February 17, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Egyptian President Greets Israeli Minister in Cairo - Sam Sokol (Ha'aretz)
    In a sign of warming relations between his country and Israel, a smiling Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi left multiple delegates waiting as he walked the length of a conference hall in Cairo on Monday to personally greet Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, who uses a wheelchair.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted, "President al-Sisi, you've touched us all."
    See also Israeli Minister Describes President Sisi's Gesture (Algemeiner)
    After Egyptian President el-Sisi crossed a large conference room in order to greet Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, she told N12 news, "I was very surprised that he came straight to me and it was very important to him to welcome me."
    Sisi "told me he was very happy that I came to the conference. You have to understand that we're talking about an energy conference that has been held for five years and never had Israeli representation."

Australia to List Hamas as Terror Group - Andrew Brown (7News-Australia)
    Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Thursday that the government will list the entirety of Hamas as a banned terrorist organization.
    "It will replace the current listing of Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades," she said.
    James Paterson, chair of the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security, said, "Any Australian supporting Hamas could be committing a serious crime, a powerful deterrent to make Australia safer."
    The "government cannot and will not turn a blind eye to the campaign of violent terror against innocent civilians, which is so evidently organized, financed and authorized by Hamas' leadership."
    See also Israel Commends Australia's Decision to Ban Hamas - Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Israel Seizes NIS103 Million in Hamas Terror Funds - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has seized NIS103 million in Hamas terrorism funds, Sagi Volkovitz, an official at the Defense Ministry's National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, said Tuesday.

Hamas Terrorist Dies in Gaza Tunnel Collapse (Times of Israel)
    Hamas terrorist Muhammad Ashraf Abed, 24, was "martyred after the collapse of a resistance tunnel" in Gaza on Wednesday, the group said.
    Several Hamas terrorists have died in recent months while working inside tunnels, which are primarily built in sand, due to heavy rains that have led to their collapse.

Defendant Pleads Guilty in Cyprus Terror Plot Against Israelis - Nick Theodoulou (Cyprus Mail)
    An unnamed medical student, 21, pleaded guilty on Monday in Nicosia to two charges in a terrorism plot in which Israelis were to be assassinated in Cyprus as part of an Iranian plot. Six foreign nationals were arrested in connection with the case.
    Daily Politis reported that Orhan Asadov, 38, an Azeri found at a checkpoint with a pistol with a suppressor and ammunition, said he was paid 40,000 euros by a person of Arab origin to identify Israeli targets.
    Muzzafar Abbas, 27, a Pakistani, said he was recruited by a Syrian and led police to a second pistol buried near his residence. Another weapon was found in October hidden behind an air-conditioning unit at a hotel where Asadov had stayed.

Dutch Universities Pause Compliance with Request for Information on Ties with Jewish, Israeli Groups - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
    14 Dutch universities announced Tuesday they are suspending their compliance with a freedom of information query from a pro-Palestinian organization regarding their ties with Israeli and Jewish entities.
    The query was initiated by The Rights Forum, founded by Dries van Agt, a former prime minister, who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, spoke at a rally in Rotterdam that featured a Hamas leader, and claimed that Israelis are routinely poisoning Palestinians.

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As the U.S. Pulls Back from the Mideast, China Leans In - Ben Hubbard (New York Times)
    As the U.S., fatigued by decades of war, seeks to limit its involvement in the Middle East, China is deepening its ties across the region.
    States there are increasingly looking to China to invest in their infrastructure and cooperate on technology and security.
    Arab leaders appreciate that China - which touts the virtue of "noninterference" in other countries' affairs - won't get involved in their domestic politics. And each side can count on the other to overlook its human rights abuses.
    China's interest in the Middle East has long been rooted in its need for oil. With the world's second largest economy, it buys nearly half of its crude from Arab states, with Saudi Arabia topping the list.
    Despite their majority-Muslim populations, almost no Arab states have publicly criticized China's forced internment and indoctrination of its Muslim Uyghur minority. Some Arab states have even deported Uyghurs to China.

IDF Drills for War with Hizbullah - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    IDF paratroopers held a week-long drill simulating war on the northern front against Hizbullah, simulating defending Israeli communities along the border from infiltrations by Hizbullah's Radwan forces, as well as crossing into Lebanon to fight deep behind enemy lines.
    Combat engineers, tank units, and the Israel Air Force took part in the exercise.

U.S. Navy Eyes Israeli Robot Boats - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    The U.S. Navy is considering adding unmanned Israeli boats to its joint Middle East operations, a U.S. official said.
    The U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet was interested in Israeli-made surface drones as possible complements to flying and underwater drones.
    A fleet commander had in recent weeks visited Haifa to study the surface drones.

Hamas TV Series Glorifies Fight Against Israel - Wafaa Shurafa (AP-Washington Post)
    For the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, Hamas has produced a 30-episode TV series, "Fist of the Free," depicting its fighters scrambling out of a tunnel and attacking an Israeli tank in broad daylight.
    The storyline centers on a real-life Israeli raid in Gaza in 2018. After an undercover unit aroused suspicions, a gun battle ensued in which seven Hamas fighters and an Israeli commander were killed.
    At the same time, Israel successfully evacuated 16 undercover agents.

Lebanon Again Bans Palestinian Professionals from Work - Tzvi Joffre (Jerusalem Post)
    Lebanon's State Shura Council decided in February to reverse an order issued in December allowing Palestinian refugees to work in trade-union regulated professions, such as law, engineering and medicine.

Israeli Camera Sees Through Walls at 300 Feet (i24News)
    A new camera developed in Israel can see through walls from a distance of 300 feet. In case of a terrorist attack or kidnapping, it can see inside a room if there are people inside, how many, and if they are on the move.
    "It's a tactical tool that gives an exceptional operational advantage to military forces, police, and rescuers," said Amir Beeri, managing director and founder of Camero.

Israel's Economy Grew 8 Percent in 2021 - Guy Ben Simon (Globes)
    Israel's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 8.1% in 2021, after shrinking by 2.2% in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Wednesday.
    In 2021, GDP per capita grew by 6.3% after shrinking by 3.9% in 2020. GDP per capita rose by an average of 5% in OECD countries in 2021.
    Israel's GDP grew 16.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021, after growing at only 2.4% in the third quarter.

Intel to Buy Israel's Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion - Ian King (Bloomberg)
    Intel Corp. agreed to acquire Israel's Tower Semiconductor Ltd. for $5.4 billion, it was announced Tuesday.
    Tower makes power management chips, image sensors and a variety of other semiconductors, while Intel's factories have historically produced only its own designs.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House GOP Moves to Tank Biden's Iran Diplomacy - Zachary Basu
    175 House Republicans have written to President Biden warning that any nuclear deal made with Iran without Congress' approval "will meet the same fate" as the 2015 agreement by President Obama later abandoned by President Trump. The letter was signed by most members of the party that polls say will run the House next year. "We will view any agreement reached in Vienna which is not submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification as a treaty - including any and all secret agreements made with Iran directly or on the sidelines of official talks - as non-binding."
        They promise to oppose any agreement that lifts U.S. sanctions on Iran unless the Iranian regime has first fully dismantled all its enrichment capabilities. They also want Iran to destroy its nuclear-capable missiles, halt all sponsorship of terrorism, and pay "U.S. federal court judgments owed to the American victims of terrorism sponsored by the Iranian regime."  (Axios)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Meets Top Israeli Officials in Jerusalem
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) led a Congressional delegation that met with top Israeli officials in Jerusalem on Wednesday. "In our meetings, we conveyed America's ironclad commitment to the State of Israel and our partnership in advancing our mutual security, economic prosperity and democratic values," she said.
        "In discussions with Foreign Minister Lapid and with Defense Minister Gantz, our delegation...discussed how our nations are together in the fight against terrorism posed by Iran - both in its proximity to Israel, which is a responsibility to us all, and its nuclear development, which is a global threat."  (Speaker of the House)
  • Hamas Sought to Target Israelis in Philippines - John Eric Mendoza
    The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday revealed a plan by an operative of Hamas to "establish a foothold" in the Philippines by inciting violence that targets Israelis in the country. Intelligence Group Director Police Brig.-Gen. Neil Alinsangan named the operative as Fares Al Shiklia, head of Hamas' Foreign Liaison Section.
        A Filipino source made several trips to Malaysia from 2016 to 2018, where he met the Hamas operative. "Fares Al Shikli expressed his intention with the source to recruit Filipinos with links to local threat groups that will be utilized to kill Jews present in the country, conduct rallies at selected embassies, and spread video propaganda in exchange for financial support."  (Inquirer.net-Philippines)
  • Israel to Boost Natural Gas Exports to Egypt by 50 Percent
    Israel will boost natural gas export to Egypt by as much as 50% by the end of the month. The firms that own Israel's two biggest offshore reservoirs, led by Chevron, will pipe another 2-2.5 billion cubic meters more of gas per year to Egypt, Israel's Energy Minister Karine al-Harrar said in Cairo on Monday.
        The new quantities will be transferred through a pipeline traversing Jordan. Israel currently sends 5 billion cubic meters each year to Egypt via a pipeline that connects southern Israel to the Sinai Peninsula, and work continues to expand that capacity to 6.5 billion by next year, al-Harrar said. The added fuel would help Egypt push forward plans to export to Europe. Egypt's Damietta plant restarted exporting liquefied natural gas last year after it had sat idle for nine years.
        Most of Israel's present capacity is committed to Egypt, Jordan and its own domestic market. (Bloomberg-Al-Arabiya)
        See also Israel Will Not Object If Exported Gas Reaches Lebanon, Israel's Energy Minister Says
    Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said on Tuesday it would not be a problem if Israeli natural gas that is exported to Egypt makes its way to Lebanon. Egypt imports gas from Israel's Leviathan offshore field. "Nobody can go and inspect the molecules and check whether they originally came from Israel or Egypt," she told Israel's Army Radio. If gas exports that reach Lebanon "bring calm to the region, I can't object to it."
        Amit Mor, CEO of the Israeli consulting firm Eco Energy, said the more likely route for gas supplies, given the current network of pipelines, would be from Leviathan to a pipeline across Israel into Jordan, bypassing Egypt. From there, it would go north through Syria and into Lebanon via the Arab Gas Pipeline. He estimated that the Leviathan partners would stand to earn an extra $100 million each year with such an arrangement. (LBCI-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Prime Minister in Bahrain: Let's Work Together to Tackle Iranian Threat - Lahav Harkov
    Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Bahrain on Monday. He told the Bahraini paper Al-Ayam, "Israel and Bahrain are dealing with major security challenges that stem from the same source, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran....We are fighting Iran and its henchmen in the region day and night and we will help our friends in promoting peace, security and stability, whenever we are asked."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Joint Statement: Israeli Prime Minister Visits Bahrain (Bahrain News Agency)
  • Israel Sends Diplomats to Sidelines of Vienna Nuclear Talks, Annoying Iran - Tobias Siegal
    For the first time since the Vienna nuclear talks resumed in April, Israeli diplomats traveled to Vienna to meet Tuesday with negotiators involved in the talks aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Israel is not a party to the Vienna talks, but is concerned that the talks have reached a critical juncture. Israel's appearance has apparently angered some in Iran. (Times of Israel)
  • Pirate Palestinian Quarry Destroys Ancient Aqueduct - Efrat Forsher
    An illegal Palestinian quarry is damaging a major archaeological site in the West Bank, a 2,000-year-old aqueduct that brought water from Gush Etzion to Jerusalem. The Second Temple-era aqueduct brought water to Solomon's Pools, from which aqueducts funneled water to Jerusalem and Herodian. A Palestinian quarry at Beit Fajar, in Area B, has been encroaching on Area C, which is under Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords. Some 100 meters of tunnel have been reduced to rubble. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran's Hollow Victory: The High Price of Regional Dominance - Karim Sadjadpour
    Since 1979, Iran has sought to expel the U.S. from the Middle East, replace Israel with Palestine, and remake the region in its image. Tehran has not achieved any of its lofty ambitions, but it has made progress toward them - and it is feeling emboldened by its successes. Over the last two decades, Iran has established primacy in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, four failed or failing states, by successfully cultivating regional militias and by exploiting the power vacuums left by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Arab uprisings of 2010-11.
        However, Iran's external vigor conceals incurable internal maladies. As Iran has invested its limited capabilities in its aspiration to upend the U.S.-led world order, it has neglected the well-being of its people and made itself poorer and less secure. As Iran continues to bleed national resources to subsidize regional militias and external conflicts, the public's economic, political, and social frustration deepens, necessitating ever-greater repression. Washington will not be able to reach a peaceful accommodation with an Iranian regime whose identity is premised on opposing the U.S. and whose leader believes that softening this opposition could cost him everything.
        For all of Iran's success in cultivating militant groups, there are tangible signs that it has overreached. Opinion polls show that nearly 2/3 of young Arabs view Iran as an adversary, a sizable majority of Arabs of all ages want Iran to withdraw from regional conflicts, and more than half of Arab Shiites hold an "unfavorable" view of Iran. Ascendant Iranian power in the Middle East will likely prove ephemeral. Arabs who chafed under centuries of Turkish and Western hegemony will not countenance Iranian influence easily.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham: Stopping a Nuclear Iran Is the World's Most Pressing Issue - Lahav Harkov
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday in Jerusalem that the Iranians breaking out and acquiring nuclear capability "is the game-changer of all game-changers." "Iran is a theocracy motivated by religion that compels them to purify their faith and have the world submit. The Nazis wanted a master race, and the Iranians want a master religion. People like that cannot be ignored."
        Graham pushed back against those arguing it is possible to live with a nuclear Iran. "I guarantee you the Jewish people can't live that way. One Holocaust was enough. There will be war. Why can't Iran have nuclear weapons? Because Israelis say, 'Never again.'" He called Israel the country with "the best knowledge and the most skin in the game" when it comes to Iran. "Without some intervention, some course change, [the world is] putting Israel in a very bad spot."
        He said the terms of the new Iran deal being negotiated in Vienna, on which he has been briefed, are "very unnerving." "Why you would allow the largest state sponsor of terror in the world to have a robust enrichment program, I don't know."  (Jerusalem Post)

  • Palestinians

  • Amnesty International's Woke Racism towards Palestinians - Adam Levick
    While both the Economist and Freedom House have assessed the Jewish state as a liberal democracy, Amnesty International has embraced a malign obsession with Israel. Amnesty portrays Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem as being "ethnically cleansed." However, all that's happening is that several dozen Palestinian families face possible eviction due to their failure to pay rent for decades.
        Even more egregious is the near absence of any context on the Arab wars, Palestinian terrorism and the Palestinian leadership's repeated rejection of peace offers which have led to the current situation. There is not a single mention of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis. The 1,377 Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism since Sept. 2000 are erased from the moral and political equation.
        In its recommendations, the report asks essentially nothing of the Palestinians. There are no demands that Hamas disarm and accept Israel's existence. There are no calls for the Palestinian Authority to hold elections for the first time in 16 years and begin to build democratic institutions. There's no admonishment of Palestinian leaders for their glorification of terrorism or their culture of anti-Semitism. Nor is there the suggestion that they should pursue peace and co-existence with Israel.
        Making peace with Israel is the only effective way to end the conflict and improve the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. But to acknowledge such a truth would require ceasing to infantilize Palestinians, and treat them instead as moral actors whose bad decisions have led to bad outcomes.
        The writer is co-editor of CAMERA UK. (Times of Israel)

  • Israel's Normalization with Arab Countries

  • Bennett's Bahrain Visit Further Invigorates Israel-Gulf Diplomacy - Simon Henderson
    Given Bahrain's political connections with Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's visit increases speculation that open Israeli relations with Riyadh are imminent. Riyadh has likely permitted and even encouraged Bahrain's increasing closeness to Israel. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is known to privately advocate ties with Israel to meet the challenge of Iran.
        The writer directs the program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Bahrain Chooses Alignment with Israel over Submission to Iran - Hussain Abdul-Hussain
    Bahrain has long suffered from Iranian bullying. In 2007, Hussain Shariaatmadari, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote that Bahrain was once a Persian province that Western powers unlawfully separated from Iran. In 2017, the state-owned daily Iran asserted that until 1956, Bahrain had been Iranian.
        Neither history nor demographics supports Tehran's claims. Today, the majority of Iranians who live on the east bank of the Persian Gulf, under Iranian sovereignty, are ethnic Arab citizens of Iran who suffer under immense discrimination and a policy of Persianization.
        The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Examiner)
  • The Houthi Crisis Is Creating an Emirati-Israeli Opportunity - Hussain Abdul-Hussain and David May
    Houthi attacks on the UAE proved that Arab solidarity is an imaginary concept. Hizbullah cheered the strikes. Hamas politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahar said the attacks were blessed. In Baghdad, the pro-Iran group Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq gave the Houthis a hand by launching explosive drones at Abu Dhabi. The strongest displays of support came from Israel.
        Both the UAE and Israel have found themselves the targets of Iranian-sponsored drone and rocket attacks. Thanks to the Houthi attacks, the UAE seems to be taking its partnership with Israel to a new level, where the two governments actively cooperate in countering pro-Iran militias throughout the region.
        Hussain Abdul-Hussain is the Washington bureau chief of the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai. David May is a senior research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Al Arabiya)
  • Emirati Journalist Urges Increased Military and Intelligence Cooperation with Israel
    Emirati journalist and political analyst Salem Al-Ketbi wrote on Feb. 2 in Elaph that the threats posed by Iran and its proxies to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel are very similar. "It is therefore vital for the countries of the region to cooperate in facing these dangers and repelling these threats."
        "There is no substitute for enhancing the security, intelligence and military cooperation between the UAE and the countries of the region that are suffering from the same chaos created by the regional militias, including Israel," in light of the superpowers' preoccupation with other matters. (MEMRI)
  • Israel's Rewarding Road to Normalization - Ben Lynfield
    Israel's normalization with three Arab countries through the Abraham Accords has provided Israel with an enhanced regional standing. "Apart from Syria and Lebanon, there is no other Arab country we're not engaging with and which is not engaging with us," said Eliav Benjamin, the Israel Foreign Ministry's Middle East Department director.
        Normalization has created a new world of opportunities for Israel to finally taste being part of the region in people-to-people terms. A Holocaust memorial exhibition has opened in Dubai, academic exchanges are underway with Morocco, and Israel's Sheba Medical Center is providing health care in Bahrain. The siege of Arab enmity appears to be retreating. Israeli companies are even cooperating with Saudi counterparts "in different ways, shapes, and forms," Benjamin said.
        "Countries that were shying away are interested to hear what we have to say. In a tough neighborhood, we've met the challenges. Israel punches way over its weight, but rightly so," Benjamin said. Moroccan social scientist Mohamed Chtatou, who teaches at the International University of Rabat, said, "People are happy [the relationship] is coming out of the closet. Relations are going to grow."  (Foreign Policy)

  • Other Issues

  • Turkey Can Wait - Yoni Ben Menachem
    While Turkish President Erdogan has announced that Israeli President Isaac Herzog will visit Turkey in March, Israel must be cautious about restoring relations as long as Hamas offices in Istanbul continue to plan terror attacks in Israel. Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador from Ankara in 2018.
        Erdogan is a senior representative of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has a large office in Istanbul which orchestrates terror attacks in the West Bank. On June 12, 2014, three Israeli teens were abducted and killed by Hamas on the basis of orders transferred by its headquarters in Istanbul. There is evidence that the Hamas branch in Turkey recruited and provided weapons to Sheikh Fadi Abu Shkhaydam who murdered Israeli civilian Eliyahu Kay in the Old City of Jerusalem on November 21, 2021.
        The London Times reported in 2020 that a secret Hamas cyberwar and counter-intelligence unit was operating in Istanbul separately from the main Hamas office. The unit was also tasked with obtaining dual-use materials that Israel prohibited from entering Gaza out of concern they would be used for weapons production. In addition, the unit spies on other terror organizations and Hamas members suspected of disloyalty. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Saudi Arabia Is Changing Fast - Richard Goldberg
    Visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2018, much was different. Riyadh, the capital, is filled with construction cranes. While during my last visit you'd encounter mostly foreigners working the check-in counters and lobbies, now Saudis are working full-time jobs, as they move from oil-subsidy lifestyles to active participation in the labor market. The share of Saudi women working increased from 20% in 2018 to 33% by the end of 2020. You also see women behind the wheels of many of the cars. Religious police no longer patrol the streets.
        The writer is a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Mosaic)
  • Amnesty's Lies about Israel Insult Black South Africans Who Suffered under Real Apartheid - Ian Austin
    What disgrace for Amnesty International to slander the Middle East's only democracy and open society as racist. It is an insult not just to Israel, but to black South Africans who suffered under apartheid's brutal rule. Does it practice systematic official discrimination, treating people as second-class citizens or separating the population on the basis of their background or ethnicity? Absolutely not.
        Black people in South Africa were not allowed to vote. Out of 400 million Arab citizens across the Middle East, the only ones who can choose their government in what we would recognize as free and fair elections are those in Israel. The governing coalition has both Jews and Arabs serving together.
        The campaign to brand Israel an apartheid state is a barrier to peace because demonizing Israel, singling it out for criticism and holding it to standards never applied to other countries, drives people apart and makes dialogue and discussion more remote.
        But the biggest insult of all is smearing as racist a state set up as a safe haven for victims of racism. A country founded to provide a refuge from centuries of anti-Semitism, a few years after the industrial slaughter of six million Jews, is being slandered.
        The writer, a former Member of Parliament (2005-2019), is a Member of the House of Lords. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • The Real Ethnic Cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah - Charles Bybelezer
    The Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Just) neighborhood in Jerusalem has been in the news due to tensions stemming from a property dispute. Yet significant portions of the neighborhood's history have been overlooked.
        Sheikh Jarrah is strategically located on a road connecting Jerusalem to Mount Scopus. During Israel's War of Independence, on April 13, 1948, a medical convoy of armored ambulances and trucks carrying doctors, nurses, students, patients, guards, and faculty members headed to Mount Scopus to deliver crucial emergency relief to Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University that had been under siege by Arab fighters.
        When the vehicles hit a landmine while passing Sheikh Jarrah, Arab forces emerged and opened fire on the group. Although British reinforcements were only minutes away, it took seven hours for backup to arrive. As a result, 78 Jews perished in the Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre. (HonestReporting)
  • Special Israeli Unit Fights Money Laundering, Terror Funding - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Shlomit Wagman is director-general of the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA). She says, "Our methodology is follow the money." By the time law enforcement is showing up at a suspect's house to arrest them, her authority has already "mapped all of the relevant assets, often already freezing a substantial part of them."
        "If you look at the list of top organized [crime] groups in Israel from a decade ago...we broke them...in the past five years; all of them are not functioning anymore....Now we are doing the second level - smaller gangs." She added, "There is never a vacuum."
        Some Arab gangs had taken advantage of other larger Jewish gangs being taken apart. "Their enhanced power was very dramatic. It reached a climax in the last two years." We started to focus on the special characteristics of Arab criminal organizations. "After a couple of months, we had mapped a huge amount of offenses, assets, illicit assets, property related to crimes, and we started to work in a very methodical manner."
        "Police chief [Insp.-Gen.] Kobi Shabtai said to me, his experience shows that adding more police on the streets or conducting operations to collect weapons are not as helpful and effective to combat organized crime as using financial enforcement measures, which have an immediate impact and tremendous deterrence. Some major [Arab gangs] were brought down, some left Israel. In the coming months...the police will seize [assets from] dozens of organized crime [groups], based on the financial intelligence produced by my team."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • University of Maryland Faces Lawsuit for Firing Teacher for Pro-Israel Activity - Benjamin Weinthal
    American academic Melissa Landa is suing the University of Maryland, where she taught from 2007 to 2017, for her alleged illegal termination in connection with her Jewish religious background and her pro-Israel advocacy. Landa told the Jerusalem Post: "In January 2016, from the time when I informed my associate chair about my efforts to combat anti-Semitism at my alma mater, Oberlin College, and continuing as I became an outspoken opponent of the BDS campaign against Israel, I experienced growing hostility and then overt religious discrimination toward me from my superiors....After I complained about religious discrimination, they fired me."
        According to Landa's 30-page lawsuit filed on Jan. 4, "When Dr. Landa began expressing her Jewish identity and faith more fully and publicly, she was immediately subjected to...adverse employment actions for observing Jewish holidays, removal from teaching classes she had taught for almost a decade, denial of teaching assistance, new limitations on her participation within the Department, hostility, retaliation, and ultimately, termination."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Fired for the Crime of Teaching while Jewish (Elder of Ziyon)
  • The Romanian Role in the Holocaust - Stephen McGrath
    Maksim Goldenshteyn's book, So They Remember, tells the story of his Holocaust survivor grandparents who languished in Jewish death camps and ghettos in Transnistria during World War II, a territory in occupied southern Ukraine that was controlled by Romania, a close ally to Nazi Germany for most of the war. In that territory, where 150 camps and ghettos operated, hundreds of thousands of Jews were brutalized, exploited, and murdered.
        In Romanian-controlled territories under the military dictatorship of Ion Antonescu, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews, plus some 12,000 Roma, were killed during the war. Stefan Cristian Ionescu, a Holocaust expert at Northwestern University, said that "a lot of Romanians still have a problem accepting that the Antonescu regime and the Romanian authorities...were involved in the Holocaust, in the mass murder, deportation, and dispossession of Jews in Romania, and in occupied territories such as Transnistria."  (AP-Washington Post)

Amnesty International's Obsessive Fixation with Israel - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The January 2022 Amnesty International report alleging that Israel practices apartheid against the Palestinians reveals a bitter fixation, extreme prejudice, and blatant hatred of Israel, even to the extent of questioning Israel's very legitimacy and right to exist.
  • The Amnesty report willfully and deliberately distorts and misrepresents the circumstances surrounding the historic development of the State of Israel. Moreover, it ignores, sidelines, and downplays the existential dangers that Israel continues to face from its neighbors since its establishment, including ongoing Palestinian terror directed against Israel's civilian population and territory.
  • Amnesty alleges that Israel "coerces Palestinians into enclaves within the State of Israel...and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." In every multicultural society throughout the world, people of shared cultures and languages live together in their own communities as part of their national whole. This is a natural, social inclination and such social fragmentation is not apartheid.
  • Amnesty deliberately misled its readers by claiming that Israel was "forcefully evicting Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem in order to transfer Jewish settlers." The issue is a long-running, civil real-estate litigation that has been under scrutiny in Israel's courts since 1972. It involves competing property claims by Jewish owners and Palestinian tenants and squatters.
  • The Amnesty report presents the flawed claim that six "prominent Palestinian civil society organizations" are innocent human rights organizations, manipulating readers into believing that Israel randomly and illegally outlawed such organizations. Yet the Israeli decision to outlaw NGOs with direct connections to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror organization was in full accordance with international law and obligations set out in international counter-terrorism conventions.
  • South African Judge Richard L. Goldstone, who headed a UN Human Rights Council investigation of the 2008-2009 Gaza War, wrote in an article in the New York Times on October 31, 2011, entitled "Israel and the Apartheid Slander": "In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the Rome Statute." The central elements of apartheid, and specifically the "intent to maintain an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group," simply do not exist.
  • The Amnesty report repeats the phrase "occupied Palestinian territory (OPT)" as a given, ignoring the historical and legal claim by Israel and the Jewish People to the territory. Yet the "West Bank" territory of Judea and Samaria has never been determined by any authoritative and binding legal document, treaty, resolution, or declaration to be "Palestinian." On the contrary, the territory is subject to a dispute, the settlement of which is to be negotiated between the parties.

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