July 31, 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:

Poll: Israel Is America's Top Ally after UK, Canada - Nam Lam (Pew Research Center)
    A new Pew Research Center survey shows that Americans rank Israel as the U.S.' top ally after the UK and Canada.

Survey: Americans Increasingly Aware of Discrimination Against Jews - Daniel Edelson (Ynet News)
    The Survey Center on American Life, part of the American Enterprise Institute, reports a notable increase in awareness of the antisemitism faced by Jews in the U.S., with 54% of Americans agreeing that Jews suffer from a significant amount of discrimination today, up from 32% a decade ago.
    82% of Jewish respondents report experiencing "a lot of discrimination" against their community.
    The upswing in awareness can be attributed to a rise in public exposure to instances of antisemitism and the pervasive and harmful stereotypes that continue to persist nationwide.
    The survey also highlighted the enduring positive attitude of Jews towards the U.S.
    70% of Jewish respondents considered America the greatest nation in the world, compared to 58% of the general population.

PA Working to Restore Its Rule in Jenin - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Since the IDF's operation in the Jenin refugee camp on July 3-4, Palestinian security services have been actively working against suspected terrorist activities in the city, surprising Israel with their intensity and speed.
    Shortly after the IDF left the refugee camp at the beginning of the month, Palestinian Authority security forces arrived and began enforcing order in the city.
    This was, in retrospect, also part of the IDF operation's objectives.
     The Palestinian security services arrested dozens in the refugee camp and began reclaiming the PA's sovereignty there and enforcing public order in the city.
    In addition, on Monday IDF forces arrested two Hamas terrorists in the city.

Israeli-Built Satellite Blasts into Space for Singapore (Times of Israel)
    An Israeli-made reconnaissance satellite blasted into space Sunday from India and is functioning correctly.
    The DS-SAR satellite was made by Israel Aerospace Industries on behalf of Singapore's Defence Science and Technology Agency.
    IAI said the satellite was developed based on experience gained from constructing the military reconnaissance satellites OptSat for Italy and TecSAR for Azerbaijan.

U.S. and Israel Begin Naval Exercise in Haifa (DVIDS)
    The U.S. 5th Fleet and the Israeli Navy began an annual maritime security exercise in Haifa, Israel, on July 30.
    Intrinsic Defender is a two-week bilateral exercise that will focus on explosive ordnance disposal, mine countermeasures, maritime and global health management, underwater construction, maritime surveillance and vessel boarding procedures.
    Both navies have completed multiple joint patrols in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including 18 bilateral and multilateral exercises in the past two years.

Iran Is Attempting to Seize Command of the Syrian Army - Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri (Alma Research and Education Center)
    Iran is attempting to seize command of the Syrian army through the assimilation of Shiite militias into the army.
    The Al-Imam Hussein Brigade, the strongest Iranian militia in Syria, was integrated as an organic force within the army's 4th Division, commanded by Maher al-Assad (brother of President Bashar al-Assad).
    The militia operatives actually became division soldiers.

5 Killed, 7 Wounded in Clashes at Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon - Kareem Chehayeb (AP)
    At least five people were killed and seven wounded on Sunday during clashes in Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon.
    Palestinian officials said fighting broke out after a gunman tried to assassinate Islamist militant Mahmoud Khalil, killing a companion of his instead. Later, Islamist militants assassinated a Palestinian military general from Fatah and three escorts.
    See also Violent Clashes in the Palestinian Ayn Al-Hilwe Refugee Camp - Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri (Alma Research and Education Center)

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Security Experts See U.S.-Saudi Security Pact as Unlikely - Laura Rozen
    U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, NSC Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, and White House energy advisor Amos Hochstein traveled to Saudi Arabia to consult with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday to discuss a U.S.-Saudi security pact and prospects for Israel-Saudi normalization. But several regional security experts say the U.S. is unlikely to extend the Saudi kingdom a treaty-type security guarantee.
        The Middle East Institute's Firas Maksad said Thursday, "There's unrealistic expectations on both sides....This is not something that the Saudis can flip the switch and deliver on without some concrete steps from the Israeli side." Yet Israeli Prime Minister "Netanyahu risks his coalition if he is to attempt anything of significance towards the Palestinians, and the Palestinians themselves are in disarray....This new push for normalization, because...the U.S. administration would like to deliver before next year, is, I feel, divorced from the political reality on the Israeli/Palestinian side."
        Moreover, a defense alliance with the Saudis is "unrealistic, given the political context here in the U.S., particularly on the Hill, where Saudi Arabia remains deeply unpopular. To be able to deliver a treaty...anything that would need to be ratified by Congress, is just completely divorced from reality," Maksad said.
        David DesRoches, professor at the National Defense University, said a U.S. defense pact with Saudi Arabia "is a fantasy." The president "would not even submit a U.S.-Saudi mutual defense treaty to the Senate.... Bottom line: what's discussed can't be delivered."  (Diplomatic-Substack)
        See also Israel: Normalization with Saudis Is Not Imminent - Dan Williams
    Yuli Edelstein, head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Israel's Army Radio on Sunday that relations with Saudi Arabia did not appear imminent. "Most of the Saudi discourse is with the Americans, and not with us," he said, adding that when it came to Riyadh's demands of Washington, "there are some things we can live with better, and some things we can live with less well."  (Reuters)
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Backs Congressional Review for Removing Iran Sanctions - Marc Rod
    The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to advance Iran-related bills that would provide a formal congressional review process to remove sanctions and would ratchet up sanctions on Iran's drone and missile program. 7 Democrats voted in favor of congressional review of sanctions removal. (Jewish Insider)
  • Palestinians March Against Hamas in Gaza
    Several thousand people briefly took to the streets across Gaza on Sunday to protest chronic power outages and difficult living conditions, in a public show of discontent with the Hamas government. Hamas security forces quickly dispersed the gatherings. Protesters in one place burned Hamas flags. Police destroyed mobile phones of people who were filming. Protesters also criticized Hamas for deducting a $15 fee from monthly $100 stipends given to Gaza's poorest families by Qatar. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Video: Demonstrations Against Hamas in Gaza (Twitter)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Tells International Court of Justice: "All Disputes with the PA Should Be Resolved in Negotiations," Not in the Court
    Israel submitted a formal opinion to the International Court of Justice in The Hague last week against its probe into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel's Channel 11 reported Thursday. Israel's National Security Council said, "All disputes with the PA should be resolved in negotiations between the sides." The U.S. also submitted a response to The Hague backing Israel's position.
        The UN General Assembly in December passed a resolution pushed by the Palestinians asking the court for an "advisory opinion" after the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry recommended that it do so.
        The court last issued an advisory opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2004 when it ruled against the legality of the West Bank security barrier. Israel ignored the decision, arguing that the barrier was a security measure meant to prevent Palestinian attackers from reaching Israeli cities. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel: UN Secretary General Emboldens Palestinian Terror - Tovah Lazaroff
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' remarks regarding the IDF operation in Jenin were a "disgrace" that "emboldened Palestinian violence against Jews." "Throughout this tactical operation [in Jenin], 12 Palestinian terrorists were killed," two command centers were uncovered, two shafts of attack tunnels were closed, five explosive-making labs were found and hundreds of IEDs and weapons were discovered, including in mosques, while no civilians were killed. "Imagine my shock when, rather than commending Israel for uprooting terrorists with surgical precision, the Secretary-General condemned only Israel...for defending itself."
        Moreover, "the Secretary-General and UN bodies repeated brazen Palestinian lies about Israel preventing access of humanitarian and essential care," even though Israel maintained a "humanitarian corridor" throughout the operation. As a sign of the operation's success, PA President Mahmoud Abbas was able to safely visit the city for the first time in 11 years. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Terrorists Launch Rocket from Jenin at Israel - Israel Moskovitz
    The IDF on Thursday found remnants of a rocket that was launched from Jenin toward northern Israel but fell inside the West Bank. Several attempts have been made by Palestinians in the West Bank recently to launch rockets. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Busts Iranian Malware Campaign
    Iranians tried to collect information from Israeli researchers and civil servants in a phishing campaign by using fake profiles on LinkedIn, the Israel Security Agency said Sunday. The fake accounts sent them a file for either an invite to a conference or for articles and studies. However, these files were actually malware that would allow the senders to take control of their victims' computers. The ISA called on the public to watch out for other phishing attempts online. (Walla-Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Fail to Reach Agreement on "National Unity" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    A meeting of Palestinian leaders in Egypt ended on Sunday without agreement on ending the feud between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and Hamas. At the meeting, Abbas called for "peaceful popular resistance" against Israel, while Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh insisted on armed "comprehensive resistance." Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and As-Sa'iqa boycotted Sunday's meeting. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Cutting U.S. Aid to Israel Would Embolden Its Enemies and Make Conflict More Likely - Dennis Ross
    Columnists who recently proposed ending U.S. military assistance to Israel act as if cutting off assistance would have little or no effect on the way the Iranians and Hizbullah would read the situation and American support for Israel. However, it is more likely that the Iranians and Hizbullah will up the ante and make a conflict far more likely. Would that serve America's interests?
        Every Israeli leader wants to preserve Israel's qualitative military edge and it is American equipment that provides it. Moreover, Israel's development of Iron Beam - a laser-based defensive system that can be a cost-effective game-changer in countering tens of thousands of Hizbullah rockets and drones - requires more security assistance from the U.S. to make it operational sooner rather than later.
        At a time when the Saudis, Emiratis, and others in the region doubt our staying power in the region, the announcement that we are cutting military assistance to Israel will reinforce their view that we are leaving the Middle East. That will surely feed their instinct to further hedge bets - hardly something likely to serve our interests.
        The writer, a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, held senior national security positions under four U.S. presidents. (Tablet)
  • U.S. Aid to Israel Creates an Ironclad Bond - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin and Dr. Avner Golov
    More than anything, military aid symbolizes America's commitment to Israel's security, which dramatically affects Israel's and America's deterrence posture in the region. Iran will be more brazen should its regime conclude that the U.S. will not stand by Israel in a future confrontation. The U.S.-Israel military partnership serves as a stabilizing force and prevents further security deterioration.
        Israel's "defend itself by itself" approach enables the U.S. to build a regional pro-American coalition that counters Iran's malign activities while enhancing U.S. influence and diminishing China's and Russia's.
        Maj-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin served as the head of Israel Defense Intelligence and deputy commander of the Israeli Air Force. Dr. Avner Golov served as a senior director at Israel's National Security Council.  (Tablet)
  • Israel's Contribution to the Failure of the Oslo Accords - Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
        For Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat, the Oslo Accords were merely an opportunity to secure a solid foothold in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza from which to pursue his oft-repeated goal to destroy Israel. Yet from the start, there was a systemic Israeli failure to identify these motivations.
        The agreements between Israel and the PLO included reciprocal Palestinian commitments. Primary among these was the total abandonment of terrorism to advance their political agenda. Instead of demanding and ensuring strict PLO/PA compliance with their commitments to combat terror, Israel watched as the PLO/PA embraced Palestinian terror organizations and actively participated in terror.
        Internationally-designated terror organizations responsible for the murder of thousands of Israelis operate freely in the PA-controlled areas. When Israel arrests terrorists, the PA still pays them substantial monthly payments to reward their participation in terror.
        This review focuses on four representative aspects of Palestinian non-compliance and Israeli inaction – the saga of the Palestinian Covenant, the failure of the PLO/PA to fulfill its commitments to combat terror, the lack of Palestinian democracy, and the "State of Palestine" affair.
        The writer, Director of the Palestinian Authority Accountability Initiative at the Jerusalem Center, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria. This article is part of the Center's new "Oslo at 30" compendium. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • As an American, I keep scratching my head as to President Biden's seemingly intense interest in Israel's judicial reform legislation. Why has he commented - either directly, through American and Israeli journalists, or via his press secretary - multiple times on this domestic Israeli political issue?
  • I don't recall President Clinton warning Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 30 years ago not to press forward with the Oslo Accord, Israel's highly controversial peace agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was only approved with 61 votes in the 120-member Knesset - a much narrower margin than the judicial reform vote.
  • Here at home, passing important legislation without opposition consensus is not much of an issue. The White House seems quite at ease with Vice President Kamala Harris tying the historical record by so far casting 31 tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Democracies sometimes get things done by narrow margins. That's how our system - and Israel's - works. It's not a good idea for either side to wade into the domestic politics of the other.
  • It's important that Israel's adversaries not misread dissent for division and miscalculate into conflict. But, in this case, the right approach is to affirm the strength and constancy of American support for Israel, regardless of how it sorts out its constitutional housekeeping. Biden's stance risks setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy about the erosion of U.S.-Israel ties that may be more consequential in convincing Israel's enemies that the Jewish state is weak and vulnerable.
  • There are times when it is wisest to keep one's advice private and criticism discreet, maintaining a public silence. This time, silence would have been the wiser course.

    The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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