April 13, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

The Next Israeli War in Gaza - Lior Akerman (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has experienced eight military operations against Hamas in Gaza: Rainbow and Days of Penitence in 2004; First Rain in 2005; Summer Rains in 2006; Hot Winter in 2008; Cast Lead in 2009; Pillar of Defense in 2012; and Protective Edge in 2014.
    Since the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas has installed observation posts near the border. Rocket production resumed at a dizzying rate.
    Hamas sniper attacks across the border have also begun, and the digging of tunnels into Israeli territory has resumed in full force. Cement and building materials flow like water into Gaza.
    Hamas commando operatives have been continuing their training in northern Gaza, where they practice taking over Israeli communities in the area.
    The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency.

The IDF Observers Who Monitor the Gaza Border - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF Gaza Division's observers regularly monitor the border, but now have to step up their game to prevent thousands of Palestinians from crossing into Israel.
    Over the past four months, the IDF observers have had to deal with explosives being planted near the border fence, armed terrorists making their way to the border, and main instigators trying to sabotage the border fence and enter Israel.
    Lt. Kerem Aviner, a Gaza Division observers officer, explained: "The observer can see the entire area, she can identify who is dangerous and who isn't."
    The observers thwarted a terror attack last week when a terrorist armed with an AK-47, grenades, and an explosive belt was spotted advancing toward the border fence under cover of darkness. After five hours of monitoring, the terrorist was eliminated by an IAF aircraft.
    "We're called 'the country's eyes,'" Lt. Aviner explained. "We advise the fighting forces where to take position, and we know how to direct fire from tanks, aircraft and infantry forces."

New York Times Labels Gaza Riots an "Experiment with Nonviolent Protest" - Ricki Hollander (CAMERA)
    In an April 7 article, "Though Deadly, Gaza Protests Draw Attention and Enthusiasm," the New York Times describes Hamas' provocations on the Gaza-Israel border that include Molotov cocktails, explosives, and attempts to breach the border as an "experiment with nonviolent protest."

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The Status of Jerusalem in International and Israeli Law - Shmuel Berkowitz (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    This detailed study by a renowned expert on Jerusalem shows that Israel has valid legal status in the city.
    Israel gained control of both parts of the city after Jordan and other Arab states declared war upon it in May 1948 and in June 1967.
    In doing so, Israel exercised its right to self-defense, which international law recognizes as a legitimate reason for using military force.

Britain's New Navy Base in Bahrain Marks Return to East of Suez - Con Coughlin (The National-Abu Dhabi)
    Last week's visit to Bahrain by Prince Andrew to mark the official launch of the Royal Navy's base there marks an important sea-change in the British government's attitude towards the security of the Gulf.
    In 1971, Britain, for reasons of economy, took the strategic decision to withdraw its military forces from east of Suez.
    The new Royal Navy base in Bahrain is its largest operational base outside the UK.
    The new facility reclaims ownership of a base Britain enjoyed for decades before handing it over to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.
    The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force all continued to make major deployments in the region in support of a variety of military operations, ranging from protecting the Strait of Hormuz during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s to, more recently, the campaign to defeat ISIS.
    The RAF has a squadron of state-of-the-art Eurofighters on almost permanent standby at the Emirates' Al Minhad airbase to defend and protect the region's air space.

Israeli Nutrition Analytics Firm Nutrino Uncovers Invisible Connections between People and Food - Gali Weinreb (Globes)
    Israeli nutrition-related data services and analytics technology provider Nutrino announced Tuesday the completion of a $8 million financing round.
    Nutrino CEO Yael Glassman said, "Our proprietary technology, FoodPrint, uncovers the previously invisible connections between people and their food. Nutrino is where data meets nutrition, and as we've demonstrated in our work with multinational partners around nutrition and diabetes, the opportunity is vast."
    Nutrino's database, which collates data from millions of food items globally, is one of the largest in the world.
    Pereg Ventures managing partner Ziv Ben Barouch said, "Digital Health is predicted to be worth several hundreds of billions in the coming decade."
    "With skyrocketing consumer demand for increased information about what they eat and growing health awareness, nutrition data is the largest untapped sector of this industry."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Officials: Blood Samples Show Nerve Agent, Chlorine in Syria Gas Attack - Courtney Kube and Ken Dilanian
    The U.S. now has blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons, according to two U.S. officials. The samples suggested the presence of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent. The officials said they were "confident" in the intelligence, though not 100% sure. Officials also said the U.S. has compiled intelligence, including images, that indicate the Syrian government was behind the attack. (NBC News)
        See also France Has Proof Syrian Government Conducted Chemical Weapons Attack - John Irish and Sophie Louet
    French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday, "We have proof...that chemical weapons were used, at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad."  (Reuters)
  • Trump Puts Off Syria Strike Decision, Saying He Will Talk to Allies - Robert Burns and Catherine Lucey
    President Trump on Thursday put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said after a meeting of the National Security Council: "No final decision has been made. We are continuing to assess intelligence and are engaged in conversations with our partners and allies."  (AP-Chicago Tribune)
  • U.S., France and Britain Craft Broad Plans for Strike on Syria - Dion Nissenbaum and Gordon Lubold
    Britain, France and the U.S. united Thursday around broad plans for a military strike against Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack, U.S. officials said. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sought to limit the impact of an expected attack by moving warplanes to a Russian-operated base equipped with sophisticated air defenses. Officials in all three countries said there now is definitive proof that Syria used chemical weapons last weekend to kill dozens of civilians. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Clashes Renewed at Gaza Border on Friday
    Thousands of Palestinians gathered on the Israel-Gaza border on Friday as violent clashes with Israeli forces were renewed for the third consecutive week. Israeli troops used live fire and riot dispersal methods at several points along the security fence. (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF: Palestinians Attempt to Breach Gaza Border Fence with Explosives, Firebombs
    The IDF announced Friday: "There have been several attempts to damage the security barrier and cross it. In addition, a number of attempted terrorist attacks were carried out including the throwing of explosives, Molotov cocktails and the destruction of a security barrier."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Gazans: Live Peacefully alongside Us
    Speaking on Holocaust Remembrance Day Thursday at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, 5 km. from Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "My message to our neighbors from the south - you will never succeed in breaking us. Change direction and start to think, not about how to destroy the State of Israel, but how to exist alongside the State of Israel."
        "Unfortunately, the battle over our very right to exist as a Jewish and free state continues to this day, even though the State of Israel extended a hand of peace to all its neighbors. We have signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and have left Gaza up to the last millimeter of the 1967 lines. Today, the leaders of Gaza threaten to destroy the State of Israel, to return the refugees to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Safed, and sirens blare as a result of their rocket fire at the communities in the south."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • A Sense of Victory by Both Hamas and Israel - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin
    Following two Fridays of clashes at the border fence between Israel and Gaza, Hamas has a sense of victory and satisfaction. In its view, Hamas has reclaimed the leadership of the Palestinian struggle, found an effective strategy to challenge Israel, shown PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to be irrelevant, and sparked international criticism of Israel.
        At the same time, security and political circles in Israel have expressed a sense of victory: a breach of the fence and a mass influx of Palestinians into Israeli territory were prevented; large numbers of Palestinian casualties did not occur; Israel displayed an effective response to the attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty by means of terror under the cover of "mass marches"; attempts to place explosives along the fence and across it were foiled; there were no Israeli deaths; and the Israeli communities close to the Gaza perimeter celebrated Passover without disturbances.
        Hamas suffered numerous casualties among its ranks, losses that will make it more difficult to maintain the size of the protest around the fence. Moreover, Hamas failed to create the impression of a non-violent protest. Yet if the U.S. had not stood by Israel, a UN commission of inquiry would already have been formed to investigate the events. The writer, former head of IDF Military Intelligence, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why Egypt Is Concerned about the Hamas "Return" Campaign in Gaza - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Egypt is anxious about Hamas' "Return" campaign in Gaza. The Egyptian government still remembers very well what happened in January 2008, when armed Hamas activists broke through the border fence between Gaza and Egypt, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza flowed into Sinai. Egyptian police were compelled to use water cannons and clubs to restrain the Palestinian masses charging the border and 40 Egyptian security officers were injured. The attack was a Hamas initiative to compel Egypt to open the Rafiah crossing on a regular basis.
        Egypt is concerned that this scenario may be repeated and would find it difficult to stop such a mass event. The Egyptian political echelon would likely not order the army to open fire on the Gazan crowds. However, the Egyptian army is concerned that a breach of the border fence between Gaza and Sinai will enable terrorists from the Gaza Salafist groups and weaponry to infiltrate into Sinai to assist ISIS.
        Breaching the Gaza-Sinai border fence could also affect Israel, enabling terrorists from Sinai to reach Gaza with large quantities of game-changing weaponry, such as advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and carry out terror attacks against Israel from there. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • No Country Would Tolerate What Hamas Is Doing at Israel's Border - Vivian Bercovici
    Peaceful protests do not encourage participants to overrun an international border, or use weapons, while threatening to conquer the country and murder its people. Peaceful protests are not organized by terrorist organizations and led by terrorist leaders, some of whom show up with Molotov cocktails and other weapons.
        If a group like Hamas was to carry on in Europe as it does on the Gaza-Israel border, it is difficult to imagine Europeans would sit back in deck chairs with binoculars and just watch. The global community should be asking: why are Hamas' "peaceful protesters" carrying weapons and calling for the destruction of Israel? The writer is a former Canadian ambassador to Israel. (National Post-Canada)
  • Justice for Victims of Palestinian Terror - Alan Joseph Bauer
    On March 21, 2002, a Palestinian Authority police officer, escorted by two Palestinian women, walked down King George Street in the heart of Jerusalem. His escorts told him, "Allah will guide you." Muhammad Hashaika then detonated a 10-kg. suicide belt filled with nails and screws behind me and our seven-year-old son Yehonathan. Three people were killed, I had two screws through my left arm, while Yehonathan had the head of a Philips screw pass fully through his right brain.
        On April 2, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Sokolow v. PLO. The case involves 11 families, including our own, harmed during the second Palestinian intifada. We sued under the Anti-Terror Act of 1992. When the case finally made it to trial in 2015, the jury found the PLO and the PA guilty of providing material support in all of the attacks. The Second Circuit of Appeals heard the appeal and said that the act was unconstitutional as applied to the PA and the PLO.
        The PA is a terrorist organization. The one who sent our bomber was a high-ranking PA intelligence official, the bomb came from the PA intelligence agency, PA leader Marwan Barghouti gave $600 to the head of the terrorist cell, and one of the women who brought the bomber into Israel said that the PA paid for her driving lessons and other "training" so that she could bring the bomber to Jerusalem. Let the PA be held accountable for its terrorist activities against American families. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Iran Controls Syria's Shia Militias - Phillip Smyth
    Shia make up 1-2% of Syria's population, but militias manned or controlled by Shia have played a disproportionate role in the Syrian conflict. Domestic Shia groups currently number 8,000-12,000 fighters. Iran has steadily reinforced them with foreign Shia fighters, including Hizbullah members and militias from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. These foreigners now number 20,000-30,000.
        In 2013, Tehran set about constructing Syrian copies of Hizbullah. These Shia groups often take their orders directly from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hizbullah.
        Iranian influence on the ground in Syria is rapidly outstripping that of the Assad regime and Russia. As a result, the forces gaining ascendancy in regime-controlled areas will be more prone to supporting Tehran's foreign policy agenda. This agenda may include fighting U.S. forces in southern and eastern Syria or attacking Israel via the Golan. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Israel Supports African States to Fight Terrorism - Raluca Besliu
    An Israeli campaign is underway in sub-Saharan Africa on winning over African nations. In June 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to participate in a summit of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. The following November, he attended Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's swearing-in ceremony in Nairobi. With growing investments in East and West African countries, Israel is becoming a key player on the continent.
        More than 30 Israeli diplomatic missions operated in Africa until the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In the war's wake, the Organization of African Unity instructed its members to cease diplomatic ties with Israel. All except Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland did so. Israel currently has ties with 40 out of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries.
        Regardless of stances on the Palestinian question, many African countries seek closer ties with Israel in fields such as security and counterterrorism. Extremist movements, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, are a threat in East and West Africa alike. Israel's security knowledge is perceived as beneficial, especially in surveillance, collecting personal data, and border-control systems.
        Israel has a direct interest in supporting African states to fight terrorism and monitor jihadist movements, and prevent the destabilization of Egypt, its southern neighbor. "Israeli security is intrinsically connected with the total extrication of terrorist groups from all parts of the world, including from African countries," said Olusola Isola, a Woodrow Wilson Center scholar. (YaleGlobal)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Medical Humanitarian Work along Syrian Border Deserves UN Recognition - Randy Hultgren and Aviv Ezra
    On recent visits we each have taken to Israel, we witnessed both the horrors of war and the compassion of healers. Israel has implemented a good neighbor policy since 2013 that calls for medical treatment of all Syrian civilians seeking care. More than 4,000 Syrians have been treated in Israel, including 1,000 children. Israel has even opened up a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
        Syrian children are also receiving necessities to improve their quality of life, such as eyeglasses and hearing aids. Israel treats any Syrian who needs it, free of charge. In addition, the Israeli Army has an official program, Operation Good Neighbor, that provides food, clothing, fuel, equipment and medical supplies to 250,000 Syrians.
        We call upon the UN Human Rights Council to acknowledge that Israel has saved thousands of Syrian lives during one of the largest human rights atrocities in the world. Administering medical care to any injured person, regardless of whom they are, is a standard Israelis and Americans live by - and is who we are as nations.
        Randy Hultgren is a U.S. Congressman (R-Ill.). Aviv Ezra is the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, based in Chicago. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Female Spearheads of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Sharon Geva
    75 years ago, in April 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising became a symbol of Jewish heroism during the Holocaust. Women filled various roles in the resistance movements, including as underground couriers, traveling illegally, often alone, disguised as an Aryan. They smuggled news, documents, money, revolvers, hand grenades, food and medical supplies.
        Historian Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, who initiated the most important archive created during the Holocaust, wrote in May 1942: "These heroic girls are in mortal danger every day. Without a murmur, without a moment of hesitation they accept and carry out the most dangerous missions....How many times have they seen death eye to eye? How many times have they been arrested, how many times have they been searched?"  (Ha'aretz)
  • American Jewish Officer Recounts Nazi Horrors - Amir Alon
    In May 1945, Dr. Alvin Weinstein, a Jewish doctor in the American army, wrote to his wife of the scenes he witnessed at a recently liberated Nazi concentration camp. Following his death last year, Weinstein's letters and pictures were donated in February by his family to the archives of the Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies in Tel Yitzhak.
        "Believe it or not, I was the commander of a concentration camp near the Alps." Weinstein described the physical condition of the prisoners he met, including some who survived death marches. "I saw 243 starved, tortured and disease-stricken bodies that were once human beings. 170 of them were Polish Jews who were the only survivors of the 1,600 who had left the Buchenwald concentration camp. They walked 440 km. barefoot for 28 days. They were given five potatoes a day and no water. Anyone who fell or received food from civilians was shot dead by SS soldiers."  (Ynet News)
  • Transcript: Israeli President Rivlin at the March of the Living
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday led the 30th annual March of the Living from the gates of Auschwitz to Auschwitz-Birkenau, marking Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day.
        President Rivlin said: "We marched from death to life. We marched from the Holocaust to the Revival. We marched from Auschwitz to Jerusalem. Each footstep in this march was a step in the history of the Jewish People. An ancient and surviving nation, that has been blessed with enormous powers of creativity, of both spiritual and practical strengths. A nation that was privileged to return to its homeland, after two thousand years of exile, and to rebuild there its national home as a free people among the family of nations."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also U.S. President's Statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Transcript: IDF Chief of Staff at the March of the Living - Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot (Jerusalem Post)

  • Had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN partition plan, there would have been two states - the larger one Palestine, the smaller one Israel. The Jewish leaders accepted the proposal, reluctantly, but the Arabs rejected it and chose to launch a war that, despite all odds, resulted in the creation of the Jewish state. Seven decades later, the major stumbling block to peace remains Arab resistance to a Jewish state in the region, regardless of its borders.
  • The "March of Return" is not just an effort to mourn the Arab defeat but an attempt to undo it. Rather than face the reality of Israel, Hamas seeks to destroy it through violent means. Despite claims that the border protests are peaceful, the goal is to break through the physical barrier and wreak havoc on Israel's citizens.
  • Most Israelis hate the violence but are not ready to allow the state's borders to be breached so that their sworn enemies can come in and kill them. What country would?
  • While I have much empathy for Gazans who live in poverty, they should be venting against Hamas, which spends precious resources on digging tunnels and stocking up on rockets to attack Israel rather than attending to the needs of its people.
  • After the Holocaust and the decimation of the great majority of European Jews, the Jewish leaders of Palestine wept but did not whine. They proclaimed a state and fought valiantly to make it a reality. Palestinian leaders lost that war of aggression and still blame everyone but themselves for their predicament.
  • In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one side seeks peace and pursues the future with optimism, despite serious challenges, while the other seeks revenge and focuses on the past with bitterness and regret.
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