February 10, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Is Awash in Oil Money - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Iran's oil exports increased 40% in 2021 and the price of oil almost doubled. Iran's revenues from oil sales soared to $25 billion for the year.
    This is one of the reasons Iran has been procrastinating in recent months in talks on the nuclear deal.
    Israeli intelligence assesses that the chances of an agreement are slim. Even if some kind of deal is reached, it will be temporary and won't halt Iran's nuclear program.
    Iran's Oil Minister Javad Owji recently estimated that next month production will be restored to its level before the U.S. sanctions.
    China receives 75% of Iran's oil exports. Even the UAE purchased 12 million barrels of Iranian oil in 2021, contributing $600 million to the Iranian economy.
    The assessment of Israeli intelligence is that Iran, at least at this point, does not wish to manufacture nuclear weapons but does wish to be a nuclear threshold state - to be able to assemble nuclear weapons within a short time.
    In Israel, there is broad consensus that it has to try to prevent that.

Two Convicted in South Africa for Plotting Terror Attacks Against Jewish Targets - Bheki Simelane (Daily Maverick-South Africa)
    After almost six years in jail, Tony-Lee Thulsie and his brother Brandon-Lee pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to conduct terror attacks against foreign embassies and local Jewish interests in South Africa.
    Tony-Lee will serve five more years and Brandon-Lee two.

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Teen's Death Fuels Palestinian Authority Corruption Claims - Nida Ibrahim (Al Jazeera)
    Saleem Nawati, 16, was transferred from Gaza to the West Bank on Dec. 26 to receive treatment for leukemia.
    But the An-Najah National University Hospital in Nablus refused to admit him, citing a dispute with the government over unpaid hospital bills.
    Not one hospital in the West Bank agreed to receive him, Saleem's family told Al Jazeera, and he died on Jan. 9 at the Ministry of Health office in Ramallah as he was waiting to secure a hospital bed.
    Mohannad Nawati, Saleem's brother, said, "When Saleem went to the hospital, they refused to admit him, saying the PA has not paid its debts, but three other people were admitted - I am sure they had better connections and managed to get themselves in."

The Human Rights Violations No One Talks About - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    International human rights organizations intentionally and systematically ignore violations committed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
    A report issued on Jan. 29 by the International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights (ICSPR) found "grave violations and abuses" against Palestinians in the West Bank by the PA and its security forces in 2021.
    More than 200 Palestinians were arrested by PA security forces because of their political affiliation and for expressing their views in public. Dozens of Palestinian journalists were also targeted.
    "There is an official [PA] policy to undermine freedom of expression through detentions or attacks on journalists and activists," the report stated.

Hamas Tries to Recruit Israeli Arabs with Family in Gaza - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    Hamas has been trying to recruit Arab citizens of Israel who have one parent who was born in Gaza or Judea and Samaria for the purpose of terrorist attacks and intelligence gathering, according to the Israel Security Agency.
    In some cases, Hamas tried recruiting these individuals while they were visiting relatives in Gaza.
    ISA chief Ronen Bar noted that the descendants of those who benefited from Israel's "family reunification" policies were disproportionately involved in the riots in the Negev a month ago.

Palestinians Enter Gaza Border Zone and Set Fire to Truck - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    Three Palestinian men entered the Gaza border region on Wednesday and threw a firebomb at an empty Israeli civilian maintenance truck, setting it on fire, before running back, according to Palestinian media and the IDF.
    The Palestinians never crossed the recently completed border barrier.

Jordan to Increase Electricity Supply to Palestinian Authority (Jordan Times)
    The Ramah Electricity Station is expected to begin operating this summer to increase the electric power exported from Jordan to the Palestinian Authority from 40 to 80 megawatts, Director General of Jordan's National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) Amjad Rawashdeh said Tuesday.
    Such cooperation began in 2008 with Jericho receiving 26 megawatts from the Jordanian grid.

Anti-Jewish Hate Incidents Hit Record High in UK - Robert Booth (Guardian-UK)
    The Community Security Trust (CST) that monitors anti-Semitism in the UK recorded 2,255 incidents in 2021 including 173 violent assaults, a 34% increase from 1,684 incidents in 2020.
    "These hatreds boil away, taking any excuse to publicly burst out against Jews," said, Mark Gardner, the chief executive of CST.
    78 incidents were related to the Covid pandemic - from conspiracy theories about Jewish involvement in creating and spreading it, to wishing that Jewish people caught the virus and died from it.

2022 Survey on Anti-Semitism in France (American Jewish Committee)
    The AJC's 2022 Survey on Anti-Semitism in France found that 85% of French Jews say anti-Semitism is widespread in France today.
    74% of French Jews have been victims of anti-Semitic acts including physical violence (20%).
    45% ask their children to not tell others they are Jewish.

Why Accusing Jews of Exaggerating the Holocaust Is Anti-Semitic (World Jewish Congress)
    The accusation that Jews as a people or Israel as a state invented or exaggerated the Holocaust to serve their own purposes is an example of anti-Semitism related to Holocaust denial or distortion.
    Distortion of the Holocaust - the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II - refers to efforts to excuse or minimize the Holocaust; gross minimization of the number of victims; attempts to blame the Jews for causing their own genocide; and statements that cast the Holocaust as a positive historical event, such as suggesting that the Holocaust did not go far enough in accomplishing its goal.
    Holocaust distortion minimizes the role of the aggressors, trivializes the harm done, and shifts blame to the victims.

In Israel, Sport Is a Tool to Bring People Together - Ohad Zemet (Guardian-UK)
    A recent Guardian article stated that Israel uses sport as a "tool of repression."
    I wonder what Bibars Natcho, the Muslim captain of the Israeli soccer team, would think about this statement; or the Sports in Service of Peace program which enables Israeli and Palestinian children to play together to promote coexistence.
    The writer is spokesperson at the Israeli embassy in London.
    See also Guardian Invents New Anti-Israel Smear - Adam Levick (CAMERA-UK)
    The Guardian, one of the media outlets most attuned to uncovering "Zionist treachery," recently uncovered a new avenue by which the Jewish state hoodwinks the world: "Sportswashing."
    The article is based on the assumption that when Israel hosts one of the largest LGBT parades on the globe, deploys medical rescue teams to save lives in distant countries, sends artists and entertainers to perform abroad, and hosts international sporting events, the country is motivated by some sinister scheme.
    The risible "sportswashing" charge reveals the moral and intellectual impoverishment of those whose politics are organized around hostility to the Jewish state.

Israel Approves First Drone for Civilian Airspace - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel's Transport Ministry has approved the Hermes Starliner drone manufactured by Elbit Systems to operate in civilian airspace.
    Canada and Switzerland already use the Hermes Starliner for intelligence and reconnaissance, maritime environmental protection, and forest fire monitoring.

Israel to Provide Armor for Spanish Combat Vehicles (Army Recognition)
    Plasan Sasa from Israel signed a contract in November to provide its advanced armor package for 348 new Spanish Army VCR Dragon combat vehicles.
    This will include Plason's innovative, lightweight RPG protection and its unique mine protection solution for underbelly and IED side blast.

Israel's Technion Shares Academic Knowledge in Wikipedia Entries (Jerusalem Post)
    The Technion's Social Hub and the Center for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching has partnered with NGO "Wikimedia" to promote the writing of Wikipedia articles by students to spread free knowledge in the fields of science, technology and mathematics.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Unveils Long-Range Missile as Vienna Nuclear Talks Resume - Parisa Hafezi
    Iran unveiled a new locally-made missile with a range of 1,450 km. on Wednesday, a day after Tehran and Washington resumed indirect talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, says its ballistic missiles have a range of up to 2,000 km. (1,200 miles) and are capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases in the region.
        The new missile, named "Kheibar Shekan" (Kheibar buster), refers to an ancient Jewish oasis called Kheibar in the Arabian Peninsula that was overrun by Muslim warriors in the 7th century. "Iran will continue advancing its ballistic missile program," said Iran's armed forces chief of staff Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri. (Reuters)
  • Sudanese Envoy in Israel to Promote Ties
    A Sudanese envoy was in Israel on Wednesday in order to promote ties between the two countries, a source with knowledge of the visit said. (Reuters)
  • Turkey Accused of Giving ISIS a "Safe Zone" in Syria - Omar Abdulkader
    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a rebel group of mainly Kurdish fighters that the U.S. relied on for years to lead the ground war against ISIS in Syria, says Turkey is allowing ISIS a "safe zone" in northern Syria. ISIS commander Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi blew himself up as U.S. forces approached his home last week in Atmeh, a Syrian town less than two miles from the Turkish border. ISIS' previous leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed less than three miles from Turkey.
        "Many Daesh [ISIS] and al-Qaeda leaders are still alive, protected by Turkey in occupied areas of northeast and northwest Syria," SDF official Farhad Shami told CBS News. "He was protected between three Turkish military bases."  (CBS News)
  • German Foreign Minister: Germany Has a "Special Historical Responsibility for Israel's Security"
    Prior to her departure for the Middle East, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday: "I have deliberately made Israel my first port of call....We stand by our special historical responsibility for Israel's security....[We have] an obligation never to allow our responsibility for the terrors of the Holocaust to be forgotten."  (German Foreign Office)
        See also German Foreign Minister Visits Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem (Deutsche Welle-Germany)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Three Armed Palestinians Responsible for Shooting Attacks Killed in West Bank - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Three armed Palestinians who carried out at least four shooting attacks against IDF troops and civilians in the West Bank over the past two weeks were killed by Israeli security forces on Tuesday in their car in the center of Nablus. Israeli sources said they were members of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (Ynet News-Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Strikes Syrian Army Targets after Anti-aircraft Missile Launched into Israel - Yaniv Kubovich
    An anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria into Israel on Tuesday triggered an Israeli counter-strike on a Syrian radar facility and anti-aircraft batteries in the Damascus area, including the one that launched missiles at Israeli planes, killing one Syrian soldier. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Shrapnel from Syrian Missile Found in West Bank - Elior Levy
    A large chunk of metal shrapnel from a Syrian SA-5 interceptor rocket that was fired into Israel was found near the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday. Palestinian security sources said the shrapnel landed in an open field but could have caused much damage had it crashed in a residential area. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Is Taking Turkey Ties Slowly - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday said "things are happening very slowly and gradually" regarding Turkish President Erdogan's renewed interest in strengthening ties with Israel. A senior diplomatic source said, "In today's Middle East, we have to be playing on the entire court, because there is no regional police officer," referring to American attention being focused elsewhere. "There's a great expectation from Israel to enter this vacuum."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also 16 on Trial in Turkey Charged with Spying for Israel
    16 people, including Palestinians and Syrians, went on trial in Istanbul on Tuesday, charged with "political and military" espionage on behalf of Israel, Turkish media reported. The defendants were arrested in October by Turkey's national intelligence agency, MIT. (AP-ABC News)
  • Hundreds of Jewish Organizations Denounce UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry Against Israel - Dan Lavie
    472 Jewish organizations and over 4,000 individuals wrote to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet demanding an end to a probe by the UN Human Rights Council's International Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Israel.
        Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff called the probe a "one-sided farce" that "again demonstrates the clear anti-Israel bias in the UN body. The Jewish and pro-Israel communities are unified in their abhorrence of the [COI] process and strongly urge United Nations leadership to ensure that the commission does not present a report that will unfairly criticize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Responding to the Amnesty International Report on Israel

  • There's Apartheid in the Holy Land, but Not in Israel - Prof. Eugene Kontorovich
    There are reasons to be concerned about the emergence of apartheid in the Holy Land but not the ones Amnesty cites. The defining characteristic of apartheid - what distinguishes it from generic racial discrimination - is the rigid separation of groups in public spaces and positions of power. Thus, a sign of apartheid could be a government policy that bans real-estate sales or transactions to the disfavored group.
        Apartheid is suggested by policies that carve out massive zones where the disfavored group cannot live or work, create ethnically homogenous zones, and restrict the disfavored group to ghettos. One might consider it apartheid if a government enforced a policy of extrajudicial execution of members of a disfavored group.
        All these policies are practiced in the West Bank and Gaza by the Palestinian Authority government against Jews. The "Israel apartheid" meme is not just a lie, it is an inversion of the truth. In all areas controlled by Israel, Jews and Arabs mix openly. Yet all the areas under PA jurisdiction are Jew-free. Palestinian law makes selling land to Jews a crime punishable by death, often without trial. The South African government used death squads against blacks. The Palestinian government pays terrorists for killing Jews.
        In all the territories controlled by the Palestinian government, Jews are prevented from worshipping at their holy sites, despite explicit provisions in the Oslo Accords requiring the Palestinian Authority to protect such worship.
        The writer is a professor at George Mason University Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ireland Will Not Follow Amnesty International in Using "Apartheid" in Relation to Israel
    Irish Prime Minister Micheal Marin has said he will not use the term "apartheid" in describing Israel's policies against Palestinians following the publication of an Amnesty International report that does so. Martin said using the term would not "add anything right now."  (The Journal-Ireland)
  • Amnesty International Spreads the Virus of Anti-Semitism - Clifford D. May
    The UN has no problem with nations declaring themselves Arab (the Arab League has 23 members) or Islamic (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members). Zionism merely holds that the Jewish people, like other peoples, have a right to self-determination. Yet Jews living in a slice of their ancient homeland - you've heard of the Judean Hills, the Judean Desert and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem - practicing the same religion and speaking the same language as did their ancestors, are to be regarded as racists, according to Amnesty International.
        To anyone who has visited Israel, it is obvious that Israelis come in all colors, including Black Jews from Ethiopia and Brown Jews from India. Most Israeli Jews are of Middle Eastern and Northern African descent. Israel is not segregated: not its universities, hospitals, judiciary, beaches or government.
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)
  • Amnesty's Israel Report Has Dangerous Implications - Sharon Nazarian
    Amnesty International's new report goes beyond criticizing Israeli policies by presenting the world's only Jewish and democratic state itself as illegitimate, immoral and at fault from its very inception. By choosing to examine Israel through the inaccurate lens of race, using extreme and unsubstantiated language such as ethnic cleansing, Amnesty is clearly not seeking to constructively inform or even challenge Israeli policies.
        Amnesty undermines efforts to create a better future for Israelis and Palestinians living side-by-side. After all, how can a malevolent and discredited Israel be part of a solution? The report fuels the false dream of extremists that somehow Israel will be wiped off the map and replaced by a single, Palestinian state, making it harder for moderate Palestinian leaders to pursue the path of negotiations. Attacking a country's legitimacy, erasing an entire people's connection to their historic homeland, is beyond the pale.
        The writer is Senior Vice President, International Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League. (Forward)
  • The Amnesty Report Against Israel Is the Same Old Tired Propaganda - Samuel Hyde
    I grew up in South Africa. The South African Afrikaners were Dutch colonizers who eventually took over a country to which they had no claim. Nothing in South Africa's apartheid system remotely resembles Israel, where Jews are indigenous to the land.
        Much of the Amnesty report draws on the work of watchdog groups based within Israel, none of which would have even been able to operate under a true apartheid regime. In apartheid South Africa, everything that challenged its system was deemed illegal, and tens of thousands of people were imprisoned for such acts.
        Amnesty relied on information provided by at least four of the six NGOs designated by Israel as terror organizations for their close ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (Newsweek)
  • A Proper Response to Amnesty - Mitchell Bard
    While a multitude of analyses discredited the Amnesty International report on Israel, the bigger impact I'm afraid is to give it more publicity than it would have gotten otherwise. There is nothing new when the anti-Israel propaganda machine "investigates" Israel and publicizes its preordained conclusions. These groups all know they have no impact on Israeli policy. What was the point of Amnesty writing a report, other than attracting a few days of publicity and a hook for fundraising?
        The NGOs know the media is their megaphone and have learned, like the Palestinians, that whoever gets their message out first in the propaganda war wins. Meanwhile, Israel has only grown stronger despite the demonization. Look no further than the Abraham Accords. It's ironic that Arabs don't believe or care about the apartheid lie, but Westerners do. (JNS)

  • Palestinians

  • How the Killing of Fatah Gunmen Serves Abbas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The killing of three Fatah gunmen involved in shooting attacks against soldiers and Israeli civilians, by the IDF in Nablus on Tuesday, serves the interests of Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas. First, it diverts attention from the controversy surrounding the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) in Ramallah earlier this week, which several Palestinian factions and figures boycotted.
        Second, the three militants belonged to Fatah's armed wing, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, showing that its members are also involved in military action against Israel, not just Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Brigades were quick to publish a statement endorsing the three as its "martyrs," sending a message to the Palestinian public that Fatah remains committed to the "armed struggle" against Israel.
        Third, the Nablus incident allows the PA leadership to continue its campaign of incitement against Israel. The PA called for an international commission of inquiry into the "horrible crime" and urged the UN to condemn Israel.
        On the other hand, the presence of various armed groups on the streets of major Palestinian cities is seen by many Palestinians as a sign of the PA's failure to enforce law and order and rein in the militias, most of which are affiliated with Fatah and feuding clans. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Coming Crisis in the Palestinian Authority - Lt.-Col. (res.) Yohanan Tzoreff
    A series of decisions on appointments and candidacies of Mahmoud Abbas' associates and loyalists taken recently is being interpreted as an attempted takeover of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority by the "Abbas camp" in Fatah, opening a new front for the PA vis-a-vis the public. It was decided to renew confidence in Abbas as Chairman of Fatah and the PLO; to approve Hussein al-Sheikh, the Minister of Civil Affairs who is very close to Abbas, as a member of the PLO Executive Committee; and to approve Rawhi Fattouh, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, also an Abbas loyalist, as Chairman of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
        These decisions have many important implications regarding the struggle over Abbas' successor. Al-Sheikh's past complications with bribery and sexual harassment have received considerable public attention. Fattouh's appointment is also criticized, given his reputation as a corrupt figure. The main victims of the move are Jibril Rajoub, Mahmoud al-Aloul, and Tawfiq al-Tirawi. These could be joined by the factions of Mohammed Dahlan, Marwan Barghouti, and other disheartened Fatah figures, who are in effect left without a political home.
        In such a reality, the pressure exerted on the West Bank by Hamas from Gaza and within the West Bank itself could increase, with the aim of stirring up the population and increasing the protests against the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
        The writer is former head of the Palestinian-Arab Division in the Israel Ministry of Intelligence and Strategic Affairs and former Arab Adviser to the Civil Administration in Gaza. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Other Issues

  • UAE Official to Israel's Knesset: "There Is No Way Back from the Abraham Accords"
    The Israeli Knesset on Monday hosted an Emirati parliamentary delegation led by the head of the Federal National Council (FNC), Ali al-Nuaimi. Nuaimi said of the Abraham Accords, "It's not only a political agreement; it's not an issue related to security and defense; it is an agent of change for the whole region. We believe that our region has suffered a lot, and it's time that we take the lead ourselves in creating a better future for the new generation."
        "We want to have full engagement in all sectors with you to promote peace, security and stability. There is no way back from the Abraham Accords, no repeating of history. We want to create history. We want to engage with you in all sectors, in all speed."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK-Middle East Monitor-UK)
  • Gulf States Displaying Eagerness to Work with Israel - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    Immediately after Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited the UAE last week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Bahrain. Gulf States are not afraid of visits by Israeli leaders and don't bother hiding them. Israel's national anthem, Hatikvah, is openly played, indicating confidence in their peoples' broad support of peace with Israel.
        The Abraham Accords changed the geopolitical picture in the region. Israel is successfully establishing a foothold near Iranian shores, which in turn is helping Gulf countries protect themselves against Tehran. The Gulf States are displaying an eagerness to get down to work, and all Israel must do is try keeping up with the dizzying pace they are dictating.
        The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Ambassador Addresses Cambridge Union
    Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely spoke on Feb. 8 and left as planned from the Cambridge Union amid vocal demonstrators. Protesters outside chanted "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. The ambassador said she regretted the slogan which implied the disappearance of Israel, but acknowledged the necessity of protest in a democracy. Protesters surrounded the ambassador's car as she left the Union. (Varsity-University of Cambridge-UK)
        See also UK Protestors Who Chant Hamas Slogan "From the River to the Sea" Could Be Reported to Police - Gabriella Swerling
    Protestors who chant the Hamas slogan "from the river to the sea" could be referred to police, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said. The chant is used by some to call for driving out all Jews from the region, as well as ethnic cleansing and genocide. Home Secretary Priti Patel said Hamas will be proscribed by the Government under the Terrorism Act. That means anyone who expresses support for Hamas, flies its flag or arranges meetings for the organization will be in breach of the law.
        Zahawi said that universities should clamp down following the outlawing of support for Hamas. Students who join in this chant "should be reported to the police and authorities." The Education Secretary said: "Any form of anti-Semitism, of prejudice, of promoting the murder of Jewish people, Jewish students, is, in my book, anti-Semitism and therefore universities should act on it."
        Zahawi also told university vice-chancellors that adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism was "essential," not optional. The number of universities adopting the definition has risen from 28 to 95 and Zahawi has warned the 10 universities yet to sign up that the Office for Students regulator is considering possible sanctions. (Telegraph-UK)
  • U.S.-Israel Relations in the Age of Great Power Competition - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion
    Some Americans complain that Israel is too friendly to China and coming under its sway in light of the major projects Chinese companies have built in Israel. Israel long ago made the choice that its irreplaceable strategic ally is the U.S. However, that doesn't preclude economic ties with China. America itself has such ties in abundance.
        Critics described the operation of a part of Haifa Bay port by a Chinese company as a severe security risk. But the container wharf cannot serve China's navy. Israel's security agencies enjoy wide inspection authorities there against espionage threats. A port call by the U.S. Fifth Fleet's USS O'Kane in October showed that the U.S. Navy is satisfied with the security of the port.
        China is not Israel's enemy. Israel's policy should combine supporting the U.S. and taking America's concerns seriously, while having fruitful, selective and safe economic relations with China.
        The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University and a fellow with The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Islamic State Re-emerging in Iraq and Syria - John Davison
    "The police and army don't come into our area much anymore. If they do, they get shot at by militants," said Yousif Ibrahim, 25, in Jalawla in northeastern Iraq. Nearly three years after the group lost its final enclave, Islamic State fighters are re-emerging as a deadly threat, aided by the lack of central control in many areas, according to a dozen security officials. Militant cells often operating independently have survived across a swathe of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria, and in recent months they have launched increasingly brazen attacks.
        When Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian and U.S.-led forces declared Islamic State beaten, they faced off against each other across the territory it had ruled. Now Iran-backed militias attack U.S. forces. Turkish forces bomb Kurdish separatist militants. A territorial dispute rumbles on between Baghdad and Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. Islamic State fighters use the no-man's-land between Iraqi army, Kurdish and Shi'ite militia checkpoints to regroup.
        In Syria, "fighters (are) entering villages and towns at night and having complete free rein to operate, raid for food, intimidate businesses and extort 'taxes' from the local population," said Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. (Reuters)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israeli Arabs Are Snapping Up West Bank Homes - Tal Schneider
    In the West Bank, where homes cost a fraction of what they would in Israel, a large number of Arab citizens of Israel are buying second homes for investment properties or a dream vacation residence. Among the most popular areas are Jericho Gate, a new planned neighborhood on the outskirts of the Jordan Valley city; Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank, just north of Ramallah; Tulkarm and Jenin, home to campuses of American University, where almost half the student body is Israeli; and Rafidia in Nablus. By one estimation, one in five Israeli Arabs has land or a home in the West Bank.
        Sami Ali, who advises Palestinian companies that market houses and apartments to buyers within Israel, said: "In the past, Israeli Arabs invested in properties in Turkey, but the return on investment was not worth it anymore. We have Ramallah and the West Bank an hour away. You can go on vacation every week; it's the Palestinian people, so there is mutual trust, solidarity. Why go to Turkey and worry about crooks out there?" Khalil Haju, a Haifa real estate agent, said, "Israeli Arabs buy them as rentals or an investment, and they don't intend to actually go there to live."  (Times of Israel)
  • The New Wave of Polish Holocaust Revisionism - Jan Grabowski
    925,000 Jews were slaughtered at Treblinka in eastern Poland. In November, I saw Magdalena Gawin, the Polish deputy minister of Culture and National Heritage at the time, at the Treblinka train station flanked by a Polish Army honor guard, unveiling a monument honoring Jan Maletka, a Polish railroad worker shot in 1942 by the Nazis for giving water to the Jews as they waited in locked cattle cars outside the camp. A false equivalence of victimization is but one hallmark of the new Polish historical revisionism that downplays anti-Semitic terror at the hands of the Poles.
        Fewer than 100 Jews who arrived in Treblinka survived the war. They recalled groups of Polish railway workers and Polish youths who stood close to the cattle cars ready to hand over water - in exchange for gold or cash. Abram Jakub Krzepicki remembered that people in the wagon were dying of thirst. He described terrible scenes of Jews pleading with the workers, handing over fistfuls of money for a mere half cup of water.
        Markers to Poles killed by Nazis for rescuing Jews have been proliferating in the Polish countryside for several years. A new historical narrative depicts the rescue of the Jews as a default position of Polish society during the Holocaust, intended to paper over the tragic legacy in which some Poles turned over Jewish fellow citizens to the Gestapo.
        Adam Starkopf, who looked "Aryan" enough to pass as a Pole, describes a group of Polish villagers who invited him into their plan to hunt down, rob and then turn over to the Gestapo a group of Jews who had escaped from a cattle car. "Just think - all these Jews lying on the ground, ready for the taking! It's a windfall!," his neighbors said. "We'll take their clothes, clean out their pockets and on top of that we'll get a reward from the Germans for bringing them in." (Starkopf declined to participate.)
        The writer is a professor of history at the University of Ottawa. (New York Times)
  • The Murder of American Jewish Soldiers in World War II - Mitchell Bard
    600,000 Jews served in the U.S. armed forces in World War II; 35,000 were killed, wounded, captured, or missing; 8,000 died in combat. Among those who were captured, some became victims of the Holocaust - singled out for death because they were Jews. I documented many of the cases in Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler's Camps.
        On Dec. 20, 1944, 300 U.S. soldiers were captured near Bleialf, Germany, by the Germany Army, along with 30 Germans who had been prisoners of the Americans. The former German prisoners informed the German commander that there were two Jewish soldiers among the captives who spoke good German and had interrogated them. Jewish GIs had an "H" on their dog tags to identify them as "Hebrews." The two Jews, Staff Sergeant Kurt Jacobs and Technician Murray Zappler, should have been treated as prisoners of war. Instead, they were shot. (Algemeiner)
  • Bucharest Jews Were Tortured, Killed in Holocaust Pogrom - Aaron Reich
    On January 21, 1941, Iron Guard Legionnaires in Romania carried out a pogrom in Bucharest, killing 125 Jews. At the time, Bucharest was home to 100,000 Jews. The city was also home to the Iron Guard, a nationalist fascist paramilitary organization that was founded in 1927 and was staunchly anti-Semitic. Iron Guard leader Horia Sima held political power alongside fascist dictator Ion Antonescu. Both were in favor of taking Jewish property, but the Iron Guard wanted to take everything immediately. Antonescu wanted it to be a gradual and orderly process done through the law.
        The Iron Guard rebelled against Antonescu, storming government buildings and fighting soldiers. At the same time, the Legionnaires deliberately began a pogrom against the city's Jews. Mobs stormed homes and synagogues, Jews were captured and tortured at Iron Guard headquarters. Homes and neighborhoods were set ablaze as the city's Jews were funneled to specific areas where the men were tortured, women were raped and property was stolen. Jews were sometimes thrown out of buildings or killed in slaughterhouses.
        Eventually Antonescu quelled the rebellion. But months later he ordered the beginning of the Iasi pogrom that saw over 13,000 Jews massacred. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Romania was directly responsible for the murder of more Jews in the Holocaust than any country other than Germany. (Jerusalem Post)

  • The May 2021 war with Hamas in Gaza was accompanied by violent Arab riots in a large number of mixed Israeli cities and Arab population centers. They were the most widespread disturbances of this type since the founding of Israel. Five Jerusalem Center experts discuss the factors that led to this wave of violence.
  • Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: While many Israeli Arabs did not participate in the violent riots, only a few spoke out against them. The rioting exposed the potential for further, perhaps even more serious, flare-ups. Changes are being made in the preparations and training of Israel's security forces to deal with future riots.
  • Nadav Shragai: A study of dozens of statements from Muslim clerics and Arab youth who took part in the riots suggests that the catalysts included "defense of the al-Aqsa mosque," a preoccupation with the "Nakba" (the "disaster" of the establishment of the State of Israel), and the hope of exercising the "right of return" to places where Arabs lived before 1948. At the same time, there is a large Arab public in Israel that sees itself as Israeli and feels a connection to the state.
  • Yoni Ben Menachem: Israeli security officials see the outbreak of violence by Israeli Arabs as a response to incitement choreographed by Hamas, Hizbullah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards sitting in a Beirut command center. Hamas' political power has strengthened, and its ambitions to gradually take over all of "Palestine from the River to the Sea" have increased. Its objective is to bring about a violent civilian insurgence that will weaken Israel from within.
  • Pinhas Inbari: The tension around the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem originated with demonstrators from elsewhere in Israel. Also, the tensions around Damascus Gate and the Temple Mount are largely because of young members of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement from the Arab "Triangle" region of Israel who came to Jerusalem to riot. The absence of Israeli governance in the Bedouin sector has emboldened them to play by tribal rules and to disconnect from Israel.
  • Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi: Mansour Abbas, leader of Israel's Islamic Party (Ra'am), says he draws inspiration from the Prophet Muhammad, who guided believers to adhere to an element of moderation that does not immediately resort to the use of force, and to adopt a multi-stage strategy that provides supreme priority to strengthening the Muslim community. In the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, the Prophet forged a temporary alliance with non-Muslim communities at a time when the Muslim community was weak, while expecting to overcome and subjugate them in the future. The Treaty was also a reference point for PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1993 in one of his most important policy speeches.
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