June 18, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Petraeus Backs U.S. Pullout from Iran Nuclear Deal - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Speaking in Israel, Gen. (ret.) David Petraeus said on Sunday that he welcomes the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
    The former CIA director said the move will lead to much greater pressure on Iran, not just in areas covered by the nuclear deal, but also on the Islamic Republic's missile program and Tehran's malign activities across the Middle East.

U.S. Poised to Quit UN Rights Council over Anti-Israel Bias - Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters)
    Talks with the U.S. over how to reform the UN Human Rights Council have failed, activists and diplomats say.
    Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the U.S. quits the Geneva-based forum.
    The U.S. had boycotted the Council for three years under President George W. Bush.

Priest Stabbed in Bethlehem - Joey Millar (Daily Express-UK)
    Father Fadi Shalufa was knifed on June 1 as he tried to stop a group of men abusing Christians visiting the birthplace of Jesus at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
    In a bid to protect worshippers from a violent crowd, the priest guided the believers to safety at the adjacent Catholic Chapel of the Milk Grotto before closing the gate on the group of men.
    One of the men then stabbed Father Shalufa through the metal bars of the gate.

Israel Foils Hamas Plot to Bomb Jerusalem, Tel Aviv - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Israeli security forces recently exposed a Hamas terror cell operating in the Nablus area in the West Bank, which planned to carry out attacks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
    Security forces found explosive devices, one of which weighed 10 kg. and could be detonated remotely.
    A firearm and bomb-manufacturing instructions were also found. The terror cell's members were arrested in April.
    As part of their investigation, security forces uncovered and foiled another Hamas cell which was plotting to carry out attacks.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the incident, "Hamas is trying to harm us both from Gaza and from Judea and Samaria [West Bank]. That is the reason that we will continue to maintain security control over the entire area west of the Jordan [River]."

Palestinian Islamic Jihad to CNN: "We Are Proud of Iran's Support" (Ynet News)
    While giving a CNN reporter a tour of a Palestinian terror tunnel in Gaza, Islamic Jihad member Abu Abdallah said, "We are proud of Iran's support of the Palestinian resistance on the moral and logistical level. There is nothing wrong with it and it is not a secret."
    See also Video: Inside Islamic Jihad's Tunnels in Gaza - Ian Lee (CNN)

U.S. Diplomat Who Helped Jews Flee Holocaust Recognized (AP)
    A state historical highway marker will be dedicated on June 25 to honor Lynchburg, Va., native James Rives Childs.
    During World War II, as charge d'affaires for the American Legation in Tangier, Morocco, Childs helped 1,200 Hungarian Jews obtain visas to Spanish Morocco, thereby escaping the Holocaust.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu and Putin Discuss Security on Syrian-Israeli Border
    Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the situation in Syria and joint steps to ensure security on the Syrian-Israeli border in a phone call on Friday, TASS reported. (RT-Russia)
        See also Head of Russia's Military Police in Israel to Discuss Syria - Anna Ahronheim
    Russia's Military Police Directorate head Vladimir Ivanovsky arrived in Israel on Friday to discuss developments in Syria. Ivanovsky is responsible for Russian forces deployed in Syria's southern de-escalation zones. Israel is seeking the withdrawal of all Iranian troops and Shi'ite militias from areas near Israel's border. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Syrian Army Bombards Rebels in Region Bordering Israel (Reuters)
  • Canadian House of Commons Votes Against Restoring Ties with Iran - Levon Sevunts
    In a reversal of its long-stated goal of improving strained relations with Iran, the Liberal Trudeau government last week backed a Conservative motion in the House of Commons denouncing Iran and demanding that Ottawa "immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions" on restoring diplomatic relations.
        The motion condemned Iran "for its ongoing sponsorship of terrorism around the world" and the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for "calling for genocide against the Jewish people." It also designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "listed terrorist entity" under the Canadian Criminal Code. The motion also demanded the immediate release of all Canadians and Canadian permanent residents held in Iranian jails. (Radio Canada)
        See also Iranian Armed Forces Warn Canada over Anti-Iran Motion
    Brig.-Gen. Abolgazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces, warned Thursday that sinister plots aimed at undermining Iran's defense power will face a harsh response, referring to a Canadian motion that has blacklisted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He called on Canadian authorities to apologize to the Iranian nation. (Mehr-Iran)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaza Border Protest Turnout Friday Is Lowest Ever - Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury
    Dozens of Palestinian demonstrators arrived on Friday at the Israel-Gaza border in the lowest turnout since the start of the border protests on March 30. (Ha'aretz)
  • Incendiary Balloons Land in Backyard Trees in Israel - Matan Tzuri
    Police sappers were called to Moshav Beit HaGadi near Netivot on Sunday after two balloons carrying objects landed in a residential backyard tree. An investigation revealed that the objects were incendiary devices. Three more balloons affixed with incendiary devices were found in a tree in the suburbs of Sderot. (Ynet News)
        See also Incendiary Kites and Balloons from Gaza Cause 17 Fires in Israel Sunday - Yaniv Kubovich
    17 fires started by burning kites broke out in Israel near the Gaza border Sunday. The fires resulted in the death of more than 1,000 turkeys at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha due to smoke inhalation.
        The army believes that attacking groups launching the kites and balloons will result in too many casualties and that striking Hamas targets will be more effective in stopping the arson attacks. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Incendiary Kites and Balloons from Gaza Cause 20 Fires in Israel Saturday (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Strikes 9 Hamas Targets in Response to Kites Terrorism - Yoav Zitun and Liad Osmo
    Israel Air Force jets hit two Hamas military bases in Jabalia and Al-Shati and a weapons production facility in Gaza City early Monday. During the strike, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. The IDF Spokesman's Office said the strikes were in response to the incendiary and explosive balloons and kites being launched at Israel from Gaza. "These are terror attacks that endanger the residents of southern Israel."
        "The IDF is determined to continue acting with increasing force against these terror activities for as long as it takes and with a variety of tools, until they stop. The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything that happens in and from the Gaza Strip, and it will suffer the consequences."  (Ynet News)
        See also Defense Minister: Israel Will Not Allow for Daily Fires from Incendiary Kites to Continue - Yishai Porat
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Monday that "if anyone thinks we can carry on with daily (incendiary) kites and fires, he is mistaken."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Captured Nuclear Archive Confirmed that Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal and the Nonproliferation Treaty - Michael Doran and Peter Rough
    When President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, he began the process of reimposing sanctions - including drastic penalties for European companies doing business in Iran - based on a sound reading of vital American and Western security interests.
        European leaders allege that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal violated international law, as they claim Iran had complied with its terms. That charge is specious. Israel's daring capture in January of information on Iran's nuclear program confirmed that Tehran had violated the nuclear deal and the international nonproliferation treaty. The captured information proves that Iran never offered a full accounting of the past military dimensions of its nuclear program.
        The U.S. must also remind the Europeans that if economic sanctions and diplomacy don't curb Iran's behavior, the only alternative is military action. That cannot be Europe's preference. The writers are fellows at the Hudson Institute. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Study: BDS Does Palestinians More Harm than Good - Ariel Kahana
    Nabil Basherat, 44, is a department head at SodaStream. Nadia Aloush, 50, is the manager of the Mishor Adumim branch of Rami Levy, Israel's third-largest supermarket chain. Dajani Daoudi, 72, director of American studies at Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem, had to resign his position following the uproar over a trip he led of Palestinian university students to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Their stories are included in the new study Defeating Denormalization: Shared Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives on a New Path to Peace, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
        Together with independent Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh and Professor Ali Qleibo, they are asking Palestinians, Israelis and the rest of the world to put aside politics and calls for boycotts and focus on how to improve the lives of the Arabs living in the West Bank. "Any progress towards a solution between us and the Palestinians has to be based on cooperation and not on the approach promoted by the BDS movement," said Jerusalem Center President Dore Gold. (Israel Hayom)

The Many Ways Palestinians Violate International Law - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • After the UN General Assembly on June 14, 2018, voted to condemn Israel for its handling of the Gaza border fence violence, It is all the more curious to observe the deliberate disregard of the serious and flagrant international humanitarian, environmental, and ecological crimes committed by Hamas and the Palestinians.
  • Since the Palestinian Authority is utilizing the events in Gaza to conduct its own political and legal campaign against Israel in international bodies, this renders the Palestinian leadership an accessory to Hamas in the commission of these crimes.
  • By initiating, encouraging, and supporting mass pollution of the border area through the organized stockpiling and burning of tires, the Palestinian leadership is responsible for repeatedly creating caustic clouds of carbon pollution. This act is damaging to the health of the Palestinian civilian demonstrators themselves, as well as the residents of Israeli communities in the vicinity of the border.
  • Incendiary kites and balloons have ignited vast swathes of agricultural land in Israel, destroyed crops, and endangered Israeli residents. The International Criminal Court Statute defines as a war crime "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
  • Weaponizing kites and balloons by attaching explosive devices with the intention that they will explode upon landing or when found by Israeli civilians is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, notably the 1997 Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. Moreover, the 2001 Conventional Weapons Convention prohibits the use of incendiary weapons.
  • From the viewpoint of international humanitarian law and accepted norms of humanity, placing Palestinian civilians, and especially women and children, at the forefront of violent demonstrations and attacks on the border fence as human shields to conceal the presence of Hamas terrorists is a violation of several international treaties protecting children and prohibiting their involvement in warfare.
  • The Palestinian leadership must be made to understand that its fixation with joining international treaties is not unidirectional. It involves solemn responsibilities to abide by the obligations included in such treaties. The international community must hold the Palestinian leadership to their commitments and not ignore their violations of the most fundamental norms and principles of international law.

    The writer, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians and served as deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.