May 15, 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:

Israeli Woman Killed by Palestinian Rocket Was Helping Paralyzed Husband Reach Shelter (Times of Israel)
    Inga Avramyan, 80, was killed in a rocket strike on May 11 as she tried to help her paralyzed husband reach shelter.
    The direct hit blew a massive hole in their third-floor apartment in Rehovot, a city of 150,000, 45 km. (27 miles) north of Gaza.
    The Israel Defense Forces said Friday that an Iron Dome interceptor missile suffered a "technical fault" and missed the rocket that struck the building.

Iran Attempted to Block Gaza Ceasefire - Yossi Yehoshua (Ynet News)
    Officials in Israel say Iran has been attempting to disrupt any ceasefire agreement with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
    The Iranians see any such agreement as total capitulation because Islamic Jihad, the closest faction to Tehran, has thus far failed to reach any major achievement in the fighting.
    Tehran finances the PIJ with tens of millions of dollars and is likely seeing that investment go to waste.

Gazan Working in Israel Killed by Palestinian Rocket (Ynet News)
    Abdullah Abu Jaba, 34, a Gazan laborer, was killed on Saturday by an Islamic Jihad rocket strike in Israel.
    His brother, Hamad Abu Jaba, was critically wounded and an Israeli Bedouin was also wounded.
    See also Gazan Man Killed in Rocket Strike on Israel Recognized as Victim of Terror (Times of Israel)
    Israel's defense minister and National Insurance Institute approved recognition of Abdullah Abu Jaba - a Palestinian worker from Gaza who was killed by a Palestinian rocket at an Israeli greenhouse - as a victim of terror.
    This will entitle his widow and children to state payments.
    Some 18,000 Gazans have permits to work in Israel. Hundreds were believed trapped in the country when the IDF launched its operation in response to rocket fire, and the border crossings were shut.

Thai Man Injured by Rocket Fired from Gaza (Bangkok Post-Thailand)
    Prakobsuk Saengsai, 42, a Thai farm worker working in Israel, was hit in the arm by shrapnel following a rocket attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Thursday.
    Israeli National Insurance authorities have agreed to cover the injured man's medical costs and compensate him for time off work.

Palestinians Say Rocket Fired on Sunday Launched in Error - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    A rocket was launched from Gaza at Ashkelon on Sunday evening, 20 hours after a ceasefire was reached. The rocket landed in an open field.
    A Palestinian source told Al-Jazeera that the rocket was launched as a result of a technical malfunction and confirmed the Palestinians' commitment to the ceasefire.

Gaza Rockets Strike Israeli Woman's Home for Second Time - Emily Rose (Reuters)
    Miriam Karen's home in Ashkelon was hit by Palestinian rockets for the second time in five years last week.
    After Karen's home was hit the first time five years ago, she built a shelter which may have saved her life on Wednesday when she was making dinner and heard the air raid siren.
    She immediately ran inside and heard a loud explosion. When she opened the door, she saw smoke, the remains of her bathroom and scattered glass, while her car was on fire in the driveway.

IDF Nixes Attacks when Nearby Children at Risk - Matan Zuri (Ynet News)
    A significant part of Israeli airstrikes and countermeasures use unmanned aircraft.
    Brig.-Gen. Omri Dor, commander of the Palmachim airbase, said they have had to stop drone actions "dozens of times" because of the presence of civilians.
    "When there are civilians near a certain attack, you stop; in another, you move further away....When I see children running in the field, I will cancel. Wherever we know there are civilians, we do not act or adjust the action."
    "We have the ability to hit very precisely, incidental damage is almost non-existent."

Watching Over the Home Front Armed with Iron Dome - Korin Elbaz Alush (Ynet News)
    Staff Sgt. S., 21, grew up in Ashkelon in the shadow of rocket warning sirens and running to shelters.
    On Wednesday, as a soldier who operates the Iron Dome missile defense system, she intercepted dozens of rockets that were fired from Gaza at the city where she grew up.
    "It's a lot of responsibility and you have to be vigilant," she says. "But when I finish a shift, I feel a lot of pride and mostly happiness. I know that we save lives and also give a sense of security."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza Agree to Ceasefire - Barak Ravid
    Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Saturday agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza. (Axios)
        See also Gaza Fighting a Warning to Bigger Enemies - Yaakov Lappin
    During five days of fighting, 21 Palestinian Islamic Jihad combatants were killed, including six senior commanders, most from the rocket division. 9 Gazan noncombatants were killed by IDF attacks, and another 3 were killed by failed PIJ rocket launches. The IDF struck more than 371 PIJ targets, including command and control apartments, usually located in residential buildings, which the IDF warned so they could be evacuated before the aerial attacks.
        As a byproduct, larger Israeli adversaries, Hamas and Hizbullah, witnessed Israeli determination to eliminate those who threaten Israeli security, to overcome the human shield tactic, and to employ world-leading intelligence and firepower capabilities in urban warfare settings. (JNS)
        See also IDF Summarizes Activities in Gaza Conflict - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF on Sunday reported that Islamic Jihad fired 1,478 rockets and mortars at Israel. The Iron Dome shot down over 430 rockets, 95% of rockets heading for built-up areas. Some 20% of Islamic Jihad rockets landed in Gaza, killing three Gazans and wounding dozens.
        The IDF reduced Islamic Jihad's mortar fire capabilities by 50% by striking 63 mortar-connected targets. It also destroyed 122 concealed rocket positions, which prevented the firing of another 800 rockets, and struck 12 locations used to manufacture rockets. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: "With Complete Surprise and Continuous Initiative, We Eliminated Islamic Jihad's Entire Top Brass in Gaza"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday hailed the performance of Israel's security forces during the recent conflict with Islamic Jihad in Gaza. "With complete surprise and continuous initiative, we eliminated Islamic Jihad's entire top brass in Gaza, destroyed 17 Islamic Jihad command centers, eliminated dozens of terrorists, struck missile storage sites, took out anti-tank squads and more."
        "Today Israel's enemies - in Gaza and beyond - know that even if they try to hide, we can and are willing to reach them at any time....We flipped the script."
        Earlier Sunday, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Israel had not made any concessions as part of the ceasefire agreement, confirming the account of a senior Egyptian official who said Saturday that Israel would not sign a ceasefire agreement that entailed any conditions beyond the IDF holding its fire. (Times of Israel)
  • Senior Islamic Jihad Leader Killed Friday in Israeli Airstrike - Rina Bassist
    Islamic Jihad senior commander Iyad al-Hassani was killed Friday in an Israeli airstrike. Hassani, a top official in Islamic Jihad's military council, had been on Israel's most-wanted list for 26 years. He had replaced head of Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza Khalil Bahtini, who was killed in an Israeli strike on Tuesday. (Al-Monitor)
  • Two Palestinian Gunmen Killed as IDF Raids Hideout in Nablus
    Israeli security forces raided a terrorist safe house in the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus on Saturday. Two Palestinian gunmen - Adnan Wassim Yousef Al-Araj, 19, and Saed Jihad Shaker Masha, 32 - were killed in a firefight. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Tried to Stab Border Police Officers at Checkpoint - Emanuel Fabian
    A Palestinian man, Ahmed Muhammad Atatreh, 33, ran toward a checkpoint while brandishing a knife near the community of Shaked in the northern West Bank on Saturday before being shot and killed. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Gunmen Arrested for Attack on Israeli Soldiers in Huwara - Emanuel Fabian
    Iyad al-Takrouri, 24, and Musab Mazhar, 21, were detained by Israeli forces in the Old City of Nablus on Sunday. The two Palestinian gunmen opened fire from a passing vehicle and wounded Israeli soldiers in the West Bank town of Huwara on March 25. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • IDF and Israel Security Agency Have a Full Clear View into Islamic Jihad - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The dignity and reputation of Islamic Jihad have suffered a heavy blow. Their poor military capabilities and infrastructure have been exposed. Almost a quarter of their rockets launched at Israel fell within Gaza. Their long-range launches toward Tel Aviv were weak and inaccurate.
        Hamas chose to stay out of the fighting for a reason. Its leaders know that if they were to join Islamic Jihad, they would also suffer significant damage to their military capabilities and face major setbacks in their efforts to strengthen themselves, on top of Hamas' concerns about losing economic benefits it enjoys during periods of calm with Israel. Hence, Israel has managed to create a high level of deterrence.
        What is new in this round is the advancement in intelligence and operational capabilities that Israel has demonstrated. It is clear that Israel has intimate familiarity with Jihad's organizational structure, down to its last rocket launching unit. This enables the security services to know the exact location of a commander in a given area at any given moment, as well as the specific vehicle carrying a missile about to be launched, including its designated firing position and the route it will take.
        Despite these successes, the IDF has yet to solve the continued rocket launches into Israel. Both Islamic Jihad and Hamas hide missile launchers underground or in residential buildings and operate them remotely from far away. (Ynet News)
  • IDF Showcased Improved Capabilities, Restored Deterrence - Ron Ben-Yishai
    Hizbullah and Hamas have now witnessed how Israeli intelligence identifies and targets senior operatives, striking them one after another, even during combat, despite their attempts to remain hidden. All of this was accomplished while Israel maintained international and public legitimacy to continue its operation, as it demonstrated that it does everything possible to avoid harming uninvolved civilians. Strikes against non-combatants were carried out only when Israel determined that the targeted individuals posed an immediate danger to the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Israelis.
        The Gaza Division's "Fire Canopy" system demonstrated impressive capabilities to target Islamic Jihad missile launchers and mortar teams. It represents a significant advancement since Israel's last operations.
        Operation Shield and Arrow reassured us all that in times of national and personal security threats, we know how to unite and defend ourselves. Civilians on the home front demonstrated both self-discipline and high morale. (Ynet News)
  • The IDF Is Closely Adhering to International Law in the Gaza Conflict - Col. Richard Kemp
    Israel's Operation Shield and Arrow has been carried out to date with breathtaking effectiveness. The shield of Iron Dome and David's Sling have prevented major loss of life among the civilian population. The arrows of target intelligence, air strikes and missile attacks have decimated the Gaza terrorist leadership and destroyed many of their weapons. No other military is capable of defending its people with the ferocity and precision the IDF has been showing.
        While UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that civilian deaths in Gaza are "unacceptable," the IDF is known by all Western military commanders to be more effective than any other force in the world in preventing the deaths of civilians in enemy territory. Knowing the IDF as I do, I can be confident that they are closely adhering to - and going beyond - international laws of war in this conflict.
        Islamic Jihad, behind the present violence, is an Iranian proxy, bought and paid for by Tehran. The ayatollahs are intent on the destruction of Israel. They have been encircling Israel with weapons and fighters. In Lebanon, they have positioned tens of thousands of missiles and UAVs, including precision-guided systems. In Syria, they have been working to build another front for attack. In Judea and Samaria, Iranian proxies have been fomenting, funding, and directing violent attacks against civilians and military. Iran should be branded for what it is, condemned, isolated and comprehensively sanctioned.
        The writer, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, was chairman of the UK's national crisis management committee, COBRA. (Ynet News)
  • Israel's Military Readiness Remains Strong despite Political Protests - Mark Lavie
    Behind the latest flare-up between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza was the assumption that recent demonstrations against the government show Israel is weak. Yet there has not been a single confirmed case of a reservist failing to report because of opposition to the government. There are no reports of any increase in the small numbers of conscientious objectors or any reports about conscripts refusing to serve.
        Do Israel's enemies think this is a good time to attack? Of course they do. For terrorists, any time is a good time. Israel's deterrence against an Iranian attack does not depend on which government is in power in Jerusalem or who's on the streets protesting it. Foreign experts believe Israel has a nuclear weapons submarine capability. Israel is likely to face periodic terror attacks and rocket barrages. That's how it is here. It has nothing to do with who is in power. (Medialine)
  • Israel Immediately United in the Face of Palestinian Rocket Fire - Jonathan S. Tobin
    As Israel was subjected to a barrage of over 1,000 rockets fired by Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israelis pulled together, united behind their government, and carried on with normal life as much as possible. The resilience of Israelis in the face of challenges that might break other people is one of the most remarkable aspects of life in the Jewish state. This past week's events demonstrate that the vast majority of Israelis are able to rise above their differences and present a fairly united front against people trying to kill them.
        The contrast between the Israeli and Palestinian casualties is depicted as the result of a disproportionate IDF response to the rockets. Yet what it really shows is the difference between the two sides' priorities. In Gaza there are plenty of bomb shelters (underneath the entire Strip lies a massive network of tunnels and fortified strongholds used for terrorist purposes), but they are used as weapon storage facilities for the people firing them. Israel has prioritized the defense of its people with both defense systems and mandatory bomb shelters.
        Americans should be inspired by Israel's resolution in defending its people against those who seek their deaths, as well as by the ability of Israelis to temporarily put their differences aside in the face of deadly threats. This is a moment to recognize that the Israeli people's strength and determination represent the future of the Jewish people. (JNS)
  • The Rocket Attacks from Gaza Brought Out the Best in Israelis - Liat Collins
    Even the leader of the opposition in the Knesset, Yair Lapid, offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu support for the government's actions against Islamic Jihad rocket fire from Gaza, and there was no question of reservists refusing to respond to a call-up. Perfect strangers offered home hospitality to residents of the Gaza envelope seeking refuge.
        There were also the familiar touching pictures of newborn babies being moved from maternity wards to rocket-proof, subterranean units. No country should have to act as if this is normal.
        The plight of the elderly struggling to reach safety with just a few seconds' warning of incoming rockets is less photogenic but no less serious. Sderot and the nearby communities must be among the few places in the world where wearing a seatbelt is at times forbidden - for safety reasons - when you have just seconds to seek shelter from an incoming rocket.
        Don't forget who is the aggressor and who is the victim. If the Palestinian terror organizations were to cease their murderous campaigns, there would be peace. (Jerusalem Post)

Saudi-Iran Rapprochement and Saudi-Israel Normalization: No Contradiction Intended - Dr. Yechiel M. Leiter (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Saudi Arabia's return to "diplomatic relations" with the Iranian regime neither contradicts its commitment to alliances intended to prevent the ayatollahs from attaining nuclear weapons nor does it jettison a process of normalization with Israel.
  • There is an argument to be made that Riyadh's unexpected re-engagement with the Iranian regime is a change of tactics, not strategy; a bearhug, intended to squeeze the belligerency out of its nemesis.
  • The Saudis' intention is to feed a starving Iranian population, build their crumbling roads, bridges, waterways, and urban infrastructure, and empower the Iranian people to regain their dignity and identity; then use its economic leverage to derail the nuclear program and bring down the terror-sponsoring ayatollahs with it.
  • If the Saudis thought rapprochement would enable Iran to move closer to achieving its nuclear ambitions, they would obviously not pursue such a deal. The conclusion must be drawn, then, that this is a move intended to stop or at least stymie their menacing neighbor.
  • Meanwhile, a functional rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia has been in place for a number of years and is progressing, qualitatively and quantitatively, at an impressive rate.

    The writer is Director-General of the Jerusalem Center.

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