March 20, 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:

IDF Counter-Terror Offensive Has Saved Hundreds of Lives - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    For six months prior to the outbreak of the latest Palestinian terror wave in March 2002, the IDF almost totally refrained from entering Jenin and Nablus in order to allow the Palestinian Authority to take control in those areas.
    The result, however, was a series of deadly attacks in Israeli cities.
    In 2022, 33 Israelis lost their lives in terrorist attacks, while so far this year, the Israeli casualty number stands at 14.
    However, Maj. Nir Dinar, head of the IDF's International Press Department, stressed that "hundreds of people - civilians and IDF soldiers - have been saved as a result of" security operations in "Operation Break the Wave."
    "As long as there is intelligence of terrorist plots, there will be counter-terrorist operations," he said.
    One aspect of IDF efforts involves upgrading the security barrier between Israel and the PA and reinforcing the IDF presence along it.
    "We can say that the number of infiltrations has decreased by hundreds of percent, from tens of thousands per month down to tens," Dinar said.

71 Percent of Palestinians Support Murder of Israelis in Huwara, Only 27 Percent Support Two-State Solution - Dr. Khalil Shikaki (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
    71% of Palestinians support the murder of two Israelis in Huwara on Feb. 26, according to a poll conducted on March 8-11 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
    68% say they favor forming armed groups such as the "Lions' Den," which do not take orders from the PA.
    83% say they are against the surrender of the armed groups' members and their arms to the PA.
    69% in the West Bank (and 48% in Gaza) expect security conditions in the West Bank to continue to escalate, leading to a third armed intifada.
    Support for the concept of the two-state solution stands at 27% and opposition stands at 71%.
    74% believe that the two-state solution is no longer practical or feasible.
    58% supported a return to armed confrontations and intifada.

Hamas Says Leadership Visited Russia - Beatrice Farhat (Al-Monitor)
    Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, said Tuesday, "The leadership of the movement visited Moscow and met Sergey Lavrov," the foreign minister.
    Hamas officials have made several visits to the Russian capital, most recently in September.

Islamic Jihad Leader Holds Talks with Hizbullah Chief in Lebanon - Mohamed Abu Don (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Ziad al-Nakhala, leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, met Saturday with Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon.
    The two sides agreed "to continue consultation and coordination with a view to enhancing the resistance against Israel."

University of Leeds Graduate Wins Payout after Essay Marked Down "for Not Criticizing Israel" - Nicola Woolcock (The Times-UK)
    Danielle Greyman, a Jewish sociology graduate of the University of Leeds, has been awarded an undisclosed sum after suing the university, after being delayed from graduating because her essay did not criticize Israel.
    She said her coursework was wrongly failed because it did not blame Israel for the crimes of Hamas against the Palestinians.
    Jonathan Turner, Greyman's barrister, said: "We are very pleased with the settlement and hope that it will serve as a warning to universities and academics not to allow marking to be influenced by the anti-Israel bias which is so prevalent in academia."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli and Palestinian Officials Meet to Promote Calm - Isabel Kershner
    Israeli and Palestinian officials met in Sharm el Sheikh on Sunday, along with other Middle Eastern and U.S. representatives, in an effort to lower tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on March 22. A follow-up to a similar meeting held in Jordan last month, the gathering in Egypt focused mainly on security issues and included discussion of how to improve the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. (New York Times)
  • Water Scarcity in the Middle East Brings Israel and Arab Neighbors Together - Trey Yingst
    The Atlantic Council's N-7 Initiative hosted a conference last week in the UAE aimed at promoting cooperation between Israel and the Arab world while finding solutions to water scarcity and food insecurity. Representatives from 10 Muslim majority countries, Israel and the U.S. were present.
        Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro, Director of the N7 Initiative, said, "What is notable about the N7 Conference is that despite...tensions, participants from Israel and some ten Arab states were not just willing, but eager to come to Abu Dhabi to meet." Shapiro said participants have shown interest in employing Israeli water technology across the Middle East at scale, which could address food insecurity. (Fox News)
  • Assad Welcomes New Russian Bases in Syria
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who met President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Wednesday, said that he would welcome any Russian proposals to set up new military bases and boost troop numbers in Syria. "We think that expanding the Russian presence in Syria is a good thing. Russia's military presence...should not be based on anything temporary," he told Russia's state news agency RIA on Thursday. Assad also said Damascus recognizes the territories claimed by the Kremlin in Ukraine. (Al Jazeeera)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Gunman Opens Fire at Israeli Couple Driving in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli man was shot and seriously wounded while driving through Huwara on Sunday. The victim was American-born Israeli David Stern, a former U.S. Marine, now in his 40s. The Palestinian terrorist, Laith Nadim Nassar, was shot by both the victim and soldiers immediately after the attack. Three weeks earlier, two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack while driving through Huwara. (Times of Israel)
        See also Ex-U.S. Marine Repelled His Palestinian Attacker
    Despite taking several hits that could have been fatal to most people, David Stern, a former U.S. Marine and trained firearms instructor, was able to maintain his composure and return fire at his attacker. Doctors at Rabin Medical Center described his survival as a "miracle," as he sustained an impact to the head. Ynet interviewed Stern 11 years ago to learn more about his job as a martial arts teacher. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Terrorists Killed in Jenin - Emanuel Fabian
    Israel's Yamam counterterrorism unit entered Jenin on Thursday and "neutralized" two wanted Palestinian gunmen, after receiving intelligence about their whereabouts. Palestinian media identified the men as Yusuf Shreim, 29, of Hamas, and Nidal Khazem, 28, of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Both were said to be senior members of their groups. The Israel Security Agency said Khazem was involved in advancing "significant terrorist activity," and Shreim was involved in the production of explosive devices and shooting at IDF forces.
        The Israeli unit killed a third Palestinian who attacked forces with a crowbar, and shot at several other gunmen. The Palestinian Authority said four people were killed and at least 23 others were hurt in the raid. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Thwarts Palestinian Stabber - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian man, Yazan Omar Jamil Khasib, 23, approached IDF troops with a knife on Friday evening at a road junction in the West Bank before being shot and killed. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians Attack German Tourists in Nablus
    Two German tourists drove through Nablus on Saturday when they came under attack. "A group of young men...hurled stones at a civilian car with Israeli license plates," a local Palestinian security official said. Germany's ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, said on Twitter: "A mob attacking tourists because they don't like their license plate is disgusting and cowardly." The tourists were rescued by a Palestinian police officer.
        Gerald Hatz, one of the tourists, told Israel's Channel 11, the crowd got "really big" and "really angry." "I really felt the hate from their eyes, and from the way they were acting. And they were throwing rocks, maybe double the size of my head," adding that one threatened the pair with a knife. PA security forces were powerless to stop the crowd and instructed the tourists to drive away as fast as possible.
        "It definitely changes my view on the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority areas in Judea and Samaria," Hatz said. He recalled a past trip to Bethlehem where he met a group of 16-year-old boys. "They told me if they meet a Jew on the street, they want to kill him, just like this. And I think it's a big problem they have so much hate in their education."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel's Targeted Counter-Terror Raids Contrast with Wanton Palestinian Attacks - Steven Emerson
    Terrorism originating from the West Bank soared in 2022, according to a comprehensive analysis released in January by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank increased 62% in 2002, killing 31 Israelis. Four Israelis were killed in 2021 attacks.
        Israel launched "Operation Break the Wave" a year ago to try to curb these attacks. Security forces made more than 2,600 terrorism-related arrests, seized 493 weapons, and shut down 14 weapons manufacturing workshops. These raids often led to deadly confrontations. Israeli security forces killed 154 Palestinians in 2022, identifying 130 who were involved in terrorist activity.
        The Center's report noted that the Palestinian Authority continues to foster a "martyrdom culture." It "continued encouraging popular terrorism, what they refer to as 'peaceful popular resistance.' It includes hard core and often fatal violence, and is not, as Palestinian leadership rhetoric claims, or as the PA represents it to the West, in any way 'peaceful.'...The PA praises the terrorist operatives and gives their families special treatment, including financial support."
        Palestinian media often deliberately twists reality to further incite the killings of Jews by turning the terrorist into the victim and turning the victim into the terrorist. Rather than report the truth that a Palestinian was killed ramming a car into Israelis, or was shot stabbing an Israeli civilian, Palestinians are told the Israelis "executed" an innocent person.
        Western governments deliberately turn a blind eye to decades of Palestinian institutional incitement to carry out terrorist atrocities against Jews and provide payouts of massive financial rewards to those who do. They have an ideological anti-Israeli bias that does not hold the Palestinians to any standard. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
  • Israeli-Saudi Intelligence Ties Stirred, Not Shaken by Iran Rapprochement - Jonathan Broder
    "The clandestine Saudi intelligence relationship with Israel dates to the early 1960s and has survived many upheavals in the region," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA Middle East analyst. "It will continue quietly, despite the Saudi-Iran deal to restore diplomatic relations." Since Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman effectively took power in 2016, the kingdom's intelligence relationship with the Mossad has deepened exponentially.
        In November 2020, the Mossad reportedly tipped off Saudi Arabia about an imminent Iranian attack on its embassy in The Hague, enabling the Saudis to take precautions and avoid suffering any casualties. Last May, Ha'aretz reported that over the preceding decade, several senior Israeli officials, including two Mossad directors, a defense minister and two national security advisers, secretly visited Saudi Arabia for talks with senior Saudi officials. Since then, the Saudi prince has met unofficially with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
        James Spencer, a former British military intelligence officer, stresses that the Saudi-Iran competition for influence will remain, resulting in a cold peace rather than warm relations. "So the need for their intelligence relationship will remain, he said, referring to the Saudis and Israelis. "They will absolutely continue to collaborate against Islamist terrorism, and their collaboration will most likely continue on nuclear issues....There will be cooperation where there is mutual interest."  (SpyTalk)
  • Could the Saudi-Iranian Deal Lead to Saudi Peace with Israel? - Hussain Abdul-Hussain
    Exchanging pledges of mutual non-intervention with Iran may suggest that Saudi Arabia is still preparing for possible normalization with Israel. After all, if the Saudis sue for peace with Israel, the last thing they want is to have an antagonistic Iran instigating against them.
        Saudi Arabia has appointed a new information (media) minister, Salman Aldosary, a columnist and an influential voice on social media, who is known for his support of the Abraham Accords. In 2020, after Palestinians burned pictures of the Saudi King and Prince following the Abraham Accords, Aldosary wrote that the Palestinians "have liberated the kingdom from any ethical or political commitment to these parties in the future." Saudi Arabia "makes its decisions based on its national interests and those of its people, first, second and 10th."
        The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Jerusalem Post)

  • With the Palestinian people, our whole identity is often assumed to be bound up with the anti-Western, violent ideology promulgated by Yasser Arafat and his proteges. George Washington University professor Lara Sheehi is just the latest example of this violent misrepresentation, which gives my people a bad name. On her now-deleted Twitter account, she frequently showed her hateful bias against Israelis and repeatedly condoned violence against them.
  • This past semester, she used her mandatory diversity course to spread such dangerous views and actively discriminated against Jewish students in her class. When the students complained to school authorities, Sheehi counterclaimed that the students were exhibiting "Islamophobia" against her.
  • Sheehi also verbally attacked a student for speaking about terrorist attacks in Israel, which have killed civilians, including American citizens. Her claim was that the student's use of the phrase "terrorist attack" invoked Islamophobia, even though the student never mentioned Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims.
  • Sheehi and her fellow antisemitic haters do not speak for me or for the many Palestinians who desire peace and coexistence with our neighbor, Israel. Hatred and radicalism harm Palestinians and do nothing to advance our cause. Sheehi's actions do not and should not represent the Palestinian people, the good men and women I know who respect our neighbors and wish for an end to these endless cycles of violence.
  • We see how peace, economic opportunity, and cooperation benefit both Palestinians and Israelis, just as the normalization of political and economic cooperation with Israel has brought tremendous advantages to countries such as the United Arab Emirates. This is what most Palestinians want, too.
  • Violent, hateful rhetoric rejecting the aspirations and experiences of Israelis may get headlines, but it does not represent the majority of Palestinians, who know that peace is the path to a better life for ourselves and our children. When radical actors preach hate and violence, it inevitably leads to violent incidents that only worsen matters and trap us in an escalating cycle.

    The writer is a Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer.

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