Iran Plans to Escalate Attacks Against U.S. Troops in Syria
- Joby Warrick (Washington Post
Iran is arming militants in Syria for a new phase of lethal attacks against U.S. troops in the country, while also working with Russia to drive Americans from the region, intelligence officials and leaked classified documents say.
Iran and its allies are training forces to use more powerful armor-piercing roadside bombs intended to target U.S. military vehicles, according to classified intelligence reports.
The past three U.S. administrations have maintained a small contingent of 900 U.S. troops in Syria, augmented by hundreds more contractors, to prevent a resurgence by Islamic State militants and to thwart Iranian and Russian ambitions.
Leaked documents describe plans for a campaign to stoke popular resistance and attacks against Americans in eastern and northeastern Syria.
Russian, Iranian and Syrian military officials met in November 2022 and agreed on establishing a "coordination center" for directing the campaign.
IDF Launches Drill to Prepare for Multi-Front War
- Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel
The Israel Defense Forces on Monday launched a large-scale drill simulating a potential multi-front war.
The drill will include the Air Force conducting simulated strikes deep in enemy territory, and the Navy carrying out mock offensive and defensive actions.
Troops from the standing and reserve army, from nearly all units, will participate in the exercise.
"The forces will practice handling challenges and sudden events on multiple fronts simultaneously," the IDF said.
German Army Procures Israeli Smartshooter's Smash X4 Systems for Infantry Anti-Drone Capability
- Eyal Boguslavsky (Israel Defense
The German Army is investing in infantry anti-drone capabilities, and is procuring Smash fire control systems by Israeli company Smartshooter for its G27P assault rifles.
Smash X4 combines an x4 magnifying optic scope with unique fire control capabilities that provide extended detection, recognition and identification ranges for the shooter as well as extended lethality ranges.
An integrated Laser Range Finder (LRF) enables range measurement for improved precision. Night-capability is also available.
Abbas Signs Decree Criminalizing "Nakba" Denial
(Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has signed a presidential decree that criminalizes denying the Palestinian "Nakba" surrounding Israel's establishment in 1948.
Anyone found guilty of denying the "catastrophe" will face up to two years in jail, Israel's Channel 12
Israel Condemns North Korean Satellite Launch
Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the satellite launch by North Korea on Wednesday.
"Israel joins the international community in expressing concern of the danger that this reckless act poses to the regional stability in the Korean Peninsula and beyond. Israel is also concerned by the proliferation of sensitive technologies from DPRK to rogue Middle East states, including Iran and Syria. Such activities are unacceptable."
Blast at Palestinian Terror Group Base in Lebanon Kills 5; Israel Denies Involvement
- Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel
A blast at a base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), near Qousaya in the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon, killed five members of the group on Wednesday. A PFLP-GC spokesman added that 10 more were wounded.
Israeli officials denied any involvement.
A Lebanese security source told AFP
the blast was accidental. "An old rocket exploded in an arms depot on the base."
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Arms Smuggling from Jordan: Lessons Learned
- Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
A flood of weapons has crossed Israel's borders in the last year for use in criminal and terror activities - and maybe in preparation for the day after Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinians have a large demand for weapons, and Jordan has a large supply. As a result, both sides are motivated to engage in the illicit trade.
Israel and Jordan's efforts and counterterror activity have not deterred the ongoing smuggling.
Israel should increase its intelligence and operational efforts and strengthen deterrence with harsher punishments.
Photos: See Greek and Israeli Air Forces in Joint Training
The Hellenic National Defense General Staff announced that on May 23, the Greek Air Force participated in joint training exercises with the Israel Air Force.
Two IAF Air Refueling B707 Tanker aircraft participated, together with 53 sorties of Greek F-16 fighters.
The joint training is conducted twice a year as part of the Defense Cooperation Program between Greece and Israel.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Iran Expands Stockpile of Highly Enriched Uranium - Laurence Norman
The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran had stockpiled 114 kg. of highly enriched uranium as of May 13, an increase of 27% over the previous three months. That is roughly enough to fuel at least two nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have said it could take Iran as little as 12 days to have enough fuel for a bomb.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also UN Watchdog Closes Two Lines of Inquiry on Nuclear Program - Amir Vahdat
International inspectors closed two lines of inquiry they had over Tehran's nuclear program, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported Tuesday. IRNA said the IAEA had closed its inquiry over the recent discovery of traces of uranium enriched up to 83.7% purity at Iran's underground Fordo nuclear site. IRNA also reported that the IAEA closed its investigation of traces of man-made uranium found at Marivan.
- U.S. Ambassador Urged Netanyahu to Suspend Bill Targetng NGOs Funded by Foreign Governments - Barak Ravid
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week urging him not to move forward with legislation that would limit the ability of Israeli nongovernmental organizations to raise money from foreign governments. "We didn't threaten the Israelis or anything like that, but our message was that this bill is going to get Israel into an international crisis for something that isn't worth it," a U.S. official said.
The foreign ministers of Germany and the UK last week warned about the consequences of the bill on Israel's international standing and image. Netanyahu took the legislation off the table for further review. (Axios)
See also Foreign Government-Funded NGOs Undermine Israel's Sovereignty - Lawrence Solomon
To fulfill their vision of how Israel should conduct its affairs, many Western countries actively interfere in Israeli politics by funding Israeli NGOs that agree with their agenda.
Yet such foreign government funding weakens Israel's civil society.
Civil society, by definition, excludes government actors. It is defined as a "third sector," separate from government and business, and is intended to act as a check on both. By pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into NGOs that represent a small proportion of Israeli society, foreign governments are effectively inflating the influence of foreign-funded NGOs at the expense of domestically-funded NGOs, which undermines Israel's home-grown civil society.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel confirmed that the passage of a proposed law taxing foreign government funding of NGOs could lead to the "literal collapse of dozens and perhaps hundreds of NGOs." This proves that hundreds of Israeli NGOs are doing the bidding of foreign governments. (JNS)
- WHO Singles Out Israel as Violator of Health Rights
The UN's World Health Organization held a special debate on May 24 to single out Israel for allegedly violating the health rights of Palestinians and the Druze population in the Golan Heights. By a vote of 76 to 13, with 35 abstentions, the WHO assembly adopted a resolution submitted by the Syrian and Palestinian delegations requiring the WHO to hold the same debate next year and to prepare another report on the issue.
No other country received a special agenda item at the WHO assembly. Nothing on Syria, where hospitals and other medical infrastructure are deliberately bombed by Syrian and Russian forces; nothing on Afghanistan, where the Taliban takeover has led to a collapse in basic health systems.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, said,
"Anyone who has ever walked into an Israeli hospital or clinic knows that they provide world-class health care to thousands of Palestinian Arabs as well as to Syrians fleeing Assad." (UN Watch)
- Anti-Israel Extremists Praise Terrorism while Protesting Toronto's "Walk with Israel"
On May 22, an estimated 20,000 people gathered in North York, Ontario, for the annual "Walk with Israel" celebration. This year, a contingent of anti-Israel protesters came to spew outright expressions of hate. These protesters chanted, "Jihad. Jihad, jihad, Allah Akbar. Long live Hamas.... Long live Hizbullah."
Hamas, dedicated to the destruction of Israel through violent means, is recognized as an extremist Islamist terrorist group by the governments of Canada, the U.S., UK, and EU. Hizbullah is a Lebanese Shia Islamist terrorist organization that has launched thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers, killing innocent civilians.
The protesters also praised acts of violence against Israelis.
"There is only one solution: Intifada, revolution," they chanted. In the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2005, Palestinian individuals and terror groups murdered
about 1,000 Israelis in restaurants, discotheques, bus stations, and supermarkets. While anti-Israel activists have the right to protest Israeli actions, that right does not extend to praising terrorist groups and advocating for violence against Israelis. (HonestReporting Canada)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Palestinians Murder Israeli Civilian in Drive-By Shooting in Samaria - Yaniv Kubovich
Meir Tamari, 32, a father of two young children from the community of Hermesh in Samaria, was shot multiple times while driving his car on a nearby road on Tuesday. He made his way to the entrance to the community but died a few hours later. Palestinians from Tul Karm affiliated with Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade took responsibility for the shooting.
See also Father of Two Killed in Terror Shooting Buried
Meir Tamari was laid to rest on Wednesday with hundreds in attendance. On Tuesday, terrorists opened fire on his vehicle from their SUV before fleeing. It was the latest in a string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have killed 20 people since the start of this year and left several more seriously hurt.
During her husband's burial, Tal Tamari was photographed standing over the burial plot holding her three-year-old daughter as her one-year-old son was strapped to her back. "We are supposed to live in Israel safely and be able to return home to our families safely. Any other reality cannot be accepted," she said. (Times of Israel)
See also Minister of National Missions: The Entire Nation of Israel Embraces the Family - Raanan Ben-Zur (Ynet News)
- Azerbaijan's President Thanks Israeli President for Defense Cooperation - Lazar Berman
Israeli President Isaac Herzog met on Tuesday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku. Herzog said the two spoke in depth about "the entire global and regional security structure that is endangered and threatened by Iran." Aliyev said that the March opening of Azerbaijan's embassy in Tel Aviv created "more opportunities to have a closer interaction."
Aliyev said Azerbaijan, a Shiite Muslim-majority country, has had access to modern Israeli defense equipment for many years, "which helps us to modernize our defense capability, and to be able to protect our statehood, our values, our national interest, and our territorial integrity." Israel stepped up its weapons shipments to Azerbaijan during its 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia, in which Azerbaijan emerged victorious. Azerbaijan is located on Iran's northern border, and Israel buys over 30% of its oil from Baku.
(Times of Israel)
- IDF Ambulance Damaged in Shooting Attack in Judea - Emanuel Fabian
A military ambulance was targeted in a shooting attack on Route 60 near Hebron on Monday night. The ambulance was damaged by at least two bullets.
(Times of Israel)
- Woman Critically Injured in 2001 Sbarro Palestinian Terror Attack Dies
New York-born Chana Nachenberg was 31 when a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 15 civilians, including seven children, and wounded over 100 others at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001. She was critically wounded and had remained in a vegetative state for 22 years until she died of her injuries on Wednesday.
(Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- State Department Confirms Palestinian Authority Is Paying for Terrorists to Murder Israelis - Andrew Bernard
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf on Wednesday confirmed that the Palestinian Authority continues to make "pay-to-slay" payments to terrorists and the families of terrorists who have killed Americans and Israelis. Leaf
told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "We are working to bring pay-to-slay to an end," but that the administration had "not yet" succeeded.
The program is estimated to cost $300 million annually, or nearly 10% of the entire PA budget, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The payments are higher than the average Palestinian wage, further incentivizing terrorist attacks.
- Sharansky: Embracing IHRA Antisemitism Definition Is Important - Zvika Klein
Prominent Jewish leader Natan Sharansky said Monday that the White House and President Joe Biden should only offer one definition for antisemitism: the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition, which determines that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Sharansky explained that the IHRA definition is the only one that covers what he has called "The Three Ds" of modern-day antisemitism: "Delegitimization, demonization and double standards." (Jerusalem Post)
- How to Fight Antisemitism - David Suissa
The new White House strategy to counter antisemitism means well. It represents an official effort to combat the ancient curse of antisemitism that seems to follow Jews everywhere they live, even in a country as welcoming as the U.S. This administration wants us to know they have our backs, and yes, we ought to be grateful for that.
The elephant in the room no one wants to bring up is the notion that any "strategy" can ever eradicate a sentiment as immutable as hate. Would Jew haters hate Jews any less if they learned more about the history of antisemitism, or if they learned more about the Holocaust? If antisemites resent Jews because they see us as hard-working and successful, how do we make them stop resenting us? By arguing that we're not that successful?
Complaining projects weakness; pride projects confidence. If the Jewish brand in America comes to be defined by obsessive complaining against anyone who hates us, we'll end up looking weak, insecure and humorless. Who'd want to join that tribe?
Jew hatred is a resilient disease without any known cure. Thankfully, we know that there's a powerful, long-term vaccine against the hate: a strong Jewish identity.
(Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
- The "Born in Israel, Made in Japan" Method - Sophie Shulman
Yasuhide Nakayama, former State Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Japan, said this week, "As the former State Minister of Defense, I always explained that although Japan buys F-35s from the U.S., in practice the fuel tank, helmet and wings come from Israel....Silicon Valley is the great river, but the source, the great waterfall of knowledge, is Israel. Therefore, in my opinion, Japan as a country can and should go directly to the source, to Israel." (Calcalist)
See also Israeli-Japanese Relations Gaining Momentum - Alvite Ningthoujam
Israel's ties with Japan have witnessed exponential growth in recent years, with a rising frequency of high-level reciprocal bilateral visits of leaders and a simultaneous expansion of cooperation in the financial-commercial and defense sectors.
Bilateral trade reached $3.5 billion in 2021-22. There are about 85 Japanese companies present in Israel, with investments worth $13 billion since 2000, accounting for 15.8% of all foreign investments in the Israeli tech industry. Direct El Al flights between Israel and Tokyo have recently started.
Israel and Japan have strong mutual strategic interests to take ties to the next level. This has enabled them to consciously overlook certain political differences, mostly related to the Palestinian issue, which, in reality, has become a diminishing issue.
The writer is an assistant professor at Symbiosis International (Deemed University) in Pune, India.
- Guardian Promotes New Tantura "Massacre" Claim - Adam Levick
A Guardian article on May 25 uncritically amplifies a report commissioned by Adalah, a Palestinian NGO, which claims that a massacre was carried out in the Palestinian village of Tantura, near Haifa, by Israeli forces in the 1948 war.
The journalist, Bethan McKernan, refers to "the events of 1948," without noting that there wouldn't have been a single Palestinian casualty or refugee if Arab armies - supported by Palestinian leaders - hadn't invaded the nascent Jewish state with the objective of annihilating it, three years after the Nazis murdered one out of every three Jews on earth. Over 6,000 Israelis (including many Holocaust survivors) lost their lives in that war - 1% of the entire population.
The "Tantura massacre" claim, which originated in a University of Haifa Masters' thesis by Teddy Katz, was debunked by veterans of the brigade who took part in the battle and sued Katz for slander. Katz quoted a central witness called Abu Fahmi saying that the IDF had rounded up villagers, lined them up against the walls and murdered them. But after Katz handed over the tapes of his interviews, it was clear that there were no such quotes. On the contrary, Abu Fahmi repeatedly asserted that the IDF did NOT murder the villagers. Confronted with many such discrepancies, Katz insisted
that he had never believed there was a massacre.
Historian Benny Morris wrote: "It's noteworthy that a memorandum of the Arab Higher Committee, titled "The Atrocities of the Jews," which was sent to the UN in July 1948, makes no mention of Tantura. He noted that a "book deemed the Nakba bible, the six-volume Al-Nakba published between 1956 and 1960 by the chronicler Aref al-Aref, does not mention a massacre at Tantura....Similarly, Mahmoud al-Yihiya Yihiya, who...in 1998 published a book called Al Tantura about his native village, did not mention a massacre." (CAMERA-UK)
- Was the two-state solution ever really alive? The Palestinians violently rejected the two-state offers of 1937 and 1947. Their rejection of two-state plans in 2000, 2001, and 2008 merely reiterated this long-standing Palestinian policy.
- Because they deny that the Jews constitute a people, Palestinian leaders have never accepted the U.S. formula of "two states for two peoples." No Palestinian leader has ever demonstrated the will or the ability to reconcile with Jewish statehood, and none would likely survive long if they did.
- The Palestinians have given no indication that they intend to build the kinds of stable, transparent institutions that form the foundations of a modern state, or that they can sustain sovereignty over any areas allotted to them without ushering in chaos. Realizing these facts, many Israelis have concluded that the Palestinians never actually wanted a two-state solution; they wanted only Israel's dissolution.
- Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005, which the Israeli government undertook in the hope of peace, yielded only thousands of terrorist rockets targeting Israeli civilians.
- The glow of the Oslo accords in the mid-1990s was similarly eclipsed by the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2005 and the murder of 1,000 Israelis - more than ten times the losses the U.S. suffered in the 9/11 attacks, as a proportion of the population.
- Consequently, many Israelis recognize what philosopher Micah Goodman calls "Catch-67," the belief that although the absence of a Palestinian state might challenge Israel's Jewish and democratic character, the creation of a Palestinian state threatens its very existence.
The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.