July 24, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Britain Winning European Support for Hormuz Naval Mission - Robin Emmott (Reuters)
    France, Italy and Denmark have given initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, senior EU diplomats said Tuesday.
    "Britain's request, rather than Washington's, makes it easier for Europeans to rally round this," one senior EU diplomat said. "Freedom of navigation is essential."

Israel: Iran Smuggling Arms Manufacturing Equipment for Hizbullah into Beirut by Sea (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told the Security Council on Tuesday that Iran's Quds Force has been using the port of Beirut to smuggle in dual-use items to advance Hizbullah's missile capabilities.
    "The Port of Beirut has become the Port of Hizbullah," Danon said.
    He presented the council with a map of the Hizbullah transfer routes and said the weapons transfers violated UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Survey: Americans Feel Warmly toward Jews (Pew Research Center)
    In a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday, nearly 11,000 U.S. adults were asked in February to rate a variety of religious groups on a "feeling thermometer" ranging from 0 (coldest) to 100 (warmest).
    Americans give Jews an average rating of 63 - the highest of any group - and 41% rate Jews in the warmest portion of the scale (67+).
    Moreover, only 8% rated Jews in the coldest section - the lowest rating of any group.

Prime Minister Netanyahu Meets with Arab Journalists - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday hosted a delegation of journalists and bloggers from Arab countries, including a Saudi Arabian national, Mohammed Saud, who was harassed and attacked by Palestinians on Monday as he was touring Jerusalem's Old City.
    Netanyahu apologized to Saud on Israel's behalf for the incident.
    The Foreign Ministry's spokesperson for the Arabic media, Hassan Caabia, said Saud "took it somewhat harshly, but he understood that this is the real face of the Palestinians."
    Three suspects in the harassment of Saud were arrested Tuesday.
    "This young man came here to promote peace between the nations. Israel gave him a warm welcome, but the Palestinians wanted to humiliate him," Caabia said.
    See also Saudi King Revokes Journalist Credentials of Blogger Who Visited Israel (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli-Arab ISIS Fighter: Israel Treats Arabs Justly (MEMRI)
    Sayyaf Sharif Daoud, a captured Israeli-Arab ISIS fighter, told BBC Arabic on July 16, 2019, that he had joined ISIS instead of the Palestinian resistance because his experience living in Israel taught him that "Israel has not done one percent of what Bashar Al-Assad has done."
    "Israel is a democratic state. I have not seen injustice there. We Arabs live together in Israel with the Jews. There is no injustice. We are treated just like the Jews."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. House of Representatives Overwhelmingly Condemns Movement to Boycott Israel - Sheryl Gay Stolberg
    The House, brushing aside voices of dissent over American policy in the Middle East, on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the boycott-Israel movement in a 398-to-17 vote. "If a boycott is being used to advance freedom, that's one we should support," said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). "But if a boycott is being used to undermine the very freedoms that exist in the only real elective democracy in the Middle East, we all need to rise up against that."  (New York Times)
        See also House of Representatives Votes on Israel Boycott Bill - Cristina Marcos
    The House resolution to formally oppose BDS that was voted on Tuesday was authored by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), and had nearly 350 co-sponsors, including 3/4 of Democrats and 90% of Republicans. Schneider said, "I think having this resolution, having it supported by overwhelming majorities in both parties, sends a clear signal and puts us on a better path toward enhancing Israel's security, maintaining prospects for a two-state solution, and making clear where Congress stands on BDS."
        Schneider's resolution doesn't go as far as a bill passed by the Senate earlier this year that would allow state or local governments to refuse to do business with companies that boycott Israel. But it expresses opposition to the BDS movement, arguing that BDS "undermines the possibility for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by demanding concessions of one party alone and encouraging the Palestinians to reject negotiations in favor of international pressure."  (The Hill)
        See also How Representatives Voted: Roll Call on Condemning the Israel Boycott
    209 Democrats (89%) and 189 Republicans (96%) voted for the resolution. 16 Democrats (7%) and 1 Republican (0.5%) voted against. 4 Democrats and 1 Independent voted "present." 5 Democrats and 7 Republicans did not vote. (U.S. House of Representatives)
        See also Text of the Resolution (Congress.gov)
  • Mastermind of 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks Arrested
    Pakistani authorities on July 17 arrested Hafiz Saeed, founder of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or "Army of the Pure," and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. Since the attacks, Saeed has operated openly in Pakistan, meeting with journalists, fundraising, and traveling throughout the country to elevate his profile and seek support for a political party linked to LeT.
        The U.S. placed a $10 million bounty on Saeed and has repeatedly pressured the Pakistanis to bring him to justice. His capture occurred just days before Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Washington for talks with President Trump.
        Khan is attempting to refashion Pakistan's image from a state sponsor of terrorism to a responsible member of the international community, promising a crackdown on groups that engage in political violence or seek to use Pakistan as a sanctuary from which they can launch terrorist attacks. In addition, the Pakistanis have also moved to freeze assets and seize the property of militants associated with LeT and other terrorist groups. (Cipher Brief)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Syrian TV Reports Israeli Air Attack on Hizbullah, Iran Revolutionary Guard Base - Daniel Siryoti
    Syrian state television said Wednesday that Israel struck a strategic area in southern Syria overlooking the Golan Heights where Western intelligence sources previously said Iranian-backed militias are based. Arab media said the brunt of the attack was directed at an Iranian base where Hizbullah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard are stationed. Syrian officials said the attack decimated the base.
        The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attack was directed against weapons storage sites housing long-range missiles and other weaponry. It was reported that one of the missiles had exploded inside a base in western Damascus where large forces of pro-Iranian militias were stationed. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hizbullah Recruiter in Syrian Golan Heights Killed in Missile Strike - Yaniv Kubovich
    Hizbullah operative Mashhour Zidan, who was killed in Syria by a missile that struck his vehicle two days ago, was part of a network whose purpose is to establish military infrastructure along the border with Israel. Zidan was responsible for recruiting members from villages on the Syrian side of the border to amass military intelligence on IDF activity and stockpile explosives, firearms, machine guns and anti-tank missiles in their homes in preparation for a future military confrontation with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Video: The EU's Failed Strategy in the African Migration Crisis: Global Implications - Dore Gold
    Most of the immigrants to Europe coming through Libya are from African states. There have been well-documented reports about human rights abuses in all of the Libyan detention centers. An airstrike in July killed 44 migrants and wounded 130 at the Tajoura detention center in Libya.
        The movement of African migrants to Europe is not a short-term challenge that can be dealt with by building prison camps. The population of Africa is expected to grow substantially in the next century. What is needed is to address the factors pushing the migrants out of their countries toward Europe, because those numbers will inevitably rise.
        The strategy required must be based on making the African states that are sending their populations toward Europe more hospitable. These countries will require clean water, adequate food production, and the latest technologies in animal husbandry. Their armed forces must be trained and directed to neutralize the terror groups making life impossible in parts of Africa. The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • At Los Angeles Times, Only Israeli Leaders Are "Hard-Liners" - Tamar Sternthal
    The Los Angeles Times applies a sliding scale when it comes to Israeli and Palestinian hard-liners. Lexis-Nexis searches have yet to find any Palestinian politicians, policies, or parties described as "hard-line" in the Times, despite the fact that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a designated terror group.
        Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is described as a "hard-line rightest" (20 July 2019). Other examples include Avigdor "Lieberman's hard-line nationalist party" (17 Nov. 2018); "hard-line Education Minister Naftali Bennett" (27 July 2018); and "hard-line ministers in [Netanyahu's] government" (16 July 2018).
        When it comes to leaders of Palestinian terror groups, however, there are no descriptions, just titles, such as: "Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] leader Ziad Nahala" (5 May 2019). The writer is director of CAMERA's Israel Office. (CAMERA)

Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason D. Greenblatt told the UN Security Council on Tuesday:
  • "This [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict will not end on the basis of an 'international consensus.'...Those who continue to call for international consensus on this conflict are doing nothing to encourage the parties to sit down at the negotiating table and make the hard compromises necessary for peace. In fact, they are doing the opposite - allowing people to hide behind words that mean nothing."
  • "Let us not forget that day when the United Nations could not even find a way to build an international consensus behind the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization that relentlessly attacks Israelis by incendiary balloons, missiles, attack tunnels and other means, sometimes while hiding in residential neighborhoods filled with Palestinian families. Hamas, which ghoulishly holds [the remains of] Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul as bargaining chips. Hamas, which...continues to vow to destroy Israel."
  • "And how is it that we can't find an international consensus that the Palestinian Authority rewarding terrorism and the murder of Israelis using public funds, some donated by countries in this very room, is abhorrent and must be stopped."
  • "This conflict is also not going to be resolved by reference to 'international law' when such law is inconclusive....There is no judge, jury, or court in the world that the parties involved have agreed to give jurisdiction in order to decide whose interpretations are correct."
  • "The same holds true for the status of Jerusalem....No international consensus or interpretation of international law will persuade the United States or Israel that a city in which Jews have lived and worshipped for nearly 3,000 years and has been the capital of the Jewish State for 70 years, is not - today and forever - the capital of Israel."
  • "Let us not lose sight of the fact that Israel has already conceded at least 88% of the territory captured by Israel in the defensive war it had no choice but to fight in 1967."
  • "The dispute over the territory is a question that can only be resolved in the context of direct negotiations between the parties. And I am focused on how to get those parties back to that table."