November 7, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

More Natural Gas Found Off Israel's Shore - Zachy Hennessey (Jerusalem Post)
    The Energean gas exploration company has announced a new commercial natural gas discovery of 13 billion cubic meters off the shore of Israel at its Zeus-1 exploratory well. It also confirmed the presence of an additional 3.75 bcm at its Athena site.
    Both are in the Olympus area, located between Israel's Karish and Tanin gas fields.

Video: IRGC Threatens Drone Strikes Against Israel, U.S. Bases in the Middle East (MEMRI-TV)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards posted a video on its Telegram channel on Oct. 31, 2022, showing videos and aerial photographs of Israel and U.S. CENTCOM bases in the Middle East, as well as a hanger full of attack drones.

"I've Grown Up," Controversial MK Tells Those Worried about His Rise - Dan Williams (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
    Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, 46, who received intense scrutiny during the recent election due to his past actions, said in a front-page article in Israel Hayom: "I've grown up, I've moderated and I've come to understand that life is more complicated."
    Asserting that he and his critics "agree on 90% of issues," he said he would not seek to impose religious law nor curb freedom of dissent, "and even if I'm not keen on the (Gay Pride) parade, I will ensure utmost protection for the men and women marching."

Why Are Palestinian Muslim Attacks on Christians Being Ignored? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Christians living in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour in the West Bank are complaining that the Palestinian Authority is not doing enough to punish Muslim perpetrators who attack churches and Christian-owned businesses.
    Such incidents are the main reason that many Christians no longer feel safe in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
    The number of Christians in Bethlehem has dropped from 80% to 12%. Many have moved to the U.S., Canada and Europe.

EU Seeks Policing Agreement with Israel (Statewatch)
    EU and member state officials have begun discussing a working agreement between Europol and Israeli authorities.
    It would allow the exchange of personal data, including biometrics, racial and ethnic origin, and religious or political beliefs.
    The EU has been seeking such an agreement for some time, and a draft agreement was discussed at the Council of the European Union on Sep. 26, 2022.

Tourist Arrivals in Israel Surpass 2 Million in Jan.-Oct. (Xinhua-China)
    Between January and October 2022, the number of tourists visiting Israel reached 2.078 million, a seven-times increase from the same period last year.
    In October, 333,500 tourists visited Israel, the highest monthly figure since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020.

Thousands of Great White Pelicans Make Annual Stopover in Israel (Times of Israel)
    Hordes of migrating great white pelicans descended on Israel over the weekend, making their annual stopover as they head for wintering grounds in Africa.
    The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has filled water reservoirs and pools in the Hefer Valley central region with tons of fresh fish for the guests to eat. This also helps keep the flocks away from commercial fish farms.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iranians Defy Crackdown with Fresh Protests
    Iranian students protested and shopkeepers went on strike despite a widening crackdown, according to reports on social media, as demonstrations in Iran continued for a 50th day. Rahman Jalali, political and security deputy for Kerman province, admitted the authorities were having trouble quelling the protests: "The restrictions on the internet, the arrest of the leaders of the riots and the presence of the state in the streets always eliminated sedition, but this type of sedition and its audience are different."  (AFP-Reuters-Guardian-UK)
  • Hamas Cracks Down on Journalists, Activists in Gaza
    On Oct. 31, Hamas police in Gaza arrested journalist Ahmad Saeed after he exposed how the Hamas-run crossing authorities coordinated with smugglers who took Palestinians to Libya and from there to Europe, with some drowning in migrant boat accidents. On Oct. 23, Hamas security forces stormed the home of Ramzi Herzallah, a Palestinian activist residing in Belgium and an opponent of Hamas rule in Gaza, threatening his family if he does not stop criticizing Hamas policies. (Al-Monitor)
        See also The Palestinian Authority Cracks Down on Dissent - Jack Mukand
    Palestinian Authority security forces arrested five students from Birzeit University in Ramallah last week, including a journalist, during a protest organized by the Hamas-affiliated organization that heads the student council. An eyewitness said PA police severely beat Hatem Hamdan, a student photojournalist, before taking him into custody.
        The international NGO Reporters without Borders ranks the Palestinian Territories 170th out of 180 with regard to press freedom, citing PA laws that punish criticism. (Times of Israel)
  • BBC Apologizes for Its Disdainful Treatment of Jewish Concerns - Jonathan Sacerdoti
    The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has apologized for years of "unacceptable" handling of complaints about anti-Israel bias in its Arabic output. BBC responses to complaints about Israel coverage have taken up to a year, with some ignored completely. Even when complaints are acknowledged and upheld, issuing corrections is often delayed further or in some cases is not done at all.
        "Out of our 26 complaints, only seven received a proper, timely response and resolution," said a spokesperson for CAMERA, a media watchdog. Complaints included unfairly criticizing Israel in a report about a homophobic murder of a Palestinian by other Palestinians; labelling Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount "foreigners"; and referring to Jewish prayers as "Talmudic rituals."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Kills Islamic Jihad Commander in Jenin - Yoav Zitun
    Faruk Salama, commander of the Jenin branch of the Islamic Jihad's Quds Brigade, was eliminated Thursday during a daytime IDF raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Five other terrorists were detained. Salama was involved in the killing earlier this year of Sgt.-Maj. Noam Raz, a veteran of Israel's Yamam counterterror police. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Responds to Gaza Rockets with Strike on Rocket Factory - Emanuel Fabian
    The Israel Defense Forces said it launched airstrikes at a "unique" underground rocket manufacturing facility used by Hamas early Friday after four rockets were launched at Israel from Gaza on Thursday. One rocket was intercepted by Iron Dome and the other three fell inside Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians Attack Israeli Cars in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    Israeli troops opened fire at a group of Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli cars near the West Bank town of Sinjil on Saturday night. Musab Nofal, 18, was killed and another was seriously hurt. Several Israeli cars traveling along the West Bank's main north-south highway were damaged. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Diplomatic Invective: UN Takes Its War on Israel to Next Level - Dore Gold
    Every number of years, Israel's adversaries at the UN undertake an initiative whose clear intention is to undermine the very legitimacy of the State of Israel. The latest UN outrage with regard to Israel has been the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI), which was established by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in May 2021. The Commission is permanent and thus is able to perpetually make allegations against Israel. An initial report by the COI made the charge that Israel was "largely to blame for the continuation" of its conflict with the Palestinians. There was no mention of Hamas.
        There is no basis for comparing the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria with Russia's annexation of four regions in Ukraine. Israel moved into Judea and Samaria in a war of self-defense in 1967. Russia's operations in Ukraine were not in self-defense but rather a war of aggression. The great British authority on international law, Elihu Lauterpacht, drew the distinction between unlawful territorial change by an aggressor and lawful territorial change in response to an aggressor.
        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)
        See also Lies and Unapologetic Antisemitism from the UN "Commission of Inquiry" - Anne Bayefsky
    This commentary offers a detailed response to the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Israel. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel's Red Lines - Jacob Paul
    Israel's former acting National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel told Express.co.uk that there are certain lines which, if crossed, will warrant retaliation from Israel. "The war between wars is something that we started almost 10 or 11 years ago. We started mostly under the radar, mostly to try and work against Iran's nuclear program. We started with cyber attacks in the centrifuges and other things. Now it is large and escaping and it has spilt over. Now, it is mostly against Iranian or Syrian or Hizbullah forces in Syria."
        "We cannot allow terror activities by terror organizations on our borders....We cannot allow the transfer of game-changing systems from Iran via Syria to [strike] Israel....We cannot allow the Iranian forces to stabilize in Syria....If there is a UAV production manufacturing facility in Lebanon or Syria, we have to deal with it."
        "They [Iran] can try to retaliate. But remember that the last time they tried to retaliate, the Iranian forces sent us 40 or 50 missiles from Syria to Israel; about 75% of the weapons fell in the Syrian area. But we have to be alert all the time for retaliation from Iran, from Syria, from others. We have to be prepared. They know if Israel retaliates, it won't be good for them."  (Daily Express-UK)
  • Israel Needs the Good Will of Russia to Operate Freely in Syria Against Iran - Tom O'Connor
    IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilad, former director of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Political-Military Affairs Bureau, told Newsweek that Israel needs "the good will of Russia" to operate freely in Syria. "And if Israel gets attacked, it can happen any day, by Iran, by proxies from Syria tomorrow, for example, we would be alone. Nobody will help us....We need to keep this strategic policy in order to protect Israel."
        Gilad added, "Ukraine is becoming a laboratory for the quality of the strategic weapons of Iran. I'm sure they will improve. The Iranians are excellent in reverse-engineering and other technical areas. The more they can test the weapons on the poor Ukrainians, the more they will have better weapons."  (Newsweek)
  • The Khomeinist System Is on Borrowed Time - Amir Taheri
    The Islamic Republic of Iran is struggling to crush the latest popular revolt. So far we have the names of 385 protesters killed, including 40 women, 32 children, and 7 security men. A further 12,500 people have been arrested.
        Iran has a predominantly young population that wants to live in the here and now, not in a distant past of fake purity or an imaginary future of martyrdom and paradise. It wants to be happy; to have fun, to create, to work, to travel across the globe; in short, to enjoy a normal life. Yet the Supreme Guide repeats that he shall never allow Iran to "become a normal country."
        Even if it weathers the current storm, the Khomeinist system is on life-support and borrowed time.
        The writer was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. (Gatestone Institute)

Why Israel Must Not Provide the Iron Dome to Ukraine - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Jacob Nagel (Israel Hayom)
  • Ukraine has not relented in its efforts to have Israel provide it with Iron Dome air defense technology. But Jerusalem must not send Iron Dome or other weapon systems to Ukraine and it should not be expected to do so.
  • The most important reason is that it is almost certain that any system provided to Ukraine will ultimately fall into the hands of the Russians and subsequently be transferred intact to the Iranians. Iran will then develop capabilities that would overcome Iron Dome's defense and ultimately lower its effectiveness.
  • This would result in a potentially greater destructive potential for Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad when they target Israel in future wars. One cannot expect Israel to compromise the core (and secret) capabilities that it needs to defend itself.
  • The second reason is that Israel still doesn't have enough interceptors for its own operational needs (especially when it comes to countering the threat on the northern border). It is going to take years to bolster our production capacity. Moreover, Ukraine would need many more interceptors than Israel can provide, because of its massive size.
  • The U.S. has been adamant in its refusal to provide Kyiv with advanced air defense systems such as the THAAD or Patriot. The U.S. doesn't even have enough air defense systems to cover its own deployed forces.
  • Those who have been critical of Israel for not sending the Iron Dome or other sophisticated systems to Ukraine should take a look in the mirror and ask why they have not held the U.S. to the same standard.

    The writer is a former national security adviser to the prime minister and head of Israel's National Security Council.

Daily Alert is published every Monday and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.