July 25, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Knew Intercepted Sukhoi Jet Was Syrian, Not Russian (RT-Russia)
    Israeli forces were certain the Sukhoi jet they intercepted with Patriot missiles over the Golan Heights on Tuesday did not belong to the Russian Air Force.
    There was no "confusion" over the fact that the aircraft belonged to the Syrian army, said Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus, head of the International Media Branch of the Israel Defense Forces.
    "We have passed a number of messages, in a number of languages, in order to ensure that no one violates Israeli air space," he added.
    See also Israel Tried to Contact Syrian Pilot before Shooting Down Jet (Times of Israel)

Some Syrian White Helmets Said No to Israel Rescue - Sarah El Deeb (AP-Washington Post)
    On Saturday night, 98 White Helmets volunteers brought their spouses and children to two collection points where they crossed to safety in Israel.
    The rescue plan was conceived by Britain, Germany, and Canada two weeks ago and supported by Israel, Jordan, the U.S., and the UN.
    When the planners asked the volunteers whether they would accept an opportunity to evacuate through Israel, some declined, fearing they had no guarantees where they would end up, while the leadership of the White Helmets was unanimous in accepting.
    The planners are still in touch with the volunteers who didn't make it out.

Palestinian Poll: Fatah Would Defeat Hamas by 3-1 in New Elections (AWRAD)
    83% of Palestinians in Gaza say things in the Palestinian territories are heading in the wrong direction, according to a new survey by the Palestinian Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) Institute in Ramallah, conducted on July 7-10.
    Asked if they support a renewal of armed conflict with Israel at this time, 58% in Gaza and 37% in the West Bank said yes.
    If elections were held today, Fatah would defeat Hamas by 34% to 16% in Gaza and by 31% to 10% in the West Bank.

Even Countries that Oppose Israel Cooperate Militarily - Shoshana Bryen (Gatestone Institute)
    Israel's place in the world is expanding with the nations of the world that want to know what Israel knows and have what Israel has, whether they have formal diplomatic relations with Jerusalem or not.
    In recent years, Israel has partnered with countries throughout the world in military exercises on land, at sea or in the air.
    The writer is senior director of the Jewish Policy Center.

20 Rwandan Children with Heart Disease to Undergo Surgery in Israel - Marie-Anne Dushimimana (New Times-Rwanda)
    20 Rwandan children suffering from severe heart disease are going to Israel to undergo heart surgery, in partnership with the Save a Child's Heart Foundation, with all costs covered.
    In addition, the foundation will equip the cardiology ward with equipment for heart disease treatment and deploy one permanent cardiologist.
    Future plans seek to help Rwanda set up a pediatric cardiology center. Two general practitioners are soon going to Israel for two years to train to treat pediatric heart disease.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Haley: "If We Extend a Hand in Friendship to Palestinians, We Do Not Expect Our Hand to Be Bitten"
    U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Tuesday: "In the last three months, the terrorist flaming swastika kites that have crossed over from Gaza into Israel have damaged or destroyed 7,500 acres of land. Now Israel is a small country. The equivalent proportion of land in the United States would be the size of the entire state of Connecticut. In France, the equivalent would be 10 times the entire land area of the city of Paris....While the international media pays very careful attention to every step Israel takes in self-defense, we must not lose sight of the very real damage that is being done to Israel from terrorist attacks coming from Gaza."
        "Last year, Iran's contribution to UNRWA was zero. Algeria's contribution to UNRWA was zero. Tunisia's contribution to UNRWA was zero....China provided $350,000 to UNRWA. Russia provided $2 million to UNRWA. The U.S. gave $364 million....And that's on top of what the American people give annually to the Palestinians in bilateral assistance. That is another $300 million just last year....Since 1993...the United States has provided over $6 billion...in bilateral assistance to Palestinians....Americans are very generous people....But we are not fools. If we extend a hand in friendship and generosity, we do not expect our hand to be bitten."
        "If [the Arab countries] really cared about the Palestinian people...they would condemn extremism and they would put forth serious ideas for compromises that could end this struggle and lead to a better life for the Palestinian people. They would tell the Palestinian leadership how foolish they look for condemning a peace proposal they haven't even seen yet. The Palestinian leadership has been allowed to live a false reality for too long because Arab leaders are afraid to tell them the truth. The United States is telling the truth because we do care about the Palestinian people."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
  • Palestinians to Lead Bloc of Developing Nations at UN - Rick Gladstone
    The Group of 77, the bloc of developing countries at the UN, has chosen the observer state of Palestine as its next leader starting in January, Palestinian UN ambassador Riyad Mansour said Tuesday. The bloc, first formed in 1964, now numbers 135 countries and represents 80% of the world's population.
        Israel and the U.S. have argued that the status of the Palestinians at the UN does not mean that there is an independent state of Palestine, and that only direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians can achieve such an outcome. Both countries opposed the Palestinian mission's elevation in 2012 from an entity to an observer state, and opposed the decision in 2015 granting the Palestinians the right to fly their flag at UN headquarters.
        Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon said, "The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations. It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77's goals, and encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace."  (New York Times)
  • Palestinian Arson Attacks Leave Israeli Farmers Coping with Ecological Disaster - Yardena Schwartz
    Dani Rahamim, 64, has lived half a mile from Gaza for more than 40 years. This summer he lost 320 acres of wheat to fires sparked by flaming kites and balloons launched into Israel from Gaza, and he worries his sunflower fields will be next. The fires have burned nearly 8,000 acres of agricultural fields and nature reserves, killing thousands of animals as well. Almost half of Israel's land along the Gaza border has been affected by the fires. Ecologists predict a full recovery could take years.
        The wheat from Rahamim's fields could have fed people in Gaza. Indeed, much of the flour Israel delivers to Gaza in the form of daily humanitarian aid comes from the wheat fields in these border communities, says Alon Eviatar, a Gaza security expert. (USA Today)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Acts to Keep Iranian and Shi'ite Forces in Syria Away from Its Border - Amos Harel
    President Assad's forces are advancing against the remaining rebels in Syria's southern Golan Heights with practically zero resistance. Soon, Israel will have to consider shutting down the "Good Neighbor" mission that in recent years has provided food, medicine and medical treatment to tens of thousands of Syrians across the border.
        Iran will seek to exploit the new situation in southern Syria but may not make any immediate moves. Events of the past few months have taught Iran three things: That Israel has excellent intelligence in Syria; that Israel will not hesitate to attack there to safeguard its interests; and that Moscow doesn't care if Iranian sites are hit. But the Iranians have patience. (Ha'aretz)
  • Fierce Response to Syrian Warplane Intrusion Meant to Protect Israeli Deterrence - Ron Ben-Yishai
    Israel has long been telling the Russians and the Syrians that it will not allow a violation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, and will respond immediately and with deadly results. Any spillover, whether it is by a mortar shell or a fighter plane, will be met with a fierce Israeli response in order to protect Israel's deterrence.
        How is it that despite the warnings, a Syrian pilot still makes a navigational error and enters our territory? The Syrian civil war has worn out the Syrian air force, mainly because of the desertion of a number of Syrian pilots. The remaining pilots are inexperienced young men or aging commanders. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Moves toward a Cease-Fire with Hamas in Gaza - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin
    The idea of a hudna - a long-term cease fire - with Hamas in Gaza is not realistic. However, efforts can and must be made to promote more modest understandings, namely, a "limited hudna," including parameters that both Israel and Hamas can live with. A fundamental condition for such an arrangement is a total halt of terror from Gaza and the return of Israeli civilians and bodies of the fallen soldiers held by Hamas. Immediately thereafter it will be possible to promote a plan to improve humanitarian conditions in the Strip, and build infrastructure for electricity, water, sewage, and transport.
        If the moves toward an arrangement are unsuccessful and Hamas continues to challenge Israel militarily, there will be no choice but to prepare for a broad military operation in Gaza. The minimum objective will be to cause very serious damage to Hamas and reestablish long-term, effective deterrence. The writer, former head of IDF Military Intelligence, is director of INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Recognizing Israel's Right to Self-Defense - Michael Oren
    A U.S. Army colonel fighting Islamic State in Syria said, "When you have an enemy that uses noncombatants as collateral damage, it is difficult to completely avoid any [civilian] casualties." The same could be easily said by the IDF Spokesman justifying Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza. But while America's explanation is accepted by the world, Israel's is almost universally rejected.
        Beyond killing Israelis, Hamas rockets are designed to get Israel condemned for killing Palestinians. For the same reason, Hamas sends children to break through the border fence and even pays them for every gunshot wound. Each one is a new rocket - cheaper and immensely damaging to our legitimacy. That damage is cumulative. Today, Israel's fundamental right to defend itself is dismissed out of hand. The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., is a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office. (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Diplomat: Polls Show Arab Attitudes toward Israel Are Shifting - Mark Regev interviewed by Latika Bourke (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • Melbourne-born Mark Regev, Israel's ambassador to Britain, is one of the strongest international voices in favor of the country's policies, fueled by a profound sense of mission. "It's like a play going on and you can either be in the audience and watch...or you can be a participant. And I decided I wanted to be a participant."
  • In Regev's London office sits a photograph of his father and uncle among a group of 30 Jewish pupils. It was taken in 1938 or 1939. Just four of the children would survive the Nazi regime. "It's important to understand where I came from," says Regev, holding the picture. His father's family arrived in Australia in the late 1940s as postwar refugees. Regev's father spent much of the war hiding with his family in the German countryside.
  • "The idea that I grew up with, that I was born with, was Jewish people have to be conscious of their history and we have to make sure that we're no longer defenseless in the way we were in the 1930s and the 1940s."
  • "In the 21st century...we are producing the ideas and the products that the global economy requires. We have leverage that we didn't use to have, and that's why countries like India, like China, like Japan, like South Korea, Singapore are all strengthening their relations with Israel."
  • "You have more and more Arab states who see Israel as a legitimate part of the region, as an ally and a partner." Citing private government polling, Regev says the views of ordinary Arabs are shifting in Israel's favor, partly due to the regional threats posed by Islamic State and Iran's increasing influence.