September 17, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Morocco FM: We Need America's Help on Iran - Caroline Glick (Breitbart)
    Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said last week that the Kingdom of Morocco supports the Trump administration's policies toward Iran.
    Bourita said, "Iran would like to be in North Africa. They tried to develop a presence in Morocco. Today they are repeating the efforts in other North African countries. They attracted some of our youth by giving them scholarships."
    The Moroccan government sees Iran as indoctrinating young Moroccans to reject the moderate Sunni Islam practiced in Morocco in favor of the radical Shia Islam of the Iranian regime.

Belgium Ends Funding for Palestinian Schools over Honoring Terrorist (JTA)
    Belgium has broken relations with the Palestinian Education Ministry over its honoring of terrorists and will no longer fund the construction of its schools, the Belgian Education Ministry announced.
    Last year, Belgium froze $3.8 million in funding for the construction of two Palestinian schools after a school built in Hebron with Belgian money was renamed for Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist who was part of a 1978 attack that killed 38 civilians, including 13 children.

Palestinian Boy Killed at Gaza Border by Rock Thrown by Rioters - Nikki Guttman (Israel Hayom)
    An 11-year-old Palestinian boy was killed on Friday after taking part in the weekly Gaza border riots. The IDF said its evidence shows he was hit by a rock thrown by rioters.
    Two Gaza rights groups said he died after being struck "with a solid object." A Gaza Health Ministry spokesman said Saturday he died from head wounds.

Hizbullah Humiliates UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon - Tony Badran (Tablet)
    On Aug. 4, Hizbullah orchestrated an attack on a UNIFIL patrol in Majdal Zoun, north of Naqoura.
    After a Hizbullah unit spotted Slovak forces taking pictures, it surrounded them and obstructed their path. When the patrol tried to escape, Hizbullah damaged their vehicle.
    As the patrol moved on, Hizbullah operatives in nearby villages cut it off again, attacked it, confiscated some of its weapons, its cameras and equipment, and set fire to their vehicle near the headquarters of the Italian contingent.

Israeli Rhythmic Gymnast Comes in 2nd at World Championships (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Linoy Ashram, 19, won the silver medal Friday in the individual all-around final at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Israel's Teva Launches Preventive Injection for Migraine (Xinhua-China)
    Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced on Saturday that it would begin marketing Ajovy, a preventive drug against migraine, after it received approval from the U.S. FDA.
    Ajovy is the first drug for migraine that allows one injection for three months, compared with a U.S.-made drug that is injected monthly.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Strikes Iranian Arms Shipment at Damascus Airport - Sune Engel Rasmussen
    Israeli missiles are suspected to have struck an Iranian arms shipment at Damascus airport late Saturday. Israeli Hadashot TV reported Sunday that the strike also hit an Iranian cargo plane loaded with weapons which had recently landed from Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said Sunday, "Israel is constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Revokes Visas for Palestinian Envoy and His Family
    The U.S. has revoked visas for the family of the PLO's ambassador in Washington, Husam Zomlot, following the U.S. announcement last week of the closure of diplomatic offices belonging to the Palestine Liberation Organization. (Al Jazeera)
        See also Report: U.S. Freezes All PLO Bank Accounts - Elior Levy
    The U.S. has frozen all bank accounts belonging to the PLO in the country as the White House ramps up pressure on the Palestinians to enter into peace talks with Israel, Al Jazeera reported Sunday. (Ynet News)
  • European Commission Warns Ireland Against Israeli Settlement Import Ban - Simon Carswell
    Ireland could face infringement proceedings by the EU or a third party if a bill that would ban imports from Israeli settlements is passed, the European Commission has warned. The legislation passed its first vote in the Seanad in July. However, the Attorney General noted that trade is an exclusive competence of the EU and under EU law Ireland cannot introduce such a unilateral ban.
        An EU Commission trade official told a Department of Business official this month that enacting the bill "would be in contravention of the EU's competence on trade matters" under a treaty that covers common commercial policy for member states. (Irish Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli-American Stabbed to Death by Palestinian at West Bank Mall - Yotam Berger
    Ari Fuld, 45, a father of four from Efrat in the West Bank, was stabbed in the back and killed on Sunday at the entrance to a mall near Gush Etzion Junction. The victim shot and wounded his Palestinian assailant, Khalil Jabarin, 17, from Yatta near Hebron. Fuld had immigrated to Israel from the U.S. and was a pro-Israel advocate. He was active on YouTube and Facebook and co-hosted a show on i24, an Israeli English-language cable station.
        U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, "America grieves as one of its citizens was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted, "With his last strength, Ari fought heroically against the terrorist and prevented a greater tragedy."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video: Stabbed Israeli Shot Assailant before Dying (YouTube)
        See also Israel Mourns Ari Fuld - Tovah Lazaroff
    Ari Fuld, born in New York, immigrated to Israel in 1994. He served as a sergeant in the paratroopers unit in the IDF reserves, and also served on the Efrat emergency squad. Fuld was assistant director of Standing Together, an organization that supports IDF soldiers. He held a black belt in karate and taught the martial art to hundreds of children in Efrat. Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the Fuld family prior to the burial and said, "We are alive because of heroes like Ari. We will always remember him." (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas, Islamic Jihad Praise Gush Etzion Terror Attack - Elisha Ben Kimon (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians Hurl Explosives, Hand Grenades during Gaza Border Clashes on Saturday - Yaniv Kubovich
    Hundreds of Palestinians hurled rocks, at least three hand grenades, and two explosive devices at Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border fence on Saturday night following riots there on Friday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Arson Balloon Lands in Israeli Knesset Member's Yard
    Israeli Knesset member Haim Jelin said Saturday that a balloon attached to an incendiary device landed in the yard of his home in Kibbutz Be'eri near Israel's border with Gaza. No one was injured. (i24News)
        See also Hundreds of Palestinians Riot at Gaza Security Fence on Sunday Night - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Creates New Force to Ramp Up Gaza Border Attacks - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Dore Gold: To Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Realism Is the Name of the Game - Mehdi Hasan
    Former Israel Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold told Al Jazeera on Friday: Much of the recent U.S. moves against the Palestinians "is self-inflicted punishment on the part of the Palestinians. They knew that if they start playing around with the International Criminal Court, there is American legislation that was adopted in 2015 which says that will have implications for their offices in Washington. That wasn't a Donald Trump invention. That was done back then."
        "I have sat with Palestinians for years talking about alternative models for solving this [Israeli-Palestinian] problem. Let us get to a table and let us put those ideas out and let's try to resolve this once and for all. In one very important sense, what President Trump is doing is trying to introduce realism. Don't start believing that you are going to get five million refugees to return to Israel. It's not going to happen. And if you start believing that propaganda, you'll never negotiate a solution."
        Q: The nation state law passed over the summer says "The right to exercise national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people."
    Gold: "I suggest you read the Balfour Declaration which envisioned a Jewish homeland. It didn't talk about an Arab homeland. Did that mean that Lord Balfour and the British government were racist, prejudicial, or they were trying to help out a people who had been downtrodden, who had lost their ancient homeland but were determined to recover it?" Amb. Dore Gold is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Al Jazeera)
  • Can the Palestinian Right of Return Issue Be Solved? - Tovah Lazaroff
    A number of Israeli and U.S. negotiators involved in the talks that stemmed from the Oslo agreement, including Camp David and Taba, have said that at no time did they calculate the granting of an absolute right of return to the Palestinians. Former justice minister Yossi Beilin, who held secret talks in 1995 with now-PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said it was understood in those talks that only a small number of Palestinians could return.
        Former U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross said that during the Oslo years the Clinton administration operated under the "rule of reason," in which it held that a Jewish state could not, and should not have to, absorb so many refugees.
        Gilead Sher, who was part of the Israeli delegation involved in the Oslo Accords and headed the negotiation team at the Camp David summit in 2000, said the issue "was not the first priority of the Palestinian negotiators." Once a permanent-status agreement was signed, he added, it was agreed that UNRWA would be phased out. (Jerusalem Post)

Why Israel Acts to Contain Iran in Syria and Lebanon - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaacov Amidror (Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies)
  • The leadership of Iran is fully and genuinely committed to the perspective reflected in its public statements regarding a "holy obligation" to destroy the State of Israel. History has taught the realists among Israel's decision-makers to believe leaders who speak their minds about plans to annihilate the Jewish state.
  • Iran is doing all it can to improve Hizbullah's capabilities to unprecedented levels. Nearly every advanced weapons system the Syrians acquired from Russia has been transferred to Hizbullah, including anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and anti-ship missiles.
  • All of Israel's population centers are currently vulnerable to Hizbullah's arsenal of 120,000 rockets and missiles. Iran is now seeking to significantly improve the accuracy of many of these missiles, especially the heavier and longer-range ones. The destructive power to be gained by Hizbullah would constitute a threat to Israel of an entirely new magnitude. Israel, whose population is concentrated along a strip of Mediterranean shoreline less than 80 km. long, is extremely exposed to this threat.
  • This is the reason that, if war breaks out, Israel will be compelled to act with great force, using all the means at its disposal, to swiftly neutralize Hizbullah's missile capabilities as much as possible. Many restrictions on IDF firepower would be lifted. Many thousands of Lebanese casualties will result, some of them innocent civilians, and there will be extensive devastation across Lebanon.
  • The deal restricting Iranian nuclear activity for a decade will come to an end in about seven years, Iran will have longer-range and more precise missiles, and new centrifuges that will be 10 or 20 times more efficient than its previous ones.
  • The Iranians seeks to create a stronger military capability under their control around Israel so that when they resume their nuclear activities, Israel will be deterred from stopping them by force. Iran aims to have Hizbullah and the forces it is building up in Syria acquire the capability of striking Israel so severely that no responsible Israeli leader would dare attack the nuclear weapons infrastructures being constructed in Iran.

    The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former director of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence.