May 9, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

62 Senators, including 16 Democrats, Vote to Oppose Removal of IRGC from Terror List - Marc Rod (Jewish Insider)
    The U.S. Senate approved Wednesday by 62 to 33 a non-binding measure that opposes the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' terrorism designation.
    The legislation also includes language requiring any nuclear weapons agreement with Iran to include provisions "addressing the full range of Iran's destabilizing activities," including missiles, terrorism and sanctions evasion.
    16 Democrats voted for the measure.

Energean Makes Commercial Gas Discovery off the Coast of Israel (Sharecast-UK)
    Energean said on Monday that a discovery at its Athena exploration well off the coast of Israel pointed to recoverable volumes of 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
    Energean said Athena may be commercialized in the near term.

Israeli President Honors 120 Outstanding IDF Soldiers - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    President Isaac Herzog hosted an Independence Day ceremony at his official residence on Thursday to award the army's annual citations for distinguished service to 120 Israel Defense Forces soldiers and officers.
    Herzog posted photos of each of the honored soldiers on his Facebook page, although those whose military duties are classified had avatars. Of the 22 soldiers whose identities remained under wraps, 7 are women.
    See also Photos of Honored IDF Soldiers - President Isaac Herzog (Facebook)

PA, Jordan Seek to Prevent Hamas Takeover of Temple Mount - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinian Authority and Jordan are working together to stop Hamas from controlling the Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount), a PA official said on Thursday.

Gulf Arab Countries Copying Qatar in Hedging Against U.S. Power; Iran Is Thrilled - Danielle Pletka (Foreign Policy)
    The emirate of Qatar houses a key U.S. air base, Al Udeid, and enjoys a defense pact and major non-NATO ally status with the U.S., all the while maintaining friendly relations with Iran; hosting senior leaders of U.S.-designated terrorist groups including Hamas and the Taliban; and financing Al Jazeera, a media network that pushes anti-Israel, anti-U.S., pro-Iran, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood messaging.
    Qatar's success has made it a model for the rest of the region.
    Increasingly doubtful about the constancy of U.S. military support, the rest of the Gulf is in the process of hedging their bets against U.S. power, playing footsie with Tehran and making economic and weapons deals with China and Russia.
    It became clear after Iranian-sponsored attacks on key Saudi oil facilities that even the most virulent of Iran's foes in the White House would not spring to Riyadh's defense.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
    See also Qatar's "Moderate" Rebranding Is a Dangerous Delusion - Hussain Abdul-Hussain (Ha'aretz)

Israel's Rise to Regional Prominence - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman (Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security)
    Israel's standing in world affairs is unprecedented in its reach and influence.
    One reason stems from the growing sense that the world is a more dangerous place than many had hoped it would be in the post-Cold War era.
    This sense was first triggered by Islamist terrorism and later by Russian invasions into neighboring countries.
    Israel's security-oriented policies, once derided as irrelevant in our times, are becoming better understood against this background.
    Israel's most valuable asset is its demonstrated willingness to act to oppose Iran's revolutionary ideology.
    Its relentless Campaign Between the Wars has been conducted mainly by the Israeli air force and backed by highly penetrating intelligence on Iranian activities in the region.
    This campaign has the effect of continuing to draw Arab states toward Israel.
    The writer, vice president of the JISS, held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years.

Why Israel Has Two Memorial Days - Lenny Ben-David (JNS)
    Israel has two Memorial Days.
    Remembrance Day reminds us of the cost of having Israel.
    Holocaust Memorial Day reminds us of the cost of not.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Says Putin Apologizes for Lavrov's Remarks
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an apology for Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statements suggesting that Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish ancestry and that some of the "most ardent" anti-Semites are Jews, during phone talks on Thursday. A readout of the talks released by the Kremlin press service did not mention the apology. (RT-Russia)
  • Jared Kushner's New Equity Fund to Invest Saudi Money in Israel - Dion Nissenbaum
    Former senior White House adviser Jared Kushner's new private-equity fund plans to invest millions of dollars of Saudi money in Israeli startups, in a sign of the kingdom's increasing willingness to do business with the country. Affinity Partners has raised more than $3 billion, including a $2 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign-wealth fund. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees the Saudi fund's strategic decisions, would have had to approve any decision to invest directly in Israel.
        Kushner said he viewed his investment plans as an extension of his work in the White House in advancing ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Church of England Apologizes for 800-Year-Old Anti-Semitic Laws - Harriet Sherwood
    The Church of England apologized on Sunday for its "shameful actions" in passing anti-Jewish laws 800 years ago that paved the way for the expulsion of Jews from England. A special service at Christ Church cathedral in Oxford, marking the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, was attended by Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi, with representatives of the archbishop of Canterbury and a Roman Catholic bishop.
        The synod passed laws forbidding social interactions between Jews and Christians, forcing Jews to wear identifying badges, imposing church tithes on them, banning them from certain professions, and forbidding them from building new synagogues. Hundreds were arrested, hanged or imprisoned. Eventually, all the Jews in England were expelled in 1290 by King Edward I. They were not permitted to return for more than 360 years.
        The move follows a 2019 document produced by the Church of England which said Christian attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a "fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism." Anglicans and other Christians must actively challenge anti-Jewish attitudes and stereotypes, said the document. (Observer-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Three Israelis Murdered by Palestinians during Independence Day Celebrations - Asaron Reich
    Yonatan Habakkuk, Boaz Gol and Oren Ben Yiftah, three young fathers, were murdered by two axe and knife-wielding Palestinians who attacked passersby in the city of Elad on Israeli Independence Day on Thursday. Four others were injured. 16 children were left fatherless after the attack.
        Limor, the wife of victim Yonatan Habakkuk, wrote on Facebook that her husband "fought against the terrorists with great heroism for many minutes...saving many lives."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Captures Palestinian Terrorists Who Murdered Three Israelis in Elad - Anna Ahronheim
    Israeli security forces caught the two terrorists who murdered three Israelis in Elad on Thursday. As'sad al-Rifai, 19, and Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, 20, from the Jenin area of the West Bank, were captured alive in a forested area close to Elad on Sunday morning. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also How the IDF Found the Elad Murderers - Amos Harel
    Traces of blood were found on banknotes discovered on Saturday in an open area near Elad by a reserve unit of experts in tracking and search operations. The unit was established in the wake of the search for the three teenaged boys who were killed in Gush Etzion in 2014. DNA testing concluded that the blood belonged to one of the suspects, who was wounded while his victims attempted to defend themselves.
        Assigned to search the area, the deputy commander of the elite Maglan unit said he noticed a pile of weeds that was laid on the ground conspicuously, near other greenery, "and then I noticed that the weeds were rising and falling, at the pace of someone breathing." The commander and his soldiers then discovered the two men. The Israel Security Agency "began interrogating them, and they admitted that they carried out the terror attack."  (Ha'aretz-Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Attacker Targets Home of Emergency Defense Guard - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian from a neighboring Arab village, armed with a knife, entered the West Bank community of Tekoa on Sunday night and reached the front yard of the home of a local Israeli security officer, who shot the intruder at the entrance to his home. (Times of Israel)
        See also Miracle in Tekoa - Hanoch Daum
    A Tekoa resident was sitting with a cup of tea on his front porch Sunday evening when he saw a terrorist climb over the security fence near his house. He rushed his wife and children inside and went back out to find the terrorist. The attacker raised his knife but the resident shot him and ended the incident. The terrorist planned to slaughter women and children in their home. It was a great miracle that the terrorist attacked the wrong man.
        Tekoa is home to over 1,000 Israeli families, the largest community in the Gush Etzion Regional Council.
        The writer is a veteran Israeli journalist. (Facebook-Hebrew)
        See also Tekoa Resident Recounts Confronting Terrorist
    "We were sitting on the porch, on the western side of Tekoa. Suddenly, within that serene landscape, we spot a face, a person climbing the fence right in front of us," Yair Maimon told Radio 103FM on Monday. Security camera footage showed the attacker vaulting Tekoa's perimeter fence and then running into the town.
        "The community's fence is only three meters away from my home....Despite the fence being a deterrent, it doesn't help....By the time we send out an alert, [the terrorist] is already inside." On Monday, Maimon uploaded a picture to his Facebook page of his wife and himself sipping coffee on their porch with the caption: "Waiting for the next terrorist."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Border Police Officer Attacked in Jerusalem
    An Israeli Border Police officer was stabbed by a Palestinian assailant at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate on Sunday night. The attacker was shot dead by security forces at the scene. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Calls for "Civilian National Guard" to Fight Palestinian Terror
    Amid a series of violent attacks in Israel over the past two months, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the Cabinet on Sunday: "I have instructed the National Security Council...to present the government with an orderly and budgeted plan to establish a civilian national guard by the end of the month."
        "The urgent need to strengthen the personal security of the citizens of Israel was born a year ago during the events of Operation Guardian of the Walls [in May 2021], mainly in the mixed cities, and it is more urgent than ever in the current wave of terrorism....We see the difference between incidents in which there was a responsible armed civilian in the area and those in which there was not."
        "The plan will be based on Border Police units, along with the mobilization of trained units of volunteers and reservists, who together will be defined as a national guard. They will be activated in emergencies and disturbances, and in routine times as well, as necessary."  (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • On the Temple Mount, Israel and the Palestinians Live in Parallel Worlds - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser
    The tension between Israel and the Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem largely reflects the completely different ways in which the two sides view the reality around the mount. The Israeli perceptual framework seeks stability and is committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount, to freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem, and to maintaining public order. It is thereby exercising its sovereignty and the responsibility entailed by it.
        However, many Palestinians, both in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, along with many Israeli Arabs and Muslims worldwide, including in Jordan, see the existence of the nation-state of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel as lacking all justification. In their view, Israel's presence in east Jerusalem is illegal, and Israel as a state, and not just marginal messianic groups within it, seeks to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount.
        This problem is the product of long years of indoctrination and incitement based on religious beliefs and core values of Arab and Palestinian nationalism that portray the Jews as the ultimate evil.
        With no possibility of reaching a permanent solution and seeking to ensure stability in the short term, Israel has decided to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and pacify Gaza with material benefits. While this approach has certain advantages in the short term, it is likely to exact substantial costs in the medium and long term because it creates a sense of achievement among our enemies, raises their hopes of further achievements in the conflict over who is right, and erodes Israeli deterrence.
        The writer, Director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Is Behind the Ramadan Escalation - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Yohanan Tzoreff
    The ongoing escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian arena is the product of a process planned and orchestrated by Hamas, in cooperation with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the PFLP, several months before Ramadan. As a lesson from the conflict of May 2021, Hamas sought to use the holy sites in eastern Jerusalem to foment a mass protest that would once again muster Palestinian solidarity in Jerusalem, throughout the West Bank, and in Israeli territory.
        However, both in Jerusalem and in the West Bank the masses did not take to the streets. In the current reality in the Palestinian arena, the masses can take part in such a campaign when there is coordination between Hamas and Fatah to create a consensus, or after increased friction and casualties with the Israeli police, especially around the holy sites in Jerusalem.
        But coordination between Hamas and Fatah is not viable today and there is no Palestinian consensus on a widespread confrontation with Israeli security forces. Moreover, the preparations of the Israeli police and the defense establishment to deal with the friction without causing many casualties have prevented mass involvement from developing.
        Yet Hamas gained some achievements: the Palestinian issue returned to the international agenda; most Arab countries, including those that normalized their relations with Israel, criticized it and even reprimanded its representatives; and the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and the crumbling Fatah movement were highlighted.
        The writer, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, served as Arab Adviser to the Civil Administration in Gaza and as head of the Palestinian-Arab Division in the Ministry of Intelligence and Strategy. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • The Israel-Jordan peace treaty of 1994 specifies that Israel "respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem." Israel agreed that the day-to-day administration and organization of visiting and worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque would continue to be the responsibility of the Jordanian Waqf, a branch of Jordan's Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places, subject to Israeli security supervision and presence.
  • The most recent Ramadan disturbances have given rise to a number of statements and actions by senior Jordanian personalities, expressing both support and encouragement for the continuing violence, as well as voicing threats against Israel and calls to change the present arrangements regarding the Temple Mount. Such enhanced Jordanian activism raises questions about Jordan's commitments pursuant to the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
  • The peace treaty distinctly referred to the situation, recognized and acknowledged by both parties, which existed at the time of its signature in 1994. It must be assumed that Jordan thereby acknowledged and committed itself to Israel's overall authority, including security responsibility, over the Temple Mount compound, subject to Israel's recognition and acknowledgment of the special role of Jordan.
  • Therefore, recent reports of a new Jordanian initiative to remove Israel's control over the Temple Mount and to transfer security responsibility from Israel to the Waqf, as well as the authority to approve non-Muslim visits to the Temple Mount, would appear to be at stark variance with Jordan's peace treaty obligations.
  • Moreover, statements by senior Jordanian personalities expressing support and encouragement for the Al-Aqsa rioters would appear to be at variance with the provisions of the peace treaty.
  • In Article 11 of the peace treaty, entitled "Mutual Understanding and Good Neighborly Relations," the parties undertook to "seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance based on shared historic values" and "to abstain from hostile or discriminatory propaganda against each other."

    The writer, who participated in the negotiation of the peace treaty with Jordan, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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