July 12, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

White House Says Trump, Netanyahu Discussed Iran (AP)
    President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by telephone on Thursday.
    White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said the two leaders discussed cooperation "in advancing shared national security interests, including efforts to prevent Iran's malign actions in the region."
    Netanyahu's office said he "expressed his appreciation for the President's intention to increase sanctions on Iran."

Palestinian Drones a "Tactical Threat" to Israel - Aness Suheil Barghoti (Anadolu-Turkey)
    "Resistance movements in Gaza have managed to develop some 10 types of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in the past five years," Wasef Erekat, a Palestinian military expert, told Anadolu.
    He said one type are "commercial drones which can be used to collect information and photos or for surveillance during war. They can also be used to carry out attacks by arming them with an explosive charge of between 10-15 kg."
    The second type are fixed-wing UAVs that "can fly at high altitudes and for long periods and they can be armed with guided missiles with a load of more than 200 kg."
    Jalal Rummana, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, said, "In the past four years, Israel has targeted Palestinian experts in unmanned aerial vehicles in an attempt to disrupt the Palestinian resistance project in developing these tools."

UAE Pulls Most Forces from Yemen - Declan Walsh and David D. Kirkpatrick (New York Times)
    For four years, the United Arab Emirates have been the military linchpin of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, providing weapons, money and 5,000 ground troops to a campaign to drive out Yemen's Houthi rebels.
    Emirati forces led almost every major advance the coalition made.
    Now the Emiratis are withdrawing their forces at a scale and speed that all but rules out further ground advances, a belated recognition that the grinding war is no longer winnable.
    A senior Emirati official said Emirati forces have trained 90,000 Yemeni soldiers to fill the vacuum after their departure.

Revolutionary Guards Strategist Proposes Exporting "Sacred Defense" Culture to Iran Proxies - Yaghoub Fazeli (Al Arabiya)
    Iran's culture of "Sacred Defense" can be exported to all of Iran's proxies in the region, according to senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) strategist Hassan Abbasi, who heads the IRGC's Center for Doctrinal Strategic Studies.
    The "Sacred Defense" is a term used by Iran to refer to the eight-year war with Iraq. Iran celebrates "Sacred Defense Week" every year with military parades.
    Abbasi said: "Russia does not dare to down a U.S. drone, and China cannot capture an American and make him kneel in front of them. During the Sacred Defense, a culture was formed in the country whereby we capture the American and he kneels in front of us, and we down their drone."
    He also said that the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq have today become Iraq's IRGC.
    Moreover, he said, "Shiites of the world gathered under the command of commander Qasem Soleimani and created a Shiite NATO in Syria."
    Abbasi added that 2,300 Iranians who were sent to fight alongside Bashar Assad's forces have been killed in Syria.

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4,000 Palestinians Killed in Syrian Civil War - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    The London-based Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) has reported that 3,987 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian civil war since 2011, including 467 women and 200 children.
    1,422 were killed in the Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus.
    Over 85,000 Palestinians in Syria have fled to Europe, while tens of thousands more sought refuge in neighboring countries.

Archaeologists Find Biblical Town of Ziklag - Amanda Borschel-Dan (Times of Israel)
    Based on artifacts and carbon 14 dating results of excavations since 2015, an international team of archaeologists said Monday they have identified Khirbet a-Ra'i in the Judean foothills as the site of the Biblical-era Philistine town of Ziklag.
    According to the book of Samuel, Ziklag provided refuge to the future King David when he was on the run from King Saul.
    Later, in the book of Nehemiah, the town is mentioned as a base for Jews who returned from Babylon.

Israeli NGO Helps Rwandan Children with Heart Disease - Julius Bizimungu (New Times-Rwanda)
    Eight children diagnosed with cardiac disease travelled to Israel this week to receive life-saving heart treatment at Wolfson Medical Center, thanks to "Save a Child's Heart" (SACH), an Israeli organization working to save children from developing countries.
    This is the second batch of children to receive cardiac care in Israel. The first group of eight children have all recovered and are back with their families in Rwanda.
    Roy Gordon, Vice President for Business Development at the Mitrelli Group, one of the financial backers of Save a Child's Heart, said their long-term goal was to facilitate the creation of a pediatric cardiac center in Kigali to serve the local population.

Arab Woman Doctor Heads Hadassah Hospital Emergency Room - Felice Friedson (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
    Dr. Shaden Salameh of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, the mother of three young children, is the first Arab-Israeli woman to head a hospital emergency room in Israel.
    "It's quite challenging actually," she says. "But you know women can multi-task where men cannot....I don't have more time than other people but I can multi-task my day."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Finds Evidence of Radioactive Material in Iranian Warehouse, Israeli Officials Say - Barak Ravid
    UN inspectors have found evidence of illicit nuclear activity in an Iranian warehouse which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in an address to the UN last September was used to store nuclear equipment and material, four Israeli officials told me. The Iranians claimed the warehouse in Tehran was a carpet factory.
        Storing nuclear materials secretly without reporting it to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a violation of the nuclear proliferation treaty to which Iran is a party.
        UN inspectors visited the site in March, Israeli officials tell me. IAEA inspectors took soil samples to try and find evidence of radioactivity. The tests came back positive, and in the last few weeks it became clear that the remains of radioactive material were found at the site. (Axios)
  • Turkey Takes First Shipment of Russian S-400 Air-Defense System in Defiance of U.S. Warning - Kareem Fahim and Amie Ferris-Rotman
    Turkey has begun taking delivery of Russia's S-400 air-defense system, the Turkish defense ministry said on Friday, completing a deal that is likely to trigger sanctions from the U.S. The first components for the system arrived at an air base in Ankara.
        American officials had warned of dire repercussions, including canceling sales of U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and the imposition of sanctions. The 2017 Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act mandates U.S. sanctions against anyone making a "significant" deal with the Russian defense industry. U.S. officials say Turkey's possession of the S-400 could give Russia access to secrets of the F-35's stealth technology. (Washington Post)
  • High-Tech Jerusalem Border Checkpoint Scans 4,000 People a Day - Nicholas Sakelaris
    Palestinians crossing a border checkpoint into Jerusalem are now able to go through the new Qalandiya station - an upgraded, high-tech passage point Israel hopes will cut out the long lines that plagued the old one. The improved station includes bio-metric identification systems that make the checks easier and quicker. Most of the 4,000 who cross daily make it through in 5 to 10 minutes, said coordinator Maj. Moti Stolovich.
        "It is substantially better," said Yousef Jabareen, a butcher at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market. "It used to take about an hour.... Now it only takes a few minutes, which means I get about an hour of extra sleep."  (UPI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel Prefers Calm But Is Prepared for Broad Campaign in Gaza
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Ashkelon on Thursday: "I prefer that there be calm [on the Gaza border] - not that we are under the illusion that we can reach a political agreement with [Hamas], who wants to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the earth. But we are preparing for a campaign that is not only broad, but also surprising." Ashkelon has been heavily bombarded by rockets from Gaza in recent years. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Kills Armed Hamas Militant Approaching Gaza Border Fence - Elior Levi and Yoav Zitun
    IDF soldiers saw two armed Palestinians approaching the border fence in Gaza on Thursday and fired in order to distance them from the border. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said that Hamas field commander Mahmoud Ahmad Sabri al-Adham, 28, sustained a wound to the leg but was later pronounced dead. (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
        See also IDF Admits Error in Killing Hamas Member at Gaza Border - Marcy Oster
    The Israel Defense Forces admitted Thursday that Mahmoud al-Adham, a member of the Hamas security forces, was trying to prevent Palestinian youths from breaking through the border fence rather than joining them. The admission of the error is unusual and is likely an effort to prevent more violence. (JTA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran's Fordow Enrichment facility Was Never Repurposed, as Nuclear Deal Promised - David Albright
    The Fordow uranium enrichment facility has never been repurposed, as promised in the Iran nuclear deal. Everything required to enrich uranium to weapons-grade could be quickly reconstituted in the underground portion of the facility. The Iranian Nuclear Archive (a portion of which was seized by Israel) shows that Fordow's original, intended purpose dating back to at least 2002 was to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium for 1-2 nuclear weapons per year. There is no doubt it could be reconstituted to fulfill that purpose. The writer, a physicist and former weapons inspector, is the founder and president of the Institute. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • The Best Deal for the U.S. Isn't a New Nuclear Agreement But an Entirely New Iran - Alireza Nader
    The Islamic Republic of Iran's march toward a nuclear weapons capability is not only a threat to U.S. national security interests but to global peace. And merely engaging the regime and hoping for its evolution is completely unrealistic.
        Tragically, the U.S. did not support the massive 2009 Green Movement political uprising. A time of great vulnerability for the regime, the uprising provided the U.S. with an ideal opportunity to further undermine a deeply hated regime and gain even more leverage in nuclear negotiations. Instead, millions of Iranians protesting the fraudulent reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were met with a stony silence from Washington, a decision senior officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later said they regretted.
        The Islamic Republic, much like the corrupt and bankrupt former Soviet Union, is destined to fail. The fight against the Khamenei regime's tyranny is in principle the same as the fight against Soviet tyranny. The best deal for the U.S. is not a new nuclear agreement, but an entirely new Iran. The writer is founder and chief executive of New Iran, an advocacy organization in Washington. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hold Iran Accountable for Terrorism in Argentina - Benjamin N. Gedan and Toby Dershowitz
    25 years ago this month a suicide bombing leveled the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300 more. The alleged bombers live freely in Iran. Ali Fallahian served on Iran's influential Assembly of Experts until 2016. Mohsen Rezai is a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader. Ahmad Vahidi served as Iran's defense minister and today is president of Iran's Supreme National Defense University.
        Argentina has issued arrest warrants for the bombing suspects - and for Ali Akbar Velayati, who served as Iran's foreign minister at the time of the attack and is now a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader. Last month, Argentina's ambassador in Washington reiterated his government's appeal for the international community to turn over the AMIA bombing suspects subject to international arrest warrants.
        Benjamin N. Gedan is a senior adviser at the Wilson Center and a former South America director on the National Security Council. Toby Dershowitz is senior vice president for government relations and strategy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (The Hill)

  • Palestinians

  • Why Palestinians Do Not Trust Their Leaders - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Evidently, Palestinian leaders do not grasp that the Palestinian public cares a great deal more about being treated like human beings by their own leaders than about anti-Israel and anti-U.S. rhetoric. Although Palestinian leaders were hoping that tens of thousands would heed the PA call to participate in rallies against the U.S. and Israel in protest against the recent economic conference in Bahrain, it was evident that the number of participants was much lower than expected. In fact, most were members of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah faction or government employees. Similarly, the number of Palestinians in Gaza who heed Hamas' call to head to the border with Israel for the weekly protests is in steady decline.
        The Palestinian Authority and Hamas devote enormous energy to inciting their constituents against Israel and the U.S. This incitement is the Palestinian leaders' way of distracting attention from problems at home. They want their people to be busy hating someone else. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Let's Have Some Truth about the Situation in Gaza - Barbara Kay
    Ben-Dror Yemini's new book, Industry of Lies: Media, Academia, and the Israeli-Arab Conflict, debunks the "Gaza is like Auschwitz" myth. In 1967, when Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza began, life expectancy stood at 48. By 2000, it had leapt to 72, higher not only than in most Arab countries, but higher than in South America and some EU countries. In 1967, infant mortality among Palestinians was 157 per thousand births. In 2006 it was 21, significantly lower than in neighboring Arab and North African countries. Indeed, Palestinian infant mortality rates are now better than in Turkey and Bulgaria. (National Post-Canada)

  • Other Issues

  • Israel's Blossoming International Ties Are Unprecedented - Interview with Michael Oren
    Israel today is less isolated than at any other time in its history. Our relationship with Latin America is at an unprecedented high and the prime minister of Israel has visited four countries there. The countries in Africa are standing in line to strengthen their relationships with us. Our relationships with Eastern Europe, the former Soviet bloc countries, are excellent.
        We didn't have relationships with China or India 30 years ago. They are our biggest trading partners outside of Europe today. With India, we also have a strategic relationship, an alliance. The Sunni Arab states no longer view us as an enemy state, but as an important ally. These are sea changes.
        Israel is perceived in the world today as a power. One international metric had us as the eighth most powerful country in the world. This is a function of the IDF, which is today more than twice as big as the British and French armies combined. Add our ability to project power and to maintain close relationships with the leading powers of the world - whether they be Russia, China, or the U.S. - and Israel is uniquely positioned. The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., is a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office. (Octavian Report)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Video: New Revelations on UK Labour Party Anti-Semitism
    Eight former British Labour party staffers, none of whom are Jewish, speak of their experience in dealing with anti-Semitism complaints, including Holocaust denial and praise for Hitler. For objecting to the party's anti-Semitism, they have all been forced out of the Labour party. (BBC Panorama-10July2019)
        See also Corbyn Has Done More to Inflame Anti-Semitism than any Political Figure since WW2 - Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
        See also Chief Rabbi: BBC Documentary Proves Labour Party's Complicity in Anti-Semitism - Ilanit Chernick (Jerusalem Post)

  • Weekend Features

  • In Hunt for Its Missing Soldiers, Israel Leaves No Stone Unturned - Loveday Morris
    Earlier this year, Israel's National Center for Forensic Medicine tested skeletal remains and determined that the bones belonged to Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel, who had gone missing in Lebanon in June 1982 during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub. Residents of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus had grown up hearing rumors that the bodies of missing Israeli soldiers were hidden in the cemetery. Eventually, Russian troops obtained Baumel's body, and they returned it to Israel. Syrian opposition activists said that Russian and Syrian soldiers are continuing to dig in the cemetery, hunting for the bodies of two other Israeli soldiers who went missing alongside Baumel.
        The forensics center compared the remains with a database of DNA from relatives of those missing and found a match. When the confirmation came, some of the officers accompanying the body cried. Chen Kugel, director of the center, said, "In Israeli culture it's very important to show that we look after the soldiers and bring them home."  (Washington Post)
  • Proclaim Liberty: How the Hebrew Bible Molded Revolutionary America - Jeff Jacoby
    The Continental Congress in Philadelphia approved the final text of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. From the tower at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell rang out, summoning citizens to hear the new nation's proclamation of sovereignty. On the bell was written: "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof." Those words hadn't been drafted by the Founding Fathers. They came from the Hebrew Bible - Leviticus 25:10.
        At the time of the Revolution, Jews were a minuscule fragment of the American population, perhaps 1,000 of the colonies' 2.5 million residents, and were often called "Hebrews." Yet the Hebrew influence on revolutionary America's ideas was immense. Woven into the warp and woof of life in the New World were the tales and teachings of the Old Testament.
        Benjamin Franklin proposed the design of a "great seal" for the new nation: Moses lifting up his wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh in his chariot overwhelmed with the waters - with the motto: "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Thomas Jefferson proposed: The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. Both scenes are from Exodus 13-14. Thomas Paine's revolutionary pamphlet "Common Sense," a blistering attack on kingship, focuses on Gideon and Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. (Boston Globe)
  • Muslim Paramedic at Jewish Wedding Recalls How He Saved Bride from Death - Alex Winston
    Last week Muawiya Kabha, a Muslim paramedic in United Hatzalah, made a special appearance at the wedding of Shahar Kugelmas and Nir David. In April 2009, he had arrived at the scene of a car crash near Petah Tikva where Shahar was a passenger. "When I arrived there after two minutes, the doctor told me, 'this injured girl, don't touch her. I have already declared her dead'," Kabha recalled. "When I got to Shahar, she was in cardiac arrest. And per protocol, the doctor was right, we needed to declare the death. But what I felt from above is that I still need to try and save her."
        Kabha continued CPR on Shahar for 40 minutes while she was still stuck in the car. "We continued CPR on the way to the hospital and at the entrance to the hospital she had a heartbeat....In the end, I must have done what I needed to do, because look, Shahar is with us."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Unwanted: German Jews in World War II - Alex Grobman and Susan L. Rosenbluth
    Michael Dobbs' The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between is the story of the Jews of Kippenheim, a village in southwest Germany where Jews had lived since the 17th century. After Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, every Kippenheim Jewish family (150 individuals) attempted to seek refuge in the U.S.
        In the 12 months ending in June 1938, 22,000 Jews applied for U.S. visas. Of these, 14,000 were never given an appointment. Another 1,200 Jews were declined an interview because of medical reasons or unacceptable affidavits. The remaining 6,800 presumably qualified applicants were forced to wait two to three years for an appointment with the consulate.
        In 1938, only 5% of Americans were in favor of increasing the immigrant quotas to permit additional refugees into the U.S. Some 18% of Americans were disposed to allowing them to enter the U.S. as long as immigration quotas were not raised. Many Americans, including some members of Congress, believed Jews from Eastern Europe were radicals, perhaps even Communists, who would become a "fifth column" in the U.S. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long sought to delay the entry of Jewish immigrants to the U.S. by "simply advising our Consul to put every obstacle in the way and to...postpone the granting of visas."  (Jewish Link-NJ)

The Truth about Jerusalem's City of David - The Lies about Silwan - Nadav Shragai (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The ancient Pilgrimage Road in the City of David is one of the most sensational archaeological discoveries to be made in Jerusalem since Israel's establishment. On this road, remarkably preserved under the ashes of the Roman destruction, many thousands of Jews in Second Temple times, after a ritual bath in the Shiloah Pool, walked about 700 meters up the hill to the Temple Mount.
  • The site was first excavated more than a hundred years ago by French, British, and American archaeologists, at a time when the State of Israel did not exist and Jerusalem was under Muslim rule.
  • The City of David, which is under archaeological examination, covers about 15 acres - or about 6 percent of the Arab Silwan neighborhood. The Israeli Supreme Court has rebuffed claims that the digging endangers the homes of Silwan residents and has clarified that it is done under strict engineering supervision and in line with professional standards.
  • Hundreds of Arab residents of Silwan have been employed in the excavations under the houses of the village - so much so that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority threatened them and forced them to leave their jobs.
  • The excavations are being done in the vicinity of the Temple Mount and not under it. That has been true of all the excavations Israel has carried out over the years in other parts of the Old City and the Temple Mount vicinity.
  • Al-Aqsa is not in danger; what is in danger is the freedom of scientific archaeological research in this area.

    The writer, an Israeli journalist and expert on Jerusalem issues, is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center.
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