July 12, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Assad Restricting Movement of Iranian Militias in Syria (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is redeploying military forces in Syria and restricting the movement of Iranian forces, Israel's Walla news reported, citing a top security official.
    The Iranians no longer have access to anywhere they want in Syria, the official added.
    While Iran continues to smuggle weapons to Syria, it is in a more limited manner now due to fears of Israeli strikes and the targeting of Iranian officers.

Rocket and Drone Attacks Target U.S. Personnel in Iraq and Syria - Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters)
    U.S. diplomats and troops in Iraq and Syria were targeted in three rocket and drone attacks in 24 hours, U.S. and Iraq officials said on Wednesday, including at least 14 rockets hitting an Iraqi air base hosting U.S. forces, wounding two American service members.
    Analysts believed they were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.

Activists Gather in Washington to Protest the Rise of Anti-Semitism - Omri Nahmias (Jerusalem Post)
    "No Fear - A rally in solidarity with the Jewish people," was held at the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol building on Sunday, supported by dozens of Jewish organizations.
    Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, said, "None of us should need to be at a rally against anti-Semitism in 2021, but we do need to be here because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks, and symbols of hatred against our people."

Palestinian Authority Introduces New System for Payments to Terrorists and their Families (MEMRI)
    On July 6, 2021, the Palestinian Authority announced a new system for disbursing payments to terrorists and their families involving ATMs at PA post offices, bypassing the previous system involving banks, after Israel define the recipients' bank accounts as "terrorist property" subject to expropriation.

Behind the Citizenship Law Controversy - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    On March 31, 2002, a suicide bombing at the Matza restaurant in Haifa killed 16 Israelis, including three fathers with their children.
    The bomber, Shadi Tubasi, who lived in the West Bank, was an Israeli citizen due to his Israeli Arab mother and had freedom of movement.
    Before Israel's citizenship law was amended to revoke citizenship from Palestinians who had married Israeli Arabs, dozens of Palestinian terrorists used their Israeli citizenship to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Israel.
    This is the background for the order that has been renewed annually since 2003, which revokes citizenship from Palestinians who married Israeli Arabs.

Israel Provides Medical Supplies to Nepal (Himalayan Times-Nepal)
    A special flight of Nepal Airlines on Thursday brought medical equipment and supplies including ventilators, oxygen concentrators, masks, PPEs and coveralls provided by Israel.

Israeli Company Installs Water Generator in Navajo Community (JNS)
    Israel's Watergen has installed a GEN-M water generator that creates high-quality drinking water from the air in the Hard Rock community of the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
    Nearly 10,000 families across Navajo Nation lack access to running water.
    The GEN-M produces up to 211 gallons of purified drinking water per day.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Supreme Court Upholds Jewish State Law - Josef Federman
    In a 10-1 decision, Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a law that defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people - rejecting claims that it discriminates against minorities. The court ruled that the law "did not negate Israel's democratic character" outlined in other laws. Proponents of the 2018 law claimed the legislation merely enshrined Israel's existing Jewish character.
        The court said "equal rights are granted to all citizens of the state, including minority groups." It said the right to national self-determination "does not deny recognized personal or cultural rights." Israel's Arab citizens have the right to vote and are well-represented in many professions. (AP)
  • Israel Responds to U.S. Criticism of Demolition of Terrorist Murderer's Home - Rina Bassist
    In response to U.S. criticism of the demolition of the West Bank home of convicted Palestinian murderer Muntasir Shalabi, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday: "The Prime Minister appreciates and respects the U.S. government. At the same time, he acts only in accordance with considerations for the State of Israel's security, and to protect the lives of Israeli citizens."  (Al-Monitor)
        See also Father of Israeli Murder Victim Shocked at U.S. Criticism of Razing Killer's Home
    Elisha Guetta, father of Yehuda Guetta, 19, who was murdered in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank on May 2 by Palestinian Muntasir Shalabi, said his family was "shocked that the U.S. is condemning the demolition of [the home of] my son's murderer and is supporting a terrorist who arrived from the U.S. to carry out a vicious shooting terror attack against innocent Jewish students. It would be expected that the U.S., which has often been the victim of terrorism, would stand with terror victims rather than with their murderers."  (Times of Israel)
  • Iran's Foreign Reserves Collapsed from $122 Billion in 2018 to $4 Billion in 2020
    According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released in April 2021, Iran's foreign exchange reserves had regressed to $4 billion by the end of 2020 from $122 billion in 2018, when the U.S. withdrew from the Iran deal. The drop in oil prices and the fall of Iran's oil exports by up to 70-80% due to U.S. sanctions have hastened the decline of its foreign exchange reserves.
        In addition, Iran suffers from capital flight overseas. According to a report of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, in the last three years, the cash outflow to third countries by Iranian citizens to purchase property or start an enterprise is equal to $100 billion. (Center for Iranian Studies-Turkey)
  • Report: Palestinians List Preconditions for Restarting Talks with Israel
    The Palestinian Authority has prepared an extensive list of demands to present to the U.S. as a precondition for renewal of talks with Israel, Israel's Channel 12 reported on Sunday. The PA seeks the reopening of Orient House and other Palestinian institutions in eastern Jerusalem that have been closed since 2001. It also seeks to reduce Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, cease the removal of Arab squatters in Jerusalem neighborhoods, end Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, and permit Palestinians to obtain Israeli citizenship through marriage to Israeli Arabs. (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Deduct $180 Million from Palestinian Authority over Payments to Terrorists - Lahav Harkov
    Israel's security cabinet on Sunday authorized the deduction of the amount the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA. The National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing in the Defense Ministry reported that the PA paid $180 million in 2020 to support terrorism.
        Every month, the PA pays convicted terrorists and the families of those killed while committing acts of terrorism. Terrorists receive more, depending on their prison sentence. That means the greater the severity of the crime, i.e., the more Israelis killed and wounded, the more they receive. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA Calls Israeli Deduction over Payments to Terrorists "Theft" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Secretly Met Jordan's King Abdullah - Jonathan Lis
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett secretly met recently with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, where the two leaders agreed to refresh Israeli-Jordanian relations. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli, Egyptian Foreign Ministers Meet in Brussels - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid underscored the need for Hamas to release the Israeli hostages held in Gaza, when he met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Brussels on Sunday. Egypt is holding indirect talks between Israel and Hamas to broker a ceasefire deal that would include the release of the remains of two soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza war and the release of two Israeli citizens captive there. Also at issue is a mechanism to prevent the Hamas seizure for military purposes of humanitarian aid and funds. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli, Moroccan Officials Hold Talks in Rabat
    The Director-General of Political Affairs at the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, Fouad Yazourh, held talks last week with his Israeli counterpart, Alon Ushpiz, who was on a working visit to Morocco at the head of an Israeli delegation. The two officials reviewed ways to foster cooperation in political, economic, and cultural fields. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Falsehood of "Ethnic Cleansing" by Israel - Dore Gold
    Israel's adversaries have repeatedly charged that it was responsible for war crimes during its recent conflicts with Hamas, and have asserted that ethnic cleansing had been Israeli policy since 1948. Yet leading Israeli historian Prof. Benny Morris has noted that the Haganah's war plan at the time did not seek to expel the Palestinians. The plan only called for the expulsion of the inhabitants of Arab villages that actually attacked and fought the Jews. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Arabs who did not attack Jews remained in the State of Israel.
        Unfortunately, recent cases of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East are completely ignored by many of the same critics. In the recent war in Syria, Iranian troops and their surrogate forces have been moving into Sunni villages and expelling their residents. They are then bringing in the families of Shiite troops from Afghanistan and Pakistan and giving them the abandoned homes. No one is saying anything.
        The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (N-12 [Hebrew], 8July2021)
  • Some Care about Palestinians Only When They Can Blame Israel - Simone Rodan-Benzaquen
    The situation in Gaza has only deteriorated since Hamas violently overthrew the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007 and installed an Islamist regime that not only terrorizes Israeli civilians but also oppresses the Palestinians it governs. As for President Abbas, he has not turned out to be the champion of freedom and democracy some had hoped for.
        In recent weeks, thousands have protested across the West Bank as Palestinian civil society activists and journalists have been intimidated and arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces. Yet the traditional champions of the Palestinian cause in the West, who vehemently protested Israel's actions in Gaza during the most recent conflict with Hamas, have remained silent.
        Why do individuals who identify themselves as supporters of the Palestinian people have this incredible blind spot? How can we explain the lack of interest in human rights when Israel is not involved? What is at play has less to do with the world of politics than with the world of psychology, and less to do with Israel than with those obsessed with Israel.
        The writer is Managing Director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) Europe. (Newsweek)
  • West Point Scholar Says IDF Strike on Gaza Building Housing Foreign Media Was Legal - Michael N. Schmitt
    On May 15, 2021, the IDF destroyed the Al Jalaa Tower in Gaza, which housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices. The IDF said Hamas "gathered intelligence for attacks against Israel, manufactured weapons and positioned equipment to hamper IDF operations" from the building. The IDF warned occupants by phone that an attack was planned and afforded them an hour to evacuate; as a result, there were no casualties.
        So long as the Israeli assertion that Hamas used the Al Jalaa Tower for military purposes is accurate, the building qualifies as a lawful military objective that may be attacked. The IDF Military Advocate General's Corps' international law specialists undoubtedly played a key role in the planning and approval of the operation, as they do in all IDF military operations. Based on information presently available, the strike complied with the law of armed conflict.
        The writer, a Distinguished Scholar at the U.S. Military Academy, is also Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the U.S. Naval War College. (Lieber Institute-West Point)

  • While extremism on the right has dominated the public conversation for much of the past five years, right now the challenge is also rising among certain elements of the far left.
  • Over the past several months, we've witnessed a series of incidents in which progressive activism, often displayed as pro-Palestinian advocacy, has morphed into single-minded anti-Israel aggression - and sometimes outright anti-Semitism.
  • Perhaps most disturbing is the inflammatory rhetoric coming from elected officials, including some members of Congress who have made spurious claims about Israel's actions and pushed a narrative that falsely accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, systematically murdering Palestinian children, or of somehow being an apartheid state.
  • Vandalizing synagogues and attacking Jews to register dissatisfaction with Middle East affairs isn't activism; it's anti-Semitism. Demonizing Zionism as a concept represents a kind of anti-Jewish racism. Excluding Jews from political coalitions or public activities is discrimination, plain and simple.
  • It is imperative that leaders from all corners of society clearly, forcefully, and unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism - full stop. And it's even more important and meaningful to do so when the hate happens to come from their own camp.

    The writer is National Director of ADL (the Anti-Defamation League).

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