March 31, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Summit Spurs Closer Cooperation with Mideast Allies on Iranian Drones - Yaniv Kubovich (Ha'aretz)
    The foreign ministers who attended the Negev Summit in Israel this week reached understandings on defending their airspace from Iranian threats, Israeli defense officials said.
    Recent attacks by Iran and its proxies against Saudi infrastructure have prompted Israel and a number of Arab countries to develop a joint mechanism for detecting and intercepting missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
    Since Israel's partner countries are geographically closer to Iran and Iraq - where a number of Iran-backed militias operate - this enables the Israeli Air Force to detect imminent threats earlier.
    Senior defense officials have said that coordinated air defense has in fact already occurred.

Top IRGC Commander: Tehran Will Not Tolerate Relations between Gulf Countries, Israel - Fazel Hawramy (Rudaw-Kurdistan)
    Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on Wednesday warned the Arab Gulf countries that Tehran will not tolerate political and security relations between them and Israel.
    "We say emphatically and warn that these kinds of relations are not acceptable at all."

Israel Welcomes 10,000 New Immigrants since Start of Ukraine War (i24News)
    10,000 people have immigrated to Israel in the past month, with more than 2/3 coming from Ukraine. The rest are from Russia and Belarus.

68 U.S. Senators Seek to Quash UN Probe of Israel - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    68 U.S. Senators, including 31 Democrats and 37 Republicans, signed a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the Biden administration to quash a UN Human Rights Council inquiry into Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
    They noted the council's "continuing bias against Israel and the disproportionate use of resources in an ongoing campaign to disparage, discredit and denounce Israel."
    The initiative was led by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH).
    The UN voted by 125 to 8 with 34 abstentions to launch an open-ended probe into Israel following the May war with Hamas.
    AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby group, called the probe "part of the UN's broad, decades-long campaign to criminalize and delegitimize the world's only Jewish state."

U.S. and Israel Begin Naval Exercise (U.S. Central Command)
    The U.S. 5th Fleet and the Israeli Navy kicked off a 10-day maritime exercise on March 27 off the coast of Israel, focusing on maritime security operations, explosive ordnance disposal, health topics and unmanned systems integration.
    More than 300 U.S. personnel are participating, including a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal dive team and a U.S. Coast Guard maritime engagement team. The USS Cole guided-missile destroyer is also participating.

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20 Years Later, PA Still Glorifies Perpetrators of Passover Seder Massacre - Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch (Palestinian Media Watch)
    March 27 marked the 20th anniversary of the Passover Seder Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up, murdering 30 people and injuring another 160.
    Every month since then, the Palestinian Authority spends thousands of dollars to reward the family of the bomber and pay salaries to the terrorists who were arrested for their part in the massacre.
    Four of the terrorists arrested for the attack - Abbas Al-Sayid, the main planner; Fathi Hatib, who transported the bomber; Muhannad Shreim, who financed the attack; and Muamar Al-Sheikh, Al-Sayid's deputy - have by now each been paid over one million shekels by the PA as a reward for their participation in the murders.
    The PA has also paid hundreds of thousands of shekels to the families of Kais Adwan, one of the main planners of the attack, and to the family of the bomber, Abd Al-Basset Odeh.
    The PA has repeatedly honored Al-Sayid, calling him a "heroic fighter" and "the lion of the prison cells." The PA has also repeatedly glorified the bomber, Odeh.
    People who praise and reward terrorist murderers, simply because they murdered Jews, are not and will never be partners for peace.
    The writer, director of legal strategies for PMW, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps.

There's No Apartheid in Israel, Says Arab Beauty Queen - Nicola Miltz (South African Jewish Report)
    Former Muslim beauty queen turned global interfaith activist Sarah Idan visited the University of Cape Town during the annual global Israel hate fest known as Israel Apartheid Week.
    Idan told the SA Jewish Report she had an argument with one Muslim student who was standing next to an "apartheid" wall.
    "I told her I was an Arab myself, and that I'd been to Israel and it was nothing like apartheid which was imposed by one set of people on another in the same country. The Palestinians are self-governing, they're not ruled by the Israelis."

Irish Jews "Dismayed" by Parliamentary Attacks on Their Community - Tim O'Brien (Irish Times)
    Maurice Cohen, chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, was asked by the UN Human Rights Council to comment on Ireland's human rights record.
    In a two-minute video presented to the Geneva-based body, Cohen said Jews have been "dismayed by the use of anti-Semitic tropes by some members of the Irish parliament," and that Ireland has failed to deal with an upsurge in anti-Semitism fueled by online abuse.
    Ireland has failed to appoint a coordinator to combat anti-Semitism, as agreed by EU states, he said, and the council also had concerns about limitations to the Irish government's proposed hate crime legislation, which does not adequately address anti-Semitic hate speech and incitement to hatred.
    Cohen said a member of the Jewish community, Alan Shatter, was "wrongly forced" to resign as minister for justice and defense "as a result of a variety of false allegations," and should receive "a complete public apology" from the Dail.

Israeli Curriculum Continues to Spread in Jerusalem's Arab Sector - Peggy Cidor (Jerusalem Post)
    After five-and-a-half decades of the single rule of the Palestinian curriculum, the Israeli program and the Israeli matriculation are gaining a foothold in Jerusalem's Arab sector.
    The construction of new schools have greatly helped to encourage the transition, with 32 new educational institutions established in the last six years in eastern Jerusalem at a standard similar to every new school in Israel.
    In September 2021, 13,000 Arab students studied according to the Israeli program, compared to 5,000 five years ago - a jump of 160%.
    Young interviewees said the change in outlook was due to the realization that employment prospects were limited in the Palestinian market, so it was preferable to pursue integration into the Israeli market.

Elbit Systems Has the Weapons the World Wants - Danny Zaken (Globes)
    Israel's major privately-owned defense company, Elbit Systems, has a range of products that are in demand, like the Sigma artillery system, electronic warfare systems and protection against them, and precision-strike guided missiles for ranges of 40-150 km.
    Elbit's Hermes unmanned aerial vehicle has been sold to several armies worldwide.
    The war in Ukraine has sped up global demand, as countries in Europe and NATO are re-equipping and buying new weapons systems.

UK Acquires Israeli-Made Body Armor for Women Soldiers (Monch-UK)
    The UK Defense Ministry in April will begin issuing body armor specially designed for women.
    The ministry announced that "extensive trials with serving female soldiers" have led to the creation of a vest more tailored to women.
    The Virtus Scalable Tactical Vest (STV) is manufactured by Israeli company Source Tactical Gear and has been in use by men in the British military since 2020.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Sanctions Iranian Defense Companies after Missile Strikes in Iraq, Gulf - Ellen Knickmeyer
    The U.S. sanctioned Iranian defense companies Wednesday after a spate of ballistic missile attacks on targets in Iraq, and for repeated missile strikes into Saudi Arabia and the UAE by Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen. Even as the U.S. carries out indirect negotiations with Iran for reviving limits on Iran's nuclear program, it will keep up penalties against those involved in Iran's ballistic missile production, Treasury Undersecretary Brian Nelson said. "We will also work with other partners in the region to hold Iran accountable for its actions, including gross violations of the sovereignty of its neighbors," he added. (AP-ABC News)
        See also U.S. Sanctions Key Actors in Iran's Ballistic Missile Program (U.S. Treasury Department)
  • President Biden Expresses Condolences to Israel after Terror Attacks
    President Joseph Biden spoke Wednesday with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel to express his deepest condolences following the horrific terrorist attacks that have killed 11 people in three Israeli cities. (White House)
  • Palestinians Glorify Bnei Brak Terror Attack
    The March 29 shooting in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak was met with celebrations and praise in the West Bank. Processions were held and locals handed out sweets. A Fatah rally was held near the home of the shooter, at which statements and slogans praising the attack were heard. In addition, Fatah and its Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade issued statements and posters glorifying the attack and congratulating the "heroic martyr."  (MEMRI)
        See also Video: Palestinians Celebrate in West Bank over Terror Attack in Israel (MEMRI-TV)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Gunman Kills Five in Bnei Brak
    A Palestinian from the West Bank, Diaa Hamarsheh, 26, exited a vehicle in Bnei Brak and began firing an M-16 assault rifle at passersby. He shot dead Ukrainian workers Victor Sorokopot, 38, and Dimitri Mitrik, 23, as they sat outside a grocery store. Then he murdered Yaakov Shalom, 36, a father of four, in his car. Avishai Yehezkel, 29, had taken his 2-year-old son for an evening walk in his stroller when he was shot and killed, while trying to protect the boy.
        Two officers on a police motorcycle confronted and killed the shooter. However, Arab Israeli officer Amir Khoury, 32, was fatally wounded in the exchange of fire. Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai told Khoury's father, "alongside the tragedy, it is important for me to tell you that your son saved the lives of many civilians. His actions will become a legacy and memory of heroism for the whole country."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire in Bnei Brak (YouTube)
        See also Video: Israeli Police Eliminate Bnei Brak Terrorist (YouTube)
        See also Bnei Brak Attacker Served 2 Years in Israeli Prison for Planning Suicide Attack - Josh Breiner
    Diaa Hamarsheh, the Palestinian terrorist who murdered four civilians and a police officer in Bnei Brak, served two and a half years in prison in Israel after offering to carry out a suicide attack for Islamic Jihad. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Arrests Target Palestinians Connected to Bnei Brak Terror Attack - Jack Khoury
    The IDF entered the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Thursday to carry out arrests of Palestinians, mainly affiliated with Islamic Jihad, when they were met with gunfire. The operation was targeting Palestinians connected with the terror attack that killed five Israelis in Bnei Brak on Tuesday. Two Palestinians were killed in the gun battle. Four Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were wounded. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel to Revoke Work Permits of Terrorists' Relatives after String of Deadly Attacks - Michael Hauser Tov
    Israel's security cabinet decided Wednesday to revoke work permits of terrorists' relatives amid a wave of terror attacks. Ministers also decided to reconstruct the West Bank separation barrier. It was further decided to crack down on illegal weapons within Israel's Arab community.
        Since the attack in Hadera on Sunday, Prime Minister Bennett has ordered to increase the deployment of security forces, expand the monitoring of social media, and allow more soldiers to carry weapons while off base. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Stabs Israeli on Bus in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian armed with a screwdriver stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli man on a bus near the West Bank community of Neve Daniel, south of Jerusalem, on Thursday. The attacker, Nidal Juma'a Ja'afra, 30, was shot dead by an armed passenger on the bus. (Times of Israel)
  • Thousands Mourn Israeli Officers Killed by ISIS Gunmen - Benjamin Kerstein
    Two Israeli Border Police officers murdered by terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State in Hadera on Sunday night were laid to rest on Monday. Yezen Falah, 19, was buried in the Druze village of Kisra-Sumei. Superintendent Moshe Cohen, Falah's commander, called Falah "among the finest of our sons" who "died a hero's death." Shirel Abukarat, 19, was buried in Netanya. Her cousin Teri eulogized her, saying, "Your dream was to be in the Border Police."  (Algemeiner)
  • Hadera Terrorists Tied to Islamic State
    Ibrahim Ighbariah, who carried out a deadly shooting attack in Hadera on Sunday, was arrested by Turkish police in 2016 on his way to Syria to join the Islamic State. Ighbariah was extradited to Israel, where he was charged with illegally leaving the country and attempting to join a terror group. The second terrorist, his cousin, Ayman Ighbariah, was also arrested in Turkey in 2016 on his way to join IS. He was sent back to Israel and imprisoned. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • What's Behind the Spate of Terror Attacks in Israel? - Danny Zaken
    On the face of it, the recent attacks are unconnected: a Bedouin from the Negev with nationalist leanings; two extreme Islamist Israeli Arabs connected to ISIS; and a Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank. In fact, there is a close and direct connection of encouragement and unceasing incitement on the part of terrorist organizations and political leaders. We live in a hostile environment in which the desire to annihilate Israel is alive and kicking, and the bubbling cauldron spills over now and then.
        One security source said: "They smell blood. Suddenly, strong Israel is taking blows, and the attacks manage to inflict pain." The influence of the video clips and the praise expressed in them for the "heroes" represent extremely strong encouragement. The combination of strong nationalist motivation that does not stem from poverty (the terrorists from Umm el-Fahm came from a well-to-do family), together with the availability of firearms and access to Israeli cities, are a constantly ticking bomb. (Globes)
  • With Every Murder, Palestinians Destroy Their Future - David Harsanyi
    There have been 11 terrorist murders in Israel over the past week. All of the attacks happened well inside the '67 boundaries. This isn't about "occupied territories." This isn't some ginned-up Fatah claim regarding the Temple Mount. It's old-fashioned terror meant to scare Jews out of the Middle East.
        Even as Sunni Arab nations make peace, open trade, and enter security arrangements with Israel, Palestinians refuse to lift themselves from the destitution of their own creation. No rational people would hand a new country - or bestow a "right to return" - to those who might randomly murder them or launch missiles at their schools. Yet, Palestinians continue, for more than a century now, to engage in this self-destructive strategy. (National Review)
  • Donít Reward Palestinians for a New Wave of Terror - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Instead of taking an honest look at Palestinian political culture, which not only lauds terrorism but views violence as a legitimate and necessary expression of national identity, the West consistently treats acts of murder as a cry for help from the disadvantaged. Palestinian violence is not caused by alleged Israeli oppression or the lack of progress towards peace. It is instead an expression of a long-held belief in the illegitimacy of a Jewish state and the need for action to eliminate it.
        Given repeated Palestinian Arab refusals of offers of compromise on even the most advantageous terms dating back to the pre-state era, that should be obvious. The support for terror even on the part of so-called Palestinian moderates, who have continued to subsidize and applaud acts of terror against Jews, is ignored. A policy that responds to terror waves with diplomatic pressure on Israel essentially rewards Palestinians for violence. (JNS)
  • Pro-Palestinian Social Media Celebrates Murder of Ukrainians in Bnei Brak Terror Attack - Seth J. Frantzman
    A number of Palestinian Arabic media and social media accounts celebrated the attack in Bnei Brak where five people were killed. The reports claimed that "settlers" were killed in the attack. Some might think this refers to Israelis living in the West Bank, but in Palestinian media it almost always refers to everyone who lives in Israel, including the two Ukrainian workers who were murdered.
        There is no other place in the world and no other cause that celebrates mass murder of innocent people as "heroic." It's a new definition of "heroic" to murder people randomly. A man gets up in the morning and sets off and shoots people who he has decided are sub-human, but who are in fact a diverse swath of people killed at random because they are in a state he doesn't like. A man with a rifle killing an unarmed man sitting eating falafel isn't involved in any kind of "military" action. He's committing a hate crime and human rights violation and crime against humanity.
        This praise of murder is a cult of genocidal hatred, no different than the KKK or Nazis in which a supremacist ideology has accorded itself a feeling that it is superior to all others and that murdering everyone who is foreign is heroic. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Palestinians Are Totally Responsible for the Failure of the Oslo Accords - Former Israel Security Agency Director Avi Dichter interviewed by Eyal Levi
    MK Avi Dichter, 69, was head of the Southern District at the Israel Security Agency when the Oslo Accords were signed in August 1993. "We had great expectations for cooperation from the other side because we knew everyone....They were people that I had sat down with," he said. "When the terrorist attacks began, we supplied them [the PA] with intelligence so they could take care of things. But instead of taking care of things, they were looking for where we got our intelligence from."
        "The Palestinian Authority was doing absolutely nothing to stop the violence....The Oslo Accords failed and that was 100% the Palestinian Authority's responsibility....It is 28 years since the PA was established and not one single terrorist who carried out a terrorist attack, murdered Israelis, or planned to murder Israelis has been arrested by the PA."
        Dichter added that the Palestinian suicide bomber who blew himself up at the Park Hotel in Netanya on Passover night in 2002 had originally "planned to hit a mall in Tel Aviv that was closed on the night of the holiday. They wanted to call it off, but the bomber said he had once worked at the Park Hotel in Netanya and suggested checking out whether there were people there. When they saw the queue at the entrance, the terrorist went inside and blew himself up."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Issue Overshadowed by Regional Developments - Keren Setton
    The long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, once a regular supplier of headlines, appears to have lost the interest of its audience. "There used to be only one conflict in the Middle East - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Moein Odeh, a lawyer and human rights expert from eastern Jerusalem. "Now we have other conflicts, from the bloody Syrian conflict, to the Arab Spring and events in different places such as Yemen. This took the attention away not only from the international community, also from the Arab world."
        "Priorities in the Arab world are pushing the Palestinian cause down the list. The international community is also exhausted, they spent billions of dollars and many hours to figure out how to solve the problem with no success."
        "The current status quo is good for leaderships on both sides. For Israel, there is no peace, but also no war. For the Palestinians, as long as there is no solution, Israel can be blamed for everything...the Palestinian leadership is not looking to be held accountable."  (Medialine)

  • Iran

  • Iran's Embrace of Missile Attacks on Foreign Targets - Behnam Ben Taleblu
    On March 13, 2022, Iran launched 10-12 short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from its territory against an alleged Israeli facility near the U.S. consulate in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan - the fifth operation in recent history launched from Iranian territory against a foreign target, employing ballistic missiles, and attributed to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). This is likely to feature in future Iranian military operations.
        Iran fired 16 SRBMs at bases housing U.S. forces in Iraq in January 2020. 39 American servicepersons received purple hearts for traumatic brain injuries. The U.S. media reported the strike as the "largest ballistic missile attack against Americans ever."
        Tehran has been busy making qualitative improvements to increase the range, accuracy, reliability, and survivability of its missile forces. At the same time, officials in Tehran increasingly perceive American resolve to use force to counter Iran or Iran-backed attacks as declining.
        The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). (National Interest)
        See also Ex-Israeli UN Envoy: West Must Not Ignore Iran's Ballistic Missiles (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

  • The New Geopolitical Architecture of the Middle East

  • A New Regional Role for Israel, as Washington Steps Back - David Makovsky
    In another step in Israel's integration in the region, four Arab foreign ministers are convening with their Israeli counterpart in the Negev. Arabs notice that it is Israel that is willing to be kinetic against Iran, whether it is pushing back against Iran and proxies in Syria, in Iraq, and even inside Iran itself. In contrast, the U.S. does not retaliate against Iranian strikes at the U.S.
        It is hard to escape the view that, unless U.S. lives are lost, the U.S. does not want any retaliation. During a recent visit to Israel, I heard several Israeli military officials say that Iran seems more fearful of Israel than it is of the U.S.  Arab states have noticed this.
        Israel does not have the same relationship with Saudi Arabia that the U.S. does, yet it does have significant contacts, and one must imagine that Israel is sharing intelligence with the kingdom against the Houthis.
        The writer is director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Negev Summit Displays the New Architecture of the Middle East - Pierre Akel
    The Israeli-Arab-American Negev Summit took place on Sunday, attended by four Arab ministers, plus U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Israeli analyst Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yosef Kuperwasser said: "The historic significance of the meeting of the 6 foreign ministers lies in the clear message that the new architecture of the Middle East is a fait accompli. The location and the wide participation prove the central role of Israel as a main regional player that can compensate for the void created by the American decision to pivot away from the Middle East."
        Israeli analyst Dr. Nir Boms said: "This...summit [is] a first of its kind, that cements this new relationship, this new regional alliance. The presence of Secretary Blinken means that the United States in still IN and it embraces and supports the Abraham Accords....All the parties are engaged with each other and with Israel. I think parties in the region...realize that they must assert leadership and work together facing the challenges that we all have."
        Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.
        Dr. Nir Boms is a research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and at the International Center for Counter Terrorism in Herzliya.
    (Middle East Transparent)
        See also Iranian Threat Brings Abraham Accords Countries Closer - Debbie Mohnblatt (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
  • Saudi Editor: America Is Dismantling the Pillars of Its Regional Order - Mohammed Alyahya
    As a Saudi who went to college in the U.S., loves America and wants to see it strong, I am increasingly disturbed by the unreality of the American discussion about the Saudi-U.S. relationship. The nuclear deal with Iran paves a path for Iran to a nuclear bomb. It fills the war chest of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has spread militias across the Arab world armed with precision-guided munitions to maim and kill people who formerly looked to America to help guarantee their safety.
        Sold to the American public as an arms control agreement, the Iran deal is an assault on the regional order that the U.S. established in the aftermath of World War II. The deal replaces the former American-led regional security structure with a system in which Iran, backed by Russia and China, becomes America's new subcontractor, while America's former allies - the Gulf States and Israel - are demoted to second-tier status. Most importantly, the deal takes the U.S. out of the business of containing Iran, which has further ramped up its attacks. The Iranian-backed Houthi rocket attack against Aramco in Jeddah was only the latest in a long series of brazen attacks that Iran has conducted, either directly or through proxies.
        It was not that long ago that the U.S. presented itself to its allies as their shield against all actors who sought regional hegemony. Today, Arab states in the region, and especially Saudi Arabia, conclude that if the Americans won't side with Israel against Iran, what's the chance they will side with us? The Biden administration's determination to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal has convinced Saudis that America is determined to dismantle the regional order that it created, no matter what demons it may unleash.
        The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, is former editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The U.S. Can't Just Quit the Middle East - Danielle Pletka
    From the perspective of the Biden administration and its Obama holdovers, the sooner the Middle East tends to its own knitting the better. However, America has enduring interests in the Middle East. Some are economic interests, like the energy supply. Others relate directly to the safety and security of the American people, including the likely proliferation of nuclear weapons, the growth and flourishing of Sunni and Shiite Islamist terrorism, and the security of Europe (in case some had forgotten the refugee masses that poured from Syria into Europe in 2015). There is no confronting China without secure oil supplies, no guaranteeing Israel's security from the Pacific, and no pretending that freedom of navigation through Suez or the Bab el Mandab is without value.
        It's high time to acknowledge that the terrorist threats that crisscross the region are real. Lebanon has been taken over by the world's most potent terror group, Hizbullah. Syria is a hub for Iranian weapons proliferation and a training ground for Islamist terrorists. Egypt is under the gun from ISIS and al-Qaeda. Yemen is an ongoing threat to its neighbors, and a training ground for terrorists targeting the U.S.
        The writer is a senior fellow at AEI and teaches U.S. Middle East policy at Georgetown University. (American Enterprise Institute)

  • Other Issues

  • Why the West's Astounding Mobilization for Ukraine Won't Happen Against Israel - Haviv Rettig Gur
    While Palestinians compare themselves to Ukrainians and question why the West's newfound militancy seems to overlook them, it wasn't moral outrage or passionate devotion to international law that drove the West's response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was self-interest - the fact that Russia had suddenly become an immediate hard-power threat to Europe.
        No moral indignation is driving three dozen NATO and EU states to suddenly spend hundreds of billions of previously unbudgeted dollars and euros on growing their militaries in the coming years, or to risk the loss of hundreds of billions more by cutting Russia out of the global economy. Russia is now under an international sanctions regime with more actual restrictions than those imposed on either North Korea or Iran because it is a close and more immediate threat - the sort of threat that Israel cannot pose.
        Funds sent to the Ukrainian government are very likely to be used to defend the country or alleviate the war's humanitarian fallout. But as the EU has discovered countless times over the past three decades, money sent to Gaza or the West Bank often bolsters terrorist infrastructures or disappears altogether.
        Democratic Ukraine's advocates in the West are demanding something simple: an end to the military invasion. Pro-Palestinian activists demand something much more complex: the dismantling of Jewish statehood. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Poll: Sympathy for the Palestinians Does Not Mean Hostility to Israel - Herb Keinon
    Gallup's annual poll on attitudes toward Israel and the Palestinians shows that 71% of the U.S. public have a favorable or mostly favorable opinion of Israel in 2022. The favorability line has remained pretty even over the last 12 years. Overall support for Israel did not suffer when Netanyahu went to battle with Obama against the Iranian nuclear deal. In 2014 when the Obama-Netanyahu battles were in full swing, 71% of Democrats had a favorable opinion of Israel, the highest rating among Democrats in the last 22 years.
        Favorability to Israel fell from 75% in 2021, due largely to Republicans, as favorable opinions dropped from 91% in 2020 to 81% in 2022. Among Democrats, favorability dropped from 67% to 63%. However, the higher rating among Republicans has been a constant going back to 1989. Yet Democrats have not stopped being supportive of Israel. A 63% favorability rating does not make an anti-Israel party.
        Gallup also asks with which side people sympathize more: Israel or the Palestinians. Since 2018, sympathy for the Palestinians has been on a steady rise, and sympathy for Israel on a slight decline, from 59% in 2018 to 58% in 2021 and 55% in 2022. While 38% of Democrats say they are more sympathetic to the Palestinians, that does not necessarily mean they are hostile to Israel.
        Sympathy for the Palestinians among Democrats has to do with a liberal worldview that maintains that the weak are in the right. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel is the mightier party. (Jerusalem Post)
  • 2022 Demographic Update: A Solid Jewish Majority West of the Jordan River - Yoram Ettinger
    Israel's Jewish fertility rate exceeds its Muslim fertility rate. In 2020, the Jewish fertility rate (number of births per woman) was 3.00, while the overall Arab fertility rate was 2.82. In 2021, Jewish births were 76% of total births. The unique growth in Israel's Jewish fertility rate is attributed to optimism, patriotism, attachment to Jewish roots, communal solidarity, the positive Jewish attitude toward raising children, and a frontier mentality. Israel's Arab life expectancy (78 for men and 82 for women) is similar to the U.S. life expectancy and higher than that of any Arab or Muslim country.
        Moreover, Palestinian census figures are inflated. Half a million Palestinians who have lived overseas for over a year are included in the population census, in violation of internationally accepted rules. 350,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who possess Israeli ID cards, are double-counted - included in the Israeli census and the Palestinian census. 150,000 Arabs from Gaza and the West Bank who married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards are also double-counted.
        The PA census ignores the annual net emigration of mostly young Arabs from the West Bank (28,000 in 2021). The number of Arab deaths in the West Bank has been systematically under-reported. For example, a recent Palestinian population census included Arabs who were born in 1845.
        In 2021, there was a 68% Jewish majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank (7.5 million Jews, 2 million Israeli Arabs and 1.5 million West Bank Arabs). Despite conventional wisdom, there is no Arab demographic time bomb. There is, however, an unprecedented Jewish demographic tailwind.
        The writer is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative. (JNS)

  • Israelis and key Arab states are forming a security pact against the common threat of terrorism, much of it sponsored, all of it applauded, by Iran, and Tehran's own growing military power.
  • Despite the presence of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the Negev Desert summit, the deal between Israel, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain was the first major breakthrough in Arab-Israeli relations not actively brought about by Washington.
  • Blinken was present as an observer, not the key player. Israel and its new partners were cooperating despite the Biden administration rather than because of its sponsorship. Blinken's attendance was a walk-on part made worse by his failure to "read the room" by talking at length about issues which the Israelis and Arabs present regarded as peripheral.
  • The essence of the new geopolitics emerging in the Middle East is that America is no longer dominant even among its allies. The fiasco in Afghanistan made brutally clear the folly of relying on Biden's America in a crisis which required American military power to act quickly whatever the risks.
  • Now with cruel clarity, in the Middle East many key long-term American partners are looking to themselves for their security and discounting Washington as a guarantor.
  • The Biden administration's obsession with bringing Iran in from the cold is increasing tensions in a strategically vital region. The dual threat of Sunni jihadi extremism and Iranian power-projection have pushed Israel, Egypt and the Emiratis to act together - without America.
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