June 4, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Rushes Emergency Aid to Guatemala after Volcano Eruption (AFP-i24News)
    Israel said Monday that it would send emergency aid funding to Guatemala to assist in the purchase of medicine, food, and blankets for those affected by the eruption of the country's Fuego volcano, which killed at least 25 people.

German Intelligence: Iran Still Seeking Technology for Weapons of Mass Destruction - Benjamin Weinthal (Fox News)
    The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution - the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg - reported on May 24 that "Iran continued to undertake, as did Pakistan and Syria, efforts to obtain goods and know-how [in Germany] to be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to optimize corresponding missile delivery systems."
    Scores of specialized technology and engineering companies are located in the state.

Abbas Refused to Meet Democratic Congressional Delegation - Amir Tibon (Ha'aretz)
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with a delegation of Democratic members of the U.S. Congress led by House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi that visited Israel in March, in protest of U.S. policies.
    Abbas' refusal surprised the delegation because many of its members are constant critics of the administration.
    PA officials explained that following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December, Abbas decided to halt all political contacts with the U.S., irrespective of the officials' party affiliation.

Proud Parents in Gaza Video Under-Fives Dressed as Heavily-Armed Jihadis - Charlie Bayliss (Daily Mail-UK)
    Disturbing footage has emerged of children at the Al-Hoda nursery school in Gaza dressing up as jihadis and storming an Israeli building.
    They then take a child dressed in Orthodox Jewish clothing hostage, before pretending to kill an Israeli soldier.
    See also Gaza Kindergarten Graduation: Kids Stage Mock Military Attack and Hostage-Taking (MEMRI-TV)

BDS Umbrella Group Linked to Palestinian Terrorist Organizations - Armin Rosen and Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
    The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, an American umbrella group promoting the boycott of Israel, is arguably the most prominent promoter of BDS in the U.S.
    The group also helps facilitate tax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups the U.S. State Department designates as terror organizations.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution on Gaza - Rick Gladstone
    The U.S. vetoed a measure to condemn Israel at the UN Security Council on Friday over Palestinian deaths near Gaza's border, while ten members voted in favor and Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and Ethiopia abstained. On a separate American resolution which would have condemned Hamas for the Gaza violence, three members voted against it and 11 abstained. U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the votes showed that the Security Council majority "was willing to blame Israel, but unwilling to blame Hamas, for violence in Gaza." "Further proof was not needed, but it is now completely clear that the UN is hopelessly biased against Israel," she said.
        Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador, denounced Security Council members who "stood in solidarity with the terrorists of Hamas." Addressing the Kuwait delegation that helped draft the resolution condemning Israel, Danon said: "You couldn't bring yourself to mention Hamas even once. Don't you know how to spell it?"  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Iron Dome Intercepts Three Palestinian Rockets on Sunday - Judah Ari Gross
    Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets fired at Israel by terrorists in Gaza, with another landing in Israeli territory early Sunday, the army said. Thousands of Israelis were sent rushing to bomb shelters throughout the night as warning sirens were repeatedly triggered. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Thwarts Tractor-Ramming Attack in West Bank
    A Palestinian driving a tractor attempted to run over a group of IDF soldiers and then tried to attack Israeli civilians near the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday before he was shot and killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Flaming Kite-Caused Fire Rips through Israeli Forest - Matan Tzuri
    On Sunday, flaming kites from Gaza struck five points along Israel's border region. A massive fire swept through the Shokeda Forest, site of an annual winter festival. Prime Minister Netanyahu is weighing a plan to allocate compensation taken from Palestinians Authority funds for Israeli communities suffering damage from the kites.
        Since April, 300 incendiary kites have been flown into Israel's territory, causing 100 fires and decimating more than 3,000 acres of wheat fields and tourist sites. Israeli farmers from the region have announced their intention to sue the Hamas leadership for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. (Ynet News)
        See also Incendiary Kites Destroy 75 Acres of Karmiya Reserve on Saturday - Ilana Curiel (Ynet News)
        See also Firefighters, Farmers Battle Blaze near Sapir College in Sderot - Matan Tuzri (Ynet News)
        See also Video: See Palestinian Kite Terrorism's Catastrophic Damage - Ilana Curiel (Ynet News)
        See also Gazans Infiltrate Israel, Set Fire to Defense Equipment - Yoav Zitun
    Palestinians from Gaza cut through the border fence Sunday evening, set ablaze a container containing equipment used for the construction of an anti-tunnel barrier, and then returned to Gaza. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Russia Constrains Iran - Dore Gold
    Russia has made it clear that it expects all foreign forces to withdraw from Syria, including those forces belonging to Iran, Turkey, the U.S., and Hizbullah. It appears that the Kremlin began to understand that Iran handicapped Russia's ability to realize its interests in the Middle East. Iran was putting Russia's achievements at risk through a policy of escalation with Israel. A Moscow think tank closely identified with President Putin published a commentary blaming Iran for the deteriorating situation between Iran and Israel in the Syrian theater.
        Putin seemed to have growing reservations about Iran's policy of exporting the Islamic revolution from the soil of Syria. Now, with IS fundamentally vanquished, Iranian military activity in Syria lost its primary justification. Russia is not cutting its ties with Iran, but it is clearly cutting back Iran's freedom of action in Syria. The idea that Russia would back Iran's use of Syria as a platform for operations against Israel or Jordan is not tenable. The writer, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran Wants to Stay in Syria Forever - Borzou Daragahi
    There have been more than 2,000 Iranian military deaths in Syria since Tehran began pouring troops and tremendous amounts of resources into the country to defend the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Israel is pressing Russia to get Iran to leave Syria, threatening more strikes on Iranian positions near its border at the Golan Heights or anywhere inside the country should it remain. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed Iran's withdrawal from Syria as one of 12 preconditions for removing sanctions.
        But Iranian officials and other experts say the country has invested too much blood and treasure - upwards of $30 billion to date - to fold to international demands. Iran's involvement in Syria goes beyond a conventional military presence. The Iran-backed Jihad al-Binaa, the Islamic charitable foundation that financed and organized the reconstruction of southern Beirut after the 2006 war, is already working on large projects to rebuild schools, roads, and other infrastructure. In recent months, Iranian companies won Syria deals that include providing tractors, mining phosphate, repairing electricity networks, and refining sugar. Tehran has also loaned at least $4.5 billion to the Damascus regime since 2013. (Foreign Policy)
  • The UN's Embrace of Anti-Semitism - Anne Bayefsky
    Today's UN acts as a force multiplier for anti-Semitism, glorifying its proponents and providing a global platform for its advocates. The writer, Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, spoke at a forum on "Anti-Semitism & BDS Today" convened by Israel's UN Mission on May 30. (Algemeiner)

  • Turkish President Erdogan has claimed that Israel engaged in "genocide" in Gaza. While I acknowledge the suffering of the Gazan people, I feel equally bound to recognize the unfairness of this charge. Genocide is a legal concept with a legal meaning, and it has no possible application here. Any claim to the contrary is, as we lawyers say, frivolous and dangerously perverts the true meaning of this truly critical term.
  • The word "genocide" emerged near the end of World War II in response to the Nazi policy of systematic and deliberate murder of Jews as a people. It has since also referred to the mass murder by the Turks of Armenian Christians.
  • Shortly after the Second World War, genocide was recognized as a crime under international law in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The crime of genocide has a narrow legal meaning. One of the requirements is the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such."
  • If Israel truly were guilty of that, I would be the first to cry out publicly. But it is spurious even to theorize that Israel had or has any intent to destroy Palestinians as a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such.
  • Falsely portraying Israel - and yes, Jews - as perpetrators of genocide fosters anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. That perpetuates racial hatred and victimization of the group wrongfully accused.
  • It may even be used in an effort to "justify" attempts at a second genocide against the Jews by the Iranian theocracy and their henchmen (Hamas and Hizbullah) who do deliberately target Israelis and Jews as such.

    The writer is a former Manhattan district attorney.