May 10, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Navy Seizes Illicit Weapons in North Arabian Sea (U.S. Navy 5th Fleet)
    The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey seized an illicit shipment of weapons from a stateless vessel in international waters of the North Arabian Sea on May 6-7, 2021.
    The weapons included dozens of advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, and hundreds of PKM machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as well as advanced optical sights.
    See also U.S. Seizes Weapons Shipment from Iran to Yemen's Houthis - Neta Bar (Israel Hayom)

New Report Details Hizbullah's Missile Arsenal - Tal Beer (Alma Center)
    Hizbullah is the main Iranian proxy threatening Israel.
    Hizbullah's missile arrays are deployed in all 200 Shiite villages south of the Zaharani River up to the border with Israel, with an estimated capability of firing up to 2,000 missiles a day.
    The missile launchers are hidden inside buildings and installed with hydraulic mechanisms enabling the rooftop to open.
    Other missile launchers are concealed underground and shrouded with camouflage. When activated remotely, the cover opens automatically, the missiles emerge and launch toward the pre-determined target.
    Launching arrays of medium to long-range missiles are deployed on mobile launchers in Beirut and the Beqaa area.

Rocket Fire, Arson Balloons from Gaza in Palestinian Attacks on Israel - Almog Ben Zikri (Ha'aretz)
    Rocket fire from Gaza on Israel continued for a third day with a rocket intercepted on Monday morning, after two rockets were fired on Sunday evening.
    On Sunday, firefighters worked to put out 39 fires in Israeli fields sparked by arson balloons from Gaza.
    Israel views Hamas as solely responsible for the rocket fire and arson balloons.
    On Saturday night, 450 Gazans burned tires and threw explosives at IDF soldiers along the border.

Active Covid Cases in Israel Fall below 1,000 (Israel Ministry of Health-Hebrew)
    The Israel Ministry of Health reported Monday morning on 893 active coronavirus cases in the country, with 34 new cases diagnosed on Sunday.
    81 people were in serious condition, including 48 on respirators.

Canada Announces Durban IV Boycott Due to Anti-Semitism Concerns, Following U.S., Australia - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    Canada will not take part in events on Sept. 22 in New York marking the 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, known as Durban IV, because of the anti-Semitism and anti-Israel nature of the original event.
    Australia and the U.S. are also boycotting the conference.
    "Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism," Global Affairs Canada spokesman Grantly Franklin said.

PA Distributes "Pay to Slay" Payments at Post Offices - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Palestinian banks in the West Bank closed 35,000 accounts of imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, and families of dead terrorists after being warned that they would be exposed to civil and criminal liability for accepting terror reward payments from the PA.
    However, in April, the PA began to make the illegal payments through Palestinian post office branches.

Morocco's Battle Against Islamic Jihadi Terrorism - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Jihadist terrorist cells in Morocco are not only a real threat to the stability of the kingdom, but also a significant provider of manpower to radical Islamic movements in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
    A May 16, 2003, terrorist attack in Casablanca killed more than 45.
    Since then, Morocco has adopted a ruthless and merciless war against jihadist organizations.
    Since 2016, Morocco is part of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), dedicated to combating jihadists in the Sahel belt below the Sahara and elsewhere in Africa.
    The writer is a fellow of the Jerusalem Center.

Jerusalem Day: Facts and Trends for 2020 - Peggy Cidor (Jerusalem Post)
    The Jerusalem Facts and Trends for 2020 yearbook by the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research depicts new and ongoing trends in the life of the capital.
    Jerusalem is the biggest city in Israel, with 919,400 residents, 349,600 (38%) of whom are Arab.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Shared Iranian General Soleimani's Cell Phones with U.S. Intelligence before Drone Strike - Paul Best
    Israel shared three cell phone numbers used by Qasem Soleimani with U.S. intelligence in the hours before American drones unleashed Hellfire missiles on the Iranian general in Baghdad on Jan. 2, 2020, Yahoo News reported Saturday. The State Department says Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of U.S. troop deaths as head of the Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force.
        "In the six hours before Soleimani boarded his flight from Damascus, the Iranian general switched cellphones three times, according to a U.S. military official," the report said. "In Tel Aviv, U.S. Joint Special Operations Command liaisons worked with their Israeli counterparts to help track Soleimani's cellphone patterns. The Israelis, who had access to Soleimani's numbers, passed them off to the Americans, who traced Soleimani and his current phone to Baghdad."
        Prior to Soleimani's death, Israeli intelligence shared intelligence with the CIA about an Iranian who was leaving the country to pick up cell phones for Iranian leaders. U.S. intelligence was then able to plant bugged cell phones for the courier to buy, according to the report. (Yahoo News)
  • Moroccan Foreign Minister: "We Will Take Relations with Israel as Far as Possible"
    Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told an event organized by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on May 5 that Rabat had taken the decision to normalize relations with Israel "out of conviction" and said he hoped the two countries "will exchange high-level visits very soon."
        He added that "Iran has threatened the territorial integrity and security of Morocco by supporting, training and arming the Polisario militias. Iran is also extending its activities in West Africa through Hizbullah, and today we are still vigilantly countering the Iranian threats to the security of the Moroccan people."  (Middle East Monitor-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hundreds of Palestinians Riot on Temple Mount in Jerusalem
    On the last Friday evening of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians threw rocks and bottles at Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount following Muslim prayers. 17 police officers were hurt and half were hospitalized, with one taking a rock to the head. Video from the scene showed pitched battles, with Palestinians throwing chairs, shoes, rocks and bottles, and shooting fireworks, while chanting "Allahu Akbar," and police responding with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.
        The Israel Police said: "We will not allow riots, violence and attempts to harm police officers through taking advantage of the freedom of worship and religion, and turning it into a violent incident."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinian Riots on Temple Mount Continue Monday Morning - Itsik Saban (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Stocked Slabs, Stones, and Fireworks at Al-Aqsa Compound for Temple Mount Riots
    In the days leading up to Friday's mass rioting at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Palestinians stockpiled stone slabs, rocks and fireworks around the site, Israel's Channel 12 reported. Israeli security forces were attacked from within the Al-Aqsa mosque. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas' Hand Seen in Jerusalem Riots - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian activists in Jerusalem in the past few days were chanting slogans in support of Hamas. Hamas has many supporters in eastern Jerusalem. During some of the protests, demonstrators raised Hamas flags and chanted slogans denouncing PA President Mahmoud Abbas as a "traitor" and a "U.S. agent." (Jerusalem Post)
        A senior Hamas official called on Palestinian youths to do everything in their power to "harm the enemy" everywhere. (Ynet News)
        See also Fatah Calls for Violent Uprising in Jerusalem - Itamar Marcus
    Following days of intense Palestinian rioting in Jerusalem, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party on Saturday called for increased rioting and violence. "The Fatah Movement with all its elements and leadership calls to continue this uprising...in all the Palestinian lands, including a reexamination of the rules of engagement....Fatah calls on everyone to raise the level of confrontation."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
  • Israel: International Intervention in Jerusalem Only Benefits the Rioters and Those Who Send Them
    Israel's National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat told U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday that international intervention in the rioting in the Old City of Jerusalem is only rewarding those who are inciting the unrest. Israel is handling the events "out of a position of sovereignty, responsibly, and with common sense despite the provocations," Ben Shabbat said.
        International interference was "a prize for the rioters and those sending them who hoped to put pressure on Israel," and it would be more helpful if the pressure were directed at those who were inciting the violence. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians Open Fire at Border Police Base in West Bank, Three Attackers Killed - Yaniv Kubovich
    Three Palestinians with guns opened fire near the Salem Border Police base in the northern West Bank on Friday. Border Police officers and an IDF soldier responded and killed the terrorists. There were no Israeli casualties. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Gunmen Were Headed to Jerusalem to Carry Out an Attack
    The three Palestinians who opened fire at Border Police in the West Bank on Friday were headed to Jerusalem to carry out an attack in the city, Israel's Channel 13 reported Friday. (Times of Israel)
  • PA and Terror Groups Fan Tensions in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood
    Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Friday regarding the years-long land dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. "Regrettably, the PA and Palestinian terror groups are presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalistic cause in order to incite violence in Jerusalem. The PA and Palestinian terror groups will bear full responsibility for the violence emanating from their actions."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Israel Supreme Court Delays Hearing on Eastern Jerusalem Neighborhood - Hadas Gold
    Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday postponed a hearing on the possible eviction of several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem and will set a new date within 30 days in the decades-long legal case. (CNN)
        See also below Commentary: The Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood in Jerusalem
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Property Claims in the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood of Jerusalem
    On Feb. 10, 2021, the Jerusalem District Court upheld an October 2020 Jerusalem Magistrate Court decision requiring a number of Sheikh Jarrah residents to vacate properties they are living in. This case has been litigated for over 50 years in multiple Israeli courts. According to the Israel Supreme Court, the land in question "was owned by Chief Rabbi Avraham Ashkenazi and Chief Rabbi Meir Orbach until the War of Independence [1948], after they purchased it in 1875 from its Arab owners."
        According to a 1979 High Court decision, as in the case of any tenant living on someone else's property, residents were required to pay rent to the organizations that currently own the properties. Their failure to do so, along with instances of illegal building and illegally renting properties to others, resulted in the current legal proceedings against them. In a 1982 court case, a number of residents agreed that two Israeli non-profits were the legal land owners. (NGO Monitor)
  • Sheikh Jarrah Controversy Exemplifies the Arab-Israeli Conflict - Micha Danzig
    Sheik Jarrah is an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem established in 1865. Before 1949, there was a separate Jewish neighborhood within it in an area known for centuries by the name "Shimon HaTzadik" (Simon the Righteous), after the famous rabbinical sage whose tomb is located there. Because of the tomb and its significance to the Jewish people, the Sephardic Community Committee and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel purchased the tomb and its surrounding land (about 4.5 acres) in 1875.
        In 1949, TransJordan's British-created and British-led Arab Legion captured the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood and every last Jew was either killed or ethnically cleansed, including those whose families had lived in the region for centuries. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel allowed Jews whose families had been forced out of their homes by the Jordanians to regain control of their family homes if they could provide proof of ownership.
        The homes under discussion today were owned by Jewish families that had purchased those homes, and had deeds registered first with the Ottoman Empire and then with the British authorities. The court determined that the people currently living in these homes had been illegally squatting for decades without paying rent or holding proof of ownership. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • Jerusalem Day: A City Reunited, Forever - Nadav Shragai
    Happy holiday. Today is the day we mark the liberation of Jerusalem. Our parents and grandparents dreamed of this city, which has become something we take for granted - a city without walls and barbed wire. A city without sniper fire from Jordanian legionnaires on the Old City wall. One with free access to the Western Wall and Rachel's Tomb and Shimon HaTzadik (and somewhat less free access to the Temple Mount).
        A mixed city, in which terrorism and violence and extremism - despite the deceptive impression - are the exception, not the rule, while the threads that hold Jews and Arabs together in everyday normalcy are much more numerous and dominant.
        Some 40% of Jerusalem's Jewish residents, about 230,000 people, live in an area erroneously termed "east Jerusalem," to the north, south, and even east of the old borders that will never return because the demography of consciousness has completely changed.
        While certain circles try to redraw delusional borders to divide the city and feed the "two capitals" idea, demography of thought tells a different story. Most Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem today reject any physical division of the city, one that would entail a border that could lead to a security, economic, and urban catastrophe.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, has documented Jerusalem for Ha'aretz and Israel Hayom for over 30 years. (Israel Hayom)

  • The Israel Security Agency (ISA) has uncovered a financing network for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization which exploited financing transferred by assistance agencies and NGOs operating in Europe. The financing was transferred to Palestinian organizations under the guise of humanitarian assistance centered on "Health Committees."
  • These organizations operated using fraud and deception in many European countries in order to receive financing worth millions of euros. A considerable portion of the financing was used to fund the terrorist activities of the Popular Front.
  • Israeli diplomats have met with the foreign ministries of the relevant European countries and presented evidence that European governmental funds went to the PFLP terrorist organization, which has been designated a terror group in Europe. Israel demanded that funding transfers be frozen immediately.
    See also The End of Europe's Romance with Palestinian Terror? - Gerald M. Steinberg (Israel Hayom)
  • In 2004, a European Parliament delegation visiting Israel asked me to brief them on EU funding for Palestinian and Israeli political NGOs under the banners of human rights, peace and other worthy causes. But before I could speak, an EU official tried to prevent my presentation, declaring that I was about to reveal state secrets. The details of the deep and often personal European relationships with the leaders of these NGOs were and remain closely guarded state secrets.
  • This strange and fundamental departure from the transparency that is central to democratic norms explains why year after year, the members of an NGO network linked to a terror organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), are among the main recipients of European funding.
  • Since 2011, the European governments have provided at least 200 million euros to these organizations, including 40 million from the European Union, and probably more from subcontracting that is not reported and from grants that remain hidden.
  • Recently, however, recognition of the need for independent oversight regarding these NGO relationships has gradually increased. Oliver Varhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement (which has jurisdiction over some of the seven distinct EU funding mechanisms), ordered a comprehensive investigation of terror ties involving NGO grantees and declared that such funding "will not be tolerated."

    The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and heads the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem.

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