May 30, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. to Boost Ties with Palestinians after Shelving Jerusalem Consulate Reopening - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    The Biden administration will take a series of steps to boost diplomatic ties to the Palestinians after reluctantly shelving the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem amid Israeli opposition.
    President Biden will elevate Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to the role of special envoy to the Palestinians.
    The Palestinian Affairs Unit within the U.S. Embassy to Israel will report directly to Amr in Washington, rather than to the U.S. ambassador in Israel.

Ukraine War Threatens Iranian Oil Sales to China - Nadeen Ebrahim (CNN)
    The war in Ukraine has two pariah oil-exporting nations competing for the same buyers.
    China has been Iran's number one oil buyer for the past two years, but as European diplomats try to reach consensus on halting Russian oil imports, depriving Russia of its biggest oil market, Russia may have already started biting into that share.
    Experts say Iran's sales to China have fallen by more than a quarter since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, along with an increase in Russian exports to China.
    As Chinese buyers purchase less and ask for bigger discounts, Iran might lose vital foreign currency revenues, said Amir Handjani, a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
    Russia offers China cheaper barrels, a higher grade of oil, and none of the threats of Iran-related secondary U.S. sanctions.

U.S. Seizes Iranian Oil Cargo near Greece - Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
    The U.S. has confiscated Iranian oil held on a Russian-operated ship near Greece and will send the cargo to the U.S. aboard another vessel, sources familiar with the matter said.

Melbourne U. Student Union Rescinds Boycott Israel Motion after Legal Threat - Nicole Precel (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    The University of Melbourne student union on Thursday rescinded a motion passed on April 29 calling on the university to boycott Israel, after being threatened with legal action.
    Postgraduate law student Justin Riazaty, 21, who is not Jewish, said the union understood that they couldn't engage in "immoral conduct thinking they are above it and thinking they are above their own rules, purposes and above the law."
    "Hopefully, it will help show students that all students matter, and they should feel safe expressing their views, whatever these views should be. A representative body shouldn't be taking sides, especially on complex political issues, when that is not what their mandate is."
    "I do trust that the union now recognizes that their actions have consequences and their anti-Semitic propaganda will not go unchecked."

UAE-Israel Trade Reaches $2.5 Billion since Abraham Accords - Ashwani Kumar (Khaleej Times-Dubai)
    Bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel has increased to more than $2.5 billion in less than two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, told the World Economic Forum in Davos.
    "In the first quarter of this year, we exceeded $1 billion.... We are about to sign the free trade agreements, sending a strong message that the potential is high and concrete projects are happening."

Palestinians Urged to Murder Israelis Using Knives, Axes, AK-47s, and Cars (MEMRI-TV)
    Alaa Gadouha, an actor from Gaza, posted a short skit on his Facebook page on May 23:
    After being told that "the settlers are planning to go into the Al-Aqsa Mosque," the village chief is asked what he recommends "that our young men do?"
    He replies, "I have only three solutions, three options and that's it. Option number one: The knife. Everybody has a knife at home. There are no excuses. Grab the knife and slit [their throats]."
    "The second option is the axe. Even if it's a used axe, it still works. If you see a settler in front of you, cut off his head."
    "The third option is the AK-47. But don't use the single shot mode. Put it on automatic!"
    And for a final option, "Use your car....They will be gathered together, run them over! Kill them!"

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Drone Strike Targets Sensitive Iranian Military Site - Farnaz Fassihi and Ronen Bergman
    Quadcopter suicide drones on Wednesday targeted the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran where Iran develops missile, nuclear and drone technology. The drones exploded in a building used for research on drone development. The attack was launched from inside Iran, not far from the Parchin base, according to Iranian sources. A senior Israeli military official said Israel was investing significant resources to locate and destroy enemy drones. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Shows Off Underground Drone Base
    Iranian state TV reported on Saturday that 100 military drones were being kept in an underground base in the Zagros mountains in western Iran. They include the Ababil-5, which it said were fitted with Qaem-9 missiles, an Iranian-made version of the air-to-surface U.S. Hellfire. TV footage showed rows of drones fitted with missiles in a tunnel. (Reuters)
  • UN Security Council's European Members Prioritize Lambasting Israel - Mike Wagenheim
    After Thursday's UN Security Council session, council members France and Ireland, joined by Albania and former member Estonia, called a press conference to denounce Israel. They failed to mention the recent string of terror attacks against Israelis, including on Israel's Independence Day, when Palestinian terrorists brutally murdered three Israelis with axes.
        Israeli Deputy UN Ambassador Noa Furman responded: "Since the beginning of 2022, nearly 800 Palestinian terror attacks have been committed against Israelis, in which over 100 [people] were wounded, and 19 were murdered....What is it that drives a 19-year-old terrorist to take up an ax and murder innocents in cold blood? To hack another human being to death with animal-like brutality? Well, let me tell you. Words. Inciteful, hateful, venomous words."
        "This poison that is rotting the minds of an entire generation - both at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority - is directly causing innocent Israeli blood to be spilled while destroying the future of young Palestinians....I am disturbed to see that not only is this incitement and the lies that support it not condemned, it is spread, often by members of this body."  (JNS)
  • Iraq Makes It Illegal to Normalize Ties with Israel
    Iraq's parliament approved a law on Thursday that will ban normalizing relations with Israel. The legislation was supported by 275 lawmakers in the 329-seat assembly. Hundreds later gathered in central Baghdad, chanting anti-Israel slogans. (Reuters-Times of Israel)
        See also U.S. Condemns Iraqi Parliament's Anti-Israel Normalization Law
    State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday: "The United States is deeply disturbed by the Iraqi Parliament's passage of legislation that criminalizes normalization of relations with Israel. In addition to jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an environment of anti-Semitism, this legislation stands in stark contrast to progress Iraq's neighbors have made by building bridges and normalizing relations with Israel, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region."  (U.S. State Department)
        See also UK Urges Baghdad to Repeal Law that Says Any Iraqi Contacting Israel Faces Death - Richard Ferrer (Jewish News-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Jerusalem Day Parade Saw Only Minor Incidents despite Threats and Warnings - David Isaac
    Israel's Jerusalem Day celebrations, including the Flag Parade through the Old City, took place mostly without incident on Sunday. The violence that the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Hamas all warned could happen did not materialize. Hamas' calls for the "Palestinian people" to mobilize and confront "the storming of the Zionist colonial settlers" were largely ignored, as were similar calls by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' office to "confront" the Flag Parade.
        Tens of thousands of Jews paraded through Damascus Gate and Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall plaza without serious incident, where they celebrated with music and dancing. The national holiday marks the reunification of Israel's capital following the Six-Day War in 1967. (JNS)
        See also U.S. Asked Israel to Modify Its Jerusalem Day Celebrations - Itamar Eichner
    Israeli officials rejected a request by U.S. Ambassador Thomas Nides to amend the route of Sunday's Jerusalem Day parade celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem. Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev told Nides, "We are doing all we can to prevent friction and provocations. This parade is a 30-year-long tradition. Jerusalem is Israel's capital." Bar-Lev reminded Nides that his father, former IDF Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev, participated in Israel's conquest of the Old City.
        Officials in Jerusalem rejected claims by Palestinians that the parade will pass though Muslim holy sites and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, saying that those claims were meant to incite violence.
        Israel's security agencies and the IDF recommended the route remain unchanged from past years in order not to cause the appearance of weakness after Hamas threatened violence in response to it. Officials said that if Hamas initiates violence like it did last year, Israel's response should be significant. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also said the route must remain unchanged.  (Ynet News)
  • Senior Israeli Official Said to Visit Saudi Arabia amid Growing Talk of Warming Ties
    A senior Israeli official visited Saudi Arabia recently and was warmly hosted at a Riyadh palace for talks on security and other issues, Israel's Channel 12 reported Friday. (Times of Israel)
        See also Dozens of Israeli Businesspeople Have Visited Saudi Arabia - Danny Zaken
    After lifting a ban on Israelis in its territory, dozens of businesspeople with Israeli passports have landed in Saudi Arabia, taking advantage of warming relations between the countries to advance bilateral economic agreements. These visits have resulted in two multimillion-dollar desert agriculture deals, in addition to a medical equipment contract. "For over twenty years we've had indirect contact with Saudi Arabia, but I don't recall ever seeing a boom like the one we've had in recent months," a source told Globes.
        Officially, Saudi Arabia is wary of public ties with Israel and Saudis make clear at every opportunity that progress with Israel will come only after progress with the Palestinians. Unofficially, however, pictures on social media of rocks, firebombs and other improvised weapons brought by young Palestinians into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem sparked massive outrage in Saudi Arabia. (Globes)
        See also Israeli Foreign Minister: Israel Working with U.S., Gulf States on Normalization with Saudi Arabia
    Israel is coordinating with the U.S. and Gulf nations to normalize its ties with Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Monday. "We've already said that this is the next step after the Abraham Accords." Lapid warned that the process of normalization with Saudi Arabia would be a lengthy one. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    55 Years since the Reunification of Jerusalem

  • Why Jerusalem Day Is an Israeli National Holiday - Mark Regev
    It was the national unity government of Labor Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in May 1968 that first proclaimed the celebration of Jerusalem Day as an Israeli national holiday to mark the anniversary of Jerusalem's unification. Israel's War of Independence ended with Jordan's Arab Legion occupying the Old City and eastern Jerusalem, leaving the city divided down the middle by barbed wire and concrete barriers. In violation of the signed armistice agreement, Jordan did not allow Jews to visit the Western Wall and the other Jewish holy sites in the areas it controlled, some of which were also desecrated.
        In 1967, Israelis rejoiced in the capture of the Old City, which brought a return to places central to Jewish history and heritage. The Eshkol government's decision to extend Israeli jurisdiction over Jerusalem receiving almost wall-to-wall public support. In July 1980, the Knesset formally codified united Jerusalem's status as Israel's sovereign capital.
        The writer, formerly an adviser to the prime minister, is the incoming chair of the Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jerusalem Is the Embodiment of Jewish Justice - Nadav Shragai
    Jerusalem Day is a kind of Independence Day on which we were reborn. When Jerusalem was liberated, we felt a wrong had been corrected and that two parts of a whole had finally been reconnected. Having arguments to present to the world about our right to Jerusalem as well as our existential and security needs is important, but it is not enough. The focus of our story is our right and connection to Jerusalem and our commitment to the city as a result.
        On this holiday, we must speak of the 240,000 Jews residing in Jerusalem beyond the old checkpoints who do not represent an obstacle to peace but rather an obstacle to dangerous partition.
        If we do not go as far back as King David who purchased Mount Moriah from Araunah the Jebusite, and his son King Solomon, who built the temple there, we will not truly be able to explain our story here to ourselves.
        The sanctity of the city and the memory of its glory were woven into almost every holiday and religious ceremony held by Jews in the diaspora: In daily prayers, at circumcision ceremonies, at bar mitzvahs, in blessings over food, and even at weddings, Jerusalem was never forgotten. Israel's national anthem mentions Jerusalem eight times.
        Islam, which now demands exclusivity and ownership of Jerusalem and its holy sites, only showed up 2,000 years after Israel became a nation, while the Palestinians began to define themselves as a people just 100 years ago. By contrast, since the 12th century BCE, the Jews controlled the Land of Israel for a thousand years and lived continuously in it for the last 3,300 years. In that time, Jerusalem was the Hebrew capital, but it was never the capital of any Arab or Islamic state. Even the Jordanians did not make Jerusalem their capital when they ruled the city.
        This is no foreign land that we have conquered. We have returned home, to Zion and Jerusalem, and those who return home are not occupiers. We liberated the city from a series of occupiers who abused us and our rights for generations.
        The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a veteran Israeli journalist. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jerusalem Flag Parade Is Rooted in History
    The roots of the Jerusalem Day parade run quite deep in Jewish history, according to Jeffrey Woolf, a professor of Talmud from Bar-Ilan University. "There is a very long-standing tradition for hundreds of years, possibly for millennia, of walking around and encountering the various gates of Jerusalem and expressing one's love for Jerusalem. People would come from all over the world on pilgrimage, walk and say prayers at every single gate, and then they would walk around the gates of the Temple Mount."  (Media Line-Ynet News)
  • As Israelis, We Should Parade Proudly in Our Capital - Ariel Kahana
    Just like every other capital around the world, Jerusalem hosts parades. The Jerusalem Day parade is one of the oldest and most beautiful. Tens of thousands of youths, usually dressed in white, walk the streets of the eternal city with Israeli flags. There is nothing wrong with that.
        The only ones angered by the parade are remnants of the Arab nation who continue to dream of wiping out the Jewish state. That is why they depict a beautiful parade that represents the love of a people for their land as a provocation.
        Does it sound reasonable for a country to ask its neighbors for permission to hold a parade in its capital? Do Jordan, Egypt, or Qatar update Israel on parades in their territories? Does London, Paris, or Madrid receive authorization in advance from Washington for their parades and celebrations?
        No foreign entity has a right to intervene in what goes on in Israel's capital. Threats of violence cannot determine where we go in our country. Fifty years after the unification of the city and the return of the Jewish people to its holy sites, now is the perfect time to remind everyone that we are still here. (Israel Hayom)

Jerusalem Day: Correcting a Historical Injustice - Ambassador Dore Gold (Israel Hayom)
  • During Israel's War of Independence, Jerusalem was surrounded by a coalition of Arab armies and bombarded by their artillery. The Jewish Quarter of the Old City was ethnically cleansed. Its great synagogues, some dating back to the 13th century, were leveled. What the war had proven was that if Jerusalem would not be under Israel's sovereignty and protection, the consequences would be catastrophic.
  • On Dec. 5, 1949, Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, explained to the Knesset his decision to move Israel's capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:
    • "Had we not been able to withstand the aggressors who rebelled against the UN, Jewish Jerusalem would have been wiped off the face of the earth, the Jewish population would have been eradicated and the State of Israel would not have arisen."
    • "A nation which, for 2,500 years, has faithfully adhered to the vow made by the first exiles by the waters of Babylon not to forget Jerusalem, will never agree to be separated from Jerusalem."
  • In the last decade, religious sites have been under assault across the Middle East. Only a free and democratic Israel will protect Jerusalem for all the great faiths.
  • From 1948 to 1967, the Jewish people were denied access to their historical capital city. Jerusalem Day is a day in which that wrong was corrected and Jerusalem was made whole once more.

    The writer, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and former director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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