June 3, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Five Arrested in Jordan after Foiled Suicide Attacks Against Israel (AFP-Al-Arabiya)
    Five Jordanians are on trial in Jordan for plotting suicide attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday. The plot was foiled in February.
    According to the charge sheet, one suspect visited Gaza in 2007, where he was trained to make explosive vests and bombs.
    He returned to Jordan in 2010 and in 2017 he recruited four others with whom he plotted to infiltrate the West Bank and carry out attacks "with bombs against buses and trains and with explosive vests against other Israeli targets."

Turkish-Backed Syrian Militias Target Kurds in Northern Syria - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    Video last week from the Kurdish area of Afrin in Syria captured the moment that eight women were liberated after being held in a secret prison by a Turkish-backed Syrian group. The area has been occupied by Turkey since January 2018.
    Turkey has been accused of systematic human rights abuses throughout areas it runs in northern Syria.
    More than 300,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been displaced in ethnic cleansing, as Turkey has systematically resettled mostly Arab refugees in Kurdish homes.
    Reports say the Kurdish population of Afrin - once 90% - has fallen to 30%.

Israel Helps Congo Establish First Drive-Thru Covid-19 Testing Facility - Aaron Reich (Jerusalem Post)
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo has established the country's first "drive-thru" coronavirus testing facilities, after seeking the advice of Israel's Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency service, which operates such facilities.
    MDA created dedicated software to manage the Congo's drive-thru facilities, which began operation last month.
    MDA personnel also prepared a training program that incorporates both videos and written procedures.
    MDA director-general Eli Bin said: "We have gained extensive experience in obtaining thousands of samples a day efficiently and safely, and now we are happy to share knowledge with other medical entities around the world for the sake of saving human lives."

Israel's OptimalPlus Acquired for $365 Million - Uri Berkovitz (Globes)
    U.S. automated tests and measurement company National Instruments has acquired Israeli company OptimalPlus for $365 million.
    OptimalPlus develops AI-based big data analytics systems for the semiconductor and automotive industries.

Tel Aviv from Above: Stunning Aerial Photos Shot during Lockdown - David Sharabani (Times of Israel)
    British photographer David Sharabani was vacationing in Tel Aviv when the pandemic trapped him there. So he set out with his drone.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Court Orders Iran, Syria Liable for Attacks in Israel
    A U.S. court has ruled that Iran and Syria are liable for compensation for American citizens wounded and killed in seven attacks by Palestinians in Israel, including the killing of U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force. Congress later approved the Taylor Force Act, which withholds funding to the Palestinians that was used to reward the families of attackers.
        Judge Randolph D. Moss in U.S. District Court in Washington ruled that Americans were eligible for damages from Iran and Syria because they provided "material support" to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (AP-Washington Post)
  • As Iran Lifts Its Lockdown, Coronavirus Cases Return to Peak Level - Sune Engel Rasmussen
    Iran is rolling back coronavirus restrictions, despite a surge in new infections. On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 3,117 new infections - roughly the same level as the country's peak when the number reached 3,186 on March 30. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Gaza's Garment Industry Boosted by Demand from Israel during Coronavirus - John Irvine
    Strict border restrictions in place for years have largely kept Covid-19 at bay in Gaza. In addition, Gaza's garment industry, which has been mostly dormant for more than a decade, has been rejuvenated by the crisis, churning out protective equipment like face masks and surgical gowns for Israel, the country most Gazans regard as the enemy. Factory owner Hassan Shehada told ITV News, "Both sides will re-think. We want to eat and they want safety and security. I am hopeful things will get better."  (ITV-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Covid-19 Crisis Delays West Bank Mapping - Rafael Ahren
    It could take up to several months before the joint U.S.-Israel mapping committee concludes its work, which the White House has declared a precondition before it would give a green light for applying Israel law in parts of the West Bank. The mapping committee is tasked with delineating the exact borders of these areas, a mission that requires meticulous, on-the-ground work.
        However, a key member of the committee, the U.S. National Security Council's Israel and Palestinian affairs director Scott Leith, has not been able to travel to the region since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It is unlikely that the committee could complete its work by the proposed July 1 date.
        An official from the settlement movement who met with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday said he left the meeting under the impression that moves toward applying Israel law would not be taking place "as soon or in the scope" that had initially been pledged. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Watchdog Triggers Probe of EU Funding of Terrorist-Linked NGOs
    The EU on Tuesday ordered its representatives in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to investigate whether EU funds are reaching organizations affiliated with Palestinian terrorist groups. The move follows a report by NGO Monitor exposing an EU letter assuring Palestinian NGOs that even if they are affiliated with EU-designated terrorist groups or employ individuals from these groups, the EU will still provide them with funds and legitimacy.
        EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said the EU "will have to conduct an in-depth review, and if there is any concern we will act immediately....This [funding terrorism] will not be tolerated. And if it happens, it will have to be rectified." EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuel Joffre said Tuesday, "If there is evidence of improper use of EU funds, we will investigate them."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Tests Missiles Against Targets at Sea - Judah Ari Gross
    Defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries performed two tests of its Long-Range Artillery (LORA) weapon system at sea on Tuesday, successfully hitting floating targets 90 km. (56 miles) away and 400 km. (250 miles) away, IAI said. "Under both scenarios, the missile...navigated its course to the target, and hit it with utmost precision."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Former U.S. Officials View PA and Jordanian Threats - Ariel Ben Solomon
    David Wurmser, a former senior intelligence officer and adviser to the U.S. National Security Council, said that while both the Palestinians and Jordanians are threatening Israel over plans to apply Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria, the PA and the Jordanian regime need Israel and the U.S. much more than the other way around.
        "The Jordanian leadership thinks it can buy quiet by yelling at Israel and letting its radicals blow off steam, but like in the past when it appeased radical forces, they [the Jordanians] will again turn to the U.S. and Israel to save them," said Wurmser. "The PA is entirely dependent on its cooperation with Israel to survive. We saw how long the PA lasted in Gaza before Hamas took over."
        Harold Rhode, who served for 28 years as an advisor on the Islamic world in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, said Abbas' threats are "almost assuredly just bluster," calling his rhetoric the "hold me back or I'll commit suicide strategy." "Past history shows us that whatever they say in public, they will most likely find a way to cooperate in private. Abbas and other senior officials are running a racket and the money for the Palestinians is going straight to their own foreign bank accounts, so they have the most to lose."  (JNS)
  • Turkey Opens New Islamic Center near Western Wall in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai and Yori Yalon
    The Turkish government aid organization TIKA, which has been investing heavily in eastern Jerusalem in recent years in an attempt to increase Turkey's influence, recently renovated a building near the Temple Mount and the Western Wall for use as an Islamic center known as the "Khan Abu Khadija." The center hosts Arab tourists, including some with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey. In addition, TIKA has been providing money to shuttle tens of thousands of Arabs from the Galilee to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Conciliation of the Century between Jordan and Saudi Arabia - Nadav Shragai
    Turkey, which is increasing its real estate holdings and its influence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, is threatening to depose the Jordanians from their role as the custodians over the Muslim holy sites on the Mount. At the same time, old rivals Jordan and Saudi Arabia could be headed toward rapprochement due to their shared animosity toward Turkey.
        The Jordanians and Saudis have been dueling for control of the Muslim holy sites for 100 years. The Hashemite dynasty, which now controls Jordan, ruled Saudi Arabia until 1924 and was kicked out by the House of Saud. The Hashemites lost their custodianship of Mecca and Medina and have never forgiven the Saudis for it. Jordan's current about-face may stem from its tardy realization of Erdogan's growing power in eastern Jerusalem. (Israel Hayom)

  • Despite the temptation to draw a comparison, the struggle of black people in the U.S. has nothing in common with the struggle of the Palestinians. The struggle being waged by blacks in the U.S. is a racial one, while the Palestinian struggle against Jews is nationalist in character.
  • The Palestinians refused the UN partition plan in 1947. They refused then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's peace proposal in 2000. They refused to turn the Gush Katif settlement bloc, which was evacuated for their benefit in Israel's 2005 disengagement from Gaza, into a heaven on earth, choosing instead to create terrorist strongholds there. They chose Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Some chose, and still choose, terrorism.
  • In contrast to blacks in the U.S. who seek to live in peace with their American compatriots, the Palestinians don't want genuine peace. It's true that we and the Palestinians do not belong to the same nation, share the same language, or were raised with the same values, but that doesn't mean we cannot live in peace. But for that to happen, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel's Jewish character and its link to Zionism.
  • In fact, such Palestinians already exist: Israeli Arabs, who enjoy full equality in terms of civil rights. The Israeli national anthem is addressed to the yearning Jewish soul and it will remain that way. Nevertheless, Arab citizens are not asked to sing it, the way that American Jews sing the U.S. national anthem and French Jews sing the French national anthem. They need only to recognize that it is the national anthem of the country of which they are a part.
  • If not for the extremist worldview adopted by many Palestinians and their supporters, which seeks to change Israel's Jewish-Zionist character, perhaps they would have their own state already.

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