A project of the
August 15, 2022
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
Israel hit Iranian targets on Sunday close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast, regional intelligence and Syrian military sources said. The Syrian army said three soldiers were killed and three were wounded in attacks near Tartous and on the outskirts of Damascus, where outposts run by Hizbullah were hit. The strikes were part of efforts to slow Iran's growing entrenchment in Syria. (Reuters-US News)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday: Salman "Rushdie has consistently stood up for the universal rights of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press....Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life. This is despicable....The strength of Rushdie...steels our resolve and underscores the imperative of standing united as an international community against those who would challenge these universal rights." (U.S. State Department)
British-based Babcock has signed a deal to collaborate with Israel Aerospace Industries to provide long-range radar for the UK Defence Ministry's Serpens program, a "Next Generation Weapon Locating System" to detect hostile mortars, artillery and rockets. (Daily Express-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Seven people were injured, two seriously, in a Palestinian shooting attack at a bus near Jerusalem's Old City early Sunday. A pregnant woman who was shot while sitting in a nearby car underwent emergency childbirth. Four of the injured were U.S. tourists from the same family. The attacker fired while passengers were boarding the bus, before fleeing on foot. The shooter, Amir Sidawi, 26, a resident of eastern Jerusalem, later turned himself in to security forces. (Times of Israel)
See also Palestinian Terror Groups Applaud Jerusalem Attack - Khaled Abu Toameh
Several Palestinian groups, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PLO's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine welcomed Sunday's shooting attack in Jerusalem, describing it as a "heroic operation" and calling on Palestinians to carry out more attacks against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
See also U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attack outside Old City of Jerusalem - Ned Price (U.S. State Department)
During the latest flare-up between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel, it was PIJ's errant rocket launches, which killed over a dozen Palestinians, that led Hamas to pressure it to agree to a ceasefire. In the first such incident on Saturday night, an Islamic Jihad rocket hit a group of civilians in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing six, including four children. On Sunday, in the same area, another misfired rocket killed five children and teenagers.
In the third incident, a rocket hit a Hamas policeman and his three children, killing them in the area of the Bureij refugee camp. From that moment, Hamas' leadership, including those residing abroad, made it clear to PIJ that it must agree to a truce. (Ynet News)
The IDF has uncovered a Hamas attack tunnel that had been under development for "a long time" and that work on it was ongoing in recent days, Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Aloni, commander of the Gaza Division, said Monday. The tunnel crossed the international border but did not cross the IDF border barrier. The IDF inserted material into the tunnel that made it unusable. Aloni said the IDF believes Hamas has additional tunnels along the border which it plans to use in future operations. (Jerusalem Post)
Sarah Muscroft, who headed the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in eastern Jerusalem, was removed from her post after she condemned Palestinian Islamic Jihad's "indiscriminate rocket fire" during the recent Gaza conflict, despite offering an apology the next day. (Times of Israel)
Former U.S. president Donald Trump authorized then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank, in a letter obtained by the Jerusalem Post on Sunday. In a three-page letter dated January 26, 2020, two days before Trump presented his Vision for Peace at the White House, the president said that Israel would be able to extend sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, as delineated in the map included in the plan, if Netanyahu agreed to a Palestinian state in the remaining territory on that map.
Trump asked Netanyahu to adopt "the policies outlined in...the Vision regarding those territories of the West Bank identified as becoming part of a future Palestinian state. In exchange for Israel implementing these policies and formally adopting detailed territorial plans not inconsistent with the Conceptual Map attached to my Vision - the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty in those areas of the West Bank that my vision contemplates as being part of Israel."
A Trump administration source closely involved with the president's letter said that "it was a key part of Israel's acceptance of the Vision for Peace as the framework for negotiations for America to accept sovereignty up front, as per the mapping process and the plan, and for all the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley to be included." At the White House on January 28, 2020, Trump said: "The United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel. Very important." (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli policies toward Gaza over the past eight months have led to improvement in the Gaza economy, Israeli officials said Sunday. After the recent fighting, Israel was quick to reopen the crossings to allow 14,000 Gaza residents to continue to work in Israel. A senior official said that number is not expected to increase before there is progress in the talks to bring about the release of Israelis captive in Gaza. Gazan's working in Israel earn six times the average monthly wage in Gaza.
The new policies include increasing the number of workers allowed to cross into Israel, expanding the export of food and other products from Gaza to the West Bank, allowing more medical equipment and drugs into Gaza, and enabling fertilizer to be supplied under supervision of the UN and the Palestinian Authority, to ensure it is not used for military purposes. During the recent fighting, 7,000 Gazans remained in Israel for work. 250,000 Gazans have already applied for work permits in Israel. (Ynet News)
See also Israel Seeks to Incentivize Calm - Emanuel Fabian
Maj.-Gen. Ghassan Alian, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said Israel is employing "a proactive civilian policy aimed at the general public" in Gaza. Exports from Gaza to the West Bank are expected to rise by 27% this year, while exports from Gaza to Israel were expected to rise by 94%. (Times of Israel)
Beginning August 1, 2022, up to 2,000 Jordanian hotel workers and up to 300 Jordanian workers in construction, industry and general sectors, will once again be allowed to enter the Eilat region of Israel for work on a daily basis, as was the case before the corona pandemic. Oded Joseph, Deputy Director General for the Middle East at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the move "symbolizes warmer relations with our neighbors on the other side of the border. We are happy for this cooperation and hope to expand it in the future." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
In the 1979 Iranian revolution, religious fundamentalists with fire in their bellies transformed the country into an anti-American Islamist theocracy. Under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83, who has ruled since 1989, anti-Americanism has become central to Iran's revolutionary identity. Indeed, few nations have spent a greater percentage of their political and financial capital to try and topple the U.S.-led world order than Iran. On virtually every contemporary American national security concern, Tehran defines its own interests in opposition to the U.S.
Iran's successful entrenchment of powerful proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, coupled with America's humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, have further convinced Iran of its own success as well as America's inevitable decline. The more committed the U.S. has been to diplomacy, the lesser Iran's sense of urgency to compromise. Even if the nuclear deal is revived, Tehran's worldview will endure.
Multiple U.S. attempts to coerce or persuade Iran to reconsider its revolutionary ethos have failed. The reason is simple: U.S.-Iran normalization could prove deeply destabilizing to a theocratic government whose organizing principle has been fighting American imperialism. The U.S. has sought to engage a regime that clearly doesn't want to be engaged, and isolate a regime that thrives in isolation. Khamenei understands that the greater danger to his theocracy is not global isolation but global integration.
The writer is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (New York Times)
One of the fundamental purposes of the UN, as set out in the opening article of its Charter, is to harmonize the actions of nations, as well as the principle of sovereign equality. The three members of the International Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have never concealed their negative predilections against Israel. On the contrary, they are openly on record promoting harsh and defamatory accusations against Israel and even anti-Semitic slurs and tropes.
The official UN Staff Rules and Regulations that implement the Charter provisions specifically require that political and religious views and convictions of UN officials and staff do not adversely affect their official duties or the interests of the UN. The continued functioning of the Inquiry Commission violates those provisions of the UN Charter and UN official Staff Rules and Regulations prohibiting the acute and public bias and double standards voiced by all members of the Commission.
The writer, a former UN team member in the UN Office of Legal Affairs, served as the legal advisor to Israel's foreign ministry and as Israel's ambassador to Canada. He presently directs the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Last week, Israelis coped with three days of fighting in Gaza that left millions knowing that their cities may be targeted by indiscriminate missile fire by Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Life went on, and the country rallied around the military, as well as those living closest to Gaza who were under the immediate threat of a rocket crashing into their children's bedrooms.
One might think that rocket fire on population centers would stir panic. But it didn't, because we've been here so many times before, because we know what to expect, and because we generally have a pretty good idea about how it will all turn out in the end.
Israel has launched five major campaigns in Gaza since it withdrew in 2005. There have also been about 10 other "minor" campaigns to retaliate against rocket fire or to strike at terrorist leaders. Israelis know that every few months or years, there is going to be some kind of fight with Gaza that will lead to days of anxiety, and then relief when it finally ends. The sheer volume of Gaza campaigns over the last 17 years has made them routine. The upside is that they become easier on a national level to cope with. The downside is that there is something deeply troubling about hundreds of rockets shot toward Israel's population centers becoming routine.
Something else has become routine as well: Israeli solidarity in the wake of these campaigns. When Israel comes under attack or feels threatened, it comes together as one to deal with those threats. This has been demonstrated time and time again going back to 1948, when the country displays amazing solidarity when under fire.
While Israelis are not unified in thought or opinion even in times of war, the solidarity they demonstrate can be defined as a deep empathy one for another, mutual responsibility, a willingness of the individual to mobilize and even put himself at risk for the common good, and a belief in the rightness of the cause for which the country is fighting. (Jerusalem Post)
The Iranian slogan "Death to Israel, Death to America," is not a figure of speech. It is an expression of a very clear project. We are the infidels to whom their clerics urge followers to lay waste. I sat in Tehran's great conference hall in 2017 as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, amid a storm of adulation, sentenced World Jewry to death, proclaiming that the cancer that is Israel and its people: the Jews, would be excised to the point of extinction. His words left nothing to the imagination. The writer is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society in London. (Jerusalem Post)
The New York Times on Friday terminated its relationship with Fady Hanona, a Palestinian freelancer and fixer in Gaza, who contributed to at least six articles published by the Times during the latest round of violence. Media watchdog Honest Reporting on Thursday published a list of his social media posts supporting terror groups and calling for violence against Jews.
"I don't accept a Jew, Israeli or Zionist, or anyone else who speaks Hebrew. I'm with killing them wherever they are: children, elderly people, and soldiers," Hanona said. "I am in favor of killing them and burning them like Hitler did. I will be so happy." (Times of Israel)
See also New York Times' Fady Hanona Urges Missile Attacks on Israel
Out of eight articles produced by the New York Times during the recent conflict with Islamic Jihad, six credit Fady Hanona from Gaza City. In a post during the 2014 Gaza war, Hanona wrote, "As Hitler said, give me a Palestinian soldier and a German weapon, and I will make Europe crawl on its fingertips." (HonestReporting)
Full Acceptance of Israel in the Arab World Is Not Here Yet - Jonathan S. Tobin (JNS)
See also Survey: Moroccans Less Positive about Israel Normalization - Aya Benazizi
In its latest survey, the Arab Barometer research network reported that 31% of Moroccans favor normalization with Israel, down from 41% in 2021. In eight of the nine nations polled, fewer than one in five approve of normalization agreements with Israel, including fewer than one in ten in Mauritania (8%), Libya (7%), Palestine (6%), Jordan (5%), and Egypt (5%). Morocco and Sudan (with 39% favoring normalization) are significant exceptions in the region. (Morocco World News)