Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 41 min 29 sec ago
(Iran Daily) Responding to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's May 21 statement of 12 preconditions for Iran to follow, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented Iran's demands on Wednesday. "The truth is that all U.S. administrations in the past 70 years should be held accountable for their disregard for international law, and their violations of bilateral and multilateral agreements with Iran."
"A short list of the rightful demands of the Iranian people from the U.S. government could include the following: The U.S. government...will end its intervention in Iran's domestic affairs....The United States must abandon its policy of resorting to the threat or use of force...as an option in the conduct of its foreign affairs with or against the Islamic Republic of Iran and other States."
"The U.S. government should...rescind previous arbitrary and unlawful financial judgments, it should refrain from executing them in the U.S. and extraterritorially. The U.S. government should openly acknowledge its unwarranted and unlawful actions against the people of Iran over the past decades...take remedial measures to compensate the people of Iran for the damages incurred, and provide verifiable assurances that it will cease and desist from such illegal measures and refrain from ever repeating them."
"The United States government must...nullify the cruel and extensive primary and extraterritorial sanctions, rescind hundreds of legislations and executive orders...and compensate the Iranian people for the enormous damages to the Iranian economy and its people....The U.S. government should stop its unlimited and unconditional support for the Zionist regime...and support...the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital."
(Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty) "Iran's aggressive tendencies must not only be discussed, but rather we need solutions urgently," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on June 21 after meeting Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman. She said that while European countries wanted to maintain the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran, they remained concerned about Iran's ballistic missile program, its presence in Syria, and its role in the civil war in Yemen.
Merkel also expressed support for Jordanian concerns about Iranian activity near its border with southwestern Syria. "You live not just with the Syria conflict, but also we see Iran's activities with regard to Israel's security and with regard to Jordan's border."
(Markets Insider) Gina Heeb -
Iran's auto industry benefitted when the U.S. lifted sanctions as part of the nuclear deal in 2015. But as companies like PSA Peugeot Citroen, which accounted for nearly 30% of market share last year, withdraw and halt planned investments in Iran, analysts think the country's auto industry could be hurt. Analysts at Fitch's BMI forecast an 18% decline in vehicle production in Iran in 2018.
(Bloomberg) Julian Lee -
Iran's oil exports fell sharply in the first two weeks of June. Shipments heading toward EU countries fell by a third, while declines were also noted for Turkey and South Korea. At the same time, deliveries to India and Japan were up, while shipments to China were unchanged.
(Reuters) Japanese oil refiners may have to stop loading Iranian crude oil from Oct. 1 if Japan's government does not secure an exemption from U.S. sanctions, Takashi Tsukioka, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan, said Friday.
(AFP-Al-Monitor) Most French companies hoping to keep doing business in Iran after the U.S. imposes new sanctions on the country will find it impossible to do so, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday. These companies "cannot be paid because there is no sovereign and autonomous European financial institution" capable of shielding them.
(Times of Israel) Stuart Winer -
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing what it described as "reliable sources," said that Hizbullah and its allied gunmen have begun withdrawing to positions 40 km. (25 miles) away from the Israeli border, and a similar distance from the Jordanian-Syrian border. The redeployment comes in response to a request from Russia, but Iran was refusing to do the same with its forces in the area. The report said Iran is refusing to pull back its own military forces from southern Syria unless there is a corresponding evacuation of U.S. and international coalition forces from the al-Tanf base on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
(Times of Israel) Stuart Winer -
Israel has deployed a system that can spot fire-starting balloons and kites in the sky, track their progress, and then direct firefighters to their landing spots, enabling them to more rapidly extinguish the flames and reduce damage. The Sky Spotter system, built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has been in operation along the Gaza border for several days, Hadashot TV reported Thursday.
Originally developed to counter small drones, Sky Spotter can track the balloons or kites and pinpoint their location, where they are heading, and where they are likely to land. Sky Spotter can also be used to direct defensive drones that collide in midair with the kites or balloons, bringing them down. Until now such drones have been flown by army reservists, experts in drone operation, but the system will soon be able to control the drones automatically, directing them to the threats.
Testing has continued on a laser system that could be used to shoot down the balloons or kites in flight. Development is advancing and this system is expected to soon be deployed around Gaza.
(Israel Hayom) Ariel Kahana -
Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry on Tuesday named 42 major anti-Israel organizations as having clear ties to Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The report names Al-Haq, Defense for Children International-Palestine, and the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights as being headed by former PFLP operatives. Al-Haq is chaired by Shawan Jabarin, who served 13 years in an Israeli prison for being a member of the PFLP's military wing.
(Jerusalem Post) Benjamin Weinthal -
The Al-Mustafa community center in Bremen in northern Germany is a major hub for raising funds for Hizbullah, according to a German intelligence report reviewed by the Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The Al-Mustafa website shows pictures of young children wearing Hizbullah combat-style attire in the green and yellow colors associated with the Lebanese militia. Roughly 950 operatives raise funds in Germany for Hizbullah and recruit new members, according to German intelligence reports from 2017.
(Ha'aretz) Amos Harel -
A coordinated counter-effort has begun to stop Iran in its efforts to expand its regional influence - to roll up the Persian carpet again, as the Israeli defense establishment describes it. After President Trump announced his decision in May to decertify the nuclear agreement with Iran, an apparent avalanche of American companies, and to a lesser extent European firms, are abandoning planned deals with Tehran.
Joining the economic noose are military actions. A heavy assault is being carried out by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with American, British and French backing, on the port city of al-Hodeida in Yemen, which is under the control of the Houthi rebels. This is the area from which the rebels are launching Scud missiles, under Iranian guidance, at Saudi Arabia.
In southeast Syria, the U.S. has avoided dismantling its al-Tanf base, which threatens the land corridor Iran wants to build in the direction of Damascus and Beirut. Moreover, the Iranians have suffered a series of aerial attacks by Israel over the past few months against the military force they are trying to establish in Syria.
The hope that Russia will impose order and remove the Iranians and Shi'ite militias from the border with Israel is not taking place at the pace Jerusalem has expected. Yet, according to the Israeli analysis, the Russians now feel Iran has worn out its welcome and no longer provides any benefits for them in Syria, and the Russians would prefer for the Iranians to reduce their presence there.
(Ha'aretz) Moshe Arens -
Three years have passed since the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran. At the time of the signing, Iran was on the verge of completing the development of a nuclear device that could be mounted on a ballistic missile. All that was missing was the completion of its ballistic missile development program. The agreement placed no restriction on the development of ballistic missiles by Iran, so in effect, the agreement brought Iran closer to becoming a nuclear power.
Iran's most urgent aim was the expansion of its influence in the Middle East. The lifting of sanctions that was part of the agreement provided the resources that would enable it to pursue these plans. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
(Bloomberg) David Wainer and Margaret Talev -
The Trump administration's Middle East negotiators - Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt - will be discussing ways to avert a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and create jobs in the West Bank while in the region this week, said two Israeli officials. The U.S. believes a stronger Palestinian economy could bolster peace prospects, a White House official said.
Yet aiding Hamas-ruled Gaza is complicated because of concerns among donors that the resources will be used against Israel. Gaza is widely isolated over Hamas' refusal to renounce violence against Israel.
(Algemeiner) Joshua S. Block -
Over the past few weeks, Gazans have sent hundreds of terror kites across the border with Israel, causing over 400 fires, destroying millions of dollars' worth of agriculture, killing wildlife, and endangering human lives - all on top of extensive environmental damage. These are not a peaceful protest. Rather, they are an appalling and dangerous action, which should be condemned by all decent, level-headed people.
The means may change, but the goal of Hamas remains the same. All those who truly care about peace must unequivocally hold Hamas responsible for these cowardly acts of violence. The writer is CEO and President of The Israel Project.
(Washington Times) L. Todd Wood -
What impressed me on my latest visit to Israel was the confidence of the Israeli people. The Israeli military wasn't present in heavy numbers in the border towns, at least not out in the open. Ashkelon and Sderot were thriving, expanding, growing, with families and lots of children everywhere. No one was concerned about Palestinian terrorists. The defenses were working, keeping the killers away from the Israeli people.
A journalist colleague in Jerusalem told me that the Palestinians "have tried suicide vests, car bombs, stabbings, tunnels, rockets, etc. Nothing has worked....Now Hamas is reduced to flying flaming kites to burn Israeli grassland."
Israel will survive this phase of the conflict as well and come out even stronger. Take it from one who has just been there: For all the media hand-wringing and pro-Palestinian forces at the UN and in Europe, Israel is stronger than ever. The writer is a former U.S. Air Force special operations helicopter pilot.
(JNS.org) Jonathan S. Tobin -
The merits of the case for the U.S. leaving the UN Human Rights Council are unassailable. With the ranks of its member nations swollen by some of the worst human-rights offenders, the Council has become a parody of advocacy for the cause of freedom.
Some claim that the U.S. could do more good by remaining in the Council than by leaving it. But during the past eight years, human-rights offenders have laughed at the empty rhetoric of U.S. representatives. Every year, the Council continued to pass resolution after resolution damning Israel and barely paying attention to real catastrophes. Secure in the belief that the U.S. and the European democracies were too invested in this institution to hold it accountable, the Council became more irresponsible and outrageous as every measure of Israeli self-defense against terror was falsely labeled as a crime.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Pinhas Inbari -
The EU policy of labeling products manufactured in territories east of the 1949 Armistice Lines undermines the joint Palestinian-Israeli West Bank industrial zones that provide excellent employment to some 35,000 Palestinians, who with their families account for some 200,000 people. These zones have no connection to "settlements." Business and commercial enterprises in these 15 zones provide employment for Palestinian workers who cannot find alternative work in the PA-controlled territories.
Europe is willfully ignoring the thousands of Palestinian workers who welcome Israeli commercial enterprises in the West Bank and depend on these industrial zones to support their families. The writer, a Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, is a leading expert on the Arab world and Islam.
(The Register-UK) John Leyden -
The Israel Cyber Week conference hosted 8,000 delegates from more than 66 countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the delegates on Wednesday: "Israel now receives 20% of the total global private investment in cybersecurity. Given that we are about one-tenth of 1% of the world's population, we are punching at about 200 times our weight here. My goal eight years ago was to make Israel one of the five leading cyberpowers in the world, and I think we've reached that."
Israel's cybersecurity industry saw exports of $3.8 billion last year and investments of $815 million. Israel has 420 native cybersecurity companies as well as 50 international research and development centers, according to figures cited by Netanyahu.
(Jerusalem Post) Dov Lipman -
This past week Israel's Knesset celebrated the contribution of Israelis with special needs who serve in the IDF. That is right - a wide range of disabilities has not stopped these proud Israelis from serving their country in uniform. There are 400 soldiers in the "Special in Uniform" program.
"We see the inclusion of people with disabilities in the army as a way to help usher them into a self-sufficient life once they are discharged from the army," explains program co-founder Lt.-Col. Tiran Attia. "Our belief is that everyone belongs and has the right to reach his or her full potential. Special in Uniform focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant to help each one find a job that is a perfect fit for the individual's skills within the IDF. The attention is on the ability, not the disability, of each individual, encouraging independence and integration into society."
We live in a time where our military is labeled immoral. When we hear those accusations, let us remember "Special in Uniform" and recognize that we are a truly remarkable country and people. The writer served as a member of the 19th Knesset.
(Globe and Mail-Canada) Jack Hauen -
Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli non-profit dedicated to treating children from developing countries with heart disease, will receive the UN Population Award this month, the first time an organization from Israel will receive the award. SACH has treated thousands of children from 57 countries; about half are from the Palestinian territories.