September 7, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Strikes on Syrian Airfields Aimed at Iranian Arms - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    ImageSat International has released satellite photographs of the aftermath of reported Israeli airstrikes on Iran-linked sites in Syria last week.
    A strike on Monday night destroyed a command center and a warehouse at Damascus International Airport and another two days later targeted an airstrip in the T-4 airbase in eastern Syria. Israel says both airfields are used by Iran to bring munitions into Syria.
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday said that in the Wednesday attack, 16 "Iraqi paramilitary fighters loyal to Iran" were killed.

Gulf States Working to Foil Palestinian Anti-Normalization Resolution at Arab League - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The UAE, Bahrain and other Gulf states are trying to foil a Palestinian draft resolution that aims to prevent normalization between Israel and the Arab countries, Palestinian officials said Sunday.
    "Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are trying to obstruct our draft resolution," a senior PA official said. "The two countries are opposed to any resolution that opposes normalization with Israel."
    In addition to the Palestinian issue, Arab foreign ministers who will meet on September 9 will also discuss "Turkish and Iranian interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries," Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said.

Malawi to Open Embassy in Jerusalem - Marcy Oster (JTA)
    The president of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, announced Saturday that his country would open an embassy in Jerusalem as part of a larger expansion of the country's diplomatic representation abroad. Malawi currently does not have a diplomatic mission in Israel.

British-Arab Researcher: Iran - Not Israel - Is Responsible for the Deaths of 4 Million Arabs (MEMRI-TV)
    Amjad Taha, a regional director at the British Middle East Center for Studies and Research (BMCSR), said in an August 27, 2020, interview on Russia Today TV that Iran, not Israel, is responsible for creating militias that are responsible for the death of 4 million Arabs.

Robot Processes Coronavirus Tests in Rapid Time - Hagay Hacohen (Jerusalem Post)
    A new robotic system developed by Israel-based Yaskawa Europe Technology (YET) and installed in an IDF lab can process 96 Covid-19 tests in the time it would take a human lab worker to process one.
    "The robot can open a test-tube, scan a code and do a variety of tasks," said company CEO Arik Dan.
    The robot, designed before the pandemic, was modified by YET engineers to serve the needs of coronavirus labs.

Dates from 2,000-Year-Old Seed Are Tasty - Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    The plump, golden-brown dates, sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed retrieved from an archaeological site, had been slowly ripening for months at Kibbutz Ketura and were finally ready to pick.
    They were tasty, with a fresh flavor that gave no hint of their two-millennium incubation.
    Dr. Sarah Sallon, who researches natural medicine, had joined up with Elaine Solowey, an expert on arid agriculture, to germinate ancient seeds from archaeological sites in the Judean desert.
    In antiquity, Judean date palms, prized for their quality, appeared as motifs in synagogues.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IAEA: Iran's Uranium Stockpile Is 10 Times over Limit Set by Nuclear Deal - David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Andrea Stricker
    According to the International Atomic Energy Agency's quarterly safeguards report for Sept. 4, 2020, Iran's low enriched uranium stock now exceeds by ten-fold the limit set in the nuclear deal. Iran's estimated nuclear breakout time is as short as 3.5 months. In as little as 5.5 months, Iran could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons. (Institute for Science and International Security)
        See also IAEA Inspects New Site in Iran
    Iran has let the UN nuclear watchdog inspect one of two sites it agreed last week to grant access to after a protracted standoff, the IAEA said Friday. Some of the information about the sites came from a trove of documents that Israel had seized inside Iran. (Reuters)
  • Lawsuit over Ann Arbor Synagogue Protests Headed to U.S. Court of Appeals - Ryan Stanton
    Michigan attorney Marc Susselman and Ziporah Reich of the New York-based Lawfare Project, who are representing two plaintiffs opposed to weekly anti-Israel protests outside an Ann Arbor synagogue, said Friday they are appealing to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals after U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed their case on Thursday, saying the protests are protected as free speech. Reich said, "The court is effectively saying that the emotional distress experienced by Jews, in reaction to the anti-Semitic slurs hurled at them every week for 16 years in front of their house of worship, is insufficient injury to grant them access to federal court."  (Michigan Live)
  • Jewish Caucus Inserts Anti-Bias "Guardrails" into California Ethnic Studies Law - Gabe Stutman
    Last week the California Legislature approved a law requiring all public high schools to offer an ethnic studies course which will be made a requirement for graduation by 2029. Members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus - having dealt with outrage in the Jewish community about the first draft of an ethnic studies model curriculum that many say contained anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias - now say they helped insert "guardrail" language into the law to help head off anti-Jewish or anti-Israel bias. (Jewish News of Northern California)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus in Israel: More than 900 Hospitalized - Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman
    The Israel Health Ministry reported on Monday that 2,257 people tested positive for Covid-19 the day before. More than 900 people are hospitalized, including 476 in serious condition, among them 137 who are intubated, up from 115 a week ago. 1,022 people have died from the virus. There are 27,099 active cases. (Jerusalem Post-Ynet News)
  • Active Coronavirus Cases in the West Bank Reach New High - Aaron Boxerman
    There are currently 10,882 active cases of coronavirus in the West Bank, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. The PA Health Ministry has regularly confirmed around 500 cases a day in the West Bank for the last several weeks, in addition to hundreds of other cases in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
  • Gaza Reports 162 New Coronavirus Cases
    Gaza's Health Ministry confirmed 162 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total of active cases to 873. (Middle East Monitor-UK)
  • Bedouin-Israeli Citizens Indicted for Planning Bomb Attack for Hamas - Anna Ahronheim
    Two Bedouin-Israeli men were indicted in Beersheba District Court on Monday after they were arrested on suspicion of planning a bomb attack on behalf of Hamas. Mahmoud Makdad, 30, is married to a woman living in Gaza and is able to travel there. Makdad was recruited by Hamas which took advantage of his ability to move between Israel and Gaza.
        He first collected intelligence on various sites in Israel, including the locations of the Iron Dome missile defense system. During his last visit to Gaza, he underwent training by Hamas on how to assemble a bomb and was instructed to carry out a bomb-laying attack. He chose a bus stop in central Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Bahraini Social Media Activist: "The Jewish People Are Not Foreign Colonialists, They Are Part of Our Region" - Cody Levine
    Loay Alshareef, a social media activist from Bahrain, told i24News on Sunday: "The awareness is becoming more clear to many people that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel, they are part of this land, and they are part of our region. The Jewish people belong here, they have nowhere else to go...so it's really becoming very obvious that the existence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is not only historical, but it's a fact, and we can do many things together for prosperity, security and peace for the region."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The UAE-Israel Accord Is a Win for Every Muslim - Ed Husain
    Since 9/11, Muslims across the world have been on the defensive. I saw the suspicion of Muslims in the eyes of American officials. It always boiled down to: show us peace in Islam. Now, with the visionary accord between the UAE and Israel, a new horizon is opening to reinstate Muslim dignity by showing peace between peoples. We can now say: "A new way of co-existence is achievable. We are not pawns for the mullahs of Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood. Look at the UAE."  The writer is a doctoral researcher at the University of Buckingham.  (The National-Abu Dhabi)
  • Palestinian Politicians Have Sabotaged Negotiations to Keep the Aid Funds Flowing - Hani Al-Dahiri
    Palestinian politicians have sabotaged negotiations and rejected all peace initiatives for decades. Keeping the issue alive and not reaching any settlement was the only guarantee for their survival, with donations pouring in and aid funds boosting their accounts. Today, things have changed, and those who used to sympathize with the Palestinian cause are fully aware of this game by people with vested interests, after six decades of lying, trickery, and collection of money in the name of a crisis whose owners do not want it to be resolved.
        The situation now requires the intervention of rational Arabs to negotiate with the Israeli side and work to establish comprehensive peace in the region away from gangs who eye only political gain. (Saudi Gazette)

  • In Memoriam

  • Legal Rights Scholar Justus Reid Weiner Dies at Age 70 - Dore Gold
    On Sep. 5, Justus Weiner, an international lawyer at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, passed away at the age of 70 after a long illness. Weiner was a human-rights lawyer who exposed the persecution of Christians in the territories under Palestinian jurisdiction.
        He was most noted for an extremely courageous article he published in the September 1999 issue of Commentary, in which he exposed the Palestinian polemicist Edward Said, who had grown into being one of Israel's most formidable intellectual adversaries. A Columbia professor, Said served as the main author of Yasser Arafat's 1974 address to the UN General Assembly.
        The article was entitled "'My Beautiful Old House' and Other Fabrications by Edward Said." Weiner proved that in pursuit of the truth, he was prepared to defy conventional wisdom. That was a secret source of his strength.
        A key part of Weiner's story related to Said's house in Jerusalem, including the legal title the Said family supposedly had to the house. By initiating a title search in Jerusalem, Weiner disclosed that the house that had been so pivotal in Said's writings and speeches never had the name of the Said family on it, punching a huge hole in Said's argument claiming rights to the land. Said sued Weiner in court after the article appeared - and lost. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Legacy of Justus Reid Weiner, International Human Rights Scholar
    Justus Reid Weiner was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs for two decades. He had also served as a senior attorney at the Israel Ministry of Justice specializing in human rights and other facets of public international law. His professional publications have appeared in leading law journals and intellectual magazines.
        His writings focused on a wide range of issues, including: Gaza, Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, Christians, Palestinian Children, Prisoner Release, Peace Process, Incitement, Peacekeeping, Jerusalem, Illegal Construction, Universal Jurisdiction, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Movement, and Jewish Settlements. Links to his publications are here. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

How to Dismantle the Distorted Western Discourse on Israel - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel's critics often follow misconceptions and flawed assumptions that indicate an inherent lack of seriousness and lack of intellectual honesty.
  • Claims that "Zionism is a settler-colonial, ethno-nationalist project" ignore the long-term historical evidence of Jewish presence in the land and Israel's valid historical, legal, and political claims to its sovereign territory and land. To single out and condemn Zionism in such a manner is tantamount to singling out the Jewish People and denying them a fundamental right that is possessed by all other national peoples.
  • Israeli settlements that were established since 1967 were in full compliance with customary international norms, on land that was not privately owned by any local Palestinian. Residents of Israel's settlements were neither forcibly nor illegally transferred into the area in violation of international conventions.
  • Israel is faced with ongoing aggression and terror, including periodic, massive rocket fire against its cities and villages, and offensive tunnels into its sovereign territory in order to enable infiltration by terrorists intent on committing attacks against its population. Israel's actions in responding to aggression and acts of terror are fully compatible with its international rights to defend itself against such acts.
  • There exists no such thing as "internationally recognized Palestinian land" or "Palestinian territory," either politically or legally. There exists no binding, authoritative international determination that recognizes Palestinian statehood or Palestinian land. There are only a plethora of non-binding, politically-generated resolutions initiated by the Arab states in the UN, expressing nothing more than the "wishful thinking" of those states.
  • The State of Israel was not established as a colonizing entity in place of an Arab state. Rather, it was established as a fruit of decolonization of the former Turkish Ottoman Empire together with other independence movements in the region in the 20th century. Israel always intended to exist together in peace with an Arab state in the area of Mandatory Palestine. This constitutes a founding principle of Israel's Declaration of Independence.

    The writer, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel's ambassador to Canada.

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