April 1, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Working to Contain Deadly Cholera Outbreak in Mozambique after Devastating Cyclone (PRWeb)
    In the deadly wake of a cyclone in Mozambique, Israel's Sheba Medical Center-Tel HaShomer is joining forces with IsraAID to help establish field hospitals, set up disease treatment centers, and treat survivors.

Israeli Lunar Spacecraft Completes Another Maneuver, Takes New Photo of Earth (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Beresheet spacecraft fired its engines for 72 seconds on Monday on its way to the moon and took a new photo of earth from 10,000 miles away.

Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Visits Israel (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China)
    On March 28, 2019, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Gong Xiaosheng visited Israel, during which he met with the head of the Center for Policy Research in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, David Akov, and the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dore Gold, exchanging views on the Middle East peace process and other issues.

How Palestinians Are Fleeing Lebanon - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    In February 2019, Al-Jazeera reported that 1,500 Palestinians have left Lebanon in less than three months.
    A travel agency in Beirut has secured entry visas for Palestinians to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ethiopia and Bolivia.
    On their way back from these countries, the Palestinians stop in European countries where they file requests for asylum.

Not a Single American Soldier Has Died Defending Israel - James Kirchick (Atlantic)
    U.S. assistance to Israel demands far less in both blood and treasure than many other American defense relationships around the world.
    According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the U.S. spends $36 billion annually on military capabilities in Europe, almost 10 times its annual assistance package to Israel, and American soldiers remain stationed across the continent.
    In Asia, the U.S. has 30,000 troops based in South Korea and 50,000 in Japan. Across the entire Pacific theater, 400,000 American soldiers and civilians are deployed.
    Not a single American soldier has ever died defending Israel, something that cannot be said about many of our allies.
    Israel is hardly the only American ally in the Middle East to receive military aid. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are beneficiaries as well. And most U.S. aid to Israel is funneled back to the American defense sector.
    U.S. military aid to Israel is not all that spectacular compared with U.S. defense arrangements with the dozens of countries it is obliged to defend.
    The writer is a visiting fellow at the Center on the U.S. and Europe at the Brookings Institution.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Gazans Wounded in Border Riots Wonder What It Was For - Loveday Morris and Hazem Balousha
    Mohammed Mikdad, 35, used to spend his Friday afternoons at the Gaza border fence taking part in weekly demonstrations against Israel. They were fun, he said. But after being shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper in May, Mikdad has spent recent Fridays begging outside the local mosque, struggling to support six children. "We hoped it might make a little change. Later, I discovered it was worthless," he said. Disillusionment with both the demonstrations and Hamas is growing. (Washington Post)
        See also After One Year of Gaza Protests - Tareq Baconi
    The jubilation that marked the early days of the "Great March of Return" last year has given way to cynicism. Fewer Gazans join the front-line protests, and the marchers represent a narrower section of Palestinian society than they once did. Today, families try to prevent their children from going to the fence. Of the teenagers who went last year to seek glory and a sense of agency over their lives, many returned disabled and more deprived of hope than before; fewer see any point in taking their place. The writer is the International Crisis Group analyst for Israel/Palestine. (New York Review of Books)
  • Brazil to Open Diplomatic Office in Jerusalem - Daniel Uria
    "Brazil decided to create an office in Jerusalem to promote trade, investment, technology and innovation as a part of its embassy in Israel," Brazil's Foreign Ministry said, as President Jair Bolsonaro visited Israel on Sunday. (UPI)
        See also PA Recalls Envoy to Brazil after Jerusalem "Diplomatic Office" Announcement - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Pitzer College Student Senate Calls for College President's Removal over Israel Study Abroad Program
    The Student Senate of California's Pitzer College has drafted a resolution calling for the removal of College President Melvin Oliver, after he decided to retain Pitzer's study abroad program in Israel against the recommendation of the Pitzer College Council, made up of students and faculty. The recommendation to suspend the study abroad program at Haifa University passed with 68 in favor and 25 opposing.
        Oliver rejected the motion, stating, "I am refusing to permit Pitzer College to take a position that I believe will only harm the College. The recommendation puts in place a form of academic boycott of Israel and, in the process, sets us on a path away from the free exchange of ideas, a direction which ultimately destroys the academy's ability to fulfill our educational mission." The college board of trustees in June 2017 overturned a Student Senate amendment enacting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) regulations to Student Senate spending. (JTA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire Five Rockets at Israel after Border Riots Saturday - Anna Ahronheim
    Five rockets launched towards Israel from Gaza on Saturday night fell in open territory, an IDF spokesperson said. Earlier, Palestinians reported that 4 were killed and more than 200 injured in clashes along Gaza's security fence with Israel, as thousands rioted to mark Land Day and the first anniversary of the weekly March of Return.
        Over 40,000 Palestinians gathered along the fence, hurling stones and hand grenades. The size of crowds approaching the fence was reduced by Hamas' deployment of hundreds of operatives wearing orange vests. Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials said on Saturday that the weekly protests at the border will continue. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Two 8-Year-Old Boys Crossed into Israel from Gaza with Knife - Jacob Magid
    The IDF on Saturday morning apprehended two eight-year-old boys from Gaza who crossed the border fence with a knife. The boys were sent back to Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • Arab League to Offset PA Money Withheld by Israel over Payments to Terrorists - Jack Khoury
    The Arab League announced Sunday that it will supply the Palestinian Authority with a financial safety net in response to Israel's decision to deduct from tax transfers sums equivalent to funds paid to Palestinian terrorists and their families. The PA has refused to accept the partial transfer of tax revenues from Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • It Would Be Suicidal to Hand the Golan Heights to Syria - Alan M. Dershowitz
    It would be suicidal for Israel to hand the high ground on the Golan Heights overlooking Israeli towns and villages to the Syrian mass murderer Assad who would use it to target Israelis civilians with chemical barrel bombs, as Assad has done to his own citizens. No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war. No prime minister of Israel would ever think of ceding the Golan Heights to Assad.
        Israel's continuing control over the Golan Heights increases the chance for peace and decreases the chances that Syria, Iran and/or Hizbullah will be able to use this high ground as a launching pad against Israelis. The writer is Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School. (Gatestone Institute)
  • UN Reports on IDF Response to Hamas Are Misguided - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Kenneth Glueck and Col. Ian Corey
    The UN report by its special commission on Israel's response to the mass demonstrations along its border with Gaza, which ignores systematic legal violations by Hamas, is misguided and poses serious concerns for the U.S.
        The IDF's rules of engagement are consistent with international law in regulating the use of force. The IDF operated in the context of approaching mass crowds that mixed unarmed protestors with armed operatives of enemy groups. In situations like these it is reasonable under international law for commanders on the scene to permit use of live ammunition.
        Accordingly, it was reasonable for the IDF to authorize lethal force against individuals identified as enemy belligerents, or any other individual posing an imminent threat to the lives of IDF personnel or Israeli civilians. Lethal force was used only as a last resort, and even that was aimed primarily at legs in an effort to produce non-lethal results.
        We appreciate how the challenge confronting Israel strongly resembles what the U.S. faces in its conflicts against Islamic State, the Taliban and others. Adversaries emboldened by the lack of censure for Hamas' illegal tactics are now more likely to employ similar strategies against U.S. forces.
        The writers, a former senior U.S. Marine Corps commander and a U.S. military lawyer, are members of JINSA's Hybrid Warfare Task Force. (The Hill)

U.S. Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights: Some Legal Observations - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In his presidential proclamation dated March 25, 2019, President Trump listed two basic factors underlying the U.S. decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights:
    • Ongoing security threats and acts of aggression against Israel by Syria since prior to the 1967 war, including Syria's use of the Golan Heights to launch an offensive armed attack against Israel, which resulted in Israel taking control of the area in the exercise of its inherent right of self-defense.
    • Israel's continuing need to protect itself from Syria and other regional threats emanating from current, ongoing aggressive actions by Iran and Hizbullah in southern Syria, constituting a potential launching ground for offensive attacks on Israel.
  • Rejecting the various calls for negotiation of a peace settlement, and obstructing any attempts at genuine negotiation, Syria has continued to use its territory as a platform for terrorist attacks against Israel and has neither been prepared to genuinely negotiate peace with Israel nor to acknowledge Israel as a sovereign state bordering Syria. Recently, Syria has enabled emplacement of Iranian and Hizbullah weapons platforms and their use against Israel.
  • A long-term continuation of belligerency, an ongoing threat of aggression by the state concerned, and a lack of any foreseeable chance of peace negotiations all generate a unique situation facing the state controlling the territory of the offensive state, with no foreseeable chance for a peace settlement.
  • Stephen Schwebel, former judge in the International Court of Justice, wrote: "[Regarding] the Golan Heights, it follows that no weight shall be given to conquest, but that such weight shall be given to defensive action as is reasonably required to ensure that such Arab territory will not again be used for aggressive purposes against Israel."
  • With this background, the proclamation by the U.S. President serves as a message to Syria and the international community that aggression and obstinate refusal to settle an international dispute should not be rewarded.
  • An aggressor state that loses its territory after an offensive war and consistently refuses all efforts to make peace for over half a century cannot expect to maintain a bona fide right to claim back the territory. Thus, the power controlling the territory becomes entitled to a better claim and title to the territory.

    The writer, 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, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon.