April 3, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Is Losing - Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
    Hamas is mired in a war for survival it can't truly win. Its fight is to keep its head above water, nothing more.
    During its rule, Hamas has turned Gaza into a disaster zone. The people there are suffering unprecedented economic despair with no hope for a better future. Now Hamas is sending Gaza's youth to die on the border fence in a futile campaign.
    Moreover, Hamas has never been more isolated in the Arab world and international arena and looks to be losing the support of the people in Gaza.
    Israel's battle with Hamas won't end in a magic knock-out punch. It is an ongoing struggle where the side that is most steadfast will emerge victorious.
    The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.

Blame for Suffering in Gaza Belongs to Hamas - Jeff Robbins (Boston Herald)
    There is no independent Palestinian state flourishing next to Israel because that arrangement was rejected by Palestinian leaders - before Israel was created and after it was created.
    There is a security fence separating Israel from the West Bank because a multiyear bombing campaign orchestrated by Palestinian leadership, aimed at blowing Israeli civilians to pieces, made one necessary.
    Since its armed takeover of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has sentenced Gazans to ever-deepening poverty, ripping off tens of millions of dollars of what was supposed to be humanitarian aid in order to build tunnels to attack Israel.
    The writer is a former U.S. delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission.

South African Activists at University of Michigan Talk Apartheid, Arab-Israeli Conflict - Liat Weinstein (Michigan Daily-Ann Arbor)
    On Monday, South African activists and educators Klaas Mokgomole and Mmamalema Molepo spoke to students about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and South Africa.
    Mokgomole was an active member of the BDS student group at the University of Witwatersrand. Molepo, a student at the University of Cape Town, believed Israel was an apartheid state. Both said they now think BDS lied to them about Israel.
    Molepo said, "Israel is still where a lot of Palestinians go to school. Israel is still where a lot of Palestinians get their food from. Israel is still where a lot of Palestinians get their water from."
    "Gaza gets their electricity from Israel and the one thing you never hear is that whenever the 'right to return' marches happen, people actually burn down the power stations in Gaza. So it becomes a thing where people lose power and the Israel Defense Forces has to go and fix that."
    After getting expelled from his university for antagonizing Jewish students, Mokgomole visited Israel for the first time and asked an Israeli airport employee for the "Blacks-only bathroom." He was surprised to receive a silent stare in response.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Three Importers Granted Waivers Have Cut Iran Oil Shipments to Zero
    Three of eight importers granted waivers by Washington to buy oil from Iran have now cut their shipments to zero, Brian Hook, the special U.S. envoy for Iran, said Tuesday. "There are better market conditions for us to accelerate our path to zero," Hook said. "We are not looking to grant any waivers or exceptions to our sanctions regime." The waivers expire on May 2.
        Hook said U.S. oil sanctions had removed about 1.5 million barrels of Iranian oil exports from the market since May 2018. "This has denied the regime access to well over $10 billion in (oil) revenue - a loss of at least $30 million a day."  (Reuters-New York Times)
  • Iran Was Building an Underground Nuclear Test Site - David Albright
    Israeli-seized nuclear archive documentation indicates that Iran had begun the process of establishing an underground nuclear test site and developing the necessary methods to estimate nuclear explosive yield in the early 2000s, an effort known as "Project Midan." The project had identified five potential test site locations and was developing approaches, including seismic and other methods, to measure the explosive yield of an underground nuclear test. We have identified the likely location (in an area southeast of Semnan) where underground non-nuclear explosives tests were conducted in 2003 as part of developing seismic methods of measuring the yield of an underground nuclear explosive.
        Much of the information in the archives contradicts Iran's earlier statements provided during the IAEA's investigations of the Possible Military Dimensions of Iran's nuclear program. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • Afghans Recruited by Iran for Syria War Return Home as Pariahs - Kathy Gannon
    Tens of thousands of Afghans were recruited, paid and trained by Iran to fight in support of Syrian President Assad. Iran brought Shiites from across the region to help save Assad, including Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis and Lebanese. With the 8-year war in Syria winding down, these soldiers-for-hire are returning to their homeland, where they are met with suspicion. Afghan security officials believe Iran is still organizing them - as a secret army to spread Tehran's influence.
        Mehdi, an Afghan veteran, now 21, says security agencies view them as traitors. "They say we are all terrorists." They also face violence from the brutal Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, which views Shiites as heretics and vows to kill them. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Tries to Stab Israelis Stuck in West Bank Traffic Jam
    A Palestinian attempted to open the door of an Israeli vehicle stuck in a traffic jam and stab a teenage girl near the village of Huwara in the West Bank on Wednesday. The Israeli father, who was driving his daughter to school, shot and killed the attacker. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Electric to Forgo $1.3 Billion of Egyptian Debt - Amiram Barkat
    Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) has confirmed that it has agreed to forgo most of the money that was awarded to it in Swiss arbitration proceedings from Egyptian gas companies EGPC and EGAS. IEC said Tuesday that it is in "very advanced negotiations for a settlement" to receive $500 million from the Egyptian gas companies. $60 million will be paid on the signing of the agreement and the remainder over 8.5 years with guarantees from an Egyptian bank. In 2015, Swiss arbitrators awarded IEC $1.8 billion for non-supply of gas from 2011 onwards after the pipeline in Sinai was repeatedly sabotaged. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel and the Golan: U.S. Recognition Reflects the Facts on the Ground - Editorial
    If on-again, off-again negotiations since the 1960s have failed to resolve the status of the Golan Heights, what reason is there to think progress might be made in the near or even long-term future with Syria in such turmoil? What reason is there to think that Syria would be a responsible neighbor even if a deal on the Golan could be reached?
        Some U.S. allies have criticized the U.S. for taking a decisive position - for unilaterally tipping the balance - on a long-simmering issue. However, they haven't done anything to make the situation right over the past half-century, and the international community shouldn't continue holding the Golan's fate in abeyance. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Which Armistice Line Defines the Israel-Syrian Border? - Shany Mor
    The norms used to challenge Israel's rights to the Golan are not only selectively applied, they are mutually incoherent. Israel presents a special case when it comes to borders since all of its neighbors rejected its very existence for the first four decades after independence.
        The accusation that Israel and the U.S. are violating diplomatic and legal norms rests on taking the armistice lines created in 1949 between Israel and its Arab neighbors as de facto international borders and tries to apply to them the same standards of territorial integrity as an internationally recognized boundary.
        The problem is that the armistice agreements explicitly say the opposite, that the lines "are not to be interpreted as having any relation whatsoever to ultimate territorial arrangements." Syria, Egypt, and Jordan assumed that in a future war they might conquer more territory and didn't want to be saddled with a binding line.
        The armistice lines were the lines at which a previous war stopped. But two more wars were fought on the Israeli-Syrian frontier, and those ended up with clear lines, too. What is the general norm, rather than the conviction that Israel is always in the wrong, that explains why one set of lines is holy and the next set an affront? (Tablet)
  • Land Theft by the Palestinian Authority in Area C of the West Bank - Adi Graciel and Avraham Binyamin
    Powered by massive European Union financial support, the Palestinian Authority is undertaking a systematic plan to seize strategically-positioned agricultural land in Area C of the West Bank covering tens of thousands of dunams in areas under full Israeli jurisdiction, creating irreversible facts on the ground. Large-scale planting, creation of irrigation systems, and a network of illegal roads are carving up the open spaces in Judea and Samaria and drawing the borders of a de facto Palestinian state in flagrant violation of the law.
        The Union of Agricultural Work Committees, a quasi-official body with clear organizational ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), is funded, for the most part, by foreign governments, the EU, and humanitarian aid organizations. It has been instrumental in seizing 150,000 dunams in Area C - most of which are now being cultivated for the first time and have never been in private Arab hands. (Regavim)

The Migration Wave into Europe: An Existential Dilemma - Fiamma Nirenstein, ed. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Immigration Crisis in Europe - Fiamma Nirenstein
    700,000 refugees are waiting on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in the hope of reaching Europe. Which of these migrants are in search of employment, and which of them are fanatics seeking to fight against the Western infidels?
  • The Security Implications of Muslim Migration - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Ehud Rosen, and Eitan Fischberger
    Many of those who joined the jihadi ranks of ISIS in countries like Syria and Iraq are now heading back home to Europe. No less dangerous to European national security are followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are also committed to changing the world order as soon as possible and replacing it with an Islam-based order.
  • Israel's Role in the European Migration Crisis - Amb. Dore Gold
    Israel's assistance to Egypt in fighting ISIS in Sinai helps to forestall a new population shift out of Egypt toward Europe. Moreover, Israel's assistance to the Sub-Saharan states in the areas of water management, agriculture, and security could provide these states with a sounder economic base, and in so doing reduce the need for mass migration.
  • Morality and Immigration - Prof. Asa Kasher and Fiamma Nirenstein Germany and Spain are currently spending billions of dollars on absorbing new migrants. Yet this money would be much better spent on creating new cities, employment opportunities, factories, schools, hospitals, and other facilities to make life easier in the native countries of these migrants.