October 25, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

How Iran Attempts to Cloak Its Oil Exports - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Oil tankers departing from Iran have been "cloaking" their movements by turning off their global transponders, says Samir Madani who co-founded TankerTrackers with Lisa Ward.
    Many tankers connected to the National Iranian Tanker Company have been spotted going into port but not coming out, Madani says. "Then you look at the export terminal with a satellite and see the tanker's no longer there."
    "Today, nearly the entire fleet [trading with Iran] is working in this manner in order to throw off the trackers."

Official: Iran's Economic Crisis Forced 70 Percent of Factories to Close (Middle East Monitor)
    Iran's economic crisis has caused 70% of factories, workshops and mines to shut down or go bankrupt, the IRNA news agency reported Iranian official Mostafa Mirsalim saying.
    Factories had to shut down due to lack of raw materials and hard currency as a result of U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.

Tehran Promises Handouts to a Restive Population While the Economy Sags - Aresu Eqbali and Asa Fitch (Wall Street Journal)
    The Iranian government is moving to provide financial support to 20 million lower-income people, or about a quarter of the population, as the cost of living in Iran has soared.
    The International Monetary Fund now expects Iran's economy to shrink by 3.6% next year due to the impact of U.S. sanctions.

Israel Aerospace Wins $777 Million India Contract for Missile Defense (Reuters)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won an additional $777 million contract to supply Barak 8 air and missile defense systems to seven ships in the Indian navy, the company said on Wednesday.
    Last year, IAI struck a deal worth almost $2 billion to supply India's army and navy with missile defense systems.
    This was followed by a $630 million contract to supply Barak 8 surface-to-air missile systems for four ships in the Indian navy.

Punjab Seeks Israel's Help in Recycling Sewage Water (Punjab Newsline-India)
    Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday sought Israel's cooperation in enabling recycling of sewage water in five major cities during talks in Jerusalem with Israel's Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Yuval Steinitz.
    In Israel, 95% of sewage water is recycled for agriculture.
    Singh also said Israel's drip irrigation technology was a laudable initiative that Punjab could adopt to its advantage.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Arab States Fear Khashoggi Case Could Trigger Regional Instability - Karen DeYoung and Souad Mekhennet
    Nearly all governments in the Arab world are shocked at what few doubt was the officially sanctioned killing and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. But what worries the Arabs most, regional officials and experts say, is what they see as the danger to their own stability and security should Saudi Arabia's status - and its close ties with the U.S. - be seriously undermined. If the administration decides to seriously step back from its alliance with Riyadh, "our security is at risk," a senior official from a Persian Gulf country said. "Iran might see another opportunity to destabilize."
        However they feel about the crown prince, said an official from another country in the region, under the current U.S. administration, Saudi Arabia is the "pillar" around which the Arab relationship with the U.S. is anchored. Anwar Gargash, the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted on Oct. 16, "From the perspective of the sons of the Arab gulf and the region, the Saudi presence is vital for stability and development in a troubled and difficult atmosphere. The passing crises won't change this reality."  (Washington Post)
  • Israel Tells Churches It Does Not Seek to Seize Lands
    Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi met leaders of the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches on Tuesday in response to a letter they sent last week to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling to block draft legislation they said was aimed at expropriating their property. Hanegbi told them, "The government of Israel has no intention to confiscate church lands or to cause any economic damage to the churches."
        Swathes of Jerusalem are held by various churches, which then sublet the properties on the commercial market. The bill would allow the state to intervene in the resale of residential property leases to commercial property developers. The bill's sponsor, MK Rachel Azaria of the centrist Kulanu party, says it was meant to solve the problem of "thousands of Jerusalem residents who could lose their homes due to the demands of developers."  (AFP-Independent-UK)
  • Report: Key Chinese Bank to Stop Dealing with Iran ahead of U.S. Sanctions - Chen Aizhu and Shu Zhang
    The Bank of Kunlun, the key Chinese conduit for transactions with Iran, is set to halt handling payments from the Islamic Republic on Nov. 1 under pressure of imminent U.S. sanctions against the country, four sources said. The bank, controlled by the financial arm of Chinese state energy group CNPC, had already quietly suspended euro-denominated payments from Iran in late August, the sources said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Co-Hosting Trade Conference with Netanyahu, China's Vice President Wang Qishan Hails Israeli Technology
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and China's Vice President Wang Qishan co-hosted a trade and innovation conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday. "Israel leads the world in electronics, information technology, modern medicine, and agriculture," Wang said. China has become Israel's second largest trading partner, following the U.S.
        "China and Israel are a perfect match," said Dale Aluf, the director of research for Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (SIGNAL), a think tank that promotes closer Israeli-Chinese relations. "China may be a huge market, but it has a lot of domestic problems - pollution, desertification, an aging population. Israel has the technology to solve those problems."
        "We have to be cautious about the types of things we sell to China," said Aluf. "Defense technology is off the table. But we can sell health care and sustainable development."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chinese Vice President Wang at Israel-China Innovation Conference (Israel Government Press Office)
  • Israel Responds to Rocket Fire from Gaza
    After a rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel on Wednesday, the IDF struck eight Hamas targets including a military compound, a training base, and a weapons production and storage site in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Gaza Arson Balloons Cause 8 Fires in Israel Wednesday - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Illusion of Absolute Security - Yoram Yuval
    After a rocket from Gaza hit a residence in Beersheba last week, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said that the capability of Israel's anti-missile defense systems "is not hermetic. What saved the day were the correct actions of a citizen."
        There is no such thing as absolute security in Israel; nor will there ever be. We are always living under some level of danger. Mental health is the ability to live with this knowledge, to live in the shadow of danger, and still function normally and feel at ease. What we need is not blind faith that we are completely protected, but rather the readiness to act when attacked. There is no substitute for a well-trained and prepared home front.
        Our air defense systems are indeed a pride-worthy technological achievement, but they cannot replace vigilance and resourcefulness, readiness for quick response, and use of safe rooms. The writer is a professor and head of the Brain Institute for Emotional Research at the School of Social Work, University of Haifa. (Ynet News)
  • Why Palestinians Do Not Have a Parliament - Khaled Abu Toameh
    For the past 11 years, the Palestinian Authority has been without a functioning parliament. The 132-member Palestinian Legislative Council was established after the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993. It has not been functioning since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza and toppled the Palestinian Authority regime there.
        In the absence of a functioning parliament, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been passing laws by "presidential decree." He has effectively replaced the PLC as the sole lawmaker for the Palestinians, making him into an autocratic and totalitarian president unaccountable to anyone. Worse, Abbas has also used his powers to punish those members of parliament who dare to criticize him or his policies.
        The Fatah Revolutionary Council, dominated by Abbas loyalists, recommended on Oct. 14 that the Palestinian president dissolve the PLC. By sidelining the PLC, Abbas and his loyalists have destroyed any dream the Palestinians ever had of having a functioning parliament. (Gatestone Institute)

Protecting Jewish Identity Is Our Most Important Task - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
  • What I'm concerned with when it comes to the Jewish people is the loss of identity. It's not the question of the Western Wall or the question of conversion; we'll overcome that. It's the loss of identity.
  • Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch wrote recently: "Those who are not concerned with Jewish survival will not survive as Jews." There's some basic truth to that.
  • Jewish survival is guaranteed in the Jewish state if we defend our state, but we have to also work at the continuity of Jewish communities in the world by developing Jewish education, the study of Hebrew, having the contact of young Jews coming to Israel.
  • We need an approach in the internet age to young Jewish men and women, to Jewish children around the world, so that they understand that their own future as Jews depends on continuous identity.
  • It's protecting Jewish identity and developing Jewish consciousness that is the most important thing. It transcends politics; it touches on the foundations of history. So I hope that we do this.
  • This is what I think we're here for. We are one people - let's make sure that every Jewish child in the world knows how proud they should be to be Jews.