February 5, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Study: 80 Percent of U.S. Jews Say They Are Pro-Israel - Jeremy Sharon (Jerusalem Post)
    80% of American Jews describe themselves as pro-Israel and more than 70% say their personal attachment to Israel is as strong or stronger than it was five years ago, according to a new poll conducted for the Ruderman Family Foundation by the Mellman Group on a sample of 2,500 U.S. Jews.
    67% said they were "attached" or "very attached" to Israel on an emotional level. At the same time, 57% identified as "pro-Israel but also critical of Israeli policy."
    "It appears doomsday talks about an irreversible chasm between Israel and the American Jewish community were mistaken," said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

Ramallah Officials: Palestinians Won't Halt Security Ties with Israel, U.S. - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The PA has no intention of halting security coordination with Israel and the U.S. or moving closer to Hamas in protest against the U.S. peace plan, according to EU officials and Western diplomats who talked to senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah in recent days.
    Abbas, the Palestinians said, believes the best way to counter the U.S. plan is by stepping up their diplomatic offensive in the international arena, including the UN.
    Abbas is hoping that the offensive would ultimately force the U.S. and Israel to accept holding an international peace conference where Washington would not be permitted to play a major role.

Ethiopian Israeli Singer to Represent Israel in Eurovision - Michael Bachner (Times of Israel)
    Israel on Tuesday chose Eden Alene, 19, as its representative for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.
    Alene, who won Israel's X-Factor reality show in 2018 and on Tuesday won "The Next Star," will be the first singer of Ethiopian origin to represent Israel in the contest.
    Born and raised in Jerusalem, Alene is currently an IDF soldier.

Israeli Counter-Drone Company to Provide System to FBI and U.S. Military - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's D-Fend Solutions has been selected by the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit from a field of 16 companies to provide the EnforceAir counter unmanned aerial system (c-UAS) as the core radio-frequency system to be integrated into a U.S. counter-drone system.
    EnforceAir c-UAS automatically and passively detects, locates and identifies rogue drones, taking control over them and landing them safely at a predefined safe zone, applying a non-jamming and non-kinetic technology that does not require line-of-sight.
    The company has been working for the past two years with the U.S. Department of Defense to co-develop the system's capabilities.
    During 2019, EnforceAir was successfully deployed by more than 20 U.S. agencies including U.S. Special Operations Forces, U.S. Army, FBI, Customs and Border Patrol, and the U.S. Marshal Service.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Senior EU Official Rejects U.S. Middle East Peace Plan
    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rejected parts of the new U.S. peace plan for the Middle East on Tuesday, saying the plan broke with "internationally agreed parameters," and any Israeli annexation in the West Bank, "if implemented, could not pass unchallenged."  (Reuters)
        See also Israel Responds Sharply to EU Official's Rejection of U.S. Peace Plan
    Israel responded sharply to the remarks by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, a Spaniard in office since the start of December. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat tweeted: "The fact that the High Rep of the EU, Josep Borrell, chose to use threatening language towards Israel, so shortly after he assumed office & only hours after his meetings in Iran, is regrettable &, to say the least, odd. Pursuing such policies & conduct is the best way to ensure that the EU's role in any process will be minimized."  (Algemeiner)
        See also EU Foreign Policy Chief Failed to Convince Foreign Ministers to Issue Joint Statement Criticizing U.S. Peace Plan
    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell failed to convince Europe's foreign ministers to issue a shared resolution criticizing the U.S. peace plan. At least six European countries oppose such a resolution, including Italy, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Borrell then issued a statement in his own name. (Times of Israel)
  • Iranian Youth Sing to Ayatollah Khamenei: "Israel Is Facing Its End"
    On Jan. 23, 2020, Ofogh TV (Iran) aired a speech by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during which Iranian youth sang to him. They sang: Iran "has the scream of 'Death to America!' Even if this country sinks in sanctions for 100 years, we will continue to be at war with the enemy. There will be no compromise and no surrender. Oh world, you should know that we are invincible....America's power is waning."
        "Israel is facing its end. Well done, Gaza and Lebanon."  (MEMRI-TV)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues Tuesday
    Palestinians in Gaza launched three rockets at Israel on Tuesday night. Israel responded with airstrikes on several Hamas targets. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Encouraging Attacks on Israel - Yaniv Kubovich
    An uptick in cross-border rocket fire and launch of explosive devices from Gaza has been approved by Hamas, Israeli defense officials believe. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Briefs Iran's Zarif on U.S. Peace Plan
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by phone with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday and briefed him on the political action the PA expected to pursue in the international arena to foil the U.S. peace plan. (WAFA-PA)
  • Israel, Sudan Set Up Normalization Teams - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli officials said Tuesday that both Israel and Sudan are "currently setting up teams to work on how to advance cooperation between the countries and establish diplomatic relations." Sudan sees normalization with Israel as a way to improve ties with the U.S., which has classified the country as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993. Sudan's notorious dictator Omar al-Bashir was toppled by protests last year.
        On Tuesday, Sudan's leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "to preserve and maintain Sudanese national security and achieve the supreme interests of the Sudanese people." AP reported that the UAE had organized Monday's meeting between Netanyahu and al-Burhan. Saudi Arabian and Egyptian officials were also informed about it. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Palestinian Veto Has Been Denied - Dr. Dan Schueftan
    The U.S. peace plan denies the Palestinians their main political asset: the right to veto. They were granted this right even though they cannot claim any major constructive achievement over 100 years of corruption, violence, and recalcitrance. Palestinians could have used this status to found a state, supported by enormous international support. Instead, they chose to wallow in their victimhood, to waste and loot billions, to sanctify terror and sound brazen demands.
        The U.S. plan basically denies the need for Palestinian agreement and opens the door for Israeli unilateral steps with American support. Israel's main security problems have been answered; the Palestinians can get a state only in the impossible scenario that they accept the Jewish state; the Arab states will protest weakly; and "the international community" will continue to complain. The writer is head of the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Peace Plan Requires PA to Halt Payments to Terrorists - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    The PA's rewarding of terrorists would come to a halt if the U.S. peace plan is implemented. Maurice Hirsch, director of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, explained: "The antithesis of peace is taking money to reward terrorists for being terrorists. Terrorism undermines peace. You cannot have a state that rewards terrorism - this is something contradictory to the whole world order."
        The U.S. plan calls on the PA to immediately terminate the paying of salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons - as well as to the families of deceased terrorists. Hirsch said: "The PA continues to request and receive considerable amounts of foreign aid and carries on squandering hundreds of millions of shekels/dollars/euros on terrorist salaries every year, incentivizing and rewarding Palestinian terrorists....The EU and more countries must make their aid conditional on the permanent abolishment of the policy."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Palestinian Authority Is Unable to Mobilize Its People - Mariam Barghouti
    Within hours of the release of the U.S. peace plan, the PA called for mass demonstrations against the proposed deal but few turned up. Despite its rhetorical huffs and puffs, the Palestinian leadership could not muster a powerful reaction. Why?
        Since its establishment in 1994, the PA has violently quashed any public protest that threatened its grip on power. It has repeatedly deployed its national guard, riot police, and thugs loyal to Fatah, the party that dominates the PA, to suppress dissent. Years of suppression of dissent and harassment of civil society have left Palestinians disenchanted and has damaged their ability to effectively mobilize. (Al Jazeera)

U.S. Peace Plan a Return to Rabin's Doctrine of Defensible Borders - Dan Diker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The U.S. peace plan offers a return to the security-first approach of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and, specifically, the concept of defensible borders.
  • On Jan. 29, 2020, Shimon Sheves, former Director-General of Prime Minister Rabin's office, told Israel Army Radio, "The Trump plan is essentially the Rabin plan" and a "continuation of Rabin's legacy." Journalist Ben Caspit, writing in Maariv, called it "a modern incarnation of Rabin's plan from 25 years ago."
  • During the ratification of the Oslo Interim Accords at the Knesset on Oct. 5, 1995, Rabin declared: "The borders of the State of Israel during the permanent solution will be beyond the lines that existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines."
  • Rabin continued: "The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley in the broadest sense of that term." He emphasized that Jerusalem would remain Israel's united capital. Regarding the Palestinian entity, Rabin told the Knesset, "We would like this to be an entity that is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority."
  • The defensible borders concept was first formally outlined following the 1967 war by Gen. Yigal Allon, who presented it to Western audiences in Foreign Affairs in 1976. He posited that Israel needed to retain a topographical barrier to defend itself from attacks from the east. Allon insisted on Israel annexing the entire Jordan Rift Valley, including the hilly terrain facing eastwards toward Jordan, as well as the Jordan Valley below.
  • The U.S. peace plan means Israel is being asked to take unprecedented risks by living next to a sovereign Palestinian state in a Middle East plagued by radical regimes and failed states. That is why defensible borders are critical to guarantee Israel's security.

    The writer is a Fellow and Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center. He has co-authored and edited several policy books on Defensible Borders for Israel.