October 11, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

IAEA: Iran Racing to Expand Uranium Enrichment at Underground Plant - Francois Murphy (Reuters)
    Iran is rapidly expanding its ability to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz, a confidential UN nuclear watchdog report showed on Monday.
    Tehran has brought onstream an ever larger number of advanced centrifuges the deal bans it from using.

Israel Condemns Russia for Massive Missile Attack on Ukraine (Times of Israel)
    Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday "strongly condemned" Russia's fatal missile barrage across Ukraine which targeted "the civilian population in Kyiv and other cities."
    The Ukrainian military said Russian forces had fired more than 80 missiles on its cities.
    See also Russia Claims Israel Stood Silent in Face of Ukrainian "Terrorism"  (Times of Israel)
    In response to Israel's condemnation of Moscow's attacks on Ukrainian cities, Russia's embassy in Israel said Monday that, "unfortunately, Israel chose to stand silent during eight years of ongoing Ukrainian terrorist attacks on civilians of Donbass...as well as other numerous horrific and unpunished crimes of the Kyiv regime."

Iran State TV Hijacked by Protesters during Supreme Leader's Speech - Abbie Cheeseman (Telegraph-UK)
    Iran's state TV was hijacked during a speech by the country's supreme leader on Saturday, with his address replaced by images of the young women that have been killed in protests over the last four weeks.
    For 15 seconds, images sympathetic to the nationwide women-led protest movement were aired, including photos of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei surrounded by flames as the phrases "the blood of our youth is on your hands" and "join us and rise up!" flashed across the screen.
    The Norway-based Iran Human Rights said at least 185 people have been collectively killed in the protests.

U.S. Forces Kill Senior ISIS Leaders in Syria - Hwaida Saad (New York Times)
    U.S. Special Operations forces carried out two major strikes against the Islamic State in northern Syria on Thursday, killing three senior figures responsible for arming and recruiting fighters and plotting attacks.
    U.S. forces dropped from helicopters inside Syrian government territory in northeastern Syria and killed Rakkan Wahid al-Shammari, who facilitated the smuggling of weapons and fighters to support ISIS operations.
    Several hours later, an Islamic State deputy leader in Syria and a man responsible for the group's prisoner affairs were killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Palestinian Gunmen in Nablus Reject PA Request to Surrender Weapons - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Wadee Alhouh, a leader of the Nablus-based Lion's Den terrorist group, said Monday he is opposed to the Palestinian Authority's offer to join the PA security forces.
    He said his group was determined to pursue the "path of glory until victory or martyrdom."

Palestinians Shoot Up Bethlehem Hotel where Philippine Christians Displayed Jewish Symbols (i24News)
    Palestinian gunmen fired shots at a hotel on Monday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem after a group of Philippine Christian tourists displayed cardboard cutouts of a Star of David and Menora in one of its meeting halls during the Sukkot holiday.
    Fatah, the leading political faction in the West Bank, condemned the attempt to hold a "Zionist party" in the hotel.

Spanish Top Court Says Israel Boycotts Are Always Discriminatory - Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)
    The Supreme Court of Spain ruled on Sep. 20 that the movement to boycott Israel represents "discrimination" that "infringes on basic rights."
    This judicial policy is similar to the one practiced in France, where attempts to boycott Israel resulted in the 2003 adoption of a law that declares any attempt to single out countries discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Canada to Ban Iran's IRGC Leaders from Entry, Expand Sanctions (Reuters)
    Canada on Friday said it would ban the top leadership of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from entering the country and promised more targeted sanctions over the treatment of women in Iran and the downing of a civilian airliner in 2020 that killed more than 50 Canadians.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Lebanon, Israel Satisfied with Final Draft of Maritime Border Deal
    Lebanon and Israel have received a final draft of a U.S.-mediated maritime border deal that satisfies all of their requirements and could imminently lead to a "historic deal," negotiators from the two countries said on Tuesday. Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata said, "All our demands were met, the changes that we asked for were corrected. We protected Israel's security interests."  (Reuters)
        See also Israel and Lebanon Close to Signing Maritime Gas Agreement - Danny Zaken
    According to a diplomatic source in Israel, the substantive disputes over the maritime border deal have been resolved. An official Lebanese source told Al Jazeera that Lebanon was inclined to agree to the U.S. proposal for marking the maritime border with Israel, and that it contained solutions to all the points in dispute.
        On the issue of the line of buoys marking the political border, the source said that the U.S. proposal incorporated Lebanon's objection to determining it as the border line, and that a final determination would be made later on, when the land border is fixed. The Israeli diplomatic source said the new wording allowed Israel full military activity up to the line of buoys, and secured the receipt of compensation for the development of the Qana/Sidon field which is partially in Israeli waters.
        Once the wording is finalized, the agreement will go to the government for approval, but before that will be laid before the Knesset, although the Knesset will not vote on it. The diplomatic source estimated that the agreement would be signed in the week before the election in Israel on November 1. (Globes)
        See also Energean Begins Gas Flow Testing at Israel's Karish Field (Reuters)
        See also Israel Preparing for Hostilities with Hizbullah over Gas Rig - Arie Egozi
    Israel has already deployed military assets to the area of the soon to be operational Karish gas rig, including SAAR-6 corvettes, which have air defense capabilities. In addition, the Israeli air force is keeping continuous watch, using both reconnaissance aircraft and satellites, over suspected missile and armed UAV sites in Lebanon. (Breaking Defense)
  • Report: Egypt, Israel Agree to Extract Natural Gas off Gaza Coast - Rasha Abou Jalal
    Egypt and Israel have agreed to start extracting natural gas off the coast of Gaza after several months of secret bilateral talks, according to an Egyptian intelligence officer and a member of the PLO Executive Committee. The Gaza Marine field, 30 km. (19 miles) west of Gaza, was discovered in 2000 by British Gas and is estimated to contain more than 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
        The intelligence officer said: "An Egyptian economic and security delegation discussed with the Israeli side for several months the issue of allowing the extraction of natural gas off the coast of Gaza. The delegation finally succeeded in reaching a compromise that would benefit all relevant parties, the most important of which are Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
        The PLO official said that under the agreement, Egypt and Israel would supervise the extraction process, and that part of the gas will be exported to Egypt, while the bulk of it will be exported by Israel to Europe through Greece and Cyprus. The financial revenues will return to the treasury of the PA. (Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Gunman Kills IDF Soldier at Jerusalem Security Checkpoint - Shira Silkoff
    Military Policewoman Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, was killed and a male security guard was in serious condition after a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a security checkpoint near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat on Saturday evening. Videos in Palestinian media showed children in Shuafat being given candy and celebrating by shooting fireworks. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Video Shows Gunman Opened Fire on Checkpoint Guards at Point-Blank Range (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Family and Friends Express Shock at Soldier's Death in Shooting Attack - Raanan Ben Tzur (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Attack IDF Forces Arresting Islamic Jihad Terrorist in Jenin - Einav Halabi
    Israeli security forces entered the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank on Saturday to arrest an Islamic Jihad operative. Salah Samir abu Zeina, who was taken into custody, had been convicted on terrorist charges twice and was suspected of shooting attacks against IDF forces.
        Israeli forces encountered gunfire and firebombs from dozens of Palestinian militants. Palestinian officials said at least two Palestinians were killed and 11 others wounded in the clashes. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Arrested for Shooting Attack, Placing Bomb at Gas Station
    Nablus resident Amad Asleem was detained by Israeli security forces, it was announced Friday. Asleem was involved in shooting at an Israeli vehicle near Hawara on Sep. 19 and left a bomb at a gas station near Kedumim on Sep. 25. (Times of Israel)
  • The Current Palestinian Terror Wave - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The current Palestinian terror wave has persisted for seven months. This wave has new and unique characteristics, thus intercepting it requires a different mindset. Most of the attacks in recent weeks were carried out by Palestinians aged 30 and younger and primarily targeted Israeli security forces.
        The Lions' Den, a new Palestinian terror group, is an example. In Nablus, several local young criminals obtained firearms, carried out attacks, and became a source of inspiration and imitation to other young Palestinians. When interrogated by the Israel Security Agency, they often admit they didn't act out of ideological, political, or religious motives, but rather from the desire to become a social media star.
        Hamas and Islamic Jihad are not leading the ongoing terror wave. Instead, they incite and fund it directly and indirectly while sitting on the sidelines and enjoying the fruits of terror. Most of the Palestinian population is not involved nor encourages the terror wave because it interferes with their daily lives and harms their livelihood.
        If the IDF were to halt its daily operations and nighttime raids in Palestinian localities in the West Bank, in an ongoing counter-terrorism operation called "Break the Wave," Palestinian militants will not lay down their weapons. Instead, they will seek confrontation with Israeli security forces in other places, such as checkpoints, the West Bank security barrier, and other flashpoints. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Why a Two-State Solution Won't Work - Ambassador Dore Gold
    The two-state solution is a nice-sounding mantra that will lead diplomats off course. It was never a part of the key documents that provided the diplomatic basis of the Arab-Israeli peace process in the past. It did not appear in UN Security Council Resolution 242, Resolution 338 or in the 1993 Oslo Accords.
        In 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin outlined the components of a final peace settlement with the Palestinians and made no reference to the two-state solution. He spoke only about an entity which was "less than a state."
        If the considerations of the Palestinian Arabs were paramount for the Arab world, then why wasn't a Palestinian state established in Judea and Samaria before 1967, when the Arab world held those areas?
          Israel needs to design an approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that keeps in mind the true dimensions of the wider conflict. The two-state solution risks stripping Israel of its right to secure boundaries which is an integral part of Resolution 242.
          The writer, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel's Ambassador to the UN. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Settling the Maritime Border Dispute between Lebanon/Hizbullah and Israel - Ambassador Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky
    In recent years Israel has found significant gas fields in the Mediterranean. Some 70-80% of Israel's energy comes from natural gas. Israel is exporting gas to Jordan and Egypt, with the possible export of gas to Europe.
        There is a dispute between Israel and Lebanon over one gas field that has been going on for about 12 years. Israel submitted a maritime border line to the UN, using a line that the Lebanese had submitted in their disputes over maritime borders with Cyprus. Then the Lebanese changed their mind - they liked the line for Cyprus but not for Israel.
        So the Lebanese advanced a new line, and the Americans have been mediating this dispute for well over a decade to try to work out a compromise by proposing a 55-45% or 60-40% division of the disputed area between the proposed maritime lines of Israel and Lebanon. For many years, Hizbullah tried to prevent any agreement between Israel and Lebanon.
        All of a sudden, it was announced that a deal is in the offing. This comes after Hizbullah threats and Hizbullah sending drones to the gas fields, saying that if Israel starts to take gas from the Karish gas field in Israeli territory, they were sabre-rattling to try to stop that. So a lot of Israelis are asking, without knowing all the details, why is Israel capitulating to Hizbullah pressure? What happened? Suddenly the division of the disputed territory appears to be 100-0%.
        It's a good thing to have an agreement with Lebanon over gas. The question is, is Israel compromising its national interests in a rush to get an agreement or capitulating to threats from Hizbullah? That's a very bad lesson and other forces in the region see that. If the feeling is that Israel does not want to fight, we're going to have bigger problems. (JINSA)
  • Iran Protests Are Proving a Durable Challenge to the Islamic Republic - Sune Engel Rasmussen
    The antigovernment protest movement in Iran has proved more durable than previous challenges to Tehran's leaders. Students across the country rallied outside universities on Sunday, chanting slogans including "death to the dictator," and schoolgirls marched in the streets of Tehran waving their veils in the air. Stores stayed closed as part of a widening strike of shopkeepers. Meanwhile, images of pro-government toughs using force against unveiled schoolgirls is amplifying public anger.
        The latest protests have unprecedented support from Iranians across class, gender and age, and come after years of economic hardship that has driven millions of Iranians into desperation. According to a poll in March by Gamaan, based in the Netherlands, of 17,000 respondents living in Iran, 18% of Iranians want to preserve the values and ideals of the Islamic Revolution. A 2020 study by the group found 72% of Iranians opposed mandatory veiling.
        Previous protests mostly called for reforms within the existing system. Now, Iranians are calling for a wholesale overthrow of the Islamic Republic. (Wall Street Journal)

The Problem with Lapid's Weak Conditions for Establishing a Palestinian State - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • At the UN General Assembly in September, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed the dream of reaching an arrangement with the Palestinians that would rid Israel of the reality of the "occupation," while at the same time achieving security for Israel. His remarks show that he understands how far we are from a solution. However, Lapid's formulations regarding the conditions for establishing a two-state solution for two peoples indicate too little familiarity with past discussions of the issue.
  • Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents have made it clear to the Palestinians that the realization of the idea of a Palestinian state depends on their willingness to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Only such recognition can lead, after time, to the abandonment of terrorism and acceptance of the reality of two states for two peoples, one of which is the Jewish people.
  • President Trump raised a series of additional conditions including the cessation of incitement and hate indoctrination, the cessation of the payment of salaries to terrorists, giving up the attempt to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court, and Palestinian willingness to accept Israeli security supremacy that would allow Israel to deal with those involved in terrorism against it in the territories of the Palestinian state.
  • As long as the Palestinians are committed to the narrative adhered to by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his UN remarks, the chances of a renewal of terrorism will be high. This narrative argues that the Palestinians have a vested right to the entire territory of historic Palestine, that there is no Jewish people and the Jews have no sovereign history in the Land of Israel/Palestine, and that Israel was established by colonialism and imperialism that wanted to rid themselves of the presence of the intolerable Jews in their countries and exploit them as a bridgehead in the struggle against Islam. Therefore, the Palestinians have the right and duty to fight for the realization of their goals, chief among them the victory over Zionism.
  • The idea that Israel needs to "strengthen the PA" reflects an exaggerated fear of its collapse. The PA is not in danger of collapse. It continues to function as a mechanism that manages the lives of Palestinians and employs some 160,000 officials. It also continues to be perceived, despite the criticism of its senior figures, as the Palestinians' main national achievement. A focus on strengthening the PA ignores the fact that it does not fight terrorism but encourages it, perpetuates the Palestinian narrative through incitement, and works to promote this in the international arena as well.
  • Israel must continue to intensify its efforts to thwart terrorism as part of Operation "Break the Wave" and through increased military deployment in Jerusalem and at recognized friction points. The idea that refraining from action will stop the cycle of terrorism ignores the fact that the motivation for carrying out attacks is not due to the activities of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency on the ground, but is rooted in much deeper motives derived from the Palestinian narrative described above.

    The writer, director of the project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence.

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This issue of Daily Alert was produced in Israel on Hol Hamoed Sukkot.
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