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Iran To Enrich More
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 25, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Here is a peek into Iran's point of view on nuclear negotiations.

Yesterday the parliament in Iran began drafting legislation that would empower scientists to continue to enrich uranium in their new generation centrifuges.

There is a nuclear committee in the Iranian parliament and the spokesman, Hussein Naghavi Husseini, is quoted in the Iranian media
explaining the draft legislation.

He said: "This bill will allow the government to continue enrichment, using new generation centrifuges."
"The parliament's nuclear committee is working on the technical issues and details of this draft."

There is no doubt that the parliamentary committee is expressing the feeling of many Iranians and their leaders.

These politicians are not confident that an agreement with the West will benefit Iran. More than that -- they strongly believe that it is their inherent right to develop nuclear technology and the West has no place to limit that right.

For Iran it is an issue of pride and power.

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US Ban Embassy Workers from Israeli Public Transport
By Micah Halpern

Friday January 23, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has issued a travel warning to all employees.

US Embassy employees are not permitted to use public transport or to come within 1.5 miles of the borders of Syria, Jordan or Lebanon without permission.

The statement from the US Embassy reads "Because of concerns about security on Israel's northern borders, US government personnel are currently required to obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights."

Banning public transport is an exaggerated response.

No doubt terrorists have targeted public transportation, but public transport is a way of life in Israel. The suggestion that US embassy personnel are not safe while performing the most basic of Israeli daily activities is not just truly insulting to Israeli society, it is a total misunderstanding of the situation.

Barring personnel from approaching a hostile border makes sense. But shutting off employees from buses and the trains sends the wrong message. And it does not make them safer.

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Lone Wolf Terror in Israel
By Micah Halpern

Thursday January 22, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

There was another lone wolf terror attack in Israel.

The perpetrator is a young Arab man from Tulkharam. He boarded a Tel Aviv bus and started stabbing - attacking 13 people. He ran and was shot in the leg by police as he attempted to escape. He was arrested.

The terrorist explained that he perpetrated the terror because of Israeli actions in Gaza over the summer. He said that he was excited by the internet videos he saw and by internet discussions about seeking revenge.

There are certain givens about lone wolf attackers against Israelis.
The lone wolf in Israel is almost always:

A young Arab man in his 20's or 30's.

Angry over a family member who was wounded, killed or interrogated by Israel.

The attack is often an initiation rite or an attempt to prove something.

The attacker is almost always illegally in Israel.

Lone wolves attack public transport because that is where Israelis are stationary - waiting for a bus or train, sitting and traveling. The public transport system makes Israelis easy targets for the lone wolf.

At this stage it is pretty clear who the "lone wolf" is. Now Israel needs to put a stop to the terror. It will take intel and a strong security presence.

Israel needs to advance its intelligence on people who illegally infiltrate the country. They need to stop them and watch them.

It is not an easy task, but Israel needs to clamp down on these lone wolves. And they need to do it soon.

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Hamas Building New Tunnels
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday January 21, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

We have known some of the details since the battle with Gaza ended.
Now we know more. More details and specifics that further our understanding - not conjecture, not hypothesis.

Since the end of the 50 day conflict, Hamas has been reconstructing, recreating and digging new tunnels.

Tunnels into Egypt. Tunnels into Israel. Tunnels within Gaza. Tunnels, tunnels and more tunnels. And with these new tunnels comes newer, more sophisticated technology.

According to Israeli intelligence Hamas learned from their experience in fighting Israel and they are applying those lessons in their new tunnels.

And Israel has begun to counter. The IDF engineering corps that focuses on these tunnels is called Yahalom (Diamond). Yahalom is adding hundreds of personnel to their unit. Not only is Israel significantly increasing the size of this specialized unit, they are also upgrading the status of its commander. The commander, once a Lt. Colonel, will now receive the rank of Colonel.

Israel must anticipate the technological advancements Hamas will use and develop strategies and practical devices that can defeat them.

This expanded engineering corps is essential.

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Israel Kills Iranian General in Syria
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday January 20, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday I discussed the Israeli attack on Syria that actually struck Hezbollah.

It is now clear, from Arab news reports and video, that 6 Hezbollah members were killed and 6 Iranians were killed including an Iranian general. Iran has confirmed his death.

The airstrike was not against a location or a base but against two vehicles, two SUVs. One was a Jeep Cherokee and one was a Kia Sorento. Both were travelling in the northern section of Quneitra, seven miles from the Israeli border.

The video shows that both vehicles totally destroyed. Burnt out and blown to bits. Just pieces remained. UN witnesses said that they saw two drones fire but news reports cite Hezbollah witnesses saying that an Israeli helicopter shot two missiles that destroyed the cars.

The difference between what we knew at first and what we know now is important. A strike against two vehicles with six people in each vehicle means a great deal. It means that these people were planning and plotting and sketching out responses to a potential attack by Israel on Iran. And the presence of an Iranian general seven miles from the Israeli border is very significant and is extremely telling.

That Israel knew and stopped the plot was very impressive.


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Israel Strikes Syria - Hits Hezbollah
By Micah Halpern

Monday January 19, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday, Israeli helicopter gunships hit a Hezbollah base located in Syria, on the border with Israel situated on the Golan Heights.
The target was large arsenals of missiles and rockets that could have endangered Israel.

One of the dead was the leader of Hezbollah strategy on the Golan, Jihad Moghniyeh. He was the son of one of the most important leaders of Hezbollah - their chief strategist Imad Moghniyeh, who was killed in 2008. Some say that the father, too, was killed by Israel - but the list of potential sponsors for the assassination of Moghniyeh senior is very long and it includes Saudi Arabia.

Will Hezbollah launch a large scale retaliation against Israel in response? No, they will not.

They will not do it even though only last week Hezbollah proclaimed that they were prepared to attack Israel. There may be some small responses, those can and should be expected, but no large reaction.

And why not? Because Iran has supplied Hezbollah with 10s of thousands of rockets to respond when Israel launches an attack on Teheran - but they are not to be used now.

In addition, there is no real justification for attacking Israel for striking at Hezbollah in the Syrian Golan Heights. After all, Hezbollah will have a difficult time justifying their response in defending Syria - and not southern Lebanon.

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Canada Stands w Israel Palestinians Egg FM
By Micah Halpern

Sunday January 18, 2015

I've Been Thinking:

John Baird, Canada's Foreign Minister, went to Ramallah to meet his Palestinian counterpart Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malilki.
As soon as Baird stepped out of his vehicle, he was pelted with eggs and shoes.

Not a propitious moment! And certainly not what one would expect when greeting the leading Canadian diplomat who was venturing to Ramallah as part of an official visit to learn about the situation.

Want the back story? Unknown to most people, Canada has been a staunch supporter of Israel these past few years. Since Stephan Harper and his Conservative party took over the reins of leadership Canada has been a major bull-work in the international community explaining and lobbying for Israel's point of view.

What was unknown to the average reader was well known to Palestinian leadership - and certainly to the egg throwers.

Using his own words, here is how Canada's Prime Minister Harper described Israel. Calling Israel a "light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness" he said: "When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the 3 D's - it is a responsibility to stand up to them."

Canada stands strongly beside Israel and the eggers of Ramallah showed their disapproval.

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