June 22, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Active Coronavirus Cases in Israel Still Rising - Adir Yanko (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Health Ministry reported Sunday evening that 145 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
    294 were diagnosed with coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the ministry said Saturday.
    The number of active patients has risen to 4,848, of whom 29 are on ventilators. The overall death toll is 307.
   See also Palestinians Place Major West Bank Cities on Lockdown over Virus Surge (Ynet News)
    The Palestinian Authority has placed major West Bank cities on lockdown following a dramatic increase in new coronavirus cases, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh confirmed on Saturday.
    Health officials in Ramallah said they recorded 108 new cases in 24 hours.

Iran's Rial Drops to Record Low Against U.S. Dollar (Reuters)
    The Iranian rial fell to its lowest ever rate against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Saturday.
    The dollar was offered for as much as 193,300 rials, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com.
    See also Iran's Economy in Desperate Need of Solutions - Ali Dadpay (Al-Monitor)
    As Iran's government oil revenues declined, it continued to pay subsidies, directly and indirectly, accepting a widening budget deficit that stood at 2/3 of Iran's annual budget - and this was before the coronavirus spread to Iran.
    According to the Central Bank of Iran, Iran's economy is experiencing an average inflation rate of 41%. The consumer price index for meat products has risen by 116%.
    Iran's major crude oil clients - India and China - have already found new suppliers.
    The writer is an associate professor of finance at Gupta College of Business, University of Dallas.

Israel Air Force Cadets, including 3 Women, to Get Their Wings - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Forty Israel Air Force cadets from the three-year, intensive flight course, including three women, will get their wings on Thursday.
    Of the 600 cadets who pass the preliminary tests, only 30-40 will successfully complete the course. Course graduates receive a Bachelor's degree from Ben-Gurion University and the rank of lieutenant.
    The graduation ceremony will take place on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Defense Organizations - armed militia groups that included the Haganah, Palmach, Lehi, Etzel [Irgun] and others which protected Jews before the establishment of the State of Israel.
    The course graduates invited Mordechai Raflowitz, an Etzel fighter and grandfather of one of the graduates, to visit the flight school.
    "When I fought in the Irgun ranks as a Holocaust survivor, the rosiest future I dreamed of was the establishment of the state. Now, my granddaughter will receive her pilots' wings, and I feel that my heart cannot contain my joy and pride," Raflowitz said of his granddaughter, Lt. Y.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Applying Israeli Law in Parts of West Bank Will Not Affect a Single Palestinian Neighborhood - Raphael Ahren
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday explained his plan to apply Israeli law in parts of the West Bank in a memo to Knesset members from his Likud party.
        "There can be no realistic Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in which the Judea and Samaria Jewish communities are evacuated. These are established communities in which hundreds of thousands of Israelis live. Relinquishing these territories would not only constitute a historic injustice; such a move would create an immediate existential threat to the Jewish state since Judea and Samaria border central Israeli cities."
        The planned measure would replace the current military government "with Israeli law and civil administration in already existing Israeli communities in the territories so that those living there can be treated equally under the law like all Israelis."
        The move should not be called an annexation, as this word "connotes the forcible acquisition of one state's territory by another state. Israel is doing no such thing. Israel has valid legal claims to the territories while no other state claims the area." Applying Israeli law would not change the status of the Palestinian Authority "in a single Palestinian neighborhood."  (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Chief: Iran "Most Dangerous Country" in Middle East
    Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi on Sunday said, "Iran has become the most dangerous country in the Middle East....It has made considerable progress in its nuclear program, but the nuclear is no longer the only threat. Iran also holds conventional weapons. It is supporting and financing our enemies...chiefly Hizbullah, it influences and supports Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and it is behind attempts at terror actions against Israel in a variety of dimensions and arenas, near and far."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israeli UK Amb. Mark Regev: Only Israel Is Disrespected over Its Capital City - Shiryn Ghermezian
    Israel's ambassador to the UK Mark Regev is completing his five-year term. During a webinar on Thursday he urged Britain and all countries to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the U.S. embassy's move in May 2018. A country not relocating its embassy to Jerusalem is "discrimination against Israel." He gave examples of countries that changed capital cities in the past (such as Turkey moving its capital from Istanbul to Ankara), and in each case, the international community responded by relocating embassies to the new capitals.
        "Only in the case of Israel do people say we don't respect your right as a sovereign independent country to choose your own capital city. And in the case of Jerusalem, it's particularly egregious because Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people not since the founding of the State of Israel, but this goes back 3,000 years to the time of the Bible. To ignore the Jewish connection to Jerusalem over so many centuries is to ignore reality."  (JNS)
  • The Reasons behind Palestinian Political Apathy - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah faction are hoping that widespread protests will start this week against Israeli intentions to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. So far, however, the Palestinians have failed to heed the call to demonstrate.
        Palestinian political analysts said the apathy could be attributed to a number of factors. Many Palestinians are more worried about the growing number of coronavirus infections and the bad economy. Many remain skeptical about the PA leadership's motives and intentions, and its ability to confront Israel and the U.S. Many do not feel that most Arab states now fully support them.
        Palestinians also feel less motivated to take to the streets as Fatah and Hamas leaders continue to engage in an incomprehensible struggle over money and power, which recently entered its 13th year. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Will Social Media Companies Monitor Anti-Semitic Hate Content? - Ron Machol
    It is refreshing to learn that the largest social-media companies have policies against hate speech on their popular platforms, and have taken it upon themselves to remove anti-LGBTQ, anti-Black and Islamophobic content when they become aware of it. Will they remove discriminatory and hateful anti-Semitic speech as well?
        As the frequency and levels of violence of anti-Semitic acts soar in the U.S. and throughout the world, we expect that social-media companies will do their part to remove this dangerous content from their platforms of their own volition. The writer is the COO of Zachor Legal Institute, using the law to combat anti-Semitism. (JNS)

Stop Pursuing a Two-State Illusion and Commit to a Realistic Two-State Solution - Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer (Washington Post)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin laid out his vision of peace in a speech to the Knesset in 1995. The Palestinians would have "less than a state," Israel would retain security control over the Jordan Valley "in the broadest meaning of that term," Jerusalem would remain united under Israel's sovereignty, and settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria would become part of Israel.
  • For 20 years, successive Israeli prime ministers have tried to advance peace with the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders have rejected every Israeli peace overture while systematically promoting a culture that rejects peace and glorifies terrorism, including by providing a lifetime of financial support for terrorists who murder Jews.
  • To coax the Palestinians into negotiating a reasonable compromise, many international leaders simply moved the goalposts closer to them. In December 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which declared everything beyond the 1967 lines "occupied Palestinian territory," including, most outrageously, the Western Wall in Jerusalem. By constantly moving the goalposts and expecting nothing of Palestinians, the two-state "consensus" has moved to a place that makes any peace deal impossible.
  • While the international community's memory is short, the people of Israel have not forgotten that the Palestinian response to Ehud Barak's generous peace offer in 2000 was a terrorism campaign that murdered over a thousand Israelis, or that territory Ariel Sharon vacated in Gaza in 2005 has been transformed into a terrorism base that has repeatedly forced millions of Israelis into bomb shelters.
  • The Trump peace plan also calls for a two-state solution. But it addresses the root cause of the conflict by insisting that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state and by making clear that Israel has a valid legal, historical and moral claim to Judea and Samaria. The Trump plan also seriously addresses Israel's security needs. The peace deal it envisions would leave Israel with defensible borders and security control west of the Jordan River.
  • Not surprisingly, after refusing direct negotiations for nearly a decade, the Palestinians have summarily rejected the Trump peace plan. In the face of this rejectionism and determined to advance a realistic solution to the conflict, Israel plans to extend sovereignty to territories that will remain part of Israel in any realistic peace agreement. Israel hopes the decision will convince the Palestinians that another century of rejectionism is a losing strategy and that the Jewish state is here to stay.