October 13, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Votes at UN to Condemn Russian Annexation of Ukrainian Regions - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel voted at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to condemn Russia's September annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
    The measure was approved in a 143-5 vote, with 35 abstentions.

Report: Israel Giving Intelligence on Russia's Iranian Drones to Ukraine - Michael Schwirtz (New York Times)
    A senior Ukrainian official said that Israel was providing Ukraine with basic intelligence about Iranian drones, which Russia has begun to use on the battlefield, and that a private Israeli firm was providing Ukraine with satellite imagery of Russian troop positions.

Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense Not Relevant for Ukraine (Jerusalem Post)
    While Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk has called on Israel to sell the Iron Dome defense platform to Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov disagreed on the relevance of Iron Dome for Ukraine.
    "I've been to Israel and talked to their manufacturers and state enterprises," Reznikov said in July. "Iron Dome was built [for protection] against slow, low-altitude, low-impact missiles that were basically made in garages. Iron Dome does not protect against cruise and ballistic missiles."

IDF Downs Hamas Drone near Gaza Border - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Israeli forces on Tuesday brought down a small quadcopter drone launched by Hamas over northern Gaza.
    The device was brought down near the border fence and did not cross into Israel. It was believed to have been brought down using electronic warfare.

Hamas Revives Ties with Syria (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    The Palestinian Hamas movement that rules Gaza is reviving relations with the Iran-backed regime in Damascus after a decade-long rupture sparked by the outbreak of Syria's civil war.
    Analysts say the shift pushes Hamas deeper into the Iran-led "axis of resistance" against Israel.
    A delegation of Hamas officials is expected in the Syrian capital next week.

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A New Capital Rises in Egypt - Declan Walsh (New York Times)
    Sprawled across a patch of desert four times the size of Washington, D.C., a showy new administrative capital is rising in Egypt just outside Cairo, imperial in scale and style.
    But as Egypt limps through a dire economic downturn, increasingly loud doubts are emerging about whether the country can afford President el-Sisi's grandiose dreams.
    Tens of thousands of apartments have already been built, although few are furnished or painted, giving the new city the appearance of a vast construction site.
    A Chinese-built skyscraper called the Iconic Tower soars to 1,293 feet, the tallest building in Africa.
    A sprawling military complex on the edge of the new city, the Octagon, is seven times as large as the Pentagon.

Israel's Smart Shooter Wins U.S. Army Contract for Anti-Drone Optics - Seth J. Frantzman (C4ISRNet)
    Smart Shooter, an Israeli company that makes weapon control systems, has won a contract to supply the U.S. Army with its Smash 2000L optics for rifles as part of a counter-drone program.
    The system enables a user to lock onto a target, and then control the fire of the rifle to be more precise and accurate.
    The system uses artificial intelligence, assisted vision and advanced algorithms to ensure that each round finds its target in both day and night conditions, without being affected by target movement or by human fatigue and stress.
    Smart Shooter is developing an additional capability that enables magnification up to 8 times what the eye sees.

Elbit Systems to Supply More Night Vision Systems to U.S. Army - Udi Etsion (Calcalist)
    Israel's Elbit Systems announced Wednesday that its U.S. subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, was awarded an order valued at $107 million for the supply of Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular systems, under a contract signed in 2020.

Azerbaijan Signs Deal with Israel to Desalinate Caspian Sea Water - Kamran Gasimov (Trend-Azerbaijan)
    The Azerbaijan Investment Company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's IDE Water Assets Ltd. to establish a desalination plant on the Caspian Sea.

New York Times Slants Reporting on Yom Kippur in Israel - Ricki Hollander (CAMERA)
    On Oct. 5, the New York Times posted a report about Yom Kippur, Judaism's holiest day of the year, that is observed throughout the Jewish state of Israel.
    Headlined "For Believers, a Day of Atonement. For Others, a Giant Playground," it fleetingly mentions that "more than half of Israeli Jews attend synagogue on Yom Kippur."
    Its primary focus is on highlighting the secular entertainment of Israel's Jewish citizens on that holiday.
    It emphasizes that a minority of non-Jewish Israeli citizens - labelled "Palestinians" - find the national celebration of Judaism's holiest day "restrictive."
    According to a 2019 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, 61% of Israeli Jews were planning to attend synagogue on Yom Kippur and 72.5% were considering fasting on that day.
    Yet the dispatch downplays the religious significance of the national holiday to the majority of Israel's Jewish citizens while highlighting the inconveniences of the holiday's observance to its non-Jewish citizens.
    It also emphasizes that Palestinian workers from the West Bank are "depriv[ed] of a day's wages" due to the shutdown of the Jewish state.

Israel's Economy Is Thriving - Matthew A. Winkler (Bloomberg-Washington Post)
    Israel, a nation of nine million, is an economic juggernaut. It has one of the fastest growth rates and one of the lowest rates of inflation (4.3%) and joblessness (3.5%).
    On top of that, the shekel is the only currency among the 31 that trade actively that has strengthened against the dollar in the past decade.
    Israel is poised to achieve 5.2% gross domestic product growth in 2022, according to more than a dozen forecasts.
    Technology has emerged as the No. 1 industry. From auto parts to medical equipment solutions to food, water and climate change, technology made in Israel is transforming the world's biggest industries.
    This hub of innovation includes Mobileye Global Inc., the creator of vision-based driver assistance systems for 50 car makers, or 70% of the global market.
    There's also Nanox Imaging Ltd., serving governments, hospitals and clinics with cloud-based image analysis, online diagnosis and billing services while developing a 3D medical imaging device.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Oil Industry Workers Join Antigovernment Protests - David S. Cloud
    Oil industry strikes in Iran widened Tuesday as workers announced support for antigovernment protests. "Now is the time for widespread protests. Get ready for backbreaking strikes," said a committee representing contract oil workers at the Abadan refinery, Iran's largest. "This is the beginning of the road and we continue our protests every day, together with people all over the country." Strikes by workers at the refinery in 1978 helped bring down the Shah of Iran. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iranian-Made "Kamikaze" Drones Easily Gunned Down by Ukrainian Air Defenses - Joe Barnes
    Scores of Iranian-made "kamikaze" drones launched into Ukraine by Russia have been gunned down by the country's air defense systems. Some 37 Shahed-136 drones were part of Russia's long-range blitz on city centers across Ukraine on Monday, but many were destroyed before hitting their targets. According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia has ordered 2,400 of the drones. But the drones have proved largely ineffective, immobile, easily detectable and unable to select and destroy sensitive military targets.
        Owing to its low-power engine, the Iranian weapon has a relatively low speed, making it fairly simple to target. They can be shot down with smaller air defense systems or even smaller arms, according to the Ukrainian military. This has forced Moscow to send swarms of up to 10 UAVs at once in the hope at least one can evade Ukraine's air defenses. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Mossad, Israel Security Agency Heads Say Agreement with Lebanon Hurts Hizbullah
    Mossad Chief David Barnea told Israel's political-security cabinet on Wednesday that anyone who claims that the agreement on the maritime border is an achievement for Hizbullah does not understand the situation in Lebanon. The agreement constitutes a de facto recognition of Israel, something that Hizbullah opposes. Barnea said that Hizbullah began to deal with the issue of the maritime border agreement in a serious way only last May, when it recognized "an opportunity to gain points in public opinion."
        Israel Security Agency Chief Ronen Bar described the agreement as something that creates a rift between Iran and Hizbullah. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi concurred that the agreement is not good for Hizbullah. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Text: Final Version of Israel-Lebanon Maritime Border Deal (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizbullah Terror Chief Welcomes Maritime Border Deal, Claims "Resistance" Prodded Israel
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday welcomed the agreement between Israel and Lebanon to settle a maritime border dispute, claiming his group's "resistance" helped prod Israel toward a deal. Hizbullah repeatedly threatened Israel during the negotiations and launched several drones at Israel's offshore gas installations. "Tonight there will only be joy and clapping," Nasrallah said in a televised address. "Israel is more afraid of war than the Lebanese."
        Israel will receive a letter of guarantees from the U.S. stressing Washington's commitment to Israel's security and economic rights in case Hizbullah or another party fails to respect the deal, according to a senior Israeli official. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Soldier Killed in Drive-By Shooting in West Bank - Yoav Zitun
    Staff Sergeant Ido Baruch, 21, was killed when a Palestinian gunman in a speeding car opened fire at a military post near Shavei Shomron in the northern West Bank on Tuesday. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinians Riot in Eastern Jerusalem as IDF Searches for Shooter
    Palestinians clashed with Israeli police across eastern Jerusalem on Wednesday night as forces continued to hunt for the Palestinian responsible for the murder of Military Policewoman Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, and seriously wounding a male security guard at a security checkpoint near the neighborhood of Shuafat on Saturday. Israeli forces have imposed a closure on Shuafat since the gunman is thought to have fled into the refugee camp.
        Earlier on Wednesday, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a Border Police position at the Qalandia crossing near Jerusalem. In addition, video from the Ras al-Amud neighborhood showed a hail of fireworks directed at apartments owned by Jewish families. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Family Escapes Palestinian Lynch Mob in Eastern Jerusalem
    A family of five, including three children, was attacked in their car by Palestinian rioters after encountering an improvised roadblock in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem late Wednesday. They were rescued unharmed, police said. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Israel-Lebanon Maritime Deal: Contrasting Views

  • Lebanon's Bait-and-Switch Treaty - David Schenker
    I visited Beirut in 2020 while serving as assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs to restart the maritime border negotiations between Israel and Lebanon that had been stalled for nearly a decade. Two years later, the states have reached an agreement on their offshore exclusive economic zone boundary that heavily favors Lebanon. During negotiations, mediated by the Biden administration, Israel conceded the entirety of its claims to the 330-square-mile zone to Lebanon in return for a 3-mile internationally recognized buffer zone adjacent to the shoreline.
        As per the new agreement, Lebanon will attain virtually 100% of its initial negotiating position. It's a remarkable turn of events, especially given Beirut's profound lack of leverage. Lebanese negotiators won the day by employing a time-tested bait-and-switch negotiating tactic. Immediately after talks commenced, Lebanon changed its position, demanding an even larger exclusive economic zone, a maximalist demand that led to a breakdown in the talks. When negotiations resumed, the new Israeli government saw Lebanon's readiness to return to the previous line as a significant concession.
        The Israel Defense Forces say the agreement will remove one point of friction with Hizbullah. But the proposition that the maritime deal makes Israel safer or promotes prospects for normalization with yet another Arab state is dubious. With Iran upgrading its proxy's arsenal of missiles and Hizbullah digging in along Israel's border, another war appears inevitable. It's difficult to imagine that Hizbullah won't emerge from these negotiations emboldened by Israel's decision.
        The compromises Israel made demonstrate how far it will go to make peace with its Arab neighbors. Unfortunately, as long as Beirut remains a satrapy of Iran and dominated by its proxy, it's unclear how any agreement will prevent the next Israel-Hizbullah war.
        The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Israel Concedes Large Maritime Areas in Agreement with Lebanon - Danny Zaken (Globes)
  • Lebanon and Israel's Maritime Deal Suspends Them between No War and No Peace - Maha Yahya
    On Tuesday, Lebanon and Israel agreed to formally end a dispute between the two countries over their maritime borders. The agreement allows for the exploration of offshore gas reserves believed to lie along the countries' respective shorelines. However, the deal does not finalize the status of disputed land border areas. As part of the agreement, the U.S. has agreed to provide security guarantees to Israel, should there be an attack by Hizbullah against Israel's interests, and to deny Hizbullah any income from the gas revenues.
        Hizbullah's support for the deal can be understood in the context of Lebanon's catastrophic economic collapse. The socioeconomic collapse has led to considerable discontent within members of the party's own constituency. The deal presents the prospect of future economic growth and offers hope that Lebanon can emerge from its current quagmire.
        Despite an uptick in Hizbullah's rhetoric toward Israel, a military conflict would wreak havoc on the party's own backyard and might impinge on its expanding regional role. As a result, Hizbullah is not keen to go to war.
        While this is far from a peace treaty between Lebanon and Israel, the agreement means that both countries now have vested economic interests in maintaining calm along their common border regions, reducing the long-running threat of an outbreak of war between the two countries. In the immediate term, the deal is likely to trigger the finalization of previously negotiated agreements to provide Lebanon with gas from Egypt and electricity from Jordan, in both cases via Syria.
        The writer is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center. (Carnegie Middle East Center-Lebanon)
  • Final Draft of Lebanon Maritime Border Deal Gives Advantage to Israel - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The U.S. is more than just a negotiator in the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon. It is a party to the deal and a guarantor committed to solve any future disputes between Israel and Lebanon surrounding the maritime border and economic waters. This has strategic value for Israel. Moreover, the success of the deal brings the U.S. back as an active player in the Middle East, with sway over Lebanon.
        The agreement states that production from the Qana gas field, predominately (83%) in Lebanese economic waters, will yield revenue to Israel, as guaranteed by the U.S.
        According to Israeli intelligence sources, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah green-lit the deal even though his masters in Tehran opposed any such agreement. He realized a deal would be reached with or without his approval, and could not oppose it. (Ynet News)

  • Iran

  • Iran Protester: "We Want What You Take for Granted" - Nick Robinson
    Protests in Iran are continuing despite a crackdown by security forces that one human rights group says has killed at least 201 people.
        One protester told BBC: "If you look at the slogans at the protests, what people are saying on the streets, it has never been - even at the beginning - about the hijab. The hijab was just the spark. It has always been about basic human rights. We've always wanted more. We've wanted what you might take for granted as a normal life. We want life, liberty, justice, accountability, freedom of choice and assembly, a free press. We want access to our basic human rights and an inclusive government that is actually elected by the people through a proper election and that works for the people."  (BBC News)
        See also The Women vs. the Mullahs - Bernard-Henri Levy (Tablet)
  • The Demonstrations Could Mark a Turning Point in Iran - Ziryan Rojhelati
    The current wave of protests in Iran represents a marked difference in both size and makeup from past protests, which were generally middle-class, issue-specific, and geographically isolated. The latest wave of protests represent a geographically, ethnically, and economically diverse cross-section of Iranian society. Women and youth are at the forefront of the protests. Protesters are also coming from Iran's upper class.
        These protests also represent a turning point due to the political, economic, and social nature of the protestors' slogans, including "Woman, Life, Freedom," "We Don't Want the Islamic Republic," "I Will Kill, I Will Kill, Those Who Killed My Sister," and "Death to the Dictator, Be it Shah or Ayatollah."
        To understand what's happening in Iran, it's important to note the major generational gap that exists. About 85% of Iran's population is under 55. The imposition of a specific way of life according to religious views on the entire country does not match with the lifestyle and beliefs of this new generation. The Islamic Republic has failed to instill their ideology into Iran's youth in everyday life.
        The writer is Director of the Rudaw Research Center in Kurdistan. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Iran's Tired Regime Is Living on Borrowed Time
    The most poetic scenes are sometimes the most powerful. A young woman dances in front of a bonfire, then tosses her headscarf into the flames. A lone old lady, her white hair uncovered, shuffles down the street waving her headscarf in tune to the words "Death to Khamenei!" Such acts of defiance mark the most menacing threat to the ayatollahs' dictatorial rule for many years.
        Anger is certainly more widespread than ever before. The unrest has drawn in young and old. The dominant part played by women in the protests is new. Another difference is that the demands are more drastic. Young people, connected to their contemporaries elsewhere on social media, are chafing more furiously than ever under the rule of grey-bearded clerics.
        There is little the West can do to encourage the rebellion. It will be up to Iranians to get rid of their rotten regime. One day Iranians will cast off not just their veils but also their joyless overlords. It cannot come too soon. (Economist-UK)

  • Palestinians

  • The Palestinians' New Enemy: British Prime Minister Liz Truss - Khaled Abu Toameh
    British Prime Minister Liz Truss is facing a smear campaign by the Palestinians because she dared to publicly state her support for Israel and talked about the possibility of moving the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
        "Is Liz Truss an agent of the Israeli Mossad who was implanted in the Conservative Party?" asked veteran Palestinian journalist Nasser Lahham, who is closely associated with the Palestinian Authority leadership. "Is she infected with the Zionism virus?" Lahham urged the Palestinian leadership to declare Truss as persona non grata.
        The defamation campaign against the British PM is yet another sign of the ongoing radicalization of Palestinians against anyone who dares to say a good word about Israel. It is this campaign of hate that is the real obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For many years, the Western countries that fund the Palestinians have utterly ignored Palestinian incitement against Israel. Now, Western leaders are themselves becoming victims of the Palestinians' smear campaigns. (Gatestone Institute)
  • A Cruel Death in Hebron - Bret Stephens
    it's worth pausing to consider the grisly murder of Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh in the West Bank city of Hebron. Murkhiyeh, 25, was a gay Palestinian man who had been living for two years in Israel and had filed papers for resettlement in Canada. Last Wednesday, he was found beheaded in Hebron. A suspect filmed the beheading and uploaded it to Palestinian social media. Murkhiyeh was one of scores of gay Palestinians finding refuge in Israel.
        Those who claim to champion the cause of Palestinian liberation should care equally about the cause of Palestinian liberties, as a basis for decent governance. (New York Times)
  • The Palestinians Must Lay Down Their Weapons to Achieve Peace - Editorial
    There is a clear way to end the cycle of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and that is for the Palestinians to stop their campaign of terror and incitement against Israel and the Jewish people. It really is that simple.
        What has been going on in the West Bank in recent weeks is an example of what happens when the Palestinian Authority neglects its responsibility and decides to allow terrorist groups to thrive, accumulate illegal arms, and operate with impunity. Israel prefers not to have to enter places like Jenin or Nablus but they will continue to do so as long as intelligence shows brewing threats.
        Israel might in the end need to launch a large-scale military offensive similar to 2002's Operation Defensive Shield, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of gunmen in Jenin and Nablus. If Abbas wants to prevent that, he will need to take more aggressive steps within the cities he controls to stop the violence. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Jerusalem Is the Right Location for the UK's Embassy - Gary Mond
    Up until 1948, the world generally referred to "Palestinians" as the Jews who lived in what was to become modern Israel. The "Palestinian" flag until 1948 contained a Magen David, the Palestine Post was the region's Jewish newspaper and Palestinian football teams comprised Jews.
        Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Old City and eastern Jerusalem by the invading Jordanian and Arab armies in 1948. Jews were the majority of the population of the Old City. Synagogues were desecrated and destroyed and the vibrant Jewish community erased. The Jewish neighborhood of Simon HaTsadik (Simon the Just) became the Muslim area of Sheikh Jarrah.
        The default position for the location of an embassy is a country's capital city, and it is for the country itself to decide its location. Israel has declared that Jerusalem is its capital city and this must be respected. The UK already has a consulate in eastern Jerusalem to serve the local Arab communities. Why, therefore, should there not be an embassy in Jerusalem to serve Israeli citizens?
        The Abraham Accords and the immense benefits for the region flowing from them has shown that the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has had no adverse effect. Neither would the relocation of the British embassy.
        The writer is Chairman of the National Jewish Assembly. (Jewish News-UK)
  • Pakistani Scientist AQ Khan Led Israel to Syrian Nuclear Sites - Amir Bar Shalom
    Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Amnon Sofrin, the head of the Mossad's intelligence division in the mid-2000s, revealed in an interview the story of Israel's discovery that Syria had secretly built a nuclear reactor and was close to bringing it online.
        "In December 2003, the British and Americans announced that...they managed to convince [Libyan leader] Gaddafi to give up his plans for nuclear weapons....With the American announcement, we realized that the Pakistanis were heavily involved in Libya. We started researching and the name of Dr. [A.Q.] Khan immediately came up, the father of Pakistan's first Muslim bomb."
        "We understood that he came to Libya with his people for a turnkey project. He distributed centrifuges and facilities throughout Libya. I looked at the data and said to myself, 'Wait. If Dr. Khan is the project manager, let's see where else he has been in the Middle East.'...Regarding Syria, I immediately had a concern."
        In March 2007, according to an investigation by the New Yorker, Mossad agents broke into the Vienna hotel room of Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria's Atomic Energy Agency, cloned his PC, and left without a trace. The photographs from the PC showed a plutogenic reactor ready for operation. It was an exact copy of the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appealed to the Americans to attack the site, but President George W. Bush refused. On Sep. 6, 2007, the IDF bombed the Syrian reactor, demolishing the site. (Times of Israel)
  • Former South African Chief Justice: We Should Resume Healthy Relations with Israel - Steve Linde
    Healthy diplomatic relations between South Africa and Israel should resume in the not-too-distant future, according to former South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, a devout Christian who is in Israel with a 90-member delegation as part of the annual Feast of the Tabernacles.
        Mogoeng said, "I believe in Genesis 12, verses 1 to 4. I believe that my love for Israel and my love for the Jews, without excluding my love for others, my refusal to curse the Jews, and my refusal to curse Israel, cause me to be blessed. I also believe that any nation that adopts that stance, that chooses to love Israel, to bless Israel and not to curse Israel, will receive the blessings of Abraham. That's my belief."  (Jerusalem Post)

  • A new armed Palestinian political organization comprised of no more than several hundred young men is emerging in the West Bank that is only loosely associated with existing Palestinian political movements. It represents the coming of age of another generation.
  • Committed to a broadly Islamist political outlook, and supporting a strategy of armed insurgency, it represents a fresh challenge both to Israel and to the Palestinian Authority.
  • The Palestinian Authority has reduced its activities in the area, and its credibility is nonexistent among the younger generation. This rising generation did not witness the bitter insurgency of the Second Intifada in the 2000-2004 period, or the Israeli military campaign that crushed it. Weaponry proliferates and is readily available to clans or organized criminal groups.

    The writer is executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.
  • The new Lion's Den Palestinian terror group in Nablus consists of some 50 Palestinians, all under the age of 30, who are not affiliated with any "established" terror organizations. It is described by residents of Nablus as "local thugs." "They hurt our economy, run protection rackets, and behave like criminals," said one local resident.
  • The Lion's Den has no headquarters or a chain of command, making solid intelligence on them difficult.
  • The PA's Preventive Security Service appears to be helpless in the face of the group's emergence. Israel can't wait for the PA to act.
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