October 24, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Destroys Iranian Drone Assembly Site near Damascus - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    A Friday airstrike near Damascus destroyed an Iranian-backed drone manufacturing and weapons storage site at Dimas military airport near the Lebanese border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday.
    Hizbullah's Unit 4400, responsible for transferring military equipment in cooperation with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, operates the facilities which were hit, the Saudi Al Arabiya reported.

Israeli Arms Exports Have Been Used by Iran Against IDF in Syria - Ash Obel (Times of Israel)
    Asked about Ukrainian requests for Israeli air defense systems, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told MSNBC on Wednesday that "weapons that we supplied in one battlefield end up in Iranian hands used against us. This has happened time and again."
    He cited an incident on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in which the IDF "encountered Israeli-made weapons" in a place "where we are trying to prevent Iran from opening a second Lebanon front, a second terrorist front against us."
    He may have been alluding to a 2016 incident in which drone technology originally sold to Russia was then sold to the Iranian military, who deployed the Russian-manufactured drone against Israel.

Report: Ten Iranians Training Russian Soldiers Killed in Ukraine (Jerusalem Post)
    Ten Iranians training Russian soldiers in Ukraine were reportedly killed last week, a Ukrainian official told Israel's Channel 11 on Friday.
    The Ukrainian National Resistance Center claimed on Wednesday that Iranian instructors were overseeing the Russian launching of kamikaze drones from within annexed Ukrainian territory.

Germany to Deploy Israeli UAVs to Thwart Russian Strikes - Assaf Uni (Globes)
    German media report that the government wants to use the Heron UAVs it leases from Israel Aerospace Industries to defend against potential Russian attacks on critical energy infrastructure and monitor movements of the Russian naval fleet.
    The German parliament has asked the German Air Force to immediately deploy the UAVs to provide protection against potential Russian sabotage, in the wake of last month's mysterious explosion of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
    In recent weeks, Russia has been attacking Ukrainian infrastructure installations including water and electricity, demonstrating for the Germans the danger of hitting infrastructure.
    Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, the German parliament has decided to let the UAVs be armed with Israeli-made missiles.
    Over the past two years, dozens of German Air Force pilots have been trained in Israel to operate the UAVs.

Hamas Warns Against Israel-Egypt-PA Deal on Natural Gas near Gaza - Tzvi Joffre (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas warned the Palestinian Authority against handling the issue of natural gas fields located off the coast of Gaza on Thursday, just days after the announcement that Israel, Egypt and the PA were holding discussions to begin pumping gas from the gas fields.
    "The [Palestinian] Authority is not qualified to receive the gas file, as it is involved in cases of corruption, waste of money and misconduct," Hamas told Al-Watan news.

The Terrorist Doctor of Jenin - Chaim Lax (HonestReporting)
    On Oct. 14, 2022, Israeli forces entered the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank to arrest a terrorist operative. The Israeli soldiers were confronted by armed Palestinians who engaged them with gunfire and explosives.
    After the fighting, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that Dr. Abdullah al-Ahmed had been killed while attending to the wounded, leaving the impression that he was an innocent bystander.
    However, Reuters reported that the doctor was a "Fatah member who participated in the fighting." The New York Times described photos of the doctor "carrying three assault rifles."

Greece Opens Israeli-Built Flight School - Derek Gatopoulos (AP)
    Greece on Friday launched operations at a new international pilot training center located on an air force base near the southern city of Kalamata.
    Israeli defense contractor Elbit will help run the facility in a $1.65 billion deal.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says UN Commission of Inquiry Report Demonstrates Disproportionate, Biased Treatment of Israel
    After the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Israel released its 28-page report on Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council Michele Taylor said Saturday: "We are deeply concerned by the Israel Commission of Inquiry's one-sided report, which contributes to the polarization of the situation & does not advance prospects for peace. The COI's open-ended nature & vague scope, along with the antisemitic remarks made by a member of the Commission, further demonstrate the disproportionate, biased treatment of Israel at the HRC."  (Twitter)
        See also State Department: "Israel Is Consistently Unfairly Targeted in the UN System"
    State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday: "We have made our concerns about this Commission of Inquiry clear from the start. Israel is consistently unfairly targeted in the UN system, including in the course of this Commission of Inquiry. Israel is the only country that's subject to a standing country-specific agenda....We continue to work...to see to it that Israel is not unfairly singled out."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Iranian Drones Hitting Ukrainian Cities Were Developed to Strike Israel - Andrew E. Kramer
    Yuriy Sak, an adviser to the Ukrainian minister of defense, said in an interview, "These Iranian drones that are hitting Ukrainian cities were not developed, not meant for Ukraine. They were developed as a mass capability to strike Israel. They are using Ukraine as a testing ground, to see weaknesses, to perfect them, and sooner or later they will use them against Israel." A Ukrainian official said Israel has provided intelligence useful for targeting the Iranian drones. (New York Times)
        See also Iranian Drones in Ukraine War Risks Deepening Tehran's Rift with West - David S. Cloud
    Iran's decision to send armed drones to aid Russia's war in Ukraine jeopardizes years of engagement with the West. Already the EU has imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to its supplying Russia with drones and crackdown on protests. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees intervention in Ukraine as a way to strike at American power somewhere other than on Iran's own home turf, analysts say. It is the first time that Tehran has intervened so far from Iran in a conflict where neither of the combatants is an Islamic country. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Terrorist from Lions' Den Group Killed in West Bank Explosion - Emanuel Fabian
    Tamer al-Kilani, a senior member of the Lions' Den Palestinian terror group was killed early Sunday in the West Bank city of Nablus when an explosive device attached to a motorcycle detonated. Al-Kilani was directly involved in sending a Palestinian man to attempt to commit a "large-scale" attack in Tel Aviv last month, among several more shooting attacks in the Nablus area. (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinians Search for "Collaborators" in Death of Slain Gunman - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The death of Tamer al-Kilani, a senior member of the Lions' Den armed group in Nablus in a pre-dawn explosion, has triggered calls for retaliation against Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel. A Palestinian political activist said that these allegations could lead to the killing of a number of Palestinians suspected of having tipped off the IDF about the whereabouts of al-Kilani. He noted that hundreds of "collaborators" were killed by Palestinians during the First Intifada, which began in 1987.
        The death of al-Kilani is a serious blow to the Lions' Den, whose members will now be forced to devote more time and energy to avoid being tracked down and killed by the IDF than to launching attacks on Israelis. The gunmen also will be forced to direct more energies to uncover and punish "collaborators."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Enacts New Policy to Reduce West Bank Violence - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The killing on Sunday of Tamer al-Kilani, if indeed Israel is behind it, demonstrates a new course of action to deal with surging terror in the northern West Bank. Israel is concerned that constant terror attacks by Lions' Den members will encourage other youths to imitate them.
        Last week, the Israeli security services established a new operational course of action. It is possible to assume that the killing of al-Kilani is part of the new operational tactic to suppress the current terror wave in a way that will prevent a general uprising in the West Bank. The IDF is able to launch a large-scale operation to eliminate the Lions' Den militants - who number only dozens - but Israel prefers that the PA solve the problem in its own manner. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Stabs Jewish Man in Jerusalem
    A Palestinian seriously wounded a Jewish man in a stabbing attack near the Givat Hamivtar light rail station in Jerusalem on Saturday. An Israeli police officer neutralized the attacker. (i24News)
  • Three Israeli Arabs Charged with Hamas Plot to Disrupt Communications during Wartime - Tzvi Joffre
    Three Israeli citizens from northern Israel were indicted for threatening the IDF's communications infrastructure and for providing sensitive information to Hamas in Turkey, the Israel Security Agency revealed on Thursday. The main suspect, R.A., worked as a software engineer at Cellcom, which provides services to the IDF and police. The suspect had broad access to the company's computer and information systems.
        In 2017, R.A. met with Hamas officials in Turkey and transferred sensitive information about communication infrastructures in Israel to Hamas in order to help it damage this infrastructure during a conflict. R.A. also met with a Hamas military official in 2021 and 2022. A second suspect, S.A., served as an external consultant at Cellcom and provided R.A. with information about the weak points in Cellcom's systems. R.A. and S.A. discussed ways to disable or disrupt Cellcom's systems out of a desire to help Palestinians attacking Israel. R.A.'s brother, Z.A., was also involved. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Iran Has Declared War on Britain and the West - Con Coughlin
    Putin claims that Russia is in a war against the NATO alliance. But the Kremlin's increased reliance on Iran in waging its campaign of terror against Ukraine's civilian population now raises the prospect of a new "axis of evil" being formed between Moscow and Tehran.
        Following Putin's visit to Tehran in July, Iran offered to assist Russia with avoiding sanctions by using its "dark" fleet of oil tankers. In return, Moscow agreed to an arms deal with Iran, including the purchase of 2,400 Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. These Iranian kamikaze drones are now at the forefront of Putin's attempts to wreak havoc against Ukraine.
        Under a deal agreed in Moscow earlier this month with senior officials from Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Tehran has promised to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles as well. In addition, Iran sent a 50-strong team of Revolutionary Guard technicians to Crimea to assist the Russian war offensive.
        From the perspective of European security, the significance of Tehran's growing involvement in the Ukraine conflict cannot be ignored. This is the first time that Iranian weaponry has been used on European soil.
        The British and American governments, together with other Western signatories to the nuclear deal with Tehran, must acknowledge that there is now little prospect of reaching a new agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear ambitions. Western politicians need to understand that there is absolutely no chance of reaching any accord with the ayatollahs so long as Iranian drones are being employed to terrorize innocent civilians in European cities.
        By siding so openly with Moscow, Iran has shown its true objective, which is to challenge the West and its allies by any and all means possible, including military force. (Telegraph-UK)
  • New UN Commission of Inquiry Report a Masterpiece of Modern Antisemitism - Anne Bayefsky
    A "commission of inquiry" on Israel created by the UN Human Rights Council released its first report to the General Assembly on October 20, 2022. Not one Western democracy voted to create the "inquiry"; only 30% of council members are free democracies. All three members of the "inquiry" were selected because they had already declared Israel guilty of the crimes they were charged with investigating.
        The commission issued a "call for submissions" in the fall of 2021 for specifics about victims of "systematic discrimination and repression" as well as "underlying root causes" of the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict. In response, over five million submissions were presented, including details of 190,161 individual Jewish victims of "systematic discrimination and repression" and the roles played by Palestinians and other Arab perpetrators. Every one of these submissions was thrown in the UN trash, apparently without being read.
        The inquisitors advocate that Israelis be hunted down, prosecuted and jailed for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. On the other hand, they couldn't name a single Palestinian crime worth prosecuting.
        The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • UN Report Serves Only Terror Supporters - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The report by the UN Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in the West Bank and Gaza, submitted to the General Assembly last week, is part of an international propaganda campaign meant to demonize Israel, serving no one but terror organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Unlike other committees in the UN, this one is permanent, meaning it will publish reports annually until it is decommissioned.
        The authors ignore every peace offer tabled in front of the Palestinians in recent decades, and make no mention of the Palestinians refusing all of these offers. The report sets a new record for incitement against Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace, this is how a UN committee becomes a propaganda machine for supporters of terrorism. (Ynet News)

  • The maritime border agreement between Israel and Lebanon is being hailed as a great success. Under military pressure from Hizbullah and diplomatic pressure from Washington, Israel did what it had refused to do for over a decade: dropped its claim to Line 1 or to any compromise position and accepted instead Line 23, the Lebanese position. In summary, the U.S. encouraged Israel to concede to all of Hizbullah's demands. Prime Minister Lapid compromised for a period of quiet that will last until Hizbullah decides to end it.
  • The agreement will not make Lebanon less dependent on Iran. Lebanon is controlled by Hizbullah, which is controlled by Iran. Enriching the fictitiously independent state of Lebanon without enriching Hizbullah and Iran is impossible.
  • Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have every right to celebrate this agreement as a major victory, a capitulation by both the U.S. and Israel. A "historic achievement" is how Hizbullah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem described the demarcation agreement on Oct. 15. Hizbullah received everything that it demanded within the timeline that it set. Israel made every conceivable concession; Lebanon made none. Supercharged American mediation rewarded Hizbullah for threatening war.
  • Traditional military deterrence, not appeasement, is the only way to contain Hizbullah. Military deterrence is also the answer to the threat posed by Iran and all its proxies. The deal undermined Israel's deterrence because it taught Hizbullah and Iran that a threat of war will trigger American mediation to deliver concessions from Israel to "de-escalate" conflict.
  • The removal of this or that grievance of Hizbullah today will do nothing to prevent the fabrication of new grievances tomorrow. If war suits either Nasrallah or his Iranian overlords, Hizbullah will manufacture a pretext for starting one.
  • The agreement will have no impact on the European energy crisis. There is no guarantee that Lebanese gas will ever come on the international market. If it does, it will not appear for another five to ten years - by which time the European energy crisis will be history.

    The writer, director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at the Hudson Institute, served as a senior director in the U.S. National Security Council.

        See also Israel-Lebanon Maritime Deal Satisfies Security Requirements, IDF Tells Knesset - Noa Shpigel
    Brig.-Gen. Oren Setter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday, "There was a narrow window of opportunity for reaching such an agreement" both because Lebanese President Michel Aoun is approaching the end of his term and because the impending start of natural gas production at Israel's Karish field could provoke a response from Hizbullah "that would result in a security escalation."
        "If the agreement isn't signed by October 31, our assessment is that it won't be signed in the near term, or in the long term, either," due to Lebanon's political crisis. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel-Lebanon Deal Brought Benefits to Both Sides - Oded Granot (Israel Hayom)

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