July 13, 2023
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy
Dan Diker, President - Yechiel Leiter, Director General

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Tehran Set Up Russian-Israeli's Abduction in Iraq to Secure Iranian's Release - Lazar Berman (Times of Israel)
    The kidnapping of Russian-Israeli researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov in Baghdad three months ago was carried out to pressure Israel to release an Iranian operative held by Israel, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
    Sources said talks were being mediated by Russia, "which may result in the release of Tsurkov in the coming days."

Israel-Saudi Arabia Land Bridge Weighed - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Israel and the U.S. are advancing a secret plan to establish a continuous land bridge connecting the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, leading from the Persian Gulf straight to Israel's seaports.
    This is intended for the export of goods by truck from the East to Europe through Israel, significantly reducing transportation costs and time.
    Currently, trucks leaving the UAE reach the port of Haifa via the Allenby Bridge but face driver changes, bureaucratic paperwork, and lengthy waiting times.
    An Israeli Foreign Ministry document noted that the Land Connectivity by Trucks project "will be a game-changer that will upgrade global trade in the Middle East, improve Israel's position as a hub for transporting goods from the Far East to the Western world, and highlight the role of the United States in the region."

Report: Mossad Involved in Thwarting Attack on Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    An Afghan citizen was arrested by Azerbaijan security services on suspicion of planning an attack against the Israeli embassy in the country, according to reports on Tuesday.
    Israel's Mossad security service monitored the movements of Pavzan Musa Khan, 33, who entered Azerbaijan through Iran. He was arrested by Azerbaijani authorities after being observed in the vicinity of Israel's embassy.
    Investigations revealed that Khan sought assistance in procuring weapons and explosives for the intended act of terrorism.

Iran Nuclear Scientist: Israel Stole Most Important Documents of Iran's History (Iran International-Twitter)
    Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist targeted by Israel in 2020, was "very sad and outraged" in 2018 when Israel managed to steal the Islamic Republic's secret nuclear documents, his son said, adding that his father believed they were "the most important documents of Iran's history."

Study: Israel Is Targeted on Twitter More than Any Other Country - Zvika Klein (Jerusalem Post)
    "Israel was mentioned approximately 10 times more than any other country in tweets pertaining to human rights violations," according to a new study by the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University.
    Israel is mentioned 12 times more than China on human rights issues, 38 times more than Iran, and 111 times more than North Korea.
    The study analyzed close to 100 million tweets from Jan. 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022.
    Adam Sohn, CEO of the NCRI, emphasized that "the tropes of anti-Zionism are used to justify a larger attack against Jews everywhere."

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Israeli National Anthem Played at Saudi Arabian eSports Tournament - Andrew Bernard (Algemeiner)
    Israel's national anthem was played in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh on Tuesday at an eSports tournament with Israeli competitors.
    An Israeli team competing in the world finals for the soccer videogame FIFA flew the Israeli flag and were greeted with Israel's anthem Hatikvah at the tournament's opening ceremony.
    Israeli media reported that the gaming team entered the country on their Israeli passports.

Israel's Elbit Announces Sale of Patrol Aircraft in Asia - Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo (Defense News)
    Israel's Elbit Systems has won a $114 million contract to provide two long-range patrol aircraft to an Asian-Pacific customer, who observers believe could be the Philippine air force.

North American Jewish Immigration Contributed NIS13 Billion to Israel's Economy in Last Two Decades - Moshe Glantz (Ynet News)
    According to a recent study published by Deloitte, during 2002-2022, 75,000 immigrants from North America have contributed a net profit of over NIS13.04 billion to the Israeli economy.
    Israel's investment in immigrants per capita (e.g., Hebrew language programs, government absorption basket) is returned to the state's treasury within one year, and the "Return on Investment" of immigrants to Israel's economy is 480%.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinian Authority Refuses Israel's Lifeline to Prevent Collapse
    The Palestinian Authority on July 10 rejected an Israeli offer to help prevent its collapse in exchange for Palestinian steps to halt key anti-Israel policies. Under Israel's terms, the PA would cease its activities against Israel in international diplomatic and legal forums, stop illegal construction in parts of the West Bank, end incitement against Israelis, and stop pay-to-slay payments to families of Palestinian terrorists who kill Israelis. In return, Israel would take economic, tourist, and security measures to stabilize the PA.
        In refusing the bailout offer, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh vowed to continue anti-Israel efforts in the international arena and reiterated a 2018 pledge by President Mahmoud Abbas, who said, "Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners, and their families."
        Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research at FDD, said, "The PA has been on the brink of collapse for years. Some of this is due to American cutbacks promoted by congressional outrage over 'pay-to-slay' budgets. In addition, the PA has lost the support of Gulf Arab states owing to the stagnant and corrupt leadership of Mahmoud Abbas."  (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • Senators Demand U.S. Administration Reverse "Antisemitic Israel Boycott"
    A group of 15 U.S. Republican senators sent a letter on Tuesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the Biden administration to rescind its "discriminatory" guidance issued last month halting bilateral scientific and technological cooperation with Israeli entities operating in Judea and Samaria. "The new guidance as written constitutes an antisemitic boycott of Israel," they wrote. "The American people and Congress broadly and deeply oppose boycott efforts against Israel, which have been repeatedly defined in U.S. law as efforts to limit [commerce] with persons doing business in any territories controlled by Israel."
        "This guidance in particular puts Americans' safety, security, and prosperity at risk because it politicizes and undermines cooperation on science and technology, including in areas such as defense and medicine where also our Israeli allies have proven themselves critical partners."
        The move reversed an initiative by the Trump administration in October 2020 that removed geographic restrictions on cooperation with Israel in the areas of science, industrial research and agriculture. In eliminating the restrictions, then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, "We are righting an old wrong and...depoliticizing a process that should never have been political in the first place."  (JNS)
        See also Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Debate Biden Guidance on Israeli Cooperative Funding - Marc Rod (Jewish Insider)
  • U.S. Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Texas Anti-BDS Law - Aaron Bandler
    The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit on July 10 challenging Texas' state law barring state contracts with businesses that engage in boycotts of Israel. "There is not a single state that has adopted an anti-BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] law that does not have that law up and running in full effect today. Challenges to state anti-BDS laws have not succeeded in a single instance," said Israeli-American Coalition for Action Executive Director Joseph Sabag. "This particular case represented some of the last gasps of the BDS hate movement's effort to attack these laws in the federal courts."  (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF Thwarts Attempts to Blow Up Lebanon Security Fence - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The IDF prevented two separate attempts on Wednesday to damage the border fence between Israel and Lebanon. Four suspected Hizbullah operatives approached the security fence and attempted to sabotage it with explosives. They set off the explosives, which reportedly wounded some of them, but failed to break through the fence. Israeli soldiers immediately spotted the suspects and used nonlethal means to get them away from the fence.
        A few hours later, unidentified Lebanese used fireworks and other means to try to engage or disrupt IDF forces. The fireworks blew back into Lebanese territory and the IDF succeeded in removing them as well. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Thwarts Palestinian Terrorist - Elisha Ben Kimon
    IDF forces on Monday identified a Palestinian terrorist at the Halamish checkpoint near the Palestinian village of Deir Nizam in the West Bank. He got out of his vehicle at a checkpoint and threw a grenade at the Israeli forces, then shot at the soldiers with a Carlo submachine gun. The soldiers returned fire and killed the terrorist. (Ynet News)
  • UK Refuses to Disclose Audit of Aid to Palestinian Authority - Lahav Harkov
    The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has refused to disclose how it ensures its funding for the Palestinian Authority does not go to incentivizing terrorism, in response to a freedom of information request from pro-Israel organizations. The Foreign Office sent a refusal letter to the NGOs last week, saying that "the disclosure of information detailing the audit reports of the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program could potentially damage the bilateral relationship" between the UK and the Palestinians.
        The PA pays a monthly stipend greater than the average salary to terrorists and their families. The amount increases the greater the prison sentence, such that Ramallah pays more for wounding or killing more Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jenin Residents Worry International Reconstruction Aid May Be Misappropriated by PA - Gianluca Pacchiani
    Following Israel's anti-terror operation this month in Jenin, local Palestinian residents have taken to social media to express their worries that international donations toward its reconstruction will be pocketed by Palestinian Authority officials. Some have expressed concerns that the money will meet the fate of "many projects that the Palestinian Authority has promoted over the decades and have remained a dead letter," according to the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency.
        Palestinian political activist Omar Assaf said, "The PA's reputation is not immaculate when it comes to spending public money, everyone knows this." He called for a "transparency committee" including local residents to oversee the aid spending and avoid corruption. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • Israel's War Against Tehran's Foreign Legions -  Clifford D. May
    Israeli troops battled the Islamic Republic of Iran's foreign legions in the northern West Bank earlier this month. Tehran is adept at using proxies to fight its wars: Hizbullah in Lebanon, Shia militias in Iraq, Houthi rebels in Yemen.
        Recently, both Islamic Jihad - a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - and Hamas - the designated terrorist entity that rules Gaza which also receives arms, money and instruction from Iran - have been increasing their presence in the West Bank, a territory that, under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is responsible to govern.
        Two days of intense fighting took place in Jenin's "refugee camp." Do you not find it odd that Palestinians living on Palestinian territory under the Palestinian Authority are called refugees? After Israel's founding, nearly a million Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries where they had lived for centuries. Their descendants do not call themselves refugees and demand a "right of return."
        The writer is founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Washington Times)

  • Palestinians

  • Surge in Palestinian Terror Is a Preview of a Two-State "Solution" - Jonathan S. Tobin
    The international reaction to the recent surge in Palestinian terrorism and Israel's operation in Jenin to take out the gunmen and infrastructure of the groups responsible for the bloodshed has been as predictable as it is depressing. Far from making it clearer that the world must pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state next to Israel, the fighting actually provides us with a preview of what such a scheme would mean for both sides.
        Jenin had become a mini-Gaza, a no-go zone for the Palestinian Authority and a terrorist stronghold dominated by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, bolstered by funding from Iran. No one should be under any illusions that the terrorists won't rebuild or that the PA will take it back or suppress the terrorists as they are obligated to do under the Oslo Accords. The conclusion to be drawn is that if Israel were ever to grant sovereignty to the Palestinians there, the entire area would become, like Gaza, a terrorist state.
        It's true that, at least in principle, two states for two peoples would be the most logical way to end the century-long war against Zionism that the Palestinians have been waging. But not even the so-called moderate Palestinians are prepared to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.
        The talk about a "cycle of violence" to describe recent events is predominantly rooted in a narrative that places most of the onus for the current state of affairs on Israel. Yet the depiction of even the most gruesome acts of Arab terrorism as understandable and seeing the Palestinians solely as victims, no matter what they do, contributes to the demonization of Israel and its people.
        Indeed, one BBC host depicted an effort to take out a terrorist group as another example of Israelis "being happy to kill children." The New York Times falsely reported that Hamas and PIJ are solely protesting the "occupation," rather than being committed to Israel's extinction. (JNS-Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Do Not Have a "Right of Return" into Israel under International Law - Dr. Einat Wilf
    The events that led to the creation of the original Palestinian refugees have no connection to the existence of Palestinians who claim to be "refugees" today. Tens of millions of people who became refugees throughout the 20th century are not refugees today. No others have insisted on perpetuating their status.
        The reason why there were Arab refugees at all in 1948 is simple - the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine and Arab armies waged an entirely unnecessary war against the partition of the land into a Jewish and an Arab state. Then as now, they chose to forfeit having their own state if it means that the Jews would have one too. The Palestinians have worked to maintain their inter-generational refugee status for one reason only: to avoid accepting the outcome of the war of 1948 in the form of a Jewish state in any part of the land.
        Palestinians do not have a "right of return" into the sovereign state of Israel under any kind of international law. There is no precedent of a country being forced to accept a group of people against its will, and Palestinians, despite impressive efforts, cannot make up laws that gives them something that does not exist.
        The modern "nakba-catastrophe" narrative seeks to erase any memory of Arabs waging an unnecessary war and to turn Palestinians into innocent bystanders rather than people who pursued a clear objective of denying another people a state, and failed.
        The writer, a former IDF intelligence officer and Knesset member, is the co-author of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace (2020). (Twitter)

  • Other Issues

  • Video: Has Washington Turned Its Back on the Middle East? - Malcolm Hoenlein interviewed by Dan Diker
    Although the American leadership still has geopolitical interests in the region, Americans have sent the wrong signals. This includes President Biden's intentional diplomatic omission in not inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to the White House, Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Jerusalem Center President Dan Diker.
        Contrary to its stated objectives, in the Middle East the U.S. appears to passively support the Iranian regime, while the Iranian regime continues to oppress and kill its own citizens. "There's only one message that ayatollahs understand, and that is strength. They probe for weakness, that's what dictators do. And where they find weakness, they exploit it."  (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-JNS)

  • Aliens hearing the condemnations of Israel by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell regarding Israel's recent military action against the terror infrastructure in Jenin would imagine Israel's forces deciding out of the blue one morning to willfully, cruelly, and disproportionately attack the town of Jenin for no apparent reason.
  • They would not have any idea that Palestinian terrorists had turned the Jenin refugee camp into an armed, aggressive, and fanatic fortress, and with explosives implanted under the roads and weapons stored in hospitals, clinics, mosques, and in almost all private residences. Terrorists built a 300-meter tunnel under a local mosque in order to store weapons and produce thousands of lethal weapons in laboratories. The city was also the center, shelter, refuge, and exit-point for countless cruel acts of terror committed against Israelis.
  • International law specifically prohibits the use of civilian areas as centers for staging terror. Such civilian areas lose their privileged protection if they are used for offensive military purposes. This provides Israel with the legal prerogative to use a requisite and proportionate amount of force to neutralize the military threat emanating from them.
  • Numerous international counter-terror conventions and UN Security Council resolutions require states to act decisively to prevent acts of terror, to prevent cooperating with and financing terror, and to refrain from encouraging, inciting, and supporting acts of terror. Yet Israel's critics overlook Israel's prerogative to defend itself against the deadliest forms of terror emanating from the various Palestinian terror organizations.
  • One may wonder why the leading international bodies continue to minimize Palestinian terror while deliberately overlooking their declared penchant for killing Israelis. What do they really expect of Israel? Clearly, those pontificating for the use of restraint in such a violent and pure terror ambiance have merely chosen to adopt a false narrative in order to match their preexisting inclination to condemn Israel for defending itself.
  • Such hypocrisy and double standards by international bodies achieve nothing and encourage the Palestinian terror apparatus, supported and encouraged by Iran, to continue to harm Israel.

    The writer, who directs the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, served as the legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and as Israel's ambassador to Canada.
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