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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

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  DAILY ALERT Monday
July 18, 2016


In-Depth Issues:

French Official: Nice Attacker's ISIS Links Not Yet Established - Euan McKirdy (CNN)
    The French Interior Minister has said that any link between the attacker who killed 84 people in a brazen attack on Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice and ISIS has "yet to be established."
  Bernard Cazeneuve told an interviewer that while the attack was claimed by ISIS and was an attack "of a terrorist nature," it remained to be seen exactly how Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was connected to the Iraq and Syria-based jihadist group.
  French authorities said six people are in custody in connection with the attacks.




Qassam Starts Training Camps in Gaza for 30,000 Youngsters (Alresalah)
    Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades launched on Saturday its annual summer training camps in Gaza for over 30,000 middle and high school students. The Brigades said that its summer training camps, Talae Al Tahrir (Vanguards of Liberation) provide the Palestinian youngsters with athletic games, scouts activities, as well as providing religion classes.
  "We prepare the Palestinian generations so they will be fully prepared for defending Palestinian soil and the Palestinian people," the brigades added.




Syrian-Launched UAV Evades Israeli Air Defenses - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Syria managed Sunday to penetrate Israeli airspace and evade two Patriot anti-air interceptors and an F-16-launched air-to-air missile.




Large Explosions at Assad's Defense Factories in Aleppo (BNO News)
    Large explosions tore through As-Safira defense factories in Aleppo province, according to Syrian journalists and activists. The blasts were felt over a large area and flames could be seen shooting high into the night sky.
  The incident happened just before 11 p.m. on Saturday when multiple explosions hit the facility, which is used by regime forces to manufacture explosives and barrel bombs.
  




U.S. Jewish Leaders Seek White House Apology for Dermer-Boris Johnson Comparison (JTA/Times of Israel)
    The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is seeking an apology from the White House spokesman for having compared Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, with the new British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The Conference of Presidents called the comparison "inappropriate" Friday, and called on the spokesman to apologize.




UNESCO Head: Jerusalem Is Sacred to All Three Monotheistic Faiths (Times of Israel)
    Jews, Muslims and Christians all have the right to claim historical ties to the Old City of Jerusalem, Irina Bokova, the head of the UN's cultural body said Sunday, as the organization postponed until October a vote on a new resolution that seeks to downplay the Jewish connection to the ancient city.




On Anniversary of Iran Deal, 14 Democratic Senators Call for Sanctions Extension (JTA)
    On the anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, more than a dozen Democratic senators called for an extension of the existing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
  Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland and Charles Schumer of New York, along with 12 others, introduced legislation on Thursday to renew the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, which is set to expire at the end of this year.



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News Resources - North America and Europe:
  • Turkey Coup Attempt: Erdogan Rounds Up Suspected Plotters - Sheena McKenzie and Ray Sanchez
    Two days after a failed military coup, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed a continued crackdown on those behind it - and those perceived to have been involved - as large crowds heeded his call to fill the nation's streets.
      Thousands of soldiers have been arrested and hundreds of judiciary members removed since Friday's uprising, which left at least 290 people dead and more than 1,400 injured in a chaotic night of violence. Clashes occurred Sunday between security forces and coup plotters resisting arrest nearly 200 miles south of Ankara at Konya Airbase.
      In addition to those detained, Erdogan is demanding the United States arrest or extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blamed for the attempt to overthrow the government. (CNN)
        See also Video: The Sights and Sounds of the Attempted Coup (CNN)
  • At Height of Turkish Coup Bid, Rebel Jets Had Erdogan's Plane in their Sights - Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun
    At the height of the attempt to overthrow Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the rebel pilots of two F-16 fighter jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights. And yet he was able to fly on. "Why they didn't fire is a mystery," a former military officer told Reuters. (Reuters)
        See also Turkey Government Seemed to Have List of Arrests Prepared: EU Commissioner
    The swift rounding up of judges and others after a failed coup in Turkey indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said on Monday.
      Turkish authorities on Sunday rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers, and the same number of judges and prosecutors. (Reuters)
  • Israel Expects Reconciliation with Turkey to Remain on Course - Jeffrey Heller
    Israel reacted tersely on Sunday to a thwarted coup in Turkey, saying it expected a new reconciliation deal between the two regional powers following a six-year rift to be implemented as planned.
      "Israel and Turkey recently agreed on a reconciliation process. We estimate that this process will continue, unrelated to the dramatic events in Turkey over the weekend," Netanyahu told his cabinet in televised comments. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
  • Major Terrorist Attack Prevented in Downtown Jerusalem - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    A large-scale terrorist attack was averted in the heart of downtown Jerusalem Sunday morning, when security guards prevented an Arab man from the West Bank from boarding the light rail at Jaffa Center Station with three pipe bombs and several knives in his bag. Security guards stationed in the densely populated area observed the unidentified suspect, who carried a shoulder bag, behaving suspiciously. The suspect, who police described as in his 20s and from the village of Beit Ula, near Hebron, was immediately detained and forced to lay flat on the ground at gunpoint.
      Sappers arrived at the scene moments later, and within minutes, area store workers and pedestrians were evacuated. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Two IDF Soldiers Killed in Golan Heights Grenade Explosion - Yaakov Lappin
    Two IDF soldiers - including a lone soldier from the United States - were killed, and three others were wounded when a grenade in the possession of a driver of a light armored military vehicle went off on Mount Hermon. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also IDF Sgt. Shlomo Rindenow: A Dream Cut Short - Katherine Keenan
    New Jersey native Sgt. Shlomo Rindenow's dream of a life in Israel was cut short early Sunday morning, when he was killed in a military accident along the northern border just two months short of his 21st birthday.
       "He was always in love with Israel," said Yocheved Rindenow, Shlomo's older sister. Sgt. Rindenow's older brother Jeff Tower said Shlomo was the fifth sibling in his family to travel to Israel and volunteer for an IDF combat role. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Ambassador Govrin Begins Diplomatic Mission in Cairo - Menna Alaa El-Din
    David Govrin, who served in the Cairo embassy in the 1990s as first secretary, was named the new Israeli envoy to Egypt last February following Haim Koren's request to return to Israel for "personal reasons" after only two years at the post.
      According to media reports, the new 53-year-old ambassador served most recently as the head of the Jordan and Morocco desk at the Israeli foreign ministry. His arrival in Cairo comes only days after Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry's visit to Israel on Sunday, the first by an Egyptian foreign minister since 2007. (el Ahram - Egypt)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Coup in Turkey Reveals a Damaged Democracy - Lee Smith
    The attempted coup was not an effort on behalf of the entire military, but, as Erdogan, the Turkish intelligence agency, and the justice ministry have contended, it was rather the handiwork of one faction in the army manipulated by a political grouping opposed to Erdogan-the followers of Fethullah Gulen.
      Gulen and Erdogan broke several years ago, partly because the latter sought to initiate a peace process with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), negotiations the Gulen movement strongly opposed. After their falling out, the Gulenists sought to topple Erdogan.
      The conflict in Turkish political circles during the Erdogan years has never really been about the direction of the country's democratic culture. Rather, it's a very nasty Middle Eastern showdown over power politics. There are no good guys here, no one who was ever going to ride to the rescue of Turkish democracy. The opposition parties are filled with haters of every variety-anti-American leftists, right-wing bigots, and everywhere are anti-Semites. (Weekly Standard)
  • Is It Time to Celebrate Democracy in Turkey? - Mustafa Akyol
    A military regime, like the kind a group of coup-plotters tried to bring about, would have been not only illegitimate but also far more repressive and bloody. The people of Turkey, including many of Mr. Erdogan's political opponents, rightly rejected that. This is not the old Turkey anymore, where tanks could take the streets and the military could scare people into bowing down, as it did in 1960, 1971, 1980 and again in 1997, when its leaders decided that elected governments were not in line with the country's founding vision. No, this time people took to the streets and confronted the rebellious solders.
      Turkish society has internalized electoral democracy, and Turkey's secularists, despite their objections to the Erdogan government's Islamism, seek solutions in democratic politics.
      Most of the conspiracy theories Mr. Erdogan has peddled recently - about Western or Zionist plots - are more fiction than fact. The attempted coup will force Turkey to reckon with the Gulenist movement, a secretive Islamist group that the government immediately pointed to as responsible for the insurrection on Friday night. The Gulenists have long had a clandestine presence within the judiciary and the police.
      One thing is certain: This experience will make Mr. Erdogan more powerful and more popular. But if Mr. Erdogan uses his newfound power to build a more authoritarian political system and to increase the power of the presidency and undermine checks and balances, Turkish democracy is in jeopardy. The author is a Turkish writer and journalist. (New York Times)
Observations:

Can We Just "Live With" Terrorism? - Paul Rosenzweig, Michael B. Mukasey, and Amos. N. Guiora (New York Times)

  • We Can't Prevent Terrorism But We Can Minimize Its Effects, by Paul Rosenzwieg.
  • The prospect of stopping every attack approach zero. Successful attacks are inevitable. The reality of that prospect isn't pretty; nor is it something that the American public will accept gladly. But that is the new doctrine we must accept: Prepare to fail and stress resiliency.
  • The grim reality is that we can no longer expect to succeed in preventing terrorism so we must develop tactics to minimize its effects and recover from it quickly. The author is a former deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Don't Live With Terrorism, Gather Intelligence and Go on the Offense by Michael B. Mukasey.
  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, stated that France "will not give in to the terrorist threat," but then added, "Times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism, and we must face this together and share our collective sang-froid...."
  • Quel dommage; quelle absurdite.
  • Terrorism - of the Islamist variety - results from the purposeful conduct of people who are motivated by two things: an overly literal reading of Islamic scripture, and success. Their goal is to impose their will on the world by shaking the confidence of citizens that their governments can do what governments principally are there for, which is to keep them safe.
  • We can gather intelligence not simply to strengthen our defenses, but to go on offense. If we don't do anything, we can take Valls's advice, and learn to live with terrorism until we learn to die with it. The author served as United States attorney general from 2007 to 2009, and as a U.S. district court judge from 1988 to 2006.

  • As Israelis Know, Live as If There Is No Terrorism, but Deal With Its Reality by Amos N. Guiora
  • In response to horrors like the Nice massacre, some will want to lash out at particular ethnic groups and limit individual rights and freedoms. Israel has imposed many tough defense measures in response to the continual terror threat it faces.
  • But while these means of self-defense are understood to be necessary and justified, the public also wants to live. It wants to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. It wants not to be burdened by the realities of terrorism and the costs it imposes. That does not reflect callousness in the face of human suffering nor disregard of the pain of others but does reflect a mature response.
  • The most effective societal response to a terrorist attack is to continue living. Sitting at home, with a "woe is me" attitude is to give in to terrorism. Not to continue living is exactly what terrorists want. The author, a former commander of the Israel Defense Forces' School of Military Law, is a professor of law at the University of Utah.

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