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September 27, 2021
We wish our readers a Happy Simhat Torah Holiday!
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The U.S. House of Representatives in a 420-9 vote approved $1 billion to help Israel replace missile interceptors used during heavy fighting with the Palestinians in May, reflecting the widespread bipartisan support in Congress for Israel that has persisted for decades.
Eight Democrats opposed the measure - Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Andre Carson (Ind.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), and Chuy Garcia (Ill.) - as well as one Republican, Thomas Massie (Ky.). Two Democrats voted "present" - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Hank Johnson (Ga.). (New York Times-Fox News)
See also House Speaker Pelosi: "Israel's Security Is an Imperative for America's Security" - Speaker Nancy Pelosi
"I thank the distinguished Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee...Rosa DeLauro...for your leadership in bringing this [legislation] to the Floor to further express the will of Congress, in a bipartisan way, for the security of Israel. Iron Dome is a purely defensive system...co-developed by the United States and Israel and has saved thousands of lives. Additional financial support for Iron Dome was part of the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated by President Obama in 2016."
"Assistance to Israel is vital because Israel's security is an imperative for America's security." (Speaker of the House)
See also Israeli Prime Minister: At the Moment of Truth, the American People Overwhelmingly Support Israel
After the vote on Iron Dome funding in the U.S. House of Representatives, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday: "At the moment of truth, we saw the representatives of the American people overwhelmingly support Israel, 420 to 9, in the vote on rearming Iron Dome. There is a small anti-Israeli group that makes a lot of noise but these people failed." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossain Amirabdollahian said Friday that in return for agreeing to limits on its nuclear program, his country would demand far more sanctions relief than it received under the 2015 nuclear deal, pointing to a looming impasse with the U.S. Moreover, Amirabdollahian told the New York Times on Thursday, "We will not have a so-called 'longer and stronger' deal," as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested.
Amirabdollahian's rejection of any tougher or extended nuclear agreement signaled that Iran intends to preserve the time frame of the 2015 agreement, with restrictions on nuclear fuel largely expiring in 2030. There is increasing concern in the West that a duration that seemed long enough in 2015 looks disturbingly short in 2021.
Inside the White House and the State Department, there is now an expectation that the Iran nuclear talks could spill into next year, and could collapse entirely. (New York Times)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Sunday Iran had failed to fully honor a deal struck two weeks ago to allow inspectors to service monitoring equipment, after not allowing "agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop" - the victim of apparent sabotage in June. (Reuters)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly on Friday that his administration would no longer recognize Israel if it did not withdraw from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem within one year. Gilad Erdan, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, said Abbas "proved once again that he is no longer relevant. Those who truly support peace and negotiations do not threaten delusional ultimatums from the UN platform." (Al-Monitor)
See also Palestinians Mock Abbas' Ultimatum to Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
Senior PA officials heaped praise on President Mahmoud Abbas' speech to the UN General Assembly on Friday. But many Palestinians scoffed at Abbas' one-year ultimatum to Israel to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, including eastern Jerusalem.
Palestinian political analyst Dr. Fayez Abu Shamaleh said that prior to the speech, Palestinian media created the impression that Abbas was going to drop a bombshell. "They were talking about a 'Day of Resurrection' at the General Assembly, about the surprises that the president would make, about the Israelis who would flee the region, and about the people waiting in front of the satellite channels to watch their president. The truth is that 99% of the Palestinian people did not follow the speech and did not care."
Political activist Issa Amro, addressing Abbas, said: "What is needed to register your name in history and end your life in an honorable manner is a real fight against corruption, reform of the PLO and Fatah and reform of everything you destroyed." (Jerusalem Post)
More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, on Friday called for normalization of ties with Israel at a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications, drawing a chorus of condemnation Saturday from Baghdad. Iraqi Kurdistan maintains cordial contacts with Israel, but the federal government in Baghdad does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. (AFP)
See also Iraq Should Join the Abraham Accords - Wisam Al-Hardan
The most infamous act in the Iraqi tragedy was the mass exodus and dispossession of the majority of our Iraqi Jewish population, a community with 2,600 years of history, in the mid-20th century. Through their forced migration, Iraq effectively cut one of its own principal veins. In striving to rebuild Iraq, we must reconnect with the whole of our diaspora, including these Jews.
We demand that Iraq join the Abraham Accords. We call for full diplomatic relations with Israel. We will seek face-to-face talks with Israelis.
The writer is leader of the (Sunni) Sons of Iraq Awakening movement. (Wall Street Journal)
Iranian fighters are a few km. away from Israel in the Syrian Golan Heights, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said Wednesday. "Today [Israel] fears our presence in the Golan." (Middle East Monitor-UK)
Hamas is building thousands of rockets and has resumed work on its tunnel network in Gaza, IDF spokesman Lt.-Col. Amnon Shefler said. "They continue to manufacture thousands of rockets and upgrade their offensive capabilities, including rocket ranges and underground tunnels, attack UAVs [and] naval forces."
"Furthermore, they continue to deliberately position these in close proximity to civilians in order to use them as human shields, knowing that the IDF adheres both to our morals and to the rule of international law." (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
Members of the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades wore what appeared to be explosive-laden vests during a ceremony Friday in the West Bank town of Jenin, suggesting that Palestinian groups have not given up on this method of terrorism. In 2020, an Israeli internal security service report said ten suicide bombings had been thwarted by the agency the previous year. (Long War Journal)
Sudanese authorities have taken control of a dozen companies that officials say were linked to Hamas, shedding light on how the country served as a haven for the Palestinian militant group under former Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir. Seized assets include real estate, company shares, a hotel in a prime Khartoum location, an exchange bureau, a TV station, and more than a million acres of farmland.
Hamas has lost a foreign base where members and supporters could live, raise money, and channel Iranian weapons and funds to Gaza. (Reuters)
Los Angeles' main teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, voted Thursday to indefinitely postpone a motion in favor of boycotting Israel. The union's House of Representatives approved a motion, put forward by the union's board, saying that BDS was "an extremely divisive issue that would seriously damage union unity at a time when we need solidarity in our coming contractual battles." (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded early Sunday during an operation in the West Bank village of Burqin to arrest "terrorists belonging to Hamas who planned to carry out a terrorist attack," the IDF said. One Palestinian was killed during the shootout. Elsewhere in the West Bank, three Hamas operatives who opened fire at Israeli forces in Kafr Bidu were killed. (Ha'aretz)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Sunday that the army's operations in the West Bank foiled plans for "significant" terror attacks in Israel. He explained that the operations were part of "an ongoing campaign against Hamas military infrastructure." (Ha'aretz)
See also Hamas Terrorist Plots Were Worse than Public Knows - Yoav Limor
Hamas is constantly working to execute terrorist attacks. Its current plans include shooting attacks and the abduction of Israelis to use as bargaining chips. The recently foiled plot was fairly extensive and entailed a series of increasingly damaging terrorist attacks that would shock Israel.
The first arrests took place more than a week ago. When those detainees were questioned, they revealed the full extent of the plans, which led to Saturday night's coordinated arrest operations. Actions were carried out at five targets simultaneously. (Israel Hayom)
See also Additional Hamas Terror Cell Members Still on the Run - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
Hamas has been working to establish armed, well-organized terrorist capabilities in the West Bank with help from the group's leadership, operating from Turkey and Lebanon. Building such capabilities took many months, and included funneling funds for the purchase of weapons by terror units that have already begun training for an attack, and conveying the know-how necessary to produce homemade explosives.
This terrorist infrastructure was gradually uncovered during proactive routine operations by the Israel Security Agency, which questioned numerous Hamas operatives. Through a combination of human and technological intelligence gathering, the scale of such infrastructure - which took shape under the nose of the Palestinian Authority, and of Israeli security forces to some extent - became clear. Israel's raids on Sunday were intended to defuse the Hamas bomb which was clearly about to blow up. (Ynet News)
Many of the Palestinian clans in Hebron have thousands of members and are considered more powerful than the PA and its security forces. The clans administer their own legal system, enforcing law and order and issuing verdicts, including in murder cases.
Senior Fatah official Emad Khurwat said disputes between rival clans have led to the murder of a number of people and are threatening to claim more lives. He warned that if the PA does not assume its responsibilities, the local families and Fatah members would be forced to take action. "Every person has a group of 50 gunmen to protect his family." (Jerusalem Post)
Abu Hamza al-Qadi, the 2nd or 3rd most important figure in ISIS' Sinai Province, surrendered to Egyptian authorities on Sep. 10 after promises that he and his family would not be harmed.
Sinai Province is currently in difficulty, suffering from hunger and a lack of funds and equipment, the result of the Egyptian army's operational successes and cooperation with the tribal militias. Their morale is low and there is no solution in sight, leading to tension among the operatives.
The Egyptian army recently announced it had killed more than a hundred ISIS Sinai Province operatives and confiscated large quantities of money and weapons, leading to the surrender of dozens of ISIS operatives. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
Prof. Eliezer Rabinovici of the Racah Institute of Physics at Hebrew University was elected on Friday as president of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. (Times of Israel)
Israel's Technion has been rated the number one institute leading machine-learning research in Europe in a rating by CSRankings. The Technion's Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems research center has led groundbreaking research both in Israel and worldwide. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
Whatever the tensions between the Democratic Party and Israel, they aren't anywhere near the point that the mainstream of the party would begrudge the Jewish state funding for a technological marvel that, over a decade of operation, has saved countless civilian lives by shooting down thousands of rockets fired indiscriminately at Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups.
As it turned out, undermining Israel's security is enough of a priority for at least some House progressives that they're fully prepared to humiliate a president from their own party on the day Biden told the UN General Assembly that "the commitment of the United States to Israel's security is without question."
Support for Iron Dome should be a no-brainer - all the more so since the system is now being deployed by the U.S. to protect American troops. There is no conceivable argument that denying funding puts pressure on Israel to show greater military restraint (quite the opposite) or helps advance the cause of a two-state solution. The only coherent rationale is to give Hamas a better chance to kill Israelis in the next war. (New York Times)
See also When You Vote to Let Terrorists Kill Jews, that Is Anti-Semitism - Marc A. Thiessen (Washington Post)
Progressive Democrats in Congress attempted to gut $1 billion in funding for the Iron Dome, the missile shield that prevents Hamas from firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wept on the floor of the House after colleagues defeated her plot and restored funding to the Iron Dome. You'd be upset too if you'd just failed to strip funding from a life-saving system that saves the wrong sort of lives.
Earlier generations of Israel-haters were careful to couch their hostility in talk of settlements, checkpoints, security detention and the military courts. This crew are against a purely defensive anti-missile system that reduces the number of Israeli children blown up in their bedrooms.
The Jews are indigenous to the Land of Israel, they alone have ever been sovereign in the territory, and they keep trying to give a state to the people they are supposed to be oppressing and keep getting blown up in response.
That AOC was outmaneuvered is good news for Israel but even better for the U.S. American influence is already crumbling in west Asia. It cannot afford to lose another ally. (Spectator-UK)
After Tuesday's decision by the Democratic House leadership to remove new funds for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system from an emergency government funding bill, following pressure from a small group of anti-Israel progressives, a swath of moderate Democrats galvanized and convinced the leadership to schedule a standalone vote on Iron Dome funding only two days later.
420 lawmakers - 210 Democrats and 210 Republicans - voted in favor of granting Israel the additional funding. By then it was clear that the victory won by the small group had been short-lived - as the wall-to-wall reaction only served to show the depth and breadth of support for Israel's defense in Congress. (Times of Israel)
In November 2002, Samuel Milshevsky, who immigrated to Israel from Estonia a year earlier; Yehiav Elshad, 28, who immigrated from Azerbaijan; and student Inbal Weiss, 23, were murdered on a bus near Pardes Hanna by a suicide bomber sent by Mohammed Aradeh, one of six prisoners who escaped Gilboa Prison earlier this month. What did these two new immigrants and a student on her way to class do to anyone that warranted sentencing them to a terrible death by suicide bombing?
Four of the prisoners are convicted murderers who offered no shred of mercy to their victims. They took human lives at random. They don't deny and even take pride in what they did. In September 2002, escapee Yakub Kadari murdered Yosef Ajami - shooting at his car with an automatic weapon near Mevo Dotan in the West Bank. The same day, Kadari sent a suicide bomber to the Um al-Fahm Junction, killing police officer Moshe Hezkiyah, who approached the bomber.
In 2006, a car stopped to offer a ride to Eliyahu Asheri, 18. Inside was Iham Kamamji, another of the escapees, who levelled a pistol at Asheri's head and calmly pulled the trigger. (Ha'aretz)
The U.S. Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), signed into law in 2018, broadened the ability of U.S. victims of terrorism to sue both the perpetrators and the entities providing assistance to them, such as lawsuits against the PA by families of Americans killed or wounded in attacks during the second Palestinian intifada. In short, if the PA or PLO attempt to reopen the D.C. office, any U.S. company providing them services of any kind may find itself exposed to civil litigation.
While the administration can grant a waiver, it should take this opportunity to support American victims of Palestinian terrorism by, at the very least, predicating the opening of any PA or PLO office on the provision of restitution to these victims and their families.
The writer is a senior fellow at FDD. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
See also Former Jerusalem Mayor: Reopening PLO Consulate in Washington Would Be Major Mistake - Lazar Berman (Times of Israel)
The Iranian Nuclear Threat Is Not Years Away - It Is Now - Amb. Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The writer, former Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the UN, is President of the Jerusalem Center.