September 14, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Reshaping U.S. Aid to the Palestinians - Dennis Ross, Dave Harden and David Makovsky (The Hill)
    With prospects for diplomacy dim, with the need to change reality on the ground, and with past lessons showing that aid should be used to promote development, we propose that Congress reprogram the $200 million in fiscal 2018 assistance to the Palestinians.
    U.S. assistance in Gaza can fund a small solar field to power the existing Gaza Wastewater Treatment Plant, build up community-based solar desalination units, initiate additional phases of the North Gaza Emergency Sanitation Treatment plant, and repair water infrastructure.

Video: Palestinian Children Practice War (Vimeo)
    Palestinian Islamic Jihad's elementary school-age "future soldiers" train with simulated automatic weapons, mortars, and IEDs.

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Israeli Researchers Develop Groundbreaking Leukemia Drug - Ran Reznick (Israel Hayom)
    Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have recently developed a breakthrough drug to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most aggressive cancers.
    Professor Yinon Ben-Neriah, who heads the research team, said the new drug "targets many leukemia proteins at once and destroys all of the oncogenes [that have the potential to cause cancer], and activates the tumor suppressor P53 gene."
    Researchers are trying to expand the drug's use to other cancers, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, melanoma and colorectal cancer.

New Israeli Medical Innovations Enhance Mobility and Quickly Perform Blood Tests - Maya Margit (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
    A revolutionary Israeli device is enabling quadriplegics to navigate all kinds of indoor and outdoor terrain either seated or upright while maintaining perfect equilibrium.
    Dr. Amit Goffer - himself a quadriplegic who invented the ReWalk bionic exoskeleton - has developed a specialized wheelchair at UPnRIDE Robotics, a next-generation mobility enhancer.
    HemoScreen - developed by PixCell Medical Technologies - "performs the world's most common blood test, which is the complete blood count (CBC), within five minutes," said CEO Dr. Avishay Bransky.
    "When you go into the physician's office he'll be able to diagnose and treat you in a single visit."
    The HemoScreen unit, roughly the size of a lunchbox, can also detect allergies, anemia and even cancer, among other afflictions.

Israeli Tech Guides the Visually Impaired around Supermarkets - Andrew Don (Grocer-UK)
    Shufersal, Israel's largest supermarket chain, has installed a Bluetooth beacon-guided system that provides customers with audio commentary via a smartphone app to help them navigate.
    When users approach the store, they are told where the entrance is. Audio descriptions alert them to various areas, aisles and shelves. Users are directed to the checkouts, and the exit once they have paid.
    See also RightHear Launches Navigation System for Visually Impaired (Healio)
    RightHear announced the U.S. launch of its orientation and navigation system for the blind and visually impaired, which provides real-time voice cues through a smartphone to navigate public buildings using Bluetooth beacon sensors.
    The system is suitable for any type of public building, including shopping malls, corporations, universities, municipalities, airports, museums, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants.

Israel to Launch National Food Tech Center - Nick Kolyohin (Xinhua-China)
    The mission of Israel's national food tech center, to be opened by 2019, is "to deliver the world a better, healthier and affordable food technology that will both help the obese Western world and the starving third world," said Michal Fink of the Israel Ministry of Economy.
    Erel Margalit, chairman of Jerusalem Venture Capital, added: "The large companies in Europe, Asia, and the United States need primary research and significant breakthroughs to reduce sugar, starch, and gluten."
    Ofir Benjamin from the Food Science Department of Tel Hai College said initial research projects will seek "to make protein affordable and accessible to everyone instead of costly meat, eggs, and milk."
    Future food may come from plant products that use less water, land and energy for each kilo of food.

The UK's Growing Tech Trade Ties with Israel - Jonathan Josephs (BBC News)
    There are now at least 337 Israeli tech companies operating in the UK.
    Figures from the British Embassy in Israel show a 33% growth in the value of their investments in the year following the UK's decision in June 2016 to leave the EU.

In Hungund, India, a Green Revolution Is On, Drip by Drip - Vittal Shastri (Deccan Chronicle-India)
    Farmers of perpetually drought-stricken Hungund have generously borrowed from Israel's agriculture technology to increases crop yields.
    Farmer Muttappa Benakanadoni, 52, adopted Israeli technology to reap nearly double the agriculture yield through drip irrigation.
    Six thousand farmers are reaping a second crop this season in 50 villages of Hungund after successful implementation of the automated drip irrigation project.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Jared Kushner: Aid Cuts to Palestinians Do Not Diminish Chances for Peace - Mark Landler
    Senior presidential advisor Jared Kushner said in an interview that recent actions against the Palestinians had not diminished the chances of a peace accord. "There were too many false realities that were created - that people worship - that I think needed to be changed. All we're doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace."
        Kushner said Palestinian leaders deserved to lose aid after vilifying the U.S. administration. And much of the money that the U.S. poured into UNRWA and other Palestinian causes had been misspent. "Nobody is entitled to America's foreign aid," he said. Aid should be used to further national interests and help those in need. In the case of the Palestinians, the funding had evolved into a decades-long entitlement program with no plan to make them self-reliant.
        Kushner insisted that the rift between the Palestinians and Washington was not unbridgeable. "In every negotiation I've ever been in, before somebody gets to 'yes,' their answer is 'no.'"  (New York Times)
  • Poll: 86 Percent of British Jews Think Jeremy Corbyn Is Anti-Semitic - Daniel Sugarman
    86% of British Jews regard Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn as anti-Semitic, while 8% believe he is not, according to a poll conducted between Aug. 12 and Sep. 4 by polling company Survation. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
        See also Video: Rabbi Sacks Warns House of Lords on Danger of Anti-Semitism in Britain
    Former UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks told the House of Lords on Thursday: "The greatest danger any civilization faces is when it suffers collective amnesia. We forget how small beginnings lead to truly terrible endings. A thousand years of Jewish history in Europe added certain words to the human vocabulary: forced conversion, inquisition, expulsion, ghetto, pogrom, Holocaust. They happened because hate went unchecked. No one said 'stop.'"
        "It pains me to speak about anti-Semitism, the world's oldest hatred. But I cannot keep silent. One of the enduring facts of history is that most anti-Semites do not think of themselves as anti-Semites. We don't hate Jews, they said in the Middle Ages, just their religion. We don't hate Jews, they said in the nineteenth century, just their race. We don't hate Jews, they say now, just their nation state."
        "Anti-Semitism is the hardest of all hatreds to defeat because, like a virus, it mutates. But one thing stays the same. Jews, whether as a religion or a race or as the State of Israel, are made scapegoats for problems for which all sides are responsible. That is how the road to tragedy begins. Anti-Semitism, or any hate, becomes dangerous when three things happen. First, when it moves from the fringes of politics to a mainstream party and its leadership. Second, when the party sees that its popularity with the general public is not harmed thereby. And three, when those who stand up and protest are vilified and abused for doing so."
        "All three factors exist in Britain now. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. That is why I cannot stay silent. For it is not only Jews who are at risk. So too is our humanity."  (Twitter)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Bomb Thrown at IDF Troops at Gaza Fence
    Three Palestinians were spotted crawling towards the Gaza border fence early Friday morning before they threw a pipe bomb at soldiers patrolling the area. The troops sustained no injuries and responded by firing at the Palestinians, the IDF said. (Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Neutralizes Bomb near Gaza Border Fence
    IDF soldiers intercepted and neutralized an improvised explosive device (IED) near the security fence with Gaza on Friday morning. It was the second IED found and neutralized this week. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Promotes Israel's Top Fighter Ace at Age 80 - Yoav Zitun
    Former Israel Air Force flying ace Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein, 80, was awarded the rank of brigadier-general on Wednesday. He downed an Egyptian Sukhoi Su-7 during the 1967 Six-Day War, downed four aircraft during the War of Attrition (1969-70), and downed 12 enemy aircraft during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Water Filters Donated to Cameroon to Fight Cholera - Abigail Klein Leichman
    Water filtration systems from Israeli company NUFiltration worth $15,000 were donated to Cameroon to help fight a cholera epidemic there. The portable crank-operated system is capable of taking water from a polluted source such as a river and purifying up to 500 liters per hour - enough to supply all the daily water needs of 300-400 people. The system repurposes and sterilizes used kidney dialysis filters that would otherwise be discarded. (Israel21c)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    25 Years after the Oslo Accords

  • Israel 25 Years after the Oslo Accords - Efraim Karsh
    Instead of ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Oslo peace process between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) created an ineradicable terror entity on Israel's doorstep that has murdered 1,600 Israelis, rained thousands of rockets on the country's population centers, and toiled tirelessly to delegitimize the right of the Jewish state to exist.
        In Northern Ireland, the decommissioning of weapons by all paramilitary groups was a prerequisite to the peace process. In the Oslo process, the Israeli government at the time viewed the arming of thousands of (hopefully reformed) terrorists and their entrustment with enforcing law and order throughout the West Bank and Gaza as the key to peace and security.
        Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin did not view the peace process in anything remotely reminiscent of the posthumous idealism misattributed to him. The farther he walked down that path, the greater his disdain for his "peace" partner became - and the lesser his inclination for concessions.
        In a speech to the Knesset on October 5, 1995, rejecting the two-state solution altogether, Rabin foresaw "an entity short of a state that will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its control" within narrower boundaries than the pre-June 1967 lines. The Jordan Valley area, "in the broadest sense of the word," was to constitute Israel's security border, and a united Jerusalem "comprising Maale Adumim and Givat Zeev" was to remain under Israel's sovereignty.
        The writer, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University and emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Oslo Pretended to Be a Peace Process - Douglas Feith
    Early on I saw that Oslo was more about Israeli withdrawal than peace. In 1993, when the first Oslo agreement was published, there were a few vague words in the preamble about striving for peaceful coexistence, but in the operative sections there were no actual peace promises. The Declaration of Principles (DOP) said simply that Israel would withdraw from parts of the territories and transfer responsibilities to the Arab party. The DOP was an exchange of land for nothing.
        Arafat had no intention of agreeing that Israel had a right to exist permanently. He took what Israel was willing to give up, but he didn't make peace. He didn't preach peace. He didn't have Palestinian schools teach peace. He didn't enforce peace. The writer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2001-2005). (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan Univesity)
  • Selling Oslo to the Jewish Community - Jennifer Roskies
    Following the rollout of the Oslo Accords 25 years ago, one of the Rabin government's central challenges was convincing those who had the most at stake - Israelis, and those who feel their lives wedded to Israel's - that embarking upon the Oslo process was a risk worth taking. The efforts to meet this challenge eroded the very ties binding Israel and diaspora Jewry.
        In 1993, having previously worked at the Israeli Consulate for four years, I was asked to translate into English Prime Minister Rabin's speech to the annual convention of Jewish communities from across North America, known as the General Assembly, or GA, being hosted in Montreal. Eitan Haber, Rabin's Chief of Staff, sat at a desk, removed two writing pads from his briefcase, handed me one, and began to write. When he got to the bottom of the page, he tore it off, passed it to me, and I began to translate.
        From Haber's very first paragraphs, I realized the speech's main purpose. Those selling Oslo plainly recognized that Jewish opposition, both outside Israel and within, to the abrupt Israeli policy change, was a serious obstacle which must be overcome. Concern over evidence of subterfuge by Arafat and the newly-formed Palestinian Authority was dismissed as anti-peace.
        In looking back at those early Oslo days, what is so striking is that world support for Israel was unwavering. Who could ever have foreseen a time when that support would no longer be a safe bet, but that Israel would become a flashpoint issue in synagogue congregations, not to mention campuses, where students and faculty increasingly come under assault for supporting Israel or for even affirming Israel as a component of their Jewish identities.
        In working to undermine a near monolithic, full-throated concern for Israel's security among American Jews, replacing it with talking points designed to second-guess their own interests, Israel's new foreign policy opened a trap door, pushing Jewish supporters to make common cause with their own adversaries. One can see clearly how this led to the discord now seen between Israel and American Jewry. The writer works at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs as chief of staff to its president. (Tablet)

  • Other Issues

  • Closing PLO Office Sends Message to Palestinians
    The Israel Project's Kenneth Bricker told News Talk Florida that by closing the PLO offices in Washington, the U.S. was "pushing back" and telling the PA that "the double game is over." The U.S. was now telling the PA, "You cannot pretend to be involved in a peace process when you have not sat down at a table and negotiated for the last four years, all the while using international forums to bash Israel and to sponsor and support terrorism against Israelis."
        The PA's "pay to slay" program, where the families of jailed terrorists are given lifetime stipends, "happens every day." An organization that pays rewards to terrorists "is not an organization that is committed to peace," rather it "is an organization that sponsors terror." "For years the Palestinians have had it both ways. They've been treated with international diplomatic status, on the one hand, by the West, for participating in this peace process, while actually engaging in terror and not sincerely negotiating."  (The Tower-Israel Project)
  • Hizbullah Is a State Above the State - Udeid Nassar
    In Lebanon, Hizbullah controls sites that are off limits to Lebanese security and army forces. Hizbullah has its own economic, financial and services institutions. It has its own channels for external relations functioning just like any other ministry of foreign affairs. The party has its own judiciary and internal security structures, including detention centers and jails. Above all, the state of Hizbullah is implicitly recognized by the Lebanese state.
        Hizbullah members enjoy immunity from Lebanese judiciary and security agencies. It is out of the question to pursue or apprehend any of the party's members for any crime committed on Lebanese territory or abroad. Hizbullah has a free hand in bringing in goods and people through Lebanese ports, border crossings and Beirut airport - no taxes paid, no questions asked. Hizbullah is capable of preventing presidential elections from taking place in Lebanon and imposing its own candidate on everybody. (Arab Weekly-UK)
  • Another War in Lebanon? - Daniel L. Byman
    Hizbullah's participation in the Syrian civil war is a source of both strength and weakness. Hizbullah sent thousands of fighters to Syria where they gained valuable skills. But in other ways the group is weaker.
        Before the war, Hizbullah enjoyed some respect from Lebanon's Sunni Muslim and Christian communities for its relative lack of corruption, ability to provide services effectively in areas it controlled, and steadfast opposition to Israel.
        Siding with the butcher Assad against the Sunni Muslim opposition, however, made Hizbullah look like an Iranian- and Syrian-controlled sectarian actor. For much of the Sunni Arab world, Hizbullah became the devil incarnate. Lebanese Shiites bore the brunt of the casualties Hizbullah suffered in Syria - at least 1,400 - and are not eager to fight another war. Moreover, while Hizbullah in Syria faced lightly armed and poorly trained rebels, the skills learned would do them little good defending against well-trained Israeli forces. The writer is a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. (Brookings Institution)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Forgotten 60,000 Jewish Refugees from Palestine - David Shayne
    In Jewish Refugees in Israel's War of Independence (Hebrew), Dr. Nurit Cohen-Levinovsky, a historian with the Rabin Center, estimates that the war resulted in 60,000 Jewish refugees within Mandatory Palestine. Prof. Benny Morris' book, 1948, puts the number at 70,000.
        Cohen-Levinovsky describes how Jewish refugees, especially from villages attacked by Arab armies (primarily from Syria, Jordan and Egypt), clogged Haifa and Tel Aviv, even as those cites themselves came under attack. Kibbutz Manara, on the Lebanese border, evacuated its children under enemy fire by having soldiers carry the drugged children inside vegetable crates - a scene recreated in the 1961 movie Exodus.
        In all, 97 Jewish villages were attacked and damaged: 11 were destroyed entirely, 6 were conquered and lost - until after the 1967 Six-Day War when they were re-established. Moreover, many refugees came from Jerusalem. The city hosted some of the most intense fighting of the war and fully one-quarter of its Jews fled, mostly to the relative safety of the coast. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Vets Combat PTSD at Archaeological Dig in Israel - Amanda Borschel-Dan
    Seven U.S. military veterans - most of whom suffer from PTSD - recently completed two weeks at Israel's Beth She'arim archaeological excavation, working alongside a team of Israeli Arabs and Jews, mostly military vets themselves. According to the founder of the American Veterans Archaeological Recovery (AVAR) program, Stephen Humphreys, being in Israel was "a little eye-opening" for the former servicemen.
        "As American vets, we tend to segregate ourselves and think no one else understands. But then we come to a society where everyone does understand, and being a vet is not that big of a deal." In Israel, the U.S. vets were met with a proliferation of soldiers on the streets and a culture that embraces its military as family. With mandatory conscription of most Israeli men and women, servicemen are not the "other," but the "us."  (Times of Israel)

The Myth of "Failed" Peace - Robert Satloff (American Interest)
  • The Middle East peace process, marshaled largely under U.S. aegis, has been a resounding success. Most of the Arab states and Israel have not only embraced a diplomatic alternative to conflict but effectively renounced war as a way to resolve their differences. The October 1973 War was the last inter-state war between Arabs and Israelis.
  • Both Arab states and Israel have forged much closer ties with the U.S. over the 40 years since the dawn of the modern peace process, building strategic partnerships with Washington that extend to all levels of diplomatic, military, and intelligence relations. Some of those Arab states have even developed important, if quiet, ties with Israel.
  • The political breach between Israel and the Palestinians masks a deeper, more enduring strategic reality. The Palestinian Authority created by the Oslo Accords is a reasonably well-functioning entity, certainly by regional standards. On the World Happiness Index, the Palestinian territories came in ahead of Tunisia and Egypt, as well as such war-torn Arab countries as Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
  • Despite Israel's security barrier, the border between Israel and the PA is not nearly the hermetically sealed cage it is widely thought to be. About 80,000 Palestinians work in Israel every day, half with legal working papers and half with Israeli authorities looking the other way. When salaries to Palestinian workers in Israel are included, direct Israeli-Palestinian trade totals about $6 billion.
  • Even in terms of security, while the total number of Israelis killed by terrorists originating in PA-administered West Bank territory over the ten-year period from 2007 to 2016 was 70, this amounts to about one-fifth of the number of homicides that the city of Baltimore suffered in just one year (343 in 2017).

    The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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