November 15, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Brings Gaza Terrorist Groups Together to Build a New PLO - Pinhas Inbari (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Israel this week experienced the worst round of military confrontation with Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war.
    Hamas has established a "joint operations room" with the other Gaza terror groups as a step to establishing a new Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is currently under Fatah leadership.
    Organizations including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) already boycott Ramallah's PLO.
    Additionally, the Iranian-supported Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was never part of the PLO.

Hamas Slams U.S. Bounty on Its Second-in-Command - Nour Abu Aisha (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Hamas has slammed Washington's recent decision to offer a $5-million reward for information leading to the capture of the group's deputy leader, Saleh al-Arouri.

Palestinian Police Chief Suspended for Helping Israelis Fix Flat Tire (AP-New York Post)
    Hebron district police chief Col. Ahmad Abu al-Rub has been suspended for helping Israeli soldiers fix a flat tire on their jeep in the West Bank.
    Pictures of the incident on social media sparked anger among Palestinians who considered it collaboration.
    The Israeli vehicle was apparently blocking a road when Abu al-Rub offered to help.

Israeli Researchers Invent Process to Prevent Organ Transplant Rejection - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Researchers at Tel Aviv University have invented personalized tissue implants, using a patient's own cells, making the risk of rejection of an organ implant "virtually disappear."
    Researchers took tissue from patients' stomachs and transformed them into stem cells - that can develop into any kind of cells, from neurons to cardiac cells to spinal cord cells.
    These patient-specific biomaterials do not induce an immune response in humans.

Israel to Invest $60 Million in Solar Energy and Agriculture in Angola (Angola Press Agency)
    Israel is to invest $60 million in various sectors in Angola, including the construction of a solar power plant in Benguela province, Israeli ambassador Oren Rosenblat said Wednesday.
    He added that Israel has invested $300 million in the agricultural sector in Angola since 2014.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • EU Plan to Enable Non-Dollar Iran Trade, Oil Sales Unraveling - John Irish
    A special EU initiative to protect trade with Iran against newly reimposed U.S. sanctions faces possible collapse with no EU country willing to host the operation for fear of provoking U.S. punishment. Austria has declined a request to play host for the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). Belgium and Luxembourg are two other possibilities, but both have expressed strong reservations, diplomats said. Their reluctance arises from fears that SPV reliance on local banks to smooth trade with Iran may incur U.S. penalties, severing the lenders' access to U.S. markets.
        The Trump administration reaffirmed on Tuesday it would not hesitate to target Europeans for sanctions-breaking. "I like to compare the attitudes that are changing in Europe to a book written years ago in the U.S. called The Six Stages of Grief, National Security Adviser John Bolton said. "It starts off with denial. Then it ends up at acceptance."  (Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia Charges 11 People over Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
    Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor on Thursday charged 11 people over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, seeking the death penalty for five of the accused. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • As Palestinian Rockets Multiplied, Israeli First Responders Struggled to Keep Up - Melanie Lidman
    Shimon Lugasi, head of United Hatzalah's Ashkelon regional branch, helped respond or send volunteers to almost 70 events during the rocket barrage from Gaza at the beginning of the week. Attacks on the city of Ashkelon left one dead and 13 injured. Magen David Adom spokesman Zaki Heller said dozens of MDA paramedics from across the country volunteered to come to the region to relieve local staff and volunteers.
        Heller explained how, after a rocket hit an apartment building in Ashkelon, paramedics responded to five incidents in the same neighborhood outside of the building that was hit, including people injured by shrapnel or glass, people who fell and hurt themselves while running to the bomb shelter, and a pregnant woman who went into early labor from the stress of the nearby explosion.
        Magen David Adom treated 65 people during the rocket barrage this week, including three people who were critically injured, and 30 people with minor injuries ranging from shrapnel to smoke inhalation, said Heller. Paramedics also treated 31 people for shock. "With physical injuries, they heal after a month or a few months," Heller added. "But dealing with shock, this sometimes stays with them for their entire life."
        Lugasi said that for most people, the sound of the siren means they run for cover. But "when I hear a siren, I go outside to take care of people."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Terrorist Stabs Policemen in Jerusalem - Uri Bollag
    A Palestinian terrorist in his 20s climbed over a fence of the police station in Jerusalem's Armon HaNatziv neighborhood on Wednesday night and stabbed a border policeman at the entrance, lightly injuring him. A border policewoman at the scene reacted immediately and shot the terrorist. A policeman at the scene was also hurt by the gunfire. Several other officers sustained minor injuries during the struggle with the terrorist. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Next Flare-Up in Gaza Is Only a Matter of Time - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    The truly troubling issue underscored by Monday's violence instigated by Hamas is the ease with which it repeatedly pulls the trigger. The terrorist group acts as though it does not fear Israel at all and it seems to feel confident enough to instigate rounds of violence from which it hopes to emerge as the winner.
        Hamas wants to be portrayed as the entity that took the initiative, dictated the rules and the duration of the game, and emerged with a deal that has not only made it stronger, but has given it a new position of power against Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Expert: Gaza Ceasefire Was No Hamas Victory
    Responding to recent events in Gaza, Prof. (emeritus) Abraham Diskin, an Israeli political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told Radio Sputnik: "As far as I evaluate the situation, Hamas really begged for a ceasefire."
        "Israel was really cautious not to cause too many casualties in general and civilian casualties in particular, but I think that the blows that Hamas had to observe were very, very severe and...it is very, very far from being a Hamas victory. Although Hamas presented it as such, I think the opposite is correct."  (Sputnik-Russia)
  • Imagine If One Rocket Hit an American City? - Arsen Ostrovsky
    In Israel this week, thousands of families had to spend the night in bomb shelters after Hamas in Gaza rained down more than 450 rockets in the space of four to five hours. That is more than one rocket every minute - the most rockets fired at Israel in one day, ever. Imagine if just one rocket was to hit an American city? How would the United States react?
        The only reason there have not been more casualties is because Israel invests money in bomb shelters and the Red Alert warning system. Yet there has been a striking lack of outrage from the international community as Israel has been bombarded with rockets. All those who condemned the Pittsburgh shooting must now also condemn Hamas. Hamas and the Pittsburgh shooter are united in their bloodthirsty, unrestrained hatred of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
        How can it be that there is a supposed "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza when clearly Hamas has enough money to fire off hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians in one day? Unless the international community and the true champions of human rights start to hold Hamas to account, they will only further embolden and empower this terror group, becoming complicit in every rocket and mortar fired at the Jewish state and Israeli citizens. The writer is an international human-rights lawyer. (JNS)

A Ceasefire in Gaza - Editorial (Weekly Standard)
  • For Israel to rely solely on its Iron Dome to intercept rockets is to normalize the terror coming from Gaza. The missile defense system has an 86% rate of efficacy, but rockets still make it through and kill and wound civilians. In Israeli towns like Nahal Oz, Sderot, Beersheba, and Ashkelon, civilians live a fair proportion of their lives in bomb shelters. The young are raised in constant fear of rockets.
  • Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire, but it will not last. Palestinian militants do not believe in Israel's right to exist. For them, ceasefires are strategic, not substantive, and could be broken any time. This one will be broken, too.
  • Was not the clandestine Israeli operation inside Gaza a provocation that led to the hostilities? In reality, no. Gaza is run by militants who dream of the destruction of the Zionist entity, as they call Israel. It is worth noting the lightning-fast speed with which rockets filled the skies once Hamas gave the word.
  • Gaza is perpetually ready to shed the blood of its neighbor's civilians. That Israel runs furtive operations inside Gaza will only shock those who think it an easy thing to protect civilian lives against the imminent threat of carnage.
  • What the Palestinians need most is to acclimate to the reality of the neighboring Israeli state. That won't happen until the Palestinians find a leader willing to renounce the honor-cult of Jew-hatred and to seek peace and prosperity in earnest. Neither Hamas in Gaza nor Fatah in the West Bank is likely to produce such a leader.