November 19, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Netanyahu Becomes Israel's Defense Minister, New Elections Not Anticipated - Raoul Wootliff (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that he will take on the post of defense minister following Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation last week.
    The withdrawal of Lieberman's party reduced the governing coalition to a 61-seat majority, but it will continue to rule after Education Minister Naftali Bennett said his party would remain part of the government.

Hamas Leader Sinwar: "Next Time, the Barrage of Rockets Will Reach Tel Aviv" - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    During a memorial service on Friday for Hamas fighters killed in the firefight last week in Gaza that erupted after the Palestinians uncovered a secret IDF mission, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar pulled out a gun - which he claimed belonged to an IDF soldier who participated in the operation - and declared: "Next time, the barrage of rockets will reach Tel Aviv and its surrounding area."
    "Our missiles are more precise, have a greater range, and carry more explosives than in the past."
    The head of an Egyptian mediation delegation, Ahmed Abd al-Khaliq, was present at the event.

Palestinian Shunned for Selling Land to Jews to Be Buried in Jewish Cemetery - Inbar Tviser (Ynet News)
    Jerusalem's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern has approved the burial of a Muslim man inside a Jewish cemetery after Muslim cemeteries refused to bury him over suspicions he sold a property to Jews. Ala'a Qarash was killed in a car accident two weeks ago.
    Rabbi Stern explained: "Since the Muslims themselves are unwilling to bury him, we must do something and right this wrong done to a man disgraced simply for his willingness to sell land to Jews. We must give very positive treatment to righteous gentiles, and in this case this is someone who showed good will and was even willing to take a risk."

Raining Rockets from Gaza Are Not Normal - Tzafrir Ben Sinai (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    The Kfar Silver Youth Village on the outskirts of Ashkelon has 700 children in the school and 230 of them live in dormitories there.
    The sirens started going off last Monday afternoon. There were lots of explosions around us. Every missile that goes towards the city, we hear it and feel it as though it is here with us. The houses are shaking, the kids' dormitories are shaking.
    It happens every six months or so. We have a wave of rockets and sirens, and then it stops. It's horrible, it's not normal, it's not acceptable - but this is our reality.
    The writer is deputy director of World ORT's Kfar Silver Youth Village.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Syrian and Israeli Diplomats Clash at UN over Golan Heights - Carol Morello
    The UN on Friday in a 151-2 vote passed a nonbinding resolution introduced every year calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights. The U.S. had always abstained in the past, as 14 nations did this year, but this year America joined Israel in voting no.
        Israel's ambassador Danny Danon thanked the U.S. for its moral stance on the resolution and said the real threat to the region comes from the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the support it gets from Iran. "Thousands of people are being slaughtered every day by the evil Assad regime. Given the opportunity to slander Israel, the world forgets about the atrocities." Danon said the Golan Heights is critical for Israel's security, and is its rightful territory. "Israel will not withdraw from the Golan Heights," he said. "It is time for the international community to accept it."  (Washington Post)
        See also UN Votes to Condemn Israel Nine Times
    The UN General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonization Committee voted on Friday in favor of nine resolutions attacking the State of Israel. The resolutions condemned Israel for alleged human rights abuses, its "occupation" of eastern Jerusalem, and its "occupation" of the Golan Heights captured from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War. (Algemeiner)
  • CIA Concludes Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Jamal Khashoggi's Assassination - Shane Harris, Greg Miller and Josh Dawsey (Washington Post)
        See also Washington Questions Leaks in Khashoggi Case - Moaz al-Omari and Ali Barada
    The U.S. administration denied on Saturday that it had reached a final conclusion in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, "There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi." The State Department will continue to seek facts "while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia." President Trump on Saturday described Saudi Arabia as "a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S.: Palestinian Efforts to Join International Bodies Are "Premature and Counterproductive" - Adam Rasgon
    "It has been the longstanding position of the United States that efforts by the Palestinians to join international entities are premature and counterproductive," a U.S. State Department official told the Times of Israel, after PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday signed documents to join the Universal Postal Union and 10 international protocols and conventions. "The United States continues to make clear...that the only realistic path forward is through direct negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace."
        Israel holds that Palestinian efforts to gain membership in international bodies constitute one-sided measures aimed at achieving statehood while bypassing peace negotiations. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas, Egypt Ensure Toned Down Gaza Border Protests Friday - Elior Levy
    Some 8,000 Gazans came out for the weekly Friday border protests against Israel. The IDF reported that the demonstrators maintained a safe distance from the fence, while burning tires and throwing stones. One of the organizers of the protests, Issam Hamad, explained that the Egyptian intelligence delegation in Gaza had requested that they stay back from the fence so as not to endanger the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. (Ynet News)
  • Is It Time to End the Temporary International Force in Hebron? - Herb Keinon
    Last week in Paris, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would weigh growing calls to evict the Temporary International Force in Hebron (TIPH) after 21 years. "With regard to the continuation of TIPH, we will take a decision in December," Netanyahu said. The 64-member observer force - financed and staffed by Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey - observes the conditions under which the Palestinians live in the section of Hebron under Israeli military rule and reports on incidents of conflict.
        "It would not be complicated to terminate the presence of TIPH," said Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry director-general and now president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The observer force "is somewhat outdated," maintains "marginal utility," and "tends to get into fights with the Jewish community living in Hebron. It raises questions of why it should continue. International peace-keeping forces and monitors have generally been a disaster in the Middle East. They run from their positions the moment they are threatened, or in the case of TIPH, instead of maintaining strict neutrality, they identify completely with the Palestinian side and therefore they do not contribute to security and under such conditions are best removed."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Social Media and Satellite Television Strengthen Bonds of Arabs in Israel with the Arab World - Hannah Kazis-Taylor
    In recent years, social media has provided a digital bridge across geographically separated Palestinian populations. Arab citizens of Israel consume a constant flow of social media content from the territories, strengthening the population's Palestinian identity. In addition, they are able to access Arab satellite television.
        In his book The Arab Public Sphere in Israel, sociologist Amal Jamal writes that 41% percent of people who watched Arab television felt that it strengthened their sense of belonging in the Arab world; in elite circles, this number shot up to 73%. As a result, when it comes to national identity, people are increasingly reporting a stronger affiliation with the term "Palestinian," rising from 47% in 2003 to 63% in 2015. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Author Yossi Klein Halevi: Denying Israel's Right to Exist Is Modern Anti-Semitism
    Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi, speaking at DePaul Law School in Chicago, responded to a question about the ethics of "humanizing" Zionists. Halevi explained how anti-Semitism throughout history blames Jews for the day's ills. Today, "the most loathsome qualities are racism, colonialism, apartheid. And lo and behold, the greatest offender in the world today...is the Jewish state." Those who refuse to "humanize" Zionists, to humanize supporters of Israel's right to exist, mark a "classical continuity of thousands of years of symbolizing the Jew."
        Halevi said that while "criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, criticism of Israel's existence, denying Israel the right to exist, calling Israel the 'Zionist entity' - that is anti-Semitism."  (Washington Free Beacon)

NGOs in Gaza and the West Bank Incite with European Support - Pinhas Inbari (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In Gaza, the NGO network is closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the European "Red-Green" alliance, comprised of the European Left and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • The NGO network in Ramallah, however, belongs to the historical Palestinian Left - the former Communists and the Marxist terror organizations such as the Popular Front and the Democratic Front.
  • The NGOs in Ramallah are very radical, marked by hatred of Israel and the U.S., and they foment tension between Europe and the U.S.
  • In the last Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, the leftist parties won only meager percentages and barely qualified for the Palestinian parliament. They maintain their political power thanks only to the NGO frameworks, which are buttressed by European money.
  • Mustafa Barghouti is the spokesman of the Ramallah NGOs. He was the leader of the Communist Party in the West Bank. In the 2006 presidential elections, he ran against Abbas and won 20% of the vote.
  • When former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Barghouti instigated a demonstration against him.

    The writer, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, is an analyst for the Jerusalem Center.