May 16, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Protests Triggered by Rising Food Prices Spread in Iran - Farnaz Fassihi (New York Times)
    Protests against the government spread to at least six provinces in Iran on Friday following several days of unrest sparked by rising food prices.
    Demonstrators took to the streets in Ahwaz, Qazvin, Shahreh Kurd and Dezfoul, chanting "death to the dictator," social media showed.
    In one instance on Thursday, a crowd tore down a banner featuring Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as onlookers cheered.

UAE President Khalifa Dies - Yomna Mohamed (Reuters)
    UAE President and Emir of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday. He had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014.
    His half-brother and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MbZ, has for years been the de facto ruler of the UAE.
    MbZ led a realignment that created a new anti-Iran axis with Israel.

Israeli Airstrikes Target Ammunition Warehouse and Iranian Militias in Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights-UK)
    Israeli planes fired missiles at an ammunition warehouse and positions of Iranian militias in the Misyaf area in the Hama governorate on Friday.
    See also Satellite Images Show Destruction of Syrian Site Hit by Israel - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    Images published by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat of a site struck by Israel on Friday show its complete destruction. The structures that were hit served as an entrance to underground tunnels.
    A five-man crew of a Pantsir missile-defense system was killed after firing toward Israel Air Force jets.
    The Syrian Arab Army has fired over 1,000 missiles toward Israeli jets in the past seven years, but have been unable to stop them from carrying out their missions.

Israel's Watergen Installs Drinking Water Generators in Syria (Syrian Observer)
    Two solar-powered Watergen devices have been installed producing 1,000 liters of pure mineral drinking water per day in an area of Syria controlled by the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in collaboration with the U.S. organization Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees.
    Eight more devices will be installed in medical facilities and schools to provide local communities with 10,000 liters of water per day.

UN Relents, Will Allow Exhibit to Call Jerusalem the Eternal Capital of the Jewish People - Mike Wagenheim (JNS)
    According to a diplomatic source, the UN has relented and will allow Israel to display an exhibit on Israel's parliament, the Knesset, at UN headquarters in New York.
    The world body had conditioned its permission on Israel agreeing to the removal of some content, including references to Jerusalem as the country's capital.
    Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan fought back, and an agreement was reached whereby all content will remain, and Israel will add a disclaimer noting the objections.
    Erdan had written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying, "The impertinent demand of the UN to censor the exhibit and remove pictures that reflect our national history is, in fact, a request to rewrite Israel's history and we will not agree to that in any way."

U.S. Special Operators Receive Tactical Vehicle Armed with Israeli Missiles - Colton Jones (Defence Blog)
    Lockheed Martin has mounted Israeli-made Spike-NLOS missiles on Oshkosh's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) for delivery to U.S. Special Operations Command.
    "The combination of Spike NLOS' long-range and precision-strike capabilities with the JLTV's superior agility will result in next-level mobility and mission effectiveness for our operators," said Jerry Brode, vice president of Close Combat Systems at Lockheed.
    "This advanced weapon system's real-time video imagery allows operators to alter or abort missions while en route to a target, providing users with more options in critical moments."
    Today, this system is in service with U.S. forces and in six other countries.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Police Intervened in Funeral of Al Jazeera Journalist Because Mob Stole Coffin from Her Family - Geoff Earle
    The Israel Police said Saturday: "Plans for the funeral procession of [Al Jazeera journalist] Shireen Abu-Akleh were coordinated in advance by the Israel Police together with the Abu-Akleh family. On Friday, about 300 rioters arrived at Saint Joseph hospital in Jerusalem and prevented the family members from loading the coffin onto the hearse to travel to the cemetery as had been planned and coordinated with the family in advance. Instead, the mob threatened the driver of the hearse and then proceeded to carry the coffin on an unplanned procession to the cemetery by foot."
        "Israel Police instructed that the coffin be returned to the hearse, as did the EU ambassador and Abu-Akleh's own family, but the mob refused. Israel Police intervened to disperse the mob and prevent them from taking the coffin, so that the funeral could proceed as planned in accordance with the wishes of the family. During the riot that was instigated by the mob, glass bottles and other objects were thrown, resulting in the injury of both mourners and police officers."  (Daily Mail-UK)
  • Buffalo Mass Shooter Was Motivated by Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories - Philissa Cramer
    Payton Gendron, 18, charged with killing 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday in a predominantly Black neighborhood, was motivated by a conspiracy theory that has spurred recent deadly attacks on Jews, among others. His online manifesto says that Jews are the real problem but that "they can be dealt with in time."
        The "Great Replacement" theory outlined in the manifesto says Jews are responsible for non-white immigration, and that non-whites will overwhelm and wipe out the white race. Robert Bowers, who killed 11 people at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue in 2018, cited the theory before his attack.
        In his manifesto, Gendron said, "The real war I'm advocating for is the gentiles vs the Jews. We outnumber them 100x, and they are not strong by themselves....The Jews are the biggest problem the Western world has ever had. They must be called out and killed....For our self-preservation, the Jews must be removed from our Western civilizations, in any way possible."  (JTA-Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Prime Minister: Veteran Counterterrorism Officer Noam Raz Was a Hero of Israel
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "Over the weekend we lost one of our best people, Israel National Counter-Terrorism (INCT) Sergeant Major Noam Raz...who was wounded in an initiated operation against terrorists in the Jenin area. Noam served in the INCT for 23 years during which he participated in many operations to defend the security of the citizens of Israel."
        "Noam loved Israel and was a hero of Israel. Only a few weeks ago, Noam [also a paramedic], saved the life of a senior colleague who had been severely wounded in a clash with terrorists in the Tulkarem area."
        "Noam, a resident of the community of Kida [in the Binyamin region], leaves behind him [his wife] Efrat and six children, as well as a clear legacy - to love our country, to contribute to the state, and to fight our enemies with uncompromising determination."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Border Police Officer Laid to Rest on Mount Herzl - Rachel Bernstein (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Hurls Cinderblock at Israeli Car in West Bank, Is Shot by Soldier
    A Palestinian man hurled a cinderblock at a car carrying Israeli civilians in the West Bank, smashing the front windshield, before being shot by an IDF soldier Friday morning near Beit El. The IDF said a knife and bottle of acid were found on the man.
        Video of the incident showed the Palestinian throw the cinderblock and try to open the car's door, as a van that a soldier was driving stops on the other side of the road. The soldier can then be seen with his rifle drawn running after the Palestinian, who appears to charge toward the soldier with a large stone in hand. (Times of Israel)
  • Police Foil Terror Attack in Central Israel - Ran Shimoni
    Police arrested a Palestinian man Friday near the Israeli community of Tzur Yitzhak in central Israel who was carrying a knife and a letter expressing his intent to commit a terror attack. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Armed with Ax Looked for Israelis Standing Alone in Order to Attack Them
    A Palestinian, 22, armed with an ax and carrying a note stating that he sought to carry out a terror attack, was arrested by Israeli police at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on Sunday. The man was in the area for about an hour looking for Israelis standing alone in order to attack them. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA's Abbas Vows to Continue Payments to Prisoners and "Martyrs" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority will continue to pay allowances to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks against Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday to commemorate the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day, "Catastrophe Day," a term Palestinians use to describe the 1948 War of Independence. Abbas has refused to halt the payments - a scheme described by some as "pay to slay."
        On Nakba Day, Hamas said there was "no legitimacy or sovereignty" for Israel "over one inch of the land of historic Palestine" and vowed to pursue "armed resistance" against Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Behind the Uptick in Terror Attacks in Israel - Danielle Pletka
    A smarter U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would look at the topography of the Palestinian people rather than falling back on the two-state solution as the answer to everything. According to Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, almost half of Palestinians believe "armed struggle" is the solution to their problems.
        Fully 58% oppose a two-state solution; 70% oppose "unconditional return to negotiations with Israel"; almost as many oppose dialogue with the U.S. Most troubling of all, "73% believe the Quran contains a prophecy about the demise of the State of Israel and 32% think the year for this demise is 2022."
        Polling by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found increased commitment to the return of all "historically Palestinian" lands, and diminished support for a two-state solution. While support for a new mass uprising was also low (for a variety of reasons, including lack of confidence in Palestinian leadership), there remained an overall commitment to violent means. There is violence because there is incitement to violence. There is unending political encouragement and glorification of killing.
        The better choice is to re-engage on the basis of reality, and seek to loosen the grip of crooks, killers and extremists, look to discredit their failed rule, search and support a new and better generation of leaders and help the Palestinian people find a better path.
        The writer is a senior fellow at AEI. (American Enterprise Institute)
  • Abolish "Nakba Day" - Bassem Eid
    "Nakba Day," which occurs every year on May 15, was established in 1998 by former Palestinian Authority leader - and international terrorist mastermind - Yasser Arafat to turn Israel's Independence Day into a festival of grievance. The very fact of Israel's existence was branded a "catastrophe" - nakba in Arabic - but not the displacement that affected both sides in the subsequent war, which included the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
        And during and after Israel's War of Independence in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands. In all, more than 850,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab countries for Israel, followed by more than 70,000 Jews from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
        Although my family is Muslim, I was born in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, then under Jordanian control. In 1966, when I was 8 years old, the Jordanian government moved my family north of Jerusalem to the Shuafat Refugee Camp. It was the government of Jordan, not the government of Israel, which made me a refugee.
        Palestinians should celebrate our rich heritage and, like our Jewish cousins, grieve our losses. But now is the time for negotiated reconciliation, not the perpetuation of generation-old victimhood. "Nakba Day" is part of the victimhood problem, not part of the forward-looking solution. Israel has three times offered Palestinians peace, dignity and independence. The fetishization of Israel's very existence as a catastrophe is a distortion that wounds our children and leads them to war and suicide bombing.
        The Palestinian leadership should reverse course on the incitement against Israel and Jews. Instead, Palestinian schoolchildren and citizens should learn the history, the joys and the traumas of our neighbors the Israelis, with whom we have a great deal in common.
        The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer. (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • The Palestinians and a Destiny of Self-Imposed "Nakba" - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    On May 15, 1948, after the British Mandate in Palestine expired, armies of neighboring Arab countries attacked the Jewish community of Israel, laying waste to everything in their path. The attempt to blame the Jews for fighting those who came to kill them, yet won, doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny. This disaster was the work of the local Arab population and its leaders, who refused proposals of compromise, opted for the path of violence and lost everything.
        Nakba Day "celebrations" send the message to the Jewish public that: we are not willing to accept the existence of the State of Israel, and this conflict is a "zero-sum game" in which a Palestinian victory means the eradication of the Jewish state. Even if Israel is strong and powerful right now, when the time comes and the conditions arise, we will raise our heads and our hands against it. This message isn't predicated on economic distress, nor even anger at what is happening on the Temple Mount, but rather on the rejection of the State of Israel.
        The writer is a lecturer in Middle East history at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • The Message of Nakba Day: Palestinians Want to Undo Israeli Independence - Herb Keinon
    In 1998, even as the Oslo process was still alive, Yasser Arafat decided that the Palestinians should mark "Nakba Day." The "catastrophe" was that the Jews won after defeating the invading Arab states that tried to drive them into the sea.
        For the last 74 years, the Palestinians have been trying to undo the catastrophe that could have been avoided had they accepted the offers for partition. But they refused, because they wanted it all - a refrain that has repeated itself numerous times since.
        Average Israelis see these rallies, hear the hateful chants and read the odious placards. And the message this sends is that the conflict is not about a settlement in lands that Israel took control of in the Six-Day War in 1967. Rather, it is about lands Jews settled before 1948. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Immediately after the reports of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh's death, a quick and clear response from Israel was imperative. Unlike the Palestinians, who took the liberty of unequivocally determining that Israel was responsible without providing any factual evidence, Israel is an orderly country. To get caught in a lie down the road would be worse than claiming things right now that sound beneficial.
  • One hour after her death, the IDF Spokesperson issued a statement whereby, apparently, the Palestinians themselves murdered her in the midst of a gunfight. His words had been translated to Arabic and English and sent to international news outlets and foreign reporters. At the same time, a video was released to support the Israeli claim. The quick release of an Israeli version upended the Palestinians' exclusivity and established Israel's position.
  • Israel's efforts bore fruit. Within four hours, most of the major news outlets in the world had already highlighted the Israeli position. It wasn't the headline, but Israel's doubts regarding the Palestinian version of events were at least given expression.
  • In the diplomatic arena, no serious country came out in condemnation of Israel. The US, UK, EU and UN simply asked for an investigation - which is precisely Israel's position. Israel's Foreign Ministry received no reprimands. An Israeli official summarized: "There is no crisis."
  • As Israel comes under harsh criticism in the West over the death of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the response in much of the Muslim world has been relatively muted. Israel's Gulf partners issued muted responses, as did Turkey.
  • "The media coverage is relatively calm," said Moshe Albo, modern Middle East historian at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Reichman University in Herzliya. "It's not over the top. Same in Egypt." Saudi coverage has been similarly muted, said Albo. Jordan also chose not to specifically blame Israel.

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