July 9, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

IDF Uncovers Gaza Tunnel Dug into Israel - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    A tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel has been discovered during construction of an underground barrier along the Gaza border, the IDF Spokesperson's Office announced Monday.

Florida Principal Reassigned after Questioning If Holocaust Happened - Valerie Strauss (Washington Post)
    Principal William Latson of Spanish River Community High School in Palm Beach County Florida was removed from his job and reassigned Monday after writing to a parent that he couldn't "say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event." He also said "not everyone believes the Holocaust happened."
    The controversy erupted after a parent asked him about Holocaust education at the school in Boca Raton, which has a large Jewish population.

Innovations in the U.S.-Israel Security Alliance - Seth Frantzman (Tablet)
    Since the 1980s, Israel has become a key supplier of advanced military technology to Washington.
    Israel provided exterior armor for American military vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan that saved the lives of U.S. troops attacked by IEDs, said former U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro.
    "There is a range of technologies where things were brought to market faster than in the U.S. or with no U.S. counterpart," says Shapiro.
    In February 2019 the U.S. army acquired several Iron Dome batteries to fill an immediate need for shorter-range aerial defense.
    The Trophy defensive system employed by U.S. tanks to block enemy antitank missiles was pioneered in Israel.

Jordan to Increase Electricity Exports to Palestinians (Xinhua-China)
    Jordan will increase its electricity supply to Palestinian areas from 25 megawatts to 80 megawatts in the next seven months.
    Besides Jericho and other Palestinian areas in the Jordan Valley, areas near Jerusalem including Abu Dis and Al-Eizariya will also get electricity from Jordan.

Amazon's Fleet Expansion a Boost for Israel Aerospace Industries (Reuters)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has converted about 80% of Amazon's fleet of 40 aircraft from passenger to cargo use.
    "We dismantle every part of the aircraft and rebuild as a cargo aircraft," said Yosef Melamed, general manager of IAI's Aviation Group.
    IAI workers seal off windows, rebuild cockpits and install larger doors.
    Amazon says it expects to have a fleet of 70 aircraft by 2021.

Indonesian Muslim Delegation Visits Israel - Sydney Dennen (Jerusalem Post)
    A 7-person delegation from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce came to Israel to visit the Israeli Diamond Exchange over the weekend.
    Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population in the world, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IAEA Confirms Iran Has Gone beyond Nuclear Deal's Uranium Enrichment Limit - Rebecca Kheel
    The International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday: "Director-General Yukiya Amano has informed the IAEA Board of Governors that Agency inspectors on 8 July verified that Iran is enriching uranium above 3.67% U-235." The move is Tehran's second major breach of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Last week, the IAEA confirmed that Tehran had stockpiled more than the 300 kg. of low-enriched uranium the deal allows. (The Hill)
  • West Bank Grows Calmer as Pocketbook Issues Take Priority over Protests - Isabel Kershner
    The change in atmosphere in the West Bank is tangible, with tension and violence subsumed by relative calm and consumerism. Ghassan Khatib, a political scientist at Birzeit University, says the old Palestinian political elite's vision of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel seems unrealistic to the new generation. "They have no alternative for now, so most of them are staying away from politics. Because there are no collective, clear national aspirations, they pay attention to their individual, personal prospects, like jobs and improving their life conditions."
        Nathan Thrall, who leads the International Crisis Group's Israeli-Palestinian project, notes that increasingly, "West Bankers are aspiring to middle-class life with mortgages and car payments." Muhammad Abu Latifa, who spent seven years in jail for stabbing an Israeli civilian, noted, "People have started talking more about their economic situation than resistance." He said many feel like "they have to confront the Palestinian Authority before the Israelis."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • PA Weighs Ending Its Boycott of U.S. - Daniel Siryoti
    A senior official in Ramallah told Israel Hayom that the PA and Washington have been exchanging messages to end the PA boycott of U.S. representatives. A senior PA delegation led by the head of the PA General Intelligence Service, Majed Faraj, is expected to fly to Washington in the near future to hold talks with White House officials. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jerusalem Court: PA Must Pay Compensation for Terror Attacks - Yael Freidson
    The Jerusalem District Court ruled Monday that the Palestinian Authority must pay compensation for 17 attacks carried out by the PLO, Hamas and Islamic Jihad during the Second Intifada, in which 34 Israelis were killed and seven others were wounded. The attacks cited in the ruling include the October 2000 lynching of two IDF soldiers in Ramallah, the December 2001 suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and the March 2002 attack at the Gavish family home in Elon Moreh.
        The ruling applies to petitions presented by Shurat HaDin (the Israel Law Center) on behalf of the victims of the attacks and/or their families. The total compensation demanded stands at $280 million. The court found the PA responsible for the terror attacks on the grounds that it provided financial aid and weapons to carry out the attacks and because of ideological and financial support for the families of suicide bombers and Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Pushes Back on U.S. Report on Religious Freedom - Marissa Newman
    A State Department report on freedom of religion around the world that criticizes Israel, released on June 21, "doesn't always get it completely right because the U.S. system and the Israeli system are so different," the Israel Foreign Ministry's Akiva Tor said Monday. The report cites the Chief Rabbinate's exclusive control over marriage, divorce, and burials for Jews, and Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount in response to violence, which were accused of hindering Muslim worship.
        "I would venture to say that the Israeli policy on the Temple Mount-Haram al-Sharif is an example of great tolerance and pragmatism and willingness of the Israeli democracy to rein in the rights of the majority for the very important and significant religious rights of the minority," Tor said. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The U.S. and Israel: A Friendship for Freedom - Secretary of State Michael Pompeo
    Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told the Christians United for Israel conference in Washington on Monday: "The American welcoming of the new Jewish state into the family of nations [in 1948] was one of the most consequential diplomatic decisions of the 20th century...as a statement to the world of who we are as Americans. It proved, as we continue to prove, that we stand for human dignity, that we stand for justice, that we stand for independence."
        "Modern Israel is the only truly free nation throughout the entire Middle East. It has an enormous respect for religious freedom....Here, too, Israel's commitment lights the way for the rest of the Middle East and indeed for the entire world."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Countering the Hizbullah Threat to Israel - Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Eisenkot
    While Israel's border with Lebanon has seen 13 years of relative quiet and stability since the 2006 war with Hizbullah, the group has continued to expand its robust arsenal and develop three crucial power multipliers: precision capability for its missiles, a second front against Israel from Syria, and an offensive plan to penetrate Israeli territory, both above ground and via tunnels.
        To counter the improving precision of Hizbullah rockets, the IDF has attacked missile production plants and stockpiles while taking open and covert action against weapons transfers from Iran. To prevent a second front against Israel in the Golan Heights, the IDF struck deep along that frontier. Most recently, the IDF destroyed Hizbullah tunnels into Israel that they had worked on for over a decade.
        Today, Hizbullah is capable of launching missiles into Israel on an even larger scale than 2006. Yet Israel's defensive and offensive capabilities have greatly improved, and the IDF enjoys major intelligence, aerial, and ground superiority - enough to ensure victory in a future conflict and make Iran and Hizbullah pay a heavy price. The writer, a former IDF Chief of Staff, is a military fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Video: Defending the Freedom of Jerusalem - Amb. Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Amb. Dore Gold told the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington on Monday:
  • In 1999, when I was Israel's ambassador to the UN, I sought instructions from then-Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon about how to respond to a Palestinian provocation at the UN involving a resolution calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem.
  • Sharon told me to read over the Knesset speech of our first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, from December 1949, in which he declared that he was moving Israel's capital to Jerusalem. Ben-Gurion reminded the international community that the people of Israel had "faithfully honored for 2,500 years the oath sworn by the first exiles by the rivers of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem."
  • In 2016, UNESCO asserted that the Temple Mount was connected to Islam, but it refused to acknowledge any Jewish connection whatsoever, or, for that matter, any Christian connection. The same year, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution branding Jerusalem as "occupied Palestinian territory," insinuating that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were Palestinian!
  • At the July 2000 Camp David Summit, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat told President Bill Clinton that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. If there was no Temple, then Israel had no historical claim to Jerusalem. But President Clinton responded that "not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon's temple." Denying its history entailed an affront to the Christian faith as well.
  • According to Christian and Jewish sources brought forward by Prof. Moshe Gill, in his monumental study, A History of Palestine, published by Cambridge University Press: "The Jewish population residing in the country at the time of the Moslem conquest in the 7th century consisted of the direct descendants of the generations of Jews who had lived there since the days of Joshua bin Nun."
  • In the 1400s, Jewish immigration to the Holy Land had increased to such a scale that the Franciscans petitioned the Pope to issue an edict prohibiting Christian sea captains from carrying Jewish passengers to the Holy Land. By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem determined that Jews had already restored their majority in the city in 1863.
  • Today, across the Middle East, the holy sites of all the great faiths are under a new assault by the forces of jihad. The only force that will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths is the modern State of Israel.

    The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center.