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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 6, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

PA Pursuing a Blatant Escalation - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Not only has Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refrained from condemning Thursday's attack that killed Naama and Eitam Henkin - the murder of two parents in front of their four small children - senior figures in his Fatah faction actually praised the murder of unarmed civilians as a heroic act.
    The PA is currently pursuing a blatant escalation of its rhetoric, which comes on top of the violence on the ground - from an increase in the number of large demonstrations, to shooting and rock-throwing ambushes on the highways.

Fatah Gunmen Reappear in West Bank - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas returned to Ramallah on Friday after speaking at the UN. Shortly before his arrival, several Fatah gunmen appeared in the center of Ramallah and opened fire into the air, chanting slogans in support of the PA president.
    It was the first time in seven years that gunmen belonging to the Aksa Martyrs Brigades had made such an appearance in Ramallah.
    In Dehaishe near Bethlehem, Fatah and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gunmen marched in the streets on Thursday night to celebrate the attack which killed an Israeli couple.

Killers Stirred Up by Relentless Arab Media Reports of "Harming" Al-Aqsa - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    On every Arab TV station and especially on social media, Palestinians are watching reports from the Temple Mount and what are described as "Israeli attacks on Al Aqsa."
    We are in the midst of a wave of attacks that could certainly intensify, but do not constitute a popular uprising. Most of the Palestinian public does not want an intifada.
    See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Report of Attack on Palestinian Boy Fabricated - Elior Levy and Itay Blumental (Ynet News)
    A Palestinian source reported on Saturday that an Israeli had shot a six-year-old Palestinian boy.
    But according to the IDF who investigated the incident alongside Palestinian authorities, the boy was wounded while playing with a gun owned by his brother, a Palestinian police officer.
    The family invented the story to protect their older son and to get payment from the Palestinian Authority as victims of terror at the hands of Jews.

IDF Seizes Terrorists, Explosives in West Bank - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF conducted counter-terrorism and arms raids in Jenin early Sunday morning, arresting two terror suspects and seizing an M-16 rifle and explosive devices.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Normal Ties between Iran and U.S. Unlikely Despite Nuclear Deal - Parisa Hafezi and Lesley Wroughton
    Iran is unlikely to normalize relations with the U.S. despite a landmark nuclear deal. Analysts and officials say that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has no intention of restoring diplomatic ties. Khamenei has continued to denounce the U.S. publicly. A senior security official in Tehran said: "How can you trust your long-time enemy? How can you do business with a partner you don't trust? We trust American people but not their government. And the deal has not changed it. Real believers in Iran's revolution and its pillars and followers of our late leader (Ayatollah) Khomeini will never accept it."
        Senior Iran analyst Ali Vaez from the International Crisis Group concluded: "For Ayatollah Khamenei the nuclear accord was purely transactional, not transformational....Neither President Rouhani nor any other actor in the Islamic Republic will be able to successfully challenge this vision."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Enforcement of Iran Arms Embargo Slipped During Nuclear Talks - Yeganeh Torbati
    The U.S. government has pursued far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years, according to two senior officials involved in sanctions enforcement. The sharp fall in new prosecutions did not reflect fewer attempts by Iran to break the embargo, the officials said. The more relaxed enforcement raises questions over how strictly the arms embargo and other remaining sanctions will be applied in the future. (Reuters)
  • Russian Soldiers Join Syria Fight - Andrew E. Kramer and Anne Barnard
    Russia said Monday that its "volunteer" ground forces would join the fight in Syria. The plan for so-called volunteers was disclosed Monday by President Putin's top military liaison to Parliament, Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov, who said his country's "volunteers" on the way to Syria "cannot be stopped." American military officials said more than 600 Russian military personnel were already on the ground in Syria, not counting aircrews, and that tents for nearly 2,000 people had been seen at Russia's air base near Latakia. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Cell Arrested for Murder of 2 Israelis - Amos Harel
    The Israel Security Agency said Monday it had apprehended five members of a Hamas cell in Nablus for the murder of the Israeli couple Eitam and Naama Henkin in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Thursday. The cell was responsible for two previous shootings. After the shooters opened fire at the Henkin's vehicle, their car stopped and two cell members shot at the Henkins at point-blank range. During the shooting one of the gunman, Karem Razek, was accidently wounded by another cell member and dropped his gun, which was later found by security forces. It is possible that Razek's injury led the cell members to leave the scene quickly, without hurting the four Henkin children in the back seat. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Arrest of Hamas Cell by Israel Security Agency (Israel Security Agency-IMRA)
        See also Thousands Attend Funeral of Couple Killed in West Bank - Amos Harel
    Thousands attended the funeral in Jerusalem on Friday of Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were killed in a shooting attack on Thursday. The couple's son, nine-year-old Matan, said Kaddish (the mourner's prayer) for his parents at the funeral. Eitam Henkin was a U.S. citizen.
        President Reuven Rivlin said: "We're standing witness to a cruel terror offensive....Terror has been with us since we began building this nation. We've never ceased building because of terror, and nor will we. Terror has never shaken our foundation, and it will never shake our hold on this land."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Two Israelis Murdered in Jerusalem Attack - Yael Freidson
    Nehemia Lavi, 41, and Aharon Benita, 21, were murdered by a Palestinian attacker on Saturday night in the Old City of Jerusalem near Lions' Gate. Benita's wife is in serious condition and their two-year-old son was also wounded. The attacker, Mohannad Hallabi, 19, a law student at Al-Quds University, was killed by police. In a Facebook post on Friday, Halabi said he believed that the Third Intifada had already begun. (Ynet News-Ha'aretz)
        See also Wounded Widow Recalls Jerusalem Terror Attack - Ruthie Blum
    "I ran several meters with a knife stuck in my shoulder, covered in blood," Adele Benita, the wife of murdered Aharon Benita, told Israel's Channel 2 on Sunday. "And the Arabs watching applauded and spit at me, calling out, 'You should die, too.'"  (Algemeiner)
        See also View Video: Arabs Ignore Wounded Woman's Cries for Help (Times of Israel)
  • Arab Stabs Jewish Teen in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson
    An Arab assailant stabbed a 15-year-old Jewish teen in his chest and back in Jerusalem early Sunday. The assailant was shot dead by police. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hysterics on the Temple Mount - Editorial
    Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka hurled abuse at Jewish visitors and police on the Temple Mount last week during the Sukkot festival. He positioned himself at the Mugrabi Gate - the only one through which non-Muslims may enter. No sooner were Jews allowed in than he accosted the visitors and screamed, "Get out of here! You have no place here!" Zahalka's stirring defense of exclusive Muslim rights on the Mount and his anti-Jewish outbursts do a colossal disservice to Israel's Arab population. Israeli Arabs' inherent interests hinge on integration and not segregation.
        Arab politicians who exploit Israeli democracy to undermine Israel do not further the cause of coexistence. They intentionally create a vicious cycle whereby they radicalize the Arab sector, turn pugnacious propaganda into a vote-getting ploy and thus generate further radicalization. This is the last thing this country's Arabs need. They live in the Middle East's freest and most thriving state. Deprecating and delegitimizing it, while promulgating seditious agendas for its obliteration, is hardly conducive to building bridges. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Rioters Are Desecrating Islamic Holy Sites - Bassam Tawil
    Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian figures have been issuing daily threats against Israel in response to perfectly peaceful visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Palestinian leaders in the West Bank would like to see rioting in the streets of Jerusalem so they can hold Israel responsible for cracking down on "innocent" Palestinians participating in "popular resistance."
        If anyone is desecrating Islamic holy sites, it is those who bring explosives, stones and firebombs into Al-Aqsa Mosque in the first place. For the past few months, dozens of Palestinian youths have used the mosque as a launching pad for attacking Jewish visitors and policemen on the Temple Mount. The images of masked youths inside Al-Aqsa Mosque collecting stones for attacking Jews reveal the true intentions of the rioters: to harm Jewish visitors and policemen who have no plans to enter the mosque [see article for photos]. Palestinian leaders do not tell the world that they are the ones inciting these young men to take to the streets and attack the first Jew they run into. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Where Was the UN Ambassador When Netanyahu Spoke? - Elliott Abrams
    When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the UN General Assembly this week, America's UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, was not present. Rick Grenell, for years the spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the UN, tweeted that Power was instructed to stay away. To sit and listen to Netanyahu isn't endorsing his remarks, it is the politeness we owe an ally. A refusal to have the U.S. ambassador listen to his speech is damaging, hinting to anti-Israel delegations that the U.S. may be willing to let all sorts of anti-Israel measures go without opposition or criticism. The writer is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the CFR. (Council on Foreign Relations)

A Method Behind Palestinian Madness - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • Daily Palestinian assaults on Israeli civilians with guns, firebombs, knives and lethal rocks have become so commonplace that they get very little international press coverage. But the support the terrorists are getting from the Palestinian Authority makes it clear that there is a method behind this madness.
  • The PA actually condemned Israeli authorities because police shot the Palestinian terrorists after they accomplished their grisly deeds. A PA spokesman called on the international community to intervene to protest "the killing of two young men in occupied Jerusalem," a reference to the slain terrorists. The PA statement did not contain even a perfunctory condemnation of the attacks on Israelis.
  • PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has stoked the fires of hatred among his people by repeating lies about Israel seeking to prevent Muslims from worshipping at their mosques in Jerusalem. Just as important, the PA official media that Abbas controls has maintained a steady drumbeat of anti-Jewish incitement in which terrorists are lauded as heroes.
  • What Abbas really wants is to distract the world from its current focus on the mass slaughter of Arabs by fellow Muslims in Syria - a conflict that proves that pressuring Israel is not the key to Middle East peace - and orchestrate a new wave of condemnations of the Jewish state.
  • The deafening silence about attacks on Jews in the streets of Jerusalem reinforces the Palestinian belief that they can get more international support by escalating the conflict and refusing Israeli offers of statehood than by making peace.

        See also Palestinians See Tacit PA Approval for Attacks Against Israelis - Diaa Hadid and Rami Nazzal
    Fadi Alon, 21, a Palestinian, was fatally shot by Israeli police officers on Sunday after he stabbed and wounded a 15-year-old Jewish boy in Jerusalem. Palestinians widely viewed PA President Abbas' speech last week at the UN General Assembly as tacit approval for defiant, violent attacks against Israelis - even though Abbas made no such call.
        "He gave a green light for the attacks, that's what people think," said Mahmoud, 26, from east Jerusalem. A funeral tent in the Shuafat neighborhood already bore posters of Alon's visage, with Abbas' face superimposed behind him, alongside the slogan, "Behind the president, there are soldiers ready."  (New York Times)

Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.
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