May 4, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Mossad Intelligence Helped Germany Decide to Outlaw Hizbullah - Tamar Beeri (Jerusalem Post)
    Intelligence reports by Israel's Mossad informing German officials of Hizbullah-sponsored terror activity in the country led to the German decision to outlaw the terrorist organization, Israel's N12 News reported.
    These included the discovery of warehouses in southern Germany belonging to Hizbullah operatives that contained hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate, which is used to make explosives.

Sharansky Donates $1 Million Genesis Prize to Alleviate Covid-19 Suffering - Alan Rosenbaum (Jerusalem Post)
    Human rights activist Natan Sharansky, who was awarded the $1 million 2020 Genesis Prize, has chosen to direct these funds to organizations fighting the coronavirus pandemic and supporting individuals most affected by it.
    "I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this humanitarian effort," said Sharansky.
    "Throughout the long history of the Jewish people, our ability to come together as one during the times of crisis gave us strength to persevere and face the future with hope and confidence."

Coverage of Israel Has Undergone a Transformation amid Corona Crisis - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    Coverage of Israel has undergone a transformation in recent weeks, according to a report by the Department of Public Diplomacy at the Israel Foreign Ministry.
    When the coronavirus pandemic first hit in January 2020, "Israel's [approach] was viewed with hostility, mainly due to its decisions to cancel flights, close borders and remove foreign nationals in the first stage."
    Once the scope of the pandemic became more apparent in the West, articles began praising Israel's life-saving policies.
    "In the second stage, Israel was portrayed as a model of a country successfully coping with the medical crisis, precisely due to all the reasons for which it was previously criticized."
    Israel also received recognition for its immense efforts on behalf of its citizens stranded across the globe.

Coronavirus Brings a Flood of Israeli Orders to Gaza Garment Factories - Iyad Abuheweila and Adam Rasgon (New York Times)
    With demand for masks and protective gear soaring worldwide, Gaza garment factories have been flooded with new orders since early March by merchants from Israel.
    Apparel was once a pillar of the Gaza economy, with 900 factories employing 36,000 Palestinians. But the industry all but collapsed in 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza.
    After the 2014 Gaza war, Israeli authorities permitted Gazan apparel makers to resume exports. By 2019, 200 clothing factories employed 6,000 workers.
    A dozen factories have now begun turning out masks and protective wear, several of them hiring new employees.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. House Urges UN to Renew Iran Arms Embargo - Patricia Zengerle
    At least 384 members of the U.S. House of Representatives - nearly 90% - have signed a letter urging the administration to increase its diplomatic action at the UN to renew an arms embargo on Iran, congressional sources said on Thursday. "The UN arms embargo is set to expire in October, and we are concerned that the ban's expiration will lead to more states buying and selling weapons to and from Iran," said the letter, led by Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul (R-Tex.), the committee's top Republican. (Reuters)
  • U.S. Intelligence Director Urges EU Countries to Ban Hizbullah - Benjamin Weinthal
    Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany and the acting U.S. director of national intelligence, urged all EU countries to outlaw Hizbullah activities. The organization "cannot be allowed to use Europe as a safe haven to support terrorism in Syria and across the Middle East," he said.
        After Germany's interior ministry on Thursday outlawed all Hizbullah activities, Grenell said, "The world is a little bit safer with this German government ban of Hizbullah....It's an incredible diplomatic success that we hope will motivate many officials in Brussels to follow suit with an EU-wide ban." Grenell spoke with Emmanuel Bonne, the foreign policy adviser to the president of France, to press him on banning Hizbullah in France and working to support an EU-wide ban. (Fox News)
  • Iranian Agents Are Delivering Suitcases Stuffed with Cash to Hizbullah Terrorists while Begging for Financial Help to Deal with Coronavirus - Marco Giannangeli
    Sources within Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have revealed that intelligence officers are personally delivering hard currency to support Hizbullah fighters in Lebanon and Syria. The daily deliveries are helping to finance newer and more sophisticated missile systems as well as military infrastructure in Syria, including bases. The news comes just three weeks after the Islamic Republic begged the International Monetary Fund for a 4 billion euro emergency loan to fight the Covid-19 outbreak.
        Additional millions are being delivered via money exchanges through transactions facilitated by Iranian businessmen in Beirut. Reports by IRGC sources describe a "money tube" using passenger and cargo flights from Iran to Hizbullah-controlled Beirut airport. (Sunday Express-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S.: Israeli Annexation of Parts of West Bank Not Contingent on Palestinian State - Raphael Ahren
    A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem told the Times of Israel on Friday: "As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the [U.S. peace plan] foresees as being part of the State of Israel."
        A senior U.S. official said the U.S. will recognize an Israeli application of sovereignty over parts of the West Bank when: a) the joint U.S.-Israel mapping committee has completed its work; b) the Israeli government implements a four-year freeze of the areas earmarked for a future Palestinian state; and c) the government formally agrees to negotiate a final-status peace deal with the Palestinians based on the U.S. peace plan. If the Palestinians continue to refuse to engage with the U.S. and Israel on the plan, annexation can go ahead in the absence of a Palestinian state, he added. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Coronavirus Death Toll Is 234
    Israel's coronavirus death toll is 234 (up from 223 on Friday), the Israeli Health Ministry said Monday morning. 93 patients are in serious condition (down from 105 on Friday), including 72 on ventilator support (down from 83 on Friday). Active coronavirus cases dropped to 6,145 (down from 7,023 on Friday). (Ynet News)
        See also New Virus Cases Plummet in Israel
    Just 23 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed in the previous 24 hours, according to Israeli Health Ministry figures released Sunday evening. Of the 5,815 tests carried out in the past 24 hours, just 0.5% were positive. (Times of Israel)
        See also The Spread of Covid-19 in Israel Has Been Halted
    80% of Israeli towns have reported no new Covid-19 cases for several days, and several hospitals have not had a new coronavirus patient in recent days, Channel 12 TV reported Friday. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Will Abbas Carry Out His Threat to Nix Agreements with Israel? - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority is considering cancelling all signed agreements with Israel in response to the Israeli government's plan to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. Palestinians, however, do not take seriously repeated threats by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to renounce the agreements or suspend security coordination with Israel.
        The termination of the Oslo Accords will lead to the dismantlement of the PA and its institutions, with Abbas losing his status as PA president. In addition, such a move is likely to result in a sharp decline of international financial aid. Palestinian officials said on Sunday that terminating the agreements with Israel would have "catastrophic consequences" for the Palestinian economy.
        "For Abbas, halting security coordination with Israel would be tantamount to suicide," said Palestinian political analyst Abdel Jawad Burhan. "Without the security coordination, the Palestinian Authority will collapse."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Germany Is Right to See Hizbullah as Terrorist Entity - Editorial
    Germany has joined the U.S., UK and a number of other countries, including members of the Arab League, in designating Hizbullah a terrorist entity. Germany's decision is a welcome one, coming five months after the Bundestag called for a stop to Hizbullah's local activities. Hizbullah is an armed proxy for Tehran's wider geopolitical interests, holding the Lebanese state hostage.
        It has also spread its tentacles across the Middle East and elsewhere, including within the EU and even Latin America. Now, the largest EU member state has sent an extraordinary signal that there is a limit to European patience with Iran's broader extremist agenda. (The National-Abu Dhabi)
  • Palestinian Pay-to-Slay Economics
    The Palestinian government is undergoing increasing pressure from aid donors to eliminate payments to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists as it asks for more foreign aid to deal with the Covid-19 virus. Up to half of the foreign aid received by the West Bank goes to these payments.
        It is no secret that many Palestinians become terrorists because they are attracted by the financial rewards. Families of dead terrorists get an immediate payment of $1,700 from Fatah plus monthly payments for the life of the immediate family, which can make a family relatively affluent.
        There is a bonus ($86 a month) if the terrorist is a resident of Israel or eastern Jerusalem. There are also bonuses for how many Israelis the prisoner killed or injured. Some of these convicts get over $50,000 a year. (Strategy Page)

Why Abdullah Is King of Jordan - Robert Satloff (American Interest)
  • After 21 years on the throne, Jordan's King Abdullah is at the height of his popularity. Yet some whisperers in Amman still say his reign was illegitimate.
  • I met Abdullah's father, King Hussein, for the first time in 1989 in Amman while doing research for my doctoral dissertation on Jordanian domestic politics in the 1950s, and we met for the last time in 1996 in Potomac, Maryland.
  • I asked Hussein what he considered his greatest regret. He replied, "My greatest regret is the terrible injury I did to my son, Abdullah....I vow that before I die, I will repair this. I will correct what I did."
  • Abdullah, born in 1962, was Jordan's crown prince until he was three years old, when advisors convinced the king that it was too dangerous to have a toddler as heir when there were so many threats on the king's life. So he named as crown prince his youngest brother, Hassan, who was 18.
  • Hassan loyally served as crown prince to King Hussein for 30 years. But the king told me that he planned to change the order of royal succession and restore his eldest son to the role of future king, which he did just two weeks before his death.
  • There were those in Amman who claimed this was a mercurial decision influenced by the heavy medication he was taking for the pain of his advanced cancer. But from my own conversation with Hussein nearly three years before his death, I knew these claims were wrong.

    The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Daily Alert was prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations from May 3, 2002, to April 30, 2020.
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