January 3, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Turks Leave Home in Droves, Draining Money and Talent - Carlotta Gall (New York Times)
    More than a quarter of a million Turks emigrated in 2017, an increase of 42% over 2016.
    The flight of people, talent and capital is being driven by a combination of factors that have come to define life under Erdogan.
    These include political persecution, a deepening distrust of the judiciary and the arbitrariness of the rule of law, and a deteriorating business climate, accelerated by worries that Erdogan is unsoundly manipulating management of the economy to benefit himself and his inner circle.
    Ibrahim Sirkeci of Regent's University in London estimates that 10,000 Turks have made use of a business visa plan to move to Britain in the last few years.
    The number of Turks applying for asylum worldwide jumped by 10,000 in 2017 to more than 33,000.
    At least 12,000 of Turkey's millionaires moved their assets out of the country in 2016 and 2017, according to the Global Wealth Migration Review, with most of them moving to Europe or the UAE.

Fighting between al-Qaeda and Turkish-Backed Fighters in Syria Kills Dozens - Bassem Mroue (AP)
    Two days of fighting in northern Syria between the al-Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee and the Turkey-backed Nour el-Din el-Zinki group killed 14 al-Qaeda-linked fighters and 12 Turkey-backed gunmen, as well as five civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday.

France Is in a Deep Social Crisis and Is Powerless Against Terror - Amb. Freddy Eytan (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    As the "yellow vest" protests in France are posing a challenge to the government, the country is also dealing with an unprecedented and ongoing wave of Islamic terror.
    After the terror attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg on December 11, 2018, French authorities continued to refrain from openly defining the incident as a terror attack and the perpetrator as a Muslim terrorist.
    There is no doubt that the presence of 8 to 10 million Muslims in France is worrying French decision-makers.
    As opposed to Germany, where most Muslims are Turkish, or England, where most originate from India and Pakistan, in France the decisive majority of Muslims come from North Africa - Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.
    As long as Muslims in France do not internalize the need to integrate into French society, Islamic religious incitement will continue to lead to further terror attacks.
    The writer is a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Gives No Timetable for Syria Exit; Wants to Protect Kurds - Jeff Mason
    President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S. would get out of Syria slowly "over a period of time" and would protect U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in the country as Washington draws down troops. Trump said he had never set a reported four-month timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. "We're getting out and we're getting out smart. I never said I'm getting out tomorrow," Trump said. "We want to protect the Kurds, but I don't want to be in Syria forever. It's sand. And it's death."  (Reuters)
  • Brazil Applauds New Ties with Israel - Marcus M. Gilban
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gained pop star status among Brazilians during a five-day visit to attend the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil's most influential primetime newscasts dedicated several minutes to coverage of his visit.
        The warm feelings between Israel's prime minister and Brazil's president played out in public events and on social media, contrasting with the previous 16 years of tension between the two countries. Netanyahu was awarded the National Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil's highest national honor for high-ranking guests, by Bolsonaro. "This visit is unique, historical, a turnover in the relationship between Israel and Brazil," Israel's ambassador to Brazil, Yossi Shelley, told JTA.
        On Saturday morning in Rio de Janeiro, a scene of Netanyahu and his wife eating at a seafront restaurant fueled a media spectacle. When one of the onlookers yelled "Free Palestine," Netanyahu immediately added "from Hamas." At night, the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue on Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio was lit up with the blue-and-white colors of the Israeli flag. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • PA Said Seeking to Deport Palestinian-American Jailed for Selling Land to Jews - Adam Rasgon
    The Palestinian Authority is planning to extradite Issam Akel, a Palestinian-American resident of eastern Jerusalem, to the U.S. after sentencing him to life in prison for attempting to sell land to Jews, Israel's Kan television reported Wednesday. The U.S. has been heavily pressuring the PA to release Akel and American officials visited him in jail. The U.S. and the PA agreed Akel would be sent to the U.S. after the end of legal proceedings. "We want to finish this saga. He has become a burden upon us," a Palestinian official was quoted as saying. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel to Tighten Prison Conditions for Terrorists
    Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced Wednesday that Israel will tighten prison conditions for terrorists while still respecting international law. "Making the terrorists' conditions worse is necessary both to create deterrence and to fulfill our moral duty to terror victims and their families," he said.
        The recommendations include reducing water consumption for prisoners, since terrorists often keep water faucets open all day as an act of defiance. Other measures include reducing canteen allotments in prison, mixing Hamas and Fatah prisoners in the same wing, and no longer allowing terrorists to cook for themselves. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Guardian Falsely Blames Israel for Shortages of Medicine in Gaza - Adam Levick
    A Dec. 31 Guardian article suggests that Israel is largely to blame for the shortage of vital medicines in Gaza that is putting the lives of countless Palestinians at risk. But this is a lie. The import of antibiotics, and almost all other important medicines, is not in any way restricted by Israel.
        It's actually the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority - and not Israel - that's responsible for the purchase of medicines for Gaza. But as part of the sanctions it imposed on Hamas in 2017, the PA often fails to send vital drugs to Gaza. The PA-imposed sanctions also includes a major reduction in Gaza's overall healthcare budget, and a frequent refusal to issue permits to Gaza patients to receive medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank and Arab countries.
        The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that "the escalation in internal Palestinian divisions in March 2017 led to a decline in deliveries from the West Bank and the gradual rise in the percentage of essential medicines at zero stock."
        The article also fails to note Hamas uses precious resources (including millions in international aid) for rockets, attack tunnels and other military projects, instead of on drugs and other medical-related equipment its citizens desperately need. The health system in Gaza has been worn down not "by years of blockade," as the Guardian claims, but by years of Hamas rule. (UK Media Watch)
  • UNESCO Adopts "Fake History" - Nadav Shragai
    Under existing conditions at UNESCO, there was no reason for Israel to keep its place at the table with the gang that every few months rewrote another chapter of the history of the Land of Israel and the Jewish people, and co-opted it for the Palestinians. UNESCO chose time and again to adopt "fake history" and Palestinian fabrications.
        UNESCO questioned Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, treating us as if we were occupiers in our own capital, even though Jerusalem was never a capital for any Arab or Muslim ruling entity. Even the Jordanians never used Jerusalem as their capital in the years in which they occupied the city.
        UNESCO decided to call Rachel's Tomb the Bilal Ibn Rabah mosque, even though it was never traditionally called that. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite, was long ago stolen from us by Muslims.
        We are not passersby in this land. We weren't just born here and we didn't just move here. The Land of Israel's many holy sites are the cradle of our people's birth and our present and our future here rests on more than "security needs." The writer is a journalist and commentator who has documented Jerusalem for 30 years. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Is Not Bethlehem's Enemy - Allon Lee
    Bethlehem's mayor Anton Salman shamelessly exploited genuine interest at Christmas in the traditional birthplace of Jesus in The Australian on Dec. 26 to advance a dangerous and deluded anti-Israel agenda devoid of fact or historical accuracy. Since the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over the city in 1995, the Christian percentage of the city's population has plummeted from 40% to 12%.
        His claim that Israeli security measures are deliberately aimed at preventing people from visiting and spending money in Bethlehem ignores the fact that 3 million people visited Bethlehem in 2018. He refers to "the illegal wall that has been built through the heart of our city," though the separation barrier lies north of the city's limits and is there to ensure the right of Israelis not to be knifed, car rammed or exploded to death.
        Claiming that Bethlehem's future is at risk from Israel is Orwellian because the only threat to the city and its Church of the Nativity is from the Palestinians themselves. The writer is a policy analyst at AIJAC. (The Australian-Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council)

  • The New York Times story of Dec. 30 on the death of a young Gazan woman in June 2018 during border riots covered 3 1/2 pages. The rioters hurling fire bombs, rocks, burning tires and flaming kites, and ripping down the fence wherever they can, are not termed "rioters" but "protesters."
  • Thousands of rockets from Gaza have necessitated bomb shelters and concrete-protected schools and public spaces throughout Israel's south, safe rooms in every home and elaborate anti-missile systems to protect against the bombardments. But no mention is made of the millions of Israelis who live under missile threat from Gaza.
  • The Times wrote: "Before 2005, Gaza residents could work in Israel. But rocket attacks and bombings after the Second Intifada erupted in 2000 prompted Israel to cordon off the strip." Rocket attacks and bombings "erupted"? By whom, from where?
  • For 80% of the story, Rouzan al-Najjar is reported to have been killed by a bullet "fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd." Only near the end do readers learn the woman was killed when a bullet struck the ground a distance from her and ricocheted. That is, despite the elaborate diagrams, online videos and poignant portrait, al-Najjar wasn't targeted by a sniper but was a victim of an unintentional ricochet.