October 19, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

France to Expel 231 Foreign Extremists after Teacher Beheaded (Reuters)
    France is preparing to expel 231 foreigners on a government watch list for extremists, a police source said Sunday, after a Russian-born Islamist of Chechen origin beheaded a history teacher outside his school on Friday.

Palestinians Accuse Gulf Arabs of "Desecrating" Al-Aqsa Mosque - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinians from the ruling Fatah faction have accused visitors to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from the UAE of "desecrating" the holy site.
    Shadi Mtour, a Fatah leader from eastern Jerusalem, accused the Gulf delegation of nine men and one woman of "storming al-Aqsa Mosque," a phrase regularly used by Palestinians to describe tours by Jews to the Temple Mount.
    Palestinians on social media called for replacing the carpets where the visitors prayed.

Iran's Rial Falls to New Low (Reuters-Trend-Azerbaijan)
    The Iranian rial has fallen to a new low against the U.S. dollar. On Oct. 19, on the black market, $1 is worth about 316,000-319,000 rials.
    The currency has lost nearly 60% of its value in 2020 as a drop in oil prices has deepened the economic crisis in a country which has the highest Covid-19 death toll in the Middle East.

Hamas TV: OK to Murder Israeli Civilians Because They Are All Criminals - Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    In a scene from "Self-Sacrificing Fighter," produced by Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, an armed terrorist enters a restaurant in Tel Aviv and shoots Israeli Jewish diners.
    Following the attack, a Palestinian woman being interrogated by an Israeli investigator explains that while Islam forbids murdering civilians, killing Israeli Jews is justified because they are all "criminals."

Hamas: Arab States Have Severed Financial Aid to Palestinians - Shahar Klaiman (Israel Hayom)
    Arab states have stopped giving money to the Palestinian Authority because of American pressure, deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri told Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV on Friday.
    Arouri noted that "The Palestinian, Arab and Islamic right is all of Palestine. This is our right and no one can change our minds in this regard."

Israel Aerospace Industries Partners with Australian Firm to Build Autonomous Mining Fleet - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced in September a new joint venture with Australian logistics and materials company Bis Industries to convert existing trucks and bulldozers to work autonomously at mining sites.
    IAI's subsidiary, Elta, has been developing autonomous off-road vehicles for 15 years.

Israel Gets Top Marks for Combating International Bribery - Nitsan Shafir (Globes)
    Transparency International, which combats corruption worldwide, has, for the second successive year, ranked Israel in its top category for enforcement against corruption in international transactions.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Threatens Sanctions after UN Arms Embargo Against Iran Expires - Amanda Macias
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Sunday that the U.S. will sanction any individual or entity that assists Iran's weapons program, after a decade-long UN arms embargo against Iran officially expired Sunday. The UN Security Council refused in August to support a U.S. effort to extend the arms embargo against Iran. (CNBC)
        See also Status of UN Arms Embargo on Iran
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday: "Providing arms to Iran will only aggravate tensions in the region, put more dangerous weapons into the hands of terrorist groups and proxies, and risk increasing threats to the security of Israel and other peaceful nations."  (U.S. State Department)
  • U.S. Warns Turkey over Test of Russian S-400 Missile System - Carlotta Gall and Eric Schmitt
    Turkey fired a missile as a test of its Russian-made S-400 air defense system on Friday, a U.S. official confirmed, a move that breaks an agreement with the U.S. and risks the imposition of sanctions by Congress. Under an agreement with the Trump administration, Turkey had kept the missile system under wraps and since April had made no move to activate it.
        State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, "We would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey's responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the United States. We have also been clear on the potential serious consequences of our security relationship if Turkey activates the system."  (New York Times)
  • Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Suggests Normalization of Ties with Israel - Fadhel al-Nashmi
    Iraq's former deputy prime minister and well-known politician Bahaa al-Araji said in a television interview Wednesday that "Iraq is very prepared to normalize relations with Israel, and the conditions are well-suited." Referring to the Shiite religious authorities in Najaf, he said, "It is possible that the normalization decision will come from the Najaf governorate, not from the capital, Baghdad."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Knesset Approves UAE Deal in 80-13 Vote
    The Knesset on Thursday voted to approve Israel's agreement to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates in an 80-13 vote. The Joint List, the main Arab-dominated faction in parliament, cast the lone opposing votes. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel and UAE Agree on 28 Weekly Passenger Flights - Michal Raz-Chaimovitz (Globes)
        See also Israel and Bahrain Formalize Diplomatic Relations
    An Israeli delegation in Bahrain on Sunday signed seven Memorandums of Understanding as well as a Joint Communique on the establishment of diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Coronavirus in Israel: Serious Cases Decline - Adir Yanko
    Israel's Health Ministry on Monday said there are 619 people hospitalized in serious condition with Covid-19, of which 212 are on ventilators. There had been over 800 serious cases a week ago. The number of active coronavirus cases dipped below 30,000 on Monday (to 29,617) for the first time since Sep. 8. That figure had reached 72,164 on Oct. 2. The death toll has reached, 2,209. (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
        See also Senior PA Official Saeb Erekat in Critical Condition from Covid-19
    Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, 65, is in critical condition and on a ventilator at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem after being diagnosed with Covid-19. "Erekat poses a huge challenge...due to his lung transplant and its suppression of the immune system," the hospital said. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Denies Visas to UN Human Rights Staff after Settlement Blacklist - Lahav Harkov
    Israel has declined to renew the visas of most of the international workers of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) since August, after its publication in February of a blacklist of companies doing business in Judea and Samaria. It was the first list of its kind about any country. At the time, the Israel Foreign Ministry announced it was cutting ties with the OHCHR, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "whoever boycotts us will be boycotted."
        The international staff were working remotely anyway due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so "operationally speaking, there has been little impact so far," said OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • A New American Ideology Has Dangerous Implications for Jews - Bari Weiss
    A new American ideology has attained cultural dominance, capturing America's elites and our most powerful institutions. For Jews, an ideology that contends that there are no meaningful differences between cultures is not simply ridiculous - we have an obviously distinct history, tradition and religion that has been the source of both enormous tragedy as well as boundless gifts - but is also, as history has shown, lethal.
        In this new ideology, the things about us that make us different must be demonized, so that they can be erased or destroyed: Zionism is refashioned as colonialism; Jewish businesses can be looted because Jews "are the face of capital." Jews are flattened into "white people," our history obliterated, so that someone can suggest that the Holocaust was merely "white on white crime." This ideology has taken over universities, publishing houses, the media, museums and is now making quick work of corporate America.
        It does not matter how progressive you are. To believe in the justness of the existence of the Jewish state - to believe in Jewish particularism at all - is to make yourself an enemy of this movement. Jews who refuse to erase what makes us different will increasingly be defined as racists. The writer is a former opinion editor and writer at the New York Times. (Tablet)
  • Instead of Making Peace, Abbas Is Talking to Hamas, Turkey and Qatar - Khaled Abu Toameh
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have, in the past few weeks, strongly come out against the peace deals signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. Instead of talking to the Americans, the Israelis and Arabs who support the idea of making peace with Israel, Abbas is now talking to terrorist-promoting Hamas, Turkey and Qatar.
        A report in a Palestinian media outlet belonging to Abbas' arch-rival, Mohammed Dahlan, revealed that the Fatah delegation in Istanbul this month met with officials from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as Turkish and Qatari intelligence officers. According to the report, Abbas discussed ways of "coordinating positions to direct blows to the interests of the Arab countries, especially the Arab Gulf states and Egypt." The report also revealed that Qatar recently gave Abbas and some of his aides "more than $50 million for their personal bank accounts inside banks in Israel and the Palestinian Authority areas."
        A Syrian journalist based in the UAE, who calls herself Shukran, tweeted on Sep. 17: "My dear Palestinians: Your real enemy is in front of you; it is the corrupt Palestinian Authority....Check where did the sons of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority study?...They live in peace, stability, prosperity and luxury. Take a look at your own children. Your children who are instilled with hatred....We want to live and raise our children in peace and security. We tried wars, now we want to try peace."  (Gatestone Institute)
  • Can Macron Stem the Tide of Islamism in France? - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    A week ago, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to end "Islamic separatism" in France because a minority of the country's six million Muslims risk forming a "counter-society." That Macron even gave an anti-Islamism speech was a sign of how fast the debate is moving in France. Now we have an avowed centrist like Macron warning that the "final goal" of the "ideology" of Islamism is to "take complete control" of society.
        Macron also said the "challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion...while protecting those who believe in Islam and are full citizens of the republic." A great many French Muslims are fighting against the Islamists. The writer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, served as a member of the Dutch parliament. (Spectator-UK)

The Palestinians' View of the U.S. Elections - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Palestinians are facing a near-complete disconnection of the Palestinian leadership with the U.S. administration, a reluctance by the European Union to confront the Trump administration over the Palestinian issue, and the disengagement of Arab states from the Palestinian Authority and its leader. The blame for all these failures lies with the Palestinians.
  • The Palestinian rejection of any peace plan that does not meet 100% of their demands has led the Palestinians to this nadir. Today, Mahmoud Abbas is signaling to Israel, the U.S., and moderate Arab countries that he has no problem joining the "Muslim Brotherhood" axis headed by Turkey and Qatar.
  • According to PA sources, Abbas has maintained a regular dialogue with former vice president Biden through a well-known businessman and has received a series of promises from Biden, should he be elected, including the repeal of a series of moves taken by the Trump administration, including the U.S. peace plan.
  • At the same time, there are senior PA officials who estimate that the Palestinian problem will not be Biden's primary concern. They warn that the U.S.-Israel relationship is a strategic alliance between the two countries and that the traditional American political system supports maintaining Israel's security.
  • These sources say that Donald Trump did not give the PA what it wanted and neither will Joe Biden. "The Palestinians are in for many more years of struggle," a Palestinian observer concluded.

    The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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