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November 13, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Israel to Launch "Buycott" to Parry EU's Settlement Label Step - Alisa Odenheimer (Bloomberg)
    Israel will lobby European governments and consumers to rebuff the EU's proposal to label the origin of goods imported from the West Bank and Golan Heights. A "buycott" campaign will encourage EU shoppers to purchase Israeli products.
    Israel is even considering legal action against the EU through the World Trade Organization, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
    "We will try to convince as many member states as possible to implement the directives in a way which is more favorable to us," Nahshon said on Thursday. "There is a margin of interpretation." 
    See also Germany's Ruling Party Pans EU Labeling Guidelines (JTA)
    See also Video: Is the EU Deploying a Double Standard toward Israel? (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

"Stab the Zionist": Palestinian Songs Celebrate Killing Jews - Paul Alster (Fox News)
    Songs about stabbing Jews to death - including one by the winner of the Palestinian equivalent of "American Idol" - are all the rage on West Bank airwaves, a year after the twisted hit parade featured calls for running down Israelis with cars.
    The youth of the Palestinian territories are being bombarded with tunes and lyrics about murder and martyrdom on government-controlled radio.
    "We're going down from every house with cleavers and knives," goes the refrain in "I'm Coming Towards You, My Enemy."
    YouTube videos that accompany the songs feature images of Palestinian terrorists stabbing Jews, and then being "martyred" by Israeli forces, or cartoon animations glorifying the knife as a symbol of resistance.
    Other big current hits sweeping the Palestinian charts include "Continue the Intifada," and "Stab the Zionist and Say God is Great."
    Nan Jacques Zilberdik of Palestinian Media Watch said: "We see the leadership trying to fuel the rage and enflame the Palestinian street by all the time repeating the libel that Israel is faking the attacks."
    "They say that all the terrorists are really just innocent Palestinian victims who were walking by Israeli soldiers on the way to school or on the way to the mosque, then Israel shoots at them and plants knives at the scene."

Bumbling Iran Hackers Target Israelis, Saudis - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    An Iranian hacker group, the Rocket Kitten gang, that has been targeting Israeli and other Middle Eastern scientists and researchers for the past two years, gave itself away when it failed to take even minimal steps to protect itself, a report issued Monday by Israeli cyber-security firm Checkpoint said.
    44% of the attacks were against targets in Saudi Arabia, while 14% were against Israeli targets. Checkpoint researchers located the evidence of who was attacked and when they were targeted in an openly accessible database.
    Checkpoint found clear evidence that the attacks originated in Iran and found a database listing the names of the members of the hacking crew - headed by Yaser Balaghi.
    In addition, the database included a list of nearly 2,000 targets - with their names, email addresses, and other information - targeted since August 2014.

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Anti-Israel Protestors Disrupt Israeli Diplomat's Talk at Canadian University - Sheri Shefa (Canadian Jewish News)
    A group of anti-Israel students at the University of Windsor hijacked a lecture by Israel's first Bedouin diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, who has been working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry since 2004.
    In a video uploaded to the Palestinian Solidarity Group's Facebook page, the protesters can be seen interrupting Khaldi by standing in their seats and taking turns shouting slogans at Khaldi before walking out as a group.
    Khaldi said protesting an event like his is a waste of time, saying, "I'm not a politician, I'm just here to share my experience and my story."
    Law student Trevor Sher, who serves as the Jewish Student Association president, said:
    "One of the things Khaldi explained after the walkout was that people who take those kinds of actions are a barrier to peace. He made a really powerful statement... about there being only one pathway to peace, and that is through negotiation and dialogue."

Video: Oxford Union Debate - Dennis Prager (YouTube)
    The Motion: This House Believes that Hamas is a Greater Obstacle to Peace than Israel.

The Chinese Want to Adopt Practices of Israel's Health Care System - Yehuda Sharoni (Maariv-Hebrew)
    The Chinese greatly respect the Israeli health care system and are interested in applying some of its practices, Vice Premier Liu Yandong told Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom during his recent visit to China.

Israeli Start-Up Develops Disposable Cellphone Charger - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    The Israeli start-up Mobeego has developed a disposable cellphone charging unit that can keep the phone going for up to four hours, at an expected cost of $2.50.

Indo-Israel Greenhouse Facility Gives Farmers Cheap Access to Seeds (Deccan Herald-India)
    The Indo-Israel Center for Excellence in Vegetables at Gharaunda near Karnal in Haryana state offers Israeli expertise in greenhouse, drip irrigation and fertigation methods to raise vegetable yields.
    The center, set up in 2011, has a greenhouse facility and charges Rs 1-2 per sapling, grown in a climate-controlled environment.
    Farmers are growing about 6 million vegetable seedlings annually now, as against half a million seedlings in 2011, said Satyender Yadav, Deputy Director (Horticulture) at the center.
    Farmers from Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are also using the facility, one of 15 such centers in nine Indian states.

Star-Studded U.S. Gala Raises $31M for IDF (AP-Times of Israel)
    A fundraiser for the Israeli army brought in $31 million in one night last week, as 1,200 people turned out for an annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala in Beverly Hills, California.
    The evening focused on the IDF's lone soldiers, who leave their families and native countries behind to serve in the army.
    It also featured a U.S. veteran discussing the impact of Israeli medical technology on the lives of Americans.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Suicide Bombings in Hizbullah Stronghold in Beirut - Hugh Naylor
    Twin suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200 in Beirut on Thursday during rush hour in the Burj al Barajinah neighborhood where many Hizbullah loyalists live. In a statement translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the Islamic State said the first bomber struck with an explosives-rigged motorcycle, followed by a second assailant wearing a suicide vest. Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said a third suicide bomber was killed when the second attacker detonated his explosives. (Washington Post)
  • Rouhani Says U.S. Must Apologize before Restoring U.S.-Iran Ties
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Italy's Corriere della Sera on Thursday: "One day these (U.S. and Iranian) embassies will re-open but what counts is behavior and the Americans hold the key to this. If they modify their policies, correct errors committed in these 37 years and apologize to the Iranian people, the situation will change and good things can happen."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Senate Expresses Support for Israel, Condemns Palestinian Terror Attacks
    The U.S. Senate passed a resolution by unanimous consent on Tuesday expressing support for Israel and condemning Palestinian terror attacks. The resolution condemned in the "harshest terms possible" attacks that have left 11 Israelis dead and 145 wounded, and called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to stop incitement by Palestinian officials and media.
        The Senate "stands with the people of Israel during these difficult days" and supports the Jewish state's right to self-defense, rejecting "any suggestion of the moral equivalence of Israeli security personnel" protecting its citizens and "terrorists' intent to deliberately take innocent lives." Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., introduced the resolution, which had 67 co-sponsors. (JTA)
  • Hospital Raid Video Offers Rare Glimpse into Israeli Undercover Unit - Josef Federman
    Security camera footage of an Israeli arrest raid in a West Bank hospital in Hebron on Thursday gave a rare glimpse into the undercover units that Israel contends are a key tool in preventing violence. In the footage, Israeli officers disguised as Palestinian civilians in Arab garb, including some wearing fake moustaches and beards or dressed as women, burst into the hospital and dragged away a wanted Palestinian.
        The Israeli military identified the target of the raid as Azzam Shalaldeh, accused of stabbing and severely wounding an Israeli man in the West Bank last month. Shalaldeh was in the hospital after being shot by his stabbing victim. During the raid, Shalaldeh's cousin, Abdallah, attacked the Israeli forces and was shot. The army said the cousins are "known Hamas operatives."
        Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon praised Thursday's raid. He said small undercover units can today do the work that once required entire military divisions. "We are not just on the defensive. We are also on the offensive," he said. Emanuel Gross, an expert on military law at the University of Haifa, said "there is no prohibition" under international law from entering a hospital to arrest a suspect. The Israel Security Agency, which participated in the raid, said Israel will not allow wanted suspects to seek cover in "places of refuge."  (AP-U.S. News)
  • Jordan Attacker Buried amid Chants of "Death to America"
    About 3,000 mourners in Rimon, Jordan, chanted "Death to America, Death to Israel" during the funeral Thursday of a Jordanian police captain who killed five people, including two American instructors, in a shooting rampage at a police training center this week. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Report: Hizbullah Weapons Warehouses Were the Target of Wednesday's Israeli Airstrikes in Syria - Yasser Okbi
    The target of alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday adjacent to Damascus airport were Hizbullah weapons warehouses, Arab media affiliated with the Syrian opposition reported Thursday. Official Syrian media failed to report on the air strikes. (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Raises Hizbullah Rocket Estimate to 150,000 - Avi Issacharoff
    Israeli officials believe that the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah has amassed around 150,000 rockets, including a number of long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of striking any Israeli city. In May a senior Israeli intelligence official put the number at 100,000. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Supreme Court Approves Demolition of Palestinian Terrorists' Homes - Telem Yahav
    The Israel Supreme Court on Thursday rejected petitions against the decision to demolish the homes of five Palestinians who participated in terror attacks. The only petition that was accepted regarded a terrorist who lived in a rented apartment. The justices ruled that there was not enough of a connection between him and the family who lives in the home.
        Chief Justice Miriam Naor wrote in her opinion that, "as determined in the ruling, the purpose of the regulation is as a deterrent, not a punishment. This purpose has been recognized as proper. Demolishing homes is a harsh and serious step, mainly because it can hurt relatives of the terrorist who sometimes did not aid him and did not know of his plans." However, "sometimes there is no alternative to using it. Such are the cases in the decrees before us, which deal with cruel terror attacks in which Israeli citizens were murdered in cold blood. The evidence presented to us made me satisfied that destroying homes of terrorists' families creates deterrence among terrorists."  (Ynet News)
  • Israeli MK to European Parliament: Labeling Makes You an Unfair Broker in Peace Process - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) told the European Parliament on Thursday: "When you label products, you are labeling yourselves as less relevant to solving the conflict, as an unfair broker....You are losing the Israeli public, which thinks that you don't understand the reality in which they live."
        Bar described cooperation between the Gilboa Regional Council in Israel and the Jenin Governorate in the Palestinian Authority in health, tourism and industrial projects, including a joint industrial park currently under construction with the potential to employ 15,000 Palestinians. "You want to label products? Label this industrial park and encourage Europeans to buy more products from there, products that are the fruits of cooperation."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Pleased with EU Decision on Israeli Settlement Product Labels
    Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules Gaza, said on Thursday that it welcomed the EU's decision to approve new labeling guidelines for products that originate from areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Al-Aqsa Preacher Who Urged Extermination of Jews Indicted for Incitement
    Sheikh Khaled al-Mughrabi, a prominent Palestinian preacher who regularly delivers sermons from the pulpit at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, was indicted Thursday for incitement to violence, Israel Radio reported. A video of Mughrabi delivering a sermon saying that Jews will be "wiped out" was flagged by Palestinian Media Watch and sent to police, leading to the preacher's arrest. "We will go after the Jews everywhere," Mughrabi is seen proclaiming. "They won't escape us, they won't be able to escape us. The Children of Israel will all be wiped out."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Pilots Train over Southern U.S. - Judah Ari Gross
    Israeli pilots took to the skies over the southern U.S. over the past two weeks, flying alongside their American counterparts during exercises with three Israel Air Force C-130 Hercules airplanes involved in low-level flying scenarios, difficult take-offs and landings, paratrooper drops and cargo dumps. This is the third year in a row that Israel has participated in the exercise at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport, Mississippi.
        "We had a full day of flying in West Virginia, for practicing in the mountains," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Eden. "For us, flying in mountains that are 5,000 or 6,000 feet high, it's something that we don't have on a daily basis back home. Landing in a short field between the mountains at high elevation, this is not something that we have in Israel, but this is something that we need to know."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    EU Decision on Labeling Israeli Settlement Products

  • Europe Mislabels Israel - Eugene Kontorovich
    This week the European Commission announced guidelines suggesting that Israeli products from areas that came under its control in 1967 be labeled "Israeli Settlement" products and not "Made in Israel" as they have been until now. The policy carves out a special legal rule for Israel, not only contradicting the EU's own official position, but also going against rulings of European national courts, and violating basic tenets of the World Trade Organization.
        In fact, the labeling controversy must be viewed as just one step in a broader, purposeful and gradual escalation of anti-Israel measures by the EU. Diplomats in Brussels and NGOs have made clear that more coercive measures will follow.
        Just last year, the British Supreme Court ruled, in a case involving Ahava beauty products produced in the West Bank, that "there was no basis for saying that the average consumer would be misled" by a "Made in Israel" label. The court held that such labeling was not deceptive as a matter of both British and EU law.
        Moreover, discrimination against trading partners represents a core violation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other treaties of the World Trade Organization, as law professor Avi Bell and I have shown in detail in a recent paper. The EU's labeling guidelines are manifestly discriminatory, as they apply only to Israel. Under the WTO's nondiscrimination requirement, it is impermissible to apply trade rules and restrictions to some member countries and not to others. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. (New York Times)
  • Product Labeling: The EU Leads Boldly on Israeli-Palestinian Peace - Danielle Pletka
    The European Union in its infinite wisdom decided to implement a demand that all products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank be labeled. I can think of no better way to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians than this important labeling initiative. But what I don't understand is: Why stop there?
        Consider: Spanish-occupied Catalunya, Indian-occupied Kashmir, Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Syrian-occupied Alexandretta, Armenian-occupied Nagorno Karabakh, Russian-occupied Crimea, Chinese-occupied Tibet, South Korean-occupied Korea, Chinese-occupied Scarborough Shoal, UK-occupied Gibraltar, and UK-occupied Falklands.
        What, you say, there are no Jews occupying those other places? We only condemn the Jews? Only the Jews are especially worthy of EU condemnation? The writer is senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. (American Enterprise Institute)
  • EU Governments Enable the Actions of the BDS Movement They Officially Oppose - Gerald M. Steinberg
    The new product labeling guidelines published by the European Union were a political and ideological move crafted by several European officials, in collaboration with political NGOs, to impose the EU's will on the Israeli public. As part of its effort to dictate Israeli policies, the EU funds groups, often with one-sided political agendas, who involve themselves in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In exchange for EU funding, these groups produce "reports" and "analyses" related to human rights and international law that reflect their virulent biases. Via this funding, European governments enable the actions of the same BDS movement they officially oppose.
        The ultimate goal of these groups is a comprehensive boycott of Israel, regardless of its borders. The groups that promoted the product labels have already described it a "first step" and called for "tougher sanctions." The writer, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is president of NGO Monitor. (Israel Hayom)

  • Other Issues

  • Don't Give Iran's President a Pass - Giulio Maria Terzi
    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani travels this weekend for his first state visit to Europe. Since his election in 2013, more than 2,000 people have been executed in Iran, more than during any equivalent period in the past 25 years. The regime has also stepped up its arrests and its judicial abuses, including its targeting of activists, dissidents, minorities and others. By welcoming Rouhani, Europe is giving the impression that it is willing to talk about oil deals and trade partnerships even if it means actively ignoring Iran's worsening human-rights situation, its sponsorship of terror and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
        Italy, France and the EU should commit to using Rouhani's visit not just to explore new investment opportunities, but also as an opportunity to confront him about his country's human-rights situation. The only reasons Western countries should have for meeting with the Iranian president are to challenge his domestic and foreign policies and to make it known that Western investment and sanctions relief will be shut off if Tehran fails to release its political prisoners and safeguard the rights of its citizens. The writer is a former foreign minister of Italy. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Murder of Innocent Civilians Can Never Be Justified - Yair Lapid
    Alexander Levlovitz, 64, was murdered on Sept. 14 on his way home from dinner in Jerusalem, just because he was a Jew. And the world said, "The Jews are to blame." A 13-year-old boy was stabbed by two Palestinian children, one aged 17 and the other aged 13. The security forces had to shoot the attackers so that they wouldn't try to kill more children. The Palestinians distributed the photographs of the injured attackers to the world, and they were aired across the Western media without mentioning that they were running with knives and attempting to stab people. The only thing that was published was that "Israeli security forces shot Palestinian children" and the world said, "The Jews are to blame."
        Those who draw an equivalency between their murderers and our murdered negate the very concept of self-defense. They deny that there is a difference between the attacker and the attacked. Our enemies have no moral boundaries. Terrorists from ISIS and Hamas are medieval people with 21st-century weapons. Faced with these people, if you don't fight without hesitation, you'll die.
        The murder of innocent civilians can never be justified. There is no justification for 9/11. There is no justification for ISIS burning people alive. And there is no justification for the stabbing and killing taking place in the streets of Israel in the last weeks. From a speech by Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, to the Israel Allies Foundation's European Summit in Berlin on Nov. 9 in commemoration of the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Will the French Anti-Boycott Law Lead to a Pan-European Law? - Freddy Eytan
    France's supreme appellate court on Oct. 27, 2015, established unequivocally that promoting the boycott of the Jewish state is a hate crime and entails incitement to discrimination. It upheld the conviction of all those who took part in planning and perpetrating acts of vandalism at a supermarket of the Carrefour chain near Mulhouse in the Alsace region in 2009 and 2010, throwing all Israeli products on the floor and emptying the shelves in the kosher products section. The activists were fined a cumulative sum of 12,000 euros.
        It is now all the more vital to work for the adoption of the French law by other European countries, such as Britain. Whoever fights anti-Semitism and racism must condemn the ugly phenomenon of the boycott in all its domains - economic, cultural, and academic. Attempts to glorify the boycott of Israel should not only be denounced but also severely punished in a deterrent fashion. Amb. Freddy Eytan, a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor, heads the Israel-Europe Project at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Unilateral Israeli Moves Won't Bring Peace - Jonathan S. Tobin
    If a majority of Israelis have lost faith in hopes for peace, it is not because they want to hold onto all of the West Bank, but because they know they are locked in a long war with an enemy that views the conflict as a zero-sum game. As Daniel Polisar's study of 20 years of Palestinian opinion surveys shows, huge majorities don't think the Jews have a right to any part of the country. That's why Netanyahu is right to insist that they give up that hope of Israel's destruction before he risks the lives of its people. Israel can't make peace by itself. Nor can it assure its security by handing over territory that will be turned into another Gaza.
        Like it or not, the status quo will end as soon as the Palestinians are finally ready for peace and not before. Rather than pressure Israel's leader, Israel's friends need to put the onus on Abbas, Hamas, and the rest of the Palestinians to give up their fantasies. Until they do, Palestinian leaders will continue to think that they can go on waiting for the West to someday hand Israel over to them on a silver platter. (Commentary)
  • "The Palestinians Will Never Agree to a Two-State Solution" - Benny Morris interviewed by Gabriel Noah Brahm
    When Yasser Arafat walked away from Israeli peace offers in 2000 and 2001, Israeli historian Benny Morris started to examine the possibility that the Palestinians weren't serious about wanting a two-state deal.
    Morris: When Arafat "was offered a two-state solution in 2000 by Barak, and then got an even better offer from Clinton at the end of 2000, Arafat said 'no.' And I think this was the defining moment for me. He was simply unable to reach a compromise with Israelis."
        "From that point on I lost a lot of sympathy for the Palestinians - which I had had before - and I came to understand that they are not willing to reach a two-state solution. And then there was Mahmoud Abbas' rejection in 2008 of the Ehud Olmert proposals, which were fairly similar to the Clinton proposals of December 2000. Abbas was offered a state with 95 to 96% of the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and he too said 'no.'"
        "I understood that it wasn't really a question of a bit of territory here or there - it was a matter of the Palestinians' non-acceptance of the legitimacy of the Jewish state. That was what lay behind Abbas' inability to accept any Jewish state next to a Palestinian state. This is really what it has always been about."
        "I came to the conclusion...that the Palestinian Arabs were not willing to reach a compromise....Even if there were some Palestinians who were genuinely moderate and conciliatory, and willing to live with a two-state solution, they would always be out-flanked, or crushed, by the much larger segment of the Palestinians who would be completely rejectionist....There are simply too many extremists; the moderates end up bowing to their will."
        "A lot of Arabs believe that...the West has been aggressing against them. They don't see it as a resurgent Islam attacking the West, but as a resurgent Islam defending itself against what they see as a Western incursion. And Israel is seen as the front line of the incursion. This is our problem.... Unfortunately we are at the forefront of this battle line of the clash of civilizations." Benny Morris is a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. (Fathom-BICOM)

48 Years Since Resolution 242: The Cornerstone of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process - Dore Gold (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

  • This month marks the anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 242. Over the years the resolution evolved into the basis of the entire peace process, including the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the 1991 Madrid peace conference, the 1993 Oslo Accords, the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty, and draft agreements with Syria. The U.S. even provided a letter of assurance to Israel that it would prevent any party from tampering with Resolution 242.
  • Resolution 242 did not call on Israel to pull back to the pre-war 1967 lines. The U.S. and Britain recognized that the pre-1967 line had only been an armistice line from 1949 and was not a final international border.
  • The British Ambassador to the UN in 1967, Lord Caradon, clarified what the language of the resolution's withdrawal clause meant: "We could have said, 'Well, you go back to the 1967 line.' But I know the 1967 line, and it's a rotten line. You couldn't have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It's where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It's got no relation to the needs of the situation."
  • Any Israeli withdrawal had to be to "secure and recognized borders," as the resolution stated. Israel had rights to retain some West Bank territory, so that at the end of the day it could obtain defensible borders in any future political settlement.
  • It is notable that, according to Resolution 242, Israel was entitled to this territory without having to pay for it with its own pre-1967 territory. There were no land swaps in Resolution 242. Nor was there any corridor crossing Israeli sovereign territory so that the West Bank could be connected to Gaza (just as there is no land corridor across Canada connecting Alaska to the rest of the U.S.). These diplomatic innovations were thought of by negotiators in the 1990s, but Israel in no way is required to agree to them, according to Resolution 242.

    The writer is director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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