May 15, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Saudi Oil Infrastructure Attacked by Houthi Drones (The National-Abu Dhabi)
    Two oil pumping stations and the pipeline between Eastern province and Yanbu province were attacked by drones carrying explosives on Tuesday but caused limited damage, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said.
    On Tuesday, Houthi-run television said they had carried out a "big military operation" using drones against seven Saudi installations.

B-52 Bombers, F-15 Fighters Fly First Deterrence Sorties Pointed at Iran - Kyle Rempfer (Air Force Times)
    The U.S. Air Force began flying deterrence missions Saturday aimed at what the Pentagon has called threats from Iran.
    B-52 bombers touched down at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Thursday, according to Air Force Central Command (AFCENT).
    Air Force F-15s also flew deterrence missions on Saturday and were refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker. F-35s are also in theater.
    "They have begun flying deterrence missions in the region, including over the Arabian Gulf," said Air Force Maj. Holly Brauer, an AFCENT spokesperson.

Israel's Eurovision Webcast Hacked, Hamas Blamed (Reuters-Israel Hayom)
    Israel's webcast of the Eurovision song contest semi-final was hacked with animated images of a purported IDF warning of an imminent missile attack and explosions in host city Tel Aviv.
    The hacking of the website did not affect the regular television relay of the show on Tuesday night in Israel or abroad.
    "We know that at a certain stage, there was an attempt, apparently by Hamas, to commandeer our digital broadcast," Kan CEO Eldad Koblenz told Army Radio.
    "But I am happy to say that within a few minutes we managed to assume control over this phenomenon."

Researchers Find Iranian-Linked Online Campaign to Spread Anti-Saudi, Anti-Israel and Anti-American Content - John Bowden (The Hill)
    The University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab said it had uncovered a "network of inauthentic personas and social media accounts," dubbed "Endless Mayfly," operated out of Iran.
    The network "spreads falsehoods and amplifies narratives critical of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel."
    "Our investigation identifies cases where Endless Mayfly content led to incorrect media reporting and accusations of intentional wrongdoing."

Senior PA Leader Receiving Medical Treatment in Israeli Hospital - Bassam Tawil (Gatestone Institute)
    Last week, Jibril Rajoub, a senior official with Abbas' ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, was admitted to Ichilov Hospital in Israel.
    Rajoub, who also heads the Palestinian Football Association and previously spent 17 years in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses, was rushed to the hospital despite the PA's recent decision to ban Palestinian patients from receiving medical treatment in Israel.
    Rajoub sent a letter last week to the European and Spanish football associations demanding that Atletico Madrid cancel a post-season friendly game with an Israeli team in Jerusalem.
    He also called on Arabs and Muslims to "halt all forms of sports normalization with Israel."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump Says U.S. Isn't Planning Military Conflict with Iran
    President Donald Trump dismissed a report Tuesday in the New York Times that the U.S. is planning for a military conflict with Iran, calling it "fake news." He says he would "absolutely" be willing to send troops, but that he's not planned for that and hopefully won't have to plan for that. (AP-New York Times)
        See also Iran's Supreme Leader Says There Will Be No War with U.S.
    In comments carried by state television, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday: "There won't be any war [with the U.S.]....We don't seek a war, and they don't either." Khamenei also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the U.S. on another nuclear deal. "(Such) negotiations are a poison," Khamenei said. (Reuters)
  • Former U.S. Defense Secretary Gates: "The Theocracy in Tehran Is Hostile to the U.S. Down to the Core" - Margaret Brennan
    Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told "Face the Nation" on Sunday: "Every American administration, since the Iranian revolution, beginning with Jimmy Carter, has reached out to try and reach some kind of an accommodation with Iran. Every single one. I was there for most of them. And in some cases, the Iranian president, whether it was Khatami or Rouhani, indicated some interest in doing that. But every time they were quashed by the Ayatollah, first Khomeini, then Khamenei. So the theocracy in Tehran really is hostile to the United States, all the way down to the core."
        "So trying to figure out how to deal with these guys, and to warn them not to take some rash action that would precipitate a response by the United States, I think is an important element."  (CBS News)
  • Jewish Woman Stabbed, Critically Injured in Sweden
    A Jewish woman is fighting for her life after she was stabbed on the street in the center of the Swedish city of Helsingborg on Tuesday. The woman, around 60, is reportedly an active member of the city's Jewish congregation. (The Local-Sweden)
        See also Man Arrested for Sweden Anti-Semitic Stabbing Attack - Shimon Yaish and Dan Lavie
    Police in Denmark have arrested a man believed to be involved in a stabbing attack on a Jewish woman in Helsingborg, Sweden, according to Swedish media reports. According to local reports, the attacker stabbed her nine times. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Jewish Woman Stabbed in Sweden
    The alleged attacker is a Muslim man known by the Swedish police, according to Israeli reports. The Jewish community believes the incident is an anti-Semitic hate crime.
        Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said: "Once again, Jews in Europe are in danger. Today's brutal stabbing of a member of the Jewish community in Helsingborg, Sweden, is yet another reminder that we cannot rely on fading memories of the Holocaust to keep today's Jewish communities safe, as our schools, synagogues and community centers are turning into fortresses....Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured, her family and community....Jews need to live in calm and security just like the other residents in their countries. Enough with anti-Semitic terror!"  (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Marks Anniversary of U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem - Herb Keinon
    At an event on Tuesday marking the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem, sponsored by the Friends of Zion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that the Jewish people are "the only people on Earth who live in the same land where they lived 3,000 years ago, with the same capital, the same language and the same religion." What makes the feat even more extraordinary, he added, is that the Jews were exiled from the land and came back to it.
        Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said: "We have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem, and we're extremely proud of it." He noted that every day tour buses drive by the embassy. Friedman added, "The move of the embassy was the validation by the strongest nation in the world - not just strong militarily and economically, but strong morally, strong ethically... that [it] recognized the unbreakable, historical and truthful connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video: Netanyahu on One-Year Anniversary of U.S. Embassy Move (Prime Minister of Israel-Facebook)
  • Israelis and Palestinians Share Kosher Iftar Meal in West Bank - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank held a kosher Ramadan Iftar celebration in Hebron in a large, colorful tent set up outside the home of Hebron businessman Ashraf Jabari. Israeli religious Jews shook hands and even hugged Palestinian and Israeli-Arab businessmen, just as if peace had already sprung. Then everyone sat down to a kosher meal catered from the nearby Israeli town of Kiryat Arba.
        The event was organized by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group that wants to strengthen economic ties between Palestinians and Jews in the West Bank. Jabari addressed the group in Arabic, saying, "We want to build a united front to create a breakthrough on the economic issue. We are issuing a clear call to separate between economics and politics.... Breaking the fast together, at a joint meal in the city of Hebron, clearly symbolizes our ability to bridge any type of gaps."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Rashida Tlaib Has Her History Wrong - Benny Morris
    The historical reality was quite different from what Rep. Rashida Tlaib described as Palestinians creating a safe haven for Jews. The Palestinians indirectly, and in some ways directly, aided in the destruction of European Jewry. After Hitler's accession to power in Germany in 1933, German and then Eastern European Jews sought escape and safe havens. In 1935, Jewish immigration to British Mandatory Palestine peaked at 62,000.
        From 1933 onward, Palestine's Arabs - led by the cleric Muhammad Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem - mounted a strident campaign to pressure the British to bar all Jews from entering the country. In 1936 they launched an anti-British and anti-Zionist rebellion that lasted three years. Moreover, anti-Jewish violence, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Jews and wounded many more, itself served to deter would-be emigrants from seeking to move to Palestine. British entry certificates for Jews to Palestine declined to 15,000 in 1938. Those who couldn't get in were left stranded and almost all died in the Holocaust.
        Husseini fled to Berlin, where he was given a villa and a generous monthly salary. During the war, he helped recruit Muslims from the Balkans for the German army and the SS, and in radio broadcasts exhorted Middle Eastern and North African Arabs to launch jihad against the British and "kill the Jews." Subsequently, Husseini settled in Cairo and in 1947 helped launch the first Palestinian and pan-Arab war against the Zionist enterprise.
        The Zionist-Palestinian struggle is not akin to the black-American struggle against white discrimination. Most Palestinians still hope for Israel's disappearance and to take over all of Palestine. The writer is a former professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. (Atlantic)
  • BBC Condemned for Mistranslating Arabic Word for "Jew" to "Israeli" in Gaza Film - Mathilde Frot
    The BBC has been accused of "playing down" anti-Semitism after the Arabic word for Jew was mistranslated to Israeli in the English subtitles for a documentary on Gaza border clashes that aired Monday on BBC Two. Among the Palestinians interviewed, Bader Saleh, 24, said in Arabic: "The revolutionary songs, they excite you, they encourage you to rip a Jew's head off." But the English translation offered by the BBC refers to an "Israeli," not a "Jew." This was one of five instances of the Arabic word for "Jew" (Yahud) being mistranslated.
        Luke Akehurst, director of We Believe in Israel, noted: "Hamas are an explicitly anti-Semitic organization whose hatred of, and desire to harm, Jews goes far beyond any legitimate political dispute with Israel." British Board of Deputies senior vice president Sheila Gewolb asked: "Does the BBC believe that its job is to protect the perpetrators from their own racism?"  (Jewish News-UK)

International Law Backs U.S. Golan Policy - Michael R. Pompeo and David Friedman (Wall Street Journal)
  • President Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is entirely consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967.
  • Resolution 242 calls on the parties to negotiate a just and lasting peace that recognizes the right of all countries, including Israel, to live "within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
  • It provides that Israel would withdraw from some - but not necessarily all - territory captured in 1967 in keeping with that objective.
  • Some of Israel's former enemies pursued peace in good faith, and Israel has withdrawn from more than 88% of the territory it captured in 1967.
  • Syria is a different story. In word and deed, Damascus has for 52 years rejected the negotiating framework of Resolution 242. It has maintained a state of war with Israel since 1948. It is a client of Iran and one of the most brutal regimes on earth.
  • By affirming Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the president has afforded Israel the only secure and recognized boundary that can exist under the circumstances - the objective of Resolution 242.

    Mr. Pompeo is U.S. secretary of state. Mr. Friedman is U.S. ambassador to Israel.