May 2, 2024
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Israel's Global Embassy for National Security and Applied Diplomacy

In-Depth Issues:

President Biden Considering Bringing Palestinians from Gaza into U.S. as Refugees - Camilo Montoya-Galvez (CBS News)
    The Biden administration is considering bringing Palestinians from Gaza to the U.S. as refugees, according to internal federal government documents obtained by CBS News.
    Officials across several federal U.S. agencies have discussed resettling Palestinians from Gaza who have immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents, or if they have American relatives.
    Those who qualify would receive permanent residency, resettlement benefits like housing assistance, and a path to American citizenship.

House Passes Bill to Expand Definition of Antisemitism - Farnoush Amiri (AP-Washington Post)
    The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would establish a broader definition of antisemitism for the Department of Education to enforce anti-discrimination laws, the latest response from lawmakers to a nationwide student protest movement over the Israel-Hamas war.
    The proposal, which passed 320-91, would codify the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal anti-discrimination law that bars discrimination based on shared ancestry, ethnic characteristics or national origin. It now goes to the Senate.
    The expanded definition of antisemitism was first adopted in 2016 by the IHRA, a group that includes the U.S. and EU states, and has been embraced by the State Department under the past three administrations, including Joe Biden's.

German Ambassador Attacked by Palestinians during Visit to West Bank (i24News)
    The German Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Oliver Owcza, faced a violent attack during his visit to the West Bank on Tuesday.
    Palestinian students at Birzeit University near Ramallah targeted the diplomat, hurling stones, damaging his vehicle, and forcing him to flee the scene.

Top UN Court Rejects Nicaragua's Request for Germany to Halt Aid to Israel - Mike Corder (AP-Washington Post)
    The top UN court rejected on Tuesday a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military and other aid to Israel and renew funding to the UN aid agency in Gaza.
    The International Court of Justice said that legal conditions for making such an order weren't met and ruled against the request in a 15-1 vote, effectively siding with Germany, which told judges that it's barely exporting any arms to Israel.
    However, the judges declined to throw out the case altogether, as Germany had requested.
    The court will still hear arguments from both sides on the merits of Nicaragua's case, which alleges that, by giving support to Israel, Germany failed to prevent genocide in Gaza. The case will likely take months or years.

Palestinians Receive Permits to Work in Israel - Yuval Nisani (Globes)
    A senior source in Israel's construction industry said 8,000 Palestinian workers from Judea and Samaria have recently received permission to enter Israel and are working on construction sites around the country, and that 8,000 more are expected to enter soon.
    These are Palestinian workers who were employed in Israel in the past, and have now received new permits from the Israel Security Agency.

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Only Two U.S. Missile Interceptors Succeeded in Iran Attack (Jerusalem Post)
    Only two out of eight U.S. interceptors succeeded in hitting Iranian missiles during the drone and missile attack that targeted Israel on April 13, Israel Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
    Over 90% of Israeli interceptors hit their targets.

Israel Replaces U.S. Patriots with David's Sling - Dean Shmuel Elmas (Globes)
    Israel's Air Force is in the process of replacing its Patriot surface-to-air missile defense system with the David's Sling system, an Israeli product very close to the PAC-3 level, the most advanced interceptor of the Patriot series but significantly cheaper.
    While each PAC-3 interceptor costs $6 million, David's Sling interceptors cost $700,000.
    The Patriot was first used in the Gulf War in 1991. Its first interception in Israel was in 2014 against a drone from Gaza.
    Since then, Patriot batteries in Israel have intercepted 19 threats, nine of them in the current war.

Hizbullah Stumbles into a War of Attrition - David Daoud (Wall Street Journal)
    Hizbullah began attacking northern Israel on Oct. 8 to support Hamas. Yet by attacking Israel, Hizbullah embroiled itself in a war of attrition that it neither envisioned nor wanted.
    The fighting, according to the group's tally, has cost it nearly 300 men, exposed its arsenal in Lebanon to Israeli attacks, and displaced thousands of its supporters. The clashes are harming it more than its adversary.
    Poverty and chaos have engulfed Lebanon in recent years. The country's economy imploded in 2019 and hasn't fully recovered.
    Lebanese citizens, including Hizbullah's supporters, struggle to get food, electricity, and other necessities.
    Hizbullah's leaders are wary of the Lebanese street, whose financial miseries would only worsen if Hizbullah's fighting provoked a conflagration with Israel.
    At the same time, the group's arsenal inside Lebanon has ballooned, and its political and social power has become nearly uncontestable.
    Oct. 7 demonstrated the lethal risk to Israel of trying to manage an opponent that is simultaneously planning to launch an attack at the right moment.
    Notwithstanding its hesitations, Hizbullah has no intention of ending its pursuit of Israel's destruction.
    The group is essentially waiting until its domestic situation, and those of its patron and allies, is more stable and its capabilities more lethal - ideally under an Iranian nuclear umbrella.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Palestinian Terrorist Involved in Killing Three Israelis Wins Top Arab Literary Prize - Sheren Falah Saab (Ha'aretz)
    Basim Khandaqji, a Palestinian security prisoner in Israel serving three life sentences for participating in the planning of a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market that killed three Israelis in 2005, was awarded the International Prize for Arabic Fiction on Sunday.
    The prize, which includes a $50,000 grant sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, is regarded as the most prestigious literary prize in the Arab world.
    Awarding the prize to Khandaqji was widely lauded in the Arab world.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Saudis Push for "Plan B" Deal with U.S. that Excludes Israel - Julian Borger
    The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have drafted a set of agreements on security and technology-sharing which were intended to be linked to a broader Middle East settlement involving Israel and the Palestinians. However, in the absence of a ceasefire in Gaza and adamant resistance from the Israeli government to the creation of a Palestinian state - and its determination to launch an offensive on Rafah - the Saudis are pushing for a more modest plan B, which excludes the Israelis.
        Under that option, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia would sign agreements on a bilateral defense pact, U.S. help in building a Saudi civil nuclear energy industry, and high-level sharing in the field of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. Under Riyadh's plan B proposal, the U.S.-Saudi deals would not be made dependent on agreement from Israel. However, it is far from clear whether the administration - let alone Congress - would accept such a plan.
        U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Riyadh on Monday, "The work that Saudi Arabia and the United States have been doing together in terms of our own agreements, I think, is potentially very close to completion." A formal offer would be extended to Israel, exchanging Saudi normalization of relations for "irrevocable" moves towards the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.
        However, Kirsten Fontenrose, a former senior director for the Gulf in the U.S. National Security Council, said, "The Israeli government is currently placing higher value on blocking the formation of a Palestinian state than on normalizing with the Saudis. So the deal now being discussed is bilateral."  (Guardian-UK)
  • Iran Celebrates Pro-Palestinian Protests at U.S. Colleges - Tom O'Connor
    Iranian leaders have been staunchly supporting the pro-Palestinian protest movement at U.S. universities. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed "the uprising of Western students, professors and elites in support of the oppressed people of Gaza" during a cabinet meeting Sunday.
        Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Monday that "what we have witnessed in American universities in recent days shows...the depth of public hatred toward the crimes of the usurping Zionist regime."
        The latest U.S. State Department human rights report published last week noted how "the [Iranian] government severely restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association." It accused Iranian authorities of responding violently to peaceful gatherings, including those associated with the 2022 wave of demonstrations in which hundreds of protesters were killed in Iran and thousands more arrested. (Newsweek)
        See also UN Rights Chief Troubled by U.S. Treatment of Anti-Israel Protesters
    UN human rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday he was "troubled" by actions taken by U.S. security forces to break up pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses. "Some of the law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their impacts," he said, referring to arrests and sanctions of students. (Reuters)
  • Biden Accuses Gaza Protesters of Hate Speech
    White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said Tuesday: "President Biden has stood against repugnant, antisemitic smears and violent rhetoric his entire life. He condemns the use of the term "intifada," as he has the other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed in recent days....Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful - it is wrong. And hate speech and hate symbols have no place in America."  (X)
        See also House Democrats Called on Columbia Board to End Protest Encampment - Lauren Sforza
    Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Dan Goldman (D-NY) led a group of 21 House Democrats urging Columbia University's board of trustees to disband "the unauthorized and impermissible encampment of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish activists on campus."
        "Many students have been prevented from safely attending class, the main library, and from leaving their dorm rooms in an apparent violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act....If any Trustees are unwilling to do this, they should resign so that they can be replaced by individuals who will uphold the University's legal obligations under Title VI."  (The Hill)
        See also Police Clear Building at Columbia and Arrest Dozens of Protesters on Tuesday (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Establish More Safe Zones for Gaza Civilians
    The IDF plans to establish a "safe zone" in central Gaza on the outskirts of Nuseirat and Bureij to serve as a shelter for Palestinians who will be evacuated from Rafah, Israel Army Radio reported Wednesday. The current shelter area near al-Mawasi will also be expanded eastward toward Khan Yunis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Militias Are Resurgent in the Northern West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Armed groups control the streets of many Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps in the West Bank, particularly in the areas of Nablus, Jenin, Kalkilya, and Tulkarem. Most armed groups in the West Bank currently operate within the framework of "battalions" whose members belong to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and disgruntled activists from Abbas' ruling Fatah party. These armed men are hailed by the Palestinian public as "heroes" and "resistance fighters."
        The PA and its media also glorify the gunmen, although many of them harshly criticize PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and his policies. In some cases, the funerals of gunmen killed by Israeli security forces are broadcast live on Palestine TV in Ramallah.
        The only person authorized to crack down on the armed groups and individuals roaming the streets of Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank is 88-year-old Abbas. In recent years, however, Abbas has shown that he has no intention of ending the widespread phenomenon of armed groups operating in the areas under his control.
        Although Israeli security forces have killed dozens of West Bank gunmen since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, Palestinian security sources estimate that there are still between 3,000 and 3,500 militiamen in the northern West Bank. The Tulkarem Battalion alone has more than 200 gunmen.
        The U.S. plan to "revitalize" the PA should focus first and foremost on enforcing law and order in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.
        The writer, a veteran Israeli journalist, is a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Gaza War

  • The Wartime Outrage in Israel that No One Is Talking About - Ruth Marcus
    Trust me, you do not want to watch Sheryl Sandberg's documentary, "Screams Before Silence," about sexual violence committed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 and beyond. Trust me, you should.
        You should watch it and speak out, about the piercing screams of women being assaulted - and the appalling silence of prominent individuals and organizations, including women and women's groups, that would ordinarily rush to condemn such atrocities but whose reaction has been muted when it comes to gender violence deployed against Israeli women. The violence described in Sandberg's documentary occupies a different plane of calculated cruelty - indeed, of evil.
        The world that assails Israel for its conduct of the war in Gaza should be speaking out about Hamas' concerted assault on women. The terrorist group can deny this all it wants, but any repudiations are belied by the facts: The sexual violence was not isolated but repeated and methodical.
        The filmmakers deemed some of the most searing evidence too gruesome and too intrusive to be shown. "It's actually worse than you are able to show," Sandberg said, her eyes filling with tears. "Much worse."  (Washington Post)
        See also Sheryl Sandberg Screams Back at the Silence - Bret Stephens
    To watch "Screams Before Silence" is to be disabused of any lingering doubts about what Hamas did. The personal testimonies of victims, survivors and witnesses are clear and overpowering, as is the photographic evidence Sandberg was shown of mutilated corpses. And some of them have scarcely been heard about outside Israel.
        The sexual violence appears to have been by design. Terrorists engaged in gigantic killing sprees usually don't have time to strip and rape their victims. How did so many of the killers get the same idea? What starts with the Jews, as the saying goes, never ends with the Jews. (New York Times)
        Watch "Screams Before Silence" - One-Hour Documentary - Sheryl Sandberg (YouTube)
        Watch "Screams Before Silence" - Two-Minute Trailer  (YouTube)
  • Israel's War for Justice - Ben-Dror Yemini
    A terrorist organization whose spokesmen talk about the extermination of Jews and Christians, and taking over the world, is threatening the Free World. Yet the two international courts, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), are threatening Israel by declaring that Israel is committing genocide or by issuing international arrest warrants against heads of state who dared to speak out against those who rose to destroy it. It's kind of like an international tribunal issuing an arrest warrant for Winston Churchill for the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg, not against Adolf Hitler.
        We must say in a clear voice: Hamas has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hamas carried out a massacre. Hamas declares that it supports the extermination of Jews. And you go against those who defend themselves from annihilation! This absurdity, in which the aggressor celebrates and the defender fears arrest warrants, is not only a threat to Israel. It's a threat to the Free World. (Ynet News)
  • Already a Travesty, the ICC Eyes Charges Against Israel - Eugene Kontorovich
    The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is reportedly considering arrest warrants against Israeli leaders for alleged war crimes. This would be the first time the ICC has taken this step against a liberal Western democracy. Such charges would allow unaccountable bureaucrats in The Hague to put Israel's elected officials on trial for decisions they made to defend the Jewish state against Hamas.
        The charges alone would harm Israel by serving as a diplomatic catalyst for sanctions and boycotts of the Jewish state. But the diplomatic damage depends on a mistaken view of the ICC's legitimacy. It isn't some grand "world court." The countries most likely to use military force have chosen not to join. Despite a $200 million annual budget, the ICC has convicted only six people of the mass-atrocity crimes it was created to adjudicate in 2002. Incumbent dictators such as Russia's Vladimir Putin have simply ignored ICC indictments.
        The ICC can't deter dictators and warlords. The likeliest outcome of an ICC charge against Israel would be to make it harder for small democracies to defend themselves from aggressive neighbors. In 2020, the ICC prosecutor shelved an investigation into allegations of torture by U.S. troops in Afghanistan when President Trump imposed sanctions on her and a colleague. After the Biden administration lifted those sanctions in 2022, the ICC promptly reopened the investigation.
        The writer is a professor at George Mason University Law School and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also The International Criminal Court (ICC) Has Been Hijacked, Politicized, and Abused - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
  • Why Israel Must Win - and Why American Jews Must Support It - Karen Bekker
    We are hearing from influential people in America that Israel's time in Gaza has effectively expired, that a unilateral ceasefire, without victory over Hamas, is a "moral imperative." But they have it totally backwards. It is victory over Hamas that is the moral imperative.
        When Israel is seen as weak, Jews around the world are more vulnerable. When Israel is secure, Jews around the world are secure as well. The fate of Jews in Israel and Jews in the diaspora are intertwined. If Israel does not destroy Hamas, all Jews around the world will be less safe.
        If Hamas is allowed to live another day, it will mean that Hamas is able and allowed to cross the border and attack Jews with impunity. This will bring the Jews both in Israel and worldwide back to the pre-Israel condition of being essentially defenseless, as they were in Europe as well as the Middle East from the beginning of the diaspora until the reestablishment of the Jewish state in 1948. The fact of Jews having a refuge in Israel will become meaningless.
        Jews in the diaspora need Israel to be secure. It is imperative, therefore, that American Jews insist to all of our political leaders that Israel has the right to proceed into Rafah in order to finish the job that was started. And Israel needs Jews in the diaspora to make clear to all the necessity of an Israeli victory.
        The writer is assistant director of the Media Response Team at CAMERA.  (Israel Hayom)

  • Anti-Israel Protests

  • The Leadership of the Campus Protests Believes in the Total Destruction of Israel by Any Means - Jonathan Chait
    Many progressives deny that extremism characterizes the campus protests. But this view contains a significant amount of denial and wishful thinking over who is running these protests. The best way to understand the beliefs of protests is usually to read the published statements of the groups organizing them. That is especially true when the protests are well organized by an established network.
        In this case, the protests have been organized by Students for Justice in Palestine. And their position is totally explicit: They believe in the total destruction of Israel as a state by any means, including violence. Not every protester shares this goal, of course. But it is the goal of the people directing the protests. That is why their slogans and chants call for elimination rather than coexistence.
        Allies of the protesters have tried to blame the constant antisemitic harassment and atmosphere of menace emanating from their activities on a handful of outsiders. The Washington Post reported on "a Columbia student who has taken part in the pro-Palestinian protest encampments declaring that 'Zionists don't deserve to live.'" But this student didn't merely take part in protests, he was a leader of them, and he negotiated with the administration on their behalf.
        At the University of Michigan, the leader of the main student anti-Israel group, who had been sympathetically profiled in the New York Times, wrote on social media, "Until my last breath I will utter death to every single individual who supports the Zionist state. Death and more. Death and worse." The most violent and unhinged statements are coming not from the periphery of the protests but from their leadership. (New York Magazine)
  • Campus Rioters Are Not Justice Warriors - David Suissa
    Israeli troops have long evacuated most of Gaza, humanitarian aid has been flowing in. At the same time, terrified hostages have been held captive for over 200 days by the terror group Hamas. If you're a college student looking for a noble cause, I can't think of a nobler one than "Let the Hostages Go!" Imagine the protesters directing their anger at Hamas, with banners and chants calling to "Liberate the Hostages, Don't Wait Another Day!"
        It's not enough to have the "optics" of justice-seeking warriors unafraid to take on the police and get arrested. It's not enough to set up tents and play drums and wear keffiyehs and throw temper tantrums trying to convince the world there's no country worse than Israel. A cause needs a minimal level of credibility. Many of these Israel-hating groups lost their credibility right after Hamas murdered, mutilated, raped and burned alive 1200 Israelis on Oct. 7 - before any war started in Gaza. Instead of condemning the carnage, they defended it.
        The campus protests have never been about a war or about helping Palestinians. The war was the ideal pretext for protesters to unleash rage against Jews and Israel and everything they hate about the West. These riots are anti-America as much as they are anti-Israel. Their actions have nothing to do with free speech. Intimidating and harassing students you don't like, and violating university codes of conduct, is not protected speech. It is an assault on the free speech of others.
        These protests are about crushing Israel, not criticizing it. These are not cool revolutionaries. They are boring conformists. The hysterical rioters are blowhards pretending to be rebels and picking on the world's easiest target. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

  • Weekend Features

  • Israel's Citizen-Soldiers - Emily Benedek
    Ari Kalker fought in the Commando Brigade in northern Gaza until the end of January. Kalker made aliya from Queens after 11th grade, 20 years ago, and now runs a construction company in Jerusalem that specializes in high-end renovations. I asked him how much of a role revenge for Oct. 7 played in the devastation we saw in pictures from Gaza. He was very clear. "If it doesn't serve some greater purpose, revenge isn't a reason for us to do something. That's not who we are."
        "Every building we searched had threats in them," including weapons and ammunition. If terrorists tried to reclaim an area by crawling out of a tunnel, "there should be no way that they can go back into a building and find the gun that they hid somewhere and then use it against us."
        I wondered, how do Kalker and the 300,000-odd soldiers in the reserves, including women, leave the battlefield, go home to the kids, all while counting down the days until they are called back to war? They were sent home, but not immediately. They were first sent to an Army vacation village for two days. "We got a full night of sleep in a bed with a real shower with a real meal beforehand and breakfast waiting in the morning."
        On the second day they were in "group therapy." "It was hilarious," he said. Their therapist was an army psychologist and former soldier who told them practical things like "you're not going to sleep properly for the first couple of weeks." He pointed out which symptoms would likely go away on their own. They learned that no one remembers everything, and no two people remember an event the same way.
        "Over the course of the 90-plus days we were in Gaza, I can remember in detail like, two events," he says. "The rest is all a blur." Others talked about the day a missile hit the room next door to them and blew down a wall. "I don't remember that at all," Kalker said. Another soldier said, "Wow, Ari, how do you not remember? The missile hit the room next to you and the wall fell on top of you."
        There was another event. They were in a building and someone started screaming, "get out, get out, get out!" They evacuated and "10 seconds later, the whole building just collapsed." Kalker said he asked, "Where was I when this happened?" A soldier said, "I was screaming into your ear, you were standing right next to me, and I pulled you out with me." "I don't remember that at all either," he said.
        He makes sense of civilian life like this: "During our days, we're switching from father, to husband, to whatever your job is. But underneath all of the costumes, we're wearing our IDF uniforms." That's always there. "I walk around with a gun on all day, every day," he explained. "I have one on me right now. I have a responsibility in the world around me....I'm not going to really be back until this is all over....The fate and future of the entire nation of Israel is on your shoulders."  (Tablet)

Hamas' Education of the Ivy League - Dr. Dan Diker (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel-erasure studies have transformed scores of U.S. universities into hotbeds of Hamas Jihadi activism and support. The Oct. 7, 2023, massacre has crowned Hamas as the true Palestinian leadership in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and across American campuses. One hundred Columbia University professors signed a petition of support for Hamas' "military actions."
  • The mainstreaming of Hamas rhetoric on campus began well before Oct. 7. For nearly two decades, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Marxist-Leninist terror group PFLP and their U.S. supporters have dominated Palestinian activism on North American campuses.
  • This has not been "pro-Palestine" activism: No mention of Palestinian statehood, no chants for two states for two peoples, and no demands to complete the peace process. Rather, today, calls for Jihad have characterized pro-Hamas campus messages, such as "gas the Jews," "rape is resistance," and "burn down Tel Aviv." Columbia protestors promised "10,000 more October 7th massacres."
  • For the past 30 years of the Oslo peace process, the "moderate," internationally legitimized Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, have amplified a narrative of jihad (holy war) against Jews, not merely Israel.
  • Furthermore, the PA's policy of paying incentive annuities for murdering Israelis has fashioned a generation of Palestinians ready to commit murder for money and sacrifice themselves as martyrs.

    The writer is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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