March 5, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt Reject Clause Stopping Normalization with Israel (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt on Monday rejected a statement by the Union of Arab Parliaments meeting in Amman which called for stopping normalization with Israel, the Shehab news agency reported.

Vatican to Open Secret Holocaust-Era Archives (BBC News)
    Pope Francis has said the Roman Catholic Church will open up its archives in March next year on Pius XII, who was pope during World War Two.
    Pius, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, has been accused of tolerating the rise of Nazi Germany and of not doing enough to protect Jews during the Holocaust.
    For the past 13 years, 20 members of the Vatican's archives department have worked to organize Pius XII's files, including his official correspondence.
    See also Questions Remain regarding Opening of Vatican WWII Archives - Efraim Zuroff (Jerusalem Post)
    The writer is director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Israel office.

U.S. Deploys THAAD Anti-Missile System in Israel for Exercise - Isabel Debre (AP-Defense News)
    The U.S. deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in Israel for the first time on Monday as part of a missile defense drill, reflecting concerns about Iran's missile development.
    Israel already has an advanced multilayered missile defense system.

For Syrian Refugees in Greece, Israel Is No Longer the Enemy - Liad Osmo (Ynet News)
    "My whole life, all through my childhood in Syrian schools, I was taught that the Israelis are the enemy, and then the first thing I see when I approach the Greek coast is the Star of David on the shirts of Israelis who reach out and place me on the ground," said H., aged 20, from Aleppo, who lives in a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
    Since 2011, IsraAID has been providing humanitarian aid at crisis points around the world, including Lesbos.

Israeli Muslim Woman Receives Medical Motorcycle - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Sanaa Mahameed, 31, of the Israeli Arab town of Umm el-Fahm, the first Muslim woman volunteer in the United Hatzalah rescue service, has received an ambucycle - a motorcycle with a medic's life-saving equipment on board.
    "There is a lot of traffic in my area and it can be hard for a car to navigate," she said. "I want to be the first on the scene."
    Hatzalah's volunteers include 400 Muslims and 450 women.

Israeli Medical Device Creates Temporary Nano-Layer Skin to Treat Wounds - Federico Maccioni (Times of Israel)
    Israeli startup Nanomedic Technologies Ltd. has developed a medical device called SpinCare that can dress burns and other wounds with nano materials that mimic human tissue and peel off once the skin below is regenerated.
    The transparency of the layer allows doctors to monitor the wound as it heals.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Report: Putin Promises Netanyahu to Stop Delivery of S-300 to Syrian Regime - Nazir Magally
    Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Moscow would stop the transfer of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to the Syrian army, political sources said. During the meeting in Moscow last Wednesday, Putin also pledged to allow Israel to operate freely in Syria, the sources said. Russia has dispatched advanced S-300 air defense batteries to Syria, but they have yet to be deployed, according to intelligence assessments.
        On Sunday, Maariv reported that the deal struck between the Russian and Israeli leaders means that the Syrian army would not control the S-300 air defense system, already installed in northern Syria, and would be banned from using it unilaterally against Israeli jets. However, Maariv's military analyst Tal Lev-Ram said that the "Russians would not exert pressure to force the pullout of Iranian forces from Syria."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar Repeats Anti-Semitic Trope against Jewish Congresswoman - Valerie Richardson and Victor Morton
    Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) on Sunday that their constituents didn't elect either woman to have allegiance to a foreign country. Lowey, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, called Omar's Sunday statements another example of anti-Semitism, saying later that "no member of Congress is asked to swear allegiance to another country" and "I believe we can debate important policy without using painful, offensive stereotypes."
        New York Times columnist Bret Stephens tweeted: "Someone please write Antisemitism for Dummies. Nobody expects @IlhanMN to pledge 'allegiance' to Israel. But her attacks on pro-Israel Americans of doing so is a charge of dual loyalty. That is classic anti-Semitism."  (Washington Times)
        See also Does Ilhan Omar Understand the Impact of Her Words? - Beth Kieffer Leonard
    Rep. Ilhan Omar's recent anti-Semitic tweets and statements are deeply offensive. They call into question whether she is listening to her constituents. It is incumbent on Rep. Omar to immediately stop with the hurtful language targeting the Jewish community. We would not allow such stereotypes to be used against any religious minority. The writer is the treasurer and a founding member of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA). (Medium)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians in Car-Ramming Attack Were Returning from Firebomb Attack - Amos Harel
    The car-ramming attack on Monday involved three Palestinians. The Palestinian who was wounded but survived told his interrogators that he and his two friends were driving back from a different attempted terror attack - throwing firebombs on Route 443 - the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. When they saw IDF forces on the side of the road near the village of N'ima, working to extract an army vehicle that had broken down, the Palestinian driver changed lanes and drove into the soldiers. A battalion commander from the Kfir Brigade was badly injured but is expected to survive; a border policeman was mildly injured. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Is Negotiating with Explosives - Yaakov Lappin
    Recent days have seen a spike in the number of Hamas-orchestrated bombs and IEDs on the border with Gaza. According to a Kan TV news report, Hamas is demanding $20 million for a cessation of grenade-throwing rioters and balloons carrying explosives over the border into Israeli communities. (i24News)
  • Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Faces Hurdles Ahead of Moon Landing - Maya Margit
    Crucial tests await Israel's Beresheet spacecraft ahead of the April 11 scheduled landing, said Eran Schmidt, Deputy Project Manager of SpaceIL and Head of Ground Operations. "We've had several computer resets (which were likely) the result of...radiation."
        "The landing itself is a huge, huge test," he said. "We are going to send a command to the spacecraft to start (descending) and afterwards we will have 20 minutes when everything will work autonomously. So we need the sensor measurements to be good, the control system to act properly and we hope that we will not land in the middle of a crater on a rock."
        Israeli space expert Tal Inbar said, "Each day that the spacecraft moves towards the moon, the dosage of radiation from the sun and from cosmic (sources) is higher and higher. After a successful landing, the main challenge will be the heat. The spacecraft won't (be operational) for long on the surface of the moon because it was not built to withstand the extreme temperatures there."  (Media Line-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • No Accountability for Iran's Nuclear Violators - Matthew Zweig and Behnam Ben Taleblu
    One year ago, Israeli agents broke into a facility near Tehran that contained the carefully preserved documentation from Iran's long-denied nuclear weapons program. Patient analysis of the contents has shown that Iran was much closer to a nuclear weapons capability than previously understood.
        The extensive amount of equipment, material, software, and other information found in the archive - including blueprints, spreadsheets, charts, photos, and videos - clearly demonstrates the scale of Iran's efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, a nuclear weapon itself.
        That Iran believed it was necessary to preserve this information in an extensive warehouse reinforces concerns that it has never abandoned its ambitions to develop nuclear weapons. The retention of the archive is an indicator of future Iranian intentions to which Tehran will return when the JCPOA's restrictions expire.
        Matthew Zweig, a former senior professional staff member at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior fellow at FDD who has aided efforts to translate portions of the nuclear archive. (National Interest)
  • Who Will Fund Syrian Reconstruction? - Jomana Qaddour
    The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimates the cost of postwar reconstruction in Syria to be almost $400 billion, but Syria's public and private sectors are not prepared to take on the challenge. Rather than addressing the crucial task of providing housing to the nearly five million refugees still stuck abroad, current construction efforts center on pro-regime businessmen launching major luxury housing and entertainment projects in the Damascus area.
        Iran has signed several memorandums of understanding with Damascus, but these are more symbolic than financially significant. Moscow has publicly insisted on being the primary broker of reconstruction. Yet the Kremlin faces its own financial challenges and cannot afford to subsidize large-scale redevelopment. Instead, Russian firms have signed numerous contracts focused on extracting Syria's resources such as for phosphate production and oil and gas fields.
        EU states have insisted they will not commit reconstruction funds to Syria without tangible political progress. Indeed, they have gone further than the U.S. in sanctioning corrupt Syrian businessmen. While Russia and Iran may have won the military phase of the war, they cannot win the peace so long as they are unable to rebuild Syria. The writer is a Syrian American analyst and doctoral student at Georgetown University Law Center. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Abbas' Legacy: Expanded Payments to Terrorists - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Maurice Hirsch (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas chooses to reward terrorists at the expense of law-abiding Palestinians. Even though the PA has provided financial incentives to Palestinian terrorists since its creation, under Abbas' leadership these payments have grown tremendously.
  • In 2006, Abbas approved the regulations for monthly salary payments to Palestinian terrorists. In 2010, he approved a salary hike for terrorist prisoners, including a 300% rise for murderers. In 2007, 2009 and 2013, Abbas approved a hike in the monthly allowances for families of dead terrorists, including suicide bombers.
  • As the number of terrorists has grown, so too did the annual PA expenditure to fund their rewards. At the same time, Abbas is constantly asking the international community to fund the needs of the Palestinian population.
  • After years of silence, the U.S. enacted the Taylor Force Act in March 2018, conditioning any additional U.S. support to the PA on ending its "pay-to-slay" policy. In July 2018, Israel passed a similar law. In December 2018, the Dutch Parliament decided to reduce its support to the PA, pending the abolition of pay-to-slay.
  • Abbas' response to the new Israeli law deducting the amount paid to terrorists from tax transfer payments to the PA was to refuse to accept any of the remaining funds from Israel.
  • Abbas is now positively choosing to inflict financial ruin on all the Palestinians, beginning with pay cuts to public employees, in order to continue paying terrorist murderers.

    The writer, who served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, is head of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch.