December 6, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Technology Detects Suspicious Drones at G20 Summit in Buenos Aires (JTA)
    Israeli technology employed by Argentina to provide security during the G20 global leaders' summit detected several unauthorized drone incidents.
    On Thursday, summit authorities detected an unauthorized drone in an area of the hotels in which the foreign delegations stayed. The drone was neutralized.
    On Friday, a drone flew close to the group of leaders who were entering the Colon Theater for an event. The drone was neutralized and fell to the street.

Israel Developing New Laser Missile Defense System - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    As the threat of precise rockets from Lebanon increases, Israel is accelerating the development of a new interception system using powerful lasers.
    A senior defense source told Globes, "Exciting developments have already been attained. Many good minds have already been working on this for two and a half years. We have achieved a breakthrough and made substantial progress."
    One source said, "If they continue giving preference to the current program and work on it at a fast pace, there may be operational laser rocket interception capability in three years, or even a little less."

ISIS Finds a Niche in Northern Iraq - Jonathan Spyer (Wall Street Journal)
    The core of Islamic State is regrouping near the Qara Chokh mountain range in northern Iraq.
    A recent report from the Institute for the Study of War found ISIS maintains similar networks of support and de facto control in the Hamrin Mountains in Diyala Province, the Hawija District, eastern Salah al-Din Province, Daquq, and south of Mosul city - all in Iraq's central Sunni heartland.
    The report, entitled ISIS' Second Resurgence, puts the number of fighters available to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria at 30,000.
    It also estimates that ISIS has smuggled as much as $400 million out of Iraq.
    The writer is director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.

Hungary, Israel in Talks over Controversial Holocaust Museum in Budapest - Noa Landau and Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
    Israel and Hungary are holding talks on the content of a controversial Holocaust museum, the House of Fates, scheduled to open in Budapest next year.
    The opening of the museum, which was initiated and funded by the Hungarian government, is to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazis' deportations of Hungarian Jewry with the cooperation of the Hungarian authorities, which led to the murder of half a million people.
    The Hungarian Jewish community fears the museum will serve to distort Hungary's true role in the Holocaust.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Secretary-General: Cross-Border Tunnels Unacceptable - Ali Barada
    Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Wednesday: "From the Secretary-General's point of view, his principle is that the building of tunnels from one country to another for military purposes is wholly unacceptable." Israel announced that it had discovered Hizbullah tunnels infiltrating its territory from southern Lebanon and launched an operation to destroy them. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
        See also Britain, Germany Condemn Hizbullah Tunnels (Times of Israel)
  • Victims Look to Punish Iran for Attacks Against U.S. Troops in Iraq - Todd South
    A three-day federal trial that began this week pits a New Jersey and an Arkansas law firm against the Islamic Republic of Iran, alleging that the regime funneled funds, personnel and training in a long-running and deeply organized plot to exact as much damage as possible on U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq.
        If successful, the more than 200 plaintiffs in this case could be considered eligible to receive confiscated or forfeited funds being gathered in an account for victims of terrorist acts. This week's case focuses on 90 separate attacks and the victims and their families who've suffered death, dismemberment and lifelong trauma as a result of Iran's campaign. They want $10 billion.
        The majority of the attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq involved the sophisticated, Iranian-designed and supplied, explosively formed penetrator, or EFP. Army Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Oates was asked, "Did the U.S. ever develop a successful countermeasure for the EFP?" "No," Oates said. "Did Iran ever suffer any consequences for its support and development of EFPs?" "No," Oates said. (Military Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Hizbullah Tunnel Was to Be Used to Cut off Metulla - Anna Ahronheim
    The cross-border tunnel discovered Tuesday by the IDF outside of Metulla - Israel's northernmost town - would have been used by Hizbullah to cut off the Upper Galilee community from the rest of the country, a senior IDF officer said Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Operating Against Hizbullah Tunnels in Three Locations - Judah Ari Gross
    According to Hizbullah, the IDF is currently undertaking anti-tunnel operations at three locations along the border. The IDF said it discovered the first tunnel east of the Lebanese village of Kafr Kila near Metulla. In addition, Hizbullah has shared photographs of IDF operations at Ramiya, north of Moshav Zarit, and Meiss al-Jabal, west of Kibbutz Kfar Blum. A senior officer from the IDF Northern Command said Wednesday that the tunnels were discovered using seismic sensors. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said Tuesday that the army "is in possession of" Hizbullah's tunnel plan. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Exposure of Israel's Intelligence Collection in Gaza Undermines Hamas - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The exposure of special operations by IDF forces near Khan Yunis on Nov. 11 is creating a feeling among Gaza residents that Israeli intelligence has been working inside Gaza right under Hamas' nose for a long time. Hamas on Dec. 3 announced the sentencing of 14 alleged collaborators with Israel who were apprehended by the Hamas intelligence service, including 6 sentenced to death.
        Hamas Interior Ministry revelations about the collaborators indicate what Israeli intelligence is interested in learning about Gaza, including tunnels; storage areas and launch sites of rockets; Hamas military operatives and their commanders, their places of residence, the vehicles they drive, their cell phone numbers, and their regular activities; and the operations and bases of Hamas naval commandos.
        The release of detailed information by Hamas was meant to show Gaza residents that it has full control over the security situation. However, the specific information attests to the efficiency of Israeli intelligence in Gaza and that it has managed to recruit collaborators who provide it with important information. We should remember that the IDF force was exposed by chance and not through the counter-intelligence activities of Hamas.
        The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also Israeli Force "Resided in Gaza for Weeks"
    The Israeli force exposed in Gaza on Nov. 11 had resided there for weeks, a Palestinian source told Israel Television News on Wednesday. The soldiers had pretended to work for the Al-Basma Club for the Disabled, and had rented an apartment in Khan Yunis. (Ha'aretz)
  • Can the United States Prevent Saudi Arabia from Getting Nuclear Weapons? - Emily B. Landau and Shimon Stein
    Saudi Arabia has recently renewed efforts with the U.S. for the development of nuclear energy and negotiations on a possible deal are ongoing. Saudi Arabia has insisted on retaining its "right" to enrich uranium, which can lay the ground for a military nuclear capability in the years ahead. It is also clear that the Saudis' nuclear plans are intimately tied to Iran's, and since 2010 Saudi leaders have become more and more open about the fact that if Iran attains nuclear weapons, they will quickly follow suit.
        The current challenge for the U.S. is how to insist on an agreement that explicitly denies Saudi Arabia the right to work on sensitive nuclear technologies (enrichment capabilities and plutonium reprocessing), without driving it into the hands of other nuclear suppliers, such as Russia, China and South Korea. Yet the administration is keenly aware that the Iran nuclear deal set a very negative precedent when it legitimized Iran's enrichment capabilities.
        A decision by the U.S. to allow Saudi Arabia to have enrichment capabilities will confront Israel with a dilemma. It has been Israeli policy to do its utmost to deny any neighboring country with whom it does not have a peace treaty the means to acquire and develop a nuclear program. Israel should support the traditional U.S. nonproliferation policies which allow states to have access to nuclear fuel for civilian purposes, while denying them the option of self-production.
        Emily Landau is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and head of its Arms Control and Regional Security Program. Shimon Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany, is a senior research fellow at INSS. (National Interest)

  • The Vermont State Police and the Northampton, Massachusetts, Police Department have pulled out of a program in which law enforcement personnel take part in a week-long seminar on terrorism in Israel. The program, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, is more than a decade old.
  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) claims that exposing American police officers to the techniques and ideas employed by Israel in its counter-terrorism efforts encourages brutality and mistreatment of minorities back home. It implicates Israel and its American Jewish supporters, who back such exchange programs, in police shootings of African Americans on the streets of U.S. cities.
  • But such arguments essentially prove that BDS isn't so much a critique of Israeli policies as an attempt to delegitimize Israel and ultimately a justification for anti-Semitism.
  • As ADL has pointed out, the program it sponsors is not a form of tactical training. Rather, it gives Americans an idea of the challenges Israel faces and how its police handle extraordinary threats of terror and violence within the constraints a democratic society with an independent judiciary puts on law enforcement.
  • By linking Israel and its supporters to disputes about American law enforcement, JVP is seeking to smear them as being ultimately responsible for the murders of African Americans. Blaming Jews for crimes, especially the murder of innocents, even though they had nothing to do with them, is a classic trope of anti-Semitism.
  • In that sense, even though JVP presents itself as defending Jewish values, its campaign is merely an updated version of medieval blood libels.

    The writer is editor-in-chief of JNS (the Jewish News Syndicate).