June 12, 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:

"Iran Knows Breakout to 90 Percent Enrichment Will Result in an Israeli Strike" - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    A senior Israeli official told Israel Hayom on Sunday that "Iran knows that breaking out to 90% purity in uranium enrichment will result in an Israeli strike."
    The official said the U.S. and Western nations know that Israel has set this threshold.

Iran's New Hypersonic Missile Is a Threat, but It Can Be Countered - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    Iran's new domestically-made Fattah hypersonic weapon does indeed pose a threat to Israel, yet Israel has defense systems that can stop it.
    Tal Inbar, a senior research fellow at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said the Iranian missile is a "new product that has no equivalent in the world."
    However, in his assessment, the missile was still in the flight trial phase.
    "Regarding the claim that it can surpass any active defense system - that's inaccurate."
    See also Hypersonic Missiles: Threat and Deterrence? - Yehoshua Kalisky (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

Israel Attacked Islamic State in "More than One Country" - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Eisenkot told the Institute for National Security Studies on Sunday that "Islamic State knows best how much the IDF operated in the Middle East: They paid a price of hundreds of killed and injured."
    "During 2015, there was an event in a certain place where we were asked to carry out an attack." The IDF carried out "a relatively broad attack and harmed a great number of ISIS fighters."
    He said the IDF operated against ISIS "in many more than one country" and that some of the IDF activity "went under the radar" at the time.
    "There are not many countries in the world who know how to locate targets the size of a podium and get a missile on a target within a 1,000-km. radius around Israel," Eisenkot said. "Our enemies saw it, the Russians saw it, the Americans saw it."
    In 2018, it was reported that Israeli aircraft carried out more than 100 airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in Sinai over a two-year period.

Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia Join U.S. Bombers in Show of Force to Iran - Jared Szuba (Al-Monitor)
    Combat aircraft from Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia flew alongside U.S. B1 bombers over the Middle East on Thursday in a display of force directed at Iran.
    The American bombers dropped live munitions at training ranges in Saudi Arabia and Jordan before flying back to base in Spain.

Kuwait TV Host Banned from Entering Lebanon after Calling for Ties with Israel (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    Lebanese authorities prevented Kuwaiti TV host Fajr Al-Saeed from entering Lebanon at Beirut airport on Wednesday evening and she remained detained until Thursday morning when she returned to Kuwait.
    Al-Saeed is known for her calls for the normalization of relations with Israel.
    In an interview published on the Israeli government's Arabic language social media page, Al-Saeed called for peace with Israel and for opening the door to normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world.

Video - The Iranian Opposition in the West: Exposing Regime Assassins and Outlawing the IRGC (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Jerusalem Center hosted Iranian human rights activist Vahid Beheshti; his wife, Coventry city Councillor Mattie Heaven; and UK politician Lord Stuart Pollock in a Zoom discussion on June 4, 2023.
    They discussed the rise in terror by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including 10 attempted assassination and hostage-taking incidents since January 2022 reported by MI5, and terror attacks in the UK, Europe, and the U.S.
    They also discussed activists' pleas for major world leaders to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organization and called on the UK to take action.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Khamenei: Nuclear Deal Possible if Iran's Nuclear Infrastructure Remains Intact
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that a deal with the West over Tehran's nuclear work was possible, "but the infrastructure of our nuclear industry should not be touched."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Approves Release of $2.76 Billion for Iran from Iraq
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday approved a sanctions waiver that allows Iraq to pay a $2.76 billion gas and electricity debt to Iran that had been blocked by U.S. sanctions on Iran, a senior Iraqi foreign ministry official said. Iran has been unable to access billions of dollars in assets in several countries due to U.S. sanctions. (Reuters)
  • Iran Executions Surge as Government Cracks Down - Sune Engel Rasmussen
    At least 142 people were executed in Iran in May, the highest monthly number since 2015, bringing the total to more than 300 in the first five months of this year, according to Oslo-based Iran Human Rights. Most executions in Iran are carried out in secret, usually by hanging. (Wall Street Journal)
  • UN Report Targets 35 U.S. States over Laws Banning Anti-Israel Bias - Benjamin Weinthal
    The UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Thursday issued a new report that attacked rights of U.S. states to pass legislation banning discrimination against Israel via boycotts and whitewashed the antisemitism of Palestinian political organizations, said Israel's UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan.
        "Yet again, the biased COI has released another sham report about Israel. This illegitimate committee, composed of three antisemites, is incapable of writing an impartial report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The proof is their inability to include any references to Palestinian antisemitism in their latest attack on the Jewish state despite the Palestinian Authority which continually incites Jew-hatred and Hamas which seeks the destruction of Israel."
        In what critics see as UN interference in domestic U.S. politics, the COI singled out states that bar anti-Israel boycott measures, including Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Texas. (Fox News)
  • Iran's "Suicide Drones" Are Being Developed at British Universities - David Rose
    Scientists at British universities helped the Iranian regime develop technology that can be used in its drone program and fighter jets, a Jewish Chronicle investigation has revealed. At least 11 British universities, including Cambridge and Imperial College London, are involved, with staff producing at least 16 studies with potential Iranian military applications.
        In one project funded by Tehran, researchers in Britain worked to improve drone engines, boosting their altitude, speed and range. Another British university worked with Iranian counterparts to test sophisticated new control systems for jet engines. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Likelihood of U.S.-Iran Agreement on Nuclear Program Increasing - Itamar Eichner
    The likelihood of a U.S. agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program is increasing, according to senior Israeli officials. Washington is engaging in talks with Iran through Gulf intermediaries Oman and Qatar.
        Tehran is not enthusiastic about reaching an interim agreement and wishes to return to the original 2015 pact from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018. Washington is opposed to returning to the original agreement, especially in light of Iran's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
        Jerusalem has told Washington that a credible military threat will be more effective than diplomacy, which Israeli officials claim Tehran is taking advantage of to buy time and continue charging toward obtaining nuclear arms. Prime Minister Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State Blinken that "a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran will not stop Iran's nuclear program, and no arrangement with Iran will obligate Israel, which will do everything to defend itself."  (Ynet News)
  • A New Iranian Nuclear Agreement Poses a Threat to Israel - Yoni Ben Menachem
    The secret negotiations between the U.S. and Iran for a new nuclear agreement are based on the principle of "less for less." This means Iran halting uranium enrichment in exchange for releasing its frozen funds in the West, which amount to several hundred billion dollars.
        A new interim nuclear agreement poses several dangers to Israel: The agreement would immediately provide $20 billion to Iran, with several hundred billion dollars to follow. With this influx of funds, Iran could strengthen its military capabilities and those of its proxies in the Middle East.
        While the agreement may temporarily halt uranium enrichment, Iran is already on the verge of becoming a nuclear-capable nation. During this period, Iran will likely continue its development of nuclear weapons technology and ballistic missile programs. It may also complete the process of burying its nuclear facilities deep underground to protect them from potential airstrikes.
        Moreover, it would be challenging for Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities while Iran is engaged in a new international nuclear agreement with the world powers. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel Arrests Palestinian Policeman for Plot to Assassinate Samaria Council Head
    A Palestinian policeman, Alaa Khaled Qatto, was recently arrested by Israel for plotting to assassinate Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan. He confessed during his interrogation by the Israel Security Agency that he planned to kill Dagan and carry out other attacks with a firearm. (i24News)
  • Palestinians Renew Call to Boycott Jerusalem Elections - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian activists in the National Popular Conference of Jerusalem, dominated by members of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, have renewed their call for Arab residents of Jerusalem to boycott municipal elections scheduled to take place later this year. The majority of Arab residents have boycotted the municipal elections since 1968.
        The warning came amid increased calls by some Arab residents to end the municipal election boycott, arguing that it is counterproductive and denies basic rights to the city's Arab residents. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Media Mislead with Coverage of Tragic Shooting - Chaim Lax
    On June 1, Israeli forces serving near the West Bank Jewish community of Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) were fired upon by Palestinian gunmen. In returning fire, Israeli soldiers wounded Haitham Tamimi and his son Mohammed, age two, as they were driving by. Mohammed was airlifted by an Israeli military helicopter to a hospital in Israel, where doctors fought to save his life for days before he passed away.
        In reporting on this incident, both the Associated Press (AP) and the BBC misled their readers regarding the nature of this incident, implying that Israeli soldiers intentionally shot Mohammed. (HonestReporting)
  • UN Report Attacks Israel's Supporters Worldwide - Anne Bayefsky
    The UN "Commission of Inquiry" has released its third report that launches an unprecedented attack on Israel and its defenders. The inquisitors make findings of "war crimes" and "grave breaches of international humanitarian law" by Israel only, and then appeal to accelerate international criminal prosecution.
        The report specifically names Palestinian (and Israeli) victims of alleged Israeli crimes but doesn't name a single Israeli victim of a Palestinian crime. The report couldn't locate a single Palestinian terrorist or terrorist organization. There are only Israelis guilty of wrongly labeling them as "terrorists."
        The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices. (JNS)
  • Biden's Iran Gamble - Eric Brewer and Henry Rome
    If the Biden administration has given up on reviving the 2015 Iran deal, it has also shied away from heaping economic, political, and military pressure on Tehran, as proposed by many analysts as well as Israeli officials. Instead, it has opted for an attempt to prevent the worst outcomes of the nuclear standoff with Iran while kicking the can down the road on a diplomatic solution. Yet this approach would allow Iran to steadily develop its nuclear program while shaking off its economic and political isolation.
        Instead of laying the groundwork for a deal that reverses Tehran's nuclear program, this strategy risks cementing Iran's status as a nuclear threshold state. In the coming months, Iran will continue to improve its already advanced nuclear program by expanding its stockpile of enriched uranium, enhancing its centrifuge manufacturing capabilities, and better insulating its facilities from military strikes.
        Eric Brewer is a Deputy Vice President at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and has served on the National Security Council and National Intelligence Council. Henry Rome is a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
  • The Academy of Hate - Ben-Dror Yemini
    Graduates at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law chose Fatima Mohammed to deliver the commencement speech because of her beliefs. Above all else, she hates the United States, which granted her asylum. She wrote, "I pray upon the death of the USA." She added, "May every Zionist burn in the hottest pit of hell," and "I wish the death of Israel."
        Radical Islam is taking over parts of the intellectual elite in the U.S. Last year's speaker at the same college, at the same ceremony, was Nerdeen Kiswani, Mohammed's ideological twin, who called to "globalize the Intifada."
        Is there a chance that at a graduation ceremony, a student, perhaps Muslim, will speak out against the heinous crimes against humanity committed by radical Islam, when most victims are Muslims? Or about the calls and incitement of Hamas to destroy Jews? Or perhaps about the Taliban's ban on women's education? Or the ban imposed by Hamas' court on women leaving the house without the approval of a male guardian? Or, in general, about the oppression of women and LGBT people under Islamic rule? (Ynet News)
  • Trusted Regional Partnerships at a Time of Shifting Alliances: 2023 Arab-Israel-Africa Summit - Conference Highlights
    On March 27-29, 2023, representatives of think tanks, applied-diplomacy institutes, and journalists from over 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa came together in Jerusalem for a conference tackling the war on terror and radicalization, as well as water and food security, initiated by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Among the guests were representatives of countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel. This review of the highlights of the conference features excerpts from the presentations of the participants. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sky News on Friday that diplomacy has failed to stop Tehran from developing its nuclear capabilities. "I don't think that diplomacy by itself will work. I think diplomacy can only work if it's coupled with a credible military threat or the willingness to apply the military option if deterrence fails."
  • "Iran is openly committed to repeating the Holocaust and destroying the six or seven million Jews of Israel and we're not going to sit idly by and let them do it. (If) these ayatollahs think that they could threaten us with a nuclear holocaust, they're wrong. We will do whatever we need to do to defend ourselves."
  • The prime minister described as "completely false" a recent statement by the U.S. State Department condemning the building of a Jewish religious school on West Bank land as "violating Israel's commitment to the Biden administration."
  • "For God sake, this is the Land of Israel, it's our country, so I completely disagree with that, but I think one thing is true - the Palestinians are here and we're not going to push them out. We're here and they're not going to push us out."

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