November 2, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Senior Pentagon Official's Car Was Followed for Miles in Washington by Iranian National - Courtney Kube (NBC News)
    U.S. officials said that on Sep. 22, a senior leader at the U.S. Defense Department was followed by a vehicle driven by an Iranian national for 5-7 miles after leaving the Pentagon.
    Some officials raised concerns that the incident could be linked to potential retaliation for the U.S. military's assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.

White House Notifies Congress of Planned F-35 Sale to UAE - Ellen Mitchell (The Hill)
    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) on Thursday confirmed that the administration had informally notified Congress of a planned F-35 fighter jet sale to the United Arab Emirates.

Israel Offers to Send IDF Search and Rescue Team to Turkey after Deadly Earthquake (Times of Israel)
    Israel offered to send an IDF search and rescue team to Turkey on Friday, after a deadly earthquake toppled buildings in Izmir, killing at least 12 people.

PA Security Officers Kill Top Fatah Militant - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hatem Abu Rizek, 35, a senior commander of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was killed on Saturday in Balata, near Nablus, in the West Bank by PA security officers.
    Rizek was said to be affiliated with Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Some Palestinians claimed he was shot, while PA security sources said Abu Rizek was killed when a hand grenade he was trying to throw exploded in his hands.
    Five other Balata residents were injured during armed clashes between rival Fatah groups.

Split between Locals and Tunis "Outsiders" Still Divides Palestinians - Pinhas Inbari (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The real struggle within the Palestinians' leadership is between the local Palestinians and the "outside" Fatah leaders from Tunis who arrived after the Oslo Accords.
    In the recent fake reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas in Turkey, Fatah asked Hamas to cooperate against former Fatah security official Mohammed Dahlan, and Hamas refused.
    One reason is that Hamas also feels itself part of the local, "inside" leadership and not the PA leadership from "outside."

Israel to Export Produce to UAE (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel will begin to export fruit and vegetables to the United Arab Emirates this month following coordination between Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the UAE Ministry for Climate Change and the Environment.
    "This is wonderful news for Israel's farmers," said Israeli Minister Alon Schuster.

Israeli Startups Raised $800 Million in October (Globes)
    Israeli tech companies, which raised a record $8.3 billion in 2019, have already raised over $8.8 billion in the first 10 months of 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis.
    Israeli startups raised nearly $800 million in October, after raising over $1.1 billion in September.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. to Use Iranian Fuel Sale Proceeds to Aid Terror Victims - Eric Tucker
    The U.S. government plans to use proceeds from the sale of fuel confiscated from Iranian tankers to benefit victims of state-sponsored terrorism, officials announced Thursday. The U.S. in August seized 1.1 million barrels of fuel from four Iranian tankers en route to Venezuela.
        The money "will now go to a far better use than either regime, Iran or Venezuela, could have envisioned because it will provide relief for victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of such acts," said Elliott Abrams, the State Department's special representative for Iran and Venezuela. The U.S. estimates it will recoup $40 million from the sale, said Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. (AP-Washington Post)
  • New Poll: American Jews See Rising Anti-Semitism - Armin Rosen
    The American Jewish Committee has released a poll aimed at understanding how American Jews perceive various anti-Semitic threats, as well as the general public's views on American anti-Semitism.
        Jews overwhelmingly believe that America is becoming a more anti-Semitic and physically dangerous place for them to live, work, and study: 82% responded that anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years. 27% reported that Jewish institutions with which they affiliated had "been the targets of anti-Semitism." 37% reported they had "taken steps to conceal their Jewishness in public." 43% of Jews between 18 and 29 had "experienced anti-Semitism on a college campus over the past five years."
        74% of the general public agreed with the 85% of Jews who view anti-Zionism as inherently anti-Semitic. However, only 43% of the general public agreed that anti-Semitism is getting worse. (Tablet)
        See also The State of Anti-Semitism in America 2020 (American Jewish Committee)
  • Britain's Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn after Anti-Semitism Report - David Wilcock
    Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by the party on Thursday after he downplayed a damning report into anti-Semitism that ruled that the party illegally harassed and discriminated against Jews under his leadership. The 130-page report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found "significant failings in the way the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism complaints over the last four years."
        Corbyn sparked fury by saying the scale of the problem was "dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents." New leader Sir Keir Starmer responded that if "there are still those who think there's no problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, that it's all exaggerated, or a factional attack, then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either."  (Daily Mail-UK)
        See also Key Findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Labour Anti-Semitism - Dan Sabbagh (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus in Israel: Active Cases Still Declining
    Israel Health Ministry figures on Monday showed there were 649 new cases of the coronavirus diagnosed in Israel on Sunday. There are 9,800 active cases, with 372 patients in serious condition and 170 of them on ventilators. The death toll has reached 2,554. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel to Adopt Faster, Locally-Made Corona Testing System - Tzvi Joffre
    A new Israeli PCR testing system developed by the Health Ministry will reduce the wait time for coronavirus test results from eight hours to four, the Health Ministry announced on Monday. The new testing kits are entirely Israeli-made, as is the software for displaying the results. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Throw Bomb at IDF Troops in West Bank
    After Palestinians in a vehicle threw a bomb at IDF soldiers at a junction near Jenin in the West Bank on Thursday night, the troops opened fire. Palestinian media reported that three people in the car were wounded. Ynet reported that one of those injured was the son of Zakaria Zubeidi, a former Palestinian terrorist leader. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Border Police Arrest Three Palestinians with Firebombs outside Base
    Israeli Border Police arrested three Palestinians carrying firebombs outside their base near Bethlehem on Thursday. A Border Police officer who was securing the base saw them approaching on foot carrying firebombs. She ordered them to stop and alerted other officers from the base. The Palestinians are residents of Bethlehem. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Abraham Accords Reflect Arab Leaders' Fatigue with Palestinians - Karen DeYoung
    The Abraham Accords normalized relations between Israel and three Arab states, with more said to be ready to sign on. The accords symbolize "how the Palestinian cause has fallen in terms of Arab leaders' perceptions of what's important to them," said Jeffrey Feltman, a former senior Middle East official at the State Department. "We all knew that the Arab leaders were fatigued with the Palestinians. They are much more concerned with Iran than with the Israelis."
        No previous White House had been willing to bypass Palestinian resistance and decades of international and U.S. support for a Palestinian state to offer a deal directly to the Arabs, said Dore Gold, a former Israeli diplomat who in 2015 launched his country's first formal presence in the UAE, a small office within a UN energy agency. Gold views the growing nexus of connections between Israel and the Arab states as a kind of "Middle Eastern NATO," an alliance of countries that eventually could counter Iran. (Washington Post)
  • State Department: Palestinian Government Continues Payments to Terrorists - Adam Kredo
    The Palestine Liberation Organization continues to pay terrorists and their families, according to a non-public State Department report. "Despite fiscal constraints...the [Palestinian Authority] continued to make payments through the PLO to Palestinians connected to terrorism," according to the report. The continuation of these payments is likely to frustrate U.S. diplomats who have been working to make the Palestinian government solvent and more likely to engage in peace talks with Israel.
        The PA spends upwards of $300 million a year on terrorists. "The United States and Israel argue that the payments incentivize, encourage, and reward terrorism, given higher monthly payments for lengthier prison sentences tied to more severe crimes," according to the biannual Palestine Liberation Organization Commitments Compliance Act Report. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Kicking Corbyn Out Is Only the Start of Labour's Anti-Semitism Fight - Stephen Daisley
    For almost five years, Jews warned, nudged, reported, complained, pleaded and protested that there was a culture of anti-Semitism in the Labour party. For the most part, the party ignored them, although others assailed them, denounced them as fifth columnists, accused them of orchestrating a "smear" campaign, of being agents of a well-financed "lobby," of trying to destabilize Jeremy Corbyn in service of Israel. British Jews were treated as Jews always are when they try to raise the alarm: disbelieved, disregarded and betrayed.
        The report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission not only believes Jews, it damns those who didn't and those who worked against them. In confirming, in official-sounding language and with footnotes, that the harm happened, it goes some way to correcting the lies and establishing the truth. The report says there were "unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination for which the Labour party is responsible" and "it is hard not to conclude that anti-Semitism within the Labour party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so."  (Spectator-UK)

  • While Israel seeks "normalization" with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, all of which are 1,000 miles from Israel, a "normalization" process is already well underway closer to home.
  • MK Mansour Abbas of the Ra'am faction of the Arab Joint List party wrote Saturday on Facebook that Israel's Arabs were ill-served by the belief that their political role was limited to being the "reserve force" propping up the Israeli left. "I'm not afraid to say I'm introducing a pragmatic new political style." The post received over 4,300 "likes" and 700 comments, nearly all positive.
  • Ra'am, founded in 1996, emerged as the political home of the conservative Muslim impulse within Israel's Arab population. It is the political vehicle for the southern branch of the Islamic movement.
  • Islamism in Israel is divided into two branches: the anti-Israel northern branch headquartered in the Galilee town of Umm al-Fahm, and the pro-integration southern branch which draws much of its support from the Bedouin of the Negev. Both branches support Palestinian independence, but only the northern branch, declared illegal in 2015, openly supported violence and extolled terrorism.
  • Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, who led the southern branch for three decades until his death in 2017, urged Israel's Arab community to reject terrorism and integrate into Israeli society. Mansour Abbas, a student of Darwish, is deputy chairman of the southern branch.
  • As the Palestinian cause fades throughout the Arab world, it fades among Israeli Arabs as well. And the demand to integrate, to gain acceptance, to have a say in the affairs of a country they have come to accept as their own, has overwhelmed the old ideologies.

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