August 20, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Iran-Aligned Houthis Strike Major Saudi Oil Field (Al Jazeera)
    A drone attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels sparked a fire at the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday but caused no casualties or disruption to production.
    A Houthi military spokesman said the group targeted the oil field with 10 drones.
    Shaybah, which produces a million barrels of crude oil a day, is located more than 1,000 km. from Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen.

U.S. Scraps West Bank Conference after Palestinian Protests - Mohammed Daraghmeh and Joseph Krauss (AP-New York Times)
    The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday postponed a conference it organized in the West Bank city of Ramallah after Palestinian officials called for a boycott and threatened to organize protests.
    The conference was to bring together alumni of U.S. educational and cultural programs, including dozens of Palestinians from Gaza who received permission from Israel to attend.
    The Palestinian leadership viewed the conference as an attempt to circumvent its boycott of the U.S. administration.

Hamas Calls to Murder Israeli Policeman Who Shot Palestinian Stabber - Maayan Jaffe Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinians are calling to murder the Israeli police officer who shot and killed Palestinian Nassim Abu Rumi after he stabbed a police officer near the entrance to the Temple Mount last Thursday.
    Posts began circulating in Arabic-language social media over the weekend including a photo of the officer, calling for revenge.

Iranian Dissident Professor Jailed after Questioning Hostility to Israel - Zachary Keyser (Jerusalem Post)
    Sadegh Zibalkam, a political science professor at the University of Tehran, has received a one-year prison sentence for his outspoken views against the Islamic Republic, IRNA state-run news reported.
    On May 10, Zibakalam tweeted, "If, God forbid, there is a war between us and Israel, we will have to tell future generations why we fought a war with a country 2,000 km. away that never threatened us or had any other dispute with us."
    On Saturday he tweeted, "I have a simple question: Who gave us the responsibility for destroying Israel? Have the Iranian people held a referendum and asked the government to do this?"

The Pioneers of Halutza - Alan Rosenbaum (Jerusalem Post)
    14 years ago, Halutza was an uninhabited, sandy strip of land near the Egyptian border.
    Halutza is now a flourishing, thriving home to thousands, in three communities - Naveh, B'nei Netzarim and Shlomit - founded by former residents of Gush Katif who were evacuated from Gaza in 2005.
    "This summer, we are absorbing 50 new families to Halutza," says Yedidya Harush, Jewish National Fund-USA liaison to the community.
    "When terrorists throw rockets, we build communities....This is our answer to terror."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Warns Greece Against Hosting Iran Oil Tanker - Benoit Faucon
    The U.S. warned Greece against hosting the Iranian tanker released by Gibraltar. "We have conveyed our strong position to the Greek government on the matter, as well as all ports in the Mediterranean that should be forewarned about facilitating this vessel," the State Department said. The Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously called the Grace 1, left Gibraltar on Sunday. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Iranian Tanker Looks to Offload Sanctioned Crude - Jennifer Gnana
    The Iranian tanker is currently on its way to the Greek city of Kalamata, which has no facilities to handle such a large ship. While it is likely to head back to Iranian territorial waters, it needs to shed at least a million barrels before undertaking a transit through the Suez Canal. (The National-Abu Dhabi)
  • Netanyahu, Zelensky Honor Ukrainian Jews Murdered in 1941 at Babi Yar
    President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu commemorated the victims in Babi Yar on Monday. Zelensky said, "During the Nazi occupation, between 70,000-200,000 people were massacred in Babi Yar....It is impossible to forget and forgive. The Ukrainian people will always remember about these crimes."  (112.International-Ukraine)
        See also Text: Prime Minister Netanyahu at Babi Yar in Ukraine
    "It is our constant duty to stand against murderous ideologies in order to ensure that there will never be another Babi Yar. For humanity, Babi Yar is a warning sign. For Jews, Babi Yar is an eternal imperative. We will always defend ourselves by ourselves against any enemy."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Hizbullah: In Future War, We Will Invade Galilee and Hula Valley; We'll Help Syria Liberate Galilee
    Hizbullah MP Elwalid Succariyeh told Al-Manar TV on Aug. 13: "We will be the ones to invade. We need to go into the Galilee. Syria has also changed its strategy. Of course, it did this in agreement with Iran. It planned together with Iran, and it has Iran's support. If the Syrian army wants to attack [Israel] and liberate the Golan Heights, the resistance must stand alongside it as a partner in the attack in this war....[The resistance] must invade the Galilee, the Hula Valley, and pre-1948 Palestine."  (MEMRI-TV)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Jordanian Indicted in Israel for Plot to Kill IDF Soldier
    Israeli prosecutors at the Haifa District Court on Monday indicted a Jordanian man, Mohammad Maslah, 21, for attempting to stab a police officer and for planning to stab an IDF soldier last month. Two officers patrolling on July 22 in Hadera noticed Maslah sitting alone at a bus stop late at night. He pulled out a knife with a 7-inch blade, attempted to stab one of the officers, and fled the scene before being captured. During questioning he said he was in Hadera looking for a soldier to stab. (Times of Israel)
  • PA to Offer Financial Incentives to Palestinians Who Move to Jordan Valley - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
    The Palestinian Authority may offer grants to Palestinian university graduates who move to the Jordan Valley, PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced on Monday, ratcheting up the battle for Area C of the West Bank, which remains under full Israeli control. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief opponent, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, have made statements about the need to place the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty in the future. In June, UN National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Jordan Valley was important for Israel's security. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Paraguay Designates Hizbullah, Hamas Terror Groups as Brazil Considers Similar Move
    The government of Paraguay announced on Monday that it has designated Hizbullah and Hamas as terror organizations. Bloomberg news reported Monday that Brazil is currently considering a similar move against Hizbullah. Argentina has designated Hizbullah a terrorist organization and blames it for the bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people in 1994. (i24News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • No Need to Renew UNRWA's Mandate - Editorial
    The Palestinian Authority is concerned that the mandate of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, will not be renewed next month at the General Assembly. The U.S., a major donor, stopped funding last year, while the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium have temporarily suspended funding following allegations of corruption and misconduct among UNRWA's top brass.
        UNRWA was created in 1949 as a temporary solution to the "Palestinian refugee problem." Instead of helping solve the problem, UNRWA has contributed to it, with the number of "Palestinian refugees" ballooning from 700,000 to five million. By comparison, the 850,000 Jews who left their homes in Arab countries are not considered refugees. And the thousands of Jews who left Gaza (and four communities in Samaria) in the 2005 disengagement were never considered refugees, even though they lost their homes, livelihoods and community support systems.
        The Palestinian Authority is playing a double game, and it is time it is called out. On the one hand, the PA claims to represent the State of Palestine, yet on the other hand it insists that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza continue to be refugees. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Criticism of Israel Is Not Anti-Semitism; Anti-Zionism Is - Dennis Prager
    Imagine a group of people who work to destroy Italy because, they claim, Italy's origins are illegitimate. Imagine further that these people maintain that of all the countries in the world, only Italy is illegitimate. And then imagine that these people vigorously deny they are in any way anti-Italian. Would you believe them? Substitute "Israel" for "Italy" and "Jew" for "Italian" and you'll understand the dishonesty and absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic.
        Anti-Zionists argue that the very existence of a Jewish state is illegitimate. They do not believe any other country in the world is illegitimate. And then they get offended when they're accused of being anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel is fine. Denying Israel's right to exist is not. Anti-Zionism is not criticism of Israel. Anti-Zionism is opposition to Israel's existence. (PJ Media)
  • Israel's Decision to Bar Omar and Tlaib Comes from a Position of Strength - Alex Traiman
    Many opponents of Israel's decision to deny entry visas to U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar for their self-stated visit to "Palestine" said the decision was a sign of weakness on the part of Israel's democracy, while others said the decision would hurt Israel's image abroad.
        Whether one agrees with Israel's decision or not, it was made from a position of strength, not weakness. Israel sent a strong message to BDS supporters: If you promote boycotts of Israel, then Israel boycotts you. If you delegitimize Israel as a sovereign entity and make anti-Semitic claims, then Israel does not give legitimacy to your positions.
        The special relationship between Israel and the U.S. is based on shared values and mutual respect. For those members of Congress who continue to express those shared values and show respect towards the Jewish nation, they will always be welcomed with open arms.
        Unfortunately, some are introducing a new set of political values and working to distance the U.S. from Israel. This threatens the U.S. relationship with Israel much more than the government's reaction to a provocative itinerary meant to further delegitimize the Jewish state. (JNS)

  • Ask someone at random what Israel should do to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the answer you're most likely to get is "end the occupation." For most Westerners, this means the West Bank (acquired by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War).
  • However, for most Palestinians the occupation is not limited to the West Bank, but consists of "historic Palestine," which includes the whole of Israel. For most Palestinians, the occupation began in 1948 when Israel was born, and they won't be satisfied by anything less than the elimination of the State of Israel.
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Palestinian TV in October 2013: "All Palestinian land is occupied - Gaza is occupied, the West Bank is occupied, the 1948 lands [i.e., Israel] are occupied and Jerusalem is occupied."
  • A June 2019 survey by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion found that only 30% of West Bankers would approve a two-state solution. The majority say "the conflict should not end, and resistance should continue, until all of historic Palestine is liberated."
  • There is no mistaking the meaning of the chant heard at virtually all pro-Palestinian rallies: "From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free." The river is the Jordan River and the sea is the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, Palestine is Israel.
  • The Palestinians memorialize the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" to mourn the 1948 War of Independence and the creation of Israel. That is the occupation they seek to end to this day.

    The writer is an attorney who served for 30 years as an appellate lawyer with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.