On April 16, 2001, Gaza terrorists fired the first rocket at southern Israel, aiming for the town of Sderot. On the Sabbath, ten years will have passed since that day. Rocket fire remains a serious concern in southern towns, which were hit by a barrage of rockets and mortar shells as recently as last week.“ At that time, everyone was sure it was a one-time event, a red line that nobody would think to cross again,” former Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal said this week in an interview with the Maariv/Nrg. “Nobody imagined ten years of missile terrorism.”
Palestinian statehood: An even bigger 'nuclear option'
Diplomats, politicians, pundits and voyeurs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have a new-found obsession, the prospect of Palestine becoming the 193rd member state in the United Nations this September (a move referred to as the Palestinians' "nuclear option").
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was completely justified last month when he coined the term, “diplomatic tsunami,” to describe the prospect of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state gaining recognition and membership in the United Nations. Not only would such a move alter the balance of power that has been heavily weighted in Israel’s direction for over 60 years, but it would likely act as a catalyst for ramped up international pressure against it that the Jewish state has thus far only gotten a small taste of.
However, if the prospect of a full-fledged Palestinian state with all the protections afforded by contemporary international law is frightening for Israel (and it is), then the idea of a United Nations custodianship should be mortifying.
FBI Counter-Terror Official: Al Qaeda 'Thrives' After Dictators Fall
On the same day reports emerged of a new al Qaeda video that praised the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, one the U.S.'s top counter-terror officials warned the terror organization "thrives" in the political unrest that follows.
"The governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically changed in the last six months," FBI Assistant Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Giuliano said Thursday.
Al Qaeda thrives in such conditions and countries of weak governance and political instability -- countries in which governments may be sympathetic to their campaign of violence."
Giuliano made the comments at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy just hours before the first reports emerged of the new al Qaeda video...orders Muslims in Egypt to create an Islamic state there and calls for the Arab armies of the Middle East to intervene in Libya to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi before "Western aid... turns into invasions."
Clinton says Iran trying to hijack Mideast revolts
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday accused Iran of trying to hijack democratic revolutions around the Mideast and warned Arab nations not to permit intolerance against women and religious minorities.
Clinton said Iran was clearly trying to use uprisings around the region to further its own goals and foment broader unrest while at the same time cracking down on its own reform movement.
The New Cold War
For three months, the Arab world has been awash in protests and demonstrations. It's being called an Arab Spring, harking back to the Prague Spring of 1968.
But comparison to the short-lived flowering of protests 40 years ago in Czechoslovakia is turning out to be apt in another way. For all the attention the Mideast protests have received, their most notable impact on the region thus far hasn't been an upswell of democracy. It has been a dramatic spike in tensions between two geopolitical titans, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Israel Warned not to Enable PA State Now
Arab-affairs expert Prof. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University says Israel would be "clearly suicidal" in enabling a Palestinian state, in light of the revolutionary fever sweeping the Arab world.
In the latest edition of his weekly column entitled "Middle Eastern Insights," Kedar writes that given the calls in Egypt to abrogate its peace treaty with Israel, and the shakiness of even the Jordanian regime, Israel cannot afford to consider entering into a process that would lead to the formation of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
This is especially true, he adds, now that "we already have a terror state in Gaza that torments Israel with rockets and missiles made there or smuggled from Iran.
"There is no country in the world that can guarantee that the Arab League commitment to recognize Israel will be honored by a new Palestinian state,"
More missiles from Gaza
While attacks from Gaza have slowed down over the past week, they have not ceased, and many Israelis living in the south of the country continue to spend days at a time in local bomb shelters.
Over the weekend, the Israeli army released aerial surveillance videos showing Gaza terrorists firing missiles from crowded public areas and even from places of worship.
The goal is to either discourage an Israeli response, or to use the subsequent damage to civilian structures to elicit public condemnation of Israel.
Despite these cynical tactics, Israeli officials said they will not tolerate continued missile attacks on communities in southern Israel.