IMRA Middle East News Updates Middle East News & Analysis en-US 1708502485 1708502485 Capalon Internet 2.0 (Aaron Lerner) News & Analysis IMRA Middle East News Updates 144 97 Weekly Commentary: If Missiles Not Removed, Gaza Will Look Like Paradise Compared to Areas of Beirut <p>Weekly Commentary: If Missiles Not Removed, Gaza Will Look Like Paradise<br /> Compared to Areas of Beirut<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner, 21 February 2024</p> <p>If Hezbollah doesn't remove the rockets and missiles it has embedded in<br /> Beirut and other populated areas of Lebanon, those areas will be turned into<br /> moonscapes, which will make Gaza, by comparison, seem like Paradise.</p> <p>To be clear:</p> <p>We won't turn those areas into a moonscape as punishment.</p> <p>We will do this because the rockets and missiles are so deeply embedded<br /> inside the civilian population that even precision attacks will level the<br /> areas.</p> <p>We have no choice.</p> <p>The devastation we will suffer in a full-scale battle with Hezbollah is<br /> unprecedented.</p> <p>The Israeli authorities are starting to provide a glimpse of what we are<br /> facing, and the public is reacting.</p> <p>We are being warned to expect no electricity for days, and that some areas<br /> may have no power for many weeks.</p> <p>The Ministry of Health is scrambling to arrange solutions for the many tens<br /> of thousands of Israelis who rely on oxygen concentrators to survive.</p> <p>People are buying battery systems that include solar panels to recharge<br /> them.</p> <p>And since the telephone system and mobile towers will crash in areas with<br /> extended blackout periods, many who must maintain constant contact with the<br /> world are buying telephones and modems that communicate via satellite.</p> <p>It is finally sinking in that when this full-scale battle takes place, we<br /> will not have the resources to even attempt to intercept rockets and<br /> missiles on the way to hitting non-strategic targets.</p> <p>Indeed, it is a nightmare scenario.</p> <p>But a real one.</p> <p>There is ultimately only one way to prevent the massive destruction of areas<br /> of major Lebanese cities, and that is for Hezbollah to remove the rockets<br /> and missiles embedded in those areas.</p> <p>I say "ultimately" because even if there is some kind of deal that pulls<br /> back Hezbollah from our border, those rockets and missiles will continue to<br /> be a clear and present danger.</p> <p>The only question is if on "judgment day," our leadership chooses to take<br /> the initiative in a surprise attack, which will save thousands of Israeli<br /> lives and a huge chunk of our economy.</p> <p>Because that is the difference in the destruction we will endure between a<br /> surprise Israeli attack and an Israeli response.</p> <p>And I will add an important note: if we are as clueless about Hezbollah as<br /> it turned out we were clueless about Hamas, then this makes weighing the<br /> options that much more difficult for our policymakers.</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> Wed, 21 Feb 2024 03:01:25 -0500 Observation: Serious Preparations For A Unilateral Response To A Unilaterally Established Sovereign State Can Stop This Madness <p>Observation: Serious Preparations For A Unilateral Response To A<br /> Unilaterally Established Sovereign State Can Stop This Madness<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 19 February 2024</p> <p>Years ago a top IDF reserve officer appeared on one of the round tables on<br /> Israeli television to discuss what transpired when Binyamin Netanyahu and<br /> Ehud Barak ran a multi-billion dollar operation to prepare for an attack on<br /> Iran. Someone else on the panel claimed that the entire operation was a<br /> charade to convince the United States to stop Iran's nuclear program. </p> <p>"If it was a fake then why didn't we spend just a fraction of the billions?"</p> <p>I cringed at his profound stupidity.</p> <p>Fast forward to 2024.</p> <p>We are starting to make noises that we will respond to a unilateral move to<br /> establish a sovereign Palestinian state with our own unilateral moves.</p> <p>I don't think noise will do the trick.</p> <p>We need to prepare a series of serious, viable, detailed maps for a<br /> unilateral move ready for a snap approving vote by the Cabinet.</p> <p>We need to have operating models worked out for implementing all the<br /> unilateral actions.</p> <p>There's no need to publish this information in a threatening way. There are<br /> enough people in the system who will decide, on their own and without<br /> authorization, to share it with their American contacts. </p> <p>If this "clandestine" activity brings those burning the midnight oil to<br /> unilaterally establish a sovereign Palestinian state to back down -<br /> fantastic.</p> <p>And if it fails?</p> <p>We will be ready to act.</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, 19 Feb 2024 13:49:36 -0500 Q&A - Biden Launching Unconditional Timeline To Sovereign Palestinian State By Recognizing Map? <p>Q&A - Biden Launching Unconditional Timeline To Sovereign Palestinian State<br /> By Recognizing Map?<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 17 February 2024</p> <p>It is believed that the Biden team is working overtime these days to launch<br /> an unconditional timeline to a sovereign Palestinian state with the<br /> publication of a map of the sovereign Palestinian state endorsed by a<br /> collection of countries - including Saudi Arabia and other moderate Sunni<br /> states.</p> <p>Q: Why a map?</p> <p>A: Presenting a map whose borders are already recognized by the United<br /> States and others is a message to the world that the unconditional timeline<br /> is serious.</p> <p>Q: Will the map address all of the territorial issues?</p> <p>A: There are three schools of thought regarding the map:</p> <p>The "Beilin-Mazen Approach": Beilin proclaimed to the world that the<br /> "Beilin-Mazen Agreement" addressed ALL the issues even though it actually<br /> relegated the most thorny problems, including Jerusalem, to a future<br /> committee. In the spirit of "Beilin-Mazen," the map could show areas of<br /> Jerusalem with a special shading and the notation "arrangements in this area<br /> to be determined by a special commission" or a similar notation. The same<br /> might apply to large Jewish communities located beyond the Green Line.</p> <p>The "Pull-off-the-Bandage Approach": A map restoring the Green Line with<br /> Jerusalem divided.</p> <p>The "Surprise Compromise Map": A map showing major Jewish communities beyond<br /> the Green Line intact with access roads to the Green Line shaded with the<br /> notation that these areas will be transferred to Israel if Israel provides<br /> an acceptable "swap" for these territories by the deadline set in the<br /> timeline. Perhaps the biggest surprise on the map would be in Jerusalem with<br /> the Jewish Quarter also shaded as a candidate for the "swap," with the<br /> Western Wall Plaza part of a Saudi-administered extended Temple Mount<br /> compound which includes plans for a synagogue to be erected in part of the<br /> Temple Mount Plaza area where, until now, children play soccer. To be clear:<br /> this synagogue would not be replacing either the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Dome<br /> of the Rock. It would be located in an area where children play soccer. The<br /> Saudi endorsement of this arrangement would be cited as proof that the<br /> American initiative represents a genuine breakthrough rather than a pathetic<br /> desperate gesture to win Mr. Biden some votes in Dearborn.</p> <p>Q: How would the map be used to deter Israel?</p> <p>A: The presentation of the map should be considered within the context of<br /> the Executive Order signed by President Biden as well as possible military<br /> and weapons restrictions.</p> <p>Q: What would the map have to do with the Executive Order?</p> <p>A: Following the precedent set recently in which the Bank of Israel<br /> supported the decision of Bank Leumi and the Postal Bank to freeze Israeli<br /> accounts in accordance with the Executive Order (despite that the Order<br /> technically only applied to foreign branches of American banks), Israelis<br /> residing or operating in an area which is designated as being part of the<br /> sovereign Palestinian state would be effectively on notice that their<br /> ISRAELI BANK ACCOUNTS may be frozen if they don't leave before a time set on<br /> the timeline. If the map is a "Surprise Compromise Map," the Israelis facing<br /> the sanctions will put unbearable pressure on Israel to accept a territory<br /> swap, come what may.</p> <p>Q: What about military and weapons restrictions?</p> <p>A: Israeli military acting within the area designated as sovereign Palestine<br /> after a date set in the timeline would also risk having their Israeli bank<br /> accounts frozen. No American-made military equipment or supplies can be used<br /> in these areas after a date set in the timeline as well.</p> <p>Q: Will the Israeli Government act to thwart this announcement?</p> <p>A: In recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have<br /> repeatedly stated that a unilaterally established Palestinian state is not<br /> acceptable. It remains to be seen if Mr. Netanyahu's Government is prepared<br /> to thwart the move.</p> <p>Q: Could Israel thwart the move?</p> <p>A: Since so many players are involved in this process, Israel will know of<br /> an impending announcement with enough time to act if it has the will to do<br /> so.</p> <p>Q: What could Israel do?</p> <p>A: Initiate a move which causes large segments of the Palestinian street to<br /> support an Israeli alternative to a sovereign Palestinian state.</p> <p>Q: What are the contours of such an Israeli alternative?</p> <p>A: Annexation of Area C plus Tulkarem (next to Netanya), Kalkiliya (adjacent<br /> to Kfar Sava), and the Jordan Valley including Jericho (which is adjacent to<br /> the Jordanian border) with full Israeli citizenship rights to anyone<br /> residing in the area at the time of the annexation vote by the Cabinet.<br /> Israel announces that COGAT will interface with each non-annexed municipal<br /> region on a case-by-case basis, with both freedom of movement and employment<br /> inside Israel for all residents of the areas not annexed, with the exception<br /> of specific individuals designated by the Israeli security authorities as<br /> being subject to restrictions.</p> <p>Q: Why would this alternative be considered by the Palestinian street to be<br /> preferable to a sovereign Palestinian state?</p> <p>A: It would be a no-brainer for the Palestinians granted full Israeli<br /> citizenship rights to prefer this to citizenship in a sovereign Palestinian<br /> state. The prospects of freedom of movement and employment inside Israel for<br /> those in autonomous municipal regions would serve to split those communities<br /> as well.</p> <p>Q: What about the Israeli street?</p> <p>A: It is certainly true that, until now, large sections of the Israeli<br /> national camp either objected outright to including areas occupied by<br /> Palestinians in an annexation move or suggested imposing various<br /> requirements which would prevent Palestinians from being granted<br /> citizenship. Some leaders wouldl no doubt object to the move, but there is a<br /> solid majority in both the leadership and the street which would recognize<br /> that desperate times call for desperate measures.</p> <p>Q: Why not just accept a sovereign Palestinian State as a fait accompli?</p> <p>A: Two simple truths:</p> <p>A sovereign Palestinian state would continue to exist as a sovereign state<br /> regardless of what it does in violation of whatever it may have committed<br /> to.</p> <p>In the real world, "iron-clad security guarantees" are anything but<br /> "iron-clad." Anyone involved in policymaking who cannot come up with scores<br /> of scenarios in which a sovereign Palestinian state that has violated the<br /> restrictions it was subject to becomes the bridgehead for a series of<br /> actions and operations which destroy the Jewish State despite "iron-clad<br /> security guarantees" has no business being involved in policymaking.</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> Sat, 17 Feb 2024 15:59:52 -0500 Weekly Commentary: The Hammer-Wielding Child in the Education Production Line <p>Weekly Commentary: The Hammer-Wielding Child in the Education Production<br /> Line<br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner 16 February 2024</p> <p>Israel's survival hinges on the success of its educational system.</p> <p>Two fundamental policy changes have crippled the system for years: Giving<br /> parents' veto power over the placement of their children in the system and<br /> automatic promotion, particularly from the first grade.</p> <p>#1. Giving parents veto power over the placement of their children in the<br /> system.</p> <p>Earlier generations of students with severe behavioral problems in Israel<br /> could be moved to special classes in the school or the city at the<br /> discretion of the system.</p> <p>Today, parents can veto such initiatives and the frequently do.</p> <p>As a result, a single child can continually disrupt a class.</p> <p>And this problem is pervasive in the system.</p> <p>It is literally as if a child armed with a hammer is smashing the<br /> educational "product" for the entire class.</p> <p>Popular solutions are doomed to failure:</p> <p>Increasing the salaries of teachers won't change this.</p> <p>Spending tens or hundreds of millions of shekels on either supervising or<br /> training teachers to deal with a child who is "wired" to disrupt the class<br /> also will not stop that child from continuing to disrupt the class.</p> <p>Smaller class sizes can give the illusion of success, as shown in<br /> school-wide or system-wide data, since the move increases the probability<br /> that a particular classroom does not have such a problem child present. The<br /> students in the classroom with the disrupting child remain hopeless.</p> <p>The current policy is a tremendous burden on society in many ways:</p> <p>The disruptive child is not provided the venue which can make the child into<br /> a productive member of society.</p> <p>The other children fail to realize their capacity to learn in the classroom<br /> since so much of the classrom time is wasted by the disrupting child.</p> <p>Parents are subject to the financial burden of hiring tutors to cover<br /> material which otherwise would have been properly taught. This is not only a<br /> financial burden but also a source of inequality as engaging in this<br /> activity to compensate for the failure of the educational system requires<br /> that parents are both aware of the problem and its solution and have the<br /> financial capacity to try and address it.</p> <p>The failure of the educational system to remove disrupting children from<br /> regular classes deters people who could be excellent teachers from engaging<br /> in the profession while also causing teacher burnout for those who do.<br /> Teacher burnout dramatically increases the turnover of teachers, which means<br /> both a waste in the resources invested in training teachers and also a<br /> reduction in the average years of experience of the educators in the system.</p> <p>To be clear: this is not to say that an individual teacher should be able to<br /> unilaterally cause a child to be assigned to a special class over the<br /> objections of the child's parent. There most certainly can be a procedure<br /> for assessing a particular child which relies on a series of assessments to<br /> ensure that, despite the objections of the parents, the child cannot<br /> continue in a regular class.</p> <p>If this is such a great idea, why hasn't there been a pilot program?</p> <p>Our society is media-driven. If a child is moved to a foster home against<br /> the will of a drugged-out alcoholic single mother who stays out all night,<br /> the odds are good that the authorities involved in the action will find<br /> themselves slammed on one of the popular radio programs featuring the poor<br /> mother wailing about the terrible social worker, by name, who removed the<br /> child from the sympathetic mother's care.</p> <p>Taking away the veto power from parents would cause a media frenzy which no<br /> politician, administrator, or anyone else involved in the system is<br /> interested in dealing with.</p> <p>A change in this policy would require leadership which is willing to "fall<br /> on the sword" and bear the consequences of doing the right thing despite the<br /> short-term consequences.</p> <p>I say "short term" because a change in policy would have almost instant<br /> results.</p> <p>Children who are "disruptive by choice" would opt not to be disruptive,<br /> leading to an almost instant improvement in much of the system.</p> <p>Each year would see additional gains as the cumulative years of schooling<br /> not encumbered by disruptive children increases.</p> <p>#2. Automatic promotion, particularly from the first grade</p> <p>Earlier generations of first graders were not promoted to the second grade<br /> unless they successfully acquired a certain set of skills.</p> <p>Today, children are promoted automatically through the system, handicapped<br /> by the lack of critical basic skills.</p> <p>The old policy of holding children back achieved two things:</p> <p>Many children managed to acquire these critical skills in the second year.</p> <p>Holding the child back made parents aware of a problem in a way that could<br /> not be ignored. Parents who otherwise denied that their children had special<br /> needs often came to their senses when they were alerted that their child was<br /> failing to advance properly in their second year of first grade.</p> <p>Changing this policy also requires bold leadership.</p> <p>I sincerely hope that broad recognition of the Jewish State's nightmarish<br /> situation will provide the opportunity for bold changes.</p> <p>Now more than ever, our destiny depends on how smart and productive we are.</p> <p>We simply cannot afford to continue policies which prevent us from realizing<br /> our capacity.</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> Fri, 16 Feb 2024 08:34:06 -0500 Translation: Minister Ben Gvir Urges PM to Condition Humanitarian Aid on Receipt of Medication by Hostages <p>Translation: Minister Ben Gvir Urges PM to Condition Humanitarian Aid on<br /> Receipt of Medication by Hostages</p> <p>State of Israel <br /> Ministry of National Security <br /> Office of the Minister of National Security </p> <p>4th of Adar I, 5784 <br /> 13 February, 2024 <br /> Reference: 5700-0084-2024-000300 </p> <p>To the honorable MK Benjamin Netanyahu <br /> Prime Minister </p> <p>Greetings,<br /> Subject: Immediate halt of humanitarian aid until our captives receive their<br /> medication</p> <p>1. On Monday, the people of Israel awoke to an exciting morning, during<br /> which it was published that in a heroic rescue operation in cooperation, our<br /> brave fighters from the Israel Police Counter-Terrorism Unit (YAMAM), IDF,<br /> and Shin Bet, safely rescued the captives Fernando Simon Marman and Luis<br /> Norberto Leinberg who were held by the Hamas terrorist organization in<br /> Rafah.</p> <p>2. The two precious captives were evacuated for medical treatment to Sheba<br /> Hospital, where it was revealed that they did not receive the medications<br /> intended for them.</p> <p>3. It should be noted that about a month ago, you led an initiative with<br /> Qatar to transfer essential medications to our captives, within the<br /> framework of which you approved the dispatch of two cargo planes of the Air<br /> Force filled with thousands of packages of medications and humanitarian<br /> medical equipment for the "residents of Gaza" alongside individual boxes of<br /> medications for the captives, in exchange for a promise that Hamas would<br /> present evidence that indeed the captives received the medications.</p> <p>4. However, such evidence has not been presented to date, and now it turns<br /> out that this is not without reason - Hamas again violated the agreement you<br /> led.</p> <p>5. As painful as it is - it was expected. As I have said again and again,<br /> one must not fold and must not move the red line every time in the face of a<br /> Nazi terrorist organization.</p> <p>6. My clear and uncompromising stance that humanitarian only in exchange for<br /> humanitarian, is not only the right way but also the only way to act against<br /> Hamas.</p> <p>7. Now, as it is clear to the whole world that even the medications intended<br /> for the captives, through international mediation, did not reach their<br /> destination, I implore you to immediately stop the transfer of humanitarian<br /> aid to Gaza and to accept my simple stance according to which until the<br /> State of Israel does not receive information about the condition of the<br /> captives and clear evidence that the medications were transferred to them,<br /> not a single aid truck will enter the Gaza Strip. </p> <p>With the love of Israel,</p> <p>MK Itamar Ben Gvir <br /> Minister of National Security</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> Wed, 14 Feb 2024 04:42:13 -0500 Prepare Detailed Plans for Surprise Annexation Response to Unilateral American Recognition of Sovereign Palestine <p>Prepare Detailed Plans for Surprise Annexation Response to Unilateral<br /> American Recognition of Sovereign Palestine <br /> Dr. Aaron Lerner, 12 February 2024</p> <p>It is with a genuinely heavy heart that I note, at this point in time, it is<br /> literally impossible to know who is truly in charge at the White House today<br /> and who will be setting policy tomorrow.</p> <p>And with an even heavier heart, I note that if President Biden is in charge,<br /> his current condition only adds to the uncertainty.</p> <p>A few days ago, it would have been silly to propose a response to unilateral<br /> recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state by the United States.</p> <p>Today, anything is possible.</p> <p>So, here we go.</p> <p>Israel should prepare a response that would effectively take a sovereign<br /> Palestinian state, which could threaten Israel's survival, off of the table.</p> <p>1. Annex Area C plus Tulkarem and Qalqilya and the Jordan Valley with<br /> Jericho, granting full citizenship rights to anyone in the annexed areas.</p> <p>2. Treat the remaining Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria<br /> as separate autonomous entities, with their residents enjoying freedom of<br /> movement and employment inside Israel.</p> <p>While capitals around the world would no doubt proclaim their condemnation<br /> of this bold move, the response on the ground would be dramatically<br /> different.</p> <p>Israeli citizenship would be the "jackpot" for the Palestinians in the<br /> annexed areas. The sky's the limit for what they can do to advance their<br /> lives both as individuals and as part of voting blocs in the Knesset.</p> <p>Those not lucky enough to be annexed would also find themselves blessed with<br /> the opportunity to both work inside Israel and easily engage in commerce<br /> with the Israeli market.</p> <p>Each of the remaining autonomous population centers would have its own local<br /> leadership with their own interests.</p> <p>Consider Hebron. It is an industrial powerhouse with many modern,<br /> well-equipped factories and the tax base that goes with it.</p> <p>To be clear: I am not describing a move that would be embraced by everyone<br /> in the national camp.</p> <p>That's why Netanyahu showed a "Swiss cheese" annexation map of the Jordan<br /> Valley, which did not include any Arab communities.</p> <p>Such a "Swiss cheese" annexation couldn't possibly stop an American<br /> unilaterally recognized sovereign Palestinian state juggernaut.</p> <p>In sharp contrast, the proposed dramatic move, which would greatly benefit<br /> the Palestinians, could readily turn the American initiative into a dead<br /> letter.</p> <p>And, fortunately, it's a move that could be completed in literally a single<br /> fast vote of the cabinet.</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, 12 Feb 2024 17:10:49 -0500