January 23, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

The Case Against Hizbullah (Community Security Trust-UK)
    While UK legislation and UK government policy distinguish between separate military and political wings of Hizbullah, it has always been a unified organization under a single leadership.
    Hizbullah leaders repeatedly state that no substantive separation exists between its political and military wings.
    Hizbullah has a long documented record of terror attacks against Jewish communities and it should be fully proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Israel's Diaspora Ministry Sees Troubling Trends in Anti-Semitism Worldwide (Times of Israel)
    The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs announced a report on Sunday it said showed worrying trends in anti-Semitic sentiment worldwide in 2017.
    The ministry highlighted increases in the numbers of incidents in the UK and Germany, high levels of anti-Semitic beliefs among Muslim migrants in Europe, and the growing power of the far-right in Europe and the U.S.

Turkish Pro-Erdogan Group Hacks Twitter Account of Former Israel Foreign Ministry Director General - Avraham Gold (Jerusalem Post)
    The twitter account of Amb. Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry director-general and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was hacked by the pro-Erdogan Turkish group Ayyildiz Tim on Saturday night.
    The hackers posted: "Jerusalem cannot be the capital of Israel! Because Jerusalem is holy to Muslims and is the land of Palestine," alongside a Palestinian flag.

India Signs on with Israeli Firm to Fight Drought (JTA)
    India's Tata corporation signed a memorandum of understanding during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit with the Israeli firm Watergen that specializes in extracting drinking water from the air to create a joint venture in India to manufacture Watergen units.
    A pilot program will be set up this year in India.

L'Oreal Model Steps Down after Anti-Israel Tweets Uncovered - Amy Spiro (Jerusalem Post)
    A woman who appeared in a recent L'Oreal UK ad campaign for hair care products in which she appeared wearing her hijab has stepped down after she received criticism for a series of anti-Israel tweets in 2014.
    Writing on Twitter on Monday, Amena Khan, a social-media activist, wrote that she regrets the tweets she posted and will be leaving the campaign because of the backlash.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pence Says U.S. Embassy to Make Jerusalem Move Next Year on Faster Timetable - Jenna Johnson, Loveday Morris and Carol Morello
    The U.S. will open its embassy in Jerusalem next year, Vice President Pence said Monday in Israel's parliament. After Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, the State Department began looking for a possible site on which to build an embassy to replace the existing one in Tel Aviv.
        The administration weighed whether to build an entirely new embassy, which could take as long as a decade and be very expensive, or whether to retrofit one of the consulate buildings in Jerusalem. A State Department official said the building being eyed is the U.S. consular service building in the Arnona neighborhood, which opened in 2010 on a site originally slated for the embassy. (Washington Post)
        See also Video: Vice President Pence's Remarks at Israel's Knesset (U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)
        See also below Observations: Remarks by Vice President Mike Pence in the Knesset (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Abbas Fails to Recruit EU as New Peace Broker - Raphael Ahren
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels on Monday trying to woo the EU, in the hope it would volunteer to replace Washington as the main sponsor of the peace process.
        "The EU should play a political role in this Middle East peace process in order to reach a just solution on the basis of internationally recognized terms and decisions," Abbas said, standing next to the union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. Abbas tried to convince the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood.
        The Europeans themselves are interested in playing a "central role" in a renewed peace process, Mogherini said Monday, but she also acknowledged, "No effort will ever bring the two sides at the table if the international multilateral framework does not include the United States."  (Times of Israel)
  • Iran Army Fires Warning Shots at Coalition Warships in War Games
    Iranian armed forces launched warning shots at two Saudi-led coalition's warships during the first stage of two-day war games on Monday. The maneuver's operational theater covers all the coastline of the Makran region and the Sea of Oman. (Islamic Republic News Agency-Iran)
        See also Iran Threatens U.S. Navy Ships Amid Massive War Drills - Adam Credo (Washington Free Beacon)
  • France Says Iran Not Respecting UN Text on Ballistic Missiles
    France's foreign minister accused Iran on Monday of not respecting part of a UN resolution that calls on Tehran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.
        Speaking on arrival at a EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said the 28 ministers would reiterate their concerns over Iran's activities in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, which he described as destabilizing.
        The German government appealed to Tehran to join European powers and the U.S. in discussions, citing concerns about its missile program and regional activities. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said German, French, and EU officials would launch high-level talks about their concerns. "There's a lot to discuss," she said. (Reuters-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Strengthen U.S.-Israel Bilateral Military Cooperation - James Stavridis
    While the U.S. and Israel already have an extraordinary level of defense integration, there are still important zones of potential improvement. These include better intelligence sharing; joint work on cyber options, especially vis-a-vis Iran; increased partnering on defense procurement, particularly in missile defense; and maritime operations in both the Eastern Mediterranean (where Israel has significant challenges protecting its nascent offshore gas infrastructure) and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.
        The Israelis will continue to be the closest allies for the U.S. in the most turbulent and war-torn region of the world. The writer, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, is dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. (Bloomberg)
  • The Tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas - Grant Rumley
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas, 82, the president of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the PLO's Central Council on Jan. 14. Over two rambling hours, he deployed anti-Semitic tropes, undercut the Jewish connection to Israel, and blamed everyone from Oliver Cromwell to Napoleon to Winston Churchill for Israel's creation.
        He repeatedly cursed President Donald Trump ("may your house fall into ruin"); he has also said he will boycott Vice President Mike Pence's upcoming visit. He issued indirect rebukes of Arab leaders after days of reportedly confrontational meetings with other Gulf officials.
        This is the larger tragedy of Mahmoud Abbas. In him, the world saw a reformist, a leader who could get the Palestinians to the table and possibly clear the hurdle for the two-state solution. Instead, he has morphed into a bureaucratic tyrant at home, hostile to America and downright incendiary towards Israel. His rule has alienated his people, leaving them disillusioned and disenfranchised. He likely has inadvertently tipped the scales in favor of a more volatile successor. And that, to use his own words, may just result in the destruction of all that has been built. (Atlantic)
  • The Key Core Issue: Preventing Rockets on Tel Aviv from the West Bank - Moshe Arens
    It has become clear that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian representatives. There is no substitute for that. Not Abbas' call for mediation by the EU nor his reliance on the anti-Israel majority in the UN.
        The major stumbling block to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight, is making sure that any Israel military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel's population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. Israel cannot allow a repetition of what happened after the withdrawal from Gaza.
        There is little support in Israel for the view that it is better to have rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Those who support that position in the world are not particularly concerned for the security of Israel's citizens. Until such time as this issue is laid to rest, there will be no meaningful progress. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)

  • Through the generations, the American people became fierce advocates of the Jewish people's aspiration to return to the land of your forefathers.
  • Jerusalem is Israel's capital - and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem - and that United States embassy will open before the end of next year.
  • In announcing his decision on Jerusalem, the President also called, in his words, "on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites, including at the Temple Mount, also known as the Haram al-Sharif." And he made it clear that we're not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders.
  • President Trump reaffirmed that, if both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.
  • The United States appreciates your government's declared willingness to resume direct peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. We strongly urge the Palestinian leadership to return to the table.
  • The United States will continue to work with Israel, and with nations across the world, to confront the leading state sponsor of terror - the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Two-and-a-half years ago, the previous administration in America signed a deal with Iran that merely delays the day when that regime can acquire a nuclear weapon. The Iran nuclear deal is a disaster, and the United States of America will no longer certify this ill-conceived agreement. At President Trump's direction, we're working to enact effective and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
  • Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed, President Trump has said the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately.