June 9, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

How Qassem Soleimani's Killing Diminished Iran's Middle East Hegemony - Christopher Hamill-Stewart (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
    Six months ago, a U.S. missile brought to an end the 23-year military career of the Middle East's most dangerous man: Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) expeditionary arm.
    The Quds network of proxies has assassinated foreign politicians, laid siege to cities, and fomented chaos across the Middle East.
    Dr. Nima Mina, Professor of Iranian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, noted that Soleimani's successor, Esmail Qaani, "doesn't have Soleimani's ability to bring together people and to attract new recruits."
    Qaani may be experienced in managing Afghanistan and Pakistan, but "he's not an expert in the critical areas west of Iran where the Quds Force is engaged: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Qaani doesn't even speak Arabic."
    By monitoring social media, Mina said, it has become clear that "among young members of the Basij (IRGC militia) in Syria, the mood is very low; they're pessimistic."
    In Iraq, two attempts to install an Iran-friendly prime minister ended with failure, mass protests and Iranian consulates going up in flames.
    Iraq now has a U.S.-friendly prime minister - a man rumored to have provided the U.S. with intelligence that led to the killing of Soleimani.

University of Jordan Faces Backlash for Inviting Israel-U.S. Academic to Online Workshop (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
    The University of Jordan has been condemned by the Supreme Executive Committee for the Protection of the Homeland and Confronting Normalization for allowing an Israeli academic to participate in a workshop on 30-31 May to discuss "bio-mechanics and kinetic behavior."
    The committee demanded an apology from the university and to take necessary measures against those responsible for the workshop.
    The university responded that the lecturer, Gideon Ariel, is American and lives in California. It noted that he is an expert in kinetic analysis and did not even enter Jordan.

Israel Aerospace Wins $350 Million European Special Mission Aircraft Deal (Reuters)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has received a $350 million contract from a European country for special mission aircraft, the company said Monday.
    IAI's special mission aircraft can be tailored for airborne early warning and control, air to ground surveillance, maritime control, and signal intelligence.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia Rejects U.S. Drive for Permanent Iran Arms Embargo - Edith M. Lederer
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for "universal condemnation" of the U.S. attempt to get the UN Security Council to impose a permanent arms embargo against Iran, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council circulated Monday. "There are no valid grounds for raising in the Security Council the issue of an arms embargo against Iran," he said. (AP-Washington Post)
  • U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iranian Shipping Network over Proliferation
    Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said Monday: "Today, sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd. (E-Sail), have come into effect" in a move "which targets WMD proliferators and their supporters." "These designations serve as a clear warning that anyone doing business with or otherwise supporting IRISL or E-Sail are exposed to potential sanctions and risk contributing to Iran's proliferation-sensitive programs, including its nuclear and missile programs." (U.S. State Department)
  • Dozens Wounded in Beirut Clashes amid Calls to Disarm Hizbullah
    Clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of Iran-backed Hizbullah in the streets of the Lebanese capital Saturday as protesters decried the collapse of the economy. Some demonstrators called on Hizbullah to disarm. "Weapons should be only in the hands of the army," said Sana, 57, a female protester from Nabatiyeh. (AFP-Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • PA Tax Money to Go to Palestinians Tortured for Working with Israel - Yair Altman
    Israel will use the tax money it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to pay $724,000 to three Palestinians who were subjected to torture after the PA accused them of working with Israel. The three are part of a group of 52 Palestinians who sued the PA in the Jerusalem District Court for damages after being arrested by the PA for "collaborating" with Israel. In November 2018, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the PA must compensate each plaintiff, but the PA refused to pay. (Israel Hayom)
  • PA Halt in Cooperation with Israel Risks Palestinians' Health Care - Jack Khoury
    The Palestinian Authority's halt in cooperation with Israel has prevented hundreds of sick Palestinians from receiving medical treatment in Israel. Palestinian agencies that coordinate the transit of patients from the West Bank and Gaza for treatment in Israel have stopped submitting requests for permits, and the Palestinian Health Ministry is refusing to make appointments for patients in Israeli hospitals.
        "We're talking about a horrifying situation where the most desperate people are paying the price for the halt in coordination," said Samir Zaqout of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. Before the coronavirus crisis, some 2,200-2,500 people would leave Gaza monthly for treatment in Israel or the West Bank. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Sees Spike in New Coronavirus Cases
    Israel's National Security Council on Monday evening reported 179 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the highest such figure in over a month. There were 2,620 active cases, with 23 people on ventilators. Health officials have attributed much of the recent rise in new virus cases to the reopening of schools in May after a two-month closure. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • After Germany Banned Hizbullah Activities, Now It's the EU's Turn - Christoph Bernstiel
    Hizbullah is spreading violence and terror across the whole world and has been exploiting Germany as a safe haven. Our security authorities have been keeping a close eye on the organization for some time. In 2008, Germany banned the Hizbullah TV channel Al Manar for broadcasting hate propaganda and anti-Israel content, intended to radicalize Muslims in Germany. The German Bundestag last December called on the federal government to ban the activities of Hizbullah, which the government announced on April 30, 2020.
        At present, the Netherlands and the UK also classify Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, and we can expect further EU states to follow suit. In addition, the distinction between its political and military wings may well be abolished at the European level. The writer is a member of the committee for Homeland Security in the German Bundestag. (Al Arabiya)
  • No Palestinian Leader Would Dare Negotiate with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian leadership has been boycotting peace talks with Israel since 2014. Since 2017, the PA has also been boycotting the U.S. in response to President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. As far as the PA is concerned, Israel and the U.S. are now the main enemies of the Palestinians. It is prohibited to talk to any Israeli or U.S. official.
        Growing anti-Israel and anti-U.S. sentiments among Palestinians are the direct result of the leadership's continued incitement and fiery rhetoric. Day in and day out, Palestinian leaders drill into the minds of their people that Israel rejects peace and is committing "war crimes" against Palestinians.
        When you radicalize your people against Israel in such a way, how can you expect Palestinian leaders not to veto meeting with Israelis? Under the current circumstances, it is impossible to talk about the resumption of a peace process when even a word about negotiations from a Palestinian leader sounds - at the very least - the death knell of his career. (Gatestone Institute)

Why the 1967 Six-Day War Still Matters - David Harris (Times of Israel)
  • The Six-Day War broke out 53 years ago on June 5. In June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn't exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.
  • The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem, and desecrated and destroyed many of those sites. Gaza was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.
  • The Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza any day of the week. They didn't. There wasn't even discussion about it.
  • The boundary at the time of the 1967 war was nothing more than an armistice line dating back to 1949. They weren't formal borders. They couldn't be. The Arab world refused to recognize Israel's very right to exist.
  • The PLO was established in 1964, three years before the Six-Day War. It was created with the goal of obliterating Israel, at a time when the only "settlements" were Israel itself.
  • Today, there are those who wish to rewrite history. They want the world to believe the 1967 war was a bellicose act by Israel. It was an act of self-defense in the face of blood-curdling threats to vanquish the Jewish state, not to mention the maritime blockade of the Straits of Tiran, the abrupt withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces, and the redeployment of Egyptian and Syrian troops.
  • The Six-Day War is proof positive that the core issue is, and always has been, whether the Palestinians and larger Arab world accept the Jewish people's right to a state of their own. If so, all other contentious issues have possible solutions.

    The writer is CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Daily Alert was founded by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in 2002.
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