May 25, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas, Hizbullah Pledge to Seize "Entire Land of Palestine" (Algemeiner)
    The leaders of Hizbullah and Hamas marked the Iranian regime's annual "Quds (Jerusalem) Day" event on Friday with angry speeches advocating the elimination of the State of Israel.
    Addressing a virtual rally that featured speakers from Iran, Iraq, Jerusalem, Lebanon and Yemen, Hamas political bureau head Ismail Haniyeh threatened that the Palestinians would eventually seize "not just Jerusalem but the entire land of Palestine."
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: "The responsibility of regaining Palestine is...also the responsibility of the ummah (the global Muslim community)."

Israel's Response to Iranian Cyberattack Sought to Generate Deterrence - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
    The cyberwar between Israel and Iran often remains covert. But the cyberattack targeting Iran's newly constructed shipping terminal at Shahid Rajaee port was reported in the Washington Post in a manner so that everyone will know about it.
    "The decision to mount a forceful response - assuming Israel was the one behind the cyber strike in Iran - sought to ensure that the Iranians don't even think about stepping up their cyberattacks," explained Arik Barbing, former head of the Israel Security Agency's cyber department.
    Israel message to Iran included an aspect of psychological warfare by having a top American newspaper report about it.
    Barbing continued, "Were it not made public, the world wouldn't be dealing with it and Iranians could argue that it was the result of some malfunction in the system."
    "Someone probably wanted to make sure everyone knew. It generates deterrence."

UAE Expresses Outrage Against PA for Rejecting Medical Supplies - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    United Arab Emirates (UAE) political activists, academics and social media users have expressed outrage over the Palestinian Authority's refusal to accept medical supplies from the Gulf state because they were delivered through Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport.
    UAE journalist Mohammed al-Hammadi pointed out that in the past the PA did not turn down Turkish aid delivered through Israel.

Jobless Migrants Flee Gulf Countries - Rory Jones (Wall Street Journal)
    Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have lost their jobs in wealthy Middle East states amid the coronavirus pandemic and are streaming home to Asian nations that have long relied on their earnings.
    In recent weeks, 300,000 Indians and Pakistanis have registered to leave, as well as many of the more than a million Filipinos working in the Gulf.
    Gulf countries are an extreme example of the reliance on migrant labor. In the UAE, 80% of the nine million residents are foreign-born.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Pompeo Accuses Iran of "Echoing Hitler's Call for Genocide" over "Final Solution" Rhetoric - Tyler Olson
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif "and Iran's Supreme Leader are echoing Hitler's call for genocide. This depravity should dispel any notion the regime belongs in the community of nations. We stand with Germany and Israel against this oldest & most vile form of hatred, and say #NeverAgain."  (Fox News)
        See also Canada Condemns Iranian Supreme Leader's Comments about Israel (Sputnik-Russia)
        See also Ayatollah Khamenei and the "Final Solution" in the Middle East - Kersten Knipp
    It would seem that Ayatollah Khamenei sees something worth emulating in the Nazi regime in Germany. He drew inspiration from Hitler, Himmler and all the other Nazi criminals for this year's Quds Day when he used the term "final solution," the name given by the Nazis to the murder of 6 million Jews in Europe.
        The term appeared on Khamenei's website to accompany the dream "Palestine will be free," a goal that obviously entails the conquest of the holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount. The illustration upon which the Nazi term is found shows the entire site in the hand of Muslims - Palestinians and Iranians. (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
  • Biden Condemns Pro-Palestinian Israel Boycott Movement - Bryant Harris
    Former Vice President Joe Biden condemned the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in a new policy page posted on his campaign website. The page vows that the presumptive Democratic nominee will "firmly reject the BDS movement, which singles out Israel - home to millions of Jews - and too often veers into anti-Semitism, while letting Palestinians off the hook for their choices."  (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Appears in Court at Start of Trial
    On Sunday the Jerusalem District Court began the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yediot Ahronot newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes, and Shaul Elovitch, controlling shareholder of the Bezeq telecommunications company, on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery. The major cases allege that Netanyahu improperly sought positive media coverage from the newspaper and the Walla! Hebrew news site owned by Bezeq, but he denies any wrongdoing.
        According to legal sources, the judges are likely to allow the defense six to eight months to study all the material. Channel 12 said it was very likely that Netanyahu and his co-defendants would not have to return to court before 2021. (Times of Israel)
  • UN Coronavirus Aid Going to Palestinian Terror-Linked Groups - Lahav Harkov
    Millions of dollars of international funding for the Palestinians' coronavirus emergency response, coordinated by the World Health Organization and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), have gone to organizations with links to terrorism, a new report by NGO Monitor found. Several of the funded groups are tied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is recognized as a terrorist organization in Israel, the EU, U.S. and Canada.
        OCHA stated that the aid money was meant to "respond to public health needs," but many of the activities funded were anti-Israel advocacy ventures relabeled Covid-19. For example, the OCHA coronavirus response includes a statement by 18 NGOs calling for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza to let medical supplies in. In the same situation report in which this statement is listed, OCHA notes that Israel does allow medical supplies into Gaza.
        NGO Monitor President Prof. Gerald Steinberg said: "It appears that key factors for OCHA are the goals of procuring of funds for NGO allies and 'padding the stats'."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also No NGO Left Behind: The Politics of OCHA's Covid-19 Humanitarian Aid in the West Bank and Gaza (NGO Monitor)
  • Coronavirus in Israel: No New Deaths in Four Days
    Israel has had no Covid-19-related deaths in the past four days. As of Sunday evening, there were 2,285 active cases of coronavirus in Israel (compared with 2,680 on Thursday), 126 people are in hospitals, and 44 are in serious condition, of which 34 are on ventilators (compared with 36 on Thursday). (Ynet News)
        See also Has Israel Defeated the Pandemic? - Maytal Yasur Beit-Or
    Despite the easing of the lockdown, only 3,149 new cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in Israel over the past four weeks. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel's Flight from South Lebanon 20 Years On - Prof. Efraim Karsh and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen
    On May 24, 2000, 18 years after invading Lebanon with the expressed goal of removing the longstanding terrorist threat to its northern towns, Israel hurriedly vacated its security zone in south Lebanon. Hizbullah exploited the demise of Israel's security zone to transform south Lebanon into a military stronghold crisscrossed with fortified defenses, both above ground and in a complex underground tunnel system, designed to serve as a springboard for terror attacks on Israeli territory and to shelter Hizbullah's burgeoning rocket and missile arsenal.
        Prof. Efraim Karsh is director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, where Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen is a senior research fellow. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Muslims Gave Us the Tools to Disprove Palestinian Lies - Nadav Shragai
    In recent years, the Palestinians have been writing a new historical story for Jerusalem: the Muslims were here first, while the Jews - who have no ties whatsoever to the city and its holy sites - arrived after them, then proceeded to invent a story about the Mount and the Temple that sits there.
        However, for 1,300 years a long list of prominent Muslim religious figures have written about the Temple Mount as the location of the Jewish Temple. More and more academic studies are showing that the original reason why the Temple Mount was sacred to Islam and why the mosques were built there in the first place was the return to the place where the Temple had stood with the goal of replacing Judaism and Christianity with Islam.
        The writer has documented Jerusalem for Ha'aretz and Israel Hayom for over thirty years. (Israel Hayom)

U.S. Aid to Israel Is a High-Yield Investment - Dr. Frank Musmar (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • The U.S. and Israel have a mutually beneficial relationship that provides America with a high return on its annual $3.8 billion investment. More than $150 billion was invested by Israeli companies in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015 ($25.1 billion in 2015 alone).
  • Critical components of leading American high-tech products are invented and designed in Israel, making the American companies that manufacture those products more competitive and profitable. Cisco, Intel, Motorola, Applied Materials, and HP are just a few examples.
  • The U.S.-Israeli economic and commercial relationship now encompasses IT, biotech, life sciences, health care solutions, energy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, defense industries, cyber-security, aviation, desalination, recycling, conservation, management, and irrigation.
  • U.S. firms established 2/3 of the 300 foreign-invested research and development centers in Israel. Israeli firms represent the second-largest source of foreign listings on the NASDAQ after China, and more than Indian, Japanese, and South Korean firms combined.
  • Strategically, Israel is an American beachhead in the Middle East and the only stable, reliable, capable, democratic, and unconditional regional ally of the U.S., and it is willing to flex its muscles.
  • Both nations gain from a strong strategic partnership, which draws in part upon Israel's capabilities in designing advanced military, homeland security, counterterrorism, and cyber-protection technologies that help the U.S. meet its growing security challenges.
  • Israel is a cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory for U.S. defense industries, and it provides the U.S. with more intelligence than all the NATO countries put together.

    The writer is a non-resident research associate at the BESA Center.

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