July 9, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iranian Airbase in Syria Attacked - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    An airstrike hit the Iranian T4 airbase near Tiyas in the Homs region on Sunday, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported.
    Syrian television attributed the attack to Israel.
    See also Iranians Killed in Air Strikes on Base in Syria - Caroline Akoum (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)

Germany Sending 300 Million Euros in Cash to Iran - Nikolaus Blome and Antje Schippmann (Bild-Germany)
    The Iranian regime intends to fly 300 million euros in cash from Germany to Iran. The European-Iranian Trade Bank in Hamburg has asked the German Bundesbank to pay out the cash to agents of the Iranian regime who will then transport the money to Iran.
    American and Israeli intelligence services are alarmed, concerned that the cash will be used to finance terrorism.
    The Iranian negotiator is Ali Tarzali, an official of the Iranian central bank who is subject to U.S. sanctions.

Palestinian Killed by His Own Bomb at Gaza Border Riots (AFP-Daily Mail-UK)
    Mohammed Abu Halima, 22, died Friday along the Gaza-Israel border, with Palestinian eyewitnesses and the Israeli army saying a device he was holding had exploded.
    The army said several other Palestinians were injured in the incident.

Photos: Damage Caused by Gaza Fire Terrorism - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    Photographers have documented the results of the fires in Israel caused by incendiary balloons and kites launched by Palestinians in Gaza in recent months.
    Four nature reserves have been destroyed by the fires that killed everything in their path.
    18 fires were reported on Saturday.

Palestinian Poll: 74 Percent Believe "March of Return" in Gaza Has Achieved Little - Dr. Khalil Shikaki (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
    Only 21% believe the Palestinian March of Return campaign in Gaza achieved most of its goals, while 74% believe it has not achieved its goals or achieved little, according to a poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on June 25-July 1, 2018.
    While Abbas has demanded that Hamas in Gaza surrender its arms to the PA, 65% said that they prefer to keep the armed factional battalions in Gaza in place.
    43% support a return to an armed intifada.

Video: Israel's Mass Singing Initiative with Bob Marley's "One Love" in Jerusalem - Jessica Steinberg (Times of Israel)
    Jews, Muslims and Christians gathered together to sing Bob Marley anthem "One Love" at the Koolulam mass singing initiative at Jerusalem's Tower of David on June 14.
    People came together to sing one song in three languages, in three-part vocal harmony.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: No Deadline for Mideast Peace Plan - Anne Gearan
    With President Trump's Middle East peace plan stalled, administration officials are focusing on improving conditions in Gaza, despite PA President Abbas saying last month that he rejected a U.S.-organized economic package for Gaza.
        The larger peace proposal has been stymied by the Palestinian Authority, which remains incensed at Trump's decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "We definitely have a Gaza focus right now because the situation is the way it is, and we want to try to help," said a senior Trump administration official. "But it's not as though we think we need to fix Gaza first before we would air the peace plan."
        "There is really no deadline," the official said. "We're here for, what, another two and a half years? Or six and a half years. So, on our side, we have the luxury of time and can be patient. The plan isn't going to change."  (Washington Post)
  • Palestinians Lose Patience with Abbas as Frustrations Pile Up - Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber
    Palestinians angry over their dysfunctional government and decrepit infrastructure are souring on Mahmoud Abbas as protests have broken out in Ramallah. More than 60% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign, according to a public-opinion poll released Wednesday by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Abbas is now in the 13th year of what was meant to be a four-year term and has been in and out of the hospital in recent months. (Wall Street Journal)
  • South Korea Suspends Iranian Oil Imports - Jane Chung and Osamu Tsukimori
    South Korea halted all shipments of Iranian crude oil in July for the first time in six years amid U.S. pressure to cut all imports, sources said on Friday. South Korean refiners have turned to alternative sources in America and Africa. (Reuters)
        See also French Shipping Firm Ends Iran Operations due to U.S. Sanctions
    French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the U.S. decision to renew sanctions on the country, its chief executive Rodolphe Saade said on Saturday. Other big shipping companies like A.P. Moller-Maersk have already said they would halt business ahead of a reimposition of sanctions. (Reuters)
        See also KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Suspending Flights to Tehran (Sputnik-Russia)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Syrian Forces Cut Rebel Supply Artery at Jordan Border - Ron Ben Yishai
    The capture by Assad forces of Daraa and the Nassib border crossing with Jordan to the south is a serious blow to the Sunni rebels. The rebels received supplies and reinforcements from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations through Jordan, which also allowed the Americans and the British to support the Syrian rebels with advisors and aid from its territory. Now, all of that is over.
        The Syrian army has closed the door on the land aid route to the rebels in the south. The rebels in Quneitra, opposite Israel, have now been cut off from their main supply artery from Jordan, and they too will have to sign a surrender mediated by the Russians.
        Only small forces of Hizbullah and Shi'ite Iraqi militias sent by Iran took part in conquering Daraa. Their small numbers show the Russians were attentive to Israel's demands and warnings. Assad's next target appears to be rebel-held areas of Quneitra province in the Golan Heights at the frontier with Israel, where fighting between insurgents and the government escalated on Friday. (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Indicts Turkish Woman for Smuggling Funds to Hamas - Anna Ahronheim and Yonah Jeremy Bob
    A Turkish woman, Ebru Ozkan, 27, was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport on June 11 for smuggling funds to Hamas during trips to Israel and the West Bank. Her case has garnered a lot of media attention in Turkey, where protesters called for her immediate release and a formal apology. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian with Knife, Meat Cleaver Arrested outside Israeli West Bank Community - Jacob Magid
    Israel Police on Saturday foiled an attempted stabbing attack by a Palestinian man carrying a knife and a meat cleaver outside Beit El in the West Bank. The man, 28, told police he was planning to carry out a stabbing attack. Earlier Saturday, border police at the Shuafat checkpoint near Jerusalem arrested a Palestinian who tried to pass through a metal detector while carrying a knife. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Stop the Expansion of the Iranians in Syria - Dennis Ross
    Washington and Moscow have repeatedly issued joint statements outlining principles for addressing the conflict in Syria and reducing its horrific humanitarian consequences. Yet over and over again, the Russians have betrayed their commitments. Along with the Assad regime and the Iranians, they waged military campaigns that decimated and depopulated three of the four agreed-upon de-escalation areas, and lately have turned their attention to the fourth, in southwestern Syria.
        When Trump meets Putin in Helsinki on July 16 he should convey the following points: that the U.S. will maintain our small presence in Syria until the Islamic State is gone; that unless Iran's continuing entrenchment in Syria is contained, it will trigger a wider war between Israel and the Iranians; and that we will back the Israelis completely, making it in Putin's interest to stop the expansion of the Iranians and their proxies in Syria. Trump might even suggest that the Russians broker a set of red lines between the Israelis and Iranians in Syria.
        The writer, a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served in senior national security positions in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. (Washington Post)
  • Former Irish Justice Minister Slams Proposed Ban on West Bank Trade
    Former Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter took to Twitter Thursday to slam a proposed law which will prohibit Ireland from trading in goods and services from the Israeli-administered West Bank. He accused the Fianna Fail party of "losing their moral compass" by supporting the bill, which is due to pass in the Dail next week.
        Shatter asked whether the legislation will also apply to goods produced in places such as Russia-occupied Crimea, China-occupied Tibet, or Turkey-occupied northern Cyprus. Shatter noted, "It was Fianna Fail governments that closed the doors of the Irish state to Jews attempting to flee Nazi Germany and also to concentration camp survivors." He asked if "Northern Ireland could be designated as an occupied territory under the bill" or if it was "just an anti-Semitic measure intended to only target Jews."  (The Journal-Ireland)

  • Khan al Ahmar is an illegal outpost, created and supported by the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and EU member-states, in complete violation of international law.
  • I’m sure there are many hard-working, tax-paying citizens of Israel (and other countries all over the world) who would love to be given an all-expenses-paid, fully developed plot of land and paid tens of thousands of dollars by the state to move in. In fact, several years ago, another branch of the Jahalin Bedouin clan agreed to precisely this treatment and voluntarily relocated; the families that remained in Khan al Ahmar agreed to move as well, but were bullied by their "representatives" into retracting their consent.
  • The Jahalin Bedouin are an offshoot of a larger tribe based in southern Israel, in the Arad region. After a blood feud broke out within the tribe, some of the families were forced out and migrated north, squatting in their present location after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. From day one, they knew that this would not be a permanent solution for their needs.
  • Some 80% of the residents of Khan al Ahmar are employed in nearby Israeli communities - and have been for many years. Shepherding is a hobby for most, since the Bedouin of Khan al Ahmar abandoned their nomadic existence generations ago.
  • Four separate lawsuits were filed by the PA and the EU in an effort to block the relocation of the Jahalin - and all were found to be baseless. Israel is doing precisely what any other government would do if people attempted to build an illegal outpost on the outskirts of the capital city. In fact, French and British government policy regarding nomadic populations is clear: forcible deportation - not negotiation, and certainly not all-expenses-paid relocation or land giveaways.
  • Israel will not be "wiping the community off the map." The community will remain intact, its traditional culture and lifestyle fully protected in a location only four miles away, with electricity, running water, a government-built schoolhouse, and many other modern conveniences that the Jahalin have never had.

    The writer is director of the International Department at Regavim.