May 27, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Under the Radar: Arab States Agree to Israeli Sovereignty - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom-Hebrew, 27May2020)
    Alongside their public rejection of the Israeli plan to extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, senior officials in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States say their leaders have met in recent months with U.S. officials Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and, in effect, gave them a green light to continue the work of the U.S.-Israel mapping committee to advance the sovereignty plan.
    A senior Saudi diplomat close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Israel Hayom that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE have an unofficial coordinated position in favor of the sovereignty plan.
    "With all due respect to the few Palestinians who live in the Jordan Valley, Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan will not endanger their relations with the Trump administration for them," he said.
    "The Palestinians weren't smart enough to take advantage of the supportive Obama government and continued their rejectionism. It is time for Abbas and his veteran leadership to wake up and understand that the interests of the region and the world have changed."
    "If they miss yet another opportunity to establish an independent state alongside Israel because of Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the settlements, in another 20 years they will be left with nothing."
    A senior Egyptian security official added that moderate Arab leaders headed by Egyptian President Sisi "see the struggle to block Shiite Iran's drive for hegemony over Sunni nations in the Middle East as a more important issue than that of the Palestinians."

2 Drugs for Gaucher's Disease also Fight Covid-19, Israeli Defense Lab Finds - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Ministry's Institute for Biological Research has found two drugs used to treat the genetic disorder known as Gaucher's disease are also effective against the coronavirus and potentially other viruses as well, the laboratory announced Tuesday.
    Since Cerdelga has already been approved for use by the U.S. FDA and Venglustat has almost completed the approval process, they may be fast-tracked for use with Covid-19 patients, the Defense Ministry said.
    A study on mice found that the medications inhibited the replication of the coronavirus, and were also found to work against Neuroinvasive Sindbis virus, West Nile virus and Influenza A virus.

Smart Weed Spraying Firm Raises $7 Million - Zachary Keyser (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli start-up Greeneye Technology has secured $7 million in funding, the company announced Tuesday.
    Greeneye is developing an artificial intelligence system that helps farmers accurately detect and spray weeds without blanketing their crops in herbicides.
    The technology will greatly reduce water and soil contamination by reducing herbicide usage by up to 90%.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia Deploys Fighter Aircraft to Libya
    Moscow recently deployed military fighter aircraft to Libya to provide close air support and offensive fire for the Wagner Group of Russian state-sponsored private military contractors operating on the ground there. Russia is supporting the Libyan National Army's (LNA) fight against the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
        "Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups like Wagner," said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. "Russia flew fourth-generation jet fighters to Libya."  (U.S. Africa Command)
  • Oklahoma Legislature Passes Anti-BDS Law - Aaron Bandler
    The Oklahoma State Senate passed a law on May 15 barring the state government from providing contracts to companies that boycott Israel, in a 36-7 vote. It passed the State House on May 4 by 75-20. 30 states now have anti-BDS legislation. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • GW University Says Controversial Interim Dean Won't Be Permanent - Melissa Weiss
    George Washington University provost M. Brian Blake on Friday reaffirmed the university's opposition to the anti-Israel BDS movement and said that BDS activist Dr. Ilana Feldman, who was appointed as interim dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, will not be a candidate for the permanent position. (Jewish Insider)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Asked Allies to Sever Ties with China in Areas with Security Risks - Lahav Harkov
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met Tuesday with Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel as part of U.S. efforts to warn allies against using Chinese companies to build their 5G internet networks. The U.S. has argued that Chinese companies will use their involvement for espionage or possibly sabotage of communications infrastructure. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Defense Ministry Wants China Excluded from Israeli 5G - Gad Perez
    The Israel Ministry of Defense recommends against allowing Chinese firms to participate in the construction of 5G mobile telecommunications infrastructure in Israel, Channel 12 reported. (Globes)
  • ICC Requests Palestinians Clarify whether Oslo Accords Still Stand - Noa Landau
    The International Criminal Court at The Hague requested the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday to provide clarification regarding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent declaration that he is ending all agreements with Israel and the U.S. The ICC Prosecutor requested information "on the question whether [Abbas' statement] pertains to any of the Oslo agreements between Palestine and Israel."
        The court asked to know the current status of the agreements, in part, because Israel claims that the Oslo Accords established that the PA is not a state and that it therefore is not under the ICC's jurisdiction.
        In a legal opinion delivered to The Hague, Israel wrote that it would take an "act of implausible 'legal gymnastics' to claim that the Palestinians have criminal jurisdiction of any kind over Israeli nationals that they can delegate to the Court...such jurisdiction is explicitly excluded in the very agreements that established the Palestinian Authority."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Undermining the International Criminal Court - Dore Gold and Alan Baker, eds.
    This monograph details the extent of the political abuse and manipulation of the International Criminal Court by the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • IDF Continues to Operate in West Bank - Judah Ari Gross
    Israeli security forces arrested seven Palestinian suspects in the West Bank in predawn raids on Wednesday, following a five-day lull in such operations that partially coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. It was the first operation since the PA frozen security coordination with Israel. Yet no clashes were reported with Palestinian security forces, indicating some degree of ongoing coordination. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel, the EU, and International Law - David Wurmser
    It is hard to take Europe's insistence on the 1967 lines as sacrosanct too seriously. EU members collectively still refuse to move their embassies to the western parts of Jerusalem, which have been part of Israel since 1948. It is a very strange formulation when land on the western side of the 1967 line - that is, land indisputably belonging to Israel for 72 years - is considered negotiable, but every inch on the other side is off the table. It is a double standard, applied to Jews but not to Palestinians.
        Fifty years of propagandistic debate over Israel must not be allowed to obscure the facts. The legal disposition of all the territories defined by the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine of 1921 is still grounded in that Mandate. The preamble to the Mandate "recognizes" that the Jewish people have an inherent right to the territory defined by the Mandate, as opposed to being "granted" that right by the international body. It essentially says that the international community cannot therefore grant to a people that which is already theirs.
        That makes Israel one of only a very few nations anchored in an inherited right (which can be revoked by no one), rather than a granted right (which the giver of the right can take back).
        Article 5 of the Mandate asserts the principle that the Jewish people, as the deed-holders of the land, possess the sole legal right to make any modifications to the territorial definitions (including borders) of that land.
        The 1949 Rhodes Agreement, which delineated the 1967 lines, said: "The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary." Thus, under international law, the 1967 lines cannot be considered a border and for the EU to regard the 1967 lines as some sort of legal absolute in fact has no legal foundation. The writer, a former senior intelligence officer and adviser to the U.S. National Security Council, is a fellow at the Center for Security Policy. (National Review)
  • Lebanon's Hizbullah and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement: The End of an Alliance? - Makram Rabah
    In 2006, the Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese President Michael Aoun's Christian party, and Hizbullah began an alliance which has lasted 14 years. The FPM provided Christian political cover while Hizbullah provided the political muscle, leading to Aoun's election as president.
        But recently, visible cracks have appeared in this alliance as hawkish figures within the FPM have gone to the media over the harmful effect Hizbullah's arsenal has on Lebanon's ability to respond to its abysmal economic conditions. Ziad Aswad, an FPM lawmaker, stressed that for Hizbullah "to keep their weapons means the Lebanese going hungry."
        In reality, however, FPM's President Gebran Bassil and Hizbullah are umbilically connected. The moment Hizbullah decides to drop Bassil, he will be open to criminal and judicial action or simply go back to losing elections like he did twice before. (Al Arabiya)

Iran Presents the "Final Solution" - to the Question of Palestine - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran has been celebrating International Quds (Jerusalem) Day on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan since Ayatollah Khomeini began the observance in 1979, to express Muslim yearning for the "liberation of Jerusalem" and the "restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians."
  • Khomeini's doctrine - "The destruction of Zionism and the 'Zionist entity' (Israel) is the basic condition for solving the contemporary problems of Islam" and liberating Palestine - continues to resonate and to guide even the second and third generations of the Islamic revolution, a sort of eternal precept that brooks no deviation, questioning, or disagreement and that one must strive constantly and actively to fulfill.
  • According to this doctrine, the ongoing struggle against Israel and the United States is not a separate phenomenon but part of the centuries-old battle against Western arrogance, domineering, and imperialism, which implanted the "Zionist entity" in the heart of the Muslim domain.
  • Each year the repeated call for the destruction of Israel offers Iran an opportunity to project an ongoing activist approach to the Palestinian problem. Tehran contrasts this stance with the current impotence and incompetence of the Sunni Arab leaders who, in its view, are gradually normalizing their relations with Israel and thereby betraying the Palestinians and the Muslim Ummah.
  • Iran is arming Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza and helping them with rockets and missiles to balance forces in the armed struggle with Israel.
  • The Iranian regime is not likely to change its ideological conception of Israel as a foreign implantation and it will continue to market that concept in the region and in the international arena.
  • The meaning of the "Iranian peace plan" - or as the Supreme leader wrote in a propaganda poster ahead of Quds Day: "Palestine will be free. The final solution: Resistance until referendum" - is Israel's eradication as a Jewish state.

    The writer, an expert on strategic issues with a focus on Iran, is a senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Center.

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