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Better to Live in a 'Big Fortress' Than in a Coffin

By (Analysis by Mark Langfan)

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon was dead right when he told an Army Radio interviewer Tuesday that Israel had no choice but to reject US proposals for Israeli concessions last year, as the US pushed for talks with the Palestinian Authority.

"If we had implemented the American's offers," argued Ya'alon, "in the area of security, for example, then today there would already be mortar shells striking Ben Gurion Airport, and rockets on Tel Aviv."

But the problem is not just the Americans. The problem is that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself keeps talking about a "demilitarized West Bank Palestinian State." That is a delusional fiction, because the Palestinians will be able to smuggle the same type of rockets into their West Bank "demilitarized state" that they successfully smuggled into Gaza.

The difference between that scenario and what happened in Gaza is that the rockets launched from the West Bank will be able to hit Israel's highly and densely populated Sharon Plain that holds 70% of Israel's Jewish population. What are you going to do? Reinvade the West Bank as the rockets are flying into Netanya?

Ya'alon was reacting to an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry in the New Yorker, in which Kerry said he believes Israel is headed toward becoming a "unitary state that is an impossible entity to manage." Kerry also said that Israel is currently at risk of turning into a "big fortress."

To this, Israel should respond: we'd rather live in a "big fortress" than in a smaller coffin. Mark Langfan explained the dangers of Katyusha rockets from the West Bank hitting Tel Aviv in this video interview with Christian Broadcasting's Erick Stakelbeck: See

Saudi Arabia Announces 34-Nation Islamic Alliance Against Terrorism

By VOA News

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday what it called a new Islamic military alliance made up of 34 countries to fight terrorism. The state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement saying the initiative will include an operations center in Riyadh to coordinate military operations. The statement said terrorism is a "serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security," and that "acts of corruption and terrorism cannot be justified in any way."

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said at a news conference there will not be a focus on any one terror group. "Today there are a number of countries that suffer from terrorism, for example Daesh [Islamic State] in Syria and Iraq; terrorism in Sinai, terrorism in Yemen, terrorism in Libya, terrorism in Mali, terrorism in Nigeria, terrorism in Pakistan, terrorism in Afghanistan and this requires a very strong effort to fight. Without a doubt, there will be coordination in these efforts," he said.

The alliance includes Jordan, Bahrain, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which are conducting airstrikes in Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. Others from the Middle East include Tunisia, Lebanon, Libya and Egypt. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia are also part of the effort, as are a number of African countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Mali and Nigeria. The Saudi statement said others have "expressed their support," including Indonesia, the home of the world's largest Muslim population.

Egyptian Warplanes Using Israeli Airspace


Egyptian Air Force planes have in recent months crossed into Israeli airspaces part of Egypt's military campaign against the local Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State terror group, Ynet learned on Tuesday.

The unprecedented flights, apparently conducted in coordination with the IDF, were conducted mostly in the triangular border area between Israeli territory, Egyptian land, and the southern Gaza Strip. The flights are believed to be the first time that Egyptian warplanes entered Israeli airspace since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

The Egyptian aircraft bombed ISIS targets mere kilometers away from the Israeli border, in the vicinity of El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai. Entry into Israeli airspace did not result in any clashes with Israeli planes, presumably because of prior coordination.

Despite Israel's peace agreement with Egypt and close operational and intelligence coordination, the Israeli Air Force treats any potential entry into Israeli airspace with the utmost seriousness. Warplanes were deployed to the Golan Heights dozens of times over the past year because Syrian planes were making suspicious movements. On the southern front, the IAF's guiding principle is to act with extreme caution.

About four years ago, with Islamist forces becoming much more active against the Egyptian military in the Sinai, Israel put the military clause of its peace accords with Egypt into action, allowing the entry of tanks and fighter planes into the Sinai, including the easternmost point near Israel. The Egyptian forces have taken advantage of this permission, and since then there have been dozens of strikes by their fighter planes and helicopters against terrorist targets in the area.

The Egyptian Air Force has also been operating drones in the fight against the extremist organization, which counts in its ranks about 8,000 people – considered ISIS' most efficient arm in the Middle East because of its ability to execute attacks against Egyptian military forces daily and kill dozens of security personnel every month. The main challenge for the local military, and for Israel as well, is intelligence – the local ISIS branch operates in a very compartmentalized way, without using phones, and across a huge mountainous area in the heart of the Sinai region.

Israel believes that two videos recently released by the organization in the Sinai in which it calls for renewed attacks against Israeli targets, were not empty words – even though they have yet to lead to concrete threats.

The IDF and Shin Bet have increased their efforts, with the latter establishing a special department for gathering intelligence in the Sinai area. Ynet has learned that more resources have recently been allocated to intelligence gathering on the Egyptian border because of threats by ISIS. Even so, assessments the IDF Southern Command suggest that intelligence about a possible ISIS terror attack against Israel will come shortly before it is supposed to happen, if at all.

Iran: We Infiltrated the Mossad


The semi-official Fars News Agency of Iran outdid itself on Tuesday, posting claims that Tehran's intelligence agents have infiltrated "those countries that have taken a hard line on the Islamic Republic."

The claims were made by Hojjatoleslam Gholamreza Safayee, chief of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Office for Ideological and Political Affairs. "We have infiltrated the enemy's spy agencies," posited the senior official in Tehran on Tuesday, without given any other details whatsoever.

The article was accompanied by an image with the symbols of the CIA, the UK's MI6, and the Mossad, in a clear indication of which "hard line" countries Fars was insinuating were infiltrated. Safayee also claimed that the "inside job" was to credit for the "capture of the executed ringleader of (the) Jundollah terrorist group four years ago," referring to Abdolmalek Rigi, who founded and led the Sunni militant group that opposes Iran's occupation of Balochistan before being executed in 2010. Fars has a long history of far-fetched claims, such as when it reported in late October that an IDF colonel had been captured fighting for Islamic State in Iraq.

A commander of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militias claimed to the paper that "the Israeli colonel's name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked a colonel in Golani Brigade of the Zionist regime's army with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434."

The patently false nature of the claim was clear not least of all from the "military code" - IDF soldiers have a seven digit personal identification number that appears on their dog tags and military ID cards, which is not even remotely similar to the garbled string of letters and numbers listed in the report. The lack of precision regarding the simple matter of IDF personal numbers would also seem to further belie the claims of Iranian infiltration of the Mossad.

While an Arab Muslim IDF soldier did recently betray Israel to join ISIS in Syria, as reported last Thursday, the alleged soldier Iran reported on was identified as a Jew. Iranian officials have long claimed Israel and the US created ISIS, with Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Iran's Basij paramilitary force, just last month claiming Israel was behind the lethal Paris attacks instead of ISIS.

Experts Say 'Nazi Gold Train' Isn't Real

By & AFP

No evidence supports the existence of a Nazi "gold train" loaded with treasures and buried in Poland at the end of World War II, researchers said Tuesday. The experts from Krakow's prestigious Academy of Mining said a tunnel could exist but that there was no sign of a train at a site near the southwestern town of Walbrzych.

The story sparked a flurry of global media interest in September when two men claimed to have discovered an armored Nazi train using ground-penetrating radar. Piotr Koper, a Pole, and German national Andreas Richter said a train carriage 98 meters (320 feet) lay buried eight to nine meters underground. They said they believed the contents were mostly weapon prototypes, though local legend spoke of artwork, jewels and gold stolen by the Nazis.

The Nazis made prisoners of war dig a network of tunnels in the area, and some locals have claimed the Germans tried to spirit gold away as Russia's Red Army closed in. But Academy geology professor Janusz Madej said his team's research had indicated "there is no train on this site (but) maybe a tunnel."

While admitting that a geological survey of the area had thrown up some anomalies, Madej told AFP he was "100% sure there is no train" there based on magnetic, gravimetric and geo-radar studies.

Koper and Richter insist that further searches will locate a train buried deep inside the tunnel. "We discovered a tunnel. You can see clearly the entrance to a tunnel," Koper told reporters. He told AFP his team would prove that a train exists. "I am convinced we are going to prove its existence. We need a bit more time...we need to excavate," he insisted, adding that he and Richter were prepared to foot the bill themselves.

It will ultimately fall to the Walbrzych town hall to decide whether excavation should proceed. Treasures that the Nazis allegedly stashed away as Soviet forces closed in reputedly included artwork stolen from dispossessed Jewish families and the Amber Room, which the Germans pillaged from Saint Petersburg's Catherine Palace.

Quite apart from the train legend, it was at Walbrzych that the Nazis constructed a huge subterranean labyrinth over 200 hectares (500 acres) beneath the hills of Lower Silesia - including around the massive Ksiaz Castle.

The huge bunker, which cost the lives of countless death camp inmates who hewed out the rock, was supposed to provide shelter from attack for Hitler's general staff - as well as store treasures looted from across Europe. The entrances were dynamited to erase all trace of the proposed hideout.

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