April 7, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Germany to Arm UAVs Leased from Israel - Assaf Uni (Globes)
    The German government has decided to arm the UAVs it leases from Israel with missiles manufactured in Israel at a cost of 152 million euros, German media report.
    The Social Democratic party had in the past opposed arming the UAVs, but following the Russian invasion of Ukraine this hesitation has been overcome.

Germany Gets Approval to Purchase Israel's Arrow-3 Missile Defense System - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Germany has received approval from Israel and the U.S. to purchase the long-range Arrow-3 missile defense system, the Jerusalem Post has learned.
    Should Germany buy the system, it would mark the first time that the Arrow 3 has been sold to another country.
    "We must all prepare ourselves for the fact that we have a neighbor that is currently prepared to use force to assert its interests," Chancellor Olaf Scholz told German television last week.
    The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said the procurement of the system, which is still under development, will cost at least two billion euros and would be operational by 2025.
    The Arrow-3 development program is co-managed by Israel and the U.S.

Israel Concerned over Iranian Takeover of Syrian Golan - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    The IDF has identified a new threat resulting from the significant increase of the Shiite and Alawite Muslim populations in Syria.
    In 2011, Syria was home to 21.3 million residents - 59% Sunni Muslims, 11% Alawites, and 4% Shiites.
    The territory currently under Assad's control is home to 10 million people, with Shiites making up 10% and Alawites 30%.
    Many of the Shiites live in the Syrian Golan Heights on the border with Israel, where poverty is rife. Past experience has taught us that terrorist instigators are able to take advantage of civilian distress through charity organizations.
    Iran's terrorist operations have a fertile recruiting ground in the Syrian Shiite population and a few hundred have already been recruited by Hizbullah or Iran and its satellites.

Egyptian Journalist: No Difference between ISIS, Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood (MEMRI)
    On March 26, 2022, Al-Arabiya reported that the Egyptian armed forces and the Sinai Tribes Union had thwarted an attempt by several ISIS operatives to infiltrate Sinai from Gaza, killing three of the operatives and capturing three others.
    One of those killed was Mus'ab Mutawa, a former Hamas commander and the son of Jamil Mutawa', who is in charge of Hamas' charity foundations in Khan Younis.
    Following the report, Egyptian journalist Amira Khawasek wrote in Al-Yawm Al-Sabi' on March 27 that Mus'ab Mutawa's ties to both Hamas and ISIS prove that "ISIS, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are equal in their depravity and crimes, and do not differ in any way."

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The Condemnation of Terror by Mansour Abbas: Is It Real? - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Member of Knesset Mansour Abbas, who serves as chairman of the United Arab List (Ra'am party) and deputy head of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement, voiced condemnations of the recent terror attacks in Israel.
    At the same time, his condemnations were not posted on the official Facebook pages of Ra'am or the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
    The Islamic Movement's leader, Safwat Freij, did not issue any condemnations of terror, and other Ra'am Knesset members did not disseminate Abbas' condemnations.
    Some see Mansour Abbas' condemnations of terror as reflecting a moderate and courageous line, while others view them as no more than a propaganda exercise.

Car Thefts in Israel by Palestinians Jump 165 Percent - Ariel Elsiboni (Israel Hayom)
    Car thefts in Israel rose 165% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2021.
    Most cars stolen in Israel are taken to Ramallah and Jenin in the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank, according to Pointer, a company that locates and retrieves stolen cars.

Israel Sells Tank Ammunition to Sweden (Globes)
    Israeli defense company Elbit Systems announced a $27 million contract to provide the Swedish Armed Forces with ammunition for its Leopard Main Battle Tanks.

Israel Counting on Its Youngest and Bravest - Jenni Frazer (Jewish News-UK)
    Our group of British journalists is being briefed on the intricacies of Israel's famous Iron Dome missile interceptor system when Lt.-Col. Rotem says: "Let me introduce you to my team."
    And it is a truly jaw-dropping moment as a group of young soldiers, boys and girls, step forward.
    They are all aged 18, 19, and 20, and it is their lightning speed in deploying the Iron Dome defense batteries that determines the protection of Israel's cities when under rocket attack.
    "What's the toughest part of this job?" I ask, and one of the girls says: "It's having to go from zero to 100 in such a short time."
    She means that the decisions when to fire the Iron Dome have to be taken in a frighteningly short space of time - usually seconds.
    We ask another girl soldier what her family thinks of her serving in the unit.
    She smiles: "Both my parents are police officers and my brother also served as a commando. The tradition in our family is one of public service and giving back to Israel. We are all proud of each other."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House Democrats Sound Alarm on Potential Iran Nuclear Deal - Jordan Williams
    18 House Democrats expressed concerns on Wednesday about reviving the Iran nuclear deal. "We understand that while the recent negotiations have not concluded, we feel that we can't stay quiet about the unacceptable and deeply troubling turn that these results have reportedly taken," said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA).
        Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), who opposed the deal in 2015, said, "Any new agreement with Iran must be based on the situation that is on the ground today, not the one from seven years ago. This means an agreement that is comprehensive and addresses the full range of threats that Iran poses to the region, including its nuclear program, ballistic missile program and its funding of terrorism."
        Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said he was concerned about the U.S. lifting the foreign terrorist organization designation against Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. He also raised concerns that the deal would allow Russia to continue doing energy business with Iran. "Are we seriously going to let war criminal Vladimir Putin be the guarantor of the deal? We must address the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, stand strong against terrorists, and protect American values and our allies."
        Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) said, "I am opposed to an agreement that does not absolutely, positively prevent Iran from either producing or obtaining a nuclear weapon. I believe I speak for an overwhelming majority of the United States Congress to that end."
        Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) said, "I have long said that a new deal with Iran must be stronger and last longer than the previous agreement. Any new agreement should address Iran's support for terrorist groups, offer clarity about the sunset provisions, and set forth a long-term strategy for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran."  (The Hill)
        See also Democrats Raise Qualms over Iran Nuke Deal - Jacob Magid
    Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) said, "Sunset clauses merely delay the regime's ability to enrich uranium or develop a nuclear arsenal and, regardless of when, this is unacceptable. Iran must never be allowed to become a nuclear threat to the world. Not today. Not ten or fifteen years from now. Not ever."
        Other critics of the deal include Reps. Juan Vargas, Kevin Boyle, Shontel Brown, Jim Costa, Val Demings, Lois Frankel, Jared Golden, Tony Gonzalez, Susie Lee, Darren Soto, Haley Stevens and Tom Suozzi. In the Senate, four Democrats have also raised concerns about rejoining the Iran nuclear deal. (Times of Israel)
  • Egypt, Israel Expand Economic Ties - Mohamed Sabry
    Egypt and Israel held talks on March 31 to discuss ways of expanding their economic and trade relations, in the latest sign of warming ties between Cairo and Jerusalem. In 2021, bilateral trade between Egypt and Israel reached $330 million a year, an increase of 63% from 2020. Israel's Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai said new measures will help double bilateral trade to $700 million within three years.
        The Qualified Industrial Zone (QIZ) program established by the U.S., which came into force in 2005, allows products jointly manufactured by Egypt and Israel duty-free entry into the U.S., provided that Israeli components represent 11.7% of these products. There are 1,124 companies registered under the QIZ protocol as of February 2022, the vast majority of which produce textiles (80%). Exports under the QIZ protocol hit $1.2 billion in 2021 and made up 37% of Egypt's total exports to the U.S.
        Tarek Fahmi, a professor of political science at Cairo University, thinks the current momentum in Egyptian-Israeli relations was triggered by the recent U.S.-sponsored normalization deals. "Egypt and Israel seek to deliver a message through this cooperation that their relations are solid and are expanding." However, while many Egyptians are not averse to trade with Israel, the Egyptian public is wary of deepening ties with the Jewish state. (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: "Plan B" Must Be Activated If Iran Nuke Deal Not Reached - Lahav Harkov
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told foreign ambassadors on Wednesday: "We are in a race against time." Since August, "Iran increased its 60% enriched uranium from 10 kg. to 50 kg. It continues to bury its [nuclear] means in underground hiding places and installed another cascade in Fordow." If there is no agreement, the world must "enact Plan B: Use force, use economic pressure, use diplomatic pressure."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF: At Least 10 Terror Attacks Foiled in Past Two Weeks - Emanuel Fabian
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said Monday that the Israel Defense Forces had foiled nearly a dozen terror attacks in the past two weeks "thanks to intelligence and operations. Even at this moment, we are focused on thwarting further attacks."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire at Israeli Community in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at the community of Avnei Hefetz in the West Bank on Monday evening. The gunman arrived in a vehicle, opened fire, and fled the scene. 30 shell casings were found, as well as bullet holes in several homes, but no injuries were reported. (Times of Israel)
  • Three Israeli Arabs Charged with Smuggling Weapons from Lebanon - Yaniv Kubovich
    Three Israeli Arabs have been indicted for smuggling in arms from Lebanon for a Hamas-affiliated Palestinian. Mohammed Abu Jumaa, 26, Sayed Hawashla, 27, and Omer Abu Tarash, 27, smuggled in revolvers with silencers for a Palestinian from Hebron. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Seizes Guns on Jordan Border - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian man smuggling guns into Israel from Jordan overnight Tuesday, confiscating 19 handguns, three AK-47 rifles, two M-16 rifles, and a shotgun. In recent months, such attempts along the Jordanian border are foiled every few weeks. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Iran Nuclear Deal Claims Do Not Stand Up to Reality - Andrea Stricker
    National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on March 22 that President Joe Biden seeks to put Iran's atomic program "back in the box." However, the reported provisions of the deal that Biden's team is negotiating in Vienna would hardly box in Tehran's rapidly advancing nuclear program. Under the original deal, Iran never had to submit to intrusive inspections of sensitive military sites.
        While the Obama administration said the original JCPOA increased Iran's breakout time to 12 months, Israel reportedly estimates that Tehran's breakout time under a new deal would initially reach just four to six months and would then drop almost to zero over the duration of the updated deal.
        The new deal's insufficient breakout time reflects the reported decision to permit the regime to keep in storage more than 2,000 advanced centrifuges that can quickly enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity. Moreover, Iran's inventory of advanced centrifuges will only continue to grow since Iran is allowed to manufacture up to 400 additional advanced centrifuges per year starting in 2024.
        The writer is a research fellow at the FDD. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

  • Palestinians

  • European Union Funds Illegal Palestinian Projects in West Bank - Akiva Van Koningsveld
    A report by Israel's Intelligence Ministry, prepared in June 2021 but declassified only this year, describes how the Palestinians use EU funds to build thousands of illegal structures and grab swaths of agricultural land in Area C in Judea and Samaria, contrary to international law and relevant agreements. Over the past eight years, the Palestinian Authority has received over half a billion dollars to carry out "unilateral land seizure moves."
        The report states: "As part of the moves to seize territory, between 35,000-40,000 structures have been built in [Area C]....These structures cover an area of approximately 35 to 80 square km....This activity has also included harming natural assets (building inside nature reserves, illegal quarries, pollution and dumping of waste), harm to antiquities (there are approximately 10,000 archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria) and demands to turn part of them into Muslim sites....These efforts have been guided centrally by the Palestinian Authority...through unilaterally establishing facts on the ground."  (Algemeiner-HonestReporting)
        Read the report The Palestinian Campaign for Area C: Shaping a Security Reality on the Ground, Description and Implications (Israel Ministry of Intelligence)
  • Palestinian Violence Against Jews Is Nothing New - Dan Schueftan
    The spate of recent incidents of Palestinian terrorism are nothing new. Palestinians have been indiscriminately killing Jews for over 100 years. Murderers of Jews ("martyrs") are the main role models, who are honored and financially rewarded based on the number of Jews they kill. This stems from the Palestinian national ethos, which sanctifies a violent struggle that will go on for generations. The violent Arab society and political culture are mainly responsible for these acts.
        The writer heads the International Graduate Program in National Security Studies at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)

  • Other Issues

  • Zelenskyy Wants Ukraine to Be "a Big Israel." Here's a Road Map. - Amb. Daniel B. Shapiro
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week described the future he sees for his country as "a big Israel," due to ongoing security concerns. If Zelenskyy really does have Israel in mind as a model for Ukraine, here are some key features he might consider for adoption.
        Security first: Every Israeli government promises, first and foremost, that it will deliver security - and knows it will be judged on this pledge.
        The whole population plays a role: Most young Israeli adults serve in the military. A common purpose unites the citizenry, making them ready to endure shared sacrifice. Civilians recognize their responsibility to follow security protocols. Some even arm themselves (though under strict supervision).
        Self-defense is the only way: Israel's security doctrine holds that Israel will defend itself, by itself - and rely on no other country to fight its battles. Don't depend on the guarantees of others, but maintain active defense partnerships.
        Intelligence dominance: Israel has invested deeply in its intelligence capabilities to ensure that it has the means to detect and deter its enemies - and, when needed, act proactively to strike them.
        The writer, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, is a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. (Atlantic Council)
  • Lebanon and Syria: A Single Northern Front but with Differences - Yaakov Lappin
    Both Lebanon and Syria are dominated by the Iran-led axis. Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hizbullah in Syria, Shi'ite militias in Syria, and the IRGC in Syria could coordinate their activities in a future war with Israel.
        In Lebanon, after a UN Security Council Resolution (1701) banned the presence of illegal weapons in the south of the country, Hizbullah has stockpiled more than 70,000 ballistic projectiles including 65,000 short-range rockets (45-200 km.), 5,000 long and mid-range missiles (200+ km.), and 145,000 mortars. It also has hundreds of precision guided missiles, surface-to-sea missiles, mini submarines, torpedoes, cruise missiles, and 2,000 UAVs.
        A future conflict with Hizbullah will not resemble the 2006 conflict. Hizbullah's capabilities are 20 times more developed today. The IDF's own capabilities are also far more advanced. Yet because Hizbullah's capabilities have grown monstrous in size, Israel exhibits great caution.
        In Syria, Israel has been able to prevent a great deal of Iran's intentions to build a terror army on Syrian soil and equip it with tens of thousands of rockets. Israel's relative preventative success in Syria means that should a multi-front war erupt, it would principally be focused on Lebanon, and fewer resources would be needed to deal with the threat from Syria. This is the essential reason why Israel must continue to "mow the lawn" in Syria consistently. (Alma Center)
  • Arabs Express Disappointment and Frustration with U.S. Middle East Policy - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Many Arabs are continuing to express disappointment and frustration with the U.S. administration, particularly its perceived appeasement of Iran's mullahs, failure to classify the Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, and turning its back on America's allies and friends in the Arab world.
        Arab commentators are saying that the U.S. is losing its Arab allies and friends; that one year after Biden came to power, the Middle East is less secure and stable because of the threats and attacks by Iran and its proxies; that the Arabs feel betrayed and abandoned by the U.S., which is losing its credibility and prestige in the Middle East; and that a new nuclear deal with Iran would pose a real threat not only to Arabs, but to Israel and the U.S. as well.
        Although many in the Arab world diplomatically refer to Biden's action as "mistakes," they appear to recognize that they are deliberate, and lacking in any consideration for the well-being of people who will have to continue living in the region - while the Americans making these decisions for them will not. If the human rights record of Saudi Arabia seems a problem, Arabs ask themselves why the human rights record of Iran is considered any better. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Former Irish Justice Minister: Apartheid Claims over Palestinians a "Big Lie" - Cormac McQuinn
    Former Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has branded Amnesty International's use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israel's treatment of Palestinians as a "headline-catching big lie" at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. He said the Amnesty report misrepresents a territorial and political conflict relating to Israeli and Palestinian nationhood and identity as a racial conflict.
        Shatter said the committee - which has been holding meetings on the report - is "on the wrong side of history." He argued that the committee has had nothing positive to say on recent peace deals between Israel and some Arab countries and "nothing also is ever said about Palestinian political parties, terrorist and civil groups celebrating in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank murderous terrorist atrocities." He said the obstacle to peace was "the incapacity of people on the Palestinian side to constructively engage."
        Yousef Haddad, an Arab-Israeli citizen, told the committee, "It is true that Israel is a Jewish state but it is also a democratic state. While Israel is imperfect and racism exists, it is not systematic but individual. Every day, Arabs and Jews are standing side-by-side working to resolve the problems in our society. You know what doesn't help our society? White Europeans and Amnesty International telling our sovereign nation of Arabs and Jews how to run our country."  (Irish Times)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • UK Justice Minister: IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism Doesn't Shut Down Free Speech - Lee Harpin
    UK Justice Minister Lord David Wolfson has hit out at claims that the government's adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism infringes on its commitment to free speech. Speaking at the Jerusalem Post's London conference on Thursday, Lord Wolfson said: "It's calumny to say that the fight against anti-Semitism in some way shuts down free speech, it simply doesn't."
        "Anti-Semitism is hate speech and all democracies have drawn a line between free speech and hate speech. There are things you cannot say because they are defamatory and there are things you cannot say because they are racist. Anti-Semitism is Jew-hatred. I also do not like the word anti-Semitism. I call it anti-Jewish racism. I think it is very important to see the fight against anti-Semitism as part of the fight against racism."
        "There are some people who appear to have a blind spot when it comes to anti-Jewish racism, people who pronounce themselves anti-racist in relation to every other form of racism."  (Jewish News-UK)

  • A recent poll found that 57% of Palestinians believe the U.S. and its European allies are guilty of a double standard in how they've responded to the war in Ukraine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the West has quickly embraced the use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Russia, there is far less support for the BDS movement against Israel, and there are even efforts to ban it or penalize its proponents. Yet the claim of a double standard rests on a false equivalence.
  • First, the war in Ukraine is the result of an unprovoked act of aggression by Russia against its neighbor, which posed no real threat to Russia. Israel, by contrast, conquered the West Bank and Gaza during a war it fought against three neighboring Arab states that did pose a serious threat to Israel.
  • Second, Russia's invasion of Ukraine - an independent state, whose sovereignty is universally recognized by the international community - is a clear violation of the most basic international norms and a clear danger to the international rules-based order. Israel's military presence in the West Bank does not violate the cardinal principle of state sovereignty nor does it threaten to upend the international order. Israel's actions towards the Palestinians no longer have major regional, let alone global, repercussions.
  • Third, boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Russia is intended to pressure Putin to stop this war of aggression, not change the regime in Russia or the nature of the Russian state. The BDS movement, by contrast, doesn't just want to pressure Israel over the West Bank. It seeks to change the very nature of the Israeli state. It's the objectives of the BDS movement that people, and governments, take issue with, especially its rejection of Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state (a rejection that some see as anti-Semitic).
  • Finally, Ukrainian armed resistance is solely directed against the Russian military. Russian civilians haven't been targeted. Palestinian armed action, by contrast, is also directed against Israeli civilians. There have been scores of terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israelis and indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian militant groups towards Israeli population centers.

    The writer is director of the Center for Israel Studies at UCLA.
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