July 3, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Security Prize Recipients Honored for Innovation and Daring - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday awarded Israel's top security prize to those who contributed in the past year to the country's protection.
    Recipients included the Mossad agents behind the operation to steal Iran's nuclear archive and the IDF teams that located and destroyed six cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hizbullah from Lebanon into Israel.
    An Israel Security Agency team led by a female agent received the award for the development of a big data program that is used to predict and prevent terror attacks.
    "Many dozens of attempted terror attacks were stopped, hundreds of terrorists were arrested and a large number of significant terror attacks were prevented, including suicide bombings, explosive attacks and car bombs that were meant to be carried out against populations within Israel," the ISA said.
    "The system even allowed the ISA to find and stop a number of armed terrorists who were en route to carry out attacks."
    Another recipient was the team that created an advanced version of the SPICE (Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective) air-to-surface bomb.
    "The four winning projects successfully address significant strategic threats to the State of Israel, and are characterized by their innovative, daring approach and superior operational capabilities," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

To Evade Sanctions on Iran, Ships Vanish in Plain Sight - Michael Forsythe and Ronen Bergman (New York Times)
    As U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and petrochemical products have taken hold, some of the world's shipping fleets have defied the restrictions by "going dark" when they pick up cargo in Iranian ports, according to commercial analysts who track shipping data and intelligence from authorities in Israel.

The Palestinian Authority Failed to Counter the Bahrain Conference - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The call by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for three days of demonstrations and clashes in the West Bank to protest the Bahrain economic conference evoked only a weak response.
    The Palestinian public in the West Bank is still seething over the severe cases of corruption among the PA leadership and is in no hurry to cooperate with it.
    Senior Fatah officials say that the corruption issue still dominates the discourse of the Palestinian street and the social networks.
    If Abbas does not take visible measures against corruption, an explosion is only a matter of time.

Nicaragua Arrests Four Men Tied to Islamic State - Ismael Lopez (Reuters)
    Two Egyptians and two Iraqis with suspected ties to the Islamic State were captured on Tuesday by the Nicaraguan armed forces after entering the country illegally from Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said.
    Three of the men were featured in a U.S. Homeland Security alert.
    The four men were returned to Costa Rica.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu: Iran Trying to "Blackmail" World by Violating Nuclear Deal
    "This week Iran openly violated the nuclear deal by increasing the stockpile of enriched uranium (to beyond that) allowed under the deal," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday at an early reception in Jerusalem marking U.S. Independence Day.
        "They're hoping, that regime, that by violating the deal it will be able to blackmail the world into making concessions and reducing the economic pressure on it. We should do the exact opposite. Now is the time to increase the pressure. Now is the time for the European powers to follow America's lead and restore sanctions against Iran, just as they promised to do in the United Nations Security Council."  (AFP)
  • Netanyahu Says U.S. President Knew in Advance of Israel's Iran Archive Mission
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he informed U.S. President Donald Trump in advance of Israel's spy mission in Tehran in February 2018 to capture the secret Iranian nuclear archive. Netanyahu said he had discussed the planned operation with Trump when they met at the Davos forum in January 2018. "He asked me if it was dangerous. I told him that there was a danger to it that was not negligible, but that the outcome justified the risk."
        Netanyahu said that when he later presented the main findings from an Israeli analysis of the documents to Trump at the White House, the president "voiced his appreciation for the boldness. I have no doubt that this helped to validate his decision to withdraw from this dangerous (Iran nuclear) deal."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Tells Europe: Choose between Us and Iran, as New Trading System Launches - Loveday Morris
    U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook said Friday that European companies have a choice: Do business with the U.S. or do business with Iran, as Europe announced that a new system to allow trade with Tehran was in place. It is unclear if the European alternative barter trading system will work. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Mossad Chief Sees "One-Time Opportunity" to Achieve Regional Peace
    "The Mossad sees a rare opportunity to reach a regional understanding that would lead to a comprehensive peace agreement," Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, said Monday. "Common interests as well as a fight against common adversaries create perhaps a one-time window of opportunity."
        "There is a list of countries that recognize Israel, accept our existence and maintain cooperative relations out of mutual respect....Additional countries have also joined this list but implicitly - we have shared interests and open channels of communication. These countries are not willing to tolerate Iran's thuggish behavior, positioning Israel as their focus for hatred."  (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Member Details Long History of Iranian Support - Tzvi Joffre
    Hamza Abu Shanab, a Gaza-based political analyst, detailed Iran's long history of support for Hamas in Al-Resalah on Monday. He said Iran provides a variety of combat equipment and missiles to the Gazan factions, while also training dozens of "resistance fighters in several combat specialties." He highlighted Iran's monetary support for Hamas' Qassem Brigades, and added that Iran provides financial support for the development of missiles and tunnels.
        Iran provided support for the "joint Palestinian resistance between the Qassam Brigades and Al Nasser Brigades which led to the kidnapping of [Israeli soldier Gilad] Shalit." Iran also provides financial support for Palestinian media and media professionals. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Farce of Iran's Breach of Limit on Enriched Uranium - A. Savyon and Yigal Carmon
    While the U.S. protests Iran's minor breach of the 300 kg. limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium set in the 2015 nuclear deal, the location of 8.5 tons of Iranian-enriched uranium ostensibly shipped to Russia remains completely unknown. It could well be back in Iran.
        At a February 11, 2016, hearing before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Stephen Mull acknowledged that Washington had lost track of the enriched uranium, which, he said, was no longer under IAEA oversight. A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iran Media Studies Project; Yigal Carmon is President of MEMRI. (MEMRI)
  • With Their Repeated Rejections, Palestinians Risk Irrelevance - Aaron Kliegman
    In his speeches to the UN General Assembly in 2009, 2010, and 2011, President Obama focused 10%, 23%, and 18% of his remarks, respectively, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his last appearance at the UN in 2016, he devoted just one sentence to the issue. The drop-off is striking.
        The world is growing increasingly apathetic about the Palestinian plight. One reason is the surge in chaos across the Middle East unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A belligerent Iran on the march, the Islamic State wreaking havoc, the war in Syria showing the depths of humanity's cruelty - how much attention can political leaders give to the Palestinians with such priorities in the Middle East?
        Another reason is the stubbornness, the rejectionism, the Jew-hatred, and anti-Semitism of the Palestinians themselves. The Palestinian leadership's continued refusal to engage the Israelis in a serious way, coupled with its inability to create a productive society, has had a corrosive effect. Indeed, the Palestinians are making themselves increasingly irrelevant by rejecting every peace initiative.
        Considering the economic struggles in the Palestinian territories, it seems reasonable that the Palestinian leadership would at least consider the proposals presented at the Bahrain workshop that were meant to trigger investment in the Palestinian territories to improve the Palestinian economy and residents' quality of life. But the Palestinians would rather destroy Israel than create Palestine - that is why there is no peace and no two-state solution. The Palestinians have no one to blame but themselves. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Do Palestinian Leaders Really Want Peace? - Clifford D. May
    Virtually everyone involved in the "peace process" has taken for granted that the primary goals of those who lead the Palestinians are peace, prosperity and self-determination. What if that's wrong? What if the Palestinians really want something else?
        Israelis proposed deals in 2000, 2001 and 2008. The Palestinians were offered more than 90% of the West Bank. Each time, their leaders declined. No counteroffers were presented.
        In Bahrain last week, the U.S. did not ask that Palestinians do anything in exchange for the massive assistance package that was put on the table. Nonetheless, Abbas refused even to discuss the economic plan. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
        See also Abbas Blows His Chance at Achieving Peace - Michael Goodwin (New York Post)

  • British Home Secretary Sajid Javid traveled to Jerusalem and visited the Western Wall on Monday. His visit was especially noteworthy because the UK does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and in fact doesn't recognize it as even being inside Israel. East Jerusalem, runs the UK position, is "part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
  • In many ways, Javid's visit is a positive step forward in UK relations with a reliable ally that we have seldom treated as such. Since issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the UK has more often been a hindrance than a help to Zionism, from the White Paper to an institutionally hostile foreign policy apparatus.
  • That this son of a Pakistani Muslim immigrant is showing leadership after a century of British error on the Jewish return to their ancestral homeland says something encouraging about the country we have become.
  • As the UK heads for the EU exit, it will need all the friends it can get, but there is just one friendly nation whose seat of government the UK refuses to recognize and in whose capital it demurs from locating its embassy.
  • Recognizing Israel's capital and relocating our embassy there would go some way to righting the historical wrong of dividing up the Jewish people's homeland and barring them from escaping there in their darkest hour.
  • Recognizing a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would concentrate Palestinian minds, too. There are no disincentives for a Palestinian Authority that believes it can wait until a fully-formed state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, falls into its lap.
  • The UK's acceptance of Israel's capital would underscore the risks of rejectionism. The more the Palestinians say No, the less there might be to say Yes to.