March 28, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Israeli Mothers near Gaza Raising Children under Rocket Fire (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    "[When you hear the siren] you stop the car and you don't know which baby to unbuckle first. You grab the kids and just run and find the closest shelter."

Israel Warned Palestinians to Leave Targeted Buildings - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    There have been no reports of deaths in Gaza since the Israeli military carried out a series of strikes on Hamas targets in retaliation for rocket fire on Israel.
    The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported on Tuesday that three residential buildings in Gaza had been completely destroyed in Israeli air raids.
    The residents of the buildings received advance warnings of the attack from the Israeli army and left in time.

U.S. to Update Maps to Show Golan Heights as Israeli Territory - Michael Lipin (VOA News)
    The U.S. will update government maps to reflect the decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a State Department spokesperson said Wednesday.
    Separately, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said the map changes will reflect facts on the ground and a "need for Israel to have secure and defensible borders."

IAEA Is Reviewing Iran Nuclear Archive - Mark Fitzpatrick (LobeLog-Institute for Policy Studies)
    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is "working diligently" to pursue the voluminous documents that Israel last year obtained about Iran's past nuclear-weapons-development efforts.
    So said U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson at the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington on March 11.
    Reviewing such a huge volume of material will take at least a year.
    The writer is an associate fellow of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Video: Palestinian "Paramedic" Filmed Attacking IDF Soldiers - Tzvi Joffre (Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian paramedic was filmed throwing rocks and firebombs in a riot near Bethlehem on Wednesday, according to a video released by Lt.-Col. Avichay Adraee, head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Dutch Israel Boycott Supporter Triggers Israeli Wine Shopping Craze - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
    A Dutch supporter of boycotting Israel posted a picture on Twitter of Israeli wine on sale at the Hema supermarket chain.
    But her tweet, meant to protest the sale, prompted Israel supporters in Holland to mount a social media reaction so successful that Israeli wines sold out at Hema and the campaign became the number-one trending topic on Dutch Twitter on Tuesday.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • As U.S. Tightens Sanctions, Iran's Network of Allies Feels the Pain - Ben Hubbard
    Syrian militiamen paid by Iran have seen their salaries slashed. Projects Iran promised to help Syria's ailing economy have stalled. Employees of Hizbullah say they have missed paychecks and lost other perks. Iran's financial crisis, exacerbated by American sanctions, appears to be undermining its support for militant groups who bolster Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. "The golden days are gone and will never return," said a fighter with an Iranian-backed militia in Syria who recently lost a third of his salary.
        But analysts question how much funding cuts will change the behavior of these groups, which are relatively inexpensive and remain ideologically committed to Iran's agenda. (New York Times)
  • Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism, Secretary of State Pompeo Tells AIPAC
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told AIPAC on Monday: "Every decent human being has the responsibility to fight anti-Semitism. It's an affront to religious liberty. It denies the rights of Jews to worship their God. It attacks what it means to be Jewish, ethnically and religiously. But Americans have a special responsibility to combat this scourge, because religious freedom sits at the core of our founding. It's in our Bill of Rights as the very first freedom."
        "The United States stands with the Jewish people and Israel in the fight against the world's oldest bigotry. This bigotry is taking on an insidious new form in the guise of 'anti-Zionism.'...But criticizing the very right to exist of Israel is not acceptable....Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."  (State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Report: Israel Attacks Iranian Ammunition Depot in Aleppo
    Israel carried out an airstrike on an Iranian ammunition depot near Aleppo airport on Wednesday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and SANA, the official Syrian news agency, reported. Iran has a large presence in the area. (Globes)
        See also Seven Iranian-Linked Militiamen Killed in Israeli Attack in Syria (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sderot Mayor Writes to Neighboring Gaza Leader in Arabic - Kim Legziel
    In an open letter to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh published in Arabic on Facebook, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, whose town is close to Gaza, included two photos - one showing Sderot's new neighborhoods, while the second shows Haniyeh's destroyed office, bombed by the IDF on Monday. He wrote, "Ismail Haniyeh - can you not see that you're losing? You take all the money you get from the Arab world and instead of using it for food, a functioning economy and a future for Gaza's residents, you waste it on your imaginary attempts to beat us."
        "Look at the results of your behavior....How does Gaza look in comparison to Sderot? You've been launching rockets at us for 18 years, but...every year, new homes are being built. We're growing and growing stronger....You thought you'll make Sderot into a ghost town - but we're powerful!...It's time to change course."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Trump's Golan Strategy - Elliot Kaufman
    President Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights puts the Palestinians on notice. The fear is that if a U.S. president can tell Syria to forget returning to the pre-1967 borders, he can tell the Palestinians the same thing: Shape up and cease your intransigence, or America could let Israel annex parts of the West Bank, too.
        The pre-1967 lines are no longer sacrosanct, and they never should have been. They merely reflect where armies stopped in 1949, when the Arab states failed to smother Israel in its infancy. The armistice established the borders "without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines."
        The Trump strategy has been to back Israel and pressure the Palestinians into moderating their maximalist objectives. Palestinian leaders have long assumed time was on their side. The longer they held out and refused to make peace, the more the international community marginalized Israel and pressured it for further concessions. But if the Palestinians don't face reality, their own dreams of a state could be swept away. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights Is Legal and Justified - Vivian Bercovici
    An Israeli declaration of sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and American recognition of it, is not contrary to international law. Since World War II, the accepted understanding of international law that involves territorial loss during conflict is quite straightforward: the attacking nation may not retain permanently land acquired as a result of armed conflict.
        We have heard a lot about how the Russian occupation of Crimea is indistinct from Israel's hold over the Golan. But Russia invaded Crimea; Crimea did not invade Russia. Syria attacked Israel in 1967; Israel did not attack Syria. International law only addresses the situation where the attacker, not the defender, conquers. Syria violated international law in 1967 and 1973 by attacking Israel without provocation. The writer served as Canada's ambassador to Israel from 2014 to 2016. (Commentary)
  • U.S. Golan Heights Announcement Frees Israel from "Land for Peace" Formula - Shmuel Rosner
    Last Thursday, President Trump announced that "it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights." Across the Israeli political spectrum, politicians are supportive of America recognizing Israel's control of the Golan Heights. It is the final nail in the coffin of the 1967 line - the armistice line that separated Israel from its neighbors before the Six-Day War.
        The "land for peace" formulation has been a basis of all peace processes between Israel and Egypt, Syria and the Palestinians for the past five decades. Withdrawal worked for Israel once, in 1979, when it signed a peace agreement with Egypt and left the Sinai Peninsula. But Israel's adversaries, in future negotiations, would demand the same kind of compensation. It became a sacred formula, worshiped by the international community.
        The American president is setting the clock back to before the peace deal with Egypt, to a time when Israel could argue that the reward for peace is peace - not land. Israelis agree on much more than many outside observers imagine. And one of the things they largely agree on is that the 1967 line is no longer relevant. The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute. (New York Times)

  • Several IDF reservists flew into Geneva last week to share their stories on human rights violations by Hamas and other terror groups. Sgt. (res.) Avihai Shorshan said, "Two of my friends died in the [2014 Gaza] war. Both of them died because they tried to do their mission without harming civilians."
  • "In one of the missions in the outskirts of Shejaia...a 10-year-old boy in a suicide bomber's belt was sent our way. In defiance of orders and the command to shoot to kill, the team member guarding the door at the time decided not to open fire, ducked behind some cover and instead instructed the boy to undress and remove the explosive belt."
  • "We detained the child and after an investigation in Israel he was released, healthy and well....The investigation revealed that his brother, a senior member of Hamas, bribed the kid with 10 shekels (about $2.50) to blow himself up on us."
    See also Former IDF Combat Officer Testifies at UN Human Rights Council - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
  • Cpt. (res.) Ravid Elfassi, an IDF officer in the Golani Brigade's reconnaissance unit, was given 90 seconds to present his testimony to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week.
  • "It has been said that terrorism in the eyes of one person is a freedom fighter in the eyes of another, but how can you consider yourself a freedom fighter for stabbing a three-month-old baby, Hadas Fogel, in front of her parents? How can someone call himself a Jihadi, a "holy warrior," for taking the life of a child? These are the fanatics who we as IDF soldiers are fighting against on a daily basis."
  • "In 2007, I was sent on a mission in Gaza to seek out a Hamas squad which was launching rockets at Israeli cities. With my own eyes, I witnessed as Hamas sent out six- and seven-year-old children to search for me and my men. When these children found us, Hamas opened heavy fire using AK-47s and RPGs, while the children were still between us and them," Elfassi said.

        See also Human Shields: Human Rights Violations Committed by Palestinian Terrorists Against Palestinian Civilians (My Truth)