Ed: 41: August/2016
Meanwhile, on July 17 the Izz a-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, announced that it had opened its annual summer camps which incorporate military training, and that this year's theme is "soldiers of Jerusalem". More than 30,000 Gaza youths are expected to attend the camps, which, the Brigades say, will "prepare an army of victory for the liberation of Palestine."
David Pryce-Jones' writings span over five decades. Over that time, he has produced a series of books chronicling unusual lives with implausible loyalties and the destructive and self-destructive movements which attracted them.
Many in the media noted the similarities between the horrific Islamist terror attack in Nice involving the use of a truck to kill more than 80 people and the use of vehicles in recent Palestinian terror tactics.
In the Australian (July 16), a Wall Street Journal report quoted former CIA agent Bruce Riedel saying, "we've seen similar vehicle attacks by individual Palestinians against Israelis, which have gotten enormous attention in jihadi circles, and al-Qaida has called for people to imitate them."
Basic training at facilities like this is a rite of passage for most Israeli teenagers. Young men serve three years in the IDF and women two. Exemptions are given to those who study in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas (religious seminaries), the country's Arab citizens, and young women who opt for civilian national service...
But one of the units running drills today, the 585th or Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, has a different story. It is an infantry unit made up mainly of Bedouins, a semi-nomadic Muslim minority that makes up about 2% of Israel's population. Bedouins are not required to serve in the army, but, for decades, many have chosen to do so.
Santoso and his men from the MIT have been behind numerous attacks on police since 2012, particularly the anti-terror unit Detachment 88. By the time he was shot, he was responsible for the deaths of more than a dozen police and had tried to kill many more.
Having pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2014 - the first Indonesian to publicly do so - Santoso's terror cell reportedly received funding from ISIS although it is unclear how much ISIS had given the group...
When the JCPOA was implemented in January, terrorism-related sanctions remained in place against Iran, and US officials promised they would hold Teheran accountable for any such activity despite the lifting of nuclear sanctions. As Secretary of State John Kerry noted on January 21, "If we catch them funding terrorism, they're going to have a problem with the United States Congress and with other people, obviously." And yet, in the year since the deal was signed, Iran's threatening behaviour has not diminished.
What happens when a terrorist, armed with a knife or other sharp implement, sets out to stab random people or security forces, and in the process achieve martyrdom for him or herself?
Take Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, the teenage Afghan refugee who, on July 18, stabbed five people with a knife and a hatchet on a train near Würzburg in Germany in what the Bavarian authorities said was probably an "Islamist attack."
The British decision to uncouple from the EU, expected to take effect by 2019, was not unqualified good news for Israel: Britain, along with Germany, has been among Israel's most stalwart diplomatic allies in the EU and its voice within the decision-making forums of the EU will be missed, particularly on the vexatious question of the "Middle East Peace Process"...
Israel, in short, had always had at any given time at least two friends within the Turkish-Iranian-Egyptian triangle. In 2012, however, all three were at odds with the Jewish state.
Four years on, the tables have turned.
Observers of the Iran deal will note that since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "Implementation Day" in mid-January 2016, two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports have been released that appear to offer a somewhat rosy view of Iran's behaviour, concluding that Iran has so far complied with the terms of the nuclear deal... Yet, as ever with the current regime in Teheran, all is not as it seems. Several crucial problems can be observed over the past year that might call into question that simple conclusion of compliance.