February 27, 2023
A project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Likely to Sell Surface-to-Air Missiles to Syria (Reuters)
    Iran is likely to sell surface-to-air missiles to Syria to help reinforce its air defenses in the face of frequent Israeli airstrikes, Iranian state television said on Friday.
    "It is very likely that we will witness the supply by Iran of radars and defense missiles, such as the Khordad 15 system, to reinforce Syria's air defenses," the state broadcaster said.
    Israel has in recent months intensified strikes on Syrian airports and air bases to disrupt Iran's increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to allies in Syria and Lebanon, including Hizbullah.

Secret Hizbullah Gold Trade in South America Foiled by Israeli Intelligence - Amir Bohbot (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
    A gold smuggling operation between Iran and Venezuela is funding Hizbullah terror activity.
    In May, dozens of kilograms of gold were smuggled on an Iranian Mahan Air flight from Venezuela to Tehran. The funds from the smuggled gold were transferred to Hizbullah.
    This smuggling ring was uncovered during a joint effort between the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing of Israel (NBCTF) and the Israel Defense Ministry.

Israel Joins UN Resolution Calling for Russia to Leave Ukraine (AP-Times of Israel)
    Israel supported a UN General Assembly resolution Thursday that calls for Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine. The resolution passed 141-7, with 32 abstentions.
    "For the past year Israel has stood alongside the people of Ukraine in solidarity both on the ground and here in the UN," said Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan.

Sending Israeli Air Defense System to Ukraine Risks Capture by Russians, Who Will Give Its Secrets to Iran - Ben Cohen (Algemeiner)
    Concern that the secrets of Israel's military technology could be captured by Russian forces in Ukraine, rather than fear of a Russian military reprisal, is what is driving Israel's reluctance to supply Ukraine with an air defense system, Oleg Vyshnyakov, Israel's honorary consul for western Ukraine, wrote Thursday in Pravda Ukraine.
    "In the event of the capture of these systems by the Russian army, secret Israeli know-how will definitely fall into the hands of the Iranians."

Iran's Currency Dips to All-Time Low, Basic Prices Skyrocket  (Al-Monitor)
    On Feb. 23, Iran's rial currency nosedived to a new record low, trading at 52,650 rials to the dollar.
    A sharp increase in food prices has been particularly biting in recent months.
    Videos on social media showed protesters chanting against the government as they complained that their incomes were in rials while prices were calculated based on dollars.
    After the pro-reform newspaper Sazandegi highlighted skyrocketing meat prices, a government media supervisory body closed the paper for "disturbing public opinion."

CNN Falsifies Palestinian Poll Results on Two-State Solution - David Litman (CAMERA)
    In an interview with former Israeli ambassador Yael German on February 14, 2023, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour claimed: "The latest polls from the Palestinian side also show that they want a peaceful, two-state solution."
    Yet every major recent poll from the Palestinian side shows exactly the opposite.
    Polling by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) in December found that Palestinian support for a two-state solution was 32%.
    A July 2022 poll by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media & Communication Center (JMCC) found that only 26% preferred a two-state solution.
    The Washington Institute for Near East Policy found in June 2022 that only 25% of West Bank Palestinians would accept the principle of "two states for two peoples."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Jordan Hosts Summit to Cool Israeli-Palestinian Tensions before Ramadan - Dov Lieber
    Jordan on Sunday hosted a meeting of top security officials from the U.S., Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority in Aqaba, in a bid to cool down the escalating conflict in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Israeli delegation included Tzachi Hanegbi, head of Israel's National Security Council, as well as the chief of Israel's domestic security service and the Israeli military's liaison to the Palestinians. Four close advisers to PA President Mahmoud Abbas also attended. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Senate Leader Promises "Fullest Support" to Israel - Andrew Bernard
    During a wreath laying ceremony at Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Friday: "As Senate Majority Leader - the highest ranking Jewish American elected official in history - I stand here today in the shadow of my ancestors who perished in the Holocaust to promise that as long as Hashem breathes air into my lungs, the United States Senate will stand behind Israel with our fullest support."
        Schumer is leading the delegation of seven other Democratic Senators. It follows a Republican Senate delegation led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House delegations from each party earlier in the week. (Algemeiner)
  • Israel Praises Bulgaria's Cancellation of Neo-Nazi March
    The Israeli Embassy in Bulgaria expressed "its sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Bulgarian authorities for their successful endeavors to bring about the cancellation of the infamous Lukov March" - an annual procession in honor of Hristo Lukov, a Bulgarian fascist leader from World War II - the embassy said on Twitter on Feb. 25. "The cancellation of the Lukov March is indeed an expression of the strong, continuous and sustainable Bulgarian efforts to combat antisemitism, xenophobia, intolerance and hate speech."  (Sofia Globe-Bulgaria)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Israeli Brothers Murdered by Palestinians - Emanuel Fabian
    Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, two brothers from Har Bracha, were murdered on Sunday in a terrorist shooting attack in Huwara in Samaria. The IDF said a Palestinian gunman opened fire from close range at their car while it was caught in a traffic jam on the Route 60 highway, then fled. Graphic footage from the attack showed the car riddled with bullets.12 shell casings were found at the scene. There have been several shooting attacks against Israeli motorists in Huwara, through which Israelis regularly travel in order to reach communities in northern Samaria. (Times of Israel)
        See also Mother of the Murdered Brothers: "We Have a Huge Hole in Our Heart" - Tzvi Joffre
    Hallel Yaniv and his brother Yagel were killed in a terrorist shooting attack in Huwara on Sunday. Hallel had recently completed his service in the Navy. Yagel was set to begin combat service in the IDF.
        Their mother, Esti Yaniv, said: "We have a huge hole in our heart; nothing will ever fill this hole - not construction, not protests, nothing....There are no words that can console us." The Israel National Transplant Center announced that the victims' parents had agreed for the boys' organs to be donated. Their corneas will be provided to people awaiting transplants to restore their sight. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Opens Fire at Jewish Community in Samaria - Tzvi Joffre
    A Palestinian fired six shots at a synagogue in Havot Yair on Saturday morning. The shooter was arrested by the IDF and his weapon was seized. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: IDF Operation in Nablus Prevented Palestinian Attacks in Israel
    Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday praised IDF forces for a Wednesday operation that ended in the neutralization of wanted terrorists - despite facing heavy gunfire during the operation. "I congratulate the security forces who acted yesterday in Nablus, under pressure and heavy fire, against terrorists who planned to carry out attacks on Israeli territory. The combination between the intelligence operations, the planning and execution of the fighters brought an impressive achievement to our forces, who successfully completed their mission and prevented harm to the citizens of Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gen. Amidror: Israeli Raid in Nablus "Worth the Risk" - Thomas Helm
    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israel's National Security Council, said Thursday that the Israeli army raid in Nablus was "clearly worth the risk." The operation was launched against three suspects "planning attacks in the immediate future" and it was "a decision that could not be postponed. The information was that there was a terror group very ready for an attack....In the end, the risk of going into Nablus was less than letting them go out and hide somewhere else."
        Amidror played down fears that the operation might lead to a new intifada. "As far as we understand the situation in the West Bank today, the risk of a new intifada is very limited. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have less influence on the ground than they used to."  (The National-UAE)
  • Palestinians March in Support of Lions' Den Terrorists
    In response to a call for demonstrations by the Lions' Den terror group after Wednesday's IDF operation against the group in Nablus, thousands of Palestinians held marches in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem on Friday. Marches were held in Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Tulkarm, Dheisheh near Bethlehem, and in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and a-Tur.
        For the past year, the IDF has been conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of Palestinian terror attacks that killed 32 people in 2022, and another 11 in 2023. Many of the recent raids have targeted Lions' Den gunmen who have won wide popularity on the Palestinian street with repeated attacks on IDF posts, troops operating along the West Bank security barrier, Israeli communities, and civilians on the roads. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Anti-Terror Operation in Nablus Is Further Proof of IDF Capabilities - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The successful IDF operation in Nablus on February 22, 2023, in which 8 of the 12 Palestinians killed were members of the terrorist groups Lions' Den, Islamic Jihad, and PFLP, was the third such operation in recent weeks in which IDF special forces penetrated deep into Palestinian cities to target terrorists planning to carry out attacks. The Israeli forces suffered no casualties. The operation in Nablus illustrates the professionalism of the IDF soldiers and the Israel Security Agency's accurate intelligence.
        The IDF and the Israel Security Agency are sending a message to the Palestinian Authority and the terrorist organizations through these operations: "Israel's reach is long. There are no cities of refuge for terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and the IDF will strike any terrorist who plans to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers."  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • What Would a Third Intifada Mean for Palestinians? - Jonathan Schanzer
    The word "intifada" refers to the recurring effort by Palestinians to expel Israel. The First Intifada erupted in 1987. The Second Intifada began in 2000. There was also the Arab Revolt of the 1930s that can be described as an intifada. Yet few Palestinians remember that all three uprisings were disasters for their people.
        The violence of the Arab Revolt in the 1930s left 5,000 Palestinians dead and 15,000 wounded. During the First Intifada, an estimated 1,376 Palestinian died and at least three times as many were wounded, with Palestinians killing at least 800 of their own. The Second Intifada led to 2,700 Palestinians deaths and thousands more Palestinians injured.
        Undeniably, the intifadas have harmed Israel. But Israel has not only endured - it has thrived. The same cannot be said for the Palestinians. Those warning of another intifada are right to sound the alarm. Those advocating for one either don't know the history or choose to ignore it.
        The writer is senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Newsweek)
  • Israel Steps Up Military Planning Against Iran's Nuclear Program - Ben Caspit
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant agreed on Wednesday on a multiyear defense budget, a large portion of which will be dedicated to preparations for a potential strike against Iran's nuclear program.
        The head of the Defense Ministry's Political-Security Division, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dror Shalom, said Israel must shift gears and realize that it is already engaged in a war of varying intensity with Iran. Recent reports about Iran's 84% uranium enrichment level suggest that Iran is capable of reaching a military nuclear breakout in a matter of weeks. Even if it takes Iran two more years to develop a nuclear warhead, Israel knows that the time frame for attacking Iran to counter this threat is shrinking.
        Shalom said cooperation with the U.S. would be preferable, but even without such help, Israel cannot avoid such a move and will go it alone. However, attacking Iran now will be far more difficult than it would have been had Israel taken advantage of the window of opportunity that opened up a decade ago. (Al-Monitor)
  • Israel Must Prepare to Save the World from a Nuclear Iran - Richard Goldberg
    A reality is coming into view that only one country - Israel - has the political will and military capability to prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran. Today, Iran fears only one country: Israel. This tiny democracy of nine million people will soon be forced to act in a manner that preserves freedom and prosperity for every American and European threatened by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.
        The writer, a senior adviser at the FDD, previously served as the White House National Security Council's director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

  • An article published in the Guardian days after a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven innocent people near a synagogue in Jerusalem on Holocaust Memorial Day subordinates the value of Israeli lives. The article illustrates a problem in the wider discourse - the denial of, and refusal to accept, Israeli suffering.
  • In 2022, Israelis suffered from over 5,000 Palestinian terror attacks, including car-rammings, shootings, stabbings and bombings targeting innocent men, women and children on the streets of Israel. This is the reality on the ground.
  • On 10 February, for example, a Palestinian drove his car into a crowded bus stop, killing three people, including two brothers aged six and eight. Just imagine you or your loved ones falling victim to such abhorrent terror on your way to work.
  • This is precisely why Israel's counter-terrorism apparatus exists, because without it I dread to think how many more zeros would be added to that 5,000 total.
  • Israel has shown its desire for peace with the Palestinians throughout the years, including several attempts to sign peace agreements in 1993, 2000, 2008 and 2014, and we continue to reach out for peace.
  • For peace to happen, there must be recognition from the Palestinian leadership that incitement and violence must end.

    The writer is Spokesperson of the Embassy of Israel to the UK.

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