May 12, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

A Journalist's Death - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)
    The killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during a firefight between IDF soldiers and Palestinians in Jenin is a tragedy.
    Some are wildly casting blame on Israel before an investigation has even begun.
    The Palestinians are not willing to cooperate with Israel in a joint investigation.
    Palestinians and their supporters immediately drew the conclusion that Israel killed her - and did so intentionally - without any physical evidence.
    Those who think the worst of Israel will be willing to accept and believe anything about it.
    A fairly simple joint pathological investigation - clarifying the bullet type and the angle of the bullet entry wound - would go a long way toward determining who fired the fatal shot. But the Palestinians are not interested.
    What they are interested in now is the propaganda value that can be culled from the killing of a well-known journalist. An investigation could muddle up their narrative.

The Search for Truth in the Death of a Journalist - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
    The Palestinians and Al Jazeera don't want the truth behind the death of reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas wish to leverage her death for political and propaganda purposes, and that is why they reject any offer for an objective investigation.
    Even if such an investigation is launched, they will make sure to destroy any shred of evidence that might point to the probable scenario that the Palestinian militants who were firing wantonly were the ones who killed her.
    The Palestinians rushed to declare the journalist a martyr because it serves the constant war of propaganda which Abbas and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar lead against Israel.
    But their assertions are grounded in nothing except deafening victimhood that is aimed at painting Israel as the aggressor.

Turkey Has Not Expelled Any Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood Members - Ragip Soylu (Middle East Eye-UK)
    Turkey has not expelled members of the Palestinian Hamas movement and isn't planning to kick out the Muslim Brotherhood presence in the country either, a senior Turkish official and other sources told Middle East Eye.
    Last week, Israeli media, citing a Palestinian source, alleged that "dozens of people identified with Hamas" had been deported in the last few months, upon an Israeli request.
    Sources close to Hamas confirmed that none of their members in Turkey were deported, though there were restrictions on Hamas' military wing.

Innovative Neck Protector Saved Border Policeman's Life - Itsik Saban (Israel Hayom)
    An innovative neck protector saved the life of Master. Sgt. M., a Border Police officer who was wounded on Sunday in a stabbing attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
    The new protective wear was developed after a Palestinian terrorist killed Border Policewoman Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka at Damascus Gate four years ago.
    A senior police official said, "On Sunday, the force of the stab was very strong and the knife was extremely sharp. Thanks to the Hadas neck protector, a far more serious injury was prevented."

Israel's First Muslim Supreme Court Justice Sworn In (i24News)
    Justice Khaled Kabub, 64, from Jaffa, on Monday became the first Muslim appointed to Israel's 15-member Supreme Court.

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Why Israel Is Planning a National Guard - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at Sunday's cabinet meeting about setting up a National Guard to deal with rioting Arabs and road closures during times of war and smaller military campaigns.
    In recent years, the public has come to realize that there are vast tracts in the country - from kibbutz fields in the Arava, to Bedouin areas in the Negev, to agricultural communities in the Galilee and Golan, to Arab cities in the Triangle - where Israeli sovereignty is simply not applied, and where semi-autonomous areas have emerged where the central government has little sway.
    One of the main lessons from the May 2021 mini-war with Gaza was that a radicalized segment of the Israeli Arab population will likely become involved in any future confrontation.

IDF Denies Entry to Families of Terrorists - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Family members of terrorists involved in the recent wave of terror attacks that have killed 19 Israelis since March will not be allowed to enter Israel to work, pray at al-Aqsa mosque, or receive medical care in Israel, a senior IDF officer said Tuesday.
    "We will not allow the families of terrorists who chose to carry out attacks to enter Israel for employment and trade. Every Palestinian who carries out an attack has to know that he is doing something that will affect his family." The officer said that the situation will be reviewed periodically.
    For example, 124 family members of Mu'atassim Atallah, who attempted to carry out an attack in Tekoa on Sunday, had their permits revoked.
    Hundreds of family members of the Palestinians who carried out the deadly attacks in Elad and Ariel also had their permits revoked in order to bring the current wave of violence to an end.

Israeli Drone-Maker to Supply Advanced Systems to U.S. Military - Seth J. Frantzman (Defense News)
    Israeli firm Xtend will supply hundreds of new Wolverine Gen2 unmanned systems to the U.S. Defense Department, the company announced Tuesday.
    The small drone, which is made in the U.S., "enables operators - even those with no flight experience - to perform extremely precise remote tasks, maneuvers, and actions in complex environments (indoor or outdoor), with minimal training and maintenance."
    Xtend previously delivered several dozen Skylord counter-drone systems to the U.S.

U.S. Marines Adopt Israeli Combat-Tested Drone Warfare Tactics - Stephen W. LaRose (War on the Rocks)
    The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is employing combat-tested drone systems equipped with camera payloads and high explosives that are in use by special operations forces of allied nations such as Israel.

Video: Rare Coin from the Bar Kochva Revolt Found in Tekoa Canyon (i24News)
    An archaeological survey in Tekoa Canyon, south of Jerusalem, found a rare coin from the Bar Kochva revolt in the 2nd century CE.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Seeks to Open New Battlefront within Israel - Rasha Abou Jalal
    Hamas is working to move the confrontation with Israel inside its borders. On April 30, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar called for Palestinians to carry out operations inside Israel: "Whoever has a gun should prepare it, and whoever does not have a gun should prepare his cleaver, ax or knife." Sinwar also urged the Arab community in Israel to take part in operations and expand their scope to include all Israeli cities.
        Ayman al-Rafati, a political analyst specializing in Israeli affairs, told Al-Monitor, "Hamas was very impressed by the spontaneous role that the Palestinians inside Israel played during the last war between Gaza and Israel on May 10, 2021." Talal Okal, a political analyst for Al-Ayyam in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor, "I believe that Sinwar's tackling of the importance of the Palestinians inside Israel...aims at motivating them to confront Israel and carry out guerrilla operations."  (Al-Monitor)
  • IAEA: Iran Not Forthcoming on Past Nuclear Activities
    Rafael Grossi, head of the UN atomic watchdog IAEA, said on Tuesday Iran was dragging its feet on information about uranium particles found at undeclared sites in the country. Those sites suggest that Iran had nuclear material there that it did not declare to the agency. Grossi told the EU parliament, "The situation does not look very good. Iran has not been forthcoming in the type of information we need from them."  (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Al Jazeera Reporter Killed in Firefight between Palestinian Terrorists, IDF in West Bank - Jack Khoury
    Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a Jerusalem-based journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed on Wednesday during a raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin. Al-Quds newspaper reporter Ali Samodi was wounded. The Israeli military said it was looking into the possibility that the two were hit "by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen." During the raid, militants opened fire at the Israeli forces and hurled explosives at them, before the soldiers returned fire.
        "I don't think we killed her," said IDF spokesman Ran Kochav. "We proposed to the Palestinians to open a swift joint probe. If we indeed killed her, we'll take responsibility, but it doesn't seem to be the case."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Prime Minister: Journalist Likely Shot by Armed Palestinians
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday: "According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians - who were firing indiscriminately at the time - were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist [Shireen Abu Akleh]. Palestinians in Jenin were even filmed boasting, 'We hit a soldier; he's lying on the ground.' However, no IDF soldier was injured, which increases the possibility that Palestinian terrorists were the ones who shot the journalist."
        "Israel has called on the Palestinians to conduct a joint pathological analysis and investigation, which would be based on all of the existing documentation and findings, in order to get to the truth. So far, the Palestinians have refused this offer."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Al Jazeera Journalist Wasn't Killed by IDF Fire
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset on Wednesday that preliminary findings from the military's investigation into the shooting death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh indicate that she was not killed by Israeli forces. "According to an initial investigation the IDF has conducted over the past several hours, it appears that no [Israeli] fire was directed toward the reporter....In fact, footage taken at the scene shows massive and indiscriminate fire by Palestinian terrorists."
        "I would like to express my sorrow at the loss of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," said Gantz. "The State of Israel values the protection of human life above all, as well as freedom of press. IDF troops would never intentionally harm members of the press, and any attempt to imply otherwise is baseless."  (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • Journalist Was 150 Meters (328 Feet) Away from Israeli Military Forces - Amos Harel
    An initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces shows that journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was killed. The bullet which struck her was shot from an M16 rifle, but such rifles are used by both the IDF and Palestinian cells in the West Bank.
        During the IDF operation in Jenin, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh was positioned to the north of the Israeli forces. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Authority Won't Allow Israel to Examine Bullet that Killed Al Jazeera Journalist - Tovah Lazaroff
    The Palestinian Authority confirmed Thursday that it won't allow Israel to examine the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, even though it is one of the steps needed to determine culpability in her death. Army Radio reported Thursday that the IDF questioned all of the soldiers who were in the area at the time and physically mapped out where they were at the moment the bullet struck Abu Akleh. According to a preliminary report, none of the snipers shot towards any particular target, he said. Proof of this is that there were no armed Palestinians who were hurt. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Countering Iran's Regional Strategy - Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir
    The connection between the extremist ideology of the Islamic Republic and its evolving military capabilities renders it a dangerous country that undermines regional and global stability. This buildup includes its pursuit of nuclear capability and weapons while developing strong and advanced conventional military capabilities, including long-range precision fires, and the proliferation of regional proxies, militias, and local forces under its control.
        A shift in approach is needed to prevent Iran from achieving its ambitious goals. The objective should be to generate comprehensive pressure on Iran and to weaken the IRGC, the regime's center of gravity. It is necessary to crack Iran's sense of immunity by conducting flexible direct deterrent reprisals in accordance with a measure-for-measure principle. The assumption is that Iran will be deterred when it understands that it alone does not get to write the rules of the game or dictate its limits.
        This approach should have been adopted long ago - such as after the attack on Aramco's oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the attacks on U.S. bases, the attack on civilian merchant ships and the killing of civilian sailors, and the ballistic missile attack on Abu Dhabi. Conducting a joint covert campaign by aiding opposition groups and encouraging resistance on Iran's own turf and that of its proxies will be critical.
        The writer served as deputy chief of the IDF General Staff, commander of Southern Command, and military secretary to the prime minister of Israel. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • A Nuclear Iran Could Create a Middle East Nightmare - Frank Sobchak
    Most scholars agree that allowing an aggressive, expansionist regime that has described Israel as a "one-bomb country" to acquire nuclear weapons would be reckless and suicidal. One rarely explored repercussion if Iran crosses the nuclear threshold is that Saudi Arabia will do everything possible not to be left behind.
        Saudi Arabia's nuclear program has both capability and intent. Saudi Arabia began building a 30-kilowatt research reactor in 2018, although they have an abundance of fossil fuels. Moreover, the Saudis have not agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Saudi Arabia has 90,000 tons of unmined uranium, likely enough fuel for that reactor as well as a weapons program.
        There is credible evidence that the Saudis have an agreement with Pakistan to provide nuclear weapons in the event of a crisis such as Iran becoming a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is long believed to have financed Pakistan's weapons program, which is assessed to have 160 warheads. Several U.S. and NATO officials indicated that a small subset of those weapons is earmarked for such a crisis.
        Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli Military Intelligence, observed that if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon, "The Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb; they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring." Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bluntly noted in 2018, "Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible."
        There are indications that Turkey and the UAE are considering developing similar programs with the hope of establishing a deterrence. So Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be just the beginning of proliferation in an unstable region. We must consider such future nightmares while we debate what must be done now with Iran.
        The writer, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a publishing contributor at the MirYam Institute in Israel. (The Hill)

  • Other Issues

  • A Chance for the U.S. to Rebuild an Alliance Crucial to Its Security - Walter Russell Mead
    The war in Ukraine hurts Russia in the Middle East and helps the U.S. because Putin's failure to crush Ukraine makes him look like a loser, and weakness is the one unforgivable sin in Middle East politics. Every day that Russia fails to make significant progress, and every day that the Western response to Russian aggression grows more robust, Putin looks weaker and America looks stronger.
        The U.S.-Israel relationship is one of the most intimate and effective partnerships in the world. The integration of Israeli and American defense and tech industries contributes substantially to the security and the prosperity of both countries, and widespread public support for Israel among American voters helps inoculate American foreign policy against isolationism.
        The Biden administration's reluctance, so far, to accept maximalist Iranian demands as the price for reinstituting the nuclear deal leaves many Israelis hoping for a more robust American policy in the region. The example of Ukraine's Jewish president electrifies many Israelis. And as Putin seeks to rally Russian nationalism behind him in his struggle with the West, his henchmen are revisiting anti-Semitic tropes that resonate in Russian nationalist circles but remind Jews about the deep roots of anti-Semitism in Russian history and culture.
        The creation of a Middle East alliance network including both Arabs and Israelis that preserved vital American interests at limited cost was one of the great American achievements of the Cold War. The question is whether the administration can construct a realistic framework for renewed American primacy in the Middle East.
        The writer, a fellow at the Hudson Institute, is Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ra'am and the Israeli Islamic Movement's Interaction with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
    Statements over the years shed light on the links between the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and the United Arab List (Ra'am) party, and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Party leader Mansour Abbas has denied any link between them, telling the Saudi newspaper Elaph on May 5: "We have no link to anyone outside the 1948 land [Israel]...and conduct our association with the State of Israel on the basis of citizenship."
        Nevertheless, a direct dialogue has been held in the past between Abbas and the Hamas leadership. Moreover, Abdulmalik Dehamshe, former chairman of Ra'am and one of the people who inspired the worldview of Mansour Abbas, portrayed the link between the Islamic Movement and the Islamic movements outside of Israel as between the branch and the tree, while asserting that the source of authority remains local.
        The writer is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Lebanon's May 15 Legislative Elections - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
    1,046 candidates will compete for the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament on May 15. The elections will help determine Lebanon's identity in the coming years. The struggle is between two main ideological blocs: one aimed at transforming Lebanon into another province of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the other fighting for Lebanon's Arab identity and independence.
        The electoral campaign has witnessed much violence, with thugs sent mainly by Hizbullah and Amal who have physically attacked potential candidates who threatened their hegemony in south Lebanon and the Bekaa valley. Candidates on rival lists in the Bekaa decided to withdraw their candidacy, fearing for their lives.
        Former Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri has withdrawn his list from participating in the elections, putting into question the nature of the Sunni representation that will emerge. Another question is whether the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), headed by Lebanese President Michel Aoun's son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, will lose its majority of the Christian vote because of a chain of scandals and corruption cases.
        As matters now stand, the elections may lead to almost complete paralysis of the Lebanese body politic, adding to the national chaos.
        The writer, a Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was former Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Is the BBC Using Partisan and Inflammatory Palestinian Language? - Hadar Sela
    The rallying cry of "al-Aqsa is in danger" produced an 11-day war in May 2021 that was accompanied by violent rioting in some Israeli cities. Just last month it curated violence in Jerusalem which was the topic of international media coverage. A significant aspect of Palestinian efforts involves terminology. All Jews visiting the Temple Mount are "settlers" who are "storming" the site, and the Jewish temples never existed there.
        Until 2014, the BBC followed its own style guide: the site should be called Temple Mount, with audiences also being informed that it is known to Muslims as "Haram al-Sharif." Then the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) published a "media advisory" informing foreign journalists of its "concern over the use of the inaccurate term 'Temple Mount' to refer to the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem."
        Following the PLO document, CAMERA UK began documenting changes in the wording used by the BBC. The term "al-Aqsa Mosque compound" was employed with increasing frequency to describe the whole site. The use of that terminology resulted in BBC audiences being told that al-Aqsa Mosque was "sacred to Jews."
        BBC Arabic, in its reporting on rioting on the Temple Mount, claimed that "settlers" are allowed by the Israeli police "to get inside al-Aqsa Mosque" and portrayed Jews visiting their holiest site as "storming" it.
        The writer is co-editor of CAMERA UK. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Time for Tough Measures Against Anti-Semitism - Amb. David Friedman
    Incidents of anti-Semitism in the U.S. have risen to record highs. America is a great nation because of the Judeo-Christian values upon which it was founded. An American nation that is inhospitable to Jews is no longer a great nation. Anti-Semitism thus poses an existential risk to our country.
        We must step up our efforts to confront and defeat anti-Semites rather than trying to win their "hearts and minds." Anti-Semites don't have "hearts and minds" and certainly not both.
        Virtually every American university is hostile to Israel and no pro-Israel professor has a chance for tenure. At the highest levels of American education, our "best and brightest" are taught to hate Israel.
        Those combatting anti-Semitism are mostly engaged in defensive tactics that betray fear and insecurity. But we will not defeat anti-Semitism by only playing defense. It's time to go on offense.
        1) Demand that anti-Semites be held accountable. Step up law enforcement. Insist on a robust, well-publicized presence of undercover officers to patrol the streets dressed in traditional Jewish garb. Let every violent thug wonder when he attacks a Jew whether he might be attacking a cop.
        2) Demand equal rights for Jews. Jews remain a minority, subject to oppression and discrimination, and unchecked anti-Semitism ultimately affects everyone.
        3) Stand with Israel. Zionism is an integral component of the Jewish faith. All three major streams of Judaism - Orthodox, Conservative and Reform - contain prayers for God to restore the Jewish people to Zion (a synonym for Jerusalem) and the Land of Israel. While 42% of the nations of the world have an official or preferred religion, only Israel - the one Jewish state - is singled out for attack, even though it meticulously strives to ensure access of all faiths to their holy sites.
        The writer served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel. (Fox News)
  • Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? - ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt interviewed by Isaac Chotiner
    Zionism is the right of Jewish people to self-determination in their ancestral homeland. This right of self-determination, that many in the anti-Zionist camp want for Palestinians or would want for other peoples, they would deny to Jewish people. Unless you support denying the legitimacy of any national project from France to Ukraine, if you hold the idea that Zionism is the only form of nationalism that's wrong, that's discriminating against Jewish people. That's anti-Semitism.
        Anti-Zionism is a new hue of a very old color. Jews have been delegitimized for centuries. For thousands of years, we have heard that Judaism isn't a real religion. The Jews aren't a real people. The Jews don't really deserve rights. Today, the subject of derision is the Jewish state, not the Jewish people. But it is an old practice.
        There's nothing wrong with having a passion for your homeland. Italian Americans have that, Irish Americans have that, Chinese American people have that. Zionism isn't something that David Ben-Gurion or Theodor Herzl came up with. It has been embedded in the faith and the traditions of Judaism for thousands of years. If you peel back the layers in anti-Zionism, it is a historic form of delegitimization targeting Jews. It's the same architecture of intolerance that's been there for centuries. (New Yorker)

  • I now hear from parents in the American Jewish community of the ever-growing demands placed on young Jews to join the ranks of anti-Israel organizations. The demand on young Jews to be less visibly and confidently Jewish as the price of social acceptance and toleration is an ancient one. Today it includes demands to disavow support for Israel or declare support for Palestinian political movements.
  • I confronted this demand myself 25 years ago, when I was a member of Israel's Labor Party and a proud member of the country's political left. I also remained a committed Zionist, a set of values and principles that in no way contradicted any of my other political beliefs. Yet several encounters with peers and colleagues abroad led to the eventual realization that the fact that I was an unapologetic Zionist banished me from the good graces of the global left.
  • I never changed my opinion about Zionism. I simply gave up my status as a "good Jew" in the opinions of others. At present, a Jewish student who does not show herself to be an ally of Students for Justice in Palestine, or does not agree that "Zionism equals racism," or that Zionism is a form of apartheid and whatever other supreme evil will be identified next, cannot be considered a good Jew.
  • Over the last several months, as a visiting professor at Georgetown University in Washington, I taught a course called "Zionism and Anti-Zionism." In the many hours I spent discussing student life with students and faculty, it became apparent that the anti-Zionist activism on campus was not primarily a form of social protest or political expression, but a form of bullying. The only effective response to the bullies is to resist them with confidence.
  • It's hard to bully a proud people; it's impossible to bully a people who know they have nothing to be ashamed of, and who don't need or seek anyone else's approval in the first place. The only response to anti-Zionism, in other words, is Zionism.

    The writer, a former IDF intelligence officer and Knesset member, is the co-author of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace (2020).
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