September 4, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Report: In Next War, Hizbullah Planning to Infiltrate West Bank (Israel Hayom)
    A senior Hizbullah commander told Lebanon's Al Akhbar on Friday that in the event of conflict with Israel, "A small number of well-armed fighters, who are very familiar with the enemy's defenses, can infiltrate and enter the West Bank and cause great damage."
    He added that the Syrian civil war has provided "a perfect training ground for the resistance," enabling training "in operational combat in a residential area and an opportunity to test the various weapons."
    He noted that more than 2,000 new Hizbullah recruits were being trained every year.

Russian Military Exercise in Mediterranean to Disrupt Israeli Flights (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Airports Authority on Tuesday warned of likely disruptions in flights to and from the country due to a Russian military exercise in the eastern Mediterranean.
    The disruptions come as Ben-Gurion Airport braces for one of the busiest periods of the year - prior to the Jewish holidays.
    On Wednesday 588 flights are expected, followed by 650 flights on Thursday.

UAE Agrees to Equal Treatment for Israelis at International Judo Event (i24News)
    Last month the International Judo Association (IJF) suspended the planned Abu Dhabi Grand Slam after the host country failed to confirm that Israeli athletes would receive equal treatment.
    On Monday the IJF announced that the UAE had agreed to allow Israeli contestants to participate in the event brandishing their national symbols and anthem.
    Last year in Abu Dhabi, Israeli gold medalist Tal Flicker sang the anthem himself after winning.

Israel Develops New Drone to Save Drowning People (Xinhua-China)
    The Israeli company Blueskimmer has developed a new drone which can be used to rescue drowning people, Yediot Ahronot reported Sunday.
    The drone, made of carbon fiber, carries three floats that swell rapidly with water and can operate within a radius of up to 2 km. from the lifeguard's station.

Israeli Startups Raised Nearly $300 Million in August (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised nearly $300 million in August after raising $650 million in July, bringing the amount raised so far in 2018 to over $4 billion.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Secret Oil Shipments Could Help Iran Cushion U.S. Sanctions Blow - Ellen Milligan
    Discounts, bartering and smuggling are among the tactics Iran may lean on to keep its oil exports flowing after U.S. sanctions resume in November. Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh alluded to this toolbox, which was used in the past, when he said Iran will find "other ways" to keep its crude in the market. Iran's oil exports have already slumped to the lowest level since March 2016.
        Almost 200,000 barrels a day of the country's post-sanctions oil sales could be undisclosed, according to Robin Mills, chief executive officer of consultancy Qamar Energy in Dubai. "Barter trade and special funding mechanisms are among ways that could allow payments to Iran to continue within the framework of the sanctions," said Ehsan Khoman at the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. (Bloomberg)
  • Iranian Rial Hits Record Low - 128,000 to the Dollar
    The Iranian rial hit a record low against the U.S. dollar on Monday, trading at 128,000 to the dollar. (Reuters)
  • Secret Iranian Weapons-Smuggling Air Routes to Lebanon Revealed
    Iranian civil aviation company Qeshm Fars Air is suspected of smuggling arms into Lebanon destined for Hizbullah and Iranian weapons factories, Western intelligence sources said Monday. A flight on July 9 carried components for manufacturing precise weapons in Iranian factories inside Lebanon. Another such flight occurred on August 2. (Fox News)
  • BDS Movement Deemed Anti-Semitic by State Office in Germany
    The boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel has been categorized as anti-Semitic by the Berlin State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which monitors anti-democratic activities in Berlin. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Foils Palestinian Plot to Kidnap Soldier - Josh Breiner
    Israel foiled a plot by a Fatah terrorist in an Israeli jail to engineer the abduction of a soldier who could subsequently be exchanged for his own release, Deputy Prisons Commissioner Yuval Biton told a counter-terrorism conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya on Saturday. The prisoner, Mohammed Naifa, was sentenced to 13 life terms for murdering 13 Israelis. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Stabbing Attack Thwarted in West Bank
    Wael Al-Jabari, 28, from Hebron, approached IDF troops with a knife at a checkpoint near Kiryat Arba on Monday before being shot and killed. (Ha'aretz)
  • Attorney-General: Nation-State Law Does Not Harm Rights of Minorities
    Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told a conference in Jerusalem on Monday that the recently passed Jewish nation-state law does not violate the rights of the country's minorities. Mandelblit said the law "does not harm their rights because it is on an equal (legal) footing to their basic constitutional rights" guaranteed in previous Basic Laws. (Times of Israel)
  • Joint Israeli-Palestinian Industrial Center Planned for West Bank - Ofer Petersburg
    A joint Palestinian-Israeli industrial and commercial center is set to be built near Teneh Omarim in the southern West Bank, in a venture intended to bolster job opportunities for Palestinians. The mixed industrial hub will receive government funding and is expected to serve as a model of economic cooperation. Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met in Washington with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt to flesh out the details of the plan. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Palestinian Leaders Condemn a Peace Plan They've Never Seen - Jason Dov Greenblatt
    Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not solve other conflicts in the region, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, terrorists in the Sinai Desert in Egypt, a tragic, continuing civil war in Syria, war in Yemen, Hizbullah (a terrorist organization sponsored by Iran) in Lebanon, instability in Libya, and an Iranian regime that oppresses its own people and foments terrorism around the world.
        Ultimately it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to make the hard decisions to achieve a comprehensive peace agreement. At the time of this writing, the Palestinian leadership refuses to engage with us. This only hurts the Palestinian people that they claim to serve. It is unfortunate that the Palestinian leadership condemns a peace plan they have never seen, and refuses to engage on a possible path forward for all Palestinians. This approach will only cause the Palestinian people to fall further and further behind their neighbors. The writer is U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations. (JTA)
  • U.S. UNRWA Defunding a Step in the Right Direction - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The official number of Palestinian refugees according to UNRWA is 5.3 million. The actual number, without descendants, is between 20 and 30,000 at most, because some have already been granted citizenship in Jordan and others have become financially established, so according to the UN definition they are not refugees. The "Palestinian refugee problem" would have been resolved if standard refugee procedures had been implemented with the Palestinians as well.
        The fear that a vacuum would be filled by Hamas if UNRWA leaves Gaza is a little strange. In the recent elections for UNRWA institutions, the Hamas-associated list won a crushing victory. Education at UNRWA institutions primarily produces Hamas activists.
        After almost 70 years of the big refugee scam, the time has come for a change. As long as UNRWA is the main instrument for perpetuating the refugee problem and nurturing the return fantasy, it is the problem, not the solution. (Ynet News)

  • UNRWA's written mandate plays a central role in perpetuating the Palestinian refugee myth and the demand for the "right of return."
  • According to the definition of "refugee" that UNRWA follows, someone born this week can be a refugee of a war 70 years ago.
  • The definition includes people that are citizens of other countries, as well as people living in the West Bank and Gaza - the very land from which they supposedly fled - who in other situations would legally be considered internally displaced.
  • By considering all of these people refugees, it bolsters their claim that they should be granted the "right of return" to Israel.
  • UNRWA has been fleecing the world since it was established in 1949. The support of Palestinian grievances by an international community that funds UNRWA is a key to why the conflict continues.
  • The Palestinians feign perpetual victimhood and view themselves as not being responsible for trying to improve their own lives. How can the Palestinians be expected to engage in state building if they refuse to take responsibility for themselves and are constantly holding their hand out to the world?