August 7, 2022
Special Edition

In-Depth Issues:

Five Palestinians Killed in Gaza by Islamic Jihad Rocket - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    Five Palestinians were killed, including four children, and several more injured by an errant Islamic Jihad rocket in Jabalya in Gaza on Saturday.
    "We have videos that prove beyond a doubt that this is not an Israeli attack," the head of Israel's public diplomacy said.
    A video was distributed showing a rocket being launched from Gaza at night and then veering immediately off course into a built-up area.
    Prime Minister Yair Lapid's spokesperson Keren Hajioff said, "One in four rockets fired from Gaza towards Israel lands inside Gaza."
    An Israeli intelligence official said "we also have solid information from many Palestinians that verifies the fact that the harm to the children in Jabalya was caused by a failed rocket of the Islamic Jihad." The Israeli military was not operating in the area at the time. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Video: See Palestinian Rocket Strike Gaza Civilian Area - Ariel Kahana (Twitter)
    See also Map of Islamic Jihad Rocket Fire Shows Where Rocket Landed, Killing Palestinian Civilians (Israel Defense Forces)
    See also Second Failed Islamic Jihad Rocket Launch Kills Two, Wounds Seven in Gaza (Times of Israel)
    Two more Palestinians were killed and seven others were wounded in Jabalya in Gaza on Sunday morning from failed Islamic Jihad rocket fire.
    The IDF said it was not carrying out strikes in the area at the time of the explosion.

IRGC Qods Force Commander Claims 15 Operations Conducted Against Israel Each Day (Fars News-Iran)
    Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Commander Esmayeel Qaani said Friday that at least 15 operations are carried out against the Israeli regime every day, adding that Palestinian fighters are preparing to strike the final blow on the Tel Aviv regime at the appropriate time.
    He underscored that Iran, along with allied resistance movements, including Lebanon's Hizbullah, are well-prepared to give a decisive response to the "crimes committed by the U.S. and the Zionist regime against the Iranians."

Palestinians Demand Elections as Discontent with Leadership Grows - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Hundreds of Palestinian political activists and academics are preparing a petition to demand that the Palestinian Authority leadership hold general elections without delay, reflecting widespread discontent with the Ramallah-based leadership.
    At the same time, the Palestinian security forces remain loyal to the PA and in control of the situation, and there are no signs that this is about to change in the near future.

U.S. District Court Awards Judgment to Families of Terrorism Victims including Taylor Force (Jerusalem Post)
    Three families of American citizens whose loved ones were murdered by Hamas in Israel have been awarded a judgment against the Iranian and Syrian governments by the U.S. District Court in Washington.
    The plaintiffs include the family of Taylor Force, a West Point graduate who was stabbed to death by a Hamas terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016.
    The court found that Iran and Syria had provided material support to Hamas, making the two countries indirectly liable to the plaintiffs for the pain, suffering and emotional distress caused by the murder of their family members in Israel.

Iran and Its Proxy Militias Entrench in Syria (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights-UK)
    Iran and its proxy militias have unprecedented influence in most areas under Syrian regime control.
    As they strengthen their presence and promote their ideology, this report details how the Iranians are carrying on with their systematic plan to change the demography of Syria.

The Gaza War 2021: Hamas and Iran Attack Israel - Lenny Ben-David, editor (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia to Launch Spy Satellite for Iran - Joby Warrick
    A new satellite that Russia is preparing to launch on Iran's behalf will greatly enhance Tehran's ability to spy on military targets across the Middle East. Russia agreed to build and launch the Kanopus-V system, which will include a high-resolution camera that would give Tehran unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of sensitive facilities in Israel and the Persian Gulf.
        The spacecraft's camera has a resolution of 1.2 meters, far short of the quality achieved by U.S. spy satellites, but a substantial improvement over Iran's current capabilities. Experts say Iran could share the imagery with pro-Iranian militia groups including Hizbullah in Lebanon. Being able to sync its missile arsenal "with satellite capabilities and surveillance will only increase the lethality of the Iranian threat," said Richard Goldberg, a former top Iran analyst at the U.S. National Security Council. (Washington Post)
  • Jewish Agency Faces Closure in Russia - David Isaac
    The Jewish Agency, which helps Jews immigrate to Israel, is continuing to operate as a Moscow court is set to hold a trial on its dissolution on Aug. 19. Since the outbreak of the war on Ukraine in February, 19,100 Russians have immigrated to Israel, up from 7,733 in 2021.
        "The general view is more and more inclined to see this as part of the general crackdown by Russian authorities on civil society," an Israeli government source said. "Hundreds of NGOs and associations have been shut down by Russian authorities since the outbreak of the war if they were considered to have some connection or relation to Western countries, or if they were considered not patriotic enough and not supportive enough of the war effort."
        Speaking at the Jerusalem Press Club on Aug. 1, former Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky said, "The less democratic Russia becomes, the more they will need scapegoats, the more they'll stop the openly sympathetic attitude to Israel, the easier it will be in the street to respond to old prejudices. At the moment, Jews are not the most hated group. They [the Russians] have the Ukrainians. They have the people from Kaukaz [the Caucuses]. They have many others to hate. But can [anti-Semitism] come back? For sure, and very quickly."  (JNS)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Targets Islamic Jihad Leaders - Anna Ahronheim
    The Head of the IDF Operations Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiuk, confirmed Saturday night that "according to our intelligence...all of the senior security operatives of Gaza's Islamic Jihad have been eliminated." The IDF launched the operation on Friday afternoon, taking out two of the group's important leaders in simultaneous strikes: northern command head Tayseer al-Jabari and anti-tank guided-missile section head Abdullah Kadoum. On Saturday, Islamic Jihad southern command head Khaled Mansour was killed in an Israeli airstrike.
        Also struck on Friday were two cells that had been given orders to carry out anti-tank missile attacks. According to the IDF, Jabari commanded the launching of hundreds of rockets last year, including anti-tank missile attacks. The IDF said it had received a specific warning that Jabari was planning an attack against Israeli targets.
        IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav said, "We are continuing; we aren't finished yet. We will continue to act, professionally and send a message that we have strong intelligence and deterrence. This message will be passed not only to Islamic Jihad but all terror groups."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF: Our Goal Is to "Mortally Wound" Islamic Jihad - Yaakov Lappin
    The Israel Defense Forces is aiming to inflict "mortal harm" on Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza, Judea and Samaria and "any other arena," IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said on Saturday. "This terror organization (PIJ) is now under attack. We won't allow any organization - not here and not in the north and not in Judea and Samaria - to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel. We are at the height of a justified operation, aimed at protecting the Israeli people."  (JNS)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire 580 Rockets at Israel - Anna Ahronheim
    Palestinians in Gaza have launched over 580 rockets at Israel since Friday, the IDF said Sunday morning. Rocket sirens sounded in the Jerusalem area for the first time in over a year. 120 of the rockets fell in Gaza and 450-470 reached Israel, where 200 were intercepted by Iron Dome. The anti-missile system's interception rate was 97%. The IDF has targeted 140 Islamic Jihad figures, 10 rocket launchers and 8 Islamic Jihad storage sites. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Rocket Hits Home in Israel as Family Shelters in Reinforced Room - Emanuel Fabian
    A rocket launched from Gaza struck a home in the Israeli town of Sderot on Saturday. The family was sheltering in the home's reinforced room at the time and no one was injured. (Times of Israel)
  • Prime Minister Lapid: Islamic Jihad Is Iranian Proxy that Seeks to Destroy Israel
    Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Friday: "Israel will not sit idly by when there are those who are trying to harm its civilians....We won’t accept any ultimatums regarding the operations of the IDF and the security forces - including on other fronts. Everyone who needs to be arrested will be arrested. Any attempt to harm civilians or soldiers will be met with a harsh response."
        "Israel carried out a precise counter-terror operation against an immediate threat. Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • U.S. "Fully Supports" Israel amid Gaza Escalation - Ben Samuels
    U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Saturday that the U.S. "absolutely fully supports Israel's right to defend itself against terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel." U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was briefed by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Friday about the operation in Gaza. Austin "underscored Israel's right to self-defense and the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel's security," the Defense Department said. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Disrupting Palestinian Islamic Jihad a Smart Play by Israel - Enia Krivine
    The Israel Defense Forces launched a military campaign Friday against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, in Gaza. The Iran-aligned PIJ has held large swaths of the Israeli population hostage for the past four days by threatening attacks against Israel. PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah traveled to Tehran, where he met Wednesday with President Ebrahim Raisi. PIJ is heavily dependent on Iran for both financial and military support.
        These IDF operations are necessary not only to tamp down ongoing violence, but also to remove the most threatening players off the chess board. In so doing, the campaign ultimately advances stability in the region as well as U.S. and Israeli interests.
        The writer is senior director of the Israel Program and the National Security Network at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (The Hill)
        See also Islamic Jihad, Iran's Proxy - Danny Zaken (Globes)
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad Has Become a Major Threat to Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The fighting in Gaza shows that Hamas is no longer the sole decision-maker on matters related to military confrontations with Israel. It illustrates that Islamic Jihad is capable of acting as an independent military force without having to coordinate with, or receive permission from, Hamas.
        In addition to Islamic Jihad, other armed groups have joined in firing rockets at Israel. These groups are affiliated with Fatah, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Popular Resistance Committees and Nasser Salah a-Din Brigades. However, by Saturday afternoon, Hamas had not joined the current round of fighting.
        It's obvious that Hamas does not want Islamic Jihad to drag it into another all-out confrontation with Israel. Hamas' biggest fear is that another war could trigger a revolt against its regime by the Palestinians in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Will Hamas Join the Fight? - Anna Ahronheim
    In 2019 when the IDF targeted Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata, Hamas refrained from taking part in the fighting, which lasted two days and involved 450 rockets fired at Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN Forces in Lebanon Losing Ground - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion
    In July, the UN secretary-general submitted his most recent report on implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted in 2006 to monitor the cessation of hostilities between Hizbullah and Israel. As often reported by Israeli media, Hizbullah has stationed thousands of infantry troops from its elite Radwan unit along the border in blatant violation of Resolution 1701.
        Hizbullah is frequently violating Resolution 1701 in full battle dress, in broad daylight, and in significant numbers all across UNIFIL's area of responsibility, indicating a newfound indifference to being detected by UN surveillance. Hizbullah's current wave of new positions in operationally commanding locations and undisguised training activities indicate a wider military buildup. Hizbullah's campaign of hindering and terrorizing UNIFIL, injuring its personnel, damaging vehicles, and stealing gear has only intensified since February, with 23 reported incidents.
        The writer, former head of the Strategic Division in the IDF General Staff's Planning Directorate, is a Fellow at the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

The Collapse of Islamic Jihad's Equations - Oded Granot (Israel Hayom)
  • Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said during a television interview in Tehran that almost any time Israel attacks Gaza, all of the terrorist organizations rally to respond in unison. Yet Hamas has not fired a single rocket.
  • One Islamic Jihad spokesman told Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen network on Saturday that the commander of Islamic Jihad's northern region in Gaza wasn't killed due to superb intelligence acquired by Israel, but rather because he was intentionally deceived into going there by the Egyptian mediator in order "to finalize a cease-fire agreement with Israel" - implying "treasonous collaboration" between Cairo and Jerusalem.
  • Another spokesman said Hamas was completely in step with Islamic Jihad and a full partner in the rocket attacks against Israel, but that it was concealing this - reflecting Islamic Jihad's distress over being alone in this fight.
  • It's safe to assume that Hamas may see the "positive" aspects of the Israeli offensive: putting Islamic Jihad in its place, sending it a message that it isn't allowed to plot attacks against Israel without Hamas' approval, and making it obey the decisions that are made in Gaza, not in Tehran.

    The writer headed the Middle East desk and was senior commentator at Israel Television - Channel 1 (2001-2017).

        See also In Gaza Fighting, Israel and Hamas Have Common Interests - Zvi Bar'el
    While Hamas sees the rebuilding of Gaza, the economic improvement of its citizens and the building of broad public support as essential stages on the way to achieving its ideological goal, Islamic Jihad has no interest in rebuilding Gaza, establishing public institutions and welfare or conducting foreign policy beyond what is required to provide it with money and weapons.
        So far, Israel has not damaged civilian infrastructure or Hamas bases and weapons manufacturing facilities. It has not threatened to kill its leaders, and it continues to convey messages through Egypt that the group is not on its list of targets. (Ha'aretz)