Prepared for the Conference of Presidents
July 18, 2018
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
President Donald Trump told Fox News on Monday after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin: "At the end of this meeting, I think we really came to a lot of good conclusions, a really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong. He [Putin] is a believer in Israel. He's a fan of Bibi. And really helping him a lot and will help him a lot, which is good for all of us." (Fox News)
See also Trump: Russia, U.S. Working Jointly to Create Safety for Israel
At a joint press conference with Russian President Putin on Monday, President Trump said Moscow "would like to do certain things with respect to Syria having to do with the safety of Israel. So in that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel, and Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly....I think that working with Israel is a great thing, and creating safety for Israel is something that both President Putin and I would like to see very much." (White House)
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote on Twitter Tuesday: "The Palestinian nation will certainly gain victory over the enemies and will witness the day when the fabricated Zionist regime will be eradicated." (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
Iran on Monday sued the U.S. at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, asking the court to order the U.S. to "terminate the 8 May sanctions without delay." The lawsuit also demanded that the U.S. compensate Iran for financial damage already done by the re-imposed sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter that Iran sought "to hold [the] U.S. accountable for its unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions." (New York Times)
The Syrian army, supported by Iranian militias, was pushing into the rebel pocket next to the Israeli border from the east, after their victory in neighboring Deraa last week. Militias linked to Iran, including Lebanese Hizbullah, are fighting alongside the Syrian army, which has been weakened by years of fighting and cannot operate independently. On Monday regime forces were 2 1/2 miles from Israel's frontier.
There are now believed to be more than 10,000 Iran-linked militiamen in Syria, and parts of the Syrian army are linked to the Iranian military command. The local defense forces, known as Syrian Hizbullah, includes commanders from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Times-UK)
The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops rejected a resolution to divest from Israel in a 48-78 vote on July 11 at its General Convention in Austin, Texas, after the House of Deputies approved the resolution in a 619-214 vote. "Divestment will not move us one inch forward in the peace process," said retired Bishop Ed Little of the Diocese of Northern Indiana, who was one of six bishops to speak against the resolution before the vote. Little warned that divestment would do "irreparable damage" to the church's relations with Israel.
Bishop J. Scott Barker of Nebraska warned of persistent claims in the territories that Israel has no right to exist. "I would be all for proactive investment in the Palestinian territories...but actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel alone as the antagonist in this story no longer makes sense to me," Barker said. (Episcopal News Service)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
On Tuesday, 17 fires were caused by incendiary balloons launched from Gaza. One incendiary balloon landed in a kindergarten in an Israeli community near the Gaza border. Children were in the courtyard at the time. An Israeli aircraft targeted a Palestinian group launching incendiary balloons, reportedly wounding two Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in an airstrike in northern Syria blamed on Israel, Al Jazeera reported Monday. "Israeli missiles targeted an Iranian Revolutionary Guard center near the Neyrab military airport," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (Times of Israel)
A recently released two-part documentary from Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya titled "The Naqba" that depicts the lead-up to the creation of Israel is rich with imagery from the Holocaust and the pre-state Jewish population. Attempting to depict the topic in an unbiased light, the narrator says things like, [following the Holocaust] "Israel was born, and the dream became reality" and "Arab neighboring armies invaded Palestine." Palestinian groups have condemned the show as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to normalize the Jewish country. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
Maedeh Hojabri, 17, from Tehran, has more than 600,000 followers on Instagram. She incurred the wrath of the Iranian regime when she danced alone in front of her bedroom mirror and then posted the video. She was arrested, and her tear-filled apology was broadcast on national TV together with the "confessions" and apologies of another three young people - two girls and a boy - who were also arrested for posting their dances on the Internet.
This led to a huge of wave of protests against the broadcasting authority in particular, and the regime in general. Men and women of all ages posted videos of themselves dancing on social media in protest against the arrest of Maedeh and to show the government that they also dance in their homes.
The Iranian people are dealing with a devaluation of over 50% in the worth of personal property because of a loss of more than 100% in the value of the Iranian rial in the past three months. Iranian social media report that several senior government officials are busy smuggling more than $42 billion in foreign currency abroad, as well as tens of millions of dollars in gold, out of fear that the regime will fall. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Since the end of March, Hamas-spurred terrorists have flown hundreds of firebombs into Israel, setting aflame thousands of acres of farmland, forests and nature preserves. Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry fears that particulate matter from the fires may boost cancer and vision problems as well as respiratory illness. If one combatant can launch environmental war without global censure, the tactic will catch on. Why aren't the world's greens screaming at this "assault on the planet"? (New York Post)
Syrian shopkeeper Diaa, 24, had his face torn open by a missile that struck his village in Deraa province. His legs and arm had also been broken. Diaa says he would have died had he not been hospitalized in neighboring Israel. Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya is currently treating 43 Syrians. It has administered care to a steady stream of the wounded over the last five years.
"It's strange for us that Israel is more humanitarian than our Arab brothers," says Ammar, 27, who is camped out in the Syrian Golan Heights close to the Israeli border. "I once even heard people saying they hope that Israel would include this area in the [Israeli] Golan." (Independent-UK)
In 2006, Hizbullah fired 4,000 rockets at Israel, a quarter of which hit populated areas. In 2007, the government-owned weapons development company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems began to work on short-range missile defense. On April 7, 2011, Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system achieved its first operational, real-world interception of a Grad rocket fired by Hamas in Gaza at a power plant in Ashkelon.
Israel gave the U.S. details of the Iron Dome technology, enabling American contractor Raytheon to create and market SkyHunter, only slightly modified from Iron Dome. The U.S. military can now order SkyHunter as a fully approved, domestically-manufactured product to protect American bases and forward positions in South Korea and the Middle East. (Moment)
Israeli firm Sight Diagnostics has developed an accelerated blood diagnostics system based on computer imaging coupled with machine learning technology. The OLO machine enables medical practitioners to measure blood count directly in their office, obviating the need for a sample to be sent away for laboratory testing. Results are obtained in ten minutes, allowing physicians to place patients on the most appropriate treatment right away - during the initial visit. (Digital Journal)
Why Is Israel the Only Country with No Right to a Normal Foreign Policy? - Evelyn Gordon (Commentary)