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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
August 26, 2021
Progressive Democrats Blast Palestinians over Crackdown on Critics - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
Members of the "Squad" of progressive Democrats in the U.S., more commonly known for their criticism of Israel, have shifted their censure to the Palestinian Authority amid Ramallah's latest crackdown on rights activists and critics.
On Saturday, the PA arrested 30 demonstrators protesting the death of PA critic Nizar Banat, who was beaten to death by PA security officers in June.
A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. was "deeply disturbed" by the arrests and urged Ramallah to "conduct themselves in a professional manner, and authorities to strictly respect freedom of expression, the vital work of journalists, as well as the full rights of Palestinians to protest peacefully."
See also Foreign Press Association in Israel Condemns Palestinian Authority over Treatment of Washington Post Journalists (Foreign Press Association)
Pentagon Highlights Support for Replenishing Israel's Iron Dome Defense System (U.S. Defense Department)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Washington on Wednesday to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the strategic partnership and addressing regional security challenges together.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks highlighted U.S. support for replenishing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.
Taliban Takeover Is a Boon for Cash-Strapped Iran - Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
Iran this week restarted fuel exports to Afghanistan, with the Taliban providing critical dollars to the Iranian economy from its lucrative narcotics operations.
The arrangement enables the Taliban, who also face international sanctions, to purchase basic commodities. With the Taliban desperate for oil and short on other trading partners - and Iran in need of cash - trade is expected swiftly to rise.
Coronavirus in Israel: Number of Serious Cases Stabilizes - Ido Efrati (Ha'aretz)
According to Israel Health Ministry data released on Thursday, the number of serious coronavirus cases has begun to stabilize this week, as the number of fully vaccinated Israelis who suffer serious symptoms continues to decline.
See also Data Shows Success of Third Corona Shot - Rossella Tercatin (Jerusalem Post)
Israel's Channel 12 reported that the efficacy of the third corona vaccination was 95% against infection and 97% against serious symptoms after 16 days.
Palestinians Receive Coronavirus Vaccine from U.S. - Aaron Boxerman (Times of Israel)
500,000 coronavirus vaccines from the U.S. reached the Palestinians on Tuesday through the COVAX international vaccine initiative.
"We were pleased to provide 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to help save Palestinian lives," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on Tuesday.
300,000 doses are to remain in the West Bank, while 200,000 will be sent to Gaza, said PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila.
Lebanese Doctor Sentenced for Helping Palestinians Get Treatment in Israel - Phil Mercer (VOA News)
Dr. Jamal Rifi, a prominent physician in Australia's Lebanese Muslim community, says he has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia in Lebanon for working with members of Sydney's Jewish community to organize treatment for Palestinians in Israeli hospitals.
Muslim Brotherhood TV: We Want to Remove Israel from the Map (MEMRI-TV)
Turkey-based Egyptian TV host Sharif Abady said on the Muslim Brotherhood's Watan TV on Aug. 13, 2021:
"We want to get rid of Israel in its entirety, the whole entity....We want to completely remove all those people from the map. We want to remove Israel from the map."
Millions in Syria, Iraq Losing Access to Water - Bassem Mroue (AP)
Millions of people in Syria and Iraq are at risk of losing access to water and food amid rising temperatures and record low water levels due to lack of rainfall, international aid groups warned Monday.
Those affected include 5 million in Syria who are directly dependent on the Euphrates River, while in Iraq, loss of access to water from the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers threaten at least 7 million.
The drought is also disrupting electricity supplies as low water levels impact dams. Two dams in northern Syria, supplying power to 3 million people, face imminent closure.
Severe water shortages have also hit Lebanon, where more than 4 million people face critical water shortages.
Severe fuel shortages in Lebanon have also halted the work of thousands of private generators long relied on for electricity.
EU Delays PA Funding, Deepening Financial Crisis - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
The European Union, the largest single donor to the Palestinian Authority, has delayed this year's funding until October.
A PA official said that they were hoping to receive more than $200 million in foreign aid during the first six months of 2021, but had received less than $35 million.
The official said: "The Arab countries, as you know, have not given us one dollar in the past year. We are now relying on the Americans and Europeans."
Economic Recession in the West Bank May Provoke Palestinian Unrest - Danny Zaken (Globes)
The economic situation in the Palestinian Authority has been the most important factor in maintaining relative quiet in the territories in recent years.
The private sector expanded, agriculture developed (partly because of growing cooperation with Israeli farmers), and the number of Palestinians working in Israel rose to 130,000.
Towns in the Jenin, Tulkarm and Kalkilya areas saw income rise threefold due to Israel's Arabs regularly coming to shop there.
But the Covid pandemic has brought a serious slowdown, with employment of Palestinians within Israel cut by 30-40%.
The PA's GDP shrank by 11.5% in 2020, after modest rises in previous years, while unemployment has risen to 19% and double that among young people.
Meanwhile, the PA received $500 million in external aid in 2020, down 20% from 2019 and the lowest amount in years.
Israeli-Arab Swimmer Wins Gold Medal in Paralympics - Gadi Zaig (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli-Arab swimmer Iyad Shalabi, 34, won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2021 Paralympic Games on Wednesday in Tokyo.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog phoned to congratulate Shalabi, saying, "We are all so proud of you....It is a great honor you have brought to the State of Israel."
The Israeli Paralympic delegation in Tokyo includes 33 athletes competing in 11 sports.
Israel Aerospace Signs Radar Deal with German Navy - Danny Zaken (Globes)
Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a deal worth 200 million euros to supply new radars to the German Navy to modernize the sensor technology of its F124 air defense frigates.
"The Germans insisted on their need for radar that will provide a picture of the situation in the air and at sea and will warn about threats in both these theaters including long-range ballistic missile threats," said Eyal Shapira of the IAI's Elta division.
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The Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
The U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Will International Terrorism Now Be Empowered or Defeated? - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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