May 7, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic Jihad Admits Baby, Pregnant Woman Killed by Their Rockets - Rossella Tercatin (Jerusalem Post)
    "A leak from the heroes of the [Islamic Jihad's] Sarayat al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades) on the circumstances of the death of the baby Saba Abu 'Arar indicates that a rocket of the resistance exploded inside the family's home due to a technical failure, and prematurely exploded [on Saturday]," Hamas' al-Risala News said Sunday.
    "There is no doubt that the baby's death has nothing to do with the enemy's [Israel's] planes."
    It was reported that Islamic Jihad representatives met with the victim's family on Sunday to offer them compensation and to qualify the baby as a "martyr" in exchange for their silence on the circumstances of her death.
    See also As Rockets Rain Down on Israel, British Media Parrot Claims about Death of Pregnant Woman and Baby - Emanuel Miller (HonestReporting)
    Britain's Sky News, ITV, the Independent, and the Daily Mail all headlined Hamas claims that a Palestinian woman and baby were killed by an Israeli airstrike.

Israeli President Visits Family of Bedouin Man Killed by Palestinian Rocket Fire - Almog Ben Zikri (Ha'aretz)
    President Reuven Rivlin on Monday paid condolence visits to the families of three of the people who were killed Sunday by rocket fire from Gaza. They included the family of Ziad Alhamada, who was killed in Ashkelon.
    "I came to you, our Bedouin brethren, to express my condolences and the condolences of all the residents of the State of Israel," Rivlin said.

Children in Philadelphia Muslim Society: We Will Sacrifice Ourselves for Al-Aqsa, We Will Chop Off Their Heads (MEMRI)
    On April 22, 2019, the Muslim American Society Islamic Center in Philadelphia uploaded a video of young children wearing Palestinian scarves.
    A young girl said: "We will defend [Palestine] with our bodies....We will chop off their heads, and we will liberate the sorrowful and exalted Al-Aqsa Mosque."
    See also Philadelphia Probes Video of Local Muslim Kids Talking about Beheadings (CBS News-AP)
    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations said Monday it's investigating an event last month at which Muslim children were captured on video speaking about beheadings.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: Iran Must Stop Uranium Enrichment
    State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus announced Friday: "As part of the administration's unprecedented maximum pressure campaign to address the full range of Iran's destructive activities, Secretary Pompeo has today tightened restrictions on the regime's nuclear program....Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation of such enrichment."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also U.S. Will No Longer Accept Iran's "Right to Enrich" - Eli Lake
    One of Iran's greatest diplomatic achievements was getting the world to recognize its right to enrich uranium. On Friday, the State Department said the U.S. will no longer accept Iran's "right to enrich." Until 2015, it was U.S. policy to oppose any enrichment for countries that sought peaceful nuclear energy. The process for making uranium suitable for fuel uses the same science necessary to enrich uranium suitable for a bomb. (Bloomberg)
  • U.S. May Review Ties with Countries Deemed Anti-Israel - Dan Williams
    The State Department's special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, Elan Carr, said Sunday, "Certainly anti-Semitism on the part of a country with whom we have relations is a deep concern. I will be raising that issue in bilateral meetings that I am undertaking all over the world."
        Carr said the administration's equating of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did in March, "breaks new ground...by making clear that something that a lot of us who are involved in the Jewish world and a lot of us who are proponents of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship have known for quite some time, and that is that one of the chief flavors of anti-Semitism in the world today is the flavor that conceals itself under anti-Zionism."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaza Rockets "Proof" of Danger of Territorial Withdrawals, Israel Tells U.S. Diplomats - Raphael Ahren
    Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told visiting American diplomats on Sunday: "The current situation in Gaza is proof of the failure of the approach calling for Israeli withdrawals. If we relinquish full control of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], Judea and Samaria will become Gaza and rockets will then be launched at the State of Israel." In 2005 Israel uprooted thousands of Israelis living in Gaza and pulled out Israeli forces.
        Erdan, a member of Israel's security cabinet, was briefing seven U.S. ambassadors to European countries, as well as U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Elan Carr.  (Times of Israel)
  • Gaza Rockets Caused $14 Million in Damage to Israeli Buildings - Gilad Zwick
    Buildings in Israel sustained $14 million in damage from recent Palestinian rocket fire, the Renovation Contractors Association says. As of Monday afternoon, the Israel Tax Authority - which handles requests for compensation for damage caused by war - had received 291 requests to cover the cost of repairs. The requests came from Ashkelon (142), Ashdod (79), Sderot (24) and Kiryat Gat (20). In addition, 137 requests were filed for compensation for damage to vehicles. (Israel Hayom)
  • Rocket Roulette - Tovah Lazaroff
    Miriam Gottlieb, 51, ran to her safe room after hearing the warning siren ring out in Ashdod on Sunday night. A rocket landed just below her first floor apartment. "I felt like the building had exploded," she said. Every window in her apartment and a portion of some of the walls had been destroyed in the blast. She said people have to take these rockets seriously, and shouldn't dismiss them. "This isn't a game....Don't think that 'this won't happen to me'."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • East Jerusalem Resident Charged with Spying for Hamas
    Prosecutors on Monday filed an indictment against east Jerusalem resident Obada Alami, 39, accusing him of espionage, contact with a foreign agent, and terror activities, Israel's Justice Ministry said. Alami had been in contact since October 2018 with two Hamas terror group operatives in Turkey. At their request, he filmed and gathered information about military bases and airports in Israel in order to help Hamas military operations. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Exhausting All Options Before Going to War - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday: "Over the last two days, we struck Hamas and Islamic Jihad with great force....The campaign is not over and it demands patience and sagacity."
        Last month, Netanyahu was asked in a pre-election interview why he did not take more aggressive action in Gaza. He responded: "I do not wage unnecessary wars. I use force when it is needed...but only when needed....I want every mother and father to know that I will not send their children to war without exhausting every possibility. It is very possible - very possible - that we will need to launch a wider military campaign in Gaza and mobilize the forces. But that is the last option, not the first."
        The manner in which he conducted the most recent operation shows that he does not believe every other option has yet been exhausted. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Begged for a Ceasefire in Gaza - Ron Ben Yishai
    In the latest round of fighting in Gaza, Hamas begged for a ceasefire for a full 24 hours before Israel agreed. Hamas needed a ceasefire in place before Ramadan which began Sunday evening and that was the catalyst for an agreement. In this round of fighting, the IDF came prepared with a list of high-quality targets including bombing the homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders.
        Israel's ultimate objective must be the removal of Hamas and its replacement by a leadership focused on its people's needs and not obsessed with the destruction of Israel. (Ynet News)
  • A Palestinian Escalation that Achieved Nothing - Avi Issacharoff
    The Israeli strikes on Hamas ammunition stores, the targeted killing of the man responsible for channeling funds from Iran, the destruction of several multi-story buildings in the heart of Gaza - all prompted Hamas to internalize the repercussions of continuing the fighting. Several leading figures in Hamas told reporters in Gaza that they had no intention of stopping the fighting until Israel agreed to dramatically change the Gaza reality, but these declarations turned out to be empty. (Times of Israel)

  • While Hamas and Islamic Jihad attempted to overwhelm Israel's Iron Dome by firing numerous rockets at a specific location, comparatively few rockets actually succeeded in penetrating the system, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
  • In one case, over the course of one hour on Sunday evening, at least 117 rockets were fired at the city of Ashdod, but only one made it past Israel's air defenses.
  • Maj. Tom Scott, a commander at an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel, said the missile defense system is capable of intercepting "many different threats," including "large barrages or short-range rockets or rockets fired at high altitude or at low altitude."
  • While Iron Dome is not impenetrable, in the latest round the system had an 86% success rate - similar to previous rounds of intensive rocket fire.
  • Scott noted that the Iron Dome's radars successfully spotted every rocket and mortar launch, which ensured that Israelis were warned of incoming projectiles ahead of time by sirens.