IMRA Middle East News Updates Middle East News & Analysis en-US 1569213938 1569213938 Capalon Internet 2.0 (Aaron Lerner) News & Analysis IMRA Middle East News Updates 144 97 Clarification: National Camp Won - Religion-State Issues Taking <p>Clarification: National Camp Won - Religion-State Issues Taking Priority<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 23 September, 2019</p> <p>The national camp includes Yisrael Beiteinu.</p> <p>It has more than 61 seats.</p> <p>PM Netanyahu so far has been unable to form a ruling coalition because<br /> Yisrael Beiteinu leader Liberman believes that religion-state issues take<br /> precedence.</p> <p>Thanks to the hard line taken by Mahmoud Abbas et. al. Liberman does not see<br /> the threat of the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state in the<br /> foreseeable future.</p> <p>At the same time, it appears that a Netanyahu administration won't engage in<br /> truly dramatic action on the national front.</p> <p>Two indications of this were decisions by Mr. Netanyahu in the days up to<br /> the elections:</p> <p>- during a high profile election campaign visit to Hebron he declined, as<br /> DM, to sign a letter to the mayor of Hebron ending the municipality's lease<br /> on the Jewish owned "old market", a move that would have opened the area to<br /> Jewish construction.</p> <p>- he indefinitely postponed applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan<br /> Valley and the northern Dead Sea on 15 September by appointing a working<br /> team led by the director general of his ministry, Ronen Peretz, to formulate<br /> an outline for carrying out the move - this when he already had a final map<br /> for the decision and only needed to carry out a Government vote approving<br /> the map (or alternatively submit the legislation he also had already<br /> prepared for submission to the Knesset).</p> <p>This in contrast to the religion-state issues: the prospects of crippling<br /> development of the country by banning infrastructure work on the Sabbath and<br /> allowing the growing Haredi sector to continue to decline to give their<br /> children the tools critical to equip them to make a significant contribute<br /> to the economy (English and math).</p> <p>History though, has shown, that it is difficult to predict what may happen<br /> in the coming period. Suffice it to say that even in the absence of the<br /> creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, there are many ways for almost<br /> all of Area C to undergo a transformation that will prevent future<br /> significant Israeli construction beyond the area of the current communities.</p> <p>________________________________________<br /> IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis</p> <p>Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on <br /> Arab-Israeli relations</p> <p>Website:</p> Mon, 23 Sep 2019 04:45:38 +0000 Peretz to PM: 'Bring Pollard to Israel' Sun, 22 Sep 2019 18:28:13 +0000 Normalcy: Palestinian medic treating IDF soldier isn't news item <p>Normalcy? Palestinian medic treating IDF soldier isn't news item<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 22 September 2019</p> <p>At the start of "Oslo" it was big news when a Palestinian construction<br /> worker cared for a stray child who wandered into a Herzliya building site in<br /> the middle of the night. He was even given a reward.</p> <p>Today, when a Palestinian medic was the first to treat an IDF officer<br /> wounded in his face from stones thrown at his car it wasn't even a headline<br /> and the news items covering the incident mentioned the Palestinian medic<br /> somewhere in the middle of the story.</p> <p>________________________________________<br /> IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis</p> <p>Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on <br /> Arab-Israeli relations</p> <p>Website:</p> Sun, 22 Sep 2019 18:24:22 +0000 Yisrael Beiteinu Head Avigdor Liberman Sets Red Lines On Religion And State Issues <p>Yisrael Beiteinu Head Avigdor Liberman Sets Red Lines On Religion And State <br /> Issues <br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 20 September 2019 <br /> <br /> The following is a translation of an excerpt of a post by Avigdor Liberman <br /> on his Facebook page on 20 September, 2019 <br /> <br /> <br /> After counting almost 100% of the votes and before the meetings with the <br /> president begin, a few updates: <br /> <br /> ... <br /> 4. In recent days, I have suddenly heard new music from the leaders of the <br /> ultra-Orthodox parties. There are no more nicknames such as Amalek and <br /> Hitler and there is a call to stop the hate talk. I warmly welcome it. For <br /> us, and I have made it clear in the past, the ultra-Orthodox parties are not <br /> an enemy, but a political rival. We follow different approaches. They are <br /> Beit Shamai and we are Beit Hillel. <br /> <br /> On issues of religion and state, we have reached a crossroads that requires <br /> a decision between the two approaches. Not a compromise, but a decision. <br /> <br /> It is important to clarify once again what is the minimum threshold for us <br /> regarding religion and state: <br /> - the Draft Law as written <br /> - civil marriage <br /> - conversion by the rabbis of cities <br /> - Restoring the Western Wall Outline <br /> - Core studies in ultra-Orthodox educational institutions <br /> - Public transport and opening supermarkets on Saturday. The last two issues <br /> will be within the authority of the local government according to the nature <br /> of the community in each locality. <br /> <br /> We will not agree to less than that, even at the cost of sitting in the <br /> opposition. <br /> <br /> Shabbat Shalom <br /> ________________________________________ <br /> IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis <br /> <br /> Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on <br /> Arab-Israeli relations <br /> <br /> Website:</p> Fri, 20 Sep 2019 10:10:20 +0000 Observation: Will the Ultra-Orthodox Cut Their Potential Losses? <p>Observation: Will the Ultra-Orthodox Cut Their Potential Losses?<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 19 September, 2019</p> <p>April 2019 - in a surprise move, the religious-Zionist Union of the<br /> Right-Wing Parties announced immediately after the elections that they would<br /> join with the ultra-orthodox parties as a bloc of 21 MKs in negotiations to<br /> form a new ruling coalition. Their immediate focus would be restricting<br /> Sabbath infrastructure work.</p> <p>The die was cast.</p> <p>Suddenly state-religion issues that normally take the back burner played a<br /> critical role in the September elections that followed as Avigdor Liberman<br /> seized the issue to transform his moribund Yisrael Beiteinu party and almost<br /> double his seats.</p> <p>The ultra-Orthodox did well in this election. But if they find themselves<br /> in the opposition it will be a pyric victory.</p> <p>It remains to be seen if their leadership has the self confidence to cut<br /> their losses by conceding on three key issues:</p> <p>#1. Passage of the proposed military service law exactly as it written.</p> <p>#2. English and math studies for all children.</p> <p>#3. A framework for continuing Sabbath infrastructure work.</p> <p>I am not going to spend time here explaining why the ultra-orthodox should<br /> be able to find a way to live with this.</p> <p>I am not even going to argue if Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman was<br /> justified in demanding earlier this month that Noble Energy halt work on the<br /> Sabbath erecting a gas drilling rig 10 kilometers off the coast.</p> <p>The point is that much of the rest of Israeli society perceives these as<br /> existential issues.</p> <p>Conceding these three issues won't end what's been termed a "culture war",<br /> but it would most certainly guarantee the place of the ultra-orthodox<br /> parties in whatever ruling coalition is formed.</p> <p>And there is no telling what a coalition may pull off in their absence.<br /> ________________________________________<br /> IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis</p> <p>Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on <br /> Arab-Israeli relations</p> <p>Website:</p> Thu, 19 Sep 2019 20:30:50 +0000 No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence <p>No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence <br /> Yigal Carmon MEMRI Daily Brief #198 September 19, 2019 <br /> <br /> People without principles and dignity do not understand that these are <br /> sources of tangible power that create deterrence. People who evade <br /> projecting those elements of power are doomed to be deterred by those with <br /> dignity and principles - however odious and deplorable - such as Iran, <br /> Russia, and China down to the level of Turkey. They treat the US with <br /> constant verbal contempt and actual provocations, in the knowledge that they <br /> can bait the US with impunity. 1 <br /> <br /> The attacks of 9/14 on Saudi Arabia's oil plants demonstrate this American <br /> tragedy. The immediate, tactical targets were Saudi, but they could well <br /> have been American CENTCOM targets with a similar level of damage sustained. <br /> <br /> Out of the best intentions of sparing America wars, America will inevitably <br /> face both "war and shame". President Trump asked Senator Lindsey Graham "How <br /> did going into Iraq work out?" One would have expected the man who restored <br /> the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office to consider how did the <br /> appeasement policy of Chamberlain work out and what was the cost to the US <br /> in lives a few years later. But even the understanding that in a world where <br /> America is no longer the guarantor of world order, the American economy will <br /> also tank is beyond the qualifications of a great hotelier and real estate <br /> mogul. <br /> <br /> The 9/14 attacks, correctly referred to by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo <br /> as "an act of war", is a harsh humiliating blow dealt to the U.S., signaling <br /> an American multilevel failure: <br /> <br /> First, there was a failure of deterrence. The Iranians took a calculated <br /> risk and were proven correct. They view themselves the military regional <br /> equals of the US and via their proxies even beyond the region. <br /> <br /> American military officials openly betray their fear of Iranian power and <br /> retaliatory capability on CENTCOM targets and they thus make Trump's boast <br /> that the US is the world's strongest military power, empty posturing In fact <br /> it is Iran that is actually deterring the U.S. from any retaliation. Iran <br /> relies on its proven ability to act in the local theater while its results <br /> have a global ripple effect. <br /> <br /> Secondly, it was a failure of U.S. intelligence (military, NSA, CIA and <br /> others). Apparently, there was no early warning about an operation that must <br /> have had dozens of parties engaged in the decision process, the secret <br /> planning and the preparations. Since May 2019, MEMRI has issued several <br /> strategic warnings about the Iranian threats to carry out such attacks, <br /> based on open Iranian sources. <br /> <br /> Thirdly, the successful Iranian attack represented an American technological <br /> failure, as not a single cruise missile or drone was intercepted. Iranian <br /> Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif ridiculed the U.S., tweeting "Perhaps [the US <br /> is] embarrassed that $100s of blns of its arms didn't intercept Yemeni <br /> fire". <br /> <br /> Fourthly, and most disturbingly, it is a case of political failure - no one <br /> in the U.S. administration expected such a bold direct Iranian attack. True, <br /> Iran has resorted to proxies to afford it deniability, but now the Iranian <br /> leadership has realistically gauged American hesitancy and conflict aversion <br /> and believed that Iran could risk making a direct attack, discounting the <br /> possibility of strong American retaliation. Considering the global effect of <br /> this bold attack, so far, the calculated risk has proven to be a sound bet. <br /> <br /> Why The Attacks? <br /> <br /> The attacks of 9/14 have nothing to do with the war in Yemen; it is about <br /> the U.S. sanctions. Iran is painfully squeezed and tries to ease the <br /> sanctions by applying force - for now only against American allies and U.S. <br /> interests. Iran will continue to do so until the sanctions are significantly <br /> eased, as long as it assesses that the penalty for these attacks is nil or <br /> bearable. This is not rocket science and only requires a basic comprehension <br /> and not secret intelligence. <br /> <br /> What Can Now Be Expected? <br /> <br /> 1. No deterrent American response against Iran should be expected. Knowing <br /> that the U.S. administration will not stand by the Saudis militarily, KSA <br /> spokesmen and leaders have refrained from explicitly accusing Iran, and <br /> have emulated the UAE leaders, who refrained from pointing a finger at Iran <br /> after the attacks on their tankers on June 2019, even when Iranian <br /> complicity had been proven. <br /> <br /> 2. Further Iranian attacks, based on the same Iranian logic, will take place <br /> in the future as a result of continued U.S. sanctions, and not due to any <br /> reaction by KSA, the U.S. etc. to Iranian attacks. <br /> <br /> 20/20 Vision <br /> <br /> No American can gain from Iran's humbling of America. Any future president <br /> will have to address the Iranian threat and restore America's power, <br /> deterrence, principles and dignity, albeit at a much higher price. The <br /> powers of evil cannot be tamed by American self-abnegation. This lesson <br /> should have been assimilated in the previous century. With all the justified <br /> aversion to Saudi Arabia due to the murder of Khashoggi, Saudi crimes pale <br /> in comparison to the mega murders committed by the Ayatollah regime in their <br /> ongoing unbridled drive for an Islamic dictatorship. The real threat is <br /> Iran's quest for regional domination and nuclear weapons. Ideally, <br /> presidential contenders should prioritize these long range considerations; <br /> realistically this is not going to happen. <br /> <br /> * Yigal Carmon is the President and founder of MEMRI <br /> <br /> Endnotes <br /> <br /> 1 The American loss of dignity was on display in spades when Trump <br /> thanked the Iranians for not downing a manned US plane that flew alongside <br /> the downed American UAV. No wonder that the Iranians were further convinced <br /> of their moral superiority and the justice of their Islamic Revolution <br /> ideology.</p> Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:57:24 +0000