June 17, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt's Hospitals Overwhelmed by Coronavirus - Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post)
    The number of reported Covid-19 cases in Egypt has risen by more than 1,500 per day since Friday.
    On Monday, Egypt reported 97 deaths, the most in a single day. Some Egyptian health experts say the number is much higher than officially reported.
    Doctors are blaming the government for shortages of personal protective equipment and a lack of adequate safety measures.
    Several hundred doctors and nurses have tested positive for Covid-19 and scores have died.
    As of Tuesday, there were nearly 48,000 confirmed cases and 1,766 deaths in a country of 100 million people.
    Yet coronavirus testing has been limited, said health experts, and some Egyptians may not report their illness for fear of being stigmatized.

37 Peruvian Jews Move to Israel amid Pandemic - Marcus M. Gilban (JTA)
    37 Peruvian Jews flew to Israel on Friday on a special charter flight amid high rates of Covid-19 in Peru and street riots that have broken out as a result of a scarcity of food and medical supplies.
    Peru has the second-largest coronavirus outbreak in Latin America after Brazil, with over 200,000 confirmed cases.

Israel Donates Medical Supplies to Nepal (Himalayan Times-Nepal)
    Ambassador of Israel to Nepal Benny Omer on Tuesday handed over medical supplies to the Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal to support Nepal's fight to contain Covid-19.
    Israel provided 550 units of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), 10,000 masks, 50 infrared digital thermometers, and 5,000 pairs of surgical gloves, along with hand sanitizers, hand sprayers and disinfectant solution.

FDA Approves Israeli System to Warn Doctors before Coronavirus Patients Deteriorate - Nathan Jeffay (Times of Israel)
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for hospitals to employ an Israeli-made system that alerts doctors eight hours before Covid-19 patients' conditions deteriorate.
    A Predictive Analytics Platform made by CLEW draws on records from thousands of coronavirus patients and uses artificial intelligence to understand what changes take place in patients in the hours before a deterioration.
    The software, installed on a hospital's computers, is designed to manage data for all patients - not just Covid-19 patients - in an intensive care unit, analyze it, tell doctors of expected changes in a patient's health, and suggest treatments based on the hospital's protocols.

Iran's Oil Revenues Fell from $100 Billion to $8 Billion in 2019 - Yaghoub Fazeli (Al Arabiya)
    Iran's oil revenues fell from $100 billion to $8 billion last year, state media quoted first vice president Eshaq Jahangir as saying on Saturday.
    Jahangiri did not say what year Iran had $100 billion in oil revenues. The country's oil revenues in 2018 were $60.2 billion, according to OPEC.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • German Intelligence Report Reveals Iran's Attempts to Obtain Nuclear Technology - Benjamin Weinthal
    Iran remains hell-bent on developing the deadliest weapons on the planet, according to a Baden-Wurttemberg state intelligence agency document released Monday. "They aim to complete existing arsenals, perfect the range, applicability and effectiveness of their weapons and develop new weapon systems," the report said. "They try to obtain the necessary products and relevant know-how, among other things, through illegal procurement efforts in Germany."
        The document noted Iran's strategy to circumvent export restrictions and embargoes, saying Iran "can procure goods in Germany and Europe with the help of specially established front companies, and in particular bring dual-use goods to the risk countries. Typical bypass countries include the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and China."
        Last week, Germany's Foreign Ministry reversed a policy that previously labeled the Iranian regime's calls to exterminate the Jewish state as mere "anti-Israel rhetoric," and said Tehran's language is now anti-Semitic. The writer is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Fox News)
  • U.S. to Impose Sanctions on Syria Aimed at Blocking Assad's Military Victory
    U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft told the Security Council on Tuesday: "The United States is resolute in our commitment to reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict...[and] to deny the Assad regime and its allies a military victory in its nearly decade-long war against the Syrian people....Our aim is to deprive the Assad regime of the revenue and the support it has used to commit the large-scale atrocities and human rights violations that prevent a political resolution."
        "The mandatory sanctions provided for in the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 are aimed at deterring bad actors who continue to aid and finance the Assad regime's atrocities against the Syrian people while simply enriching themselves and their families."  (U.S. Mission to UN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus in Israel: 287 New Cases
    287 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, for a total of 3,845 active patients, the Coronavirus National Information Center, part of the IDF's Security and Intelligence Division, said Wednesday morning. 303 people have died. Medical officials conducted 11,971 Covid-19 tests on Tuesday. (Ynet News)
  • Groups Behind ICC Suits Against Israel, U.S. Have Terrorist Ties - Eldad Beck
    The organizations that have sued Israel and the U.S. in the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes have ties to each other, as well as to terrorist organizations, new research from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reveals. Prominent activists connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - which is listed as a terrorist organization in the U.S. and EU - play a key role in the cooperation between all these entities.
        The organizations that have tried to bring suits against Israel in the ICC include Al Haq, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Al-Dameer, which have links to the PFLP. Al-Haq, the PCHR, and Al-Mezan are members of the International Federation for Human Rights, of which Al-Haq director Shawan Jabarin is the general secretary. In the past, Jabarin held a senior position in the PFLP and was sentenced to prison terms in Israel a number of times.  (Israel Hayom)
        See also Legal Assault: How the ICC Has Been Weaponized Against the U.S. and Israel - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser and Dan Diker
    Two international NGOs advancing the case against the U.S. at the ICC - the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) - are closely related to the Palestinian NGOs that brought the complaint against Israel to the ICC. In 2019, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda participated in FIDH's 40th Congress as one of the main speakers. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Arab-Israeli Relations Have a Glass Ceiling - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    As long as Israel and the Palestinians don't reach a peace deal based on Palestinian demands - and very possibly even after such a deal is reached - all of the Arab countries, including the Gulf States, will have a hard time engaging with Israel openly and publicly. Therefore, regardless of what the Israeli government does concerning sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, the result will be the same: Arab countries will continue secretly bolstering security and other forms of cooperation with Israel and will continue promoting regional peace initiatives - but nothing more.
        Given the regional geopolitical map, Israel must consider its steps carefully and move forward with caution. However, without any realistic chance for peace in the Middle East, it would be a mistake to assume that one particular Israeli initiative will fundamentally alter reality - either positively, toward a diplomatic breakthrough with the Arab world, or negatively, toward a military escalation and ultimately war. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Control in the Jordan Valley - Dr. Dan Schueftan
    In 2014, U.S. General John Allen suggested a plan that included Palestinian sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. The answer to Israel's security fears would be sensors, unmanned aircraft, satellites, and other technological devices. There was also talk of foreign troops, possibly American, being stationed along the banks of the Jordan River, and a possible U.S.-Israel deal ensuring American support for unilateral moves by Israel when responding to threats to its security.
        Establishing Israeli control in the Jordan Valley entails abandoning the delusional idea of Israeli and Jordanian security based on technology and foreign presence. What Israel needs is not information on threats and the hope that someone else will respond before it's too late. Rather, it needs deterrence that comes with a good chance of prevention and an Israeli force that will neutralize threats when needed.
        The physical isolation of Jordan from the aggressive subversion of the Palestinians in the West Bank calms the regime in Amman. The need to differentiate itself from Israel, due to radical internal elements, causes the Jordanian king to respond to Israeli actions in a more aggravated manner. That's how it's been for decades, and that's how it most probably will be in the future. The writer heads the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)

Why the ICC Prosecutor Is Wrong on Oslo - Dennis Ross (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Having served as the lead American negotiator on Middle East peace and a participant or mediator in Oslo talks and other Israeli-Palestinian discussions from 1993 to 2001, I know the inside history and content of the accords intimately. In response to an invitation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber, I submitted an amicus curiae brief explaining that the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has misrepresented the terms and meaning of these agreements in a number of ways.
  • The OTP asserts that Oslo's "object and purpose" was "to give effect to the Palestinians' right to self-determination." But that is inaccurate; the accords had several equally important goals, including Israeli security, peaceful coexistence, education for peace, and the development of effective Palestinian governance. Self-determination could not be fully advanced beyond Oslo's interim self-governance arrangements unless these other goals were fulfilled.
  • The agreements explicitly made any Israeli transfers of additional territory and authority contingent on Palestinian progress toward ensuring security, combating terrorism, and preventing incitement. These and numerous other obligations were never sufficiently fulfilled.
  • When the OTP mentions a key provision regarding Oslo's legal significance - that neither side would be "deemed, by virtue of having entered into [the accords], to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims, or positions" - the Prosecutor strikingly interprets this as applying only to Palestinian positions and not to Israel's longstanding claims. Moreover, the OTP does not mention the role that Palestinian terrorism and rejection have played in preventing the emergence of a state.
  • Any analysis that gives weight to only one side's wrongdoing comes across as politically motivated rather than legally credible. Making political arguments is not the OTP's role. Doing so discredits the ICC, undermines its effectiveness, and threatens to undo the principle that international law is driven by legal standards and canons rather than political ideology and preferences.

    The writer, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, is the counselor at The Washington Institute.

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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