May 30, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

For Quds Day, Iran's Leader Posts Graphic of Sinking U.S. and Israeli ships (Twitter @JerusalemCenter)
    Iran "celebrates" Quds Day [Jerusalem Day] tomorrow, but Khamenei can't wait.
    He posted on Facebook sinking Israeli & U.S. ships on a sea of Palestinian kafiyahs. The shining sun is the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mt. See Facebook.

IDF Reveals 'Longest, Most Significant' Hizbullah Tunnel on Northern Border (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday revealed a cross-border Hizbullah tunnel discovered running into Israeli territory from Lebanon during this past winter's Operation Northern Shield, saying it was "the longest and most significant" subterranean passage found yet.
    The army said the tunnel was dug to a depth of 80 meters (260 feet), was a kilometer long and penetrated 77 meters (250 feet) into Israeli territory. It began close to the Lebanese village of Ramiya, the IDF said, with an exit close to the Israeli villages of Shtula and Zar'it. The tunnel was equipped with infrastructure for electricity, ventilation and communications systems, and that the passage would have taken years to complete.
    Last month, the commander of the IDF's Ground Forces, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, said Hizbullah was still planning to carry out a surprise invasion of northern Israel despite the recent anti-tunnel operation.
    See also Video - Inside the Hizbullah Attack Tunnel (IDF)

Israel 'on the Vanguard' in Dealing with Warfare's Legal Issues - Barney Breen-Portnoy (Algemeiner)
    Addressing the third IDF International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict in Herzliya, Paul C. Ney Jr. - the U.S. Department of Defense's general counsel - stated that dialogue about the law of war must "be led by states, like Israel and others represented here, that are deeply committed to the rule of law and will adhere in good faith to their legal obligations."
    Referring to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ney noted, "Unfortunately, I believe that Israel's experience with the ICC is similar to the U.S. experience. Like the United States, Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute. Like the United States, Israel possesses a robust civil and military justice system. As with the United States, the ICC has ignored the principle of consent to jurisdiction and engaged in an illegitimate effort to review Israeli actions."
    According to the IDF, more than 150 legal experts from over 20 countries were attending the three-day conference.
    See also Top IDF Lawyer Tells The Hague to Back Off, Says Israel Can Probe own Alleged War Crimes (RT)
    The Israeli military wants the International Criminal Court to butt out of its affairs, its top military prosecutor has declared in response to efforts to hold it to account for its use of live fire against Palestinian protesters. "Israel is a law-abiding country, with an independent and strong judicial system, and there is no reason for its actions to be scrutinized by the ICC," Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek, Israel's military advocate, declared at an international conference on warfare laws in Herzliya. "The position of Israel is that the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction to discuss the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

El Al to Start First Direct Flights between Japan and Israel in March 2020 (Japan Times)
    El Al Israel Airlines said it will launch direct flights connecting Tel Aviv with Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture. The airline will operate three round-trip flights a week, starting in March 2020.
    The regular direct flights between Japan and Israel come as the two countries deepen ties on the economy and tourism.
    See also RwandAir Route to Israel Excites Pilgrims - Hudson Kuteesa (All Africa)
    Christians in Rwanda have welcomed the news of planned direct flights to Israel by the national carrier RwandAir, a move they say will ease their visits to the Holy Land. The airline will be operating three flights to Tel Aviv a week from Kigali, and Christians in Rwanda are excited about the development.

News Resources - North America and Europe:
  • Israel Will Hold Unprecedented Second Election after Netanyahu Fails to Form Governing Coalition - Loveday Morris and Miriam Berger
    In a stunning turn, Israel will head to elections for a second time in less than six months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government before a midnight Wednesday deadline.
        The move for new elections leaves Israel in political disarray as it now embarks on an expensive nationwide vote that has no guarantee of shifting the balance of power among the parties.
        For the White House, the political breakdown presents a significant challenge to the rollout of President Trump's long-awaited Middle East peace plan. (Washington Post)
  • U.S., Persian Gulf Allies Step Up Pressure On Iran
    The United States and key Middle East allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stepped up pressure on Iran, warning against any attacks and taking measures to bolster cooperation to counter Tehran's regional activities.
        U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton warned Iran that any attacks on U.S. interests or allies in the Persian Gulf will draw a "very strong response" from Washington following a series of violent incidents and a beefing up of U.S. military assets in the region. Bolton, speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, the U.A.E. capital, said Iran was "almost certainly" behind attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the U.A.E. earlier this month.
        "I think it is clear these [attacks] were naval mines almost certainly from Iran," Bolton asserted. "Who else would you think is doing it?" he said of the mines. "Somebody from Nepal? There is no doubt in anybody's mind in Washington who is responsible for this, and I think it's important that the leadership in Iran know that we know."
        "The point is to make it very clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of action risk a very strong response from the United States," Bolton said, without elaborating. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Washington Post)
  • Trilateral Meeting of the National Security Advisors from the United States, Israel, and Russia
    In June, United States National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton, Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolay Patrushev will meet in Jerusalem, Israel, to discuss regional security issues. (The White House)
  • Iran Will Restart Contested Nuclear Work Unless Cash 'Demands Are Met' - Adam Kredo
    Top Iranian leaders issued a series of warnings, telling world leaders it is on the brink of restarting a significant portion of its most contested nuclear work, including the enrichment of uranium to prohibited levels that could be used as part of a weapons program.
        Iran will continue to rollback its adherence to key portions of the deal until all of its "demands are met," according to the country's senior leadership.
        "Once our demands are met, we will resume implementation of the ceased undertakings," Iran's Supreme National Security Council said in a recent statement. "Otherwise, the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop compliance with its other undertakings in consequent phases."
        "The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not any more see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves," the statement continued.
        Iran has given European countries still party to the deal 60 days to restore Tehran's access to international markets and key banking services. Keivan Khosravi, a spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said all banking and oil rights must be immediately restored or Tehran will continue with efforts to ramp up prohibited nuclear work. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Dept of Defense: Intelligence Showed Iranian "Campaign" of Threats - Brian Everstine
    U.S. Central Command has called for increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to watch over Iranian-backed forces and more air support "in the event of an attack" after intelligence showed a campaign of threats from Iran, top US military officials said May 29.
        Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, speaking to a small group of reporters earlier this month en route to Indonesia, said the undisclosed intelligence of threats showed "an anomaly," calling for a quick response within hours.
        The resulting U.S. deployments already have made an impact, said Shanahan, noting, "It deterred attacks on our people in Iraq."
        Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, speaking May 29 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said intelligence in recent years has consistently shown a stream of threats emanating from Iran.
        However, the intelligence earlier this month was different because it showed "multiple threat streams all, perhaps, coming together." There was a "pattern of threats," including in Iraq, in Yemen, and in the Persian Gulf, which have since shown to be accurate with attacks on ships in the Gulf and rocket attacks near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, he said."We saw something that was more like a campaign than an individual threat," Dunford said. (Air Force Magazine)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Left Is Mainstreaming Palestinian Marxist Terrorists - John Rossomando
    A disturbing trend of open support for the Palestinian Marxist-Leninist terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, has emerged on the political Left amid rising anti-Semitism that hides behind the label of anti-Zionism.
        San Diego State University's Women's Resource Center advertised a program that included the slogan "From the River to the Sea Palestine Will Be Free," and a photo of PFLP terrorist Leila Khaled clutching an AK-47. Khaled is famous for hijacking two airliners in 1970.
        The university's Students for Justice In Palestine chapter hosted now-deported PFLP terrorist Rasmieh Odeh via videoconference in 2015. Odeh played a key role in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two students.
        Support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has gone mainstream elsewhere on the progressive Left. It's a very bad sign for today's divided politics that students and others on the American Left would glorify terrorists and their violent acts. (Washington Examiner)
  • Can Israel Become A Nation Of Startup Marathoners? - Peter Cohan
    Having returned a week ago from Israel, I remain impressed by its strengths as a place to start companies. Yet Israel strikes me as somewhere in the middle of a transformation - from a nation that starts and sells companies to the likes of Google and Intel to one that hosts its own publicly-traded world-transforming industry leaders - on the order of Facebook and Google.
        The 71-year-old nation of nine million people has in the space of a few decades turned itself into a country with more IPOs per capita than any other. Israel trains people to lead others and - for the elite who are selected for its 8200 and 8100 units (analogous to our NSA) - gives them deep knowledge of technologies that can form the basis of new companies.
        Israel's leading universities and research institutes - such as the Technion, the Weizmann Institute, Hebrew University, and Tel Aviv University - also supply intellectual property that finds its way into startups.
        This brings me to what I believe is the most significant transformation that Israel must undertake - from a creator of business leaders whom I call sprinters - who can turn an idea into a company that gets acquired - to a nation of marathoners - who take such companies public, generate revenues in the billions, and keep growing at 20% or more. (Forbes)

Why Are Israeli and other Jewish Academics Legitimizing Anti-Semitism? - Dan Diker (Jerusalem Post)
  • The German parliament's recent passage of a resolution that censured the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel for being anti-Semitic sets an important precedent. It smashes the glass wall erected by the European far Left, Islamist and Palestinian activists, and political progressives in the United States who have insisted that BDS is a pro-Palestinian human rights campaign whose condemnations of Israel are defined as "legitimate criticism."
  • The BDS movement possesses a demonstrably anti-Semitic character, links to terrorist organizations and convicted terrorists, and a goal of destroying the State of Israel.
  • The German parliament's moral linkage of Nazi-era boycotts, fascist extremism and modern BDS is instructive. Lawmakers passed the "BDS is anti-Semitism" resolution in the shadow of a 20% spike in anti-Semitic acts in Germany in 2018, 90% of which were attacks reportedly carried out by right-wing extremists.
  • The Palestinian-led global BDS movement does not criticize Israeli policy; it categorically rejects Israel's existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people and calls for its dissolution.
  • THE BDS National Committee in Ramallah includes founder Omar Barghouti, who has reiterated ad nauseam his unequivocal rejection of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, emphasizing that "No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine."
  • The connection between BDS and anti-Semitism is rooted in the BDS National Committee (BNC) in Ramallah. The BNC includes five Islamic and Palestinian terrorist organizations that sit with Barghouti and others as co-equal members of the BDS National Committee.
  • Participating terrorist organizations include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the PFLP GC, and the Palestine Liberation Front.
  • The BDS movement's student organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, currently operating on about 250 North American university campuses, has harassed, intimidated and threatened Jewish and Israel-friendly students and faculty.
  • The writer is the director of the Project on Political Warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.