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October 30, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

UNRWA Demands End to Tunnel Building under Its Schools - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinians must stop building tunnels under Gaza schools, UNRWA said this weekend as it made public the presence of a new tunnel under one of its schools.
    "The presence of a tunnel underneath an UNRWA installation, which enjoys inviolability under international law, is unacceptable. It places children and agency staff at risk," the UN agency said.
    Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, "We are glad that UNRWA noticed what we have been telling them for years."
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, "This is what Hamas rule looks like and this is more proof of the double war crime committed as terror tunnels are built to attack Israelis, while using the children of Gaza as human shields."

Report: PA Resumes Security Cooperation with Israel (Times of Israel)
    Palestinian forces last week resumed full security coordination with Israel three months after it was suspended due to new security mesures at the Temple Mount, Israel Channel 2 TV reported Friday.

FIFA Soccer Federation Will Not Intervene Against Israel (Reuters)
    Global soccer body FIFA will not support Palestinian complaints against Israel and considers the matter closed, its president, Gianni Infantino, said on Friday.
    The Palestinian Football Association sought to have Israel suspended from international soccer because six teams from lower divisions of the Israeli league are based in settlements in the West Bank.
    See also FIFA Council Statement on Soccer in the West Bank (Federation Internationale de Football Association - FIFA)
    The FIFA Council agrees that FIFA must remain neutral with regard to political matters.

Wisconsin Governor Prohibits Boycotts of Israel in State Contracting (WisPolitics)
    Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order Friday prohibiting state agencies from contracting with any business entity that discriminates against Israel.
    The governor is currently leading a trade delegation to Israel.

UK Poll: Only 11 Percent of British Public Support Boycott of Israel (BICOM-UK)
    Only 11% of the British public support a boycott of Israel, according to a poll of British adults conducted in October 2017.
    49% consider Israel to be the most important British ally in the Middle East in the fight against terrorism, while 18% disagree.
    46% believe that "hating Israel and questioning its right to exist" is anti-Semitic, while 17% disagree.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Nuclear Chief: We Can Resume 20 Percent Uranium Enrichment at Fordow in 4 Days
    The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, said Sunday: "We can produce 20% (uranium enrichment) at Fordow in 4 days." In addition, AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Saturday that the issue of inspection of his country's military sites ended forever after Tehran permitted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect Parchin in 2015. (Fars-Iran)
  • UN Human Rights Council Investigator Ignores Abuses by PA and Hamas - Ben Evansky
    Michael Lynk, a special investigator assigned by the UN Human Rights Council to look into abuses in the Palestinian territories, left out any mention of actual Palestinian abuses in his report, focusing only on Israel. Lynk seemed unaware that two of his predecessors had in fact included human rights abuses by Palestinians in their reports.
        Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, said, "By any definition of human rights, morality and logic, if Mr. Lynk is a United Nations human rights monitor for the Palestinian Territories, he must address Palestinian Authority and Hamas torture and arbitrary arrest committed against their own people." Neuer also cited the killing of Israelis in terror attacks.
        Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, "The UN Human Rights Council has lost its legitimacy as it focuses obsessively on attacking Israel instead of working on resolving the real human rights problems plaguing the world. The Council has lost all touch with reality and the original intent upon which it was founded."  (Fox News)
        See also U.S. Condemns UN Official Who Urged Economic Sanctions Against Israel
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley issued a statement Friday saying: "The United States is deeply disturbed by recent comments from UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk calling for academic and economic boycotts against Israel....Mr. Lynk's remarks...underscore the Human Rights Council's chronic anti-Israel bias. The United States will continue to oppose attempts to undermine the UN system through actions that unfairly target Israel."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
  • Under U.S. Pressure, Israel Delays Move to Expand Jerusalem - Tia Goldenberg
    Under pressure from the U.S., Israel has delayed a bill that would connect a number of West Bank settlements to Jerusalem, officials said Sunday. The bill aims to solidify the city's Jewish majority, but stops short of formal annexation. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Finance Minister Meets PA Prime Minister in Ramallah - Itamar Eichner and Elior Levy
    Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met Sunday with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah. U.S. Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted Monday that the meeting yielded "meaningful steps forward on key economic issues - revenues, customs and investment - that help support the search for peace."
        A senior White House official said Sunday that President Trump has stressed repeatedly that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations and that the U.S. will continue close cooperation with the two parties to achieve that end. "No deal will be forced on the Israelis and Palestinians. We're committed to moving forward with this deal because it will improve conditions for both sides."  (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Security Chief in Gaza Wounded in Explosion - Adam Rasgon
    The head of Hamas security forces in Gaza, Tawfiq Abu Naim, was wounded in an explosion on Friday in Gaza City. Abu Naim, who Israel freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011, has been Hamas security chief since December 2015. Palestinian and Egyptian news outlets speculated that Salafist militants carried out the blast in response to a crackdown on them overseen by Abu Naim. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Palestinians Indicted for Terror Slaying of Israeli - Judah Ari Gross
    On Sunday, Youssef Khaled Mustafa Kamil, 20, and Muhammad Ziad Abu al-Rub, 19, of the West Bank city of Qabatiya, were indicted for the premeditated murder of Reuven Schmerling, 69, on Oct. 4 in Kafr Qassem's industrial zone. The Israel Security Agency said the two were motivated by a desire to "avenge" their friend, who had been killed while attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in 2015. Kamil stabbed Schmerling in the back with a butcher's knife, while al-Rub used a pickaxe. Schmerling was stabbed dozens of times. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Seals Ten Drain Pipes under West Bank Security Fence
    The IDF sealed 10 drain pipes under the security barrier in the West Bank near the city of Hebron, after dozens of Palestinians crossed into Israeli territory through the passages over the past few weeks, Israel Radio reported on Friday. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Video - Israel's UK Ambassador: Those Calling for Balfour Apology Deny Jewish People's Right to Sovereignty - Mark Regev
    Addressing the Board of Deputies of British Jews on Sunday, Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev said, "The Balfour Declaration says: 'His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.' If you believe that the Jewish people have no right to a national home, what is your position? You don't believe in peace. You don't believe in reconciliation. You believe that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in any part of their ancient homeland."
        "It's not about final borders or peace between Israel and its neighbors. It's not about the future of the settlements. It's not even about the final state of Jerusalem in peace. You're saying there should be no Jewish state. You're saying there should be no Israel. So people who believe the Balfour Declaration is wrong are exposing themselves for the extremists that they are."  (Twitter)
  • Myth: The U.S. Was Not Part of the Balfour Declaration - Martin Kramer
    Lots of people assume that the Balfour Declaration was a British thing, no business of America's. Truth: President Wilson approved the text in advance, and praised it in a public letter afterwards. In 1922, both Houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution endorsing it (Lodge-Fish), and President Harding signed it. So yes, the U.S. fully backed the Balfour Declaration. The writer was the founding president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, where he teaches the modern history of the Middle East. (Facebook)
        See also Myth: The Balfour Declaration Dispossessed the Palestinians - Martin Kramer
    Truth: the Balfour Declaration was so vague that it could have led anywhere, and 31 years elapsed before the 1948 war. In that time, Palestinians made fateful errors, and most crucially, rejected the UN partition plan of 1947 that would have given them a state. Their Balfour myth is conveniently self-absolving. (Facebook)

I Am Proud of Britain's Part in Creating Israel - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (Telegraph-UK)

  • On November 2, 1917, my predecessor Lord Balfour sat in the Foreign Secretary's office and composed a letter that laid the foundations of the State of Israel.
  • On the Centenary, I will say what I believe: the Balfour Declaration was indispensable to the creation of a great nation. In the seven decades since its birth, Israel has prevailed over what has sometimes been the bitter hostility of neighbors to become a liberal democracy and a dynamic hi-tech economy.
  • In a region where many have endured authoritarianism and misrule, Israel has always stood out as a free society. Like every country, Israel has faults and failings. But it strives to live by the values in which I believe.
  • I served a stint at a kibbutz in my youth, and I saw enough to understand the miracle of Israel: the bonds of hard work, self-reliance, and an audacious and relentless energy that hold together a remarkable country.
  • Most of all, there is the incontestable moral goal: to provide a persecuted people with a safe and secure homeland. So I am proud of Britain's part in creating Israel and Her Majesty's Government will mark the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration on Thursday in that spirit.
  • I am also heartened that the new generation of Arab leaders does not see Israel in the same light as their predecessors. I trust that more will be done against the twin scourges of terrorism and anti-Semitic incitement.
  • In the final analysis, it is Israelis and Palestinians who must negotiate the details and write their own chapter in history. A century on, Britain will give whatever support we can in order to close the ring and complete the unfinished business of the Balfour Declaration.

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