March 15, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Breaks Up Gaza Protests (AP-Daily Mail-UK)
    Hamas security forces in Gaza on Thursday forcibly dispersed hundreds of Palestinians protesting dire living conditions.
    Videos circulated on social media showed police firing live rounds in the air, beating protesters and hauling them into police vehicles after demonstrators burned tires and blocked roads.
    See also Video: Hamas Suppresses Protesters in Gaza (GazaLive-Twitter)

Video: Islamic Education Center in Houston Celebrates Iran's Islamic Revolution; Schoolchildren Sing: Khamenei Is Our Leader, We Are His Soldiers (MEMRI)
    The Islamic Education Center of Houston, Texas, celebrated the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution on Feb. 17, 2019.
    A video uploaded by the center shows the audience chanting: "Allah Akbar! Khamenei is our Leader!"
    In addition, young boys wearing green headbands sang: "You are our Leader....We are your soldiers."

Iran Hacks Cellphone of Israeli Party Leader ahead of Election - Isabel Debre (AP-ABC News)
    Israeli media reported Thursday that the Israel Security Agency warned former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz that Iranian intelligence hacked his cellphone several months ago.
    Gantz heads a new Israeli political party running in the upcoming April 9 Knesset elections.

Iran's Oil Tanker Fleet Squeezed as Sanctions Bite - Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
    Iran is running short of options to replace its aging fleet of oil tankers.
    Since the U.S. reimposed sanctions in November, talks with South Korea for up to 10 new supertankers have stalled and Panama has removed 21 Iranian tankers from its registry, forcing Tehran to put the vessels under its own flag.
    "Iran has been looking for ships, but this time round it is going to be harder - there is so much more scrutiny now," one shipping source said.

"Israelis Led India's Airstrikes": In Pakistan, the Hindu-Zionist Conspiracy Theory Takes a Wild Turn - Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (Ha'aretz)
    It is now an established narrative in Pakistan, not a fringe opinion, that Israel helped India plan the air raid in Pakistan that targeted camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terror group which claimed last month's suicide attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
    A section of the mainstream media even "unveiled" how an Israeli pilot was currently in custody, having been captured by Pakistan.

Hizbullah on the Golan: What Happened to Putin's Promise? - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    On Tuesday, the IDF revealed a new deployment of Hizbullah on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border.
    Only last summer, Russia promised that it would remove Iranian forces and Shi'ite militias to a distance of 80 km. (50 miles) from the border.
    Putin, a so-called friend, is not delivering.

Exxon Eyes Israel Gas Bid in Major Middle East Shift - Ron Bousso (Reuters)
    Exxon Mobil Corp. is considering exploring for oil and gas in Israel, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
    Exxon executives held talks with Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz in Houston this week about bidding for the right to explore and pump oil from offshore blocks in an auction that Israel will hold in June.

Egypt Moved Border Town to Combat Smuggling Tunnels (Strategy Page)
    Egypt's government has completed the first phase of building the new town of Rafah, 2 km. from the Gaza border.
    Over 1,500 structures were torn down in the original Rafah, straddling the Gaza border, starting in 2015 to create a buffer zone over 1,000 meters wide.
    Moving Rafah caused a lot of anger among those living there. Although they received new homes and assistance in moving, the population had their lives disrupted and were forced to accept homes in high-rise apartment buildings.
    Building apartment buildings made it easier for Egyptian authorities to check basements for smuggling tunnels.

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Israeli Flag Hoisted at Judo Grand Prix in Morocco - Latifa Babas (Yabiladi-Morocco)
    To the great displeasure of anti-normalization activists, ten Israeli judokas participated in the Judo Grand Prix, held in Marrakech on March 9-10.
    The Israeli flag was hoisted twice after two Israeli judokas won bronze medals in the competition.

Jerusalem Marathon Kicks Off with 40,000 Runners from 80 Countries (Times of Israel)
    More than 40,000 runners from 80 countries joined the largest-ever Jerusalem Marathon on Friday.

U.S. Ambassador Friedman Greets Special-Needs IDF Soldiers - Zack Evens (Jerusalem Post)
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visited the Palmachim Air Force Base last week to observe how the IDF has integrated people with disabilities into the army.
    There are about 50 soldiers with autism and other disabilities currently serving at the Palmachim base and around 400 serving in the army in total.
    Their service is organized by the IDF's Special in Uniform program.
    Israel is the only country in the world in which autistic and disabled soldiers serve in the army.
    "This project is a national pride, a light unto the nations," said Lt.-Col. (res.) Gabi Ophir, a founder of Special in Uniform.
    Ophir's daughter, who has Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder, currently serves in the army as part of the program.

UK's Stryker Buys Israeli Orthopedic Device Company OrthoSpace for $220 Million - Gali Weinreb (Globes)
    UK med-tech company Stryker announced Thursday it had completed the acquisition of Israeli orthopedic device company OrthoSpace Ltd. for $220 million.
    OrthoSpace develops and commercializes simple-to-implant, biodegradable balloon systems for orthopaedics that reduce pain and increase patients' range of motion while preserving patient bone and joint structures.

Israeli Company Verbit Launches Real-Time Transcription Solution (Globes)
    Verbit has announced its real-time transcription solution - Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART).
    CART generates live closed captions through its proprietary AI-powered speech recognition technology.
    The transcripts are also enhanced through a dual layer of professional transcribers, with up to three backup type correctors per session working in real-time to correct inaccuracies.

Disabled Animals Given New Lease on Life at Israeli Sanctuary - Elana Ringler (Reuters)
    Miri, a three-legged donkey, Gary, a sheep with leg braces, and Omer, a blind goat, munch on some hay at Israel's only animal rescue and educational sanctuary at Moshav Olesh in central Israel.
    Founded by animal rights activists, Freedom Farm serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals and as an educational center for visitors.
    Meital Ben Ari, 38, said children with special needs particularly enjoy tours of the farm.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire Rockets at Tel Aviv - David M. Halbfinger
    Two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city, from Gaza on Thursday for the first time since 2014, the Israeli military reported. (New York Times)
        See also U.S. Peace Envoy Condemns "Outrageous" Rocket Fire at Tel Aviv - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
        See also Gaza Rockets Shock Tel Aviv - Michael Bachner (Times of Israel)
        See also Tel Aviv Mayor Orders All Bomb Shelters to Be Opened (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Officials Warn More Iran Sanctions Are Coming - Barbara Slavin
    Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran, said Thursday in Washington that the sanctions already imposed on Iran since May were the largest in history and covered 850 individuals and entities as well as entire sectors of the Iranian economy. "Our sanctions are back in place. There's more to come," he said.
        He described Iran as the "most significant threat in the Middle East" now that the Islamic State has been defeated in Iraq and Syria. Hook said between 50% to 70% of the Iranian economy is controlled by the IRGC, a sanctioned entity. (Al-Monitor)
  • Review of Palestinian Textbooks Launched amid British Concern Curriculum Promotes Anti-Israel Violence - Lee Harpin
    The UK government is to play a central role in a review of Palestinian school textbooks amid concern British aid money is funding a curriculum that incites violence against Israelis. The Department for International Development (DFID) announced that the German-based Georg Eckert Institute had been commissioned to produce an initial report to expedite the full review. An international group will work on the review, which is due to be concluded by September 2019.
        In 2017, a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) concluded that PA textbooks encouraged "young Palestinians to acts of violence in a more extensive and sophisticated manner" and that "the curriculum's focus appears to have expanded from demonization of Israel to providing a rationale for war."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
        See also below Weekend Features: Israeli, Palestinian Institutes Join Forces to Counter Radicalization in PA Curriculum (Algemeiner)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Strikes 100 Targets in Gaza in Response to Hamas Rocket Attacks on Tel Aviv - Anna Ahronheim
    IDF aircraft struck over 100 targets across Gaza after two rockets were fired towards central Israel by Hamas. The targets included the headquarters responsible for the planning and execution of terror attacks in the West Bank, an underground complex that served as Hamas' main rocket-manufacturing site, and a military training site that served the group's drone program. Several underground infrastructures and military compounds were also struck, including naval sites. Palestinian media in Gaza said that Israeli naval vessels took part in the strikes.
        During the airstrikes, nine projectiles were launched at Israeli communities bordering Gaza, with six being intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, and another fell inside Gaza. While shrapnel was discovered outside a school in the city of Sderot, there were no reports of injuries or damage.
        "There is a growing assumption that the Hamas rocket fire towards the Gush Dan [Tel Aviv] region was by mistake," the military said Friday, adding that while it appears that low-level Hamas militants are behind the rocket fire, the IDF sees the group as responsible for everything happening in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Report: Gaza Border Riots Cancelled Friday as Ceasefire Reached
    The organizing committee for Gaza's March of Return cancelled Friday protests along the Israel-Gaza border as part of a ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt. In exchange for a ceasefire, Israel demanded that no Gazans turn out to the border on Friday, Palestinian sources claimed. (i24News)
  • Palestinians Infiltrate into Israel from Gaza with IED, Knife
    A Palestinian was arrested Thursday after infiltrating into Israel from Gaza with an improvised explosive device, the Israel Defense Forces said. Hours earlier, another Gazan crossed the border fence armed with a knife, before being apprehended by soldiers. (Times of Israel)
  • Rebutting War Crimes Allegations, Israel Probes Gaza Rioters' Deaths
    Israeli authorities have opened criminal investigations into the deaths of 11 Palestinians who were killed during protests along the Gaza border over the past year, a senior Israeli official said Wednesday in Geneva as he briefed journalists to rebut allegations contained in a UN human rights report issued last week. The report alleges Israeli soldiers intentionally fired on civilians at the border.
        The Israeli official said, "If we find somebody violated the law, there will be consequences, but a war crime has to be intentional." "Each and every bullet received authorization of an experienced commander at the scene," he said. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and Anti-Semitism

  • The Dual-Loyalty Canard - Daniel S. Mariaschin
    I never thought, after the presence of Jews in North America for 365 years, that we would have to remind the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib and those in their corner, of the great contributions that the Jewish community has made to this country. Jews have fought in every one of this country's wars; indeed, more than 250,000 did so in World War I and 500,000 in World War II, a proportion far above our numbers in the population. In science, medicine, law, academia, entertainment and so many other fields, you will find Jewish names amongst those who have given so much to their fellow citizens. And, yes, we actively participate in our political process.
        In 1915, the eminent jurist Louis D. Brandeis said, "Let no American imagine that Zionism is inconsistent with Patriotism. Multiple loyalties are objectionable only if they are inconsistent....Every American Jew who aids in advancing the Jewish settlement in Palestine...will likewise be a better man and a better American for doing so. There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry." The writer is CEO of B'nai B'rith International. (Times of Israel)
  • Some Misconceptions about the Ilhan Omar Affair - Charles Lane
    The first misconception is that Omar faced a vehement negative reaction because she offered "criticism of U.S. policy toward Israel" (Wall Street Journal) or of the Israeli government. Incorrect. Omar offered no new criticism of U.S. policy or what she has called "the apartheid Israeli regime." What she did was to attack Israel's supporters in the U.S., and specifically in Congress. She did so by suggesting their motives were corrupt: either to enforce "allegiance to a foreign country" or to accumulate political cash from pro-Israel lobbyists.
        Moreover, it is simply not the case that support for Israel in a country where 59% of the public favors Israel over the Palestinians is merely a function of AIPAC's influence. It should have been possible for Omar to point out what's wrong with U.S. and Israeli policy without questioning the good faith of those who think differently. (Washington Post)
  • The Foundation of the U.S.-Israel Alliance - James Kirchick
    Condemning the U.S.-Israel alliance is a means to express antipathy toward American exceptionalism. America and Israel are exceptional nations, the only two founded upon an idea. They are linked by shared values and, yes, religious affinity. When Americans look at the Middle East, they naturally see Israel as the polity with which they have the most in common. American support for Israel, then, is not explained by "Benjamins," as Ilhan Omar conspiratorially tweets, but by a deep and widely held conviction that the two nations share a providential fate. (Tablet)
  • Why the Debate over Anti-Semitism Is So Important - Ned Temko
    Anti-Semitism, that oldest of hatreds, is proving to be, as a leading Irish writer and politician once put it, a very light sleeper. It has set off a full-blown crisis inside Britain's Labour Party, and the first hints of one inside the Democratic Party in the U.S. The stereotyping and dehumanization of Jews, once the province of fringe figures, has increasingly been given space within the mainstream.
        Moreover, there is a real human cost. Synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, and other Jewish property have been attacked. And Jews have been assaulted, even murdered, in Western countries - on a scale that for decades after the Nazi Holocaust would have seemed unthinkable. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Nothing in Islam Requires the Faithful to Hate Jews - Qanta Ahmed
    Rep. Ilhan Omar is quick to embrace anti-Semitic stereotypes that should be an embarrassment to all decent men and women. And I say this as a Muslim woman myself. Nothing in Islam requires the faithful to hate Jews or the Jewish state. In fact, the Koran documents that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. There are 50 countries in the world with Muslim-majority populations. Surely there can be room on the planet for one small country with a Jewish majority.
        In fact, I firmly believe that America's support for a secure and sovereign homeland for the Jewish people is a moral imperative. Jews and non-Jews who support Israel should not be accused of dual loyalty to a foreign country and should not be accused of infringing on Palestinian rights.
        There's no question that every group on Earth deserves protection from discrimination and violence. But the evil of anti-Semitism is responsible for the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and uncounted more murders throughout history. It must be singled out and condemned unequivocally when a member of Congress embraces hatred of Jews openly and aggressively.
        The University of Southern California Shoah Foundation (where I serve with Jews and non-Jews) defines anti-Semitism thus: "When criticism of Israel demonizes, delegitimizes or holds Israel to a double standard, it is a manifestation of anti-Semitism." The writer is an associate professor of medicine at the State University of New York and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Fox News)

  • Palestinians

  • The New Palestinian Authority Government - Pinhas Inbari
    PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has asked Muhammad Shtayyeh to form a new government. Shtayyeh, a senior Fatah official, comes from the business community in Nablus and was president of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR). He is a promoter of the anti-Israel BDS movement, is in favor of ending security coordination with the IDF, and seeks to end the Paris Protocols that refer to a joint economy with Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Challenges for the New Palestinian Prime Minister - Ghaith al-Omari
    On March 10, PA President Mahmoud Abbas designated Fatah Central Committee (FCC) member Muhammad Shtayyeh as the new prime minister. Shtayyeh has been an FCC member since 2009, but he never developed a strong base, so other FCC members tend to view him as one of their least threatening competitors.
        Shtayyeh will be constrained by paralyzing dynamics related to Abbas' succession, a worsening split with Hamas, and deteriorating economic and security conditions in the West Bank. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Where Martin Luther King Really Stood on Israel and the Palestinians - Martin Kramer
    On Martin Luther King Day this past January, New York Times columnist Michelle Alexander speculated that King would have been a "critic of Israel's current policies." But this view runs up against one inescapable fact: during the twenty years between Israel's birth in 1948 and King's death in 1968, he never mentioned their plight. By contrast, he expressed support of Israel on several occasions, and with notable consistency.
        In March 1968 he said: "Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and [I] never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy." The writer teaches Middle Eastern history at Shalem College in Jerusalem. (Mosaic)

  • Hizbullah

  • Why It Is Critical to Shut the Door on Hizbullah Entirely - Sir John Jenkins
    It is good news that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced the outlawing of the political wing of Hizbullah in the UK. I was Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Foreign Office at the time of the 2008 decision to identify and ban Hizbullah's military - but not its political - wing. But the distinction was always really casuistry, given the unambiguous integration of both wings under a single central command structure and strategic direction.
        Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, responsible for profoundly destabilizing parts of the Middle East. As such, it is hostile to the interests of Britain and its allies. The Iranian Islamists with whom Hizbullah is allied say quite truthfully that the Iranian Revolution was a cultural attack on the West. And in the speeches of the top theorist of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hasan Abbasi, you will find clear evidence of a level of existing hostility that will hardly be mitigated by maintaining diplomatic engagement with Hizbullah. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Hizbullah's Deadly Lies - Tony Badran
    It took more than 10 years, but the UK has finally designated the entirety of Hizbullah as a terrorist group. Of course, the distinction always was fictional. Hizbullah time and again made clear it had a single leadership that handled all aspects of the group's activities. Hizbullah is not merely a recipient of Iranian support; it is part of the Iranian command structure.
        Similarly, the U.S. and the Europeans want to pretend that Hizbullah and the "Lebanese state" are not the same thing. Yet the Lebanese Embassy in London wrote to British members of parliament explaining how Hizbullah "enjoys broad popular support." In addition, the Lebanese foreign minister proclaimed alongside the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini that Hizbullah will "remain embraced by state institutions and all the Lebanese people."
        Sadly, the U.S. government is still pouring aid into the Hizbullah-run Lebanese government. Washington is still wedded to the fable that by strengthening the "institutions" of a Hizbullah-controlled state, we somehow defeat Hizbullah's "narrative." The U.S. simply doesn't want to acknowledge or deal with the reality that Lebanon is run by a terrorist group tied to Iran. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Tablet)

  • Other Issues

  • Recognize the Golan as Israel - Editorial
    When U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham visited the Golan Heights on Monday, he said, "This territory was taken by military force because it was used as a launching point to attack the State of Israel." He added that now is the time for the U.S. and other countries to recognize the Golan as part of Israel.
        Why should the heights, under successful Israeli control for more than 50 years, be returned to a kleptocratic and murderous regime in Damascus that only controlled the territory for 20 years? Solely because of lines on the map draw in the colonial era?
        Many of the conflicts Israel faces are because territories are disputed for decades with the false hopes and dreams of irredentist groups that they can turn the clock back. The Golan is Israel. The U.S. can recognize that and it should do so soon. (Jerusalem Post)
  • An Energy Boom Is Transforming the Eastern Mediterranean and Changing Relationships with Israel - Maria Petrakis
    Israel was once at the mercy of volatile, largely unfriendly neighbors for fuel supplies but now has enough natural gas for itself and to sell to others. In 2009, a natural gas field 50 miles west of the Israeli port of Haifa, dubbed Tamar, was discovered. Then, in 2010, Houston-based Noble Energy located a massive offshore field 80 miles from Haifa, named Leviathan.
        Greece, Israel, Italy and Cyprus are now set to sign an agreement to build the world's longest and deepest undersea natural gas pipeline, EastMed, to transport Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to Europe. The project is backed by the EU and the U.S.
        The natural gas rush has led to some political reconciliation. Israel was included in the first meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo in January, alongside the Egyptians, Jordanians and Palestinians as well as the Greeks and the Cypriots. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Why Recognizing Israel as a Jewish State Is Important - Dror Eydar
    The PLO charter decrees that the Jews are only a religion, not a nation, and therefore have no rights to a country of their own, and must return to the nations from which they arrived. This is a fundamental Arab position; even Arab MKs do not recognize the Jewish people's right to national determination in their own land.
        In the past decade, the basic condition laid down for negotiations with the Palestinians - recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people - is not designed to win their recognition of us. We don't need it. It functions as a litmus test for how honest their intentions are. If there is no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, then even after the land is divided, the Arabs will continue to talk about Israel in terms of colonialism.
        The various sectors of Palestinian society are represented in clans and tribes that have in common almost nothing other than their hatred of the Jews and a desire to restore some imaginary lost honor by destroying the state of the Jews. (Israel Hayom)
  • A History of Pakistan-Israel Relations - Kaswar Klasra
    Pakistan should consider establishing ties with Israel, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said last month. Musharraf said he had initiated contact with Israel in 2004, and the foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan held their first meeting in Turkey in 2005.
        General Zia-ul-Haq, who served as President and Army Chief of Staff, reportedly allowed Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) to establish links with Israel's Mossad in the early 1980s. Intelligence offices were set up in embassies of both countries in Washington, D.C., where the Mossad and ISI, with help from the CIA, ran a decade-long anti-Soviet operation, codenamed Operation Cyclone. Under this operation, Israel delivered Soviet-made weapons to Afghan rebels fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and also supplied weapons to the Pakistan Army.
        According to WikiLeaks, ISI secretly passed on intelligence to the Mossad that Israeli civilians might be targeted in a terrorist attack in India in 2008. It was also reported that then-ISI chief Lt.-Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha established direct contact with Israel's Mossad to pass on this information.
        Islamabad-based analyst Mustansar Abbas of Quaid-e-Azam University said: "Take the example of Oman, which made it loud and clear that it is time to recognize Israel. Many Muslim countries, which in the past took a strong and principled stand against Israel, are now increasingly warming up to the Jewish state. So, Pakistan should consider building relations with Israel."  (Al Arabiya)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli, Palestinian Institutes Join Forces to Counter Radicalization in PA Curriculum
    On Thursday, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) said it will be working with Prof. Mohammed Dajani Daoudi of the Wasatia Academic Institute (WAI) in Jerusalem.
        Daoudi founded the Wasatia movement in January 2007 to promote religious and political moderation among Palestinians, co-existence with Israelis, and education on the Holocaust and other topics considered taboo in Palestinian society. In 2014 he led a student delegation from Palestinian Al-Quds University to visit Auschwitz, after which he was expelled from the school and his car was torched.
        Daoudi identified five "problematic categories" within current Palestinian textbooks: "[Encouragement] to violence; subliminal violent messaging; demonization of the Other; indoctrination to militancy; and degradation of women." "It is hoped that the Palestinian Authority will revise its curriculum along the lines of the international standards for peace education," he said. (Algemeiner)
        See also Wasatia Education: Exploring the Palestinian Curriculum - Prof. Mohammed Dajani Daoudi (IMPACT-se)
  • 140 Jewish Volunteers from Pre-State Israel Were Killed in Nazi Bombing of British Troopship - Ofer Aderet
    On May 1, 1943, the Germans bombed and sunk the British troop transport ship SS Erinpura in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 miles north of Benghazi, Libya, killing 943 soldiers and sailors. Those who perished included 140 volunteers from the pre-state Jewish community, the Yishuv, who served in Transport Company 462 of the British army. The bodies of 136 soldiers were never found.
        Most of the fallen came to Israel from Europe and were the last remnants of their families who were murdered in the Holocaust. Dorit Perry, director of the nonprofit Giving a Face to the Fallen, said, "At the time they fought against Rommel's armies in the Arab desert, some already knew that their parents, who remained in Europe, were deported and died and that they were the only ones left in their families....Some enlisted in the British army with the clear goal of taking revenge on the Nazis."  (Ha'aretz)
  • How One Swiss Nurse Hid Hundreds of Pregnant Women and their Children from the Nazis - Rich Tenorio
    When refugees fled the Spanish Civil War and World War II, a brave Swiss nurse provided crucial help in southwest France to pregnant women and their children. Elisabeth Eidenbenz is credited with saving the lives of 400 Spanish refugees and 200 Jewish refugees through her maternity hospital in Elne. She was honored by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2002 and the 2018 Spanish film "The Light of Hope" aims to amplify her heroism. (Times of Israel)

  • Elections in the Palestinian Authority still seem a distant prospect. The 2006 legislative elections, considered the high point of Palestinian democracy, were supported by most PLO factions and Hamas, and included the West Bank (including east Jerusalem) and Gaza.
  • The vague prospect of future elections masks what is in essence a naked power grab by the Abbas leadership.
  • The formation of a new PA government through a series of back-room deals, without the participation of significant components of Palestinian politics and territory, represents a severe blow to the prospects for democracy and national re-unification.
  • With more than a decade since the last legislative and presidential elections, the Palestinian democratic fabric has withered. The now dissolved Palestinian Legislative Council had not met since 2007.
  • Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank continue to suffer human rights abuses and attacks on freedom of expression at the hands of both Hamas and the PA.
  • At a time in which the Middle East peace process has ceased to exist, the need to reform the Palestinian national movement is becoming ever more urgent.

    The writer is a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

        See also Hamas Declines Abbas' Request for Parliamentary Elections in Gaza (Xinhua-China)
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