May 7, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Planning to Launch Missiles at Israel - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Iran plans to avenge alleged Israeli strikes on its bases in Syria by targeting military targets in northern Israel, Hebrew media reported Sunday, citing defense officials.
    Iran plans to use Shiite militias already deployed in Syria along with experts from Hizbullah, according to Channel 2 news.
    They would be overseen by Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps abroad.

European Intelligence Officials Briefed in Israel on Iran's Nuclear Archive (Times of Israel)
    Intelligence officials from France, the UK, and Germany visited Israel in recent days and were briefed on Israeli findings gleaned from the Iranian nuclear archive, Channel 10 news reported Saturday.
    An Israeli official said the entire archive will be provided to the three countries, as well as to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

UAE, Bahrain Send Cycling Teams to Race in Israel (Al Jazeera)
    Bahrain and the UAE sent cycling teams to participate in the 101st Giro d'Italia cycling competition, which kicked off on Friday in Jerusalem.
    The 21-day race continued over the weekend from Haifa to Tel Aviv and from Be'er Sheva to Eilat.
    The event, which features 176 cyclists from 22 teams, will continue in Italy and conclude in Rome.
    Palestinian officials condemned the Arab cyclists for their "disloyalty."

Defense Ministry: Terrorists Get Millions from PA (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Ministry released figures Sunday saying that some terrorists who killed Israelis will be paid more than NIS 10 million ($2.78 million) each throughout their lifetimes by the Palestinian Authority, ahead of a Knesset vote on a measure - similar to the Taylor Force Act in the U.S. - to cut payments to the PA until it stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families.

Labor Strikes and Worker Protests Erupt across Iran - Asa Fitch (Wall Street Journal)
    Teachers went on strike in Yazd. Steelworkers and hospital staff walked off the job in Ahvaz. Railway employees protested near Tabriz.
    These were among the hundreds of recent outbreaks of labor unrest in Iran.

What Would the U.S. Do? - Noah Beck (Jerusalem Post)
    What would the U.S. do if 30,000 Mexicans, organized by a known terrorist group, marched towards the Texas border, demanding to return to their ancestors' homes, with many throwing rocks and firebombs, carrying fence cutters, launching burning kites that set ablaze U.S. territory near the border, igniting tires, and even shooting at U.S. agents across the border?

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Says Better to Confront Iran Sooner Rather than Later - Michael Arnold
    Israel will do what's needed to block Iranian aggression, sooner rather than later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. "Nations that didn't act in time against murderous aggression against them paid a much higher price later on," he said. "We don't seek escalation, but are prepared for any scenario."
        Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Gallant, a security cabinet member, said, "The U.S. is still the largest economy in the world, and when the Americans decide that those who do business with Iran can't do business with America, countries will have to give up on doing business with Iran. There need to be economic sanctions and eventually there will be new negotiations, sooner or later." (Bloomberg)
        See also Netanyahu: Iran Is Moving Advanced Offensive Weaponry into Syria
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "In recent months, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have transferred advanced weaponry to Syria in order to attack us both on the battlefield and on the home front, including weaponized UAVs, ground-to-ground missiles, and Iranian anti-aircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Netanyahu Answers Critics Who Say There's Nothing New in Iran Nuclear Archive - Noa Landau
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday answered criticism on the Iranian nuclear documents seized by Israeli intelligence, saying that "anyone who says there's nothing new in the material we showed has not seen the material....To those who say that this proves why you need the deal, I say that a deal that enables Iran to keep and hide all its nuclear weapons know-how is a horrible deal. And the last thing you can say about it is that it blocks all of Iran's paths to the bomb."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Postpones Candidacy for UN Security Council Seat - Michelle Nichols
    Israel withdrew on Friday from a race against Germany and Belgium for two seats on the UN Security Council in 2019-20 allocated to the Western European and Others Group. Richard Grenell, who was the U.S. spokesman at the UN from 2001 to 2009, said the U.S. had brokered a deal in the 1990s with the regional group to allow Israel to run uncontested for a Security Council seat. "Israel has waited 19 years. The U.S. must demand that Europe keep its word," he said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Video Shows Palestinians Cutting Gaza Security Fence and Entering Israel - Jack Khoury
    A video released by Al-Jazeera on Friday shows Palestinians cutting through the security fence at the Gaza border and entering Israeli territory. On Friday, 70 Palestinians were wounded by live fire during riots along the Gaza border fence, but no fatalities were reported. (Ha'aretz)
  • In Gaza, Palestinians Set Fire to Their Own Gas Lines - Avi Issacharoff
    Dozens of Palestinian rioters broke into the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom goods crossing on Friday evening, causing damage estimated in the millions to infrastructure, mostly to pipes providing gas and fuel to Gaza. Hamas officials in charge of security at the site pulled back and allowed the rioters to do as they pleased. The damage caused Friday will very likely cause delays in the transfer of goods into Gaza, particularly in the supply of fuel. (Times of Israel)
        See also Flaming Kites from Gaza Thwarted by Winds - Iyad Abuheweila
    Gaza's flaming-kite squadrons worked for days to prepare hundreds of kites meant to carry incendiary devices into Israel on Friday. But the wind was blowing the other way. The wind also blew copious amounts of Israeli tear gas toward the protesters, chasing many away. Smoke from the burning tires also blew away from Israel, leaving those near the fence without cover. (New York Times)
  • 6 Palestinians Killed in Gaza Blast - Elior Levy
    Six Palestinians were killed Saturday in an explosion in Deir al-Balah in Gaza. Four were members of Hamas' military wing. Gaza media reported the explosion was a "work accident" as they were handling explosives. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran's Regional Adventurism and Proliferation of Missile Technology Is Off the Charts - Norman Roule
    While Iran seems to have met its JCPOA obligations, regarding every other area of malign activity, Iran is off the charts. Iran is transforming the DNA of the region with its export of advanced missile technology and its creation of surrogate groups. Engagement with Tehran through negotiations alone will not stop this behavior. We need to employ sanctions to compel Iran to cease this behavior.
        The Iranians need to understand that regional adventurism and proliferation of missile technology will cost them the financial channels they need, particularly with Europe. Sanctions should also include international insurance for their tankers and insurance for their ports. If we don't push back on Iran, the Middle East will continue to transform and move to conflict. The writer served as National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from 2008 to 2017. (Cipher Brief)
  • It Is Not Enough to Replace Abbas - Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    In 1977, PA President Mahmoud Abbas published his book Zionism, Beginning and End, which explains at length all the claims he has repeated publicly in recent years. According to Abbas' book, Zionism was forced on the Jews by European colonialists, who forced them against their will to see themselves as a nation and immigrate to Palestine. According to Abbas, the way to bring an end to Zionism is to cooperate with Jews from Arab states such as Iraq, to convince them to return to their countries of origin, where they were of course treated very well.
        Abbas' remarks are not just a reflection of his personal opinion but rather the Palestinian belief system. They constitute the basis of the false Palestinian narrative that holds there is no such thing as the Jewish people. The Jews are merely a religious group and have no right to a state. "The March of Return" in Gaza and Nakba Day are a reflection of the Palestinian commitment to the long-term goal of ending Zionism, as outlined in Abbas' book.
        It is not enough to replace Abbas. We must replace the Palestinian narrative. The writer is the former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division and a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel Hayom)

The Iran Nuclear Deal Was Based on Lies and Is Untenable - Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev (Telegraph-UK)
  • Last Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a vast repository of over 100,000 documents and files that Israeli intelligence obtained from Iran's secret nuclear archive in Tehran.
  • The documents all attest to the Iranian regime's clandestine plans to build nuclear weapons. One document proclaimed the ominous mission: to "design, produce and test five warheads, each with ten kiloton TNT yield for integration on a missile." That is like five Hiroshima bombs.
  • Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran committed to coming clean about all prior military nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The material that Israel has uncovered provides overwhelming documentary proof that Iran lied to the IAEA, deliberately concealing its true intentions and activities.
  • As it stands, the Iranian nuclear deal does not prevent proliferation. On the contrary, the deal paves a clear path for the regime to build nuclear weapons. The deal also allows Iran to continue to develop ballistic missiles, enabling them to reach cities in Europe.
  • The inspection mechanism is wholly inadequate. Iran has never declared its enrichment facilities voluntarily. This was true of the uranium enrichment sites revealed by another source in Natanz in 2002 and Fordow in 2009.
  • The deal's restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities expire in just a few short years. Then, Iran will be free to enrich unlimited quantities of uranium, using thousands of centrifuges. This sunset clause will reward the regime for its deceit.
  • Iran's continued encroachment and aggression in the region, along with the major pitfalls in the 2015 agreement, and the dramatic new revelations from Iran's nuclear archive, all attest to the folly of basing our common security upon Iranian duplicity and mendacity.