September 27, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

UN Secretary-General: Denying Israel's Right to Exist Is Anti-Semitism (United Nations)
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a UNESCO conference on anti-Semitism on Wednesday: "Jews continue to be attacked for no other reason than their identity."
    "Where there is anti-Semitism, there are likely to be other discriminatory ideologies and forms of bias - feeding each other in a cauldron of contempt....Anti-Semitism threatens all people's human rights."
    "In more recent times, it is expressing itself in attempts to delegitimize the right of Israel to exist, including calls for its destruction, using the pretext of the situation in the Middle East to target Jews and Jewish symbols....All of us have a duty to fight back."

Pipeline Deal Brings Export of Israeli Gas to Egypt within Sight - Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen (Reuters)
    Israel's Delek Drilling, the U.S.' Noble Energy, and the Egyptian East Gas Co. announced Thursday they will buy a 39% stake in the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) pipeline to enable a $15 billion natural gas export deal to begin next year.
    An export deal signed in February envisions the supply of 64 billion cubic meters of gas over 10 years from Israel's offshore Tamar and Leviathan fields to Egypt.
    EMG owns a 90 km. subsea pipeline between Ashkelon in Israel and El-Arish in Egypt. Egyptian East Gas also owns a pipeline between El-Arish and Aqaba, Jordan.

Russia and Iran Are Fast Becoming Economic Rivals - Sune Engel Rasmussen and Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
    A military alliance between Russia and Iran to back Syrian President Assad is giving way to an economic rivalry as Syria's war winds down.
    Russia is outdoing Iran for lucrative opportunities to rebuild the country.
    Moreover, Russian oil production has soared in recent months as Iran's exports have fallen. Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and Russia of teaming up to push for higher oil output to push down prices and hurt Iran's economy.

Billboard to Honor Iranian Soldiers Actually Depicts IDF - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Authorities in the Iranian city of Shiraz removed a billboard commemorating the war with Iraq after locals noticed the soldiers depicted were wearing Israeli uniforms and carrying M-16s, which the Iranian army does not use.

Israeli Drone Company to Create 80 Jobs in Scottsdale, Arizona - Lorraine Longhi (Arizona Republic)
    Airobotics, an Israeli automated drone company, said Tuesday it plans to create 80 jobs at its North American headquarters in Scottsdale.
    Airobotics' first U.S. customer will be BHP, the world's largest mining company.
    Airobotics uses drones to collect aerial data, replacing standard piloted services. Its Optimus drones are fully automatic, capable of taking off and landing on their own.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Says He Favors Two-State Solution - Mark Landler
    Speaking before a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, President Trump said Wednesday that he favored a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "That's what I think works best." He added that he hoped to present his peace plan "over the next two to three to four months."  (New York Times)
        See also Trump Open to One-State Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    President Trump told a news conference on Wednesday: "If the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that's OK with me. If they want two states, that's OK with me. I'm happy if they're happy."  (Reuters)
        See also Netanyahu: Palestinian State Would Remain under Israeli Security Control - Raphael Ahren
    Prime Minister Netanyahu said Wednesday after a meeting with President Trump that the U.S. accepts that if a two-state solution is achieved to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel will retain overall security control of the West Bank. "Israel will not give up on security control west of the Jordan [River] as long as I am prime minister. I think the Americans accept that principle."
        "The question is, what is a state?...That's also what I said in the meeting: Will it be Costa Rica or Iran?...I am ready for the Palestinians to have the power to govern themselves without having the powers to threaten us."  (Times of Israel)
  • Trump: After U.S. Embassy Move, "Israel Will Have to Do Something that Will Be Good for the Other Side"
    Prior to their meeting in New York City on Wednesday, President Trump told Prime Minister Netanyahu: "We are very much in favor of what Israel is doing as far as their defense is concerned. They're aggressive, and they have no choice but to be aggressive. It's a very difficult part of the world. So I just want to let...all of the people know...that we are with you. We are with Israel 100%."
        Trump added: "By taking off the table the embassy moving to Jerusalem, that was always the primary ingredient as to why deals couldn't get done....And now, that's off the table. Now, that will also mean that Israel will have to do something that will be good for the other side....That's a big chip that they got. I took probably the biggest chip off the table, and so obviously we have to...make a fair deal. We have to do something. Deals have to be good for both parties....Israel got the first chip and it's a big one."  (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets with Egyptian President al-Sisi in New York
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President al-Sisi met Wednesday for nearly two hours at Sisi's hotel in New York City, where they discussed regional developments and the situation in Gaza. (i24News)
  • Palestinians Host Meeting to Explore Alternatives to Trump Peace Plan
    The Palestinian mission to the UN on Wednesday hosted heads of international organizations and diplomats from 40 nations to explore a multilateral alternative to the U.S. peace initiative. The meeting in New York City was attended by the foreign ministers of Turkey, Ireland, and Japan, UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt, and diplomats from Germany, Norway, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Indonesia, among others. Israel and the U.S. were not invited. (i24News)
  • Netanyahu Won't Attend UNESCO Anti-Semitism Conference
    Prime Minister Netanyahu declined an invitation from UNESCO to participate in a conference on anti-Semitism at the UN on Wednesday. He said: "I have decided not to participate in this week's UNESCO conference on anti-Semitism due to the organization's persistent and egregious bias against Israel. Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only 2 resolutions condemning all other countries combined. This is simply outrageous."
        "UNESCO...must do more than host a conference on anti-Semitism. It must stop practicing anti-Semitism....No matter what UNESCO says, the Western Wall is not occupied Palestinian territory and the Cave of the Patriarchs - the burial site of Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah - is not a Palestinian Heritage Site....If and when UNESCO ends its bias against Israel, stops denying history and starts standing up for the truth, Israel will be honored to rejoin."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Incendiary Balloons from Gaza Ignite 5 Fires in Israel on Wednesday - Ilana Curiel (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • U.S. Calls to "Raise the Cost to Iran" in Yemen - Mina al-Oraibi and Joyce Karam
    U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking has spent the last three weeks in shuttle regional diplomacy to lay the groundwork for a U.S.-hosted summit in January that would launch the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA). Lenderking said in an interview on Wednesday that members would include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, the U.S., Egypt and Jordan.
        He said the idea of MESA is "it builds a good strong shield against threats in the Gulf," naming Iran as the "number one threat," as well as cyber concerns, attacks on infrastructure, and coordinating conflict management from Syria to Yemen, as part of its agenda.
        Lenderking said that in Yemen, "Iran is getting away with literally murder. They are aiding and abetting the Houthis in attacking Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This is unacceptable for the U.S.; these are key allies....It's incumbent on all of us to raise the cost to Iran."  (National-UAE)
  • UK Labour Party Vote on Israel and Palestinians Is an Empty Gesture - Anshel Pfeffer
    At the debate at the UK Labour party's annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, the entire hall was waving Palestinian flags. A motion to condemn Israeli policies passed in a near-unanimous show of hands.
        Not only was this the only foreign policy issue debated at any length, but in a preliminary vote by party members on their agenda priorities, Palestine came fourth - outstripping issues of far greater relevance to British citizens such as the Brexit process and the crisis in the National Health Service. It certainly didn't reflect the priorities of the British public, and not even Labour voters.
        The Palestine debate was an exercise in virtue signaling by the party's ascendant hard left. Anyway, it was hardly a debate. There were no dissenting voices or anyone trying to present Israel's position.
        The motion freezing British arms sales to Israel is largely declarative, as Israel does not acquire any major weapons systems from Britain - just a few things that could easily be bought elsewhere. In fact, as far as arms sales go, British acquisitions of Israeli drones, missiles and airborne systems crucial to British operations - as well as most British military-flight training - is more than tenfold the value of British arms bought by Israel. (Ha'aretz)

During their meeting in New York City on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Donald Trump:
  • "First, thank you for your strong words yesterday at the General Assembly against the corrupt terrorist regime in Iran....The fact that you brought American sanctions to bear has cut the cash machine of Iran and its campaign of carnage and conquest of the Middle East. And we who live in the Middle East - Israelis and Arabs who are subject to this Iranian danger - want to thank you especially."
  • "Secondly, I want to thank you for the extraordinary support that you have shown for Israel in this building, in the UN. No one has backed Israel like you do, and we appreciate it."
  • "Third, this is the first time that we meet after the American Embassy has been moved to Jerusalem. You've changed history, and you've touched our hearts."
  • "Fourth, and last, I want to say how much I appreciate your robust defense of Israel's right of self-defense....Everybody should understand that Israel will continue to do what is necessary and defend ourselves against Iranian aggression in Syria, in Lebanon, [and] anywhere else."