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November 30, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Paris Attacks "Mastermind" Plotted to Attack Jewish Targets (Ynet News)
    Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged "mastermind" behind the terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, was planning to carry out attacks against Jewish institutions.
    According to testimony published in a French magazine, Abaaoud went to his niece, Hasna Aitboulahcen, in Saint-Denis on Nov. 15, asked her to hide him, and told her of his plans for the future.
    "We will do even more huge damage, mainly to Jews, and will carry out activities against schools and transport in the city," Abaaoud is quoted as saying.

IDF: Palestinian Public Very Supportive of Wave of Terror Against Israelis - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    IDF Paratroopers Brigade Commander Col. Nimrod Aloni told Army Radio on Thursday that the Palestinian public is generally very supportive of the current surge of violence against Israelis.
    "There are a few people who absolutely want calm, but in recent weeks, unlike previous surges of terrorism, the violence is generally characterized by very broad support from the Palestinian street," he said.
    "Anyone who claims that the Palestinians are condemning this wave of terrorism simply doesn't read the news."

    See also Poll: 72 Percent of Palestinians Want Current Intifada to Continue - Bassam Tawil (Gatestone Institute)
    PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly claimed that the terrorists are setting out to kill Jews out of "despair and frustration" and the lack of a "political horizon." Yet no one has yet found even one terrorist who claimed to have attacked a Jew for this reason.
    However, many have said that they set out to kill Jews to "defend" Al-Aqsa Mosque, seemingly influenced by the romantic notion of Abbas' repeated fictitious claims that Jews were plotting to destroy the mosque, followed by fantasies of themselves as heroes charging forth to rescue it.
    A poll conducted by the Watan Center for Studies and Research published in Arabic last week found that 48% of Palestinians believe the real goal of the "intifada" is to "liberate all of Palestine."
    More than 75% of Palestinians support the use of violence against Israel and 72% want the current "intifada" to continue.

Israeli Customs Agent Saves Gazan's Life at Border Crossing - Zeev Klein (Israel Hayom)
    A Palestinian merchant who arrived at the Erez border crossing last Thursday suddenly collapsed as a result of a heart attack.
    An Israeli customs agent, who had undergone paramedic training in the past, rushed over and began resuscitation efforts, using a defibrillator.
    Another crossing employee, also a trained paramedic, joined the resuscitation efforts.
    After the man's condition was stabilized, he was transported to a hospital where he regained consciousness.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In Response to Labeling, Israel Suspends Diplomatic Contacts with EU on Middle East Peace Process - Batsheva Sobelman
    Two weeks after the European Union approved guidelines for labeling goods from Israeli settlements, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to suspend diplomatic contacts with EU institutions on matters related to the peace process with the Palestinians. Netanyahu ordered a reassessment of EU institutions' involvement in the diplomatic process and a halt of all related contacts until it is completed. The ministry stressed Sunday that Israel will continue to have diplomatic contacts with individual countries and that the ban applies only to European institutions. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Germany to Send 1,200 Soldiers to Support Fight Against Islamic State in Syria - Melanie Hall
    Germany is planning to send 1,200 soldiers to support the international fight against ISIS in Syria, said Volker Wieker, chief of staff of the German army. The planned German military involvement, in response to France's call for more countries to help fight the militants after the Paris attacks, would see troops provide service support to ships and reconnaissance planes, but would not include direct combat.
        The German air force would provide four to six Tornado jets for reconnaissance that could be stationed at airbases in Jordan and Turkey. A German frigate would also accompany France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier. The plan still needs approval from parliament. (Telegraph-UK)
  • German Officials Warn of New Security Risk: Local Extremists Recruiting Refugees - Anton Troianovski and Ruth Bender
    In Germany, the top migrant destination, security officials worry that local extremists will recruit the newcomers to join the Islamist cause. German authorities warn that migrants seeking out Arabic-language mosques in search of the familiar are increasingly ending up at those attended by Islamist radicals. Federal officials said they have counted more than 100 cases in which local Islamists have tried to establish contact with refugees. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Stabbing Attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem on Sunday - Yael Friedson
    Bassam Salah, 38, a Palestinian from Nablus in the West Bank, stabbed a border policeman in the neck near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday before he was shot and killed.
        Later on Sunday, a Palestinian man from Hebron stabbed Hisorai Taplaya, 31, a Nepalese woman, in the back at a bus stop in Jerusalem. He was later apprehended. (Ynet News)
  • Defense Minister Ya'alon: Russian Jet Strayed into Israel - Yaakov Lappin
    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday that since Russia began air strikes in Syria, a Russian jet accidentally strayed one mile into Israeli air space. "We immediately got on our communication channel, and the pilot immediately returned to Syrian territory....Ahead of time, they of course let us know when they approach our territory." He added that "Russian planes have no intention of attacking us, so there is no need to automatically shoot them down, even if they accidentally [breach our air space]."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Chief Visited Brussels to Establish Security Ties - Noam Amir
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot traveled to Brussels last week to help establish security ties with Belgian security officials, Maariv reported Friday. Israel is also coordinating with other European countries that are seeking to improve security protocols. (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Helps EU Deal with New Reality - Alex Benjamin
    Israel, despite the recent raw deal it got from the EU on labeling, was generous in its response to the terror attacks in Paris and the real threat to Brussels. Quietly, Israel has been sharing its expertise in dealing with terror with its counterparts in Europe. Last week many Israeli anti-terror experts were in Brussels, offering briefings, solutions and best practice.
        Israel has taken a decisive and leading role in showing EU states how to deal with and fight terror. It is showing people how you can live and prosper, in spite of terrorism. The writer is director of EIPA, a pro-Israel advocacy group based in Brussels. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Court Convicts Two Israeli Jews in Murder of Palestinian - Nir Hasson
    The Jerusalem District Court on Monday convicted two Israeli Jewish minors in the murder of Palestinian youth Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The conviction of the main suspect, Yosef Haim Ben-David, 31, was suspended due to a last-minute psychiatric evaluation that claimed he was not responsible for his actions at the time of the murder. The three had confessed to the crime and reenacted it, and the court said that there is enough evidence to convict Ben-David.
        Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted on July 2, 2014, from the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Shuafat and driven to the Jerusalem Forest, where he was beaten and burned alive by his kidnappers. Israel has officially recognized him as a victim of terror. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Current "Spontaneous" Intifada Is Orchestrated by the Palestinian Leadership - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
    The Palestinian leadership is attempting to portray the current intifada as a popular, spontaneous struggle that expresses the population's despair over the political situation. In reality, it is an intifada supported and directed by the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah (the Palestinian Authority-PLO-Fatah) and Gaza (Hamas).
        The green light for violent agitation and terror attacks has been given by the Palestinian leadership, and the message is translated into actions by field operatives of the Palestinian organizations or by Palestinian residents. The Palestinian leadership also guarantees a network of social and financial support to any Palestinian resident who is arrested, wounded or harmed in the course of anti-Israel terror activity, including monthly stipends for the individual and his or her family.
        The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, wants to use the violence as a tool to achieve its political objectives, which include compelling Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and east Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Responding to the EU Decision to Label Israeli Settlement Products - Ruth Eglash
    The Israeli government sees the new EU decision to label goods from the settlements as a dangerous path toward a full boycott of Israeli products in Europe. "The EU decision will not hurt Israel's economy, but it might affect the Palestinian economy, because if businesses in the settlements do not get orders, they will have to fire their Palestinian workers," said David Simha, president of the Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, a nongovernmental organization aimed at bringing the two sides together via business.
        At the Psagot winery in the West Bank, Hamudi Hadalin, 23, a Palestinian who works in the winery's visitors center and lives in a village nearby, said: "It is good working with Jews, and we have much better employment conditions here than in Ramallah....I really hope there will be peace one day. Then I can continue to work in this place without any problems."  (Washington Post)

EU Labeling Is No Way to Help the Palestinians - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)

  • Poor economic conditions are one of the many causes for the recent upsurge in Palestinian violence. Over 25% of the Palestinian labor force in the West Bank is unemployed. The GDP per capita there is about $4,000 compared to Israel's $25,000. The average wage there is about $22 a day.
  • Israel allows over 100,000 Palestinian workers to work in Israel, but that is not the only way to support the Palestinian economy. The industrial zones, like Barkan and Mishor Adumim, provide employment for Palestinian workers living in the vicinity, a far better way of assisting the Palestinian economy.
  • Over 10,000 Palestinians are currently employed in such industrial zones, earning salaries and receiving social benefits as provided by Israeli law. Their employment conditions are far superior to those of Palestinian workers crossing into Israel in the early hours of the morning and returning home at nightfall.
  • The EU has, as usual, got it all wrong when its bureaucrats call on members to label products originating in the West Bank industrial zones in anticipation that such products will be boycotted by European shoppers.
  • If their plans prove to be effective, they will hurt the Palestinians living in the territories, increase unemployment there, and force Palestinians into lower-paying jobs.
  • The industrial zones contribute far more to the Palestinian economy than do the subsidies provided by the EU to the Palestinian Authority. The EU would do better to encourage European shoppers to purchase products originating in the industrial zones.

    The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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