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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Forest - June 12, 2016 - Terrorism and Uncertainty

Terrorism in Tel Aviv - The cousins who perpetrated the teror attack at Sarona Market in Tel Aviv came from Yatta, just south of Hebron in the the West Bank. The two passed through a gap in the Israel's Security Barrier near the Israeli settlement of Meitar. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack which killed four and wounded many others. Primary attention has focused on the heinous nature of the crime. The two men ordered dessert before opening fire on patrons at Max Brenner. Ignored by most media outlets is the fact that the attack was celebrated among Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.

The Saudis condemned the attack more strongly than the Palestinian Authority - As a further demonstration of the changing face of the region, the Saudi Arabian government strongly condemned the attack. The JPost article stated that:
Reporting about the shooting on its Facebook page, the well-known Saudi TV channel al-Arabiya referred to the people injured in the attack as "victims," and not as "settlers" as most of the Arab outlets usually refer to Israelis. 
Security Barrier- It is likely that the fact that the terrorists exploited a gap in the security barrier will spur action to complete the entire route of the barrier separating the areas of the West Bank controlled by the Palestinians and those areas in which Israelis live. This will continue to establish the parameters of a possible two state solution as Jewish settlers will almost certainly not make any attempts to settle areas on the Palestinian side of the barrier, while they will also feel more secure in doing so on the Israeli side.

Israeli-Russian Relations- As I noted in the previous edition of The Forest in May, Israeli-Russian relations are strong and improving. The relationship between the US and Israel remains strong, but uncertainty due to American elections, what appears to be a desire for the US to be less involved in the broader politics of the world by leaders in both political parties, and US efforts to both appease Iran and take a more neutral position in relation to Israel and America's traditional Sunni nationalist allies, has driven Israel to improve its relationship with Russia further. The Russo-Israeli relationship is now so strong that Netanyahu felt a need to mention that Israel's relationship with America remains essential, but also noted that Israel needed "other partnerships."

Orlando Terrorist Attack on Pulse nightclub- The shooting carried out by Omar Mateen, who claimed allegiance to ISIS, demonstrates several points. 1. America's gun laws allow potential terrorists to legally and openly acquire guns and ammunition sufficient to do extreme harm. 2. The FBI's screening procedures utterly failed. Mateen was interviewed twice on suspicions of terrorism. Law enforcement is crippled by a combination of political correctness and the application of civil laws in fighting against those at war with America within America. 3. The LGBT community, alongside the Jewish community, is a primary target for terrorists motivated by jihadi ideas. 4. Again we see that American citizens can and will involve themselves with the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations while attacking Americans.

Uncertainty in the Presidential elections with the Democratic party struggling to define its foreign policy, especially in relation to involvement in the Middle East and the strength of support for allies, and with the Republican party nominee both having no track record of behavior in relation to foreign policy and having made conflicting and problematic statements about allies will make it more difficult for America to respond appropriately to terrorist acts and threats in the interim.

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