Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 10 min 44 sec ago
(Ha'aretz) Ran Shimoni -
Police arrested a Palestinian man Friday near the Israeli community of Tzur Yitzhak in central Israel who was carrying a knife and a letter expressing his intent to commit a terror attack.
A Palestinian, 22, armed with an ax and carrying a note stating that he sought to carry out a terror attack, was arrested by Israeli police at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on Sunday. The man was in the area for about an hour looking for Israelis standing alone in order to attack them.
(Jerusalem Post) Khaled Abu Toameh -
The Palestinian Authority will continue to pay allowances to the families of Palestinian prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks against Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday to commemorate the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day, "Catastrophe Day," a term Palestinians use to describe the 1948 War of Independence. Abbas has refused to halt the payments - a scheme described by some as "pay to slay."
On Nakba Day, Hamas said there was "no legitimacy or sovereignty" for Israel "over one inch of the land of historic Palestine" and vowed to pursue "armed resistance" against Israel.
(American Enterprise Institute) Danielle Pletka -
A smarter U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would look at the topography of the Palestinian people rather than falling back on the two-state solution as the answer to everything. According to Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, almost half of Palestinians believe "armed struggle" is the solution to their problems.
Fully 58% oppose a two-state solution; 70% oppose "unconditional return to negotiations with Israel"; almost as many oppose dialogue with the U.S. Most troubling of all, "73% believe the Quran contains a prophecy about the demise of the State of Israel and 32% think the year for this demise is 2022."
Polling by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy found increased commitment to the return of all "historically Palestinian" lands, and diminished support for a two-state solution. While support for a new mass uprising was also low (for a variety of reasons, including lack of confidence in Palestinian leadership), there remained an overall commitment to violent means. There is violence because there is incitement to violence. There is unending political encouragement and glorification of killing.
The better choice is to re-engage on the basis of reality, and seek to loosen the grip of crooks, killers and extremists, look to discredit their failed rule, search and support a new and better generation of leaders and help the Palestinian people find a better path.
The writer is a senior fellow at AEI.
(JNS-Israel Hayom) Bassem Eid -
"Nakba Day," which occurs every year on May 15, was established in 1998 by former Palestinian Authority leader - and international terrorist mastermind - Yasser Arafat to turn Israel's Independence Day into a festival of grievance. The very fact of Israel's existence was branded a "catastrophe" - nakba in Arabic - but not the displacement that affected both sides in the subsequent war, which included the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
And during and after Israel's War of Independence in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands. In all, more than 850,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab countries for Israel, followed by more than 70,000 Jews from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Although my family is Muslim, I was born in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, then under Jordanian control. In 1966, when I was 8 years old, the Jordanian government moved my family north of Jerusalem to the Shuafat Refugee Camp. It was the government of Jordan, not the government of Israel, which made me a refugee.
Palestinians should celebrate our rich heritage and, like our Jewish cousins, grieve our losses. But now is the time for negotiated reconciliation, not the perpetuation of generation-old victimhood. "Nakba Day" is part of the victimhood problem, not part of the forward-looking solution. Israel has three times offered Palestinians peace, dignity and independence. The fetishization of Israel's very existence as a catastrophe is a distortion that wounds our children and leads them to war and suicide bombing.
The Palestinian leadership should reverse course on the incitement against Israel and Jews. Instead, Palestinian schoolchildren and citizens should learn the history, the joys and the traumas of our neighbors the Israelis, with whom we have a great deal in common.
The writer is a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst and human rights pioneer.
(Israel Hayom) Prof. Eyal Zisser -
On May 15, 1948, after the British Mandate in Palestine expired, armies of neighboring Arab countries attacked the Jewish community of Israel, laying waste to everything in their path. The attempt to blame the Jews for fighting those who came to kill them, yet won, doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny. This disaster was the work of the local Arab population and its leaders, who refused proposals of compromise, opted for the path of violence and lost everything.
Nakba Day "celebrations" send the message to the Jewish public that: we are not willing to accept the existence of the State of Israel, and this conflict is a "zero-sum game" in which a Palestinian victory means the eradication of the Jewish state. Even if Israel is strong and powerful right now, when the time comes and the conditions arise, we will raise our heads and our hands against it. This message isn't predicated on economic distress, nor even anger at what is happening on the Temple Mount, but rather on the rejection of the State of Israel.
The writer is a lecturer in Middle East history at Tel Aviv University.
(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon -
In 1998, even as the Oslo process was still alive, Yasser Arafat decided that the Palestinians should mark "Nakba Day." The "catastrophe" was that the Jews won after defeating the invading Arab states that tried to drive them into the sea.
For the last 74 years, the Palestinians have been trying to undo the catastrophe that could have been avoided had they accepted the offers for partition. But they refused, because they wanted it all - a refrain that has repeated itself numerous times since.
Average Israelis see these rallies, hear the hateful chants and read the odious placards. And the message this sends is that the conflict is not about a settlement in lands that Israel took control of in the Six-Day War in 1967. Rather, it is about lands Jews settled before 1948.
Ariel Kahana -
Immediately after the reports of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh's death, a quick and clear response from Israel was imperative. Unlike the Palestinians, who took the liberty of unequivocally determining that Israel was responsible without providing any factual evidence, Israel is an orderly country. To get caught in a lie down the road would be worse than claiming things right now that sound beneficial.
One hour after her death, the IDF Spokesperson issued a statement whereby, apparently, the Palestinians themselves murdered her in the midst of a gunfight. His words had been translated to Arabic and English and sent to international news outlets and foreign reporters. At the same time, a video was released to support the Israeli claim. The quick release of an Israeli version upended the Palestinians' exclusivity and established Israel's position.
Israel's efforts bore fruit. Within four hours, most of the major news outlets in the world had already highlighted the Israeli position. It wasn't the headline, but Israel's doubts regarding the Palestinian version of events were at least given expression.
In the diplomatic arena, no serious country came out in condemnation of Israel. The US, UK, EU and UN simply asked for an investigation - which is precisely Israel's position. Israel's Foreign Ministry received no reprimands. An Israeli official summarized: "There is no crisis."
(Times of Israel) Lazar Berman -
As Israel comes under harsh criticism in the West over the death of veteran Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the response in much of the Muslim world has been relatively muted. Israel's Gulf partners issued muted responses, as did Turkey.
"The media coverage is relatively calm," said Moshe Albo, modern Middle East historian at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Reichman University in Herzliya. "It's not over the top. Same in Egypt." Saudi coverage has been similarly muted, said Albo. Jordan also chose not to specifically blame Israel.
(Al-Monitor) Rasha Abou Jalal -
Hamas is working to move the confrontation with Israel inside its borders. On April 30, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar called for Palestinians to carry out operations inside Israel: "Whoever has a gun should prepare it, and whoever does not have a gun should prepare his cleaver, ax or knife." Sinwar also urged the Arab community in Israel to take part in operations and expand their scope to include all Israeli cities.
Ayman al-Rafati, a political analyst specializing in Israeli affairs, told Al-Monitor, "Hamas was very impressed by the spontaneous role that the Palestinians inside Israel played during the last war between Gaza and Israel on May 10, 2021." Talal Okal, a political analyst for Al-Ayyam in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor, "I believe that Sinwar's tackling of the importance of the Palestinians inside Israel...aims at motivating them to confront Israel and carry out guerrilla operations."
(Middle East Eye-UK) Ragip Soylu -
Turkey has not expelled members of the Palestinian Hamas movement and isn't planning to kick out the Muslim Brotherhood presence in the country either, a senior Turkish official and other sources told Middle East Eye. Last week, Israeli media, citing a Palestinian source, alleged that "dozens of people identified with Hamas" had been deported in the last few months, upon an Israeli request. Sources close to Hamas confirmed that none of their members in Turkey were deported, though there were restrictions on Hamas' military wing.
(Ha'aretz) Jack Khoury -
Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, a Jerusalem-based journalist for Al Jazeera, was killed on Wednesday during a raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin. Al-Quds newspaper reporter Ali Samodi was wounded. The Israeli military said it was looking into the possibility that the two were hit "by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen." During the raid, militants opened fire at the Israeli forces and hurled explosives at them, before the soldiers returned fire.
"I don't think we killed her," said IDF spokesman Ran Kochav. "We proposed to the Palestinians to open a swift joint probe. If we indeed killed her, we'll take responsibility, but it doesn't seem to be the case."
(Prime Minister's Office) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday: "According to the information we have gathered, it appears likely that armed Palestinians - who were firing indiscriminately at the time - were responsible for the unfortunate death of the journalist [Shireen Abu Akleh]. Palestinians in Jenin were even filmed boasting, 'We hit a soldier; he's lying on the ground.' However, no IDF soldier was injured, which increases the possibility that Palestinian terrorists were the ones who shot the journalist."
"Israel has called on the Palestinians to conduct a joint pathological analysis and investigation, which would be based on all of the existing documentation and findings, in order to get to the truth. So far, the Palestinians have refused this offer."
(JNS-Israel Hayom) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset on Wednesday that preliminary findings from the military's investigation into the shooting death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh indicate that she was not killed by Israeli forces. "According to an initial investigation the IDF has conducted over the past several hours, it appears that no [Israeli] fire was directed toward the reporter....In fact, footage taken at the scene shows massive and indiscriminate fire by Palestinian terrorists."
"I would like to express my sorrow at the loss of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," said Gantz. "The State of Israel values the protection of human life above all, as well as freedom of press. IDF troops would never intentionally harm members of the press, and any attempt to imply otherwise is baseless."
(Ha'aretz) Amos Harel -
An initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces shows that journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was about 150 meters (328 feet) away from Israeli military forces when she was killed. The bullet which struck her was shot from an M16 rifle, but such rifles are used by both the IDF and Palestinian cells in the West Bank.
During the IDF operation in Jenin, hundreds of bullets were shot at Israeli troops, who responded by firing dozens of bullets at specific targets. Most of the Israeli fire was directed southwards, while Abu Akleh was positioned to the north of the Israeli forces.
(Jerusalem Post) Tovah Lazaroff -
The Palestinian Authority confirmed Thursday that it won't allow Israel to examine the bullet that killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, even though it is one of the steps needed to determine culpability in her death. Army Radio reported Thursday that the IDF questioned all of the soldiers who were in the area at the time and physically mapped out where they were at the moment the bullet struck Abu Akleh. According to a preliminary report, none of the snipers shot towards any particular target, he said. Proof of this is that there were no armed Palestinians who were hurt.
(Jerusalem Post) Anna Ahronheim -
Family members of terrorists involved in the recent wave of terror attacks that have killed 19 Israelis since March will not be allowed to enter Israel to work, pray at al-Aqsa mosque, or receive medical care in Israel, a senior IDF officer said Tuesday. "We will not allow the families of terrorists who chose to carry out attacks to enter Israel for employment and trade. Every Palestinian who carries out an attack has to know that he is doing something that will affect his family." The officer said that the situation will be reviewed periodically.
For example, 124 family members of Mu'atassim Atallah, who attempted to carry out an attack in Tekoa on Sunday, had their permits revoked. Hundreds of family members of the Palestinians who carried out the deadly attacks in Elad and Ariel also had their permits revoked in order to bring the current wave of violence to an end.
(Jerusalem Post) Editorial -
The killing of veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh during a firefight between IDF soldiers and Palestinians in Jenin is a tragedy. Some are wildly casting blame on Israel before an investigation has even begun. The Palestinians are not willing to cooperate with Israel in a joint investigation.
Palestinians and their supporters immediately drew the conclusion that Israel killed her - and did so intentionally - without any physical evidence. A fairly simple joint pathological investigation - clarifying the bullet type and the angle of the bullet entry wound - would go a long way toward determining who fired the fatal shot. But the Palestinians are not interested.
What they are interested in now is the propaganda value that can be culled from the killing of a well-known journalist. An investigation could muddle up their narrative.
(Ynet News) Ron Ben-Yishai -
The Palestinians and Al Jazeera don't want the truth behind the death of reporter Shireen Abu Akleh. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas wish to leverage her death for political and propaganda purposes, and that is why they reject any offer for an objective investigation. Even if such an investigation is launched, they will make sure to destroy any shred of evidence that might point to the probable scenario that the Palestinian militants who were firing wantonly were the ones who killed her.
The Palestinians rushed to declare the journalist a martyr because it serves the constant war of propaganda which Abbas and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar lead against Israel. But their assertions are grounded in nothing except deafening victimhood that is aimed at painting Israel as the aggressor.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir -
The connection between the extremist ideology of the Islamic Republic and its evolving military capabilities renders it a dangerous country that undermines regional and global stability. This buildup includes its pursuit of nuclear capability and weapons while developing strong and advanced conventional military capabilities, including long-range precision fires, and the proliferation of regional proxies, militias, and local forces under its control.
A shift in approach is needed to prevent Iran from achieving its ambitious goals. The objective should be to generate comprehensive pressure on Iran and to weaken the IRGC, the regime's center of gravity. It is necessary to crack Iran's sense of immunity by conducting flexible direct deterrent reprisals in accordance with a measure-for-measure principle. The assumption is that Iran will be deterred when it understands that it alone does not get to write the rules of the game or dictate its limits.
This approach should have been adopted long ago - such as after the attack on Aramco's oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the attacks on U.S. bases, the attack on civilian merchant ships and the killing of civilian sailors, and the ballistic missile attack on Abu Dhabi. Conducting a joint covert campaign by aiding opposition groups and encouraging resistance on Iran's own turf and that of its proxies will be critical.
The writer served as deputy chief of the IDF General Staff, commander of Southern Command, and military secretary to the prime minister of Israel.