October 11, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Crown Prince Sought to Lure Khashoggi Back to Saudi Arabia and Detain Him, U.S. Intercepts Show - Shane Harris (Washington Post)
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Saudi government critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him, according to U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.
    The intelligence is another piece of evidence implicating the Saudi regime in Khashoggi's disappearance last week after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
    The intelligence has fueled speculation that what transpired at the consulate was a backup plan to capture Khashoggi that may have gone wrong.
    See also Why Jamal Khashoggi's Disappearance Will Haunt the Saudi Government - Elliott Abrams (Washington Post)

Israel Gives a Chance to Egyptian, UN Efforts to Ease Gaza Tensions - Nazeer Majli (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Israel is giving a chance to efforts by Egypt and UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov to ease tensions with Gaza, despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' opposition.
    Israel's political and security cabinet on Wednesday endorsed the position of the Israeli army which opposes launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza against Hamas.
    Israeli sources said the situation in Gaza did not justify launching a broad military confrontation with Hamas, and that an opportunity should be given to Egyptian and UN efforts which aim at new arrangements to rebuild the infrastructure in Gaza.

Abbas Advisor: Islam's Religious War to Destroy Israel Has Started - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The most important religious figure in the Palestinian Authority, Supreme Shari'a Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who was appointed by PA Chairman Abbas as his personal advisor on Islam, recently stated that Israelis/Jews are the "enemies of Islam," have a "culture of Satan," and represent "evil."
    Al-Habbash explained that the current battle is the ultimate battle described in the Quran, leading to great destruction for the "Children of Israel."

Israel Picks Wharton Finance Professor as Central Bank Chief - Hagai Amit (Ha'aretz)
    Prof. Amir Yaron of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania was tapped as the next Bank of Israel governor on Tuesday.
    Yaron, who holds Israeli and American citizenship, has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Secretary of State Pompeo: U.S. Seeks "Removal of All Iranian and Iranian-Backed Forces in Syria"
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs on Wednesday that the U.S. sought the "removal of all Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in Syria." "The onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syria government. If Syria does not ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian troops, it will not receive one single dollar for reconstruction."
        Pompeo added that the U.S. would defend Israel's right to act in Syria to contain Iran. "We'll stand up for its right to target Iranian-backed targets in Syria."  (JTA)
        See also Video: The U.S. Stands on the Side of Israel - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (State Department)
        See also Pompeo: U.S. Blocks $165 Million in Aid to PA under Taylor Force Act - Michael Wilner
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday: "I signed an order today denying $165 million to the Palestinian Authority under the Taylor Force Act because of their funding of terror." The Taylor Force Act bars the State Department from continuing aid to the PA unrelated to security cooperation unless it ceases compensating the families of convicted murderers and terrorists. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UNESCO Again Declares Rachel's Tomb and Cave of Patriarchs Part of "Occupied Palestine"
    The PX Commission of the Executive Board of UNESCO on Wednesday adopted resolutions declaring that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem are integral parts of "the Occupied Palestinian territory."
        Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon responded: "This is further evidence - for anyone who did not understand why the United States and Israel withdrew from UNESCO - that again proves that UNESCO is a body based on lies and biases, and is deliberately acting against us. The State of Israel will not be a member of an organization that is trying to rewrite history and is willing to be manipulated by our enemies."  (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Destroys Hamas Terror Tunnel Inside Israel - Anna Ahronheim
    The IDF destroyed an advanced Hamas offensive tunnel on Thursday that had crossed from Gaza some 200 meters into Israel. It was the 15th tunnel detected and destroyed by the military since October 2017. The tunnel from the Khan Yunis area stretched over a kilometer and was fitted with an electricity and phone network. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Photo: Route of Hamas Terror Tunnel into Israel - Matthew Levitt (Twitter)
  • French Consulate Employee Confesses to Smuggling Weapons from Gaza for Palestinians in West Bank - Almog Ben Zikri
    Roman Frank, a driver for the French Consulate who carried an official French passport, confessed to the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency that he and the Palestinians who worked with him smuggled weapons six or seven times from Gaza to the West Bank and said he received $12,000 for the smuggling. Frank said he smuggled the weapons when he drove diplomats to reduce the chance that the vehicle would be searched. Frank is said to have smuggled in some 70 guns and two rifles that he received from a Palestinian who worked at a French cultural center in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Arson Attacks from Gaza Cause 1,053 Fires in Israel in Six Months - Matan Tzuri
    Over the past six months, 11,920 dunams (some 3,000 acres) of farmland and woodland have been burned in fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons flown from Gaza into Israel, the Jewish National Fund, which has been planting trees in Israel for over a century, reported. 1,053 fires have consumed countless of trees in the Be'eri, Kissufim, Shokeda, Hannun, and HaBesor Stream forests. The rehabilitation of these forests is expected to take years. Furthermore, hundreds of wild animals perished in the fires. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel vs. Iran in Syria - Yaakov Lappin
    In August, Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Amir Khatami signed an agreement in Damascus for military cooperation with his Syrian counterpart, Gen. Ali Ayoub. It was a statement that Iran has no intention of giving up its goal of turning Syria into an Iranian military fortress.
        Over the past 18 months, the Israel Air Force has struck 200 targets across Syria in response to Iran's expansion efforts. Some 800 missiles and bombs were reportedly used in the Israeli attacks. Israel is playing an aggressive defense, determined to keep Iran from converting Syria into an Iranian launching pad for future aggression against Israel. Long-range precise airpower and ever-improving intelligence capabilities came together to give Israel the ability of placing limitations on Iran's activities.
        Israel found that it could enforce its red lines against Iranian expansion, and do so without ending up in a major war. It also signaled powerful regional capabilities which contributed to deterrence against foes, and inspired Sunni moderate states that are equally threatened by Iran's activities to boost cooperation with Israel. The writer is a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Fathom-BICOM)
  • Israel Hatred Strengthened in New PA Textbooks - Yaakov Ahimeir
    Dr. Arnon Gross, a former senior news anchor for Israel Radio in Arabic, researched the latest Palestinian textbooks published by the PA Education Ministry in Ramallah and found a "depressing" change for the worse. When PA President Mahmoud Abbas leaves his post, he will have bequeathed a dark legacy of incitement embedded in the minds of Palestinians. Gross discovered that in each instance in an earlier textbook of even the slightest hint of deviation from the lexicon of hatred toward Israel and Jews, the authors later corrected the "mistake."
        For comparison, Gross analyzed textbooks in the Israeli education system. In these books, he says, the authors write about peace as the only solution to the conflict, and the Israeli political-diplomatic discourse included endless discussions of the Oslo Accords. In the Palestinian textbooks, on the other hand, the Oslo Accords are mentioned only in passing and not as the beginning of a peace process. A new generation of Palestinians is being raised on these texts, which are extinguishing even the smallest thought of co-existence with Israel. The writer is a senior Israeli journalist, and a television and radio personality. (Israel Hayom)
        See also The Path to Peace Begins in the Classroom - Dr. Deborah Singer Soffen and Dr. Joan Lurie Goldberg (Times of Israel)

  • A study of the effect of BDS on the Israeli economy by our company, Financial Immunities, revealed a wide gap between journalists' reports about the effect of the anti-Israel boycott campaign and its actual effects, which were negligible.
  • Using a false digital identity, I asked the BDS organization what I should do to boycott Israel. They sent me a link to a page with hundreds of names of international companies having connections with Israel. Boycotting them would have prevented me from buying things ranging from basic items at the supermarket to any kind of mobile telephone, a refrigerator, or a car.
  • I asked managers of Israeli companies, "Can you quantify in money how much your company lost as a result of the economic boycott created by BDS?" The proportion of Israeli companies able to state that they had been damaged by the sanctions was around 0.75%. The rate of damage of each of them was less than 10% of their turnover.
  • According to our calculations, the cumulative proportion of economic damage to Israel from BDS since 2010 was 0.004% - meaning if the Israeli economy's yearly income were 1 million shekels, the damage from the sanctions would have been 40 shekels.
  • Paradoxically, there were also Israeli companies that benefited from the boycott. One company said that after BDS activists stood in front of its store in London and called for boycotting its products, the number of buyers jumped by four times the usual number as many came to demonstrate their sympathy for Israel.

    The writer is chairperson of Financial Immunities.

        See also BDS Unmasked: Radical Roots, Extremist Ends - Dan Diker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)