September 11, 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 Will Act If Iran Enriches Uranium above 60 Percent - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
    "If Iran enriches uranium at above 60% as an action that we would identify - and there is no chance that we would not, that the world and the International Atomic Energy Agency would not recognize it - the result is that Israel would have to act," Israel's National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi told the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya on Monday. "There would not be any choice."
    Passing the 60% threshold would mean that "we have reached the moment when Iran is clearly telling the world that it is going for a [nuclear] bomb," Hanegbi said.

Mossad: 27 Iranian Terror Plots Foiled This Year - Eitan Glickman (Ynet News)
    Mossad Chief David Barnea said Sunday that the agency disrupted 27 attempted terror strikes by Iran against Israelis and Jews around the world in the past year.
    He said, "After we proved to the world what was evident to us - that all the plots that we foiled were guided by Iran, it is time to exact a price, in a manner not yet seen."
    "Thus far we have reached the commanders and those responsible for the terrorism, but I will say now that if any harm comes to an Israeli or a Jew by Iranian proxies or weapons, it will lead to action directed at whoever sent the terrorists on their mission, whether it be the lowest-ranking operative or the highest-ranking decision-maker. I mean what I say. The price will be exacted from deep inside Iran, in the heart of Tehran."
    See also Mossad: Israel Concerned about Russian Supply of Weapons to Iran - Noa Shpigel (Ha'aretz)
    Mossad Director David Barnea said Sunday, "We are concerned that the Russians will meet Iran's demands to supply it with weapons and raw materials that will put Israel at risk."
    He added that five factors were driving Iran's "over-inflated self-confidence," leading to an increase in its pursuit of terror.
    He listed Tehran's drone sales to Moscow and oil sales to China, its regional agreements with countries like Saudi Arabia, the suppression of the Mahsa Amini protests, and Iran's "success in its outrageous hostage diplomacy."

Morocco Yet to Accept Most Aid Offers following Earthquake (Times of Israel)
    Two days after a devastating earthquake hit Morocco, killing thousands, Rabat had yet to accept most of the offers of assistance from around the world.
    In Israel, the IDF, Magen David Adom emergency responders, and IsraAID had prepared rescue teams to assist but were unable to depart since Morocco had yet to accept their offers.

Explosion at Gaza Sewage Treatment Facility Sends Sewage Flowing toward Israel - Matan Zuri (Ynet News)
    An explosion at a sewage treatment facility in northern Gaza has led to a discharge of 13,000 cubic meters of sewage into the Mediterranean, reaching Israeli shores.
    Israel diligently monitors the wastewater treatment facility in northern Gaza and allows its engineers unrestricted access to assist Palestinians in repairing the facility, including providing the equipment necessary for repairs.

Survey: Nearly 1 in 3 Jewish College Students Has Witnessed or Experienced Antisemitism on Campus - Andrew Lapin (JTA)
    Nearly one in three current Jewish college students has witnessed or experienced antisemitism on campus, according to a new survey released Friday by Jewish on Campus, a student-founded antisemitism watchdog group.
    Conducted between March and May with more than 1,000 college students nationwide who identify as Jewish, 14% said they had directly experienced antisemitism on campus, while another 16% said they had witnessed an antisemitic incident.
    The survey also found that 84% of Jewish respondents believe antisemitism is a threat to the country.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • G20 Leaders Unveil Israel-Saudi Arabia Rail Link Plan - Aamer Madhani
    President Joe Biden and his G20 allies on Saturday announced plans to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe via Israel. The project includes a rail link between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. (AP-Washington Post-Globes)
        See also Netanyahu Lauds New India-Israel-Europe Transport Corridor Plan
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday hailed a newly announced U.S.-backed plan to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East, Israel and Europe. Netanyahu said the initiative "takes us to a new era of regional and global integration and cooperation, unprecedented and unique in its scope."
        "Our country Israel will be a central junction in this economic corridor, our railways and our ports will open a new gateway from India through the Middle East to Europe, and back."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Delegation Attends UN Heritage Conference in Saudi Arabia - Josef Federman
    An Israeli delegation led by the head of Israel's Antiquities Authority arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to attend a UN conference on world heritage sites. (AP)
        See also U.S. Pressed Israel to Drop Request for Visas for Two Ministers to Attend UN Meeting in Saudi Arabia - Lazar Berman
    After pressure from the U.S., Israel decided not to push for visas for Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Education Minister Yoav Kisch to attend the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Saudi Arabia, Israel's Channel 13 reported. The Saudis had been introducing obstacles during the visa process. In March, Axios reported that Saudi Arabia barred Cohen from leading a delegation to the UN World Tourism Organization conference. (Times of Israel)
  • Azerbaijan Hails Defense Cooperation with Israel - Yaver Kazimbeyli
    Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev discussed the benefits of defense cooperation during a visit to Israel on Wednesday. During 2014-2022, Azerbaijan was the second-largest importer of Israel-made arms. Harop loitering munitions gave the Azerbaijani army a clear edge over Armenia in the 2020 war. Azerbaijani forces also deployed the Israeli-made LORA operational-tactical missile system during the war.
        The Middle East Eye claimed that Armenia launched Russian-made Iskander missiles at Azerbaijan's capital Baku in the final days of the war. However, Azerbaijani forces intercepted the missiles with the Israel-made Barak-8 air defense system. (Caspian News-Azerbaijan)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians in Samaria Try to Fire Rocket at Israeli Town - Emanuel Fabian
    Palestinians in the northern West Bank attempted to launch a rocket at a nearby Israeli town on Sunday. A group calling itself the al-Ayyash Battalion said it had launched a rocket at the Israeli town of Ram-On, adjacent to the security barrier. The IDF said the launcher was found in Silat al-Harithiya, northwest of Jenin, and that the rocket did not land in Israeli territory. (Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Begins to Establish a Rocket Production Infrastructure in Jenin - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Palestinian Attacks IDF Soldiers with Firebombs - Danielle Greyman-Kennard
    A Palestinian threw firebombs at IDF soldiers near Al-Arroub on Saturday evening. The attacker was shot and killed. (Jerusalem Post)
  • European Union Condemns Mahmoud Abbas for "Fueling Antisemitism" - Itamar Eichner
    The European Union on Thursday stated: "The speech delivered by President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to Fatah's 11th Revolutionary Council in late August contained false and grossly misleading remarks about Jews and anti-Semitism....They trivialize the Holocaust and thereby fuel antisemitism and are an insult to the millions of victims of the Holocaust and their families."  (Ynet News)
        See also Britain Condemns Palestinian President's Remarks on the Holocaust (Reuters)
        See also Paris Revokes Mahmoud Abbas' Honorary Medal, Cites Holocaust Denial
    Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Thursday revoked the Medal of the City of Paris awarded to Mahmoud Abbas in 2015, due to his recent comments in which he expressed a "clear desire to deny the genocide to which the Jewish populations of Europe were victims at the hands of the Nazi regime." Your comments "are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Holocaust, so you can no longer claim...the highest distinction of Paris. I condemn your comments in the strongest possible terms; no cause can justify revisionism and negationism," she wrote to Abbas. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Evolution of Israeli Intelligence: 1973 to 2023 - Yaakov Lappin
    The 1973 Yom Kippur War, its casualties, and the ability of Israel's adversaries at the time to surprise the Jewish state have left a multi-generational scar on the Israeli national psyche. In the years since, Israel has embarked on an unparalleled intelligence revolution.
        Today, the IDF is informed by a network of state-of-the-art sensors, with vast information-gathering capabilities in space, air, on land and at sea. The IDF employs artificial intelligence and big-data analysis to detect anomalies and shifts in enemy movements and behavior, and receives automatic alerts when these appear.
        The Aug. 28 announcement by the Israeli Defense Ministry regarding the progress of the Oron intelligence-gathering aircraft - the most advanced of its kind - is a case in point. Fueled by artificial intelligence, the Oron can gather intelligence on thousands of enemy targets, spanning thousands of kilometers, in a matter of seconds. Nevertheless, the potential for surprises has not been eliminated, and one of the key lessons of the 1973 war is to never assume that all of the threats are known, and never to fall victim to complacency.
        Adversaries evolve, and their ability to develop new ways to threaten Israel should never be trivialized. At the same time, Israel's own evolving intelligence capabilities, when mixed with its ability to deliver mass, precise firepower based on that intelligence, represent a major leap forward and reduce the chances of a catastrophic strategic surprise.
        The writer is a military affairs analyst at the Miryam Institute, a research associate at the Alma Research and Education Center, and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. (JNS)
  • The Palestinian Authority 30 Years after Oslo - Ghaith al-Omari
    The Oslo process has produced ongoing conflict with Israel and a divided Palestinian polity with two governments whose only commonalities are corruption, poor governance, and authoritarian policies and practices. The Israelis, for their part, were promised security and acceptance, but feel they have received continued terror and delegitimization instead.
        One would be hard-pressed to find a single world leader today who believes that a two-state solution is at hand and, accordingly, there is no diplomatic appetite to invest in its realization. More worryingly, the Israeli and Palestinian publics are abandoning it. Concurrently, terrorism from Palestinian factions and individuals is resurgent, with the PA unable to exert its security control in areas under its authority.
        Moreover, the PA operates like many neighboring dictatorships to limit the political space and is fiercely resistant to any efforts towards political rejuvenation. As a result, it is drifting gradually but inexorably towards domestic and diplomatic irrelevance. Most Palestinians today see the PA as a liability rather than an asset.
        The writer is a fellow of The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Lessons of Oslo Remain Unlearned - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Following years of terrorism and bloodshed rather than a historic reconciliation following the Oslo Accords, for the overwhelming majority of Israelis, the accords proved an epic disaster rooted in wishful thinking. Yet some still stubbornly look for explanations other than the obvious one about the Palestinian lack of interest in ending their century-old war on Zionism and the Jews.
        Instead of trading land for peace, all Israel did was exchange territory for terrorism. Prior to Oslo, the arguments in favor of land for peace were much stronger than they are now that Arafat and Abbas demonstrated that no matter what they were offered or given, they were still unwilling to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders were drawn.
        The international community isn't any more sympathetic to Israel as a result of the risks it ran and sacrifices it made than they were before 1993. Indeed, it is entirely possible that they are less sympathetic to an Israel that was willing to gamble with the likes of a veteran terrorist like Arafat. Rather than interpreting Oslo as a generous gesture in which tangible assets and territory to which Israel had at least as good a claim as the Arabs were given up in exchange for the hope of some quietude, the international community viewed it as an Israeli admission of guilt for holding onto stolen goods. (JNS)
  • Deceitful Palestinian Supporters Fuel Violence - Nancy Sher
    I am a Jew living in Jerusalem. While we live in constant interaction with our Arab neighbors who enjoy full rights here, we know that a Jew daring to live in our ancient homeland can be murdered on any day at any moment - stabbed in the drugstore directly below my daughter's apartment, mangled in a car ramming while waiting for a bus, or shattered by a bomb on the main street of my walk home: all true near-misses in my recent life.
        The author of an article on Aug. 15 claims that Israel is guilty of stealing Palestine from a Palestinian people and that violence against Israelis is justified. But when we began to return to our ancient homeland in the mid-1800s, there was no state of Palestine, no Palestinian national identity, no Palestinian history and borders. Until British occupation during World War I, the Land of Israel was nothing more than part of Greater Syria, controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
        The author tells us there were 1 million Palestinians here "before Israelis immigrated," but the entire area held only a half-million people by the 1878 Ottoman census, including Jews and Christians. The Mandate period saw the Arab population double, reaching a million by 1948, driven by the immigration of Egyptian Muslims, Bedouin Arabs and Bosnian Muslims.
        Palestinian terror is not justified revenge for the theft of a state that never existed. Jews had been massacred by Arabs long before Jews had any power here, for example, in Hebron in 1517, again in 1834, and yet again in 1929. These massacres were not a reprisal for an as-yet nonexistent "Israel."  (Albany Democrat-Herald)

  • While Saudi Arabia desires any normalization deal with Israel to benefit the Palestinian people, it is financially and morally irresponsible to distribute funds through the corrupt, terrorist-funding PA.
  • Instead, the creation of a new Saudi-led international aid organization would enable the Saudis to tangibly improve Palestinian lives, foster a civil society more amenable to Arab-Israeli normalization outside of the PA's repression, and create a much-needed alternative to the PA's endemic misgovernance.
  • Providing funds to the Palestinian Authority, an organization that continues to reward Palestinian terrorism, would undercut the peaceful message and implications of normalization.
  • It is the PA's intransigence, repression and cronyism that holds back an even deeper and wider peace between Israel and the Arab and Muslim worlds.
  • It is past time to stop funding Palestinian aid through an organization like the Palestinian Authority that has no intention of yielding a return on that investment, and whose corruption and misgovernance works directly at cross-purposes with shared U.S., Israeli and Saudi goals of promoting peace, prosperity and stability.

    Mike Pompeo is a former U.S. secretary of state and director of the CIA.
    Sander Gerber, a member of the steering committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is also a member of the State Department's Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) advisory board.

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