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July 28, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

U.S.: Iranian-Backed Group Fired Missile Deep into Saudi Arabia - Ryan Browne (CNN)
    Yemen-based Houthi rebels fired a missile Saturday that flew hundreds of miles into Saudi Arabia, two U.S. defense officials said.
    The Scud missile was fired from northern Yemen and flew 930 km. before landing near the western coast of Saudi Arabia. Its target was assessed to be a Saudi oil facility near the port city of Yanbu.
    See also Saudi Arabia Intercepts Houthi Missile Targeting Mecca (RT-Russia)
    Saudi Arabian armed forces have intercepted a missile launched by Yemeni Houthi rebels that was targeting the city of Mecca.

Cartoons: Arab Media Bask in Al-Aqsa "Victory" - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Arab and Palestinian media are reveling in what they consider a decisive victory over Israel following its removal of all recently installed security measures at the entrances to the Temple Mount.
    Cartoons depicting Palestinian resistance have flooded Arab media and Palestinian social media platforms.

Dahlan Meets with Hamas Parliament Members in Gaza via Video Conference - Fares Akram (AP-ABC News)
    Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief and Hamas rival, addressed a gathering of Hamas parliament members in Gaza by video conference from the UAE on Thursday.
    Fatah parliament members loyal to Mahmoud Abbas stayed away from the meeting.
    The legislature has been idled since Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces, then under Dahlan's command, and took over Gaza in 2007.

Putin Signs 49-Year Syria Base Deal (Reuters)
    Russian President Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its Hmeymim air base in Syria for 49 years with the option of additional 25-year periods.

Israel Builds Pipeline to Treat Sewage from Gaza - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    After the sewage treatment facility in Gaza was shut down due to the electricity crisis, and wastewater from Gaza started polluting Israeli groundwater, the Israel Water Authority has deployed a pipeline to transport sewage from northern Gaza to the sewage treatment plant in Sderot.

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Israel's Volcani Center Wins UNESCO Prize for Agricultural Innovation - Danielle Roth-Avneri (Israel Hayom)
    The Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center in Israel, known for its groundbreaking discoveries, is among the three winners of the UNESCO International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences for 2017.
    UNESCO said the Volcani Center "has successfully developed cutting-edge innovations and methodologies in agricultural research with practical applications as well as capacity-building programs to promote food security in arid, semi-arid and desert environments, advancing human well-being."

Our Past Is Being Denied to Us - Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    When, recently, UNESCO decided to list the Old City of Hebron as an endangered Palestinian world heritage site, most Israelis just rolled their eyes at the latest attempt to remove Jewish history from their land.
    Hebron, located south of Jerusalem, has been a Jewish site since Abraham purchased the land from Ephron the Hittite 4,000 years ago to bury his wife Sarah, as described in the book of Genesis.
    I don't know of another nation whose history and connection to its land is being erased in a concerted campaign to deny its rights, culture, land, and holy sites.
    It is an incredible thing to have one's past denied.

UK Reports Record Number of Anti-Semitic Incidents (JTA)
    There were 767 anti-Semitic attacks recorded in the UK in the first half of 2017 - the highest six-month figure since monitoring began in 1984 and an increase of 30% from the same period in 2016, British Jewry's Community Security Trust reported Thursday.
    CST Chief Executive David Delew said that it is "sadly clear that the overall situation has deteriorated. Anti-Semitism is having an increasing impact on the lives of British Jews."

Israel Is Upgrading India's First-Responder Skills - Rhythma Kaul (Hindustan Times-India)
    The Israeli national emergency medical service, MDA-Magen David Adom (Hebrew for Red Star of David), and the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) are holding a joint project to train volunteers, including school kids, to save lives during emergencies, natural disasters and accidents.
    Volunteers are trained in bandaging wounds, stopping bleeding, and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
    "The situations that these trainers can aptly handle include burns, bruises, drowning, person losing consciousness, fainting, nose bleed, snake bite, fracture, heart attack and stroke," said Dr. Vanshree Singh, director of the IRCS blood bank.

Video: Israeli, U.S., and French Navies Practice Underwater Combat (IDF Spokesperson-Jerusalem Post)
    The Israeli Navy, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy and the French Navy, conducted a two-week underwater exercise that ended on Thursday.
    The drill included minefield clearing and dealing with anti-tank weapons, with a focus on naval sabotage and anti-terror operations.

Israel's PerimeterX Raises $23 Million to Stop Bot Attacks - Mary Loritz (
    Israeli PerimeterX, a cybersecurity company that produces behavior-based threat protection technology for cloud, web and mobile, has secured $23 million in Series B funding.
    Its Bot Defender product blocks hundreds of millions of bot attacks every day.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Foresees Iran Declared Noncompliant with Nuclear Deal
    President Donald Trump said on Tuesday in an interview at the White House: "We've been extremely nice to the [Iranians] in saying they were compliant [with the nuclear deal]. We've given them the benefit of every doubt. But we're doing very detailed studies. And personally...if it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago."
        Q: Do you expect them to be declared noncompliant the next time?
        Trump: "I think they'll be noncompliant. I think they're taking advantage of this country....It's easier to say they comply. It's a lot easier. But it's the wrong thing. They don't comply....We'll talk about this subject in 90 days. But I would be surprised if they were in compliance."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Senate Passes Sanctions Bill Targeting Iran - Richard Lardner
    The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 97-2 to approve a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The U.S. House passed the sanctions package on Tuesday. The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo. (AP-CNBC)
  • U.S. Says Iran Rocket Launch Breaches UN Resolution
    Iran successfully tested a rocket that can deliver satellites into orbit, state television reported on Thursday, an action the U.S. said breaches a UN Security Council resolution because of its potential use in ballistic missile development. The rocket launch violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday. That resolution calls upon Iran not to undertake activities related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such technology. Nauert called Iran's rocket launch a "provocative action" that violated the "spirit" of the nuclear deal.
        On Monday, Scott Kripowicz of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency told a conference in Israel: "Space-launch activities which involve multi-stage systems that further the development of technologies for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are becoming a more realistic threat....Progress in Iran's space program could shorten the pathway to an ICBM, as space-launch vehicles use similar technologies."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Return to Temple Mount, Attack Israeli Police - Elior Levy and Yael Friedson
    Riots broke out inside the Temple Mount compound Thursday evening after Muslims returned to pray there, with many young people throwing stones and bottles at IDF security forces, who responded with crowd-dispersal measures. (Ynet News)
  • Erdogan, Haniyeh and Abbas Are Praying for an Intifada - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The Islamists who incited and ignited the metal detector crisis at the Temple Mount wanted an intifada. They haven't given up their wish just yet.
        Turkish President Erdogan - as in the Marmara crisis - is leading the anti-Israel religious incitement in his speeches and behind the scenes. Erdogan wants to be the leader of political Islam in the Middle East, the leader of all the Muslim Brotherhood movements, with which both Hamas and Sheikh Raed Salah's Islamic Movement in Israel are affiliated.
        These are the people who are interested in a continuation of the Temple Mount riots. They're hoping for more deaths and injuries in the coming days to inflame the Palestinian and Islamist street again. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Security Guard in Jordan Was Stabbed Three Times before Shooting Attacker - Itamar Eichner and Tova Zimuki
    The Israeli security guard who shot and killed two Jordanians after being stabbed by one of them with a screwdriver presented his version of the events on Thursday. Sources said the security guard behaved properly under the circumstances after a 17-year-old Jordanian stabbed him three times, twice in the back and once in the chest.
        Jordanian doctor Bashar Al-Hamarna, who owned the apartment, was also killed in the incident. The State of Israel apologized to the Jordanians for his death and undertook to pay the family financial compensation. (Ynet News)
        See also Jordan Charges Israeli Embassy Guard with Murder
    Jordan's attorney general Akram Masaadeh has filed murder charges against an Israeli embassy guard in the shooting deaths of two Jordanians, Jordanian state media reported Friday. Masaadeh called for the guard to be tried in Israel. The guard left for Israel after the shooting under the protection of diplomatic immunity. (AP-ABC News)
  • Soldier Who Shot Terrorist in Halamish Describes Attack - Yoav Zitun
    The combat soldier who shot the terrorist who murdered Yosef, Elad and Chaya Salomon last Friday in Halamish said he shot only one bullet and did not continue to fire so as not to harm Yosef Salomon, who was lying next to the terrorist. (Ynet News)
        See also Halamish Soldier Saved His Kindergarten Teacher - Itamar Eichner
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence visit on Wednesday to the Salomon family. Tova, Yosef Salomon's widow, told him that the soldier who stopped the massacre "was in my kindergarten, and now he saved me."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • The Muslim Struggle for Sovereignty over the Temple Mount - Lior Akerman
    The Palestinian Authority has been trying to achieve full authority over the Temple Mount as part of their campaign to establish Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Following the lead of Mahmoud Abbas, for years the PA has been spreading lies about Israeli intentions to take over the Temple Mount and alter the status quo. In addition, Hamas operatives are working day and night in the West Bank to incite Palestinians to violence to gain power and status among the Palestinian public and to lead the Muslim struggle for sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
        The Jordanian Wakf Islamic trust seeks to preserve its power and status in the Muslim world as protector of holy places. To that end, King Abdullah of Jordan occasionally claims that Israel intends to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Moreover, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, under the leadership of Sheikh Raed Salah, has for years been leading the incitement with the slogan "Al-Aksa is in Danger."
        Their main goal is the complete liberation of the Temple Mount from Israeli control and its return to full Arab Muslim sovereignty. These radical operatives have no intention of halting their struggle to liberate the Temple Mount until the entire compound is completely under Muslim control.
        The truth is that all the Muslim leaders know very well that the State of Israel has not had in the past and has no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. The only thing that has changed is that Israeli authorities would like to prevent another murderous attack from taking place in this sensitive location. The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arab Humiliation and the Temple Mount - David P. Goldman
    In 2015, the last time Palestinians rioted over the Temple Mount, a handful of pious Jews had committed the offense of attempted prayer. This week's protest over the presence of metal detectors takes the dispute to a new level of unreality. The outrage over security measures that are standard in public places in many parts of the world seems contrary to common sense.
        Much of the Arab world clings to the belief that if the Jews do not control the Temple Mount, they really have not returned to Zion, and their presence in Jerusalem and Israel must be a temporary aberration. It is a dangerous fantasy, and nothing good can come of nurturing it. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • Muslims Have Mainly Been Massacring Themselves - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The Palestinians regularly threaten us and hurt themselves. It's tradition. It's history. In the great Arab revolt of the 1930s, the Brits were the main target. Some 200 Brits, 400 Jews and 5,000 Arabs were killed. The mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, spread the rumor that British soldiers had desecrated mosques. Most Arabs who were murdered during the revolt were victims of a bloody war between the rival factions, and the mufti and his supporters were responsible for most acts of murder.
        In recent decades the Muslims have mainly been massacring themselves. From 2002 to 2016, 202,697 people were murdered in acts of terror, the absolute majority of whom were Muslim, in Muslim countries or in Muslim population centers. (Ynet News)

  • Other Issues

  • Israel Anti-Boycott Bill Does Not Violate Free Speech - Eugene Kontorovich
    The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is a minor updating of a venerable statute that has been at the center of the U.S. consensus on Israel policy - the laws designed to counteract Arab states' boycott of Israel by barring Americans from joining such boycotts. Current law, first adopted in 1977, prohibits U.S. entities from participating in or cooperating with international boycotts organized by foreign countries.
        The existing laws cover not just participation in a boycott, but also facilitating the boycott by furnishing information, when done in furtherance of the boycott. For example, telling a Saudi company, "We don't happen to do business with the Zionist entity" would be prohibited.
        If anti-boycott measures are unconstitutional, as the ACLU argues, it would mean that most foreign sanctions laws are unconstitutional. If refusing to do business with a country is protected speech, doing business would also be protected speech. Thus, anyone barred from doing business with Iran or Sudan would be free to do so if they said it was a message of support for the revolution or opposition to U.S. policy.
        The Israel Anti-Boycott Act only makes clear that the existing anti-boycott law applies not just to the Arab League boycott, but also to new anti-Israel boycotts, such as those being organized by the UN Human Rights Council. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. (Washington Post)
  • Regaining Leverage over Iran - Eric S. Edelman and Charles Wald
    The Trump administration's priority should be restoring leverage against Tehran, so that we can dissuade Iran from sprinting toward a bomb and create far more favorable circumstances to negotiate an agreement that actually prevents a nuclear Iran. Abiding by the current nuclear deal will only enable a nuclear and hegemonic Iran.
        The JCPOA provides Tehran significant financial, military and geopolitical benefits, both upfront and over time, in exchange for minimal, reversible and temporary concessions on its nuclear program. Consequently, the JCPOA puts Iran on track to become as intractable a challenge as North Korea is today, and very possibly worse.
        The U.S. needs a comprehensive strategy of robust leverage against all of Iran's destabilizing behaviors. Only increased U.S. leverage can prevent a nuclear Iran. Ambassador Eric Edelman is former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. Gen. (ret.) Charles Wald is former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command. They co-chair JINSA's Gemunder Center Iran Task Force. (Politico)
  • Netanyahu's Visit to Paris - Amb. Freddy Eytan
    Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Paris on July 16, 2017, for a ceremony to mark 75 years since the massive deportation of Jews from Paris to Nazi extermination camps during World War II. French President Emmanuel Macron noted that "not a single German took part in the roundup of the Jews; they were all French officials and policemen who were sent on the orders of the Vichy regime."
        Macron stated unequivocally - and for the first time by a French president - that "anti-Zionism is a reinvented form of classic anti-Semitism." He also broke new ground by coming out against the Palestinian leadership's demand for the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. The writer, who heads the Jerusalem Center's Israel-Europe Project, is a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who was Israel's first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • It Takes Two Sides to Create Lasting Peace - Michal Biran
    Last month I went on a mission to Australia to deepen the ongoing dialogue between the Israeli Labor Party and its sister Social Democratic Party, the Australian Labor Party. Australian Labor expresses strong support for Israel and maintains close ties with it. However, there are voices criticizing Israeli policy.
        Since the Oslo Accords, almost 25 years ago, Israel has consistently expressed its willingness to accept territorial compromise and the division of the land. The Palestinian leadership repeatedly rejected Israel's proposals - including Barak and Olmert's unprecedentedly compromising ones - as a basis for negotiations. Israel has even proved its sincere intentions by withdrawing from Gaza, at the price of evacuating thousands of settlers from their homes. The people of Gaza reacted by electing Hamas, an extremist Islamic terror organization openly devoted to the destruction of Israel.
        Australian aid money that is transferred to the Palestinians continues unwittingly to finance payments that the Palestinian leadership transfers to families of "martyrs" in correlation to the number of people murdered by each "martyr."
        We need our friends in the world, of whom the Australian people are among the best, to back us up and support our efforts to advance a political settlement based on mutual willingness to compromise. The writer is a Member of the Knesset for the Israeli Labor Party (now called Zionist Union). (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Nazi Who Saved Jews at Auschwitz - Antonia Yamin
    Just as they speak of Oskar Schindler, a German who saved Jews during the Holocaust, several hundred Jews owed their lives to Nazi officer Helmut Kleinicke, who supervised construction at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Survivors say that in 1942 Kleinicke saved Jews from the nearby town of Czanow by recruiting them as workers at the camp, and he would not let anyone touch his Jewish workers.
        He warned them ahead of Nazi roundups, took them off transports to the extermination camps, hid them in the basement of his home, and smuggled many of them across the border to Czechoslovakia. Eventually, the Gestapo began to suspect that too many of Kleinicke's Jewish workers were disappearing and in 1943 he was transferred elsewhere.
        Several survivors who owed him their lives wrote to Kleinicke after the war, wanting to meet him again, but never received a response. Kleinicke passed away in the late 1970s. His daughter, Yuta Scheffzek, said her father kept the letters he received, but he always felt he had done too little. Recently, the Kan Israeli television channel arranged a meeting in Israel between Yuta and some of the people her father saved, closing the circle of a story set in motion over seventy years ago. (
  • Inside an Israeli ER - Matthew Stein
    Dr. Ofer Merin is deputy director of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem and director of its trauma unit. "About a year ago, Jerusalem had an eight- to 10-month period when every other day there were stabbings, and Shaare Zedek's trauma unit treated more than half the country's terror victims."
        "Israel has been putting a lot of energy into making sure hospitals have a strict plan to receive mass casualties. At least once a year, I'll drill our staff to ensure everyone knows their position and what to do when a suicide bomb explodes and 100 victims are coming in....You need to understand the flow, have the right priorities and know how to deal with those patients who are already in the hospital."
        "In many of these incidents, we had to treat the terrorist alongside the victims. Sometimes, if their condition is more critical, we'll operate on the terrorist first. We're extremely strict with treating patients as patients without judging them, but explaining this to the victims and their families is not easy."  (Ozy)
  • New Air Route from China Will Boost Tourism to Israel - Tamara Zieve
    China's Hainan Airlines has submitted a request to Israel's Civil Aviation Authority to operate a route between Guangzhou in southern China and Ben-Gurion Airport, the Transportation Ministry announced Tuesday. Hainan Airlines, China's largest privately owned air carrier, already operates 4-5 direct weekly flights between Beijing and Tel Aviv, in addition to the El Al flights between those destinations. Starting in September, Hainan Airlines will also operate three weekly flights between Shanghai and Tel Aviv.
        Transportation Minister Israel Katz said increasing the locations connected by direct flights is expected to help realize the enormous potential of inbound tourism from China. "We are talking about hundreds of thousands of Chinese who admire the history of the Jewish people," said Katz. In the first half of 2017, the number of tourists from China increased by 75% over the same period in 2016, with 61,000 visits. (Jerusalem Post)

Stop Infantilizing the Palestinians - David Harris (Huffington Post)

  • It's high time for the international community to wake up to certain Palestinian realities that many would rather avoid. I write as the representative of an organization, AJC, long committed to the search for an enduring two-state agreement, coexistence between Muslims and Jews, and friendly ties with moderate Arab countries.
  • An obsession with Israel and what it should (and should not) do blinds too many observers of the region to the other side of the equation - what the Palestinians should (and should not) do. Why doesn't the international community show more backbone in insisting that Palestinians take responsibility for their own behavior?
  • The Palestinians could have had a state on more than one occasion between 1947 and 2017, yet they rejected each opportunity. The price was recognition of Israel as a sovereign nation alongside the Palestinian state, a price they have been unwilling to pay.
  • While Israel has come to accept Palestinian nationalism, there has been no reciprocal movement on the Palestinian side to accept Jewish self-determination as its complement.
  • Moreover, the popular Palestinian belief that Jews are "outsiders," "interlopers," "colonialists," and "crusaders" must be confronted. Jews are indigenous to the region. The age-old link between the Jewish people and the land is documented and irrefutable.
  • Indulging the Palestinians in their fanciful history allows them to live in an alternate universe, one where Israel doesn't exist, or, if it does, is only a "temporary and illegitimate" phenomenon.
  • Ending the infantilization of the Palestinians - and beginning to hold them responsible for their actions - could be one promising way forward for the peacemakers.

    The writer is the CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
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