March 11, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Syria Vows to Attack Israel Unless It Withdraws from the Golan Heights - Hagay Hacohen (Jerusalem Post)
    Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported Thursday.
    Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund.

NATO Member Turkey Announces Joint Military Operation with Iran Against Kurdish Fighters - Ben Cohen (Algemeiner)
    Turkey and Iran are planning joint military operations against the Kurdish PKK, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced Wednesday, according to the Anadolu state news agency.
    If the operation goes ahead, it will mark the first time that troops from Turkey, a NATO member, will have joined with the military of a regime whose official slogan is "Death to America."

Hizbullah Leader Calls on Supporters to Donate (AP-Washington Post)
    In a televised speech Friday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on his supporters to donate funds, as the group comes under tighter sanctions from Western countries.
    See also Hizbullah's Plea for Donations Shows Sanctions Are Working (The National-Abu Dhabi)

PA TV Uses International Women's Day to Glorify Female Terrorists - Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    To mark International Women's Day, on March 6, PA TV broadcast an interview with the Director of the Palestinian Women's Union in Gaza, Amal Hamad.
    Instead of discussing the achievements of Palestinian women or the inequality that they suffer in Palestinian society, Hamad chose to highlight the important role Palestinian women have played in violence and terror.
    She cited "female martyrs - Shadia Abu Ghazaleh (who prepared bombs for terror attacks), Dalal Mughrabi (who led the group that murdered 37 Israelis, 12 of them children), Wafa Idris (the first female suicide bomber), Ayyat Al-Akhras (the youngest female suicide bomber), [and] Darin Abu Aisheh (a female suicide bomber)."

The U.S. Army's Killer Drones: How a Secretive Special Ops Unit Decimated ISIS - Sean D. Naylor (Yahoo News)
    One small U.S. special operations unit has killed more Islamic State extremists than any other: the company of Gray Eagle drones in the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
    E Company is credited with "well over 340 enemy killed in action" in Afghanistan and the Iraq-Syria theater between August 2014 and July 2015, according to a November 2015 Army award for the unit.
    In addition, flying from a base in Iraq to attack targets in Syria, the drone company has launched more than a thousand Hellfire missiles in the last two to three years.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Accuses Palestinians of Manufacturing Crisis over Israel's Decision to Deduct Payments to Terrorists - Adam Kredo
    U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt rebuked the Palestinian Authority and UN members who he said are enabling the PA to continue paying salaries to terrorists who have killed Jews, at a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on Friday.
        "It is astonishing that in the year 2019, the Palestinian Authority has not yet taken any steps to end these morally-repugnant payments," Greenblatt said. "It is bewildering that the international community has not been more vocal in condemning this practice. If your citizens were being routinely attacked by terrorists, which of you would tolerate a reward system that compensated the attackers for their crimes? How can we possibly censure Israel for taking the same stance?"
        "The system the Palestinian Authority has set up to make payments to terrorists and their families is not a social welfare system, no matter how inaccurately it is described. The system created by the Palestinian Authority only creates incentives for further acts of terrorism."
        "It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis. Israel is withholding 5 to 7% of monthly clearance revenues....It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to reject all remaining clearance revenues, which amount to up to 95% of the revenues to which they are entitled. The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept over $150 million in revenue to protest the fact that $11 million is being withheld, only to make a political point....Let's not kid ourselves. The small percentage of revenue transfers that is being withheld by Israel is not what is causing this crisis."
        "Plainly put: the system rewards terrorism. That is why President Trump signed into law the Taylor Force Act, which makes clear that the United States absolutely, without qualification, rejects payments rewarding terrorism....The Palestinian Authority's institutionalization of support for terrorism is unacceptable and must be called out, unequivocally, by all of us. The time has come for everyone to stop looking the other way."  (Washington Free Beacon)
  • South Africa to Downgrade Its Embassy in Israel
    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament on Thursday his country is planning to downgrade its embassy in Israel, implementing a decision by the ruling African National Congress (ANC). In December 2017, the ANC decided to downgrade its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv to a liaison office. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Abbas Appoints New Prime Minister; Hamas Won't Recognize New PA Government - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday asked senior Fatah official and economic expert Mohammed Shtayyeh, 61, to form a new government, replacing Rami Hamdallah, who resigned in January. Hamas immediately rejected Abbas' decision and said that it will not recognize the new government. Shtayyeh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, holds a doctorate in economic development from the University of Sussex in the UK. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Balloons Carrying Anti-Tank Missile Warhead Land in Israel
    Police sappers were called to the Israel-Gaza border area on Saturday after a cluster of balloons carrying an anti-tank missile warhead landed in Israel. Police carried out a controlled explosion of the warhead. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Decline of Philo-Semitism in America - Ross Douthat
    Unlike many places, America has always had important strains of philo-Semitism; there is a long American tradition, with both Protestant and Enlightenment roots, of really liking Judaism and the Jews. The story of the Jews in post-World War II America is the story, not just of anti-Semitism's marginalization, but of philo-Semitism's triumph. Jewish Americans attracted a particular sympathy and admiration, rooted in Holocaust remembrance, affection for Israel, and a distinctive pride in the scope of their success.
        Those defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Muslim congresswoman who keeps using anti-Semitic cliches in her criticisms of the American-Israeli relationship, want and I suspect will eventually get a politics that remembers the Holocaust as one great historical tragedy among many, that judges Israel primarily on its conservative and nationalist political orientation, rather than on its status as a Jewish sanctuary, and that regards the success of American Jews as a reason for them to join white Gentiles in check-your-privilege self-criticism, ceding moral authority to minority groups who are more immediately oppressed. (New York Times)
  • 40 Years of Iranian Threats Against Israel and Few Pay Attention - Daniel S. Mariaschin
    Iran has incessantly called for the elimination of Israel throughout the 40 years of its revolution. I was involved in efforts in 1979 and 1980 to save the lives of Iranian Jewish leaders Habib Elghanian and Albert Danielpour, both of whom were summarily executed because of contact with Israel and Israelis. Among the charges against Elghanian was "friendship with the enemies of God"; against Danielpour it was working to form "the Zionist government in Israel." The level of vitriol has remained essentially the same over these four decades, spouted by religious and military leaders at the highest level.
        For years the Iranian regime has sponsored a cartoon contest focused on Holocaust denial. This past June, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel a "cancerous tumor," which "must be eradicated," a favorite theme he has used for years. Iran always makes sure to mark the sides of the missiles it tests with the threat "Israel Must Be Wiped Out." Today, there are numerous border disputes in the world between neighbors, but Israel is the only country to be incessantly threatened with annihilation.
        The writer is CEO of B'nai B'rith International and directs its International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy. (The Hill)
  • The False Equivalence between "Islamophobia" and Anti-Semitism - Douglas Murray
    Anti-Semitism is hatred or suspicion of Jews because they are Jews. It is an irrational prejudice built on centuries of stereotypes and hatreds which culminated in the worst crime in human history, on our continent, in the last century.
        "Islamophobia," by contrast, is a term which can claim almost anything that the wielder claims it to mean. So in many peoples' eyes, it is "Islamophobic" to ever say anything negative about any aspect of Islam or any action carried out by any Muslim in the name of their faith. Among much else, those who wield the term seem to hope that they can present the situation of Muslims in modern Europe as so dire that they have pretty much already suffered an equal amount to the Jews of Europe in the twentieth century.
        Islamists and their sympathizers appear to be hoping that if they can point to some mean things said on social media, then in time they can present this as indistinguishable from the organized murder, in living memory, of six million Jews. (Spectator-UK)

The UN Human Rights Council Report on Israel's Response to the Gaza Border Riots - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Where the UN Human Rights Council is concerned, there can be no such thing as an "independent" commission of inquiry. The outcome of the commission's inquiry was determined in advance by its mandating resolution, which condemned in its first paragraph "the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians...in the context of peaceful protests."
  • The commission uses the term "Occupied Palestinian Territory" in the title of the report, which wrongfully assumes and determines that the territory is Palestinian, despite the fact that its status remains in dispute pending a negotiated settlement between Israel and the PLO pursuant to the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords.
  • Even more absurd is the fact that the commission's report determined that the Gaza Strip is part of the territories occupied by Israel, even though Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the report acknowledges that the Gaza Strip is governed by "de facto authorities in Gaza."
  • To accept that the protests are "non-violent" and "fully peaceful" shows a lack of awareness of the extent of the violence of the demonstrations and public statements by senior Hamas operatives and demonstration organizers inciting violence, assaulting the separation fence, infiltrating into Israeli territory, and seeking to kill Israelis.
  • MEMRI quotes Emad 'Aql, of Gaza, who tweeted: "[The Israeli town of] Sderot is only 700 meters east of [the Palestinian town of] Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza....[The town] can be reached in two minutes on motorcycles or in 5-8 minutes at a brisk run." He urged: "Murder, slaughter, burn and never show them any mercy."
  • An extensive professional analysis of the identities of those Palestinians killed during the protests found that 80% were terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organizations, mostly from Hamas. This demonstrates that the marches were not "popular" events but rather a Hamas strategic move accompanied by preplanned violence.

    Amb. Alan Baker, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.