November 14, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israel's Defense Minister Resigns (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday due to differences of opinion regarding Israel's response to Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza.

Over 100 People Wounded in Israel by Gaza Rocket Fire (Times of Israel)
    Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon said Tuesday it treated 93 people who were hurt by Palestinian rocket fire, including 2 who were moderately wounded, 46 who were lightly wounded, and 44 who were treated for shock.
    Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba treated 15 people, 9 with physical wounds and 6 with shock.

Hamas Trying to Challenge Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Hamas and Islamic Jihad have tried in this round of fighting to overpower Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system by firing heavy barrages of dozens of rockets on a relatively small area.
    Out of 400 rockets, Iron Dome batteries intercepted 120 rockets that would've otherwise fallen in populated areas.
    IDF officials stressed that Iron Dome cannot provide 100% protection, and the public must follow safety instructions by the Home Front Command to prevent casualties.

Israel Avoided Killing Palestinian Civilians to Try to Prevent All-Out War - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
    After an anti-tank missile was fired from Gaza across the border at a bus near Kibbutz Kfar Aza on Monday, followed by a broad Hamas offensive against Israel involving rockets and mortars, both the Israeli government and the army understood a substantial response was necessary.
    Unlike recent bouts of fighting, the army decided to start with significant Hamas targets in city centers - high-rise buildings of operational importance - rather than military targets in outlying areas.
    Thus, the Israeli airstrikes were "completely different from anything we've known in the past," said a senior Air Force officer on Tuesday.
    "We've learned how to attack these targets at the heart of residential neighborhoods and obliterate them without killing anyone in the strike."

FBI: Jews Subject to 60 Percent of Religiously-Motivated Hate Crimes in 2017 - Yair Rosenberg (Tablet)
    On Tuesday, the FBI published its annual report cataloging hate crimes for the previous calendar year.
    As in every year since the bureau began collecting these statistics in 1992, Jews topped the list. And it wasn't close.
    Of 1,564 anti-religious hate crimes in 2017, 938 targeted Jews. In other words, Jews were subject to 60% of these hate crimes, despite constituting less than 2% of the American population.
    See also Report: 2017 Hate Crime Statistics (FBI)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Gaza Cease-Fire Reached after Worst Fighting since 2014 War - Ruth Eglash
    Palestinian factions in Gaza said they had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel on Tuesday. Israel said 460 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel. Israeli jets responded with more than 160 airstrikes. (Washington Post)
        See also Netanyahu: Our Enemies Begged for Gaza Cease-Fire - Almog Ben Zikri
    Hamas "begged for a cease-fire, and they know very well why," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a memorial ceremony for Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, in Sde Boker on Wednesday. (Ha'aretz)
  • OPEC, Russia Crude Production Increases Offset Iran Losses - Sarah McFarlane
    OPEC and Russian crude production continued to climb in October, more than offsetting losses from Iran where U.S. sanctions have curbed output, the oil cartel said on Tuesday. Gains mostly came from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and were supported by Russia's 50,000 barrels-a-day increase last month. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Designates Son of Hizbullah Leader a Terrorist
    The U.S. State Department on Tuesday designated Jawad Nasrallah, son of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, a terrorist and accused him of carrying out attacks against Israel in the West Bank. The Al-Mujahidin Brigades (AMB), which it said had links to Hizbullah, was also blacklisted. "Today's designations seek to deny Nasrallah and AMB the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks," the State Department said.
        Later, the State Department announced $5 million rewards for locating Hamas leader Salih al-Aruri and Hizbullah leaders Khalil Yusif Mahmoud Harb and Haytham Ali Tabatabaei. (Reuters)
        See also How the U.S. Targets Iran's Terrorist Proxies - Amb. Nathan Sales, State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
        See also State Department Terrorist Designations (State Department)
        See also Treasury Sanctions Key Hizbullah, IRGC-QF Networks in Iraq (U.S. Treasury Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel UN Envoy Danon: There Are Not Two Sides to Hamas Missile Attacks on Israeli Civilians
    Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Tuesday that those who want to blame Israel for the latest fighting with Hamas in Gaza are "morally bankrupt," and he rejected those who call for restraint by both sides. "There is no such thing as both sides. There is Hamas that attacks and fires over 460 missiles at civilians and there is Israel that protects its people."  (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Celebrates "Victory" in Gaza - Adam Rasgon
    As Hamas sought to depict the cessation of hostilities as a dramatic victory for its side after two days of rocket fire on Israeli towns, demonstrations by Hamas supporters were held on Tuesday evening throughout Gaza, with marches in Khan Yunis, Gaza City, Jabalya, and Rafah, Palestinian media reported. In a speech in front of the rubble of the Al-Aqsa TV headquarters in Gaza City, senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said, "We come out today, celebrating the victory of the... Palestinian resistance here on the mighty land of Gaza.... We salute the joint command center [of Palestinian factions in Gaza]."  (Times of Israel)
  • Despite Rocket Attacks, Israel Continues Delivering Supplies to Gaza - Anna Ahronheim
    Despite incessant Hamas rocket attacks against Israel on Tuesday, the Kerem Shalom border crossing was functioning normally. Five gas tankers, 30 fuel tankers, and hundreds of other trucks with humanitarian goods delivered their goods to Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • France, Germany, Britain and Czech Republic Condemn Hamas Rocket Fire on Israel - Herb Keinon
    France "utterly condemns the numerous rocket attacks claimed by Hamas, which have deliberately targeted in recent hours several municipalities in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip," it said in a statement on Tuesday. Germany said: "We strongly condemn this rocket fire. There can be no justification for this violence against innocent civilians. We have always made clear that Israel has the right to defend its security and respond appropriately to attacks."
        The UK Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt said, "I condemn Hamas rocket fire, and am deeply concerned by civilian casualties." The Czech Republic's Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek posted on Twitter: "I strongly condemn Hamas & Islamic Jihad attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians."
        On Monday, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that "rocket attacks against Israel & its civilian population are certainly not the way to solve any of Gaza's problems & must stop immediately." Emanuele Giaufret, the EU ambassador to Israel, tweeted that he was "following with great concern...the indiscriminate firing of rockets towards the south of Israel. Attacks on civilians are unacceptable and need to stop."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Commanders Who Lead from the Front - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Uzi Dayan
    IDF special forces Lt. Col. M. was killed during an operation in Gaza this week. As someone who has participated in operations and has been wounded, I can say that the commanders see themselves first and foremost as soldiers in the lead. In their eyes, the best place for them to be is at the front of their troops. There is risk involved, but the blood of a lieutenant colonel is not more valuable than the blood of a sergeant. They are both just as valuable. This style of command produces the best mission performance and imbues the fighters with optimal confidence.
        Special unit members train hard and delve into the tiniest of details. Every operational eventuality has a contingency plan, which the soldiers drill. They know the unforeseen can happen, and they train to overcome unanticipated obstacles.
        As soon as possible after every operation, the soldiers debrief to identify their mistakes, so that the next team will be better prepared to execute the next mission. During the debriefings, the soldiers speak honestly, knowing the truth will not be used against them; rather, lessons will be learned to save lives in the future.
        The motto of the commanders in the field is always "follow me." This is how security is provided for Israel's citizens. The writer is a former Israeli national security adviser and IDF deputy chief of staff. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas Prefers to Preserve Achievements over All-Out War - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas indicated on Tuesday that it was not interested in another major war with Israel after firing hundreds of rockets and mortars toward Israel. Hamas is already boasting that its men achieved a huge victory by uncovering the covert IDF operation and killing a senior Israeli officer from an elite unit, though seven Palestinians were killed in the incident.
        For now, Hamas prefers to continue reaping the fruits of its "achievements" rather than engage in another major military confrontation with Israel. These "achievements" include the delivery of the $15 million Qatari grant to Gaza last week. The Qatar grant was the first installment of $90 million that the emirate has pledged to send to Gaza in the next six months. Hamas does not want to risk losing the remainder of the Qatari funds.
        At the same time, Hamas is telling Palestinians, "We haven't abandoned the armed struggle option despite our willingness to accept a temporary cease-fire with Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)

  • A secret Iranian archive seized by Israeli agents earlier this year indicates that Tehran's nuclear program was more advanced than Western intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought, according to David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector who runs the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
  • If Iran restarts its centrifuges, it could produce weapons-grade uranium in 7 to 12 months, said Albright, who is preparing reports on the archive.
  • "The archive is littered with new stuff about the Iranian nuclear weapons program," Albright told Foreign Policy. "It's unbelievable how much is in there."
  • The Iranians "were further along than Western intelligence agencies realized."
  • The trove of documents demonstrates that Washington and the IAEA were constantly underestimating how close Tehran was to a bomb.