July 2, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

The Impact of Iran-Backed Drone Attacks on Saudi Arabia from Iraq - J.E. Dyer (Liberty Unyielding)
    The Wall Street Journal reported that a drone-bomb attack on a Saudi oil pumping station on May 14 was launched not by Houthi fighters in Yemen but by Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq.
    The signature of the strike was similar to the drone-bomb Israel downed in February 2018, which had originated from a compound south of Damascus controlled by Iran.
    A drone-bomb is not an "armed drone" that releases a bomb and then departs. The drone itself is the delivery mechanism for the warhead.
    Saudi Arabia's air defense problem has been transformed overnight. The low/slow-flier threat is one against which integrated Saudi defenses are not optimized, especially looking to the north.
    The writer is a retired U.S. Naval Intelligence officer.

Israeli Foreign Minister Visits Abu Dhabi (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz attended the UN Climate Change Summit in Abu Dhabi this week.
    Katz also met with a senior representative of the United Arab Emirates to discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and the promotion of bilateral economic relations.

Arab-Israeli Appointed Chairman of Israel's Second-Largest Bank - Rebecca Araten (Jerusalem Post)
    Dr. Samer Haj Yehia, 48, has been appointed chairman of Bank Leumi, Israel's oldest bank.
    Haj Yehia earned his PhD in economics at MIT and has been a director of Bank Leumi for five years.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid Visits Jerusalem's Western Wall - Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    British Home Secretary Sajid Javid visited Jerusalem's Western Wall on Monday during his latest trip to Israel.
    Javid said he could feel the spiritual power of the site and also revealed that his father had always believed in the connection between Muslims and Jews. Javid is a leading member of Conservative Friends of Israel.

Canadian Parliament Candidate Ousted for Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany - Maura Forrest (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)
    Muslim social activist Rana Zaman, a candidate for the Canadian Parliament from the Halifax area for the New Democratic Party (NDP), was ousted last week over comments she made on social media comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.
    In one post Zaman wrote: "#Gaza is the new #Auschwitz and #Israelis the gatekeepers!"

Brazilian Superstar Milton Nascimento Rebukes BDS Movement - Benjamin Kerstein (Algemeiner)
    Brazilian music superstar Milton Nascimento rebuked the anti-Israel BDS movement which sought to stop him from playing a concert in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
    "Today, I am here to celebrate peace and everything that unites us," he said.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel's Mossad Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks - David M. Halbfinger
    Yossi Cohen, the chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, said Monday that Iran was directly responsible for the repeated attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, along with other targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. "They are a single campaign initiated by a single party. I can say to you with certainty, from the best sources of Israeli and Western intelligence, that Iran is behind these attacks. They were authorized by the Iranian government leadership."
        "Through these attacks, Iran is trying to say to the world - a world that is afraid of escalation - that if the sanctions are not lifted, it will cause serious damage to the world oil economy. This is an irresponsible Iranian policy that could ignite a fire in the region."  (New York Times)
        See also Mossad Chief: Iran Nuclear Archive Operation Exposed Iran's Lies - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen announced that two women and four men who led the operation to steal Iran's secret nuclear archive will receive an award Tuesday at President Reuven Rivlin's residence. "Many Mossad operatives, tech people, engineers, cyber, ops, worked together to expose the lies of Iran's leaders, proof Iran tried to get a nuke," said Cohen. The mission to retrieve the archive "showed the impossible was possible, and the unbelievable doable." The operation "changed the way the world viewed Iran and the nuclear standoff."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IAEA: Iran Exceeds Permissible Limit for Enriched Uranium
    The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors had verified that Iran has breached the 300 kg. limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium set under the 2015 nuclear deal. The UK and Germany have called on Iran to reverse its decision, while President Trump warned that the country was "playing with fire."
        Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday, "Our next step will be enriching uranium beyond the 3.67% allowed under the deal. The Europeans have failed to fulfill their promises of protecting Iran's interests under the deal."  (BBC News)
        See also Israel Calls for "Automatic" European Sanctions on Iran over Uranium Breach
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called "on all European countries to stand behind their commitments. You committed to act the moment Iran violates the nuclear agreement, you committed to activate the mechanism for automatic sanctions that was set in the Security Council."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Strike in Syria Hit Advanced Iranian Weapons Headed for Hizbullah - Amos Harel
    The bombing of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria on Sunday targeted the logistical chain that supplies advanced weapons to Hizbullah. The S-300 surface-to-air missile system provided to the Syrian Army by Russia didn't operate. Instead, the Syrians fired a massive barrage of older S-200 missiles, one of which fell in Turkish Cyprus by mistake.
        Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said Monday, "We have no interest in fighting with Syria, but we won't accept Iran's entrenchment against us in Syria, or Syria's role as a logistical base for transporting weaponry to Lebanon." He added that Israel's activity in Syria will ultimately prompt Iran to decide that it doesn't pay to operate there. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Businessman Who Attended Bahrain Economic Workshop: "I'm Afraid for My Life" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Ashraf Ghanem, 45, owner of a furniture company in Hebron and one of 13 Palestinian businessmen who attended last week's economic conference in Bahrain, said on Monday that he's been forced to flee his home after Palestinian Authority security officers tried to arrest him on Friday. "I'm afraid for my life. I can't go back to my home," he said in an interview.
        "I pay about NIS 20,000 in income taxes each month to the Palestinian Authority. Now they want to punish me and kill me just because I went to an economic conference. What has the Palestinian Authority done for the residents of Hebron? All the projects you see in Hebron are funded by the international community. Where does the money go? Where are the billions of dollars that the Palestinian Authority received in order to help the Palestinians?"
        "I'm not a traitor, and I'm not a collaborator with Israel. I'm a businessman who wants to help his people and boost the Palestinian economy...and because of that I'm now being punished and forced to live in hiding."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran's Nuclear Breakout - Editorial
    Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Monday that Iran is deliberately violating the 2015 nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Europe now has to decide whether to tolerate this nuclear breakout or join the U.S. in pressuring Tehran to renegotiate.
        Many Europeans will blame Washington more than Tehran for this breakout. But it's been clear all along that the regime has viewed the deal as a pause, not an end, to its nuclear ambitions. Earlier this year the country's top nuclear official acknowledged the regime had long been preparing to break out from the deal and pursue nuclear weapons.
        We've learned enough about Iran's behavior to know that the regime always intended to use the deal to finance its adventures abroad, while biding its time and getting stronger as it waits for the date it could escape the deal's strictures and become a nuclear power. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Bahrain Conference: What the Experts and the Media Missed - Jeffrey Sonnenfeld
    While U.S. media largely ignored last week's Bahrain economic summit, the global media saw something remarkable and historic unfold. The summit showcased different voices with new ideas and the economic resources to bring to life dreams of progress for the Palestinians.
        White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner unveiled a $50 billion economic plan whose implementation would be predicated on a future political peace agreement. His plan gives the parties a chance to visualize what the quality of life could be like when tensions subside, drawing on the remarkable economic-development successes in other countries that have been torn by past political violence, including Bangladesh and South Korea.
        The New York Times in an editorial dismissed the Bahrain initiative as "big-dream plans divorced from reality," echoing the historically unfounded cliche that diplomatic solutions must precede economic plans. What the Times overlooks is the failed history of "political solution first," which so far has usually meant there will be no solution. The writer is Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Management Practice at the Yale School of Management. (Fortune)

Why the PA Rejects the American Economic Plan - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Times of Israel)
  • When you read "Peace to Prosperity," the American economic plan to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the first question that comes to mind is why is the Palestinian leadership rejecting it? The plan adopts Palestinian terminology and incorporates themes favorable to the Palestinian narrative and detrimental to Israel's. It would appear to give the Palestinians almost everything they want.
  • Yet the PA/PLO's rejection of the plan has nothing to do with its substantive contents. They reject the plan because it plainly says that for the last 25 years, the PA leaders have failed the Palestinian people.
  • Criticizing the PA's eternal narrative of victimhood, the plan suggests opening "a new chapter in Palestinian history - one defined not by adversity and loss, but by freedom and dignity." This approach undermines the PA leadership's message which for decades has blamed the woes of the Palestinians on Israel while absolving itself of any responsibility.
  • The reforms the plan suggests to the Palestinian legal, educational, and health systems reflect deep-seated and wholly justifiable criticism of the failed, biased, and ineffectual systems that the PA, abusing billions of dollars of donor aid, has created.
  • The final PA rejection of the plan came when the U.S. authors dared to state that the capital raised would not be given directly to the PA but rather would be "administered by a multilateral development bank" that would ensure that "all the Palestinians - not just the wealthy and connected - share in the benefits of peace."
  • For years, Palestinian leaders and their cronies have lined their pockets with millions of dollars of donor aid. This, according to the plan, would all come to an end.

    The writer is head of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch. He served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.