October 21, 2021

In-Depth Issues:

The Threat to Israel from Precision-Guided Munitions - John Hannah (Foreign Policy)
    Hizbullah's order of battle includes a growing number of precision-guided munitions (received courtesy of Iran) capable of accurately striking Israel's most critical targets.
    Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization and a preeminent missile expert, has a chilling presentation on the all but existential threat posed by precision-guided munitions to small states.
    Rubin uses Greece as an example, but it's obvious he's really talking about Israel.
    Rubin suggests there are roughly 30 facilities in all of Greece that allow modern society to function - systems for water, fuel, electricity, sea and air transport, and communications.
    Rubin makes the point that with fewer than 300 precision-guided munitions, an adversary could quickly make life unviable for Greece's 10 million citizens.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).
    See also Video: The Evolution of Iran's Precision Guided Missile Threat - Dr. Uzi Rubin (JINSA)

Swedish Foreign Minister: Corruption an Obstacle to Economic Support for Palestinian Authority - Mohammad Al-Kassim (Media Line)
    One of the Palestinian Authority's biggest European backers is calling out the PA for widespread corruption.
    A Swedish radio station quoted Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Tuesday as saying: "The corruption that pervades Palestine is an obstacle to providing economic support."
    There have been numerous accusations that PA President Mahmoud Abbas rewards officials who are close to him; for example, close advisors and top officials, or their children, have been appointed to top positions in Palestinian embassies, diplomatic missions and in the prosecutor's office in Ramallah.
    A high-ranking PA official and one of Abbas' closest confidants reportedly benefits financially by taking a cash cut from every work permit issued for Palestinians to work in Israel.
    Attorney Moien Odeh told Media Line that "corruption stories of senior PA officials, their families and relatives were well known by the Palestinians, but recently these stories started going out to the international community."
    A recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 83% of Palestinians believe there is corruption in PA institutions.
    The survey found a record-high 78% who called on Abbas to resign.

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New European Survey Finds Anti-Semitism, Anti-Israel Bias - Andras Kovacs and Gyorgy Fischer (Action and Protection League-Belgium)
    The pan-European Action and Protection League surveyed anti-Semitic prejudice in 16 EU countries between December 2019 and January 2020.
    On average, respondents in Greece agreed with traditional anti-Semitic prejudices and opinions in an exceptionally high proportion. Romania appears to be the second most anti-Semitic country.
    Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks and Austrians also accepted anti-Semitic statements at a significantly higher rate than the European average.
    In contrast, very few in the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK accept traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes.
    Responses showing sympathy for Israel were given by 23-35%, with 35% supporting the statement that Israel is an important ally in the fight against terrorism.
    The average rate of responses in favor of Israel is highest in Romania, the Czech Republic and Germany, and lowest in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK.
    Interestingly, in many countries where anti-Semitic responses are high, the proportion of sympathizers with Israel is also high, such as Poland and Romania.

Sally Rooney's Anti-Israel Stance Flows from a Long Irish Tradition - Madeleine Spence (The Sunday Times-UK)
    In May, Palestinian authorities raised a flag outside Ramallah's city hall to celebrate one of its longest-standing allies: the Republic of Ireland.
    People shouldn't have been surprised when novelist Sally Rooney announced that she would not allow an Israeli publisher to translate her latest novel into Hebrew because of her support for a boycott of Israeli companies.
    For decades, Ireland has been an ally of the Palestinians.
    The IRA felt a kindred spirit in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), whom they saw as fellow freedom-fighters.
    Today, huge murals in Derry, Northern Ireland, use the backdrop of a Palestinian flag.
    In the first half of the 20th century it was the Zionist cause that tugged at the sympathies of the Irish; here was a group who had also known great suffering and the pain of colonial oppression.
    But after the creation of Israel in 1948, support shifted to the Palestinians.
    The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign boasts 15 branches.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Drone Attack Targets U.S. Troops in Syria - Oren Liebermann
    A "deliberate and coordinated" attack utilizing drones targeted 200 American troops at the U.S. base at At-Tanf in southeastern Syria, close to the border with Jordan, on Wednesday, U.S. Central Command reported. There were no injuries in the attack. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Iranian-backed Shia militias in the region have frequently targeted U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq. (CNN-Washington Post)
  • Australian Parliamentary Committee Recommends Full Banning of Hamas - Gareth Narunsky
    The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) last week recommended the government expand the listing of Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades to include all of Hamas. It made a similar recommendation in regard to Hizbullah in June.
        Committee Chair Senator James Paterson said it was clear from the evidence that all of Hamas met the definition of a terrorist organization. "The expert evidence provided to the committee overwhelmingly rejected the idea that Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operates independently from the rest of the organization....In addition, leaders of Hamas have repeatedly made statements which meet the advocacy test for terrorist listing, including direct incitement of acts of violence against Jewish people."  (Australian Jewish News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Ambassador Calls on UN to Hold PA, Iran Accountable - Ariel Kahana
    At the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan asked Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour: "Are you not ashamed to come before the Security Council when your government is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists? How can you speak about [Israeli] aggression when your leaders and your schools glorify the murder of Jews and incite terrorism?" He asked Mansour how he could speak about human rights "while your police forces are beating to death real civil society activists."
        Erdan continued, "Unfortunately, rather than pushing peace forward, the Security Council's debates on the situation in the Middle East only seem to perpetuate the conflict....These biased debates give the Palestinians the illusion that they will never be held accountable for their crimes and that all of their radical demands could be granted by the international community. The unbalanced discussions only serve to strengthen Palestinian rejectionism."
        Turning his attention to Iran's menacing conduct, Erdan said, "Iran continues to spread death, destruction and instability as it seeks to advance Shiite hegemony and export terror around the world. While some members of the Security Council remain stuck in the mud of their anti-Israel obsession, the real threat to global security is quickly advancing. Iran...is using the diplomatic talks to buy time, so that it can enrich uranium to near weapons-grade levels while gaining nuclear know-how that can never be reversed."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Riot outside Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday - Stuart Winer
    Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem hurled stones at police and passing city buses on Tuesday in rioting at the Old City's Damascus Gate. Bus driver Yehezkel Shmueli told Channel 12 he shouted at passengers to lie on the floor as the vehicle came under a hail of stones. "People saw death coming. It was a war zone." He told Channel 13 he was hit with glass in his face as a stone shattered a window. A spokesperson for the Egged bus service said dozens of buses have been damaged over the past few weeks due to Palestinian stone-throwing in the area. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran Won't Stop until It Has a Nuclear Weapon - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is led by an ardent ideological regime whose leaders speak incessantly about the cabal of Zionists and Jews who control America and plot against the Islamic revolution. Iran won't try to join a global community that is designed and run by its enemies. Ayatollah Khamenei hasn't spent billions and endured sanctions only to get close to a nuclear weapon. They will build the bomb as soon as they can and justify it afterward.
        To counter the West, building armies, armadas and air forces is expensive and requires too much foreign input; relying on proxies is precarious. Hegemony on the cheap can come only from the atomic bomb. No force in history has proved more powerful than self-delusion. Khamenei believes he is on the cusp of getting even.
        Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former Iran targets officer in the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Is a War with Iran over Nuclear Weapons Inevitable? - Jason Killmeyer
    The Iran nuclear deal was only ever limited to slowing a nuclear weapons breakout. Since 2018, it has simply not been that big a factor in Iran's relations, even if the deal consumed much of the talking time of diplomats. The U.S. seeks to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon but is unwilling to undergo the cost and risk of the military confrontation required to prevent it. The maximum pressure approach pursued by the Trump administration in conjunction with Israel wasn't sufficient either. It was useful in raising the cost to Iran's nuclear weapons pursuit, but not in preventing the end-state.
        Sabotage will not be sufficient to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. These actions produce setbacks, but they do not deter. Iran's dogged pursuit in spite of these very high costs makes clear the singular and ultimate aim of the regime: to join the club of nuclear-armed nations. The success of North Korea's nuclear program in forestalling the threat of regime change creates a precedent. It makes it clear to Iran that the rational path forward is to pursue - and demonstrate - a nuclear weapons capability.
        The only credible deterrent to that occurring is Israel. The hard power calculation underlying the Middle Eastern order is the conflict between Iran and its regional proxies and the Israeli military and intelligence services. As the U.S. explores - with Israel - the options for constraining Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it needs to move beyond the concept of raising the cost to the regime of their pursuit. Iran has already priced in that pushback and considers it acceptable. (1945)

  • Other Issues

  • Saudi Arabia Is No Longer a Kingdom of Hate - Amb. Dore Gold
    Twenty years ago, there were huge multinational charities in Saudi Arabia supporting an extreme form of Islam and providing enormous sums to jihadist organizations around the world. I wrote a New York Times bestseller, Hatred's Kingdom, documenting their support for Hamas, a Palestinian group that launched suicide bombings in Israeli cities.
        However, in 2021, Saudi Arabia is not giving a dime to support Hamas or any other terrorist organizations. Today the main countries funding Hamas are the Islamic Republic of Iran and Qatar.
        In 2001, the Muslim World League, headquartered in the Saudi kingdom, was spreading the ideology that supported the wave of global terror. Yet in 2019, the same Muslim World League issued the Charter of Mecca calling for interreligious tolerance rather than jihad. A year later its secretary general took a delegation to Auschwitz. Since Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) became Crown Prince in 2017, important reforms have reshaped key elements of Saudi Arabia.
        The way forward is for like-minded Saudis and Israelis to draw together to meet the challenge from Iran and its proxies. Historically, Jews and Muslims have been cousins who surmounted their differences. We must embrace that history again and set the stage for a very different Middle East.
        The writer, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as Israel's ambassador to the UN and director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Reaction-UK)
  • A U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem Will Redivide the City - Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch
    While President Biden is talking about reopening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to make it easier for the Palestinian population to receive consular services, the Palestinian Authority sees it as redividing Jerusalem, an act that would violate American law. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, enacted in 1995, clearly states: "Jerusalem should remain an undivided city...recognized as the capital of the State of Israel."
        The PA sees opening the consulate in Jerusalem as a rejection of this statute. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stated on Sep. 14, 2021: "The message from this [Biden] administration is that Jerusalem is not one [united Israeli] city....We want the American Consulate to constitute the seed of a U.S. embassy in the State of Palestine."
        Itamar Marcus is director of Palestinian Media Watch, where Maurice Hirsch is head of legal strategies. (Jerusalem Post)
  • BDS Supporters Display a Strange, Selective Animus Against the Jewish State - Max Boot
    As Arab states have increasingly accepted Israel's legitimacy and are doing business with it, Western leftists increasingly deny Israel's legitimacy and refuse to do business with it. Critics of Israel lose perspective if they imagine that it can simply remove all its security forces from the West Bank and lift all its border controls on Gaza without endangering its own citizens.
        Israel evacuated its civilians and troops from Gaza in 2005, and the result was not peace but the rise of a genocidal Hamas regime that seeks Israel's annihilation. A total Israeli pullout of Israeli forces in the West Bank would allow Palestinian armed groups there to gain access to more powerful weaponry and commit even worse atrocities.
        Anti-Israel activists should ask themselves why they're fine with at least 45 Muslim-majority states in the world - including notorious human rights violators such as Iran and Syria - but they refuse to accept the lone Jewish state?
        They should also ask themselves why they are more exercised by human rights violations committed by Israel, a liberal democracy, than by dictatorships that commit far more heinous offenses, such as China, which is carrying out crimes against humanity in both Xinjiang and Tibet, where Beijing is trying to erase an entire culture and religion. Yet there is no BDS movement targeting China. (Washington Post)
  • Israel's Boycotters Are Only Prolonging Conflict in the Middle East - Ian Austin
    It is surely ridiculous to believe that a book could be translated into Hebrew, but only if it is done in a way which complies with a boycott of Israel. Why would a publisher pay for the translation but not then sell it in the only country where the language is widely read? But that is exactly what author Sally Rooney appears to think.
        No one would say that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not important, but with 200 territorial disputes around the world, why do so many only seem to campaign against the world's only Jewish state, a tiny country of just nine million people? Books are routinely translated into Mandarin and sold in China, a country accused of genocide against the Uyghurs. Few object to cultural ties with Russia, where the government imprisons opponents at home and murders them abroad.
        It is a grotesque slur to call Holocaust survivors who escaped Europe to establish a refuge from centuries of pogroms or the Jews who fled persecution in Middle Eastern countries "settler colonialists." The Israel obsessives hold Israel to standards never applied to other countries but utter not a word about the genocidal terrorists of Hamas who are opposed to any peace agreement, want to wipe Israel off the map, and murder the Jews who live there.
        Lord Austin is a former Labour MP and chairs the anti-extremism campaign Mainstream. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Palestinian Textbooks Are Still Teaching Students to Hate Jews - Marcus Sheff
    A recent study by the Georg Eckert Institute (GEI), surveying PA textbooks, noted that while the PA includes values of human rights, the textbooks "do not apply these notions to Israel." Violence against civilians is characterized as "a legitimate means of resistance." In math and science exercises, Newton's Second Law of Gravity is taught using Palestinians attacking Israeli soldiers.
        Speaking about the GEI report, EU Parliament Vice-President Nicola Beer stated: "Depicting Jews as dangerous, demonizing them, perpetuating anti-Jewish prejudices is just upsetting. But reading about schoolbooks...glorifying terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, presenting cold-blooded violence against civilians, including a lot of children, as resistance leaves me speechless."
        Israeli students live under the constant trauma of murderous Hamas and Hizbullah rocket fire and the threat of the next Palestinian terror attack. But they are taught empathy, respect for the other, and to desire peace.
        The writer is CEO of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). (Forward)

  • Weekend Feature

  • Photos: 2,000-Year-Old Engraved Amethyst Seal Found in Jerusalem
    A 2,000-year-old amethyst seal engraved with what may be the earliest depiction of a plant used for incense in the Second Temple has been found at the foundation stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Thursday.
        The seal, designed to be worn as a ring, has an engraving of a bird next to a branch of the plant known as balsam. Researchers said the seal also depicts a thick branch with five fruits on it. (Times of Israel)

The American Consulate in Jerusalem - the Bottom Line - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The May 2018 proclamation by the U.S. formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel established a new bilateral legal situation that replaced the former policy of non-recognition, whereby the U.S. acknowledged the application of Israeli law in Jerusalem. The 2018 proclamation rendered the existence of an independent U.S. consulate in Jerusalem serving the Palestinian administration as redundant and incompatible with official U.S. policy.
  • The mutually accepted consular relationship between Israel and the U.S. is based on the 1963 Vienna Convention of Consular Relations. Article 4 of this convention determines that consular posts may only be established in the territory of the receiving state with that state's consent. Similarly, Articles 7 and 8 of the convention require that the exercise of consular functions vis-a-vis or on behalf of another state requires specific approval.
  • Opening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians, without Israel's prior consent and sanction, would be a flagrant breach of Article 4 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
  • In Article IX (5) of the 1995 Israel-PLO Interim Agreement (Oslo 2), the parties agreed that the Palestinian Authority will not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations. The same article provides for the possible establishment of "representative offices" by foreign states in the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority and would not require Israel's consent.
  • Only in this manner could the U.S. establish a mission to provide services to the Palestinian Authority and its population that would be compatible with U.S. policy, with American international law commitments, and that would not undermine U.S. commitments and proclamations.

    The writer, former legal counsel to Israel's foreign ministry, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.
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