August 28, 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:

Israel to Have Partial Laser Defenses by Next Year - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    "One year from now, Israel will be the first country to have partial laser protection, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems chairman Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio on Sunday.
    "In two years there may be complete protection - against missiles, shells, rockets, or anything else. This will protect us both in the south and in the north."
    In February, senior Defense Ministry official Brig.-Gen. (res.) Danny Gold said Israel's air-defense lasers, when fully deployed, will be able to shoot down the drones Iran has been sending Russia to use against Ukraine.

U.S. Marines to Buy Three Israeli Iron Dome Batteries and 1,840 Interceptors - Joseph Trevithick (The Drive)
    The U.S. Marine Corps on Thursday posted plans to acquire three Iron Dome anti-missile batteries including 44 launchers and 1,840 Tamir interceptors.
    The Marines say they want Iron Dome primarily to help protect units from cruise missiles, but these systems also provide defense against drones, rockets and artillery rounds.
    The Iron Dome's manufacturer, Israel's Rafael, has a partnership with Raytheon to offer the system in the U.S., where it is also referred to as SkyHunter.

Israel to Receive Eight U.S. Heavy-Lift Helicopters - Justin Katz (Breaking Defense)
    The U.S. Navy on Thursday awarded Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky a contract for 35 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters, including eight that are bound for Israel. The newer helicopters boast three times the carrying power of their predecessors.
    The Israelis previously purchased four helicopters. In 2021, the U.S. cleared the potential sale of a total of 18.

The Deadly Militia "Spotters" of Jenin - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    In recent months, Palestinian militias in the West Bank have introduced improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and roadside bombs into their arsenal.
    Palestinian spotters alert other units of the approach of an Israeli vehicle so ambushes can be set and roadside bombs triggered.
    Palestinian Salim Awad showed CNN a 16-minute video of Israeli military vehicles in Jenin during the fighting in which Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was killed.
    The footage tells us that the spotter was filming and transmitting the location of Israeli armored vehicles.
    A plausible answer to the question of Abu Akleh's death is that she stood between Israeli soldiers who believed they were in danger and spotter Salim Awad, filming their location and transmitting his video.
    The writer, a veteran of AIPAC and former Deputy Chief of Staff in Israel's Washington Embassy, is Director of the Institute for U.S.-Israel Relations at the Jerusalem Center.
    See also Palestinian Militias in Jenin Deployed Teenage Girls to Report on Israeli Troop Movements during Combat - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

The Palestinian Authority's Influence on the "Arab Street" in Israel - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    A senior Israeli Arab source told me that the task of the sector's leadership is to return the Israeli Arabs to the fold of the Palestinian people and, after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, to declare the Israeli Arabs' autonomy, and later perhaps even to merge with the Palestinian state and augment Israel's isolation.

Antisemitism of Top European Court Judge Exposed - David Rose (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    The European Court of Human Rights is facing calls to re-examine cases involving Jews after its longest-serving judge was exposed for sharing extreme antisemitic content on social media.
    Bostjan Zupancic, who worked at the court for 17 years until 2016, has shared claims that Jews are "the central enemies of Western civilization," as well as the hook-nosed caricatures commonly seen in neo-Nazi propaganda.
    Zupancic posted a link to a YouTube video that supposedly revealed the "rise of the Rothschild banking mafia."
    He also shared an assertion that "unless Jewish power is named as the cancer, there is not hope for the white race."

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UK Seeking to Block ICJ Ruling on Israel - Bethan McKernan
    The UK submitted a 43-page "amicus brief" to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month as part of the ICJ's fact-finding stage before an expected advisory opinion from the court on the "legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel" in the territories.
        The UK opposes the hearing of the case in the ICJ altogether. The UK, along with Israel and Western states such as the U.S. and Germany, voted against it on the grounds it would push the parties away from negotiations.
        The UK opinion submitted to the ICJ rests on four main arguments:
    • An advisory opinion would effectively settle Israel's "bilateral dispute" without the state's consent.
    • The court is not equipped to examine a "broad range of complex factual issues concerning the entire history of the parties' dispute."
    • An advisory opinion would conflict with existing agreements between the parties and negotiation frameworks endorsed by the UN.
    • The request is not appropriate as it asks the court to "assume unlawful conduct on the part of Israel."  (Guardian-UK)
  • Dutch Supreme Court Confirms Immunity of Former Israeli Officers over 2014 Gaza Airstrike - Mike Corder
    The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that a Palestinian man cannot sue Israel's former Defense Minister Benny Gantz and former Air Force Commander Amir Eshel over their roles in a deadly 2014 Gaza airstrike because they have "functional immunity," since they were carrying out Israeli government policies.
        Israel's Justice Ministry told a lower Dutch court that an internal Israeli military investigation determined the airstrike had killed four militants hiding in a house and that the attack was permissible under international law. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Palestinian Terrorists Take Advantage of Freedom of Movement to Murder Israelis
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement on Friday: "Israel allows maximum freedom of movement in Judea and Samaria for both Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, Palestinian terrorists take advantage of this freedom of movement to murder Israeli women, children and families by ambushing them at certain points on different routes."
        "34 civilians have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2023, many of them while driving home. The most recent incident occurred when Bat-Sheva Nagari was murdered on Route 60 in Judea in front of her daughter. In order to prevent these heinous murders, Israel's security forces have implemented special security measures in these areas. This is what Minister Ben-Gvir meant when he said 'the right to life precedes freedom of movement.'"  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Four Palestinians Attack IDF Post near Jenin - Emanuel Fabian
    Four Palestinians who hurled explosive devices at an IDF post near Yabed, west of Jenin, in the northern West Bank early Monday were shot and wounded by Israeli troops. Three of the wounded were detained by the soldiers, while a fourth was taken by Palestinian medics to a hospital in Jenin. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Arrests Four Arab Israelis for Smuggling Iran-Made Explosives via Hizbullah
    The Israel Security Agency revealed on Thursday that four Arab Israelis were arrested for smuggling arms from elements connected to Hizbullah. They were found with high-quality ammunition and explosive devices made in Iran. (i24News)
  • Arab Israeli Indicted for Joining Islamic State, Planning Terror Attack
    Hamzeh Abu Zeilah, 19, was indicted for joining Islamic State, officials said Friday. The Bedouin man is also accused of trying to recruit others into ISIS. (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Nabs 2 Palestinians Infiltrating from Gaza with Hand Grenades - Emanuel Fabian
    Two Palestinians were detained by Israel Defense Force soldiers while attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza on Friday. Troops later found two fragmentation hand grenades nearby. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Is It Racist to Prioritize Freedom from Terror? - Jonathan S. Tobin
    In discussing the recent surge of murders of Jews by Palestinians, who are then celebrated by their community and its leadership as heroes, Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told Israel's Channel 12, "My right, the right of my wife and my children to move around Judea and Samaria is more important than freedom of movement for the Arabs. The right to life comes before freedom of movement."
        Most media sources quoting Ben-Gvir didn't include the last sentence. Shorn of that line and taken out of context, the comment came across as unabashed racism. The notion that a Jewish right to free movement takes precedence over similar rights for Arabs is repugnant. That was the way it was interpreted by the U.S. State Department.
        The problem with these assumptions is that those condemning Ben-Gvir are ignoring not only the context of his comments, but also whether there is an intrinsic right for Palestinian Arabs to attack and murder Jews that trumps the latter's right to live in security. Protecting Jews against terrorism by means that would inevitably inconvenience the population that both produced and supported the terrorists is not an extreme position. Support in Israel for the checkpoints and security fence that helped to end the horror of the Second Intifada in the early 2000s is a matter of national consensus.
        Even if you think it's unwise for Israel to build communities in what is the heart of the ancient Jewish homeland, the idea that the hundreds of thousands of Jews who live there should be treated as legitimate targets for terrorism is both legally untenable and immoral. Were terror against Jews not such a routine occurrence, then measures like checkpoints or fences would be unnecessary. At stake in this debate is not the right of Palestinians to freedom of movement. Rather, it is whether there is a right to commit terrorism against Jews. (JNS)
  • The Safety of Israeli Lives Does Take Precedence over Unlimited Freedom of Access for Palestinians - David Brinn
    The construction of the security barrier and extra checkpoints throughout the West Bank are a blight on the landscape and an affront to an "open borders" policy that freedom-loving people aspire to. However, they have saved countless lives.
        There doesn't seem to be any argument over the right of people not to be arbitrarily killed or targeted in hate crimes - and that in order to achieve that, it means that security sometimes trumps some unrestricted freedom of travel - whether at a checkpoint or a metal detector at an airport. That's a fact for everyone since 9/11 in the West as well.
        Although the vast majority of Palestinians are not terrorists, those in their midst whose life goal is to murder Israelis are the ones who created the reality that all have to live with now. I really believe that Israel would like nothing better than to demolish the security barriers and dismantle the checkpoints. But until that's possible, I'm thankful every day that they exist.
        The writer is managing editor of the Jerusalem Post. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Would Judicial Reforms in Israel Open Up the Israeli Military to Charges of War Crimes? - Amb. Alan Baker and Lt.-Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch
    The judicial reforms being discussed in Israel do not change or impact the independence and willingness of the Israeli investigative and prosecutorial bodies to investigate and prosecute potential offenders.
        Attempts to link Israel's proposed judicial reform and the International Criminal Court (ICC)'s principle of complementarity would appear to indicate a lack of understanding of both the provisions of the ICC Statute and the proposed reform.
        The jurisdiction of the ICC is limited to the most heinous offenses carried out as part of a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population. Since Israel has no such policy, the proposed legal system reforms are irrelevant to the ICC proceedings.
        The jurisdiction of the ICC is also limited by the "Complementarity Principle," which means that states, rather than the ICC, have priority in proceeding with cases within their jurisdiction. This principle means that the Court will complement, but not supersede, national jurisdiction and will only assume jurisdiction if a state is "unwilling or unable to carry out the investigation or prosecution."
        Alan Baker served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the ICC Statute.
        Maurice Hirsch served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps and was director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria.
    (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Pending Israel-Palestinian ICJ Advisory Opinion: Threats to Legal Principles and Security - Orde Kittrie and Bruce Rashkow
    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is poised to eviscerate the longstanding legal framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which was established by UN Security Council resolutions and the Oslo Accords. It is the only framework for achieving peace that has been endorsed by Israel and all Arab League member states. Yet the ICJ - at the behest of the UN General Assembly - may soon advise that international law requires Israel to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw from the disputed Palestinian territories.
        Unless the Western allies take robust action in this case, the ICJ could also undercut the inherent rights of states to self-defense and sovereignty, undermine the UNSC's authority to maintain international peace and security, and subvert the law of armed conflict (LOAC). International law does not prohibit an interim occupation, which results from a legal use of force in self-defense, pending resolution of the conflict. Neither the 1907 Hague Regulations nor the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention requires an occupier, whose occupation results from a legal use of force in self-defense, to withdraw before a peace treaty is signed.
        In 1967, the international community recognized the legality of Israel's preemptive action against Arab armies poised to attack. Draft resolutions condemning Israel's actions were resoundingly defeated in both the UNSC and the UNGA.
        Orde Kittrie is a law professor at Arizona State University who served as a U.S. State Department attorney. Bruce Rashkow served as the U.S. State Department's assistant legal adviser for UN affairs and as director of the UN Office of Legal Affairs' General Legal Division. (Lieber Institute-West Point)

Why Saudi Arabia Needs Israel - Dr. Harold Rhode interviewed by Assaf Gabor (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 25Aug2023)
  • Dr. Harold Rhode served as advisor to the U.S. Defense Department for Islamic and Middle Eastern Affairs from 1982 to 2011. He speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish and French, and notes that the West frequently overlooks the basics of Muslim culture.
  • Prior to the Oslo Accords 30 years ago, Rhode warned the Clinton government that this was a Palestinian scam. "The people that worked on the accords didn't want to hear me when I told them it was a bluff. Arafat signed on Oslo in English, but what he was saying in Arabic showed his 'salami tactics.'" He explained that the Oslo agreement was like the Hudaybiyyah Treaty that the Prophet Muhammad had signed: a ceasefire in order to regroup and then attack.
  • "I warned that a lot of people would die and that the accords were not worth the paper they were written on. The word 'no' does not exist in Arab diplomacy: they will promise you everything that you want, and that with the test of time it becomes clear that it all was a lie in order to survive. There is no such conception of 'compromise,' because compromise is viewed as a loss of honor."
  • With regard to Israel's future relations with Saudi Arabia, Rhode noted that the Saudis "need Israel, and therefore they are prepared to set the Palestinian issue aside. They don't care much for the Palestinians, and as Wahhabi Muslims they don't recognize Jerusalem as a holy place." Their leading theologian "has ruled that only Mecca and Medina are holy to Islam. He claimed that Jews who converted to Islam were responsible for making Jerusalem a city holy to Islam."
  • "While the Saudis officially speak of the importance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there are also Saudis who say that the Palestinians are not connected to the Land of Israel and came there as foreign workers. In Saudi Arabia, nothing is published without government approval, and when you see articles against the Palestinians, you can understand that these reflect the spirit of the government."
  • "The Saudis need relations with a strong nation that will stand with them in time of war against the Shiites. They would prefer the U.S., but the Biden administration has insulted them. However, the Iranian hatred for Israel guarantees that Israel will be their faithful ally....In economic matters as well, Israel is seen as a strong state, and its technology can help the Saudis to make the desert bloom."

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