August 22, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Half of Fatalities from IDF Strikes in Gaza Fighting Were Terrorist Operatives (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    During the fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on August 5-7, 2022, there were 49 Palestinian fatalities, 38 from IDF strikes and 11 from Palestinian rocket misfires.
    Of the 38 fatalities from IDF strikes, 20 (52%) were identified as terrorist operatives - 12 from the PIJ, 4 from Hamas, 3 from Fatah, and 1 from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

Iran's "Butcher of Aleppo" Oversaw Plots to Kill Israelis in Turkey (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Gen. Javad Ghaffari, deputy head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, has led the failed Iranian plots to kill Israelis in Turkey over the past nine months, a former senior IRGC official told Iran International, a UK-based Persian language television station.
    Ghaffari had been the commander of Iranian forces in Aleppo, Syria, where he became known as the "Butcher of Aleppo."

How Israel Reduced the Iranian Presence in Syria - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    The commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the U.S. in Iraq in January 2020, hoped to establish a large, independent Iranian presence in Syria based on thousands of combat troops.
    Israel began to take action against this in 2017 when it bombed a large Iranian base near Damascus. Since then, many of the attacks in Israel's "war between the wars" in Syria have focused on targets directly linked to the Revolutionary Guards.
    What remains today is just a few hundred Iranian advisers with limited capacity to cause damage.
    Iran still wields influence in Syria, and arms smuggling has improved Hizbullah's arsenal in Lebanon, including precision missiles. But the Iranians are far from realizing their original goal.

Palestinian Poll: Fatah Twice as Popular as Hamas (Jerusalem Media and Communication Center-PA)
    A Palestinian poll conducted on July 14-19, 2022, found that if legislative elections were held in the PA today, 32.5% would vote for the candidate representing Fatah, followed by Hamas with 13.5%. 33.2% said they would not vote or did not know who they would vote for.
    69% said there was a huge decline in the membership of Palestinian youth in PLO factions and parties.
    Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, 65% said they were neutral, 17% sympathized more with Russia, and 8% were sympathetic to Ukraine.

Three Palestinian Women Arrested at West Bank Checkpoint with Submachine Gun - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Three Palestinian women from Nablus with a Carlo submachine gun in their car were arrested Saturday near a checkpoint in the West Bank, the Israel Defense Ministry said.

Israeli Gymnast Wins Gold in European Championships (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat, who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, won gold again on Sunday for floor exercises at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Munich.
    Dolgopyat, 25, was born in Ukraine and immigrated 13 years ago.

Are Israeli Grandmothers the Key to Israel's High Birthrate? (Economist-UK)
    Israelis have many more children than their counterparts elsewhere in the West. The average British woman has 1.6 children. Between 1960 and 1990 Jewish Israeli fertility declined from 3.4 to 2.6, but then it began to buck the trend and rose to its current 3.1.
    Secular Jewish Israelis have more children than the norm. Most work and child care is not cheaper than in other places. One explanation may be that Israeli grandparents tend to help out more than their peers in many other countries.
    Since Israel is small and densely populated, grandma is never far away. In one survey, 83% of secular Jewish mothers aged 25-39 said they were supported by their child's grandparents, whereas only 30% of German mothers said the same.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden Calls on European Leaders to Help "Deter and Constrain Iran's Destabilizing Regional Activities"
    President Joe Biden spoke on Sunday with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK. They discussed ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, the need to strengthen support for partners in the Middle East region, and joint efforts to deter and constrain Iran's destabilizing regional activities. (White House)
        See also U.S. Officials Insist Iran Deal "Not Imminent"
    U.S. officials have in recent days told Israel's leadership that a new nuclear deal is not imminent and that Washington has not agreed to any new concessions to Iran in order to reach an accord, the Walla news site reported Saturday, citing senior U.S. officials. One U.S. official said: "We may be closer to a deal than we were two weeks ago, but there are still uncertainties about a resolution and differences remain with the Iranians. At any rate, the signing of a nuclear deal is not expected in the immediate timeframe." At the same time, a senior U.S. official confirmed that Iran had dropped its demand that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards be removed from a terror blacklist.
        Senior Israeli officials are saying conversations between Israel and the U.S. have become "difficult" in recent days as an accord becomes likelier. "We are not calm," said one official. "On the contrary, we are very worried." Top Israeli officials have warned their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe against the deal and called for the negotiators to give up on the talks.
        Israel believes Iran wishes to build a nuclear bomb and has published intelligence it says reveals the Iranian weapons program. Iran has recently been enriching uranium to levels that international leaders say have no civilian use. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel Seeks to Keep IAEA Investigations against Iran Open despite Pending Nuclear Deal - Jonathan Lis
    In Israel, the impression is that the U.S. government still has not decided on the pending nuclear deal, but there is concern over the possibility that the U.S. might agree not to impose sanctions on firms that do business with the Revolutionary Guards, a move that would make keeping it on the list of terrorist organizations meaningless.
        The main subject that Israel has decided to focus on is thwarting the possibility of shutting down the IAEA's investigations against Iran. Senior Israeli officials have said recently that if the U.S. does agree to this, it would violate a commitment that administration officials had given Israel a few months ago.
        Considering the upcoming midterm Congressional elections, Israel believes the U.S. won't be in a hurry to make decisions that would be interpreted as capitulation to Iran and damaging Israel's interests. Moreover, an agreement to close the IAEA investigations could depict the nuclear watchdog agency as politically biased and toothless. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Forum in Britain Brands Interfaith Peace Dialogue between Jews and Muslims a "Zionist Plot" - David Rose
    Daud Abdullah, director of the news website Middle East Monitor and former deputy chairman of the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB), has attacked interfaith work between Jews and Muslims as a covert Zionist strategy to cover up Israeli "crimes committed against the Palestinian people."
        Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill synagogue, a leading proponent of interfaith activity, told the Jewish Chronicle: "I'm proud we have built positive relationships with Muslim communities in my borough and across London....The idea that such positive interfaith work is a Zionist plot grotesquely misses the point."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Bus Targeted by Gunfire in West Bank - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli public bus full of passengers near the village of Silwad in the West Bank on Saturday night in the third such shooting incident in the past month. The bus was hit by at least eight bullets. The bus driver said on Sunday, "I heard the gunfire and quickly escaped the area to get as far away as I could from the gunmen. When I saw the damage to the bus, I could not sleep at night. I am still shaking. I drive this route often, but have never encountered such an attack."  (Ynet News)
  • Israel Closes Organizations Linked to Outlawed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Terrorist Group
    On October 22, 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense designated six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations because they are operated by and for the benefit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel. A seventh organization had been designated in January 2020. These NGOs diverted humanitarian funds from European donors to the PFLP and recruited members into the terror group. These NGOs provide a funding lifeline for the PFLP, employ PFLP terrorists, and allow PFLP terror operatives to use the NGO offices for meetings.
        On August 17, IDF forces raided at least seven PFLP-linked institutions and shut them down. NGO Monitor has published numerous reports, based on open sources, documenting the close connections between these and other Palestinian NGOs and the PFLP. (NGO Monitor)
        See also Summary of the PFLP's NGO Network (NGO Monitor)
        See also Israel's Designation of Six Terrorism-Linked NGOs Was in Full Accordance with International Law - Lea Bilke and Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also Israel to Provide Information to U.S. on Basis for Closing Palestinian NGOs
    Israel has said it will provide additional information to the U.S. on the basis for the closure of Palestinian NGOs on Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. (Reuters-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Even a Nuclear Deal Will Not Tame Tehran - Simon Tisdall
    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's harshly anti-Western, anti-American stance, rooted in questionable theology, deep paranoia and profound personal ignorance of the world, is Tehran's dominant political brand. No matter that it impoverishes and isolates Iranians while endangering their neighbors. Internal repression is terrifying. Political dissidents, women's rights activists, ethnic minorities, dual nationals and Baha'is are persecuted mercilessly.
        Iran's economy is plagued by endemic corruption. While oil and gas export earnings have risen, officials, clergy and other groups linked to the regime are the main beneficiaries. It's a mullah's version of trickle-down economics, without the trickle.
        The Biden administration may soon agree to a revised nuclear pact. Yet deal or no deal, the regime's behavior seems unlikely to alter radically. Israeli leaders are skeptical that so malign an adversary will stick to any nuclear agreement.
        Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour says Americans should be deeply suspicious of Tehran's intentions because Khamenei's grip on power pivots on unceasing confrontation with the Great Satan. Iran's leaders couldn't change even if they wanted to, he argued. "Even if the nuclear deal is revived, Tehran's worldview will endure."  (Guardian-UK)
  • Iran Is Already Nuclearized, So Why Do We Need a Deal? - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    In the past few days, it's become clear that both sides are nearing a decision on signing a new nuclear deal. The Biden administration hasn't hidden its determination to reach a deal at almost any price, one that will allow the U.S. to close the "Iran file" and even detach itself from the problems of the Middle East, of which Iran was the core one.
        No one disputes that the Iranians have made major progress toward nuclear weapons in recent years. Even though attempts to stop it slowed the progress and purchased precious time that has allowed better preparations for the future, this process cannot be reversed. In any case, Iranian announcements of nuclear capabilities, even without "proof," are enough to send the region into a panic.
        The deal allows them to retain everything they have achieved thus far. They'll make it to a nuclear bomb in any case, although we can assume that in the meantime, they'll prefer to maintain ambiguity and avoid any provocative step that is not necessary to their battle for regional hegemony against Israel.
        But experience teaches us that a radical, aggressive power such as Iran cannot be stopped using smiles, bribes, or deals that give us quiet for a time but do not lead to any true change of direction. After all, the forces of evil always aspire to achieve power and show it off. When it comes to the nuclear question, their reasoning is that only power will ensure their survival and future. The Iranian bomb hasn't been neutralized.
        The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University. (Israel Hayom)
  • Kuwaiti Writer: Palestinian Faction Leaders, Who Live in Luxury, Fight Israel on Iran's Behalf while Gazans Pay with their Lives
    Writing in the Beirut-based Al-Nahar Al-Arabi on Aug. 9, 2022, Kuwaiti journalist and academic Dr. Muhammad Al-Rumaihi said: "I've lost count of how many clashes there have been between Israel and some faction or other in Gaza....The ones who pay the very heavy price of losing their lives and/or livelihood are the Palestinian people, whom no one consults about the damage caused to them."
        "The simple and innocent [Palestinian] people are told that a number of rockets were fired into Israeli territories close to Gaza or far from it, but no one is told what they hit or what the results were. Most fall in empty areas or explode before they reach their targets. The psychological impact of these rockets on the morale of those who fire them greatly exceeds their impact on the ground. Some Arabs love to say that 'the jihad movement is raining rockets on Tel Aviv,' but the only ones who die are the Palestinians."
        "The grave problem lies in the Arab political culture, which has been hijacked by the populists, as reflected by the statements made during the latest round of fighting by a spokesman of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who said that 'Israel's end is near!' We have heard such talk before, and it led us to disaster. How many disasters must befall us before we learn?"  (MEMRI)

  • The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Thursday presented President Isaac Herzog with a treatise on security threats posed to Israel. "The latest Israeli clashes in Gaza with Palestinian terror organizations have created an impression that with changes in the nature of warfare, the military threat to Israel has entirely changed," said Jerusalem Center President Dore Gold.
  • "There has been a school of thought that has arisen which has downgraded the importance of land warfare and instead stressed the centrality of airpower in deciding the outcome of wars. Along with their focus on airpower, some analysts have ceased to look at how topography, terrain, and strategic depth can influence how wars are terminated."
  • The study - Preserving Israel's Doctrine of Defensible Borders - analyzes the threats posed to Israel by terrorism, as well as Israel's current territorial requirements, with special emphasis on the West Bank, which is strategically vital for Israel to retain if it is to fulfill its existing security and defense needs.
  • The latest update - carried out in the wake of military operations and new threats from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran - highlights the vital importance of Israeli control of the aerial and ground dimensions of the West Bank, and the risks entailed for Israel by the stationing of an international force.
  • Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser said, "It was important to define defensible borders in the Israeli context as such borders that allow Israel to effectively defend itself by itself, at any time, against all potential military threats from near and far, including those emanating from within the territory Israel controls. It means that all the resources necessary to achieve Israel's defense requirements are within its borders and under its security responsibility."

        See also Preserving Israel's Doctrine of Defensible Borders - Amb. Dore Gold and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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