August 23, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas: "Those Who Are Foreign to This Land Have No Right to It" (MEMRI)
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a video on his Facebook page on August 10:
    "Those who are foreign to this land have no right to it. So we say to them: Every...house you have built on our land is bound to be destroyed."
    "Jerusalem is ours, whether they like it or not. To Jerusalem we march, martyrs by the millions!...We shall enter Jerusalem - millions of fighters."

U.S. Military Drone Shot Down over Northern Yemen - Sudarsan Raghavan and Missy Ryan (Washington Post)
    On Wednesday, a military spokesman for the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen said they shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper military drone on Tuesday. U.S. officials confirmed the downing.
    In June, the U.S. military said the Houthis had shot down a U.S. drone with Iranian assistance.
    The attacks underscore the growing military capabilities of the Houthis, who only a few years ago were mountain fighters with no access to sophisticated weaponry.
    Also in June, Iran's Revolutionary Guards shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

Hizbullah's Money Smuggling Mechanism Revealed - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
    Iran's foreign ministry delivers $100 million in cash to Hizbullah annually.
    Iranian diplomats arrive in Beirut via commercial flights carrying suitcases stuffed with dollars and hand them over to Hizbullah officials.
    The money is categorized as diplomatic mail, while the couriers have immunity provided by their diplomatic passports.
    Although the identities of those involved are known to Western agencies, the channel is still active.

Egypt Arrests Son of Abbas Adviser - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Ramy Sha'ath, 48, the son of former Palestinian Authority deputy prime minister and foreign minister Nabil Sha'ath, was arrested by Egyptian security forces on July 5 at his home in Cairo, his family revealed on Wednesday.
    Ramy's spouse, a French citizen resident in Egypt for more than seven years, was forcibly deported.
    His lawyers learned that their client was being charged with "assisting a terrorist group," a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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"The Eyes of the Country" Protect Israel from Seaborne Threats - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    Private Tali Kugen, who grew up in New Jersey, is a maritime control observer in the Israeli Navy.
    "They call us the 'eyes of the country.' It's really true," she says. "We are the ones that protect the coast, the waters and the shores of Israel. When you go swimming at the beach, you can swim peacefully because we are watching."
    "We have a full view of the water, and we are the ones who see what is happening first."
    "On a daily basis, we protect the country, and it kind of goes without credit because that's just what we do. But it's so important."
    "I have so much passion about what we're doing and the way we're protecting the country. I always try to explain to people that, literally, we are saving lives."

U.S. Air Force Tests Israeli Rifle Sighting Device - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    The U.S. Air Force tested the Israeli-made SMASH 2000 fire control system developed by Smart Shooter last week at Beale Air Force Base in California.
    The sighting device attaches to a rifle and can accurately hit targets, including moving and aerial ones, at ranges of up to 120 meters, with the first shot.
    As soon as the trigger is squeezed, the system calculates the target's movement and prevents the bullet from being fired until the target is precisely in its cross hairs.
    "Smart Shooter's Fire Control solutions are designed to give soldiers and law enforcement officers a decisive tactical edge in almost every operational scenario," the company said.
    The system has been in use by the IDF for several months along the Gaza border. Its main international customer is the U.S. Special Forces.

Chinese Science Academy Opens First Foreign Center of Excellence in Israel - Eytan Halon (Jerusalem Post)
    The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced Tuesday that it will establish its first center of excellence outside China at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, constructing a nanotechnology research laboratory specializing in nano-medicine and printing two-dimensional materials.
    CAS is China's national academy for the natural sciences and is responsible for 104 research institutes and five universities.
    "This is an initiative that will lead to the economic growth of both China and Israel," said Prof. Dror Fixler, head of the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University.

Porsche Invests in Israeli Sensor Tech Designed to See through Fog and Rain - Stephen Edelstein (Digital Trends)
    Porsche has announced that it is investing in the Israeli startup TriEye, which has developed sensor tech that works in low-visibility conditions such as fog, rain, and dust.
    TriEye relies on shortwave infrared (SWIR). Its sensors read light outside the visual spectrum, and are thus unaffected by conditions that might limit human vision or conventional cameras.
    Moreover, TriEye has developed a unique semiconductor design and patent-pending technology that will allow it to manufacture SWIR cameras at a fraction of their current cost.

China Funds Water Desalination Project in Gaza (Xinhua-China)
    The Give Palestine Association on Tuesday signed a deal with al-Naser village in Rafah, Gaza, to build two China-funded water desalination plants to alleviate the shortage of potable water.
    The plants were scheduled to begin operation in the next five months and the water produced will be provided for free to about 10,000 people.

Video: Sustainable Technology in the Israeli Desert (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Revolutionary Israeli solutions have been developed to combat some of the world's greatest challenges: water scarcity, food security, and clean energy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says Israeli Airstrikes Hit Iranian Weapons Depots in Iraq - Alissa J. Rubin and Ronen Bergman
    Two senior American officials said that Israel had carried out several strikes in recent days on munitions storehouses for Iranian-backed groups in Iraq. When Prime Minister Netanyahu was asked about the attacks on Monday, he said, "Iran doesn't have immunity anywhere. A state that says, 'We are going to destroy you and we will build bases to fire missiles and to send terrorist cells against you' - as far as I'm concerned, has no immunity. We will act - and currently are acting - against them, wherever it is necessary."
        In July, Yossi Cohen, the chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency, said Israel had taken "a number of overt and covert measures, of which only a small part has been revealed" to prevent Iranian efforts to gain a foothold in Syria. Iran and Hizbullah "are setting up bases and factories for sophisticated weaponry in Iraq and Lebanon. They mistakenly believe that we will have difficulty reaching them there."  (New York Times)
        See also Photos: Iranian Arms Depots in Iraq under Attack - Anna Ahronheim
    Israeli satellite imaging firm ImageSat International (ISI) said Thursday that three sites with storage hangers in the Baghdad area belonging to Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias have been attacked in the last month. "These sites are probably ammunition storages, possibly for missiles and unique weapons." The "attack aimed to destroy the Iranian land bridge from Tehran to Syria and Lebanon as well as to prevent the Iranian capability of conducting attacks from Iraqi territory against surrounding countries."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Accepts $568 Million in Tax Money from Israel
    The Palestinian Authority, in deep financial crisis since it refused tax transfers from Israel in February, said Thursday it had accepted a payment of $568 million from Israel. "An agreement was reached a few days ago with the Israeli side for transferring duties on oil and fuel which the Palestinian Authority bought in Israel," said PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh.
        Israel in February decided to withhold around $10 million a month from revenues of some $190 million per month it collects on the PA's behalf, triggering Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to say he would accept either all or nothing. The deduction corresponds to what the PA paid Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, or their families. Israel says the policy of paying Palestinians who have carried out attacks on Israelis encourages further violence. (AFP-France 24)
  • America's Biggest Mideast Base Is Getting Bigger - Adam Taylor
    Vast sums of money are being spent to improve the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, which currently accommodates 10,000 U.S. troops and can support considerably more. Brig.-Gen. Daniel H. Tulley, commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid, said in an interview that the U.S. now faces five major challenges in the region: the conflict in Afghanistan; tensions with Iran; the threat posed by the remains of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; the precarious situation in northern Syria, where U.S.-backed Kurdish forces are in control; and the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is supported by the U.S. He said Al Udeid "is a tremendously strategic location, right in the center of everything."
        Qatar is not only allowing the expansion, but also funding it and managing the construction, at a price tag estimated as high as $1.8 billion. The U.S. Central Command moved its forward operating base here in 2003, following concerns about a backlash in Saudi Arabia over the large-scale U.S. presence at Prince Sultan air base.
        Qatar remains under blockade by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both important U.S. allies in the region who host American troops at their own bases. Qatar also maintains ties to Iran. "Iran is a neighbor, and we have to treat it like it is," said Maj.-Gen. Nasser al-Attiyah, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. He added that Qatar would need to stay neutral in the dispute between the U.S. and Iran and declined to say whether Qatar would allow the U.S. to strike Iranian targets from Al Udeid. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Woman Killed, Two Badly Hurt in Blast at West Bank Spring - Judah Ari Gross
    An Israeli father and his two grown children were seriously injured on Friday from an explosive device at the Bubin spring, a popular hiking spot outside the West Bank community of Dolev. Rina Shenrav (Shnerb), 17, of Lod, was killed. Her father, Eitan, 46, a rabbi, and brother, Dvir, 19, were taken by IDF helicopter to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Hurls Grenades at IDF Soldiers on Gaza Border - Ezra Taylor
    A Palestinian terrorist approached the Gaza security fence late Thursday night and "hurled several grenades at IDF soldiers," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said. IDF "troops charged and stopped the terrorist." Palestinian media reported that the terrorist was killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two Arab Israelis Indicted for Plotting Terror Attacks on Behalf of Islamic State - Yoav Zitun
    Amin Yassin, 22, and Ali Armush, 28, two Arab citizens of Israel from the northern town of Tamra who were arrested in July, were indicted Thursday for plotting terror attacks in the name of Islamic State. They are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, making contact with a foreign agent, and training for terrorist activity.
        Armush had multiple videos documenting violent ISIS activities, how to prepare bombs and gun silencers, and how to fight in built-up areas. He also had how-to guides for assassination, abduction, producing poisons including ricin, chloroform and napalm production, and killing with a knife. The Israel Security Agency said the two supported Islamic State and saw themselves as its envoys as they worked to spread the terror group's ideology to others. (Ynet News)
  • Report: Hamas Demands Handover of Islamic Jihad Cell Blamed for Rocket Fire on Israel
    Hamas has requested the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group hand over a cell of four operatives identified in connection with a rocket launched at Israel on Wednesday, sources told i24News. Islamic Jihad has been blamed for at least two recent incidents of rocket fire. (i24News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • ADL: Iran's Regime Stokes More Anti-Semitism - David Andrew Weinberg
    Iranian leaders and state-controlled media continue to propagate anti-Semitism, using false anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in an effort to shift the blame for the consequences of its own aggressive actions abroad. Sometimes these conspiracy theories suggest devious and vast Jewish control over Western governments. For example, in May Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asserted that the speeches U.S. officials make that criticize Iran "are written by Zionists word for word."
        Iran's government-administered Ofogh TV aired a documentary on June 1 showing a mock bombing of Israel, the U.S. Capitol, and a U.S. Navy ship. The event was patronized by a general from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who relayed greetings from Supreme Leader Khamenei.
       On July 5, Iran's Channel 1 TV broadcast a Tehran sermon by a member of Iran's Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts in which he warned that "Israel will be razed dozens of times" if Tehran so desires. The crowd responded by chanting: "Death to America! Death to England! Death to the...infidels! Death to Israel!" The writer is ADL's Washington Director for International Affairs. (Anti-Defamation League)
  • "The Occupation" - How the EU Discriminates Against Israel - Prof. Hillel Frisch
    Israel is deemed by the EU as an occupying power even though some of the greatest legal minds in international law, such as Elihu (Hirsh) Lauterpacht and Eugene Rostow, question whether Israeli rule in the West Bank - rule that resulted from Jordanian aggression - was ever in fact an occupation, as Jordanian sovereignty over the area was never recognized by most states.
        Turkey militarily occupied northern Cyprus in 1974. China occupied Tibet in the 1950s. Morocco occupied parts of Western Sahara in 1977. "Occupation" continues in all three places. Yet only Israel has a deep historical claim to the area it "occupies." The Jewish Scriptures mention the area hundreds of times, so frequently that it is abundantly clear that Judea and Samaria were the centers of Jewish life and politics for thousands of years.
        A search on the European Commission's Internet site found the following: Israeli military occupation - 85 results; Turkish military occupation - 3; Moroccan military occupation - 2; and Chinese military occupation - 0. It is hard to understand why Israeli "occupation" receives nearly 30 times more consideration (and opprobrium) than Turkish occupation and colonization and over 40 times more than Moroccan occupation, while the Chinese colonization of Tibet is not viewed as an occupation at all.
        The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at its BESA Center. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Journey through Shattered Syria - Vivian Yee
    Picking our way around the ruins of the Damascus suburb of Douma, there were few young men. They had died in the war, been thrown in prison or scattered far beyond Syria's borders. After eight years of civil war, the Syrian government now controls much of the country. The Syria we saw was missing a middle class, its members having fled or fallen down the economic ladder. The UN estimates that more than 80% are now living in poverty.
        Even as the displaced trickle back home, young men are still being forced into the army, and dissidents, or those connected to them, are disappearing into grim prisons. People are still fleeing the country. No reconstruction aid is coming from international donors. "Assad Forever," proclaimed a banner featuring his image, one of many strung over Syrian roads.
        Almost everywhere we went, we were chaperoned by government minders, several soldiers, and armed plainclothes intelligence agents who would stand next to us during nearly every conversation with a Syrian. (New York Times)
  • Reuters and AP Call Temple Mount Rioters "Worshippers" - Tamar Sternthal
    Photo captions by Reuters and Associated Press confused non-worshippers and worshippers in their coverage of violence earlier this month on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The captions misidentified Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, as worshippers, even though they were not conducting Jewish prayers and rituals, which are forbidden at the site and Israeli police strictly enforce this prohibition. The Jews were visiting the Temple Mount on the solemn fast day of Tisha B'Av, marking the destruction of the two temples which once stood on the site.
        On the same day, tens of thousands of Muslims observing the festive holiday of Eid al-Adha visited the site. Angered by the notion of Jewish visitors, Palestinians "chanted 'Allahu Akbar' and threw stones at police," AP reported. Yet both AP and Reuters inaccurately characterized the Muslims engaged in violence as "worshippers" and not rioters. (CAMERA)
  • New Saudi Voices Seek Peace with Israel - Ksenia Svetlova
    Sultan, 37, a clerk from Riyadh whose Twitter account is almost entirely dedicated to relations with Israel and the Jews, told the Times of Israel: "We, the young generation, aspire to have normal relations with all states. We also know that 70 years ago there was no Palestinian state, while the Jews have existed for 3,000 years. For us, Jerusalem has no significance; Islam's holy places are in Mecca and Medina. We want peace and coexistence."
        Saudi analyst and journalist Abdul Hamid Ghbein told the Times of Israel: "There is no doubt that the attitude of Arabs, and specifically of the Saudis, has changed a lot, and that Israel is no longer an enemy state but a part of the region. I believe that there will be diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with Israel before the end of 2020. The Jews have a right to this land where their ancestors were living thousands of years ago. The stories of the kings and the prophets in the Quran are clear evidence for that."
        "The Arabs, and especially the Saudis, are amazed by the Israeli scientific, technological and cognitive development in all fields, and they know that the Jewish people are good and peaceful people. Very soon, there will be Saudi students studying in Israeli universities as well as Israeli students studying in Saudi universities."  (Times of Israel)
  • The Aftermath of the Omar-Tlaib Entry Ban - Shmuel Rosner
    Reps. Tlaib and Omar have no inherent right to visit Israel. Some people say: you must tolerate critics. We do. In fact, we tolerate much more than our fair share of critics. Israelis have the right to criticize Israel from within, and all others are free to criticize Israel where they are.
        It is reasonable for a state to say that it is willing to engage with everyone except those openly seeking its destruction. It is useful for a country, and for its critics, when a line of intolerability is drawn for everybody to see. That way, there is no confusion. You want to be a critic and still engage Israel in conversation? Here is a line you cannot cross. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
        See also Cancelled Israel Trip: New Controversy, Same Old Misleading Coverage (CAMERA)

  • Weekend Features

  • 90 Years Later, Last-Known Jewish Survivor Recalls Hebron Massacre - Tovah Lazaroff
    Time has not dimmed the powerful memories that Avraham Kiryati, 98, has of the moment his grandfather, Eliyahu Capilouto, was stabbed during the Hebron massacre on August 24, 1929. "My grandfather was dressed just like the Arabs," said Kiryati. "He went out to see what was going on. They [the rioters] pushed him inside and stabbed him on the side of his body."
        Kiryati escaped out the back door of his grandparents' home and made his way to the family chicken coup where he hid until it was safe. When he returned, he found Eliyahu lying on the floor in a pool of blood as his grandmother Rivka blocked the wound with coffee grounds. In the following months, his grandfather died of his wounds.
        Kiryati is a descendant of Jews who escaped the Spanish Inquisition, settling first in Safed and then in Hebron. He said all of the survivors were taken to Jerusalem. In the early 1930s, his grandmother Rivka was among a small number of families who returned to the city and attempted to resurrect the Jewish community, but the British insisted that they leave during the Arab uprising of 1936.
        Kiryati was in the British army and in 1942 he returned to Hebron with the British and took a photograph of the Jewish cemetery, which was later used to locate the graves of the massacre victims. During the 1967 Six-Day War he was part of the unit that liberated Gush Etzion and Hebron from the Jordanians. He went to Hebron to look for the Jewish cemetery, but instead of graves he found a tomato garden. Kiryati is a firm believer that today, as then, the Palestinians want to drive the Jews into the sea. "We do not have any choice but to remain strong," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also An American in Hebron in 1929: The Letters of Dave Shainberg - Rabbi Akiva Males
    Among the martyrs of the Hebron Massacre of 1929 were 26 students of Hebron's Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael, established in 1924 as a branch of the famed Slabodka Yeshiva, located outside of Kovna, Lithuania. Among the Yeshiva's victims was a native of Memphis, Tennessee, named Aharon Dovid (Dave) Shainberg. While studying in Hebron he kept his family posted via detailed letters in which he describes all that was going on around him in 1928-1929. (Tradition)
  • PA Lauds Murderers of Jews in 1929 Arab Riots - Maurice Hirsch
    In the 1929 Arab riots, 90 years ago, rampaging Arabs murdered 67 Jews in Hebron, along with Jews in Jerusalem and Safed. In total, in the course of one week, Arabs murdered 130 Jews. In the aftermath of the massacres, British Mandate forces arrested and prosecuted dozens of Arabs. While most of the death sentences handed down were commuted, three Arabs who, according to a report by the British government to the League of Nations, "committed particularly brutal murders at Safad and Hebron" were put to death on June 17, 1930.
        Every year the PA marks the execution of these three murderers - Muhammad Jamjoum, Fuad Hijazi, and Ataa Al-Zir. In June, PA TV said "the three heroes" have become "a legend of self-sacrifice for the homeland," and that "souls that have been sacrificed for their country will not die." In this manner, the PA constantly reinforces its message that dying while carrying out an act of terrorism guarantees that the souls of the terrorists do not die. (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Latvian "Schindler" Saved Dozens of Jews - Rich Tenorio
    Latvian Zanis Lipke rescued 60 Jews during World War II, sheltering them in a bunker beneath his home. Lipke is recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, and his story is told in a new Latvian historical dramatic film, "The Mover." Director Davis Simanis, a veteran Latvian filmmaker, described it as "the first feature film about the Holocaust in the Baltic states."
        The film shows the courage of Zanis Lipke and his wife Johanna, who live in the capital, Riga, with their three children when the Nazis invade in the summer of 1941. Of 94,000 Jews living in Latvia before WWII, all but several thousand perished in the Holocaust. Lipke personally witnessed the Jews being led to their deaths.
        "The main question for me in preparing the script, filming the film, is how is it possible for a person to see something inhuman happen and decide to do something," Simanis said, "and at the same time know that [doing something] could end your family, or create a certain threat to the closest people [in your life]." Lipke was an unlikely hero, a dock worker with a minor criminal record for contraband. "[He] did it...without any kind of reflection on his own benefit," Simanis said. (Times of Israel)

  • PA President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman recently announced the PA's intent to demand that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague file charges against senior Israelis for the "crime" of approving the construction of 650 residential units in Beit El. This demand joins a list of dozens of Palestinian complaints to the ICC about imaginary "crimes" of Israeli politicians and soldiers.
  • Several months ago, they demanded the filing of criminal charges against U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for the "crime" of verbally supporting the potential legal rights of Israel in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
  • The Palestinian demands for criminal charges against Americans will go unfulfilled due to the Americans' strategy that is based on understanding that the ICC is a hostile political organization. Israel still insists on viewing the ICC as a legitimate legal institution.
  • The American strategy expresses itself in three areas:
    1. A complete refusal to cooperate with the ICC, anchored in U.S. legislation.
    2. A campaign to delegitimize the ICC that includes transferring U.S. responsibility for dealing with the ICC to security officials rather than lawyers and presenting the ICC as an undemocratic, unaccountable, illegitimate institution that endangers the sovereignty of the U.S. and the constitutional rights of its citizens.
    3. Concrete threats against The Hague, including a threat to liberate Americans with force should they be arrested at the request of The Hague.
  • The U.S. responded to the ICC prosecutor's request to open a full investigation of alleged crimes committed by American soldiers in Afghanistan by canceling the visas of ICC teams and threatening additional steps. Soon after, The Hague judges decided to close the case and terminate the investigation.
  • The ICC prosecutor has already surrendered to Palestinian demands and opened a preliminary investigation against Israeli "criminals." Israel's state attorneys are engaging in "informal" cooperation with ICC lawyers to try to convince them that the ICC lacks legal jurisdiction to act against Israelis. These claims are correct, but the American experience shows that they will be ineffective.
  • An effective Israeli strategy vis-a-vis the ICC requires only determination to fight a political battle, ending the treatment of the ICC as a professional legal institution, and an uncompromising struggle against its legitimacy.

    The writer is a lecturer at the University of San Diego School of Law and at Bar-Ilan University's Faculty of Law.
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