Spate of Violence in Israel Escalates with More Stabbings
Violence in Israel has increased, with attacks spreading beyond Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time in the current spate of violence. There were four stabbings or attempted stabbings targeting Israelis on Wednesday, including incidents in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva and the southern town of Kiryat Gat. Palestinians clashed with ...
Violence in Israel has increased, with attacks spreading beyond Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time in the current spate of violence. There were four stabbings or attempted stabbings targeting Israelis on Wednesday, including incidents in the central Israeli town of Petah Tikva and the southern town of Kiryat Gat. Palestinians clashed with security forces in the West Bank, leaving dozens wounded. All told, “Four Israelis have been killed in stabbings in Jerusalem and a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank since Thursday, and two Palestinians have been shot dead and scores injured in clashes with security services, triggering fears of an escalation,” reports Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Germany to focus on quelling the violence. Last week, he banned Israeli politicians from entering the Temple Mount to prevent them from further inflaming tensions. Separately, Netanyahu reportedly told his cabinet on Monday that he will not approve any new settlement construction in the West Bank while talks with the United States to improve the capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces are still pending.
NATO to Discuss Russia’s Role in Syria as Assad Launches New Offensive
NATO ministers will meet in Brussels this week to discuss Russia’s air incursions into Turkey and its activity in Syria. “Nato ministers are expected to express their solidarity with Turkey and also address increased concern among Baltic members following Russia’s involvement in eastern Ukraine,” BBC reports. The United States will also be holding “basic technical discussions” with Russia to avoid potential clashes between Russian forces and the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition. The New York Times notes that this is a semantic shift from the Obama administration’s talk of “deconfliction” last week. There has been at least one instance of a U.S. jet in Syria being rerouted to avoid crossing paths with a Russian sortie. Yesterday, in addition to its continued bombing campaign, Russia launched several cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria, though there is no apparent reason why missiles were used instead of military aircraft. Assad regime forces are using the Russian air support to launch a new offensive against rebels in the Ghab Plain, which rebels seized over the summer.
New from FP: Want more foreign policy analysis, insight, and commentary? Head on over to iTunes or Stitcher and check out FP’s podcast programs — The E.R. and Global Thinkers. This week, The Editor’s Roundtable discusses the future of the Iran deal, and in Global Thinkers, the panel dives into the immigration crisis in Europe. Listen and subscribe today: http://atfp.co/1K7nhrI
- Yemen’s Houthi rebels have agreed to stop fighting and to withdraw from major cities in observance of a U.N. resolution passed in April, according to a U.N. spokesperson.
- Saudi Arabia is receiving criticism for sentencing a Shia man who was arrested after participating in anti-government protests when he was 17 to beheading.
- At least 23 people were killed when an airstrike hit a house where a wedding was taking place south of Sanaa, Yemen; the strike is the second time in just more than a week that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has bombed a wedding.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her opposition to Turkey’s accession to the European Union but stressed that it is a necessary partner in stemming the flow of refugees into Europe.
- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he was banning future direct negotiations with the United States because the United States “took any chance to infiltrate” Iran during recent nuclear talks and “to change the calculations of officials and to manipulate people’s revolutionary and religious thoughts,” especially those of young people.
Arguments and Analysis
“‘Bombs Fall from the Sky Day and Night’: Civilians Under Fire in Northern Yemen” (Amnesty International)
“On 8 May, coalition forces declared the whole of Sa’da city a military target, giving residents less than 24 hours to leave. A day later, they suggested that in fact the whole governorate may have been treated as a military target. Declaring a whole city or region a military target violates international humanitarian law, which stipulates that those carrying out attacks must distinguish at all times between military objectives and civilian objects and must take all possible measures to spare civilians and civilian objects. It may be considered a form of collective punishment. When Amnesty International visited Sa’da governorate in early July 2015, it found that hundreds of airstrikes had destroyed or damaged beyond repair scores of homes, several markets, the entire main shopping street and virtually every public building, including the post office, the court, banks and civilian administration offices. Amnesty International found no evidence that these had been used for military activities, which could potentially have rendered them military objectives and liable to being directly targeted. These attacks killed scores of civilians and left many more injured. Airstrikes on civilian homes in villages around Sa’da city have killed and injured hundreds of civilians not involved in the conflict, many of them children and women.”
“Why yesterday’s bombings in Yemen matter” (Katherine Zimmerman, American Enterprise Institute)
“Yes, it’s a factionalized, tribal, intra-Arab battle being fought along sectarian lines. Tempting to write it all off simply as a local nightmare and let God sort it out. Unfortunately, what yesterday’s bombings in Aden made clear is that while AQAP and ISIS may be technically at odds, and both may be anathema to the United States, neither are in the gunsights of the Arab coalition now targeting Yemen. Those powers, especially the Saudis, are all about killing the al Houthis. Which leaves ISIS and AQAP free to recruit, expand territory, and plan the next attack. The only question is against whom?”
-J. Dana Stuster
MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/Getty Images