March 9, 2023
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In-Depth Issues:

Drone Strike on Arms Factory in Syria (AFP)
    "Seven people were killed and 15 wounded in a drone strike targeting a weapons factory and a truck loaded with weapons," both belonging to Iran-backed groups in eastern Syria, on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
    Three pro-Iranian fighters from Afghanistan, three Syrian civilians, and one unidentified Syrian were killed.
    The attack targeted a part of Deir Ezzor province that is home to top Iranian commanders and senior Hizbullah officers.

Israel: Iran Behind Cyberattack on Technion - Oded Yaron (Ha'aretz)
    The cyberattack on the Technion three weeks ago was carried out by an attack group known as MuddyWater, which is affiliated with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
    The group has been responsible for many attacks around the world, including in the U.S. and UK.

Ireland to Withdraw Its 130 Troops from UN Peacekeeping Mission in Golan Heights (The Journal-Ireland)
    Ireland has decided to withdraw its 130 troops from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights in Syria where they have been serving since 2013.

Further Normalization Agreements Are on the Horizon - Malcolm Hoenlein interviewed by Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh (JNS)
    Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, noted in a recent interview that relations between Arab countries and Israel have drastically improved, with further normalization agreements on the horizon.
    Despite the Palestinian leadership still believing that the Arab world should support them unconditionally, Arab countries are now willing to break ranks.
    Hoenlein said: "Contrary to those expectations, Israel is seen as the source of stability in the region, not instability."
    "I can tell you that major Arab leaders said to us, 'if I asked my people to name the top 50 issues, this wouldn't even make it. They want relations with Israel.'...They're tired of being held hostage by the Palestinians."
    See also Israel Engaging Muslim Nations to Expand Abraham Accords - Shirit Avitan Cohen (Israel Hayom)
    Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is working to expand the Abraham Accords by normalizing ties with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger and Indonesia, sources said.

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Israeli Trains Syrians to Clear Landmines - Ahed al-Hindi (Times of Israel)
    There is an autonomous region in Syria's northeast that is free of both jihadist and Iranian domination.
    Civilians in the region are killed or wounded each year by landmines, planted by the regime and by ISIS.
    To address this problem, the Arab Council for Regional Integration, supported by the Center for Peace Communications, convened Syrian Arab and Kurdish engineering students in the town of Qamishle for a 35-hour remote learning course taught by Majd Thabet, a Druze citizen of Israel.
    Thabet showed students how to build remote-controlled rovers, equipped with sensors and a camera, which can survey territory and pinpoint landmines for removal. The vehicles cost less than $100 to build.

Chevron's Plans for East Med Gas Development - Dr. Charles Ellinas (Cyprus Mail)
    Mike Wirth, Chevron's CEO, discussing the company's gas plans, referred to the $673 million "Final Investment Decision" (FID) taken in December 2022 to expand Tamar gasfield production capacity in Israel from 11 billion cubic meters per year to 16bcm/yr, expected to come online in early 2025.
    Chevron and its partners approved a $100 million budget for the development of Phase 1B of the Leviathan gasfield, including construction of a floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG).
    The choice of FLNG has been reinforced by Europe's reluctance to make longer-term commitments to natural gas.
    FLNG opens the way for exports to Asia. This puts an end to any hopes that the East Med gas pipeline to Europe could make a comeback.
    In Egypt, Chevron and Eni have agreed to fast-track the development of the 100 bcm Nargis gasfield.
    However, development of Cyprus' Aphrodite field is not considered a high priority.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Global Energy Center of the Atlantic Council.

Israel's Elbit to Deliver Combat Systems to Romanian Army - Razvan Timpescu (SeeNews-Bulgaria)
    Israel-based defense electronics company Elbit Systems said its Romanian subsidiary Elmet International was awarded a $120 million contract to supply the Romanian land forces with equipment for the Piranha V armored personnel carrier.
    The company will supply UT30 MK2 unmanned turrets, remote controlled weapon stations, and SPEAR mortar systems.
    Elbit Systems has previously delivered turrets, RCWS and mortar systems to the U.S., Denmark, Austria, and Belgium.

Israel Aerospace Industries Had $5 Billion in Sales in 2022 - Yuval Azulay (Calcalist)
    Israel Aerospace Industries had sales of $4.973 billion in 2022, an all-time record.
    IAI's order backlog at the end of 2022 amounted to $15.6 billion, compared to a backlog of $13.4 billion at the end of 2021.

Israeli Company Gets FDA Nod for Home Digital Dialysis System - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    About 90% of people with kidney failure spend half their remaining lifetime hooked up to dialysis machines and traveling to and from dialysis clinics.
    After his own father began this life-supporting treatment, medical device executive Hezkiah Tsoory sought a solution to enable patients and their families to do home dialysis in a safe way.
    In December, Tsoory's company, Israel-based liberDi, received regulatory clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
    Soon, patients in Israel and the U.S. will be able to dialyze by themselves at home or at work, monitored by their physician via smartphone.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S., Israeli Officials Pledge to Enhance Coordination on Iran
    U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hosted Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, and a senior Israeli interagency delegation at the White House on March 6 for a meeting of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group. The officials reviewed with significant concern advances in Iran's nuclear program and pledged to enhance coordination on measures to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to further deter Iran's hostile regional activities. (White House)
  • Iran Activates Air Defense System in Syria
    Iranian militias have activated an air defense system composed of four batteries in Damascus to intercept upcoming Israeli strikes, reliable sources in Syria said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that the militias' leaders were ordered to limit their movement in Syrian territories, fearing Israeli strikes.
        The Iranian militias exploited the destructive earthquake that hit parts of Syria and the access to humanitarian aid in order to deliver the air defense system to the regime. More Iranian missiles are expected. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
        See also Syria Says Israeli Strike Damaged Aleppo Airport (AP-France 24)
  • Iran Supplying Russia with Ammunition - Deborah Haynes
    Two Russian cargo ships departed an Iranian port in January bound for Russia via the Caspian Sea, carrying 100 million bullets and 300,000 shells, a security source said. Ammunition for rocket launchers, mortars and machine guns was included in the shipments. Moscow paid for the ammunition in cash. (Sky News-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Eliminates Palestinian Terrorist Who Murdered Two Israeli Brothers in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    The Israel Security Agency said Abdel Fattah Kharousha, 49, a Hamas member from Askar near Nablus, was the terrorist who murdered Israeli brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv as they drove through Huwara on Feb. 26. Kharousha was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli troops in Jenin on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the troops who "eliminated the despicable terrorist who murdered the two brothers in cold blood."
        The IDF said Israeli forces came under "massive gunfire" during the operation, including from Palestinian gunmen who fired from an ambulance. Palestinian health officials said at least six people were killed in the fighting and another 12 were injured. Three officers of Israel's elite Yamam counterterrorism unit were wounded during the raid.
        All six of the Palestinian casualties were armed combatants. The other five Palestinians killed on Tuesday were members of terror groups, including another Hamas member, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member, and three members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Troops also arrested two sons of the Huwara killer, Khaled and Muhammed Kharousha. The ISA said they helped plan and carry out the attack. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video: The Daring Jenin Counterterror Operation - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Israel Police released on Wednesday helmet cam footage from fighters of the Yamam counterterrorism unit during a raid in Jenin. Israeli intelligence zeroed in on the identity of Hamas operative Abdel Fattah Kharousha within hours of his murder of Israeli brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara. "His sons hid him in Jenin thinking it would be safe for him, but they can't hide from us," an Israeli security official said. Kharousha's sons were planning to carry out more attacks. (Ynet News)
  • Three Islamic Jihad Gunmen Killed in Samaria - Emanuel Fabian
    Border Police undercover officers entered the Palestinian village of Jaba', south of Jenin, on Thursday to arrest two men wanted for shooting attacks against Israeli forces in the area. During the raid, the wanted Palestinians and another gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle at the troops, who returned fire, killing them. Weapons and explosives were found in their car. (Times of Israel)
  • Explosive Device Detonated near IDF Troops on Gaza Border, Tanks Shell Hamas Post - Matan Tzuri
    An explosive device was activated adjacent to IDF soldiers near the Gaza security barrier on Wednesday. In response, IDF tanks struck a Hamas military post. (Ynet News)
  • 4 Palestinian Students Arrested for Joining Hamas to Attack Israelis - Tzvi Joffre
    Four Palestinian students from the West Bank were arrested by the Israel Security Agency after working with Hamas to advance terrorist attacks against Israelis, the ISA announced Monday. Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Salah, 24, traveled to Turkey and was recruited to Hamas by Hamas operative Iyad Aldin Akra. Abu Salah received military training in Turkey and Syria, including weapons training and learning how to make explosives.
        "The ISA views with severity Hamas' attempts abroad to recruit young people from the West Bank, who embark on academic studies abroad, for terrorist activities against the State of Israel, and will continue to act with the IDF and Israel Police to thwart any dangers to national security," the agency said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Biden Should Cooperate with Netanyahu Against Iran - Michael Doran
    By any sane measure, President Biden's gambit to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal has failed. Two years of diplomatic outreach to Iran have given it breathing room to enrich uranium to 60%, if not higher. Meanwhile, it is openly pursuing plots to kill former American officials while murdering protesters on its own streets and working closely with Russia on the production of more advanced killer drones.
        In reaction to the rising threat from Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is calling on Washington to develop a Plan B, one based on compelling Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program by presenting Tehran with a credible military threat. The Biden team, however, refuses, insisting that a "diplomatic solution" remains the preferred way to solve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program - that phrase being a euphemism for continuing to avoid any serious effort to pressure Iran economically or militarily.
        Netanyahu, meanwhile, is developing capabilities that will allow Israel, if necessary, to remove the threat on its own. The American interest still dictates building a coalition with Israel and Saudi Arabia to thwart Tehran's nuclear ambitions. And Israel is a particularly desirable coalition member because, unique among Middle Eastern powers, it has both the means and the will to carry out offensive countermeasures against Iran.
        Biden should cooperate with Netanyahu against Iran. That is the most effective way for the U.S. to defend not just Israel and America, but democratic values as well.
        The writer is Director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East and a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Tablet)
  • Remembering a CIA Coup in Iran that Never Was - Peter Theroux
    As Columbia University professor Hamid Dabashi writes in his book Iran: A People Interrupted: "As Iranians never get tired of repeating (for this is the defining trauma of their modern history), the CIA, aided by British intelligence, mounted, paid for, and executed a military coup, overthrew the democratically elected government of [Mohammed] Mosaddeq, and brought the corrupt Mohammed Reza Shah back to power."
        This encapsulation of the events of August 1953 contains four untruths. First, the CIA did not mount or execute a coup. Second, Mossadegh was not democratically elected. Third, the shah was not yet corrupt. Fourth, he was not brought back to power, because he had never left it: Having survived an attempt on his life in 1949, Mohammed Reza chose to wait out Mossadegh's fall in Baghdad and Rome but never abdicated.
        Constitutionally, appointing prime ministers in imperial Iran was the sole prerogative of the shah. In 1951 the shah chose Mossadegh as prime minister, the parliament consented, and the shah appointed him. Between 1953 and 1979, the shah would appoint and dismiss 10 more prime ministers, including Mossadegh twice. No one describes these changes as coups. (Tablet)

  • Palestinian Arabs

  • The Truth behind the Palestinian "Catastrophe" - Sol Stern
    Every year on May 15, the Palestinians commemorate Nakba (Catastrophe) Day to protest Israel's creation. Palestinian leaders have been insistent that their people were innocent victims of a historically unprecedented crime in 1948, one that is frequently mentioned in the same breath as the Holocaust. Their account is an example of the "big lie."
        In the event of an Arab victory in 1948, Palestinian Arab leaders planned to carry out a real Nakba for the Jews of Israel - not just a wave of refugees but mass murder. As Israeli novelist Amos Oz, a leader of the peace movement, describes in his classic memoir on the War of Independence as he experienced it in Jerusalem: "All the Jewish settlements that were captured by the Arabs in the War of Independence, without exception, were razed to the ground, and their Jewish inhabitants were murdered or taken captive or escaped, but the Arab armies did not allow any of the survivors to return after the war."
        Oz also cites Azzam Pasha, the secretary general of the Arab League, who vowed in 1948 that "this war will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongol massacres and the Crusades." And, according to Oz, "the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muzahim al-Bajaji, called on the Jews 'to pack their bags and leave while there was still time,' because the Arabs had vowed that after their victory, they would only spare the lives of those few Jews who had lived in Palestine before 1917."
        Israelis should never apologize for winning the War of Independence and avoiding another Holocaust. (Commentary)
  • U.S. Should Stop Subsidizing the Murder of Americans - Mitchell Bard
    The Oslo Accords were predicated on Yasser Arafat's commitment to renounce "the use of terrorism and other acts of violence." Since Oslo, more than 1,600 Israelis have been slain by Palestinians, including 71 American citizens. Another 81 Americans have been injured. How much carnage will it take before the U.S. wakes up to the fact that the Palestinians have no interest in any solution in which a Jewish state exists?
        Palestinians are being nurtured by hate in their homes and schools, and by the incitement of their leaders. Generation after generation has been indoctrinated with the virtue of martyrdom and encouraged to maim and murder as many Jews as possible. In June 2022, 56% of Palestinians said they supported armed attacks against Israelis inside Israel, while only 28% supported a two-state solution.
        The Palestinian Authority rewards the killers of Americans and Israelis with monthly stipends. This pay-to-slay policy provides incentives for murder. By providing tens of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, American taxpayers are indirectly subsidizing a program that rewards Palestinians who kill Americans. If the Palestinians need help, the wealthy Gulf states can easily meet their needs. However, those countries have reduced their funding because they are fed up with Palestinian intransigence, incompetence and ingratitude. (JNS)

  • Other Issues

  • The Huwara Riot Was No "Pogrom" - Gil Troy
    The riots against Palestinians in Huwara by Israelis, enraged that a Palestinian terrorist murdered two Jewish brothers driving through there earlier that day, were appalling - but they weren't "pogroms." Invoking this false analogy, be it out of malice or mere ignorance, hijacks Jews' historical traumas to inflame an incendiary situation.
        The pogroms in Eastern Europe were state-sanctioned and rarely spontaneous. By contrast, pictures from Huwara showed Israeli soldiers saving Palestinians from the flames. Mainstream Israeli leaders condemned the violence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Don't take the law into your own hands." Pogroms came from the center of Eastern European society, while the anti-Palestinian violence came from the margins of Israeli society.
        Meanwhile, anti-Jewish violence comes from the Palestinian mainstream. Palestinian leaders openly call for the destruction of the Jewish state and sponsor "martyr's funds" to pay the families of those that carry out attacks against Israel. By contrast, the Hurawa riots outraged most Israelis. An Israeli politician raised $300,000 for Hurawa's victims overnight. No Cossacks ran post-pogrom charity drives for Jews.
        Words matter. Misappropriating words cruelly alleges that the once-innocent victims of bigotry have themselves become bullying bigots. Scavenging a people's past pain to weaponize it against them today is no way to work through conflict toward a healthy future.
        The writer is a distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University. (Wall Street Journal)
  • America's Tradition in Fighting Boycotts of Israel - Josh Halpern
    In 1975, President Gerald Ford called for regulations prohibiting U.S. companies from "complying in any way with [the Arab] boycott" of Israel. Congress passed the Ribicoff Amendment which assessed steep tax penalties against U.S. companies that participate in the Arab Boycott. The Export Administration Amendments of 1977, signed by President Jimmy Carter, directed the president to prohibit American companies from joining the Arab boycott. The U.S. Office of Antiboycott Compliance has been enforcing this regime ever since, on the bipartisan understanding that the boycott of Israel constitutes a tool of discrimination, not protected expression.
        For 50 years, state and federal lawmakers have regulated Israel boycotts, on the understanding that they were conceived in antisemitism. A boycott isn't protected speech, but rather economic conduct that can be freely regulated, consistent with the First Amendment.
        The writer is a lecturer and research fellow at Harvard Law School. (Newsweek)

  • Antisemitism

  • Video: A Powerful Message for Those Who Have Gone Down a Path of Hate - Arnold Schwarzenegger (YouTube)

  • Weekend Features

  • Revealed: The Middle East's Secret Army of Nazis - Allan Hall
    Chilling details of a secret army of Nazis emigrating to the Middle East after the Second World War to become the nucleus of an Arab-led force to crush Israel have been revealed in Germany. Intelligence officers, SS generals, propaganda specialists, and even Holocaust functionaries went to Egypt after the collapse of the Third Reich to continue to persecute Jews. Geraldine Schwarz, who has made a film on the subject called "Exile Nazi: The Promise of the Orient," said the covert recruitment drive was the brainchild of Egypt's King Farouk I. She told Die Welt that the king's confidant, Adel Sabit, was entrusted to build the anti-Israel force along with former Afrika Korps Lt.-Gen. Artur Schmitt.
        Mahmout Sabit, the cousin of Adel Sabit, said Schmitt had been living after the war in a Cairo hotel under the name of Goldstein. His orders were to recruit his countrymen with the aim of building a million-strong army.
        Syria also hired 50 Nazis between 1948-9, including many former SS soldiers, to help mold its army and intelligence service. One was Walter Rauff, at the war's end the SS security chief for northern Italy, a wanted war criminal who helped develop mobile gas-wagons to kill Jews and other enemies of the regime. Rauff was tasked with rebuilding Syrian intelligence services "along Gestapo lines."  (The Scotsman-UK)
  • In Nazi Germany, Some Non-Jewish Women Saved Their Jewish Husbands - Nathan Stoltzfus and Mordecai Paldiel
    Eighty years ago, hundreds of non-Jewish women married to Jewish men risked their lives protesting in front of a Gestapo prison where their husbands were being held on Berlin's Rosenstrasse. They kept protesting continuously for a week until they convinced Hitler to release the men.
        As Hitler took power in 1933, Nazis confidently reckoned that intermarried non-Jews - Aryans - married to Jews would divorce, but that proved not to be the case. Choosing to entwine their fate openly, every day with Jewish family members, they lived in constant uncertainty about their own lives.
        On Feb. 18, 1943, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels resolved to make Berlin judenrein - entirely free of Jews - and their roundup began on Feb. 26. On Feb. 27, Charlotte Israel, married to a Jewish man, recalled meeting other intermarried women in front of the Rosenstrasse building while Nazi authorities were imprisoning their husbands. On Feb. 28, the women in chorus demanded: "We want our husbands back." Wisely, these women demanded only their husbands. They did not denounce the Nazi regime. On March 6, fearing an ever-growing public protest, Goebbels received Hitler's consent to release the intermarried Jews.
        On the 80th anniversary of the Rosenstrasse protest, ceremonies will be held in Berlin and Washington to mark this unique event of human courage in the face of a totalitarian regime.
        Nathan Stoltzfus is head of the Rosenstrasse Foundation and teaches at Florida State University. Mordecai Paldiel is former director of the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Teenage Terror - Inherently Illegal, But Does Anyone Care? - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The recent resurgence of acts of terror committed by incited Palestinian teenagers should be ringing alarm bells throughout the international community, especially among those who purport to show extreme concern for the abuse of children. Regrettably, the international community seems to be deliberately turning a blind eye to Palestinian teenage terror.
  • Journalist Yoni Ben Menachem lists the causes that serve as the pretext for this recent resurgence of teenage terror. These include social network incitement through "Tik Tok," "Instagram" and other platforms that permit graphic video footage, accentuating Israeli military actions against armed terrorist groups in Palestinian towns, including the demolitions of illegal houses. Such videos deliberately and artfully glorify those terrorists as role models for Palestinian teenagers.
  • Widely accepted norms and principles of international humanitarian law and norms of humanity to which most countries are party specifically prohibit placing civilians, especially women and children, at the forefront of violent demonstrations, and their usage as human shields to conceal the presence of terrorists, and to attack Israelis.
  • Such usage is a violation of universally accepted international treaties including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which the Palestinian leadership has acceded. Article 8(2)(b) states that "enlisting children under the age of 15 years...to participate actively in hostilities" is a "serious violation of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict within the established framework of international law."
  • It is a well-documented fact that Palestinian teens are encouraged to be involved in acts of terror, and receive support and inducement from the Palestinian leadership, Palestinian society, as well as from their homes and schools. Given these facts, why does the international community choose to ignore Palestinian violations of international laws and norms?

    The writer is former legal counsel to Israel's Foreign Ministry who participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.
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