August 24, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

White House: U.S. to Present Limited Mideast Plan at UN - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    President Trump will present only the first phase of the new U.S. Middle East peace plan at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25, a source close to the White House told Israel Hayom on Thursday.
    The source said the president would only present a partial outline of the overall peace initiative due to difficulties the U.S. peace team has encountered in recent months.

British Airways and Air France to Suspend Iran Service - Rick Gladstone and Zach Wichter (New York Times)
    British Airways and Air France said Thursday they would suspend service to Tehran next month. KLM announced a similar suspension last month.

Israel Says Gaza Gunman Was "Doctors Without Borders" Nurse (Reuters)
    Israel said on Thursday that a Palestinian gunman, Hani Majdalawi, 28, was shot dead on Monday after shooting and throwing a grenade at IDF soldiers on the Gaza border.
    He was a nurse working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).
    His brother, Osama, wrote on Facebook that the "martyr" had "bought the weapon with his own money."

Palestinians Attacked in Criminal Dispute Falsely Claim Israelis Attacked Them (Times of Israel)
    The Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported that two Palestinians from Kafr Qallil were "brutally" kicked and beaten with guns and sticks by a group of Israelis at a checkpoint near Nablus.
    Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said in a statement that a probe in coordination with Palestinian authorities had shown the two were attacked by local Palestinians in an apartment in Nablus during a criminal dispute.

What's the Real Story Behind the Delayed Palestinian Mail? - Adam Levick (UK Media Watch-CAMERA)
    On August 14, AFP published a report about delayed mail addressed to residents of the Palestinian Authority. Yet the story fails to provide vital context.
    The 1995 interim agreement between Israel and the PLO called for a commercial agreement allowing international mail to be transferred to the PA via Jordan, but that agreement has not yet been signed, so international mail must go through Israel.
    However, Arab countries boycott Israel and won't send postal items to the PA via the Israel Postal Service, thus preventing Palestinians from receiving mail sent from these countries.
    As a gesture of good-will to the Palestinians, Israel last week allowed a one-time transfer of more than ten tons of mail that had been held in Jordan.

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Israeli Medical Startups Target Aging Japan - Annu Nishioka (Nikkei Asian Review-Japan)
    Israeli startups are targeting the medical market in Japan.
    Tel Aviv company Healthy.io aims to sell a home urine testing kit that works with a smartphone app. Users simply dip a test strip in their urine, then take a picture of the strip with a smartphone camera, which the app will then analyze.
    The test results can be shared with health care professionals online.
    Israel's Alpha Tau Medical has partnered with Japanese biotechnology startup HekaBio to develop radiation therapy equipment to treat patients with breast, skin and other solid cancers.

U.S., Israeli Special Forces Test New Off-Road Vehicle - Arie Egozi (Breaking Defense)
    The Israeli company DSraider has developed a revolutionary off-road vehicle for armed forces. The EZ Raider HD 4 allows forces to reach enemy targets quickly and silently.
    Satellite imagery helps the forces plan a GPS-based route that takes the vehicles along the most unobstructed way.
    IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eyal Eizenberg said, "This new revolutionary vehicle creates an unexpected dimension when it comes to speed and distance and that, among other things, creates the capability to surprise the enemy."
    The U.S armed forces have purchased a number of the vehicles. Israel's Border Police are already using the vehicle.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. to Cut Funding for UN Human Rights Office - Jamey Keaten
    National security adviser John Bolton told AP in an interview that the U.S. will cut funding for the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which it left in June. "We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council," Bolton said. The U.S. pays 22% of the UN budget. Bolton said, "We'll calculate 22% of the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner's budget, and our remittances to the UN for this budget year will be less 22% of those costs."  (AP-Boston Globe)
        See also Israel Hails U.S. for Halting Human Rights Council Funding
    Israeli Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan on Thursday praised U.S. national security adviser John Bolton for saying the U.S. would cut its funding for the UN Human Right Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. "The UN's human rights bodies have undermined their founding values by becoming hotbeds of anti-Israel extremism, hate and boycott campaigns," Erdan said.
        "If Ambassador Bolton's announcement spurs the UN to start investing in exposing the world's worst violators of human rights, rather than in delegitimizing the Middle East's one true democracy, millions around the world will benefit."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Aims to Improve Palestinian Economy - Gwen Ackerman
    Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is seeking to drum up American and European support for a plan to boost the Palestinian economy in the West Bank. After more than three years of meetings with Palestinian officials, Kahlon is pushing a plan to build joint industrial zones, ease movement out of the West Bank, and allow the Palestinian Authority to collect its own customs taxes. The Trump team has pushed the notion that improving Palestinians' standard of living will help create conditions for peace, and has pressed Israel for proposals. (Bloomberg)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Praises Lithuania for Help in Balancing EU - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Thursday for a meeting with the leaders of the three Baltic states. "I am interested in balancing the not-always-friendly EU approach toward the State of Israel, so that we can get a more reasonable approach," he said before the flight. After meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Netanyahu said he wanted to thank Lithuania for "the strong positions you have taken in the forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency."
        Prior to the Holocaust, Lithuania housed one of the world's most influential Jewish communities, comprising 7% of the total population and 45% of the population of Vilnius. 207,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators. Netanyahu will attend a memorial ceremony at the Ponary forest outside of Vilnius where 75,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Lithuania Calls for EU Talks with Israel on Fighting Terrorism
    Lithuania's prime minister Saulius Skvernelis told AFP on Friday: "Lithuania will initiate discussion in the EU home affairs council with the Israeli public security minister over terrorism threats and other security issues." Lithuania, one of Israel's stronger allies in the EU, was behind Netanyahu's invitation to meet with EU foreign ministers in Brussels last December. (AFP)
  • Palestinian Security Forces Thwart Major Terror Attack on Israeli Forces in West Bank - Elior Levy
    Palestinian security forces thwarted a serious terror attack in recent days involving a powerful bomb intended to blow up an IDF convoy on a road south of Highway 443 connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, two sources familiar with the incident confirmed. The bomb, which included two gas canisters attached to an explosive device and contained a large number of nails, was found on the side of a road between the Palestinian villages of Beit Liqya and Beit 'Anan. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Nasrallah Presents Hizbullah's Perception of Confrontation with Israel - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
    In an address marking the 12th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War on August 14, 2018, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hizbullah, claimed to have achieved complete deterrence against Israeli aerial attacks in Lebanon as a result of the war. Nasrallah noted that Israel's military training is based on preventing the occupation of the Galilee and not merely on offensive attacks into Lebanese territory.
        He further declared that "the Israeli efforts to obtain recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights have failed." He also claimed that the Israeli demand to remove Hizbullah and Iran from Syria is futile and will fail. The writer, a former Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff, is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Facing Reality about the Palestinian Refugees - Alon Ben-Meir
    Many Palestinians continue to claim that the refugees' right of return is inalienable and that, regardless of how long it might take, they will never abandon their historic right. My answer is that the solution to the problem cannot be based solely on the Palestinians' perception of what is historically right or wrong, and that demographic realities on the ground cannot be wished away.
        Palestinian leaders have squandered every opportunity to establish their own state. They refused the 1947 UN Partition Plan, rejected the late Prime Minister Golda Meir's offer to return all the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War in exchange for peace, and refused to join the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations in 1977. Moreover, the Palestinians missed an opportunity to forge peace in 2000 at Camp David, and with the Olmert government in 2008-2009.
        Palestinian leaders have betrayed their people by perpetuating the refugee problem for personal political gains while depriving them of every opportunity to utilize their talents, creativity, and resourcefulness. At the same time, tens of thousands of Palestinians who left the country and studied abroad have achieved tremendous success.
        Palestinian leaders have had every opportunity to realize statehood, but they misled their people to believe that their salvation rests on Israel's destruction rather than on building the infrastructure of an independent state. Instead, they incessantly engaged in misleading public narratives about the right of return and how the day of Israel's destruction is near. In the process, they are destroying the social fabric of their own communities, from which they will not recover as long as they continue to hold onto this pipedream. The writer is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. (Transconflict)
  • Hamas Activities in Turkey Against Israel - Omer Dostri
    In the reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel signed in June 2016, Turkey committed itself to ending terror activities against Israel from its territory. Yet Ankara and Hamas continue to maintain a close relationship. Turkey's assistance to Hamas stems from a shared ideology. Hamas and President Erdogan's political party are "spiritual descendants" of the world-wide Muslim Brotherhood movement.
        Erdogan views himself as the leader of Sunni Islam and aspires to restore Turkey to its former Ottoman Empire glory. Cooperation with Hamas positions Erdogan as the protector of Jerusalem and the Palestinians. It also undermines Jordan's status as protector of the holy sites on the Temple Mount.
        Hamas invests much effort in recruiting Palestinian students who study abroad, specifically in Turkey. These students are sent for military training in Lebanon or Syria and then return to the West Bank to organize terror attacks against Israel. In addition, Hamas in Turkey uses workers and activists belonging to Turkish humanitarian organizations who operate in Gaza. Hamas has a headquarters in Istanbul which works to mastermind terror attacks. (Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies)
  • Why Doesn't BDS Boycott Turkey or Russia? - Adam Levick
    Lana Del Rey's concert in Turkey couldn't reasonably be viewed as a political statement in support of the Erdogan regime and the repression of journalists, academics and civil servants. Similarly, her concert in Russia certainly didn't represent an endorsement of authorities' military aggression in Syria or the annexation of Crimea. Yet, if we were to believe BDS activists, her upcoming performance in Israel - the only free, democratic country in the region - should be viewed through the lens of the Israeli government's alleged actions.
        The tendency of anti-Israel campaigners to hold Israeli citizens responsible for the actions of their government, while failing to hold citizens of countries with far worse human rights records to the same standard, gets to the heart of the immoral double standards which compromise the BDS movement.
        Is it even conceivable that activists would put pressure on British institutions to, say, cancel performances from a visiting Russian orchestra to protest Vladimir Putin, or refuse to cooperate with Chinese academics because their research is partially funded by Beijing? The writer is managing editor of UK Media Watch. (Independent-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • Weizmann Institute's International Summer Science Institute Has 3,000 Alumni - Renee Ghert-Zand
    73 recent high school graduates came to Israel this summer to participate in the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Participants spend much of their time conducting experiments or developing scientific models. Each year about 70-80 students from around the world, both Jews and non-Jews, are accepted. The program has more than 3,000 alumni.
        Now in its 50th year, ISSI was founded by the late Dr. Bessie Lawrence, a former deputy superintendent of Chicago's public school system, whose goal was "to give bright, talented kids a future in science."  (JTA)
  • Israel's GlucoMe Joins Merck to Battle Diabetes in Vietnam - Shoshanna Solomon
    Israeli startup GlucoMe, which has developed a wireless blood glucose monitoring kit to help diabetes patients keep tabs on sugar levels, is collaborating with German pharma giant Merck to try out its kits at five hospitals in Vietnam. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 5.5% of the adult population in Vietnam, or 3.5 million people, suffered from the condition in 2017.
        Patients will use the monitor to measure their blood sugar levels at home, sync the data through GlucoMe's mobile app, and analyze the data with GlucoMe's Digital Diabetes Clinic and alert system. This will enable medical professionals to identify severe and urgent cases for timely intervention.
        GlucoMe has also introduced its kits in India and in Central America. Israeli innovation is behind almost half of Merck's healthcare revenues, Kai Beckmann, CEO of Performance Materials at the firm, said in an interview in February. (Times of Israel)
  • A Jewish Fighter Remembers the Bialystok Ghetto Uprising - Part 1 - Haika Grossman
    A heroic chapter in the dark history of the annihilation of European Jewry was written by teenagers with guns. Haika Grossman, who turned 20 just after the Nazi conquest of Poland, was a leader of the youth wing of the socialist Hashomer Hatzair Zionist party. She became a key courier between the ghettos of Poland, and helped organize the Bialystok Ghetto uprising. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the uprising, we present two excerpts from her account, The Underground Army. (Tablet)
        See also A Jewish Fighter Remembers the Bialystok Ghetto Uprising - Part 2 - Haika Grossman (Tablet)

  • Israel is not giving up trying to gain U.S. recognition of its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, after U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton told Reuters: "There's no change in the U.S. position for now."
  • Netanyahu asked the U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area in February 2017, but has not publicly been actively lobbying for the issue, though he does frequently bring it up with visiting statesmen.
  • In July, the House Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing on the matter under the title: "A New Horizon in U.S.-Israel Relations: From an American Embassy in Jerusalem to Potential Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
  • Former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, who is currently the head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, appeared before the committee and advocated for a recognition of Israeli sovereignty. He said on Thursday that the key words in Bolton's remarks about the subject were that Washington was not considering the issue "for now." "I think they are focused on the President's peace plan, and am not surprised that they are not looking now to come up with new initiatives."
  • Gold asked what would the alternative to Israeli control of the Golan Heights be - "to resurrect the power of the [al-Qaeda affiliate] Nusra front, or to give it to Hizbullah and Iran? Israel is the strongest power that will protect the Golan Heights, and combat the effort of Iran to take over this part of the region."
  • Gold said that Israel "should make an effort" to obtain American recognition of Israeli control there. He added that "The Trump administration is one of the friendliest administrations to the State of Israel, and therefore an initiative of this sort would not be inconsistent with how the administration looks at the region as a whole."

        See also Video: Recognizing Israeli Sovereignty on the Golan Heights - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Testimony before the House Subcommittee on National Security on July 17, 2018.

        See also The White House Is Willing to Consider Israel's Case for the Golan Heights - Caroline B. Glick
    U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said regarding U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, "there's no change in the U.S. position for now." In a conversation with this writer on Wednesday in Jerusalem, Bolton emphasized that he had said, "for now." His clarification was not a diplomatic feint.
        Unlike his predecessors in the White House, but like Bolton, Trump relates to Israel as a key U.S. ally and partner. Trump and his advisors are willing to listen to Israel's positions objectively. They don't assume, as many of their predecessors did, that their Israeli counterparts are hustling them. When Bolton says the U.S. hasn't changed its policy, he's inviting Israel to make its case. (Jerusalem Post)
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