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Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 44 min 10 sec ago

Why Is the U.S. Trying to Open a Consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians?

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(JNS) Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunstein - Even after two successive administrations (those of former President Trump and President Biden) have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the State Department is still flirting with the concept of locating a symbolic consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. Article IX, Section 5a of the Oslo II Accord, signed in Washington in 1995 and witnessed by then-President Clinton, expressly prohibits establishing a consulate for the P.A. Why would the State Department seek to breach Oslo II, the very basis of the two-state solution for which it so fervently advocates? Last year, Congress passed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, requiring the U.S. to open a consulate in Tibet. Yet, to this day, there is no consulate in China-occupied Tibet serving Tibetans. Nor is there a consulate in Turkey serving only the Kurds; in China serving only the Uyghur Muslims; or in Myanmar serving only the Rohingya Muslims. Why, then, the double standard when it comes to Israel? Given that Israel has repeatedly said no, shouldn't this end the discussion? Israel is a loyal friend and vital strategic ally of the U.S. Diminishing it or sending mixed signals serves no useful purpose; it only tarnishes the prestige of the U.S. There is no genuinely rational or constructive reason to impinge on the legitimacy of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Farley Weiss is an intellectual property attorney. Leonard Grunstein, a retired attorney, serves on the AIPAC National Council.

As America Retrenches, Israel Becomes an Increasingly Valued Partner

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Dennis Ross - The sense that America is retrenching is one of the factors that has fostered Israel's ties with Sunni Arab leaderships. The more the U.S. has been seen to be pulling back in the Middle East, the more Sunni Arab leaders have seen the security value of Israel as a bulwark against threats from Iran and its Shiite militias and ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the radical Sunni Islamists. As one senior Gulf official said to me, the U.S. can withdraw, but we know Israel is not going anyplace. As long as the U.S. realizes it has stakes in the Middle East - whether because of the need to fight terror or to prevent the area from being characterized by disorder and refugee flows - it will depend on regional partners who can help. Israel's status as the foremost military power in the region makes it an increasingly valued partner for the U.S. The writer, who served in senior national security positions for four presidents, is counselor at the Washington Institute.

Chinese-Operated Container Terminal Opens in Haifa

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Globes) Guy Lieberman - A few weeks ago, the Haifa Bayport container terminal, operated by Chinese port giant Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), was officially inaugurated. In his first interview in Israel, Bayport CEO Miao Qiang said SIPG operates Yangshan Port near Shanghai, considered the world's largest automated port. When the tender for operating the port took place, "the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, approached the mayor of Shanghai and urged him...to make a bid." The Shanghai municipality owns 40% of SIPG. While the U.S. has raised suspicions about the involvement of a Chinese company, Qiang said, "We at SIPG came to Israel to do business, not politics....Do you know that 90% of the cranes in U.S. ports are made in China?...There is no government directive about coming to Israel. There are many large tenders in Israel and companies are looking to do business." He clarified, "We are operating under Israeli regulation. If we receive an order from the Chinese government to cease activity, something that could not happen, then according to the terms of the contract, the State of Israel has the option of removing us from the port. Even if there is a security incident, we are subject to the security officer who is not subject to the CEO. The activity in Israel is entirely according to the conditions set by the state."

Irish Cultural Boycott of Israel Feeds Anti-Semitism

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Irish Times) Oliver Sears - Unfortunately, support for the cultural boycott of Israel in Ireland, especially among some writers, musicians and artists, has grave and unintended consequences that I suspect are little understood by those whose intentions may be well-meaning. The reality is that every time a high-profile individual embraces the cultural boycott of Israel, incidents of anti-Semitism increase in every form, everywhere. It is bewildering to witness the haranguing by some Irish politicians of successive Israeli ambassadors while these same representatives refuse to condemn some of the world's worst offenders of human rights with anything like the same vigor. Some are even embraced. The absence of any expression of genuine empathy for the suffering of Israelis or Jews is telling.

Ford Taps Israel's Watergen for In-Vehicle Drinking Water

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Times of Israel) Ricky Ben-David - U.S. carmaker Ford is partnering with Israeli water-from-air company Watergen to offer built-in drinking water in its recreational vehicles. The Watergen Mobile Box, which buyers can have installed in new Ford Ranger vehicles, can make up to 20 liters of fresh drinking water a day. Watergen said, "The ability to produce clean drinking water without relying on an external water source is a gamechanger for those who seek off-grid adventure."

Elbit to Bring 300 Jobs to South Carolina

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(The Herald-Rock Hill, SC) Joseph Bustos - Elbit Systems of America plans to open a new facility in North Charleston to assemble automatic self-propelled howitzer guns for the Israel Defense Forces that will bring 300 jobs to Charleston County next year. The company identified 280 suppliers in South Carolina that can provide materials and services in that effort. "Establishing this facility is part of a strategy to increase Elbit Systems' engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. and contribute to strengthening America's defense industrial base," with future efforts to include supplying the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, said Elbit Systems CEO Raanan Horowitz.

As a Lone IDF Soldier, I Know I'll Never Be Alone

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Jerusalem Post) Issy Lyons - A year ago I moved to Israel and officially made it my home. Today I am officially a combat soldier, physically defending Israel, whereas before it was just in words. My closest friends in high school were a group of elite triathletes that trained together. Among them, I had found a community and bonded with a group of girls who like me believed we could do anything we put our minds to. We were all strong, independent feminists; however, as the only Jew and the only Zionist in the group, I never felt like I could truly be myself. I remember wondering whether I'd feel less alone after making aliyah to a country where I knew few people, had no family, and struggled with the language - where I would be labeled a "lone soldier." I live with other "lone soldiers" when off base and do miss my family and friends, but I have now found family among my fellow soldiers. Among them I am the whole me. In a female combat unit, all the girls have volunteered to be there in the specific roles they serve. None of us were required to be combat soldiers. We are all really here for the same reasons, a personal sense of duty to use every skill we have to defend Israel. I have learned what it means to come home and be accepted for all the parts of me. The writer, 19, serves in a combat intelligence unit.

Coping with Kristallnacht: "My Heart Skips a Beat Whenever the Doorbell Chimes"

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Ha'aretz) Judy Maltz - Israeli anthropologist Emanuel Marx was 11 years old on Nov. 10, 1938, when the doorbell rang and his father Yitzhak was taken away. Marx's father's family had lived in Germany for more than 300 years. "I knew then that Kristallnacht was not just another escalation in the series of tribulations, prohibitions and restrictions that rained down fast and furious on the Jews....It announced a fundamental change in our fate." As he walked to school that day, he saw huge flames engulfing the synagogue next to it. "We had no idea then that synagogues around the country were being burnt or that 30,000 Jewish men had already been rounded up and taken to concentration camps." Kristallnacht marked a major shift in Nazi policy toward the Jews. "Up until then, all they wanted was for Jews to leave the country. But from Kristallnacht on, that wasn't enough for them....The Nazis no longer cared what the rest of the world thought about what they were doing, and they could do whatever they wanted."

Hamas' Growing Role in Iran's Scheme to Encircle Israel

Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:00
(Investigative Project on Terrorism) Yaakov Lappin - A senior Hamas delegation that visited Iran in October and met with Supreme Leader Khamenei is the latest sign of the close partnership between the Sunni Palestinian terror organization and the Shi'ite Islamic Republic. "Iran has an interest in relations with Hamas, because it wants to surround Israel from all sides," said Col. (res.) David Hacham, a former Arab affairs adviser to seven Israeli defense ministers and a senior research associate at the Miryam Institute. "By establishing strongholds in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria, it is surrounding Israel." The head of Hamas' political bureau, Ismael Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, and the head of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, have a positive view of Iran. Haniyeh was a prominent guest at the funeral of the late Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. "Since 2017, the money has been flowing to Hamas without stop, and the sum is estimated to be many tens of millions of dollars per year," Hacham said. At the same time, Iran provides support to "all variants of radical Islamic organizations in Gaza, with an emphasis on Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is a central Iranian proxy." Within Gaza, Hamas is using Iranian technical know-how to enhance its rocket arsenal's range. "Iran has taught Hamas how to build its own domestic rocket manufacturing industry," Hacham said. Iran also provides training for Hamas operatives, shares offensive and defensive operational plans and battle doctrines, and passes along scientific and engineering information needed for producing ever-improving rockets, explosives, and other weapons in Gaza. "This is all continuing at full speed," said Hacham. "Around a decade ago, according to Palestinian reports, Iranian military experts were on Gazan soil, and were killed in an Israeli attack," he added.

Vice President Kamala Harris: Singling Out Israel Is Anti-Semitism

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Jewish Insider) Gabby Deutch - Vice President Kamala Harris told the Anti-Defamation League on Sunday: "I want to be very clear about this: When Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred: that is anti-Semitism, and that is unacceptable." "We know that anti-Semitism is not a relic of the past. In recent years, the Jewish-American community has faced an alarming rise in hate crimes....We know a harm against one of us is a harm against all."

Israel Has No Objection to U.S. Consulate for Palestinians in West Bank

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Reuters) Dan Williams - Israel stepped up its public opposition on Saturday to a plan by President Biden to reopen a U.S. consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem. "My position, and it was presented to the Americans...is that there is no place for a U.S. consulate which serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem. We are voicing our opinion consistently, quietly, without drama," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid added, "If they (the U.S.) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that."

Israel Must Stand Strong Against Reopening of U.S. Consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Jerusalem Post) Editorial - Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid has stressed that the principle at stake in reopening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians is the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and not the issue of a consulate for the Palestinians. There is a broad consensus within Israel that reopening the consulate in Jerusalem is not only unnecessary but harmful. A consulate in Jerusalem would undermine the pursuit of peace by giving the Palestinians a false hope that one day they will have control over the city. To gain a consulate in western Jerusalem in return for nothing but intransigence will not encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table in good faith.

Iraqi Prime Minister Survives Drone Attack

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(CNN) Hamdi Alkhshali - Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi escaped an assassination attempt on Sunday after an explosive-laden drone targeted his residence in Baghdad.

Finnish Charity Cuts Ties with Palestinian NGO after Terror Designation

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Times of Israel-Reuters) Essi Lehto - The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) said Friday it has decided to end ties with the Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) group after it was blacklisted by Israel for terror links. FELM executive director Rolf Steffansson said the Israeli designation "could have impacted the work we do in 30 countries," citing potential banking sanctions. A senior Israeli official said last month that the intelligence connecting the PFLP to the six cited organizations was "ironclad." The material presented to the U.S. on the matter included "unequivocal evidence that includes video footage, photos, payment receipts that tie the said groups to the backing of terror activity" by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

UK Reduces Donations to UN Palestinian Refugee Agency

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Guardian-UK) Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, said the UK had reduced its funding for UNRWA from $57.2 million in 2020 to $28 million in 2021. "It is a direct impact of this policy decision [by the UK] to reduce the aid budget from the equivalent of 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%," Lazzarini said.

Diplomat Refutes UK University Claim that Christians Are at Risk in Israel

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Jewish Chronicle-UK) Sandy Rashty - A report by the University of Birmingham claimed that Christians, who make up 2% of Israel's population, are at "grave risk." Ohad Zemet, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in the UK, responded: "While Christians and other minority groups are persecuted across the Middle East, Israel is the only country in the region where the Christian population is growing. The Christian community is an integral part of Israeli society and its members serve in senior positions in both the private and public sectors."

Hamas "Guardian" Law Keeps Gaza Woman from Studying Abroad

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(AP-Washington Post) Fares Akram - Gaza resident Afaf al-Najar, 19, won a scholarship to study communications in Turkey, secured all the necessary travel documents and even paid $500 to skip the long lines at the Rafah crossing with Egypt. But when she arrived at the border on Sep. 21 she was turned back - not by Israel or Egypt, but by Hamas. Hamas authorities say a male relative can petition a court to prevent a woman from traveling outside the territory and Al-Najar's father filed such a petition.

Mossad Thwarts Iranian Attacks on Israelis in Africa

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Jerusalem Post) Yonah Jeremy Bob - The Mossad intelligence agency has thwarted multiple attacks by Iran against Israeli tourists and businessmen in Tanzania, Senegal and Ghana, Channel 12 reported on Sunday. Five suspects, all with African passports, have been arrested. Israeli intelligence officials estimate that Iran will continue to target Israelis and Jews in spots where security is weak, at least until they have achieved some amount of revenge and deterrence against Israeli attacks on Iran.

IDF Generals Travel to Sinai to Discuss Deployment of Egyptian Troops

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Times of Israel) Judah Ari Gross - Israeli military officers held a rare public meeting in the Sinai Peninsula on Sunday with their Egyptian counterparts "to formalize the deployment of guard troops in the area of Rafah [near the Israeli border] to reinforce the Egyptian military's security control over the area." The number of additional Egyptian troops to be deployed was not disclosed. Over the past decade, Israel has repeatedly acceded to Egyptian requests to send additional troops to the area to confront an Islamic State insurgency in Sinai. However, those meetings were not publicly disclosed. The highly irregular public announcement of the meeting came as Egypt has engaged in increasingly open relations with Israel.

IDF to Increase Precision Missile Arsenal

Sun, 11/07/2021 - 16:00
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim - The IDF will significantly increase the number of precision munitions in its arsenal in the coming years due to the increase in threats facing the country. Israel used hundreds of U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) during the Gaza war in May, allowing precision strikes on strategic targets while limiting civilian casualties. These have now been replenished by Washington.

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