July 17, 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:

Top IDF Officer Says Chance of Conflict with Hizbullah Appears Low (Times of Israel)
    IDF Northern Command head Maj.-Gen. Ori Gordin said Friday that the military believes the chances of an immediate conflict with Hizbullah are low, as he updated municipal leaders about IDF preparations for various potential scenarios.
    There have been several recent incidents instigated by Hizbullah, including Saturday when a Lebanese lawmaker and others crossed the border into Israeli territory before troops chased them back with warning shots.
    See also Hizbullah Gearing Up for Showdown with Israel - Baruch Yedid (JNS)
    See also Hizbullah Video Depicts Simulated Raid on Israeli Outpost (Al Manar-Hizbullah)

Anti-Israeli Content Removed from Saudi Textbooks - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    References to Jews as monkeys and pigs who worship the devil, and descriptions of them as traitors by nature and sworn enemies of Islam, have been removed from Saudi textbooks, IMPACT-se in London has reported.
    Also removed were conspiracies that Israel planned to expand its borders from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq.
    Content was added against Hizbullah and the Iranian-backed Houthis and against the Muslim Brotherhood movement, as well as more tolerant content that promotes peace.
    IMPACT-se Vice President Eric Agassi noted, "The changes that [Crown Prince] Bin Salman is making are extremely brave, unprecedented and are a sign of things to come. Saudi...textbooks are distributed to Muslim communities around the world and are studied by tens of millions of students."

Iran's Morality Police to Resume Headscarf Patrols - Laura Gozzi (BBC News)
    The "morality police" will return to the streets to enforce Iran's hijab laws and force women to cover their hair in public, a spokesman said on Sunday.
    This comes 10 months after Mahsa Amini, 22, died in custody following her arrest in Tehran for allegedly breaking the dress code. Her death triggered massive national protests and the patrols were paused.

Surge in Number of Tankers Transporting Oil from Eilat to East Asia - Yarden Michaeli (Ha'aretz)
    12 oil tankers docked in Eilat at the Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline terminal in the past year and the number is increasing.
    The pipeline allows the rapid transfer of crude oil from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea and on to East Asia, bypassing the Suez Canal.
    Of the 7 oil tankers that have docked in Israel this year, at least 5 unloaded their cargo in China.

In Obsessing over Israel, the Free World Is Looking the Wrong Way - Melanie Phillips (JNS)
    In 2022, Mohammad Tawhidi, an Australian Shiite cleric and Islamic reformist, noted that while the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood cannot operate in Muslim countries like Bahrain and Oman, they are operating in Britain, France, Canada and Washington, D.C.
    For five days in France, Muslim youths torched large numbers of buildings and vehicles. Jewish businesses and institutions were targeted, including kosher restaurants and food shops.
    Terrified Jews barricaded themselves into their homes as rioters screamed: "Death to the police," "Death to France" and "Death to the Jews!"
    France is losing the battle to remain recognizably France. Similar demographic trends are changing the face of Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK.
    The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Where Was the Palestinian Authority in Jenin? - Shira Rubin
    As IDF soldiers entered the Jenin refugee camp on July 3-4, Akram Rajoub, Jenin's governor, was on vacation. He rushed back, gathered his team of 60 Palestinian Authority security commanders, and told them: "Do not engage with the Israeli armed forces." The Jenin camp has descended into lawlessness over the past several years - ruled by drug dealers and gun runners, and, more recently, by Palestinian militias that have taken up arms against Israel, said Rajoub, who lives in Ramallah, 60 miles from the city he is in charge of running.
        The Israeli operation in Jenin exposed the weakness of the PA. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Jenin on July 12, arriving in a Jordanian helicopter. It was his first public appearance there since 2005. President Biden told CNN on July 9 that the Palestinian Authority has "lost its credibility," creating "a vacuum for extremism among Palestinians." With the PA unwilling to confront militants in its midst, Israeli military incursions have become more frequent. (Washington Post)
        See also What to Know about Palestinian Security Forces and Their Role in the West Bank - Miriam Berger
    The security forces of the Palestinian Authority followed orders and stayed out of the fighting in Jenin. Days later, when they did appear, it was to fire tear gas at mourners who had pushed Palestinian officials out of a crowd who had gathered to bury members of armed groups killed during the two-day Israeli operation.
        The Palestinian security forces include the National Security Forces, Presidential Guard, Preventive Security and General Intelligence Services that all report to President Abbas. Abbas has used the security forces to deepen his authoritarian grip, crack down on opponents and reward loyalists. In 2022, Human Rights Watch accused Palestinian authorities of "systematically mistreating and torturing Palestinians in detention."
        Many Palestinians view the Palestinian Authority and its forces as collaborators with Israel. A June survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah found that 66% of Palestinians in the West Bank supported the formation of armed groups outside of the security forces' control. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Terrorist Wounds Three in Drive-By Shooting - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli man was wounded and his two daughters were lightly hurt in a Palestinian drive-by shooting attack at the entrance to Tekoa, south of Jerusalem, on Sunday. (Times of Israel)
        See also Israeli Forces Capture Tekoa Shooter in Bethlehem - Elisha Ben Kimon
    The Palestinian terrorist who carried out the shooting attack near Tekoa was captured Sunday afternoon following exchanges of fire with Israeli forces in Bethlehem, where he had sought refuge inside a mosque. The gunman was identified as Amar al-Najjar, 26, a Hamas activist from Hebron who had previously served time in Israeli prison. Two other suspects were also detained. (Ynet News-Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Defense Minister Gallant: Israel Has Foiled 50 Attacks by Iran - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday in Azerbaijan: "By order of the supreme leader [Ayatollah Khamenei], in recent years, Iran has led an unprecedented global campaign of terror focused on Israelis and other Jews across the globe. There have been more than 50 attempts in recent years, the majority of which already got to the point of being ready to be carried out but were thwarted at the last minute." The plots were thwarted "by virtue of our defense establishment and by virtue of tight cooperation with many foreign countries and by virtue of the understanding that Iran constitutes a threat to the world."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Protect Archaeological Sites in Area C - Tovah Lazaroff
    The Israeli government is slated to approve Monday a plan to fund, develop and protect ancient Jewish archaeological sites in Area C of the West Bank. There are over 3,000 antiquity sites in the West Bank, 80% of which are in Area C, under Israeli military and civilian control. Most of these sites are vulnerable to robbery and vandalism.
        "In the last years, we have witnessed increasing damage to archeological sites in Judea and Samaria as a result of antiquities theft, illegal construction at the archaeological sites, and a deliberate policy by those who are hostile to the State of Israel," the Prime Ministerís Office said. "Some 1,000 sites have already been damaged."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • What Does Biden Have Against Israel? - Editorial
    Rhetorically, President Biden and his administration treat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition worse than they do the ruling mullahs in Iran. The effect of recent statements by the President and his Ambassador to Israel is for Israelis to see that the U.S. sides with their opposition parties. This is no way to treat a democratic ally and no way to pursue U.S. interests.
        Whether Israel's proposed reforms would rein in its high court's unusual powers, or tip the balance too far toward British-style parliamentary supremacy, is for Israelis to debate. Which they do, noisily, without Mr. Biden's commentary.
        U.S. aid to anti-Israel international bodies has resumed, and all of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem is treated as "occupied territory." But how does it advance peace to indulge Palestinians in the belief that Jews are interlopers in Judea and at the Western Wall? (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Interference in Israel's Internal Affairs - Elliott Abrams
    When France was swept by violent demonstrations earlier this month and thousands of people were detained, there were no comments from the Biden administration that France's democracy is at risk, or that the relationship between our two countries will be damaged if this continues. But as to Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu's proposed judicial reforms, the administration has been interfering for months. Why does the administration feel quite free to interfere with the internal politics of one democratic ally and not another?
        The double standard in Biden administration treatment of the unrest in France and in Israel is evident. It is also quite problematic, because it creates a precedent that those who are today urging interference in Israeli domestic disputes may tomorrow regret. The role of Israel's judiciary is about as "internal" a matter as can be imagined. Israelis are struggling - democratically and peacefully - over those domestic issues. They should be able to do so without U.S. interference.
        The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the CFR, served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Why the U.S.-Israel Alliance Endures - Avi Mayer
    I recently spent several days meeting with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and administration officials in Washington. While I had braced myself for ominous talk of a growing partisan divide over Israel, surprisingly and happily, that's not what I heard. While there was acknowledgment of voices on the margins of both parties trying to tug the U.S. away from Israel, virtually all of my interlocutors on both sides of the aisle emphasized that Israel remains an area of broad bipartisan agreement.
        I heard hope of expanding the Abraham Accords to encompass additional countries, anticipation of closer cooperation on areas ranging from artificial intelligence to renewable energy, and confidence that the U.S. and Israel will work together to counter the threat posed by Iran and its terrorist proxies. Never once did anyone indicate that America is anywhere near "reassessing" its ties with Israel.
        Israelis don't just feel an affinity for America - they deeply love it. And, in some respects, they're more pro-America than Americans themselves. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 87% of Israelis say they view America favorably.
        The love is very much mutual. A 2021 poll by Gallup found that 75% of Americans had a favorable view of Israel - the highest figure in thirty years. Surveys by the American Jewish Committee found that more than eight-in-ten Americans view anti-Zionism - that is, denying Israel's right to exist - as a form of antisemitism. American elected officials support the U.S.-Israel alliance because Americans do.
        The writer is editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel Fought Terrorists in Jenin, Not Palestinians - Amb. Tzipi Hotovely (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Innocent Israeli civilians have been the target of countless terror attacks, many orchestrated from Jenin. In the last year alone, 50 terrorist attacks have been orchestrated from there. The militant armed groups seek to destroy the State of Israel and fundamentally oppose Western values. Since September 2022, at least 19 terrorists are known to have fled to Jenin after committing attacks.
  • If the Palestinian leadership undertook to counter threats originating from Jenin, then Israel would have no interest in operating there. But in the current reality, Israel has no option but to act.
  • Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad delegations recently visited Tehran and met the Supreme Leader, who said the "growing power" of Palestinian groups was "the key to bringing the Zionist enemy to its knees."
  • The ungoverned spaces that exist inside the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), due to years of neglect and a leadership that preferred to invest in terrorism instead of investing in education for peace, has fostered a new and dangerous environment that has allowed terrorists to thrive.
  • Israel has no quarrel with the Palestinian people. Unfortunately, as long as the Palestinian leadership chooses to invest in terror, incitement and incentives to carry out attacks against Jews, we will not be able to move forward and will have to continue to protect our citizens.
  • Only when the Palestinian leadership acknowledges that Israel is an integral part of the Middle East will there be a genuine chance for peace.

    The writer is Israel's ambassador to Britain.

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