Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Updated: 25 min 12 sec ago
(Israel Hayom) An Israeli soldier was wounded on Friday in a stabbing attack near Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Hebron. The Palestinian assailant was shot dead by another soldier.
(Israel Hayom) Yaron Doron -
A Palestinian man from Nablus in the West Bank was arrested on Thursday in Jaffa after he was found to be in possession of an AK-47 automatic rifle and two explosive devices. He later admitted that he was planning to carry out a major attack.
(Times of Israel) An Israeli man was injured by window glass after shots were fired at his vehicle near the West Bank Palestinian town of Hawara early Friday.
(Ha'aretz) Ben Samuels -
According to the State Department's annual fiscal transparency report, the Palestinian Authority has failed to provide complete data on its budget within a reasonable period. Further, the PA's supreme audit institution lacked independence and its audit reports were not publicly available within a reasonable period and failed to cover the entire annual executed budget.
(Foreign Policy) Dennis Ross -
Iran now has two bombs worth of uranium enriched to 60% - close to weapons grade - and continues to install and operate advanced centrifuges that can enrich it far more quickly. Rafael Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says this enriched uranium and Iran's production of uranium metal have "no justifiable civilian purpose."
Iran has now developed nuclear know-how, so it is already a threshold nuclear weapons state. And Iran will have zero breakout time when the JCPOA's limits on its nuclear program lapse at the end of 2030. A resurrected JCPOA essentially buys time until then. It would defer the Iranian nuclear threat, not end it.
Israel - which believes a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to the Jewish state - will become far more likely to launch major military strikes against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure if it sees the U.S. and others are ready to live with an Iran with nukes.
Similarly, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has declared that if Iran has a nuclear weapons capability, the kingdom will get one as well. Will Egypt and Turkey be far behind? If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, the odds are high it will produce a nuclear-armed Middle East - and the risk of a nuclear war in a conflict-ridden region will grow.
It is still not too late to prevent Iran from translating its threshold capability into a weapon. But it requires that Iranian leaders believe they really are risking their entire nuclear infrastructure if they keep moving toward a bomb. Today, they do not believe Washington will ever use force against them.
The writer is a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Israel Hayom) Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen -
As the Palestinian Authority loses control over its cities, the terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria are getting stronger. The new terrorist threat should have Israel rethink its policies since the Oslo Accords that came into effect in the 1990s and were supposed to usher in a new era of peace.
One rationale was that separation from the Palestinians was a prerequisite for any resolution of the conflict. In northern Samaria, the IDF pulled back from Jenin in 1996 and uprooted several Jewish communities in northern Samaria in 2005. In both cases, this turned the area into terrorist hotbeds that threatened Israelis on the coastal plain, much like the Gaza disengagement that turned that enclave into an even greater threat to Israel. Thus, terrorist hotbeds are the direct results of the void created by the lack of Israeli troops and civilians in the area.
The writer, a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts.
(Globes) Danny Zaken -
Since the beginning of the year, Israeli security forces have seen a sharp increase in terrorist incidents - including stone throwing on main highways, as well as more serious incidents like shooting, stabbing and car ramming attacks. One leading researcher relates the uptick in terror to the deterioration of the Palestinian economy, which has yet to recover from the Covid pandemic. The Palestinians are completely dependent on foreign aid, which has decreased by 65%, from NIS 2.9 billion in 2016 to NIS 1 billion in 2021.
I asked Amjad, a Palestinian laborer from Hebron who has been working in Israel for years, about his opposition to the announced plan to transfer his salary through Palestinian banks instead of continuing to receive it in cash. "You are cooperating with the corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and so are the Americans. Every dime that enters the Palestinian Authority goes to the corrupt. What do they do for us? Roads? Schools? Nothing. It's all from foreign money or from Israel, and what comes to them goes into their pockets." These harsh sentiments are echoed in countless conversations, and investigations by international media substantiate the complaints.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' sons, Yasser and Tarek, are wealthy businessmen. Yasser founded companies in the fields of computers and communications. Reuters found that USAID tenders worth millions of dollars in a wide variety of fields somehow fell "accidentally" into Yasser's hands. Foreign Policy magazine noted Yasser Abbas' monopoly on the sale of American cigarettes.
Tarek is the owner of the advertising and public relations company Sky, the largest in the PA. Almost every product marketed by international companies in the Palestinian Authority passes through it. Sky also holds the exclusive franchise for advertisements on Palestinian state television.
(Israel Antiquities Authority) The Israel Antiquities Authority has succeeded in repatriating a First Temple-period document, dated to the late seventh or early sixth century BCE, written in ancient Hebrew script. In 2018, Professor Shmuel Ahituv encountered a photograph of the document and the person who owned it was located in Montana, USA.
The owner explained that the papyrus was given to his mother when she visited Jerusalem in 1965 by Joseph Sa'ad, Curator of the Rockefeller Museum, and Halil Iskander Kandu, a well-known antiquities dealer from Bethlehem, who many years ago sold thousands of Dead Sea scroll fragments. Back home, his mother hung the framed scroll fragment on the wall. The Antiquities Authority persuaded the owner to transfer the fragile document to Israel, where it would be conserved in climate-controlled conditions.
Dr. Joe Uziel, Head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said, "Our collection is made up of 25,000 fragments which compose 1,000 manuscripts. Most of these manuscripts date to the Second Temple period 2,000 years ago and afterward. But what we are looking at here are three documents, written on papyrus, which date back to the First Temple period - 2,700 years ago."
(Axios) Barak Ravid -
Israel on Wednesday rejected the U.S. call for it to review the Israel Defense Forces' rules of engagement in the West Bank in the wake of the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11, 2022, during a heated exchange of fire with Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin. On Sep. 5, a senior IDF officer said that the final investigation concluded that Abu Akleh was most likely killed in "unintentional fire" from an Israeli soldier who did not realize she was a journalist. The officer said the investigation found no violation of the rules of engagement.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid expressed "sorrow" over Abu Akleh's death on Wednesday, but said "no one will dictate our rules of engagement to us, when we are the ones fighting for our lives." Another senior Israeli official said, "Nobody is going to change the rules of engagement because of U.S. political pressure....The Biden administration is not really pressing us because they understand we are not going to change the rules of engagement."
(Israel Hayom) Melanie Phillips -
In the wake of the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Biden administration publicly demanded that Israel change its rules of engagement. What extraordinary arrogance. It's for a sovereign nation alone to decide on its own rules of engagement. Israel, whose record in minimizing civilian casualties in military operations is far better than that of the U.S. or any other country, needs no lessons in avoiding such tragedies.
The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK.
(Ynet News) Ben-Dror Yemini -
A few years ago, former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said that when he wants to learn how to protect innocent lives, he learns from Israel, who does it best. Dempsey's statement is backed by every respectable research that has examined the data on uninvolved civilians who were wounded or killed during armed conflicts.
According to research data from the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, 71% of casualties in counterterrorism operations conducted by the U.S. during the "war on terror" era were uninvolved civilians. Fewer innocent lives are lost during operations conducted by the IDF, compared to those carried out by the U.S. military.
(JINSA) Amb. Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky -
For the past year and a half, the U.S. has committed to a policy of appeasement versus Iran. The Iranians are not facing much pressure. The Chinese are buying all their oil, America is not enforcing a lot of the secondary sanctions, and there is clearly no credible military threat.
Iran has been in the driver's seat in this whole process. I don't believe the Americans are prepared to walk away. It doesn't matter how many people Iran tries to kill on American soil. It doesn't matter that they are launching cyberattacks on America's European allies.
The U.S. argument is that Iran is a terrible actor. We know this deal doesn't cover a lot of the malign activities of Iran, but if Iran had nuclear weapons it would be even worse. There is only one problem with this argument. Their deal does not block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It paves the path. That's the great lie that the deal is based on, in addition to the lie that Iran does not have or want to have a nuclear weapons program.
This deal is a disaster. Israelis are against it. Arabs who live in the region are against it. We're the guinea pigs in what was a failed experiment and would be a failed experiment again. It would unleash Iran on the whole region and not actually solve the nuclear problem.
President Biden is a friend of Israel, he has supported Israel in so many ways. But the American people should understand why we in Israel, why our Arab neighbors who we've made peace with, oppose the deal. The administration isn't listening. They're pretending to listen, but I have not seen any evidence that they're listening to what Israel is saying because they remain on this course despite it all.
The core issue is that in their minds they do not want a military confrontation. And instead of realizing that a military confrontation is prevented by the Americans putting a credible military threat on Iran, they think a military confrontation is prevented by rushing into a diplomatic agreement.
(Wall Street Journal) Laurence Norman -
Iran's cache of highly enriched uranium of 60% purity increased by about 30% in the quarter to August 21, reaching 55.6 kilograms, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest quarterly report sent to member states. Its total stockpile of enriched uranium has grown to 3,941 kilograms, the report said.
The highly enriched uranium can easily be converted into weapons-grade fuel, with Iran's stockpile of that material well above the minimum amount needed to fuel one nuclear weapon.
The IAEA has also reported a sharp increase in the number of advanced centrifuges Tehran has installed and fed with uranium at its main nuclear facilities. Iran has also removed IAEA cameras that were overseeing the production of centrifuges, so Iran's inventory of the machines is unknown. "I am sorry to say that I am less confident today about the prospects of closing the deal right now," Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief who coordinates the negotiations, said Monday.
(Reuters) Iran's stock of uranium enriched to up to 60%, close to weapons-grade, has grown to enough, if enriched further, for a nuclear bomb, a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, showed on Wednesday.
Passing that threshold is a milestone in the unraveling of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which capped the purity to which Iran was allowed to enrich uranium at 3.67%, well below the 20% it achieved before the deal and the roughly 90% that is weapons-grade.
"Iran now can produce 25 kg (of uranium) at 90% if they want to," a senior diplomat said in response to the IAEA report.
(Fox News) Benjamin Weinthal -
The formal name for the intelligence report - the Swedish Security Yearbook - revealed that "Iran also conducts industrial espionage primarily aimed at Swedish high-tech industry and Swedish products that can be used in a nuclear weapons program."
The 80-page intelligence report, which lists national security threats to Sweden, noted "Iranian intelligence officers act, among other things, under diplomatic cover in Sweden." In response to a Fox News Digital press query, a spokesman for the Swedish Security Service said, "The Swedish Security Service considers Iran to be one of the three countries that poses the gravest security threat to Sweden and Swedish interests. The other two being Russia and China."
(Mirror UK) The Iranian regime is introducing a heavy crackdown on women who do not bow to its strict rules on wearing the hijab by using facial recognition technology. The Secretary of Iran's Headquarters for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice announced the policy would come as part of a new decree by President Ebrahim Raisi.
The oppressive rules mean the technology would be used on public transport to identify women who are not complying with the rules. Women in the country can be arrested for the "crime" and even flogged and sent to prison, facing "morality checkpoints" to ensure they adhere to the rules.
(i24News) Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday, following a reshuffle within the Conservative Party, confirmed her commitment to the fight against antisemitism and support for Israel. Truss on the issues:
In an interview with the London-based Jewish Chronicle in August, the new prime minister stressed that there is no greater friend of the UK than Israel, even suggesting during the campaign within her party that she would be open to the transfer of the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"I want to see the scourge of antisemitism eradicated. That means driving it out of our culture, starting with schools."
The prime minister also said she "cannot allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons."
While serving as UK foreign secretary, Truss had challenged Israel's banishment from the United Nations, ensuring that Britain "votes with Israel."
(Newsweek) Joseph Golder -
Rare ivory plaques dating back thousands of years to Solomon's Temple and are believed to have been part of a throne have been unearthed in Jerusalem.
One of the experts who uncovered them said they were the first of their kind to be uncovered in the City of David in Jerusalem. The City of David is an archaeological site believed by experts to be the original center of Jerusalem during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
(BBC) David Gritten -
Two LGBT activists have been sentenced to death in Iran, rights groups say. A court in Urmia found Zahra Seddiqi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Choubdar, 24, guilty of "corruption on Earth."
The Hengaw Organization for Human Rights reported that they were accused of promoting homosexuality, promoting Christianity, and communicating with media opposed to the Islamic Republic.
Before she attempted to leave Iran, Seddiqi Hamedani recorded a video in which she said: "I want you to know how much pressure we LGBT people endure. We risk our lives for our emotions, but we will find our true selves..."
(Bloomberg) Olivia Solon -
Ben and Jerry's is renewing its effort to unwind a contentious decision by parent company Unilever to sell the ice-cream business in Israel.
The Vermont-based ice-cream maker will confirm its plans to file a revised complaint in New York federal court in the coming weeks, said two people familiar with the matter. Ben and Jerry's independent board wants to stop Unilever's sale of its brand and trademark to a local licensee in Israel.