May 20, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Dore Gold: In Gaza, "Don't Confuse the Arsonist with the Firefighter" - David Rutz (Fox News)
    Answering those who question Israel's right to defend itself, former Israeli government official Dore Gold told Fox News, "I'd tell them to read Winston Churchill, who said not to confuse the arsonist with the firefighter, because that's what these people are doing."
    Gold said no army in the world took as much care as the Israel Defense Forces to avoid civilian casualties in its conflicts.
    "It makes me proud as an Israeli," Gold said of Israel's tactics to warn civilians before strikes.

Iran Working to Ignite an Intifada in West Bank - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Senior Palestinian Authority sources have expressed concern that Iran is working with Hamas to ignite a new intifada in the West Bank to destabilize PA Chairman Abbas' rule and prepare the ground for a Hamas takeover.
    They say Iran is exerting pressure on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to continue their rocket attacks on Israel.
    According to Hamas sources, Iran was party to Hamas' premeditated plan to attack Jerusalem with rockets.

Are Israel's Munitions in Gaza Too Precise? - Amir Rapaport (Israel Defense)
    The war in Gaza is one of the first in history in which one of the sides is only using precision munitions, with one or two-meter accuracy.
    All of the Israel Air Force's munitions are equipped with JDAM GPS-based guidance systems.
    The use of precise weapons is an operational requirement against an enemy in a crowded civilian environment.
    It brought about a drastic decline in the amount of non-combatant casualties compared to earlier conflicts in Gaza.
    At the same time, precise weapons have a disadvantage in that they greatly reduce the pressure on the enemy.
    When Hamas knows that every bomb has a very precise target, it can simply avoid being in places targeted for attack or be very deep underground.

Abraham Accords Hold Firm Despite Gaza Conflict - Danny Zaken (Globes)
    The current fighting with Hamas has provided the first test for the Abraham Accords.
    Last Friday, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sent his condolences to all the victims and stressed the importance of the Abraham Accords in creating a better future for coming generations.
    The most widespread sentiment on social media is criticism of Hamas, an organization which has few fans in the Gulf, mainly because it has brought large-scale destruction to Gaza.
    Tel Aviv University Institute for National Security Studies social media analyst Irit Perlov said that the Islamic political leaders of the Gulf see Hamas as almost representing a threat and hence the neutral declarations and lack of condemnation of Israel.
    The UAE had wanted to invest in infrastructure projects in Gaza but that readiness has disappeared.

Jewish Man's Kidney Donated to Arab Woman after His Lynching by Arab Mob - Amy Kellogg (Fox News)
    Yigal Yehoshua, 56, was set upon by an Arab mob as he drove in the Israeli city of Lod last week.
    After several days in a coma, he succumbed to the attack, and his family donated his organs.
    One recipient was an Arab woman, Randa Oweis, 59, who had been waiting for a kidney for seven years.
    "I never believed I would take the kidney of a person who was killed in such a criminal way," Randa told Fox News from her hospital bed. "Now I have a different family, a Jewish family."

Yemen's Houthis Want to Export Their Revolution to Palestine (ABNA-Iran)
    Ansar Allah (Houthis) is eager to export its resistance mentality and battlefield knowledge to Palestine.

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German Foreign Minister Arrives to Show Solidarity with Israel - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrived on Thursday to show Germany's solidarity with Israel during the current round of fighting.
    Ahead of his departure, Maas stated that "Germany is unconditionally behind its friendship with Israel that is forced to defend itself against Hamas' missile terrorism."

Sudan's Gen. Burhan Defends Israel Normalization (AFP)
    Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's civilian-military ruling council, on Monday defended his country's move to normalize ties with Israel.
    "The normalization has nothing to do with Palestinians' right to create their own state," Burhan told France 24.
    It is merely "a reconciliation with the international community which includes Israel."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Calls for "Significant De-escalation Today" in 4th Call with Netanyahu - Conor Finnegan
    President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the fourth time in a week on Wednesday to say "he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire" in Gaza, according to the White House.
        After their call Monday, sources told ABC News Tuesday that Biden conveyed the message that he could only provide Netanyahu's government cover for so long from the growing calls in Congress and around the world for Israel to take a different approach to Gaza. (ABC News)
  • Israel and Hamas Nearing Cease-Fire - Vivian Salama
    Pressure is mounting from Washington to bring an end to the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Egyptian officials have made headway in negotiations with Hamas' leadership, and the Israeli military has privately conceded that it is nearing the completion of its objectives, U.S. and foreign officials said.
        Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan told the Wall Street Journal that Hamas is "now looking for a cease-fire in order to protect their terrorist infrastructures. Israel is determined to protect its citizens and provide them peace and security, so we're looking for a cure and not a Band-Aid. Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel." Hamas has fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, according to Israeli officials. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaza Rocket Fire Continues Thursday - Elior Levy
    Rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians in Gaza border communities continued Thursday morning after night barrages targeting Beersheba and Kiryat Malachi. The IDF said 70 rockets and mortar shells were fired between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, with 10 falling short in Gaza. In response, Israel continued to attack terrorist targets in Gaza including underground tunnels, military infrastructure, weapons production sites, and rocket launch positions. (Ynet News)
        See also Rocket Fire at Israel Persists Wednesday, More Rocket Fire from Lebanon
    The IDF said on Wednesday that 200 rocket launches from Gaza were detected between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.  30 rockets fell short within Gaza. Israeli air defenses intercepted 90% of all rockets targeting population centers. Rockets hit a private home in Sderot, wounding one man. Another was wounded from a rocket near the Gaza border. In the afternoon, a heavy barrage of rockets targeted Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba and Rehovot.
        Also on Wednesday, four rockets were launched at northern Israel from Lebanon. One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, two fell into the sea, and another crashed in an open field in the Arab city of Shfar'am. The IDF opened fire on several targets in retaliation. Haifa, Acre and several other northern cities ordered the opening of communal bomb shelters. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Attacks Weapons Depot in Home of Hamas Justice Minister - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Targets Empty IDF Bus with Anti-Tank Missile - Tzvi Joffre
    Hamas targeted a bus that had been carrying Israeli soldiers with an anti-tank missile and subsequently launched a barrage of mortar shells towards the site on Thursday morning. The IDF said the bus was empty and one soldier was lightly injured in the incident. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Woman with M-16 Opens Fire at Israelis in West Bank - Jack Khoury
    A Palestinian woman armed with an M16 rifle opened fire at IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians at the Elias junction near Kiryat Arba in the West Bank. She was killed by return fire. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The 2021 Gaza War

  • Former President Bush: Gaza War Is about Iranian Influence Targeted toward Israel - Brooke Singman
    Former President George W. Bush, when asked about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian violence, told Fox News on Wednesday that what "you're seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel."
        "I think the best approach with regard to Iran is to understand that their influence is dangerous for world peace, that they are very much involved with extremist movements in Lebanon and Syria and Yemen, and they are aiming to spread their influence. Any deal that is done has got to not only focus on its nuclear capabilities, but also its influence in the Middle East....You've got to keep in mind the dangers of an aggressive Iran to our allies, and to stability, so it has to be a comprehensive look."
        "Right now, those who don't want peace are provoking and attacking Israel, and Israel is, of course, responding for national security reasons....You've got to understand that Israel is going to defend itself. So long as there is a threat to their people, they will defend themselves."  (Fox News)
  • Will Israel's Actions in Gaza Affect the Abraham Accords? - Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi
    I do not believe that the military escalation in Gaza and Israel will push for a reconsideration of the Abraham Accords. The agreement was a strategic decision made by its signatories. The motivations and reasons that led to it are still strong, present and manifold. The spirit of the Abraham Accords, moreover, is based on the importance of diplomatic solutions and the de-escalation of conflict to create an environment of stability and engagement in development.
        The latest events only draw more attention to the fact that peaceful and diplomatic solutions are in the common interests of everyone. Lessons must be learned from what has happened in order to cement the sense of moderation and tolerance that form the basic foundations on which the Abraham Accords were established.
        The Palestinians, of course, share a responsibility for peace. They need to be realistic in their political proposals, work under one unified political leadership, stick to the peaceful means of expression and refrain from all acts of violence against civilians.
        The writer is president of the Emirates Policy Centre. (The National-UAE)
  • For Hamas, the Struggle to Uproot the Jews Is the Meaning of Life - Dan Schueftan
    Israel had restrained itself in Gaza under the belief that Yahya Sinwar wants to focus on improving the living conditions of Gazans. But the deep essence of Hamas dictates an inevitable confrontation. In the Gazan culture of the Muslim Brotherhood there is almost no constructive content of building a society and a nation. The struggle to uproot the Jews is the meaning of life. Gazan society does not offer its children a better future but a morbid satisfaction from killing Jews and destroying their country, derived from a tribal and pathological version of "honor."
        Gaza has no "solution": improving living conditions of Gazans is not for them a substitute for violent struggle. The current confrontation would have come anyway and it's good that it came now and not during a possible war with Iran and its emissaries. Israel has been given the opportunity to direct all its resources against Hamas and to fatally damage its military capabilities.
        The writer heads the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's Supreme Leader: The Global Balance of Power Is Tilting toward "Palestine" and Muslims - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
    Iran is once again trying to present itself as the main power fighting for the Palestinians and the Muslim nation. A poster issued by Supreme Leader Khamenei's office clearly illustrates the changing balance of power. In Tehran's view, the Palestinians have progressed from stones to missiles, while Iranian nuclear power will provide the strategic blanket to enable continued terror and subversive activity.
        The poster, based on the Supreme Leader's speech on al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, reads: "Today, the balance of power has shifted in favor of the Muslim world." Khamenei added that today, "the hope of achieving victory is stronger than ever." One of the most prominent features of al-Quds Day is mass "Death to Israel" and "Death to the United-States" marches. Khamenei stressed that Iran is arming Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and allowing them to strike a balance in the armed struggle against Israel.
        IRGC Gen. Asghar Emami, a Quds Force commander, said on May 6: "Whenever we want to strangle America, to exert pressure on it, extract concessions from it, and get what we deserve, we can easily tighten our grip around the throat of the Zionist regime, because it is surrounded from all directions."  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Tell Us, Europe, What Should Israel Do? - Fiamma Nirenstein
    You, who march through the streets of Italy, the UK or Germany with Palestinian flags and shout slogans accusing Israel of crimes against humanity, tell me, what should Israel do? You, who don't rush to protest against the blatant crimes against humanity contained in targeting innocent civilians when terrorists are bombing homes, schools, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You, who solely condemned the right of Israel to defend itself from those ready to murder its citizens by blowing up buses and pizzerias, when suicide terrorists killed almost 2,000 Israelis during the Second Intifada.
        Hamas attacked Israel for no reason. In another round of war, the terrorist group that rules Gaza, free of any Israeli presence for the past 16 years, tortures the entire Israeli civilian population by randomly targeting it with the goal to kill and destroy.
        The truth is that it's the result of prejudice against the State of Israel by those who deem it unworthy of existence and survival. It's European anti-Semitism - mimicking past notions that the Jews as a people were unworthy of existence and survival.
        Israel must stop Hamas, even if the asymmetric war is terrible and painful. Delegitimizing Israel's right to defend itself automatically legitimizes its enemies' goal to eliminate the Jewish people.
        The writer, former vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (JNS)
  • Gaza's International Protectors Have Eyes, But Do Not See - Gerald M. Steinberg
    For many years, Gaza has been a major location for an army of international aid providers. Their reports consistently portray an impoverished Palestinian enclave on the brink of disaster, usually blamed on Israeli policies. The suffering of innocent children is a frequent theme used to raise donations, which exceed $1 billion annually.
        Yet no one talked about the massive arsenal of rockets deployed by Hamas and its allies, and the costs involved. Instead of using very limited resources for economic development and to create real jobs, Hamas diverted hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to build a vast war machine. Aid materials disappeared into the rocket assembly lines, and the concrete provided for housing was used to build cross-border attack tunnels.
        Now, with millions of Israeli citizens targeted and terrorized by Palestinian missiles, many are demanding an end to the years of impunity for Hamas and the international organizations involved in or complicit with this ongoing assault.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is emeritus professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and heads the Institute for NGO Research in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas' Rocket Barrage Is a Blatant Act of Aggression under International Law - Geoffrey S. Corn and Rachel E. Vanlandingham
    Hamas is illegally and indiscriminately firing Iranian-provided rockets at Israeli civilian centers. The attacks Israel has endured are different in intensity and sophistication than past attacks. Israel would be well within its rights under international law if it chose to conduct a broader military campaign to eliminate Hamas' capability to perpetuate this threat.
        What right does Israel have to respond to this threat, and what measures are justified in response? The answer is clear: Israel has the same right that every sovereign nation has to defend itself from unlawful attacks. Hamas' rocket barrage is a blatant act of unlawful aggression. International law does not restrict Israel to a mere tit-for-tat response.
        Lt.-Col. (ret.) Geoffrey S. Corn is Professor of National Security Law at South Texas College of Law in Houston. Lt.-Col. (ret.) Rachel E. VanLandingham, a former Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force, is Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. (Newsweek)
  • Israel Has Acted Like a Moral Beacon in the Latest Gaza War - John Podhoretz
    The idea that the act of defending citizens against incoming rocket fire could possibly constitute a war crime is the textbook definition of moral idiocy. War criminals don't drop "knock-knock" dud bombs on buildings to provide warning to the residents that an attack is coming so they can get out of harm's way. War criminals don't telephone the owners of buildings to let them know a strike is coming, so that residents might be evacuated.
        The fact that fewer Israelis have died than Palestinian Gazans is due entirely to the success of Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system. This has led some moral idiots to complain that Hamas doesn't possess an Iron Dome system to protect it against Israel's strikes. Really? Hamas has something far simpler and more cost-effective: It can just not fire rockets. (New York Post)

  • I was born in the Jordanian-occupied Old City in Jerusalem and lived in a UN refugee camp from 1966 until 1999. In 1996 I founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring group. With my background, you might assume that I am against Israel's current military actions, but this could not be further from the truth. The blame for the bloodshed lies solely at the feet of Hamas.
  • Those who wish to divert attention from Hamas war crimes would like to blame the latest conflict on a complicated legal dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. But this was a private matter between Jews who have a property deed from the 1800s and the residents of four homes who have refused to pay rent. This is little more than a landlord-tenant squabble and cannot be framed as "ethnic cleansing."
  • Hamas is not fighting for a human rights cause; they are committing war crimes to boost their political standing. Hamas sees a lopsided body count as a positive development, as it allows them to claim that Israel is the aggressive party in the conflict they started.
  • Western media reporting out of Gaza is not honest. Hamas tightly controls all press access and foreign media have the choice of reporting the news the way Hamas tells them to, or not being allowed into Gaza at all. Almost all of them choose the former.
  • 73 years have passed since Israel was established. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE all understand that Israel is a permanent feature of the Middle East. Unfortunately, many Arabs, including most Palestinians, still deny this obvious truth.
  • Obsessing over the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been a disaster for the Arab world: it has held back our development for generations and cost the Palestinian people dearly. Instead of focusing our wealth and talent on creating a better life for us, our leaders have spent decades fighting Israel.
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