May 21, 2021
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Sent Armed Drone into Israel - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday that Iran had sent an armed UAV into northern Israel earlier this week from Iraq or Syria that was intercepted by Israel near the town of Beit She'an.
    Netanyahu showed Maas a part of the drone.

IDF: Most Main Targets in Gaza Have Been Hit - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    IDF Military Intelligence officials said Thursday that they had almost depleted their target bank in Gaza.
    "We have carried out plans that we have been working on for years," said a Research Division officer entrusted with collecting a bank of quality targets.
    "If I were to close my eyes and imagine how many of our plans would be executed and in such a short and successful period of time - I would not have been able to envision this."
    "We've eliminated senior Hamas engineers, experts in rocket production and other types of armaments. These are sources of knowledge that otherwise don't exist in Gaza. It's also hard to find a replacement for them, as opposed to senior field commanders."

How Israel Won the War - Jake Wallis Simons (Spectator-UK)
    After 11 days of fighting, both Israel and the Gaza militants will now strive to present a "victory picture" to their peoples and to the world.
    But while Jerusalem may have lost the propaganda war, it emerges from this conflict the strongest, its security boosted by a hugely degraded enemy.
    Hamas sought to position itself as the true figurehead of the Palestinian people by launching a major rocket barrage. Yet the price was much higher than the terror group had anticipated.
    A significant portion of Hamas' network of tunnels - a vast subterranean world used to house arsenals, plan operations, train militants and move about undetected - were obliterated.
    Intelligence sources report that factions inside Hamas are already grumbling about the reckless decision to invite so much destruction upon Gaza.
    The writer is deputy editor of the Jewish Chronicle (UK).

Israeli Hospital Targeted by Palestinian Rockets - Rossella Tercatin (Jerusalem Post)
    A rocket fired from Gaza fell on the grounds of Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on Thursday, meters from the emergency room, but did not cause significant damage.
    The hospital, 13 km. north of the Gaza border, has treated 413 patients as a consequence of the rocket attacks, including 58 children.
    Most of Barzilai's staff live in Ashkelon or the general area, but while the hospital is a very safe environment, leaving families and children at home is not easy for them.
    "Just in Ashkelon, the sirens have gone off about 100 times in 10 days," said hospital director Prof. Yaniv Sherer.

Iraqis Head to Jordan for Protests at Israeli Border (Al-Araby al-Jadeed-UK)
    Three buses carrying 150 protesters from southern Iraq arrived at the Jordanian border on Wednesday, hoping to demonstrate against Israel at Jordan's border with the West Bank.
    Last Friday, Jordanian riot police blocked 500 protesters from the kingdom and fired teargas as they tried to reach the Allenby bridge.

How Can Supporters of Human Rights Support Iran and Hamas? - John Kass (Chicago Tribune)
    If Hamas - listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department - launched thousands of rockets at the U.S., what would you have the American president do? Fire back, you'd say. Of course.
    Aviv Ezra, Israel Consul General to the Midwest, told me Wednesday: "It's mind-boggling that progressive voices who want to support LGBTQ, who want to support human rights, who want to support freedom of speech, are in support of Hamas and Iran."
    "These are the No. 1 perpetrators of human rights atrocities. How can they in any way support Iran and Hamas?"

CBS Claims Hamas - which Attacked Israel - Is "Retaliating" - Tamar Sternthal (CAMERA)
    In her May 12 coverage of Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, CBS' Elizabeth Palmer flips reality on its head, claiming "Hamas launched over 100 rockets into Israel in response to Israeli airstrikes."
    Of course, it was Hamas attacks on Israel's cities that led to Israeli airstrikes on Hamas infrastructure, not the opposite.

Israeli Cystic Fibrosis Restorative Treatment Company Splisense Raises $28.5 Million (Globes)
    Israeli biopharmaceutical cystic fibrosis treatment developer Splisense announced on May 13 that it has closed a $28.5 million financing round.
    The Jerusalem-based company is developing mRNA-altering therapies for cystic fibrosis (CF) and other genetic pulmonary diseases.
    "Currently available treatments focus on treating the symptoms of the disease," said SpliSense CEO Dr. Gili Hart.
    "Our technology addresses the underlying genetic cause, thereby offering, for the first time, hope of restoring adequate lung function to CF patients."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas-Israel Cease-Fire Begins after 11 Days of Fighting - Felicia Schwartz
    Israel and Hamas in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire that began early Friday. Israel's cabinet voted Thursday to accept an Egyptian-brokered bilateral cease-fire without any conditions. Hamas leader Osama Hamdan confirmed the cease-fire. Since May 10, Palestinians in Gaza have fired 4,340 rockets toward Israel, with 640 of them falling inside Gaza. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas Supporters Declare "Victory" in Gaza - Iyad Abuheweila
    As the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas took effect at 2 a.m. on Friday, thousands of Palestinians gathered in the streets of Gaza City to celebrate. Loudspeakers at mosques called on residents to come out "to celebrate the victory," while Hamas supporters with weapons fired into the air. "It's the most luxurious victory because at least we struck Tel Aviv," said Ibrahim al Najjar, 26. "I wasn't as happy on my wedding day as I was when they hit Tel Aviv."
        But the celebratory mood belied the devastation in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes killed more than 200 Palestinians, destroyed buildings, left huge swaths of the territory without electricity or water, and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. Some in the crowd questioned what the conflict had accomplished. (New York Times)
  • President Biden: U.S. Will Partner with the Palestinian Authority, Not Hamas, for Gaza Reconstruction
    President Joe Biden said Thursday: Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual, unconditional ceasefire. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed. I have said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.
        The United States is committed to marshal international support for Gaza reconstruction efforts. We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority - not Hamas - in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal. (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Fire 40 Rockets at Israel before Cease-Fire - Anna Ahronheim
    Palestinians in Gaza fired about 40 rockets at Israel before the cease-fire came into effect at 2 a.m. Friday, with 90% falling in open areas and the others intercepted.
        IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said the IDF destroyed over 100 km. of Hamas' tunnel network and conducted 570 airstrikes targeting rockets and their launchers. The IDF severely damaged Hamas' ability to develop and produce weapons, destroying workshops and research centers designed to upgrade their weaponry.
        The IDF struck 10 government offices, 11 internal security targets and five banks that manage terror funds. Dozens of command rooms, some in high-rise buildings, were also destroyed. The IDF eliminated 25 senior officials and 200 operatives belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Army Achieved Its Goal in the Gaza War, But It Doesn't Look Like a Resounding Victory - Amos Harel
    Once more, Israel waged a campaign of deterrence in Gaza, not one of decisive victory. The aim was to inflict severe damage on Palestinian military capabilities, such that they will refrain from firing at Israel again. But the success of the campaign will be measured only over time.
        There is constant visible improvement in the range, numbers and abilities of Hamas' arsenal of rockets. At the same time, the IDF waged only a limited campaign of stand-off combat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Coronavirus in Israel: 33 New Cases on Thursday
    33 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, the Israel Health Ministry said Friday. There are 565 active cases with 112 people hospitalized. 61 people are in serious condition and 41 are on ventilators. There have been no deaths recorded for the past 3 days. (Jerusalem Post-Israel Ministry of Health-Hebrew)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • An Open Letter to My Palestinian Brethren - Bassem Eid
    I am writing to you, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, to open your eyes from the disinformation that your real captor, Hamas, is feeding you. Please do not let Hamas brainwash you into thinking it has "achieved" anything on our behalf. Hamas is not a social justice movement. It is a criminal gang that only cares about increasing its own power at all of our expense. Your lives start to improve only when the Hamas reign of terror finally ends. Only then will you actually taste the fruits of real peace with your Jewish cousins.
        Hamas incited violent riots at Al Aqsa by falsely claiming that the Jews are going to destroy Al Aqsa when that has never been true. It is Hamas that diverted much of the massive humanitarian supplies meant for you that Israel has been allowing in daily in hundreds of trucks. It is Hamas that has been stealing the cement and metal from the imports meant to build houses for you so that it could spend billions of dollars on a massive subterranean network of tunnels for its purposes only.
        When it came to war with the Israelis, Hamas deliberately used you as human shields, stationing rocket launchers and missile arsenals in your homes, apartments, office buildings and even hospitals - just as it did in 2014. I know from my sources in Gaza that as many as 25% of all rockets launched by Hamas crash within Gaza. That has resulted in Hamas killing as many as 50 of the civilians that it falsely blames on Israel.
        And when hostilities end, you can be sure that it won't be the people of Gaza but the Hamas gang that will be cutting the lucrative financial compensation deals with Qatar and European NGOs "to rebuild Gaza." Remember who got rich last time after the 2014 war with Israel?
        The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • Dennis Ross: As Long as Hamas Has Rockets, There Can Only Be a Short-Term Truce - Tovah Lazaroff
    "So long as Hamas can have rockets, then the prospect of changing anything in Gaza will be very limited and any calm is basically a short-term calm," former U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday. He urged the international community to link humanitarian aid to Hamas demilitarization, adding that a mechanism would be needed to ensure that humanitarian assistance was not diverted to Hamas for the reconstruction of its rocket arsenal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Die as Hostages of Hamas - Tarek Fatah
    The tragedy of the Palestinians is that they are being held hostage by a leadership that, decade after decade, does not learn the lessons of their accumulated defeats. Imagine if the Arabs had accepted the 1948 UN partition plan. Palestine would today be a modern state and the thousands who have died in the repeated folly of war as a jihad against the Yahud (Jews) would have had a chance to excel.
        Arabs tried to wipe out Israel from the map again in 1956, 1967 and 1973, losing every time despite invoking Allah as their inspiration. What sort of a political leadership keeps repeating the same mistake every few years and hopes that the dead bodies of the people they claim to represent will win them sympathy as they invoke victimhood? Now Hamas has made common cause with the Iranian ayatollahs hell bent on eradicating the last Jews in the region as an Islamic cause.
        Our holy book the Quran is explicit. Moses is quoted as saying to the Jews: "O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you." This verse alone should have settled the issue from an Islamic perspective. (Toronto Sun-Canada)
  • How Europe Became Pro-Israel - Benjamin Haddad
    Last week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the decision to fly the Israeli flag on official buildings in solidarity with the country facing Hamas rocket attacks on its cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Hamas rockets "terrorist attacks," and the German political class on the left and right has echoed her support for Israel. Green candidate Annalena Baerbock has called Israeli security "the national interest of the modern German state."
        In a 2003 poll, 59% of Europeans named Israel the gravest threat to world peace. However, the mood is changing as the Palestinian question has been deprioritized. It's rare today to find a European diplomat who would claim the Israeli-Palestinian issue is the key to unlocking all of the region's tensions, a view held almost religiously in European chancelleries in the 2000s.
        Many European diplomats privately acknowledge the Abraham Accords have added another nail in the coffin of Europe's focus on Israel-Palestine. At the same time, Israel's economic and tech performances have started to attract European interest.
        But the main change has come from European societies themselves. Facing terror attacks in the last few years, Europeans have increasingly associated Israel as a country facing similar challenges, the canary in the coalmine for European democracies. Aurore Berge, a member of the French National Assembly, said: "We have a common front with Israel: the struggle against Islamist terrorism. More than ever, it's what brings us closer and what explains the diplomatic shift in Europe."
        The writer is director of the Future Europe Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington. (Foreign Policy)
  • Amid Gaza Conflict, Global Response to Israel Not as Bad as TV and Social Media Portray - Herb Keinon
    British-American television comedian John Oliver delivered a vicious 10-minute attack on Israel on his show on Sunday, arguing that since more Palestinians are dying than Jews, Israel is wrong, immoral and guilty of war crimes. That's the equivalent of saying that because 500,000 German civilians were killed in World War II, as opposed to "only" 67,000 British civilians, the Nazis were right in that war and Britain was wrong.
        Social media amplifies these voices well beyond what they deserve. It would be a mistake to look at Oliver's rants, or the tweets of radical U.S. congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, as representative of where Israel stands today in the world. When it comes to the reaction of governments to Israel's campaign against Hamas, Israel's situation is better this time than during any of the previous rounds with Hamas in Gaza.
        President Joe Biden and many other world leaders have given Israel the "critical time we needed" to carry out this operation, said former National Security Council head Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror. Biden gave unstinting support to Israel for its right to defend itself, and blocked three different UN Security Council statements calling for an immediate halt to the fighting without mentioning Hamas or the rockets from Gaza. "The Americans...understand we are talking about a terrorist organization that crossed all redlines, opened fire on Israeli cities."
        Aviv Shiron, who served as Israel's ambassador to the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, said that in comparison with the past, "the international pressure this time is less significant and massive....The collateral damage [in Gaza] is less...and as a result, pressure coming from various governments is less....When you fire on Jerusalem, as opposed to Sderot, it is perceived differently in the world."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • After a Mob Looted My Hotel, My Arab Friends Are Helping Me Rebuild - Evan Fallenberg
    Nearly 30 years after I moved to Israel from Ohio, I bought a dilapidated 300-year-old Ottoman ruin in the ancient Mediterranean city of Acre filled with an entire neighborhood's junk. In just 20 months, I was able to turn the pile of rocks into a tiny, exquisite boutique hotel called Arabesque.
        In truth, I did not think much about the fact that I am Jewish and my neighbors are Arab Muslims and Christians; I assumed that if I were a good neighbor, I would receive good neighborliness in return.
        Arabesque blossomed and we became part of the community in the town's Old City, attending weddings and funerals and iftar meals during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Our guests invariably marveled at the welcome of our staff (2/3 Arab, 1/3 Jewish). I crowed incessantly about the beauty of our lives in Acre.
        On the night of May 12, an angry Arab mob breached the great, heavy front doors of Arabesque. I saw the damage the next morning. Every piece of glass, ceramic or porcelain that could be broken was smashed, furniture was dismantled, mirrors shattered, televisions and air conditioners ripped to pieces. My 95-year-old grand piano was turned on its side. Sinks were cut in half, electrical appliances in the kitchen bashed in, art on the walls flung in every direction.
        Yet in the days that followed, I was buoyed by the extraordinary outpouring of support and love and encouragement from my Arab friends and neighbors. They told us: We will clean up with you. We will donate. We will stay in the hotel when you reopen. For many people, the death of Arabesque means admitting Jews and Arabs cannot live together. For so many people, including us, that is not a possibility. The writer teaches at Bar-Ilan University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. (NBC News)

Hamas Targets Civilians, Israel Targets Terrorists - Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan (Twitter)

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the UN General Assembly on Thursday:
  • We see an attempt to create a moral equivalence between Israel, a democracy that seeks peace & abides by international law, and a murderous terrorist organization that is committing the double war crime of firing at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
  • Let me share some truths: Hamas targets civilians. Israel targets terrorists.
    Israel makes efforts to avoid civilian causalities. Hamas makes efforts to increase civilian casualties.
    Israel uses missiles to protect children. Hamas uses children to protect missiles.
  • This is not a war between Israel & the people of Gaza. This is not a war between Israel & the Palestinians. This is a war only between Israel & Hamas. We will never apologize for defending citizens, even if some here might be happy to see a higher number of dead Jews.
  • Israel did everything to de-escalate the situation. Our efforts were met with rockets on Jerusalem. You cannot fire at our capital & then want a cease-fire.
  • If this institution strengthens Hamas, it will make the possibility of Hamas replacing the PA much more likely and eliminate the chance of future dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • The demonization of Israel in the international arena, spurred on by members of this assembly such as Turkey that use anti-Semitic tropes, is encouraging sickening anti-Semitic attacks. Never has there been a clearer example of the fact that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
  • The State of Israel will always do whatever is necessary to defend our people and we will do so while continuing to protect human lives and aspiring to peace with all of our neighbors.