DAILY ALERT
Thursday,
May 4, 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:



The Rollercoaster of Israeli Life near the Gaza Border - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    My family lives in the Gaza border area. During each round of cross-border violence, we experience the sprint for the bomb shelter, the whistling of falling rockets, the tears, panic, and terror, the questions the children ask without answers, the sleepless nights and restless sleep.
    This is the reality around these parts. It is difficult for anyone who doesn't live here to understand.
    In every home in the Gaza border area, sirens and explosions jolt the soul. We have experienced more than 20 years of rocket fire, with our lives swinging between routine and emergency.
    From Tuesday afternoon until the next morning, residents living throughout the entire region halted their lives and entered bomb shelters because Islamic Jihad decided so.
    It means everything is canceled in an instant: classes, transportation, concerts, hangouts. Complete shutdown. This transition from routine to emergency happens within seconds.



Visiting U.S. Group Experiences Gaza Rocket Barrage - Phyllis Chancy Solomon (JNS)
    Israeli residents of the Gaza Envelope say life in the region is 99% heaven and 1% hell.
    During our Jewish National Fund-USA Gaza Envelope Task Force mission to the region, we experienced a barrage of rockets from Gaza, a sobering reality check on that 1%.
    I want the residents to know how appreciative I am for the concern they showed to our group while we were under fire. It felt like they were more concerned for us than they were for themselves.
    They took great care to make us as safe as possible. Our loyalty, respect and solidarity with these people remain unending.
    The writer is chair of Jewish National Fund-USA's Central New Jersey Board.



Why Do We Think U.S. Support for Israel Is in Danger? - Micah Halpern (Jerusalem Post)
    On April 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution saluting Israel on its 75th birthday.
    The vote of 400 to 19 in support of Israel is as close to a unanimous vote as anyone could hope for.
    17 of the "no" votes were composed of the entire infamous Progressive Caucus, which at this stage is a small group with very little influence. They are colorful, they are loud, and they speak in sound-bites, but they are not powerful.
    There has been a decline in the perception of the essential role of Israel and the special relationship between Israel and the U.S. It is just not as bad as it is often portrayed.


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A Modern History of Palestinian Rejectionism - Ben-Dror Yemini (Fathom-BICOM-UK)
    For decades, people have been spreading the narrative that if only Israel would be a little more generous, peace was within reach.
    The most important peace initiatives in recent decades have been those of Bill Clinton in 2000, Saudi Arabia in 2002, Ehud Olmert in 2008, and John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2014 - all of which were rejected by the Palestinians.
    In 2020, normalization agreements were reached between Israel and four Arab countries - the Abraham Accords - that reflect a change in the Arab world.
    According to a 2019 survey by Zogby Research Services, 84% of Emirati residents, 79% of Saudi Arabians, 73% of Egyptians, 72% of Jordanians, 49% of Lebanese, and 39% of Palestinian Authority residents support normalization with Israel even in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.



Lebanese Rent Refugee Certificates to Obtain Food and Medical Care - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    Lebanese citizens facing economic hardships are renting refugee certificates from Syrian refugees in the country.
    These papers grant the holder the right to obtain medical treatment and medicines and even to undergo surgery for free.
    Without the refugee documents, ordinary Lebanese would have to pay a fortune for these treatments, or not be able to obtain them at all due to the shortage of doctors and medicines.
    Some Syrian refugees actually live in their homes in Syria but enter Lebanon once a week to receive food packages or medicines to which their refugee status entitles them.


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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Accelerates Cyberattacks
    On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that Iran had been "rapidly accelerating" its cyberattacks, with 24 cyber operations since June 2022. The Iranian operations were largely targeting Israel, Iranian opposition, and Gulf rivals. "Iran directed nearly a quarter (23%) of its cyber operations against Israel between October of 2022 and March of 2023, with the U.S., UAE, and Saudi Arabia also bearing the brunt of these efforts."
        There is a future threat of increasingly destructive Iranian cyberattacks, particularly against Israel and the U.S., as some Iranian groups are likely seeking cyberattack capabilities against industrial control systems. (U.S. Institute of Peace)
  • Iran Seizes Second Oil Tanker in a Week - Dion Nissenbaum
    Iranian forces seized the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi on Wednesday in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy said. The seizure came six days after Iranian forces in the Gulf of Oman seized the Advantage Sweet, a Greek-owned, Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker bound for Texas.
        "Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy," the U.S. Navy said, adding that Iran has "harassed, attacked or interfered" with 15 commercial ships over the past two years. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iranian IRGC Commander: Invisible Hands Have Armed Palestinians in the West Bank with Modern Weapons
    On April 18, 2023, Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said that "invisible hands" - hinting at the Iranian regime - "have armed the West Bank, and you [now] see modern automatic rifles and automatic weapons in the hands of the Palestinians." Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been issuing instructions to arm the West Bank since 2014. (MEMRI)
  • PA Security Forces in Jenin Attack Procession Honoring Palestinian Hunger Striker
    Palestinian Authority security forces in Jenin on Tuesday used batons, stun grenades, and tear gas on marchers marking the death of Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan, a leading figure in Islamic Jihad. Members of local armed resistance groups fired at the PA security services' headquarters after the protest was attacked. PA security forces fired back. (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Forces Eliminate Hamas Terrorists Who Murdered Three Israeli Women - Emanuel Fabian
    Hamas terrorists Hassan Katnani and Maad Masri, who murdered Lucy Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina in a shooting attack in the Jordan Valley on April 7, were killed by Israeli troops Thursday morning in Nablus along with a third Palestinian gunman, Ibrahim Hura, who had aided them in hiding.
        A senior IDF Central Command officer said the operation was carried out with "precision and professionalism," with no injuries to Israeli soldiers. "It is important for us to make it clear to the other side that there are no cities of refuge anywhere in [the West Bank]. Even places that they apparently think are safe - are not," he said. (Times of Israel)
  • Senior Islamic Jihad Leader Dies after Hunger Strike
    Khader Adnan, 45, a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, died on Tuesday after a hunger strike that began on Feb. 5. Adnan had been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences. (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinians in Gaza Launch Rocket Barrages at Israel, IDF Responds - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    After the death of a hunger-striking member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestinians in Gaza fired 104 rockets into Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday. Israel countered with 16 airstrikes, mostly on Hamas positions. A ceasefire was announced Wednesday morning.
        IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said Hamas had fired surface-to-air missiles at Israeli aircraft, which were not particularly effective, but had mostly left the fighting to Islamic Jihad. Of the rockets fired at Israel, 11 fell in the sea, 14 fell in Gaza, 24 were shot down by Iron Dome, and 48 fell in open areas. Three people were injured directly by rocket fire, including a foreign worker from China. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Injured in Palestinian Shooting Attack in Samaria - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli vehicles near the community of Avnei Hefetz in Samaria on Tuesday, injuring one Israeli man. Two vehicles were damaged in the attack. (Times of Israel)
  • 13 Palestinian Lions' Den Fighters Turn Themselves In to PA Security Forces
    Thirteen members of the Lions' Den terror group have handed themselves over to Palestinian Authority security forces in recent days, a PA security official said Wednesday. He said the 13 "turned themselves in to the security establishment to protect themselves and to be integrated into the security establishment and end their case with the Israelis."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Thwarts Attempt to Smuggle Weapons in Furniture from Gaza to West Bank - Tzvi Joffre
    Inspectors at the Kerem Shalom crossing discovered firearms, silencers and ammunition hidden in a shipment of furniture headed from Gaza to the West Bank on Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    Iran

  • Tehran Already Violating Missile Embargo Set to Expire in October - Yaakov Lappin
    Iran is violating a UN Security Council-mandated embargo on the export and import of missiles that is due to expire in October, Israeli experts say. "Iran is already today violating the [UN] embargo, since it exports to its [Hizbullah and Houthi] proxies weapons that certainly transgress the restrictions placed on it in terms of types of weapons, ranges and the like," said Danny (Dennis) Citrinowicz, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies who served as head of the Iran Branch in the Research and Analysis Division of IDF Military Intelligence. "There are more than a few countries in trouble spots such as Africa and Latin America which cannot purchase advanced weapons from Western countries. For them, Iranian weapons will be very attractive."
        Michael Segall, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, noted that the embargo's expiration will lift restrictions on "Iran's research, development and production of ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons. In this regard, the UN is to lift the ban on Iran's import and export of missile-related technology, including missiles and drones with a range of 300 km. [186 miles] or more. The lifting of the embargo on Iran's missiles could exacerbate the existing threats, both for Iran's neighbors in the Gulf region and the Middle East and for global security."
        Segall added that lifting the embargo will enable Iran to acquire more advanced missile technology from other countries - primarily Russia and North Korea. Furthermore, "Iran will be able to speed up the research and development of delivery platforms for nuclear warheads." (JNS)


  • Palestinian Arabs

  • U.S. Continues to Fund Palestinian Groups Supporting Terrorists
    In 2022, USAID provided funding to more than 20 Palestinian NGOs to advance "basic democratic freedoms and common goals shared between the American and Palestinian people." This report details how several board members and officials from some of these organizations operating in the West Bank celebrate terrorists and glorify violence. Additionally, it highlights statements made by these officials and the NGOs themselves, advocating for BDS and anti-normalization, both in opposition to explicit U.S. policies, interests and values.
        Such problematic partnerships reinforce the need for improved vetting at USAID, to ensure that taxpayer funds are not provided to organizations that glorify violence, support terrorism, promote anti-normalization, and/or employ antisemitic rhetoric.
        In addition, NGO Monitor's June 2021 report, "USAID-Funded Palestinian NGOs: Introducing Children to Convicted Terrorists," revealed that USAID sub-grantees ran programs that introduced children to convicted terrorists, presented convicted terrorists as role models, and publicly demonstrated support for terrorists and terrorist organizations. (NGO Monitor)
  • What Palestinian Rock-Throwing Attacks Mean - Stephen Flatow
    New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman once described Palestinian rock-throwing as "non-violent resistance." And a recent Times article described a mob of Arab rock-throwers as "unarmed."
        On April 27, Alexa Bartell, age 20, was driving through Jefferson County, Colorado, when three young men began throwing rocks at motorists. One of those rocks smashed through Alexa's front windshield, killing her. Several other drivers were seriously injured. How have the authorities in Colorado responded to the rock-throwing incident? The district attorney has charged the men with first-degree murder. The penalty is life in prison.
        Almost every day in Israel, some innocent motorist is the target of potentially lethal rock-throwing. Yehuda Haim Shoham, just 5 months old, was strapped into his car seat on June 5, 2021, when Palestinian Arab rock-throwers struck Yehuda in the head, killing him. At least 16 Israelis, including four Americans, have been murdered by Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks at them. Thousands of Israelis have suffered injuries, and some have been permanently maimed, by rock-throwers. These Israeli victims are never mentioned by the news media.
        When there is a terrorist attack involving bombs or guns or knives, there are only a few terrorists involved. But Palestinian Arab rock-throwing is a very different matter, involving many more people. Acknowledging that such a large number of people have been trying to murder Israeli Jews means admitting that the desire to murder Jews is not some isolated fringe phenomenon in Palestinian society but is widespread. (JNS)


  • Other Issues

  • U.S. Must Expedite Delivery of Aerial Refueling Tankers to Israel - Reps. August Pfluger, Rob Wittman, Chris Stewart, and Michael Makovsky
    Iran has arrived at the nuclear threshold. Deterring Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability is a vital U.S. national security interest. One critical component of that deterrence is the new KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and ensuring that Israel receives these aircraft as soon as possible. The KC-46A tanker would provide the single greatest boost to Israeli capabilities against Iran and demonstrate U.S. support for its Israeli partner.
        The advanced KC-46A can refuel three jets simultaneously in three to four minutes and has cutting-edge defensive systems. Israeli KC-46As would be interoperable with U.S. aircraft and would expand U.S. capabilities in the Middle East - without the U.S. having to pay to station and maintain tankers in the region.
        In September 2021, the U.S. agreed to provide Israel with four KC-46As, but the first aircraft is not expected to arrive before 2025. With Boeing producing two of the aircraft each month and having already delivered 68 tankers to the U.S. Air Force, expediting the delivery of two KC-46As to Israel does not impose an undue burden on the U.S. acquisition process.
        Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) is a former Air Force pilot. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) is a former Air Force pilot. Michael Makovsky is president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. (Washington Times)
  • The Jews Really Did Make the Desert Bloom - Zina Rakhamilova
    "You [Israel] have literally made the desert bloom," President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated in a message addressed to Israeli President Herzog on the occasion of Israel's 75th Independence Day. She said she saw it with her own eyes when she visited Israel's Negev. The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry responded by describing the phrase as a "racist trope" and calling for an apology.
        The fact that early Jewish immigrants took a desert wasteland that was sparsely populated, with few natural resources and limited water supply, and turned it into the flourishing and thriving place we see today is irrefutable. In 1866, American author Mark Twain visited the region and described it as "a desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds....We never saw a human being on the whole route....There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere."
        Jewish immigrants began to cultivate the land using modern agricultural techniques and expanded trade and tourism. They transformed the countryside with communities of Jewish farmers. Under the British Mandate, the Jewish population continued to develop the land, building roads, schools, and hospitals and establishing a thriving economy. The Jewish people transformed this region of the Middle East into a prosperous country and saying so is a fact, not a "racist" remark against Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
Observations:

  • Cooperation between the U.S. and Israel safeguards the Jewish state, maintains regional stability, protects vital American strategic interests, and ultimately saves countless lives.
  • U.S. assistance enables Israel to maintain its qualitative military edge over adversaries such as Iran, ensuring that it can defend itself effectively against any global threat.
  • U.S. military aid to Israel also serves critical American national security interests. Our military partnership enables the U.S. to maintain an active presence in the region without having to deploy U.S. troops and potentially put Americans in harm's way.
  • Israel's thriving defense industry produces cutting-edge military technologies, such as the Iron Dome missile defense system, which has saved thousands of lives.
  • Military aid to Israel also contributes to new scientific innovations that benefit the entire world, including the development of breakthrough medical devices and water conservation technologies.
  • Additionally, more than 75% of security assistance provided to Israel is spent in the U.S., which boosts the U.S. economy and helps support thousands of high-quality American jobs across the country.

    The writer is CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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