August 7, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Israel's Amos 17 Communications Satellite Launched into Space (Globes)
    Nearly three years after Amos 6 was destroyed on the launch pad when SpaceX's rocket exploded, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched Spacecom's Amos 17 communications satellite on Tuesday.
    The satellite was built by Boeing and will be located above Africa to enable satellite TV and Internet broadcasts throughout the continent.

U.S. State Department Strengthens Definition of Anti-Semitism: Don't Compare Israel to Nazis (Jerusalem Post)
    The U.S. State Department has updated its definition of anti-Semitism to include "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" as an example of anti-Semitism in public life.

Gaza "Victim" Exposed with His AK-47 - Simon Plosker (HonestReporting)
    Britain's Sunday Times published a feature on Aug. 4 by advocacy journalist Sarah Helm that focused on Bilal Masoud, 29, who sustained crippling injuries after being shot during violence at the Gaza border fence.
    Masoud, unable to live with his injuries and a lack of support from Palestinian authorities, eventually committed suicide.
    The accompanying photo showed Masoud armed only with a slingshot. Now researcher Joe Truzman has revealed photos of Bilal Masoud cradling an AK-47 automatic rifle.
    The Sunday Times feature is advocacy journalism - whitewashing Palestinian violence, and turning all Palestinians into victims of Israel, no matter the circumstances.
    You can read my original critique of the article here.
    The writer is managing editor of HonestReporting.

Palestinian Who Saved Jewish Kids after Terror Attack Gets Israeli Residency (Times of Israel)
    Israel's Interior Ministry on Tuesday awarded Israeli residency to a Palestinian man who saved the children of Rabbi Miki Mark in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack in the West Bank on July 1, 2016.
    The Palestinian rescuer and his wife helped the surviving members of the Mark family escape their overturned vehicle and administered first aid.
    The Palestinian man then received death threats in his home town.

Israelis Warned to Leave India's Kashmir Region (Times of Israel)
    The Israeli government on Saturday warned Israelis in India's Kashmir region to leave as soon as possible, citing security concerns.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Threatens Further Breach of Nuclear Deal unless Europe Acts to Protect It - Babak Dehghanpisheh
    Iran told European powers on Monday it would further reduce compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal in a month's time if they were still failing to protect it from crippling U.S. sanctions. Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said, "What is certain is that by putting aside or suspending our commitments, we will increase the speed of our nuclear activities."  (Reuters)
  • PA Security Forces Receiving Only Half Their Monthly Pay - Shlomi Eldar
    Israel has detected a decline in the motivation of PA security forces to foil terror attacks against Israel. An Israeli security official attributes this to two factors: One is the fact that the Palestinian forces have been getting only half their monthly pay. The other is the public climate reminiscent of the Second Intifada (2000-2005), when Palestinian security forces did not want to be perceived as serving the "Zionist enemy."
        According to the Israeli source, Abbas thought his refusal to accept any tax money from Israel - after Israel deducted about 10% to equal the sums the PA pays to terrorists and their families - would generate international pressure on Israel. However, such pressure was not forthcoming and the PA found itself in a deep economic crisis. Abbas is reluctant to admit any mistakes and criticism against him is widespread. (Al-Monitor)
  • Hizbullah Faces Huge Financial Challenges - Dana Halawi
    Hizbullah is facing huge financial challenges because of the increased U.S. sanctions against Iran and the party's military involvement in different parts of the Arab world, analysts told Xinhua. "Salaries of Hizbullah's fighters who are at the forefront of any military confrontation have dropped by around 30%," said political analyst Youssef Diab.
        Makram Rabah, a lecturer at the American University of Beirut, said, "The party's responsibilities have increased (in Yemen and other countries) which drove them to cut lots of their expenses and delay the payment of their employees' salaries."  (Xinhua-China)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Bomb Plot in Jerusalem Foiled - Anna Ahronheim
    The Israel Security Agency thwarted a major Hamas terror attack in Jerusalem after an explosive charge ready for use and laboratory were uncovered in Hebron. The cell planning the attack was operating under the direction of Hamas in Gaza. Cell members were instructed to establish teams to carrying out kidnapping, shooting and stabbing attacks, to purchase weapons and to recruit others to carry out attacks.
        Tamar Rajah Rajbi, 22, a student at the Polytechnic College in Hebron and an activist in Hamas' student arm Al-kotla al-Islamiya, was arrested in June with a 3-kg. explosive device with metal attached to cause extensive damage. He was trained by Hamas operatives in Gaza over the Internet to manufacture explosive devices. Materials were stored on the school grounds adjacent to Rajbi's home. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Assisting U.S.-Led Naval Mission in Strait of Hormuz
    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that Israel was assisting the U.S.-led naval mission to provide maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz with intelligence and in other ways, Ynet reported. (Times of Israel)
        See also below Observations: Israel Assists the West Against Iran and ISIS - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • After Scandal at UN Agency for Palestinians, PA Should Take Over UNRWA's Functions - Alex Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky
    A corruption scandal involving sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation against whistleblowers and lots of business-class travel has gripped the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). The scandal provides a unique opportunity to phase out the billion-dollar UN bureaucracy.
        One lesson that funders must learn concerns the danger of devoting an international organization to a single population. UNRWA was effectively taken over by Palestinians decades ago. UNRWA's 30,000 employees could join the Palestinian Authority, which would take over its health, education and welfare responsibilities like the state it claims to be.
        UNRWA's expensive international cadre, including lobbyists in Washington and Geneva, should be disbanded. And Palestinian residents of Arab states - all of whom are considered refugees by UNRWA - should become citizens of those states, as they are in Jordan, or of the Palestinian Authority. If Palestinians truly desire a state, they should join the call for UNRWA's abolition. Mr. Joffe is a fellow at the Middle East Forum. Mr. Romirowsky is executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Palestinian Authority Seeks to Erase the Oslo Accords - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced that the Palestinian Authority no longer accepts the division of the West Bank into three areas as stipulated by the Oslo Accords and that the entire territory belongs to the Palestinian state. Palestinian Minister of Local Government Majdi Saleh said the PA would issue building permits throughout the West Bank "without connection to the Israeli classifications [of the territory]."
        With these decisions, the PA is trying to unilaterally take over parts of the West Bank and establish facts on the ground - not through negotiations and in blatant violation of the Oslo Accords. The PA must not be allowed to establish facts on the ground that will affect the final status of the West Bank. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israelis Face Heavy Restrictions When Driving West Bank Roads - Tamar Sternthal
    A Reuters article Monday about a Palestinian-developed app to help West Bank drivers avoid traffic caused by Israeli checkpoints covers up the fact that Israeli drivers are prohibited from using many West Bank roads. Israeli drivers are prohibited from entering Area A of the West Bank, which constitutes more than 10% of the territory, while Palestinians can drive without restriction.
        That means, for instance, that while years ago Israeli drivers could easily travel from Jerusalem to Beersheba via Hebron, now they must take a much more circuitous, time-consuming route to avoid the forbidden Palestinian locales. The writer is director of CAMERA's Israel Office. (CAMERA)

  • The news that Israel is involved in the U.S.-led naval mission to protect vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf against Iranian aggression cannot be separated from the overall campaign Israel has been waging against the Islamic Republic in recent years.
  • This campaign began in the previous decade in an effort to quash Iran's nuclear aspirations and has evolved to include preventing the regime from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, and curtailing the quantity and quality of weapons it funnels to militias in the Middle East, especially to Hizbullah.
  • As a result, Israel is now the world's number one expert on the Iranian issue. Its operations encompass a host of covert and low-intensity military and intelligence efforts to prevent enemy states and terrorist organizations from becoming stronger and thwart their offensive activity.
  • The overt part of this struggle includes countless operations and strikes on Iranian assets. In 2018, then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot spoke of over 1,000 operations and strikes on Iranian assets.
  • In fact, Israel's intelligence-gathering superiority in the region is so great that it has been used for surveillance on ISIS in Syria. In operations against the jihadi terrorist group, the acting force may have been Western, but the intelligence from which they were working was Israeli.
  • It is important to remember that Israel is not taking the lead when it comes to the fight against Iran's ambitions in the Persian Gulf or its nuclear aspirations - nor should it. The U.S. should lead this campaign.