U.S. Says Iranian Tanker Transferred Oil Cargo to Syria
The U.S. State Department said Thursday Washington has evidence that the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1
transferred its crude oil to the Syrian government, breaking assurances it gave not to sell crude to Damascus.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said: "The Iranian regime delivered oil to Syria, and that fuel goes straight into the tanks of troops that are slaughtering innocent Syrians."
Pressed on whether Washington had evidence of such a transfer from the Adrian Darya 1,
Ortagus added: "I wouldn't say that if we didn't."
U.S. to Send 150 Troops to Patrol Northeastern Syria
- Eric Schmitt (New York Times
The Pentagon is preparing to send 150 troops to northeastern Syria to conduct ground patrols with Turkish forces to help defuse escalating tensions with Turkey over American support for Syrian Kurdish fighters that led the ground war against the Islamic State.
The U.S. currently has just under 1,000 troops in Syria, mainly to help stamp out remaining pockets of Islamic State fighters.
The Pentagon in recent weeks has set up joint reconnaissance flights and ground patrols with Turkish forces in a narrow buffer zone inside Syria, and destroyed Kurdish fortifications near the border that Turkey considered threatening.
Iran's Properties in Canada Sold, Proceeds Handed to Terror Victims
- Stewart Bell (Global News-Canada
Tens of millions of dollars' worth of seized Iranian government properties have been sold off in Canada and the proceeds handed to victims of Hamas and Hizbullah - terrorist groups bankrolled, armed and trained by Iran.
According to a document
filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice last month, the victims got a share of the $28 million earned through the sale of Iran's buildings in Ottawa and Toronto.
UK Navy Helps Stabilize Middle East Shipping
- Jonathan Saul
Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, the Royal Navy's Fleet Commander, said Thursday that Britain had "committed quite a few ships, aircraft and other capabilities to the Strait of Hormuz area."
The Royal Navy last week said that nearly 90 British merchant ships had been "safely shepherded" through the Strait of Hormuz over the past two months.
It said the HMS Montrose
frigate was forced to fire flares on more than a dozen occasions to warn off Iranian forces.
"We are the British Royal Navy and we look to support and protect our own ships," said Kyd.
Sky News Arabia Ignores that Deceased Palestinian Prisoner Was a Terrorist
- CAMERA Arabic (UK Media Watch
Arabic-language Western media outlets gave considerable attention to Hamas-affiliated Palestinian terrorist Bassam as-Sayeh, 47, who died of cancer in an Israeli prison last Sunday.
They ignored as-Sayeh's conviction for a series of terrorist acts including his role in the murder of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin in October 2015.
The couple were gunned down in front of their four children while driving the family car, and as-Sayeh was found responsible for funding and authorizing the attack.
Follow the Jerusalem Center on:
Most Arab Israelis Satisfied with Life in Israel
- Amir Ben-David (Times of Israel
71.5% of Arab Israelis are satisfied with their life in Israel, according to a
poll commissioned by the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University.
65.2% believe they are generally treated equally, and 64.7% have an overall positive view of the state.
But when asked to rate their sense of belonging in the country on a scale of 1 to 10, the average response was 4.
Respondents defined their identities thus:
33.5% Arab Israeli, 17.3% Israeli,
16.3% Palestinian Israeli, 14.1% Arab, 14.1% Palestinian, and 4.6% "other."
59.2% said crime, unemployment, welfare, and housing should top the Arab parties' political agenda; only 13.3% said Arab lawmakers should focus on the Palestinian issue.
Arab Critics of Arab Culture
- Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz
The Arabic literary magazine Al Jadid
recently published an interview with Egyptian author Gaber Asfour on "the culture of backwardness" in the Arab world.
Asfour, who twice served as Egypt's culture minister, wrote, "This is a culture that doesn't seek debate and doesn't tolerate differences of opinion. Anyone who believes in it believes that he possesses the truth, while the other is wrong and is therefore a heretic who must be destroyed."
A committee affiliated with Egypt's council for higher education noted that the average Egyptian reads a quarter of a page a year.
UNESCO in 2003 reported that one book a year is read for every 80 Arabs, whereas in Europe, 35 books a year are read for every person. The report added that 5,000 books were published in the Arab world each year, compared with 300,000 in the U.S.
A report by the Arab Thought Foundation in 2011 concluded that the average Arab spends six minutes a year reading, compared with 200 hours for the average European.
From Green to Black: Incendiary Balloons Leave Israeli Farmers with Heavy Hearts
- Shay Davidovich (International Committee of the Red Cross
Incendiary balloons launched from Gaza have been drifting over the border into Israel for two years, leaving huge patches of blackened crops that scar the landscape and cause enormous damage for Israeli farmers.
Eran Braverman of Kibbutz Alumim said, "As a farmer, when you grow crops and see them burn right before harvest time, it does something to your heart."
"You have been preparing the field since October, fertilizing the ground, sowing it, treating it against diseases and pests, and then the day before harvest, everything is on fire."
Search the Recent History of Israel and the Middle East
Send the Daily Alert to a Friend
If you are viewing the email version of the Daily Alert and want to share it with friends, please click Forward in your email program and enter their address.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: U.S. Still Pursuing "Maximum Pressure" Against Iran - Susan Heavey
The U.S. is still pursuing its campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday.
"There's no question it's working," he added. "We have cut off their money, and that's the reason why, if they do come back to the negotiation table, they're coming back. If the president can get the right deal that he's talked about, we'll negotiate with Iran. If not, we'll continue the maximum pressure campaign."
Mnuchin also said there is no current plan for President Trump to meet with Iranian President Rouhani at the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.
See also Top State Department Official: We Want Iran to Behave Like a Normal State - Yonah Jeremy Bob
The Trump administration is not seeking regime change, but rather to maintain its "maximum pressure campaign to get Iran back to the table" for a "better deal than the JCPOA," Acting Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Nathan Sales told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Sales said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 12 principles remained the standard and that an improved deal would be a major change, not merely cosmetic. He agreed that Iran's ballistic missile testing and aggressive behavior in the region would need to be part of such a deal.
Sales said that "U.S. Iran policy is the president's Iran policy. The president has been very clear that it is the worst state sponsor of terrorism...and imposed historically severe sanctions on Iran....We want them to behave like a normal state which doesn't use terror as a basic tool of statecraft."
For example, Sales slammed Iran for continuing to host al-Qaeda operatives on its soil and permitting it to move funds around the region.
- Netanyahu Denies Israel Planted Spy Devices near White House - Saphora Smith and Paul Goldman
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied his country spies within the U.S. after Politico reported Thursday that former U.S. officials concluded Israel was most likely behind surveillance devices planted near the White House. Netanyahu's office called the allegations "a blatant lie."
"There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government, not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S. This directive is strictly enforced without exception. (NBC News)
See also Israel Blasts Report It Planted Spy Devices near White House as "Fake News" - Greg Norman
Current and former Israeli officials are pushing back hard Thursday on a report claiming their country planted spy devices near the White House. Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence, posted on Twitter that the Politico story is "fake news spiced with anti-Semitism" and that for decades, Israel has banned spying on the U.S. (Fox News)
See also Trump Says He Doesn't Believe Israel Is Spying on U.S. - Morgan Chalfant (The Hill)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Netanyahu Tells Moscow: Iran Is Stepping Up Attempts to Attack Israel from Syria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Netanyahu said at the start of their meeting:
"The security coordination between us is always important, but it is especially important at this time because last month saw a very serious upsurge in the number of attempts by Iran to attack Israel from Syrian territory, and also to place precision missiles there against us. From our point of view, this is an intolerable threat and we are taking action." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Former Israeli Deputy National Security Adviser Casts Doubt on Report of Israeli Spying in Washington - Judah Ari Gross
An Israeli spying operation against the U.S. government on American soil would represent a dramatic departure from decades-old Israeli policy, said former Israeli deputy national security adviser Chuck Freilich. "Based on everything I know, it's totally false," Freilich told the Times of Israel. Freilich, who served for more than two decades in the Israeli defense establishment, said a decision was made in Israel following the 1985 Jonathan Pollard scandal to avoid spying on the U.S. "Pollard was an aberration, and after him it was decided that this should never happen again," Freilich said.
Freilich said the potential diplomatic blowback from a botched operation would represent a significant disincentive for carrying out such a mission. "If you can't afford to get caught, you don't do it." He added, "The U.S. is spying on Israel all the time....It's probably true that everyone is spying on everyone. But [Israel spying on the U.S.] in Washington? No." (Times of Israel)
- IDF Chief: Israel's Enemies Will Face Unprecedented Firepower in Next War - Lilach Shoval
Speaking Thursday at a memorial ceremony honoring fallen soldiers, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said: "The enemy is organized in brigades and platoons, armed with missiles, rockets, and advanced weaponry, and is operating from inside densely-populated urban areas, with a civilian population that it sees as living flak jackets."
"The changes in the enemy demand that the IDF make changes and adjust its forces and methods of warfare, so urban areas cannot shield the enemy. The firepower the enemy will encounter in the next war will be unprecedented, and a country that allows terrorism to entrench itself in its territory will be seen as responsible for it, and suffer the consequences."
"The IDF has a moral obligation to defend the nation's citizens against the armies of terrorism that surround them. When the Israeli homefront is under threat by thousands of missiles and rockets, we won't hesitate to strike a massive blow to eradicate those threats. We will attack and preserve our values, but a main tenet of those values is the need to protect our citizens." (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- Full Extent of Iran's Nuclear Defiance Becoming Clear - Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Iran's theocratic establishment is spreading the narrative that Europe and the U.S. are to blame for Tehran's violation of the nuclear deal. Iran has clearly been blackmailing the Europeans, and the European powers' efforts to satisfy the Iranian regime's demands have been unsuccessful.
They came up with a special purpose vehicle to facilitate trade and payments to Tehran, but it has failed. Even though the European governments agreed to participate in the plan, corporations, firms and private financial institutions have been reluctant to do so. It quickly became clear that the European business giants were not willing to run the risk of losing access to the $18 trillion U.S. market for the sake of Iran's $400 billion market.
The international community must not be distracted from the larger picture. The JCPOA deal was never a permanent solution to Iran's nuclear threat and, more importantly, new evidence points to the fact that Iran was most likely not in compliance with the nuclear deal from the outset. The writer is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist.
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
- Israelis Will Not Sit Passively While Iran Nuclearizes and Threatens Their Existence - Michael Oren
The U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal effectively undermined Iran's grand strategy of exploiting the legitimacy it granted to conquer much of the Middle East. The deal enabled Iran to maintain key parts of its nuclear infrastructure, to preserve its blueprints for producing atomic bombs, and to develop the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of carrying them. With many of the deal's provisions expiring in less than a decade, Iran could have eventually made hundreds of nuclear weapons and mount them on ICBMs. Overnight, Iran would become a global power.
The Israelis, of course, would not have sat by passively while Iran nuclearized and threatened their existence. But Iran had another plan: to surround Israel with tens of thousands of terrorist rockets and proxies. Any Israeli attempt to stop an Iranian nuclear breakout would inevitably be met with devastating fire from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, and Iran itself. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
- The Repressed Memory of Palestinian Suicide Bombings - Matti Friedman
No single episode has shaped Israel's population and politics like the wave of suicide bombings perpetrated by Palestinians in the first years of the 21st century, and every election since has been held in its shadow. The attacks, which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, ended hopes for a negotiated peace. Any sympathy that the Israeli majority had toward Palestinians evaporated.
The Palestinian leadership pretend that none of it ever happened, and few of the foreign journalists covering the country right now were here at the time. Why are moderate Israelis afraid to pull out of the West Bank? Why is there a separation barrier? Why is the word "peace" pronounced with sarcasm? If you weren't in Israel then and can't access the national subconscious now, the answer will be elusive.
I remember standing at a bus stop when I heard a suicide bomber blow himself up and murder 11 people one street over, at Cafe Moment. My mother passed through the Nahariya train station right before a suicide bomber struck there, and my sister was in a cafeteria at the Hebrew University campus when Palestinians blew up a different cafeteria. I've got many more memories like that, and so does the Israeli electorate. The writer is a former journalist for AP in Jerusalem (2006-11).
(New York Times)
- Why Arabs Hate Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
The Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait - a Gulf state that, together with its neighbors, used to give the Palestinians tens of millions of dollars in aid each year. In recent months, Arab criticism of the Palestinians has further escalated, with some writers and journalists expressing outrage over the Palestinians' opposition to peace plans.
At the core of this increasing disillusionment in the Arab world with the Palestinians is the Arabs' belief that despite all they did to help their Palestinian brothers for the past seven decades, the Palestinians have proven to be constantly ungrateful. Denunciations are coming not only from Egyptians and Saudis, but also from a growing number of Arabs in other Arab and Muslim countries, particularly in the Gulf.
You simply cannot burn pictures of the Saudi crown prince one day and rush to Riyadh to seek money the next. You cannot shout slogans against the Egyptian president one day and go to Cairo to seek political backing the next. What the Arabs see is Palestinian stagnation, mainly thanks to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders, who are too busy poisoning their peoples' minds and ripping each other to shreds to have time for anything positive. (Gatestone Institute)
- Palestinian Teachers' Guides Reveal Anti-Jewish Indoctrination - Eliana Rudee
The recent study "Israel, Jews and Peace in Palestinian Authority Teachers' Guides" by Dr. Arnon Groiss, based on 89 Palestinian teachers' guides published in 2016-18, showed that they promote delegitimization, demonization and war indoctrination instead of peace education.
Groiss told JNS that Jewish "cowardice," "slyness," "deceit," and "greed" are repeated in teachers' guides to define Jews as enemies of Islam.
Educational material consistently describes a future where there will be an Arab removal of Israel, with any surviving Israeli Jews exterminated. A poem taught to third-grade students says: "I will sacrifice my blood in order to...remove the usurper [Israel] from my country and exterminate the foreigners' defeated remnants."
By referring to war, rather than peace and coexistence, Palestinian educators impose on their students "a bleak future of hatred and misery, with no hope other than becoming a martyr in an endless struggle," says the study. "This is hate education - a war of indoctrination against peace, in which the UNRWA agency has clearly been involved for the last 70 years," said Groiss. (JNS)
- Anti-Semites with PhDs Are Harder to Fight - Bari Weiss
In order to be welcomed as a Jew in a growing number of progressive groups, you have to disavow a list of things that grows longer every day. Whereas once it was enough to criticize Israeli government policy, now Israel's very existence must be denounced and the very idea of Jewish power must be abjured.
It is why Jewish leaders of the Women's March were subjected to anti-Semitic attacks and exclusion by the movement's other leaders. It is why at the University of Virginia, Jewish student activists were barred from a minority-student coalition to fight white supremacy.
We like Jews just fine, they say, as long as they shed their stubborn particularism and adhere to our ever-shifting ideas of justice and equality. Jews are welcome so long as they disavow many of the things that actually make them Jewish. It remains hard for many to see it as threatening because it attempts, at least at first, only to marginalize Jews rather than murder us.
Neo-Nazis are straightforward. We know they wish us dead. Anti-Semites with PhDs, the ones who defend their bigotry as enlightened thinking, are harder to fight. The writer is an editor for the Opinion section of the New York Times and the author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism, from which this is adapted.
(Globe and Mail-Canada)
- Book Review: The Differing Perspectives of American and Israeli Jews - Elliot Kaufman
Daniel Gordis, senior vice president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, writes in We Stand Divided that America and Israel are fundamentally different enterprises. In Israel, the Jews are a majority and a people. They have rejoined history as moral agents and infused the public square with Judaism. In America, where Gordis was born, the Jews are a minority and a religious denomination. They have escaped from history and worked to strip the public square of religion.
Most important is the dichotomy between Zionist Jewish particularism and American universalism. Zionism's mission was never to proclaim a principle of liberty for all, but rather to establish a Jewish state and reinvigorate the Jewish spirit. It is America's universalism that makes American Jews uncomfortable with Israel's devotion to one people - even if it is the Jewish people.
Gordis pleads for greater understanding. He tells American Jews: Even if your way is universalism, surely there can be one country in the world where Jews have it their way. The failure of liberal universalism to solve Europe's "Jewish question" led Zionists to renounce powerlessness and fight for sovereignty. The Jewish state has its reasons, and American Jews shouldn't begrudge it the right to walk a different path.
(Wall Street Journal)
- The Ori Ansbacher Memorial Tapestry - Rena Reich
Ori Ansbacher, 19, was brutally murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Jerusalem on Feb. 7. Feeling that she could not be the only one who felt the outrage and pain, Bat Sheva Sadan posted on Facebook that others should send her 10cm x 10cm embroideries that she would put together to make a chuppah (a marriage canopy). She was expecting around 20 and hoping for 80. People of all ages and from all over the world created and sent in 5,000 intricate and beautiful pieces of embroidery work.
With a lot more than enough for the chuppah, she decided to make a tapestry. The stories behind the embroideries were amazing as well. Someone gave a piece of her wedding dress. Another used special fabric she got from her grandmother. Some of the fabric survived the Holocaust.
The tapestry is 22 meters long and 3 meters tall and is currently hanging in the Cardo, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Everyone who sees it is moved by the expression of hope and solidarity.
(Quilt Israel-Heart of Israel)
- British World War I Hero to Be Commemorated in Israel
The memory of a British war hero is being commemorated at a museum close to where he was killed in action during the First World War.
Captain John Fox-Russell, from Holyhead , was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Tel el Khuweilfe, north of Beersheba in the Judean Hills, in November 1917. His body is one of 1,200 servicemen buried in the Commonwealth military cemetery in Beersheba.
Fox-Russell's great-niece, Victoria Fox, said: "Avi Navon has spent much of his life researching and telling the stories of the battles of World War I in Palestine. He lives in a kibbutz adjacent to Tel Khuweilfe where the huge battle took place....His plan [is] to raise a plaque telling the story of the battle and of Captain John Fox-Russell....It is a very important part of the history of Israel because if these battles had not been won, it would probably still be under Turkish rule and who knows where the Jewish people would be."
Fox-Russell was a medical officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps. During the battle Fox-Russell repeatedly went out to attend the wounded under murderous fire from snipers and machine guns, and, "in many cases where no other means were at hand, carried them in himself, although almost exhausted." (NorthWalesLive-UK)
- Iran is concentrating all its resources today trying to save the formidable benefits it gained in the Iran nuclear deal (the JCPOA).
In the eyes of the Islamic regime in Tehran, the deal is worth keeping even after the U.S. withdrawal because it allows Iran to move safely towards attaining a large arsenal of nuclear weapons in 11 years.
- It could not make it to the first bomb before the deal, because Iran could not safely cross the threshold between accumulating enough enriched uranium to produce a bomb and actually making one. In addition, the deal legitimized Iranian efforts to develop long-range missiles and its wide intervention in Middle Eastern countries, and provided Iran with the financial resources necessary to pursue these policies.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei reacted to the American maximum pressure by turning to brinkmanship - taking action that clearly demonstrates to the U.S. that pressuring Iran is costly and could trigger unwanted escalation.
He hopes to force the U.S. to succumb to Iranian pressure and ease the sanctions to avoid escalation.
- Israel always considered the JCPOA as a dangerous and disastrous deal. It wants to make sure that the U.S. preserves its position of strength if and when negotiations with Iran start on a new agreement.
- Iran's multi-national arms build-up forced Israel to alter its defensive strategies, triggering new and aggressive actions in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, where Iran stores medium-range rockets that can reach Israel at camps controlled by Shiite militias. It is understood in the region that Israel was forced to behave this way by Iran.
- Israel has proved again that it enjoys a profound intelligence dominance (manifested by the Mossad seizing the nuclear archives from Tehran) and air superiority over Iran and its proxies. Israel has shown that it can protect itself and foil attempts to hurt it. Israel also proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to be a strategic asset for the U.S., for the pragmatic Arab states, and for the liberal democracies.
The writer, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Research Division and director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Support Daily Alert
is the work of a team of expert analysts who find the most important and timely articles from around the world on Israel, the Middle East and U.S. policy. No wonder it is read by heads of government, leading journalists, and thousands of people who want to stay on top of the news. To continue to provide this service, Daily Alert
requires your support. Please take a moment to click here and make your contribution through the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.