the Daily Star that the kidnappers handed Darwish to General Security, whose chief Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is working on securing the release of security personnel held hostage in Arsal's outskirts by jidadi militants from Nusra Front and ISIS.

Maronite Bishops Reject 'Necessary Legislation': Electing President Must Be Priority
Naharnet/The Maronite Bishops Council rejected on Wednesday “necessary legislation” at parliament in light of the ongoing vacuum in the presidency. It said after its monthly meeting: “The election of a president should be a priority above all else.”“The constitution stresses the need to elect a president. Anything other than that is a violation of the constitution,” it declared. It therefore urged officials to adhere to the constitution instead of “exploiting political developments for their own interests.” Lebanon has been without a head of state since the term of Michel Suleiman ended. A number of electoral sessions were held at parliament, but the ongoing dispute between the rival March 8 and 14 camps over a compromise candidate has resulted in a lack of quorum at the sessions. The Maronite Bishops Council also addressed the spread of extremism in the region, noting the rise of such a phenomenon in the northern city of Tripoli. “We urge Islamic officials to take a clear stand on the spread of extremism in order to safeguard coexistence in Lebanon,” it urged. The Maronite bishops hailed the recent spiritual meeting at Dar al-Fatwa and the “bold stances it made.”Held on September 25, the Islamic-Christian summit held at Dar al-Fatwa called on Lebanese parties to stop relying on foreign influence to empower themselves domestically, as it rejected the proliferation of arms in the country under the excuse of self-defense against jihadist groups.The summit also stressed the importance of dialogue for preserving pluralism and addressing disputes.

Defense Minister to Propose Army Pay Raise Bill after Objections over Public Sector Wage Scale
Naharnet/Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said Wednesday that he would propose a bill to the government on a wage hike for the army after the military corps expressed reservations to the controversial pay raise draft-law for the public sector.
“The military has certain requirements related to its working conditions,” Moqbel said during a joint press conference with Lebanese Forces chief George Adwan at parliament. “I will propose a bill to the cabinet, which will be referred after approval to the parliament for discussion,” he said. Moqbel called for separating the controversial wage hike draft-law for the public sector and the planned pay raise for military personnel. The minister held his press conference after Speaker Nabih Berri referred the salary hike draft-law back to the parliamentary committees for discussion over objections expressed by the private sector teachers and the army. “We cannot deal with the soldier, who works in difficult conditions, the same way we deal with employees who finish work at 1:30 pm and go home,” he told LBCI ahead of the conference. Adwan also threw his weight behind the army, saying the military is preserving national unity.“It should be given what it needs.”The lawmaker said he agreed with Berri that it was important to work with the military institution to provided it with the needed allocations. Moqbel had attended a meeting with Adwan and Berri in parliament ahead of the press conference. For the past two months, the army has been fighting jihadists near the border with Syria. In early August, the extremists from al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State group crossed into the northeastern border town from Syria, capturing soldiers and policemen.Two of the troops have since been beheaded and one has been shot dead in captivity.

Lebanese Parliament fails to pass wage hike bill
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri sent a controversial wage hike draft law back to joint committees Wednesday, citing the opposition of many sectors to the bill.  "I thank Parliament, subcommittees, the Joint Parliamentary Committees and MP George Adwan who lately exerted efforts [to reach a solution]," Berri told lawmakers at the start a Parliament session. "But many sectors were not pleased with the bill." "That's why I ask for the return of the draft law to the Joint Parliamentary Committees for further study," he said. Berri expressed regret at his inability to "offer the salary scale as a gift on the occasion of Eid al-Adha" which fall on the weekend. Parliament was slated to pass the public sector wage hike bill against the backdrop of opposition by the private sector and a threat of a strike by private school teachers to protest their exclusion from the proposed salary raise. Berri had warned that if opposition to the salary scale persisted, he would withdraw the bill from the agenda of Wednesday’s session and refer it again to committee.
Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil from Berri’s bloc said the salary raise was postponed after military personnel were excluded from the wage hike. “There were substantial observations on the issue in terms of the military institution, and as a result the approval of the salary scale was delayed,” Khalil told reporters after the 30-minute session. Khalil, however, acknowledged that lawmakers have overcome massive obstacles to achieve the desires of teachers and trade unions.
“The reality is right in front of us,” argued MP Ibrahim Kanaan from Michel Aoun’s parliamentary bloc. “The Army has rights and some adjustments [to the wage hike] are necessary.”The revised bill had applied only to civil servants, with military personnel excluded. Defense Minister Samir Moqbel said he would soon submit a separate draft law especially designed to suit military personnel to Cabinet. “What applies to the military institution cannot be applied to regular institutions because soldiers who have multiple missions at different locations and in far-off places are not like civil servants, who finish their office work at 1 p.m.,” Moqbel said. Education Minister Elias Bou Saab however, linked the postponement to teachers’ rights in both the private and public sectors. “We will continue to stand alongside the Union Coordination Committee in its demands, and we will work to avert disruption of the current academic year,” Bou Saab said from Parliament headquarters. Following Berri's announcement, lawmakers quickly passed eight draft laws, most significantly LL626 billion to pay the November and December salaries of public sector employees.  The parliamentary session comes on the eve of a crucial Cabinet meeting, which is expected to address contentious topics such as the Lebanese soldiers and policemen held hostage by Islamist militants and demands by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk to build camps for Syrian refugees outside the Bekaa town of Arsal. Meanwhile, private teachers rallied at Riad Solh Square, a few blocks from the Parliament building, to vent their anger over the wage hike bill. The head of the Association of Private School Teachers, Nehme Mahfouz, said the teachers were simply asking for justice and equality, saying that according to the law, private school teachers should be treated on equal footing with public sector teachers.  “We were staggered by the bill which lacked equality and justice ... If asking for justice is a crime, let them prosecute us,” Mahfouz told the angry crowd. He warned that if Parliament ignored the private sector’s demands and went ahead with passing the bill, the teachers would take escalatory moves, including an open-ended strike. Also Wednesday, a call for a nationwide strike in private schools was poorly observed, as many establishments operated normally across the country. Catholic schools and other private institutions had announced that they would not be closing down in response to the call made by the Association of Private School teachers.

Jumblatt: relations with Hezbollah "excellent"

The Daily Star/BEIRUT: The Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) has "excellent" relations with Hezbollah, PSP leader Walid Jumblatt said Wednesday after meeting with a delegation from the group. “Our relationship with Hezbollah is excellent” Jumblatt told reporters following the meeting at his Beirut home with a delegation headed my Mohammad Raad, the leader of the party’s bloc in parliament. The PSP chief said that Wednesday’s meeting “was not the first” and “wouldn’t be the last.”Raad, whose party has had on-again off-again relations with Jumblatt, said that “the atmosphere [of the meeting] was positive.”“We are looking towards opening windows that would take Lebanon out of its current gridlock” he added. But both parties refused to elaborate on the discussions of the meeting. “This meeting is private” Jumblatt said. The meeting comes one day after Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb, an MP from Jumblatt’s PSP, visited Free Patriotic Movement Leader Michel Aoun

Lebanese defense minister to visit Tehran over promised military aid
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel is set to visit Tehran in the coming two weeks at the request of an Iranian official who had announced new Iranian aid to the Lebanese Army, he announced Wednesday.
“I will visit Tehran within the next ten days to oversee preparations [for the delivery] of military equipment [pledged] to the Army,” said Moqbel after his meeting with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea. The defense minister will also “study the effectiveness” of the promised aid during his visit, he said. Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said Tuesday that the equipment would be officially delivered to the defense minister during his visit to Iran. Shamkhani had said that the pledged aid includes “equipment that would help the Army in its heroic confrontations against evil terrorism.”But the exact nature of the equipment remains unknown. During the meeting, Geagea called for coordination between the Lebanese Army and the international coalition tasked with battling ISIS. This tactical cooperation could allow the international coalition to back the Lebanese Army through air strikes in the event of a militant attack on the Lebanese military, said Moqbel. The defense minister backed the decision and said that he would discuss the proposal with the Cabinet. He also denied reports of new developments with regards to the presidential vote.

FM Bassil explains controversial New York video

The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Wednesday brushed off criticisms over a controversial video in which he appears showing admiration of a female Lebanese diplomat’s body. “Of course I hailed the diplomat in her presence as well as in her absence,” Bassil said during a news conference upon his arrival to Beirut's international airport following a visit to New York as part of Lebanon's delegation to the 69th UN General Assembly. “Yes, she is an elegant woman,” he added, “and I was in a competition with the UAE Foreign Minister with each of us praising his country’s women.” However, Bassil claimed that the video was edited in a manner that implied an impolite attitude from his side, while it didn't show other parts.
“It is unfortunate that the picture was cut, manipulated and only a part of it was shown,” Bassil said. He insisted that he speaks of the external and internal beauty of Lebanese women before all foreign ministers and ambassadors.
Bassil explained that the concerned diplomat was responsible for organizing the Lebanese delegation’s meetings in New York, and praised her professionalism and diplomatic skills.
“Lebanon’s strongest weapon against ISIS is its diversity in cultures, civilizations and ideas,” he said, stressing on the necessity to be proud of Lebanon’s bustling life and the openmindedness of its people. In the same press conference, Bassil warned against the growth of ISIS’s extremist ideology.
“The world is witnessing a clash of civilizations, cultures and religions,” he said. “The world will either head to iron blocs, or create an environment of tolerance and coexistence following Lebanon’s example.”He added that Lebanon plays a key role in preventing the escalation of this clash, and to help rivals reconverge. “Lebanese Christians should defend Muslims in the West, and stress that Islam does not have anything to do with ISIS, and Muslims should defend Christians in Lebanon and refuse the extremist ideologies.” On the international fight against the group, Bassil said that it could be carried out in one of two ways: either through a partial alliance outside the U.N. framework, or through a U.N.-sponsored action.
“ Lebanon can only be part of an alliance that is embraced by the United Nations. This is why we welcomed the Security Council resolution 2170,” he said. He explained that one of two methods should be used in the military attacks against ISIS. “It is either done with a loose military framework, or through a limited one.” “The first option could lead to hitting any country without its government’s consent, and this could eventually reach Lebanon.” Bassil clarified that this position was not in defense of Syria, after the dilemma emerged about the U.S. airstrikes on Syrian territory without cooperation with the Syrian regime. Bassil also highlighted the importance of the legal action to go in parallel with the military one, and said Lebanon has expressed its willingness to fully collaborate with the International Criminal Court’s plan to follow and document terrorist movements and actions. The plan, he said, will help Lebanon sew a safety net for itself against the terrorist threat. Highlighting that the focus on supporting the Lebanese Army is a priority in the struggle against the extremist group, Bassil said that Lebanon “has no choice but to welcome any unconditional support to the army.” He also commented on the refugee crisis in Lebanon. “We had presented a draft project, for a policy that would reduce the number of Syrian refugees, not only stop the influx.” He said the security aspect of the Syrian refugee crisis is a major one, and underlined the necessity to be alarmed against the possible emergence of terrorists from inside refugee camps. The foreign minister urged humanitarian organizations to coordinate with the Lebanese government to distribute aid to Syrian refugees. “Development and humanitarian work should go hand in hand to encourage Syrians to go back to their country while strengthening the Lebanese economy,” he said. Commenting on criticism that he received apart from the video controversy, Bassil slammed the critics of his meeting with the Syrian foreign minister in New York, saying Lebanon “should be open to all countries to ensure self-defense and not to enter the game of political axes.”“ Lebanon has diplomatic relations with Syria and we suffered a lot to maintain these relations," he said. Lebanon, he added, does not have the right to refuse a meeting with the Syrian foreign minister while agreeing to meet with the delegations of all other countries.
“I do not need permission to meet another foreign minister,” he stressed, but “all meetings were held with previous consent and coordination.”Bassil also talked about his visits to the Lebanese diaspora groups at four U.S. states including California, New York, Nevada and Ohio.He said he publicized a project called “ Lebanon Connect” to link the Lebanese diaspora in the U.S. with citizens inside Lebanon, and another to organize Lebanese investment abroad.


Protesters to HK boss: Quit or we occupy buildings
Joanna Chiu| Associated Press
HONG KONG: Student leaders of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong warned Wednesday that if the territory's leader doesn't resign by the end of Thursday they will step up their actions, including occupying several important government buildings.
By raising the stakes in the standoff, the protest leaders are risking another round of confrontation with the police who are unlikely to allow government buildings to be stormed. It also puts pressure on the Chinese government, which has so far remained mostly silent and preferred to let Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying deal with the crisis. The student leaders, who have played a key role in organizing the protests to press for greater electoral reforms, would welcome an opportunity to speak to a Chinese central government official, Lester Shum, vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said at a news conference. "However, we ask them to come to the square and speak to the masses," Shum said. "This is a movement of Hong Kongers and not led by any specific group." Shum demanded that Leung resign by the end of Thursday. He said there was "no room for dialogue" with Leung because he ordered police to fire tear gas at protesters over the weekend, after the street protests started Friday. "Leung Chun-ying must step down. If he doesn't resign by tomorrow we will step up our actions, such as by occupying several important government buildings," he said, adding that demonstrators won't occupy "essential" government offices, such as hospitals and social welfare offices.
The protesters oppose Beijing's decision in August that candidates for the territory's top post in inaugural 2017 elections must be approved by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing local elites. The protesters don't want such restrictions and see China as reneging on a promise that the chief executive will be chosen through "universal suffrage."
The demonstrations pose the stiffest challenge to Beijing's authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997. Earlier Wednesday, a holiday, protesters kept behind police barricades heckled Leung as he attended a flag-raising ceremony on China's National Day, which marks the founding of communist China in 1949. Hundreds of them yelled at him to step down, then fell silent and turned their backs when the ceremony began. China's government has condemned the student-led protests as illegal. President Xi Jinping, who has taken a hard line against any perceived threat to the Communist Party's hold on power, vowed in a National Day speech to "steadfastly safeguard" Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
Agnes Chow, another student leader at the news conference with Shum, said she hoped that Beijing would look past the flag ceremony and see "the anger and frustration of the Hong Kong people and that we don't have our basic democratic rights."
Given the holiday, the protest numbers swelled Wednesday to tens of thousands, including many families with children, couples, students, retirees and foreigners who live in the city of 7 million. Many thronged a six-lane highway in front of the government headquarters in the Admiralty area, while others gathered in the downtown areas of Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. "I came out today to support the movement. No student leaders or occupy leaders urged me to come out. I came out on my own," said Pierre Wong, a 36-year-old IT technician. "I hope there will be democratic reform, instead of using the current framework." Throughout the protest zones, volunteers were manning supply stations under canopies to protect against the sun, handing out water, crackers, umbrellas, rain coats and plastic wrap - which was also used to protect against the pepper spray and tear gas used by police to try to disperse crowds over the weekend. In his speech, Leung made no direct mention of the protesters, but he told voters it is better to agree to Beijing's plans for nominating candidates and to hold an election, than to stick with the current system of having an Election Commission choose the chief executive. "It is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not," Leung said. "It is definitely better to have the chief executive elected by 5 million eligible voters than by 1,200 people. And it is definitely better to cast your vote at the polling station than to stay home and watch on television the 1,200 members of the Election Committee cast their votes."The growing protests have attracted worldwide attention, with British Prime Minister David Cameron saying he planned to summon the Chinese ambassador to discuss the dispute, saying it is essential that Hong Kong's people have a genuine right to choose their top leader.
"It is not for us to involve ourselves in every dot and comma of what the Chinese set out," Cameron said in England. But he added: "I think it is a critical question. Real universal suffrage doesn't just mean the act of voting; it means a proper choice."
Chan Kin-man, one of the leaders of another protest movement called Occupy Central, said the protests would continue as long as the Hong Kong government failed to give a satisfactory response to their demands.
"I hope people will understand why the action keeps on escalating. It's because the government is getting more and more closed without listening to Hong Kong people," he told The Associated Press in an interview on the street. "If the government can give us a proper response in due course I think we can end the occupation immediately."


Lebanon minister urges TV stations to resist jihadist manipulation
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Information Minister Ramzi Joreige Wednesday cautioned television media against being manipulated by militant groups holding Army soldiers and policemen.
“Those terrorists are using different weapons in their war on Lebanon, including the media weapon,” to stir strife and undermine the state, Joreige said at a press conference.
The statement followed a meeting with directors of local TV stations to discuess their coverage of the issue of the over 20 troops and policemen being held by militants from the Nusra Front and ISIS in the outskirts of the northeast border town of Arsal.
“Their media war is intended to weaken the morale of the Army and that of the people and to sap public confidence in the Army’s capacity to confront aggression and defend the nation,” he said.
Joreige called on the TV stations to refrain from airing videos and footage of the captive soldiers distributed by the militants showing the captives pressing the government to fulfill the captors’ demands of releasing Islamist prisoners.
“We call on media officials to confront the information war waged by the terrorists, by denying them access to their TV screens, to intimidate the people and stir strife, especially at this very critical time when we need to unify ranks,” Joreige added.
“Audiovisual media has a delicate national role to play in this phase. We urge them to exercise self-censorship in transmitting news and to give priority to national interest over scoops and sensational news,” he said.
Joreige stressed that the Lebanese Constitution consecrates the freedom of speech and press liberties, but places the duty of defending the nation and protecting civil peace above all considerations.
Nusra and ISIS released several videos of the soldiers in which they pleaded with their families to exert pressure on the government to secure their release through a swap for Islamists detained in Roumieh prison. The militants also posted videos of the beheading of two soldiers and the shooting death of a third on social media platforms which were picked up by the media

Netanyahu’s words matter
09/30/2014 23:08
As he set off for New York to address the 69th session of the UN General Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indicated he would be delivering a “razor-sharp” speech. Given his oratorical track record, there was little doubt he would make good on his promise, and indeed he did not disappoint.
Netanyahu’s 35-minute monologue from the podium of the hornet’s nest in midtown Manhattan was a masterpiece. And it took a great performer to be able to pull it off, particularly since the plenum was nearly empty and the only people present cheering him on were members of his entourage and some of his Jewish-American supporters in the balcony. But Netanyahu is a pro, and he knows how to talk into a camera, with his sights on a far wider audience.
What he did on Monday, with a mixture of toughness and elegance, was to use the consensus about combating the Islamic State (IS) terrorists to warn against militant Islam in all its permutations, emphasizing the danger of a nuclear Iran – the original and ultimate “Islamic State.”He began by likening militant Islam to a cancer that “starts out small... [b]ut left unchecked... grows, metastasizing over wider and wider areas.”
He proceeded to point out that Israel’s war with Hamas this summer was not only defensive, and as necessary as that which is being fought right now against IS, but was carried out in the most moral way possible, with the IDF taking special care to prevent civilian casualties.
And then he went for the proverbial jugular of the very body he was addressing (in stark contrast to the literal neck-slicing that has become the trademark of the Islamic caliphate).
“By investigating Israel rather than Hamas for war crimes,” Netanyahu said, “the UN Human Rights Council... is sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as a human shield... [T]he UN Human Rights Council has thus become a terrorist rights council.”He continued: “We live in a world steeped in tyranny and terror, where gays are hanged from cranes in Teheran; political prisoners are executed in Gaza; young girls are abducted en masse in Nigeria; and hundreds of thousands are butchered in Syria, Libya and Iraq. Yet nearly half... of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolutions focusing on a single country have been directed against Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East; Israel, where issues are openly debated in a boisterous parliament, where human rights are protected by independent courts, and where women, gays and minorities live in a genuinely free society.”
This treatment of Israel, he said, is “only one manifestation of the return of one of the world’s largest prejudices. We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism. It is now spreading in polite society where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel.”
Netanyahu also made reference to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who on Friday called Operation Protective Edge a “war of genocide” against the Palestinians; defended his decision to form a unity government with Hamas and said he was turning to the UNSC to pass a resolution to end the Israeli “occupation” by a certain date, without a peace agreement.
Depicting Hamas’s war crimes not only against Israelis but its own people – and Israel’s genuine attempt to preserve lives on both sides – Netanyahu asked the rhetorical question: “In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy civilian population to get out of harm’s way, or ensuring that they receive tons of humanitarian aid each day, even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us, or setting up a field hospital to aid their wounded?” He then provided the answer, “Well, I suppose it’s the same moral universe where a man [Abbas] who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews – Judenrein – can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”
As former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton subsequently commented on FOX News, it was the speech that President Barack Obama should have made.
Reactions in Israel have been a bit less positive, however. Snide remarks about Netanyahu on either end of the political spectrum immediately emerged.
The Left ridiculed him for using the “same old clichés” about the threat of Islamic terrorism to avoid Palestinian statehood. The Right, much of which is still reeling over what it considers to be Netanyahu’s weakness during the war in Gaza – not finishing off Hamas – has expressed being sick and tired of the prime minister’s great speeches.
In other words, both groups of cynics view his gift of the gab as meaningless.
I beg to differ.
Words are extremely important. And Netanyahu’s reiteration of certain truths that are under global assault is more crucial than ever, especially with a hostile administration in the White House and difficult opposition at home.
But it is because words matter that I have to take issue with the last part of his tour de force on Monday. Concluding that the only way to achieve peace with the Palestinians is to create regional cooperation with the Arab world and international community, Netanyahu asserted that he is “ready to make a historic compromise” in the form of territorial withdrawals.
Though he said that this is not because Israel is an occupier in its own land, and added that any peace deal would have to be “anchored in mutual recognition and enduring security arrangements,” he actually repeated that any peace agreement “will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise.”
Announcements like that, particularly in the context of an increasingly radicalizing Middle East and Europe, only serve to embolden the worst elements of Palestinian society. Offering “land for peace” is the best way to convey to Israel’s enemies that they should continue clinging to what Netanyahu himself called the “branches of the same poisonous tree” from which Hamas and IS cultivate their “fanatical creed.”
He, like all Israelis, ought to know this by now.
**The writer is the author of To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’


Netanyahu to Obama: Israel committed to two states, but it will require 'outside-the-box thinking'
By HERB KEINON / 10/01/2014/J.Post
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to a two-state solution in a brief statement he made alongside US President Barack Obama before their meeting in the White House on Wednesday.
“I remain committed to the vision of peace of two states for two peoples, based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements,” Netanyahu said. At the same time he indicated that the path to two states might be different than the one tried for the last 20 years, saying he believes “we should make use of the new opportunities [in the Middle East], think outside of the box, and see how we can include the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.”
Netanyahu, who was criticized by opponents in Israel for not delivering a hopeful message in the UN during his address there on Monday, said that the “enormous challenges facing the United States and Israel in the Middle East” pose new threats, but also new opportunities.
"There is something that is changing in the Middle East,” he said. “Out of the new situation there is a commonality of interests between Israel and the leading Arab states, and I think that that we should work very hard together to seize upon the common interests and build positive progress to advance a more secure, prosperous and peaceful Middle East.”
As to the dangers, Netanyahu said Israel fully supported Obama’s “effort and leadership” to defeat Islamic State. “We think that everyone should support this,” he said.
Netanyahu briefly mentioned Iran, saying that it was his “fervent hope” that under the president’s leadership Iran did not become a nuclear threshold state.
Obama said that this meeting came at a “challenging time,” and presented another opportunity to “reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and our ironclad commitment to making sure that Israel is secure.”
Obama said that the American people were “very proud” about the US contributions to Iron Dome “that protected the lives of Israelis at a time when rockets were pouring into Israel on a regular basis.”
Referring at the top of his brief statement to Gaza, Obama said that ways have to be found to “change the status quo” so that Israelis are safe in their homes and schools and “also so you don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.” He said the meeting with Netanyahu would deal extensively with Gaza, as well as with finding a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Obama said he would also “debrief” the prime minister on the work to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS.”
Likewise, he said, “we will also be able to discuss progress this week made in attempts to deal with Iran’s nuclear program, which is obviously a high priority not only for Israel, but for the United States and the world.”


Netanyahu's double standard
Aviad Kleinberg/Ynetnews/
Published: 10.01.14/Israel Opinion
The prime minister is good at making demands of others that he himself would be unwilling and unable to meet. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the UN General Assembly was not lacking in truths. The claim that radical Islam is a threat to the entire world is correct. The claim that Iran supports terror is correct. And the claim that Israel did not perpetrate genocide in Gaza is correct too.
Other claims can be disputed: Is every Islamic organization ISIS, and are Iran and ISIS part of the same Islamic effort to take over the world? The hostility between Iran and ISIS is evidence that not all Muslims cooperate with one another. The Islamic Republic views the Islamic Caliphate as a dangerous enemy and is willing to cooperate even with the despised West in order to stop it.And if Abbas is indeed Hamas, as the prime minister claims, and Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Iran, it's unclear why Israel doesn't take the same action it is demanding from the West. Unlike Iran, Gaza and Ramallah are within our reach. Why does the prime minister of Israel refrain from eradicating the local threat at least? It's unclear. That is to say, it's clear: Political-military actions are complex matters involving profit-and-loss calculations. As prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu is aware of this complexity. He simply refuses to recognize it when it comes to others.
They, he argues, are sitting back with their arms folded. That's not exactly accurate. It's not true, for example, that the West is doing nothing about Iran's nuclear program. Iran has been hit by the West with a regimen of sanctions that probably brought about the regime change and capitulation agreement, which included a suspension of the nuclear program in return for an easing of the sanctions. It may not be enough, but it is certainly not "nothing at all."
The West has learned its lesson from Iraq and Libya and has refrained from toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite all its loathing for him. It managed to disarm him of his chemical weaponry without an all-out war. It hasn't solved the Syrian problem, but it's also not the nothing that Netanyahu attributes to the Western states. When it comes to ISIS, too, the West isn’t sitting idly by. It is organizing local coalitions and is also using force.
All in all, the achievements of the West do not fall short of those of Netanyahu in Gaza. What have all the Israeli operations and wars and sanctions achieved? Not very much thus far. The Hamas regime remains unshaken (partly because Hamas is good for the State of Israel, as declared by settler leader Pinchas Wallerstein) and its ability to renew its attacks on Israel hasn't disappeared.
Israel's prime minister is in the habit of offering advice on how the world should be run. The problem is that Netanyahu is not the ruler of the world; he's not even the leader of a world superpower. Netanyahu, the leader of a small country in the Middle East, talks a good game. When it comes to putting things into practice, he's no great shakes.
Netanyahu's policy is one of preserving the status quo and expanding construction in the territories. He's not doing so well with the first element of his mission: The status, alas, is changing continuously, and Netanyahu has old answers to new dangers (force) and new opportunities (no). The last time the United States lent an ear to Netanyahu and his neo-conservative allies, it invaded Iraq, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
As far as the second element of his mission goes, Netanyahu has chalked up some success, but no one outside of Israel appears very impressed. The Churchill-like stance from Jerusalem could perhaps have been be amusing if our Churchill was indeed bent on solving the problems of the world in the 1930s (the Nazis are never left out of Netanyahu's speeches); meanwhile, however, he is missing a one-off opportunity of going from a player who no one wants on his team to becoming a member of a highly powerful team that will play a central role in the battle against Islamic radicalism.
But Israel's inclusion in this team requires a solution to the Palestinian problem. This solution involves the evacuation of settlements, and the evacuation of settlements clashes with Netanyahu's one-and-only political achievement – appeasing the Yesha Council of settlers. It's not going to happen during the course of Netanyahu's term in office. Netanyahu must go.

Islamist Watch Launches 'Islamist Money in Politics'
October 1, 2014
Philadelphia – October 1, 2014 – Prominent Islamists in the United States have donated almost $700,000 to federal candidates over the past 15 years, according to a new initiative of the Middle East Forum's Islamist Watch project.
Islamist Money in Politics (IMIP) shines a light on Islamist political influence in the United States by making public the campaign contributions of leading figures in six of America's most important Islamist groups. IMIP compiles such donations into a sortable database, holding politicians accountable for accepting funds from sources linked to such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood – which explicitly sees its work in America as "a kind of grand jihad to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within."
Associates of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), national and local, lead the way, giving candidates for federal office over $430,000. The group was named an "unindicted co-conspirator" in America's largest terror financing case where a federal judge found "ample evidence" of CAIR's link to Hamas; also, "the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner," and recent court documents found the group concealing foreign donations through shell organizations.
Donations were also analyzed from associates of: Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Alliance in North America, Muslim American Society and Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The database currently covers only federal contributions. State-level data will be added over time. Further, it is limited to individuals with formal and senior roles at six Islamist organizations. For these reasons, IMIP sees the $700,000 as the tip of an iceberg.
"Campaign contributions are a little-explored facet of Islamist political influence," notes Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum. "The sun has now begun to shine on it."
Islamist Money in Politics has also established the most comprehensive listing of prominent Islamists – senior-level officers, staffers and board members of the six organizations. It serves as a heads-up to politicians wary of taking Islamist funds, and a useful tool for researchers and reporters.
Islamist Watch protects Western values by unveiling and combating non-violent "lawful Islamism," which exploits the freedoms of Western society incrementally to undermine from within. Sophisticated and well-financed, lawful Islamists use political, educational and legal means to erode the foundations of Western society, including religious pluralism, freedom of speech and equality under the law.
The Middle East Forum promotes American interests through intellectual, activist and philanthropic efforts.
For Immediate Release
For more information, contact:
Marc Fink
Director, Islamist Watch

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, Deluded and deplorable
The Daily Star/Not unexpectedly, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem’s address to the U.N. General Assembly Monday smacked of delusion and detachment from reality. Although he stressed Syria’s sovereignty and independence, in an interview with the Associated Press following his speech Moallem admitted the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS did not inform Damascus of every strike, “but it’s OK.” Which is it? It is about time Assad’s regime admitted it has absolutely no concern for the borders or sovereignty of Syria. It has demonstrated clearly over the last three years that it cares about the survival of the regime, and only the survival of the regime, even if that means the whole country is destroyed in the process.
Moallem went on to say Damascus was committed to a political solution to the crisis, while at the same time regime aircraft are raining down barrel bombs on Aleppo and elsewhere across the country. It is hard to imagine a single person in the audience at the U.N. could have taken his words seriously. He also urged refugees – now half the Syrian population, if we count internally displaced people – to return to the country, without mention of why they were forced to leave in the first place, and while ignoring the fact that the situation on the ground has only worsened, and that he was actually inviting them back to their likely deaths. On ISIS, Moallem also hoped the international community was experiencing amnesia, and would not recall that many of the its members were freed from Syrian prisons in the early days of the revolution. The Syrian regime’s illegality grows more clear every day and not a single word uttered at the U.N. will change that.

Did US intelligence truly underestimate ISIS?

Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq AlAwsat
Wednesday, 1 Oct, 2014
While US President Barack Obama has said his country’s intelligence services underestimated the strength of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Saudi Interior Minister Prince Muhammad Bin Naif said: “We know that ISIS was not randomly formed but rather sponsored by states and organizations that employ all their resources and ill intentions in backing ISIS.” How can we interpret this?
“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged . . .they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama has recently said, acknowledging also that his country had underestimated the Iraqi Army’s capabilities! Did the US intelligence community underestimate the threat of ISIS, or was Obama trying to avoid the Syrian crisis? Facts indicate that, throughout the Syrian revolution, the US administration has been repeatedly warned of the seriousness of the Syrian crisis and how it will lead to radicalization in the region and destroy the entire Syrian state. Many leaders have reiterated such warnings, whether publicly or in private. Obama himself admitted this when he said that since the start of the Syrian revolution he has been receiving phone calls from foreign officials calling on him to intervene. Obama, however, used to say he did not see clear solutions there.
Despite all the warnings of the gravity of the Syrian crisis, Obama always reiterated that Syrian rebels are nothing but a bunch of farmers and medical doctors, refusing to support them and ignoring the atrocities being committed, Iranian support for Bashar Al-Assad, and the presence of Sunni and Shi’ite extremists in Syria. Last year, the New York Times published a wonderful analysis of the US administration’s view of the crisis and how Obama believed that the Syrian crisis was among the worst crises any president would face. At the time, the newspaper revealed that Obama seem unenthusiastic during meetings on Syria to the extent that “he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.” The newspaper also quoted the-then US deputy national security adviser as saying that the Syrian crisis will embroil Iran for years to come, and that fighting between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda in Syria is in the best interest of the US. Despite all the warnings of the seriousness of the situation, Obama’s administration had rejected a proposal from the CIA during and after David Petraeus’s tenure to arm Syrian rebels.
Therefore, it is hard to believe that the US intelligence has underestimated the threat of the Syrian crisis and ISIS. It is also hard to believe that none of these warnings has ever reached Obama. Certainly, Obama’s desire not to intervene in Syria, his rushed withdrawal of the US army from Iraq, turning his back on the region, and his disregarding of Assad’s threats to set the region ablaze, has led to the present situation. Everyone realizes the seriousness of the Syrian crisis and that “ISIS was not randomly formed but rather sponsored by states and organizations that employ all their resources and ill intentions,” as the Saudi interior minister said. But the only side that insisted on ignoring all of this was the Obama administration.

A warning to the Lebanese army
Diana Moukalled/Al Arabiya
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Two videos that went viral in the last two weeks can summarize the current situation in Lebanon. The first one is the execution of the third Lebanese soldier from among the military personnel kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra Front terrorists. The video showed the latter murdering soldier Mohammad Hamieh as other soldiers collapsed and pleaded for their lives. The second video is that of Syrian refugees rounded up and being made to lie face down on the ground in the town of Arsal. Among them there appeared to be an amputee who was seemingly being kicked by a Lebanese soldier. The video also showed other purported soldiers kicking and humiliating the rest of the rounded up refugees. The Lebanese army did not deny the authenticity of this leaked video which indicated that the soldiers violated the army’s rules. “The army is apparently committing violations against refugees without any hesitation whatsoever ” Truth be told, the first video of the execution of Hamieh summarizes the situation of the hijacked Lebanese state whose decision making power has been confiscated. Meanwhile, the second video shows how the state attempts to cover its inability to confront the reasons behind its crisis, it seems as though it thinks that the only way to restore the balance is to mistreat refugees under the excuse of fighting terrorism.
The two examples are not the only incidents being relayed on the Internet. Photos of Lebanese army members beating up and humiliating Syrian refugees and destroying their belongings under the excuse of looking for wanted men continue to surface. Of course, the state aimed to promote the actions by saying they were performed under the guise of hedging against terrorism. It seems the trend of submitting to the military boot - which has become popular in several countries as it is considered salvation from chaos and extremism - is increasing in Lebanon. We have once again ignored a historical lesson which stipulates that insulting others and tyrannizing them is capable of producing terrorists of all kinds. Syrian refugees quickly responded to the second video of Lebanese army violations and protested in front of the Arsal municipality building, raising slogans of ISIS. Those in the Lebanese army command are making a fatal mistake if they think that the appeals of the kidnapped soldiers and the horrific footage gives them carte blanche to intimidate Syrian refugees.
The army is apparently committing violations against refugees without any hesitations whatsoever and so far nothing has happened to imply that these practices were individual violations. The army has neither announced that those responsible will be held accountable nor that an apology was made. More importantly, this happened with a lack of political and media coverage and disapproving voices remained faint. Perhaps there is a prevailing desire to fix Syria’s Baathist model in Lebanon.
But hold on, our dear Lebanese army. This is not how you protect a country. This is how you destroy it, or at least how you destroy what is left of it.

Fighter jets cloud the skies over the Golan Heights
Yossi Mekelberg /Al Arabiya
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
More than forty years ago in the autumn of 1973, Israeli Air Force fighter jets shot down 13 Syrian MIG-21s in a dogfight. The clash occurred over the Syrian port of Tartous, nearly 200 kilometres deep into Syria, resulting also in the Israelis losing one of their Mirage jets. The Israeli aircraft were on a reconnaissance mission, as Israel grew suspicious of a bigger than usual concentration of Syrian troops on the other side of the Golan Heights. The absence of retaliation by Syria for the heavy loss raised a few eyebrows in the Israeli military establishment, though without any definitive conclusion. The reason for the lack of Syrian response came few weeks later. On October 6, Syria and Egypt launched a coordinated surprise attack on Israel. This attack was an effort to break the political stalemate at the time and regain the Golan Heights which Israel had occupied six years earlier. For nearly four decades following that war, the Israeli-Syrian border was one of the calmest of Israel’s shared borders. This is no longer the case, and though there are only sporadic incidents across the border, the mood is increasingly tense. The shooting down by an Israeli Patriot missile battery of a Syrian Sukhoi 24, which was said to be on a mission to bomb anti-government groups on Syrian border last Tuesday, obviously adds to these growing tensions. The Syrian fully armed fighter jet, that infiltrated Israeli controlled airspace over the Golan Heights, most likely strayed from its intended flight path. The Israeli decision to shoot down the Syrian aircraft demonstrates the zero-tolerance approach the decision makers in Jerusalem are taking to any cross border firing or infiltration. It is also a good indication of the nervousness of Israeli strategists in regarding developments inside Syria and their unpredictability.
“Israeli military strategy regarding Syria is limited in its scope, aims and is more nuanced than usual”
Syrian state TV was quick to condemn Israel for what they regard as military aggression and linked it to U.S. attacks on ISIS in Syria. Syria went as far as to tell Israel that its behavior strengthens ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. Not surprisingly, however, there seems to be no attempt by the Syrian military to retaliate for Israeli action. Moreover, the Assad regime cannot genuinely believe that Israel has any interest in supporting radical Islamic movements. Unlike 1973, the lack of Syrian response derives not from any canny plan, but this time the Syrian regime is in the middle of a fight for its own life. For the better part of the Syrian civil war, Israel has done her best to stay out of the hostilities in Syria. It is the result of acceptance among the Israeli decision makers, that it has very limited options to affect events in Syria in a way that serves Israeli interests. Not to mention that none of the sides in the civil war would like to be openly associated with Israeli. Any Israeli intervention that would benefit one or another of the fighting factions in Syria would only compromise the credibility of the party who benefits from it.
Israeli military strategy
Uncharacteristically, therefore, Israeli military strategy regarding Syria is limited in its scope, aims and is more nuanced than usual. It concentrates on preventing the civil war in Syria from spilling over, deliberately or inadvertently into Israel, and blocking the transfer of more advanced military hardware and ammunition to the Hezbollah. For three and half years this approach was rather successful, to a large extent because it represented a clarity of aims and a limited means to achieve them. The limited Israeli military involvement enabled the Syrian regime not to retaliate and escalate the situation, even when its sovereignty was violated by Israeli air attacks. Yet, Israel is walking a very fine line between what is represented by Defense Minister Israel Moshe Yaalon’s response to the downing of the Syrian jet last week and the need to not push the Syrian military establishment into a corner. He asserted that Israel will respond “forcefully” to attempts to threaten its security, claiming that any violation of Israeli sovereignty, regardless if it is a state or non- state actor, or whether intentional or not, will not be allowed by Israel. As such this is neither new nor surprising, nevertheless, in the heat of the event this declaration leaves Israel very little room to manoeuvre and exercise restraint where required rather than instantly pulling a trigger.
What seemed to many at the beginning of Syria’s civil as a swift change, might take years to resolve, and Israel realistically at best can possibly limit or contain the damage to itself. Moreover, the emergence of ISIS as a force to reckon with and its extreme brutality ended the reluctance among the international community to military intervention in Iraq and Syria. The British Parliament that only 13 months ago rejected UK military involvement in Syria has now approved military action against ISIS in Iraq with a huge majority (524-43). They did so despite the Prime Minister David Cameron’s explicit admission that this might lead to military involvement in Syria as well. Especially now that an international alliance has been formed against ISIS which includes Western and Arab countries, any apparent Israeli involvement could potentially destabilise the concerted efforts to contain ISIS and similar organisations. Yet, large parts of Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, were devoted to his view of the dangers presented by militant Islam throughout the region.
Relative passivity, rather than proactivity is an unfamiliar territory for Israeli military thinking. The accumulative impact of events such as firing across the border, taking U.N. peace keepers hostage and the infiltration of a fighter plane, is an increasing cause of concern for Israel. This is especially the case when there is no adequate response and concern that the lack of response might encourage certain groups in Syria, even the regime, to tempt Israel to enter the fray.
From the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the prevailing view in Israel was that it was better off with the Assad regime in power. With little hope that more enlightened forces will take over in Damascus, it seems that, at least in the short run, Israel is left with very limited options. Securing the border along the Golan Height from hostile elements is of particular concern. This can be achieved through a combination of deterrence and proactive diplomacy. Failing to do so might see Israel increasingly engaged militarily in Syria with an alarming and unforeseeable outcome.