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November 7, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Sends Its Revolutionary Guards into Battle for Aleppo - Caroline Akoum (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Ahead of a major battle in Aleppo, Syria, sources close to Iran's Shi'ite Fatimiyoun militias said that on Friday passenger and cargo aircraft had transported to Damascus airport a large number of forces from Iran's Revolutionary Guards and several other militias linked to both Iran and Iraq.
    As soon as they landed in Damascus, those fighters moved to positions in Aleppo.

Egypt's Army Delivers Gazan Smuggler to Israel (Middle East Monitor-UK)
    Israel on Sunday indicted Gazan fisherman Mahmoud Said al-Saidi, who was charged with communicating with Hamas and smuggling weapons, explosives, and diving equipment from Egypt to Hamas in Gaza.
    The prosecution noted in the indictment that the Egyptian army arrested al-Saidi and handed him over to the Israeli army.

Hamas Operating from Turkey as Usual Despite Ankara's Promises - Yossi Melman (Jerusalem Post)
    As part of the reconciliation deal Israel and Turkey signed four months ago, Turkey agreed to exile from its territory activists from Hamas' military wing (the Kassam Brigades) and to shut down their offices.
    While the Turks agreed to exile Salah al-Arouri, the commander of the Kassam Brigades delegation in Turkey, the headquarters established by Arouri is operating as usual, and at its helm is a single commander who continues to receive orders from Arouri in Qatar.
    Military wing operatives continue to travel in and out of Turkey as they always did and are planning terror attacks against Israel.
    Israel has already complained to the Turks about this on multiple occasions.

Turkey-Syria Border Wall to Be Completed in 2017 (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Turkey will complete a 911-km. wall along its border with Syria in the first half of 2017, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Nov. 2.
    "We have built 268 km. of the wall as of now," he said.

Islamic State Tunnels Below Mosul Are a Hidden and Deadly Danger - William Booth and Aaso Ameen Shwan (Washington Post)
    Villages recaptured from ISIS over the past three weeks by the Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi army forces on the road to Mosul have been honeycombed with tunnels, many of them booby-trapped.
    The extensive tunnels are allowing ISIS fighters to appear seemingly out of nowhere, attack, then retreat to the hidden bunkers.
    "There is a whole city underground where they are hiding," said Col. Falah al-Obaidi of the Iraqi counterterror forces.
    "Now it's hard to consider an area liberated because, though we control the surface, ISIS will appear from under the ground, like rats."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ISIS Says American Muslims Who Vote Are Apostates, Calls for Killing Muslim, Christian, and Women Voters
    On Nov. 5, the Islamic State released an article in English threatening American Muslims if they vote in the U.S. presidential election. It accuses all American Muslims who vote of apostasy and heresy, and calls on ISIS supporters to spill their blood if they do not repent.
        Similarly, it calls for killing "Crusader" (Christian) voters, including women. The article concludes with a prayer that Allah will "make this year's U.S. presidential election a dreadful calamity like no other to have struck America throughout its pathetic history."  (MEMRI)
  • Iran Admits to Arming Houthis with Missiles
    Fars news agency, affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said Friday that Houthi missile units pounded the Yemeni forces in Sanaa on Friday with the ballistic "Zalzal-2" missile. The Zelzal-2 is an Iranian-developed long-range unguided rocket in use by the Iranian military, Hizbullah and the Houthis. Analyst Seyed Sadeq al-Sharafi said the militias "are developing their missile power to target Riyadh and Dubai in the future."  (Al Arabiya)
  • Three U.S. Trainers Shot Dead at Jordan Base - Suleiman Al-Khalidi
    Three U.S. military trainers were shot dead in Jordan on Friday at the gate of the Prince Faisal air base when their car was fired on by Jordanian security forces, a Jordanian military source said. A Jordanian army guard was also shot and wounded. The White House said on Friday that it would work with Jordan to determine the circumstances of the shooting. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel Expects Continued U.S. Support "Whoever Wins" Election - Raoul Wootliff
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli cabinet on Sunday he expects the "United States will remain true to its commitment for many years that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved through direct negotiations without pre-conditions, and of course not through decisions by the United Nations or other international bodies."
        "Whoever wins this week's election in the U.S., I am sure that the strong and stable relations with Israel will not only remain as such, but will be strengthened....The alliance with the U.S. is the most important alliance we have in all of our international relations. That is how it has been, and that is how it will remain."  (Times of Israel)
  • PA Security Forces Helped Thwart Attack on Israeli Army Post in Hebron
    The Israeli news site Walla quoted PA officials in Hebron as saying that Palestinian security services "passed precise information" to Israel about an explosive device placed near an Israeli army military post in Hebron. The Jerusalem Post added that the Palestinian source identified the attacker as a resident of Kalkilya, leading to his detention before he could carry out the attack. The device was found on Friday and neutralized by Israeli forces. (Ma'an News-PA)
  • In UNESCO, Palestinians Claim Ownership of Dead Sea Scrolls - Shlomo Cesana
    The Palestinian Authority is planning to claim ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls and demand that UNESCO order Israel to surrender the artifacts. Discovered in the Qumran Caves in the Judean Desert between 1947 and 1956, the scrolls include 981 texts dating back to the time of the Second Temple, written mostly in Hebrew, with some in Aramaic and Greek. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Twitter Users Lampoon Palestinian Claim to Dead Sea Scrolls
    In the wake of the PA claim to the Dead Sea Scrolls, hundreds of Twitter users posted pictures of famous historical figures, pieces of art and landmarks with a satirical description of their Palestinian roots. Among the most popular tweets: a picture of the American landmark of Mount Rushmore captioned "Maybe next they'll claim Mount Rushmore as a Palestinian monument?"; a picture of the Mona Lisa, described as "Very rare Palestinian art"; and a picture of the Great Wall of China, captioned "Famous Palestinian wall of China?"  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • For Europe, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Has Been Pushed Aside - Arthur Koll
    The European Union is facing the largest challenge in its history, in the form of mass migration and significantly heightened security threats. European opinion shapers are far less preoccupied these days with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as they seek to tackle the urgent issues on their own doorstep.
        ISIS can - and does - plant terrorists within the waves of innocent refugees. France has already sustained mass casualty attacks by ISIS operatives, some of whom reportedly reached Paris via refugee transit routes. Germany experienced its first suicide bomb attack last summer, by a Syrian national. As ISIS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, so grows its motivation to carry out terror attacks in the West - and in Europe in particular.
        Israel has a minor, yet tangible role, sharing highly-advanced intelligence capabilities that can contribute significantly to European security. Amb. Arthur Koll is a former Deputy Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Times of Israel)
  • Ten Centuries of Islamic Sources Confirm Jewish Ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    Israel could counter Muslim lies about the Jewish history of Jerusalem by pointing out 10 centuries of Islamic sources that confirm Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, or the Ottoman decrees that guaranteed the Jews the right to worship at the Western Wall.
        Aref al-Aref was an Arab public official in the time of the British Mandate in Palestine. In the final years of Jordanian rule over east Jerusalem, he also served as director of the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum near Damascus Gate. Al-Aref, an avowed Palestinian nationalist, adhered to historical truth and scientific research and wrote in his books that the Temple Mount is the same Mount Moriah mentioned in Genesis, the site of the Jebusite threshing floor that King David bought to build the Temple on it, and that David's son, Solomon, built the Temple in the year 1007 BCE. Al-Aref wrote this when the Old City of Jerusalem was still part of the Kingdom of Jordan.
        Israeli archeologist Prof. Dan Bahat notes, "In the Quran itself there are sources, such as Surah 2 and Surah 7, which identify the Hutta Gate as the gate through which 'the children of Israel' would one day enter the Temple Mount. The...gate is located under the Mughrabi Bridge, which goes over the women's section of the Western Wall Plaza."  (Israel Hayom)

Hands Off Jerusalem's Gilo Neighborhood - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

  • Last week's U.S. State Department condemnation of Jerusalem's decision to approve new housing for residents of its Gilo neighborhood heralds yet another unnecessary confrontation between our countries. The Jerusalem Municipality approved the addition of 181 housing units for the capital's southwestern neighborhood of Gilo, home to some 40,000 residents. Housing construction in a long-established Jerusalem neighborhood - Gilo was founded in 1973 - is not in a "settlement."
  • Almost half a century since Israel reunited its divided capital city - divided, like Berlin once was, by war - the media ignorantly parrot the Palestinian narrative that claims east Jerusalem as its future capital, as if the section of the city that Jordan occupied for 19 years had been an historic entity. Consistent with this warped view, the foreign media insistently refer to Jews living in the heart of their historic capital as "settlers."
  • They capitalize the term "East Jerusalem" as if it were a historical fact, but Gilo is on the other side of town, built on land purchased by Dov Joseph for the Jewish National Fund during the 1930s. Gilo was once indeed occupied territory: it was Jordanian-occupied Israeli territory from 1949 to 1967, after which its Israeli sovereignty was restored.
  • Australia's attorney-general, George Brandis, told the Senate last week that Australia will no longer refer to east Jerusalem as "occupied" territory: "The description of east Jerusalem as "Occupied East Jerusalem" is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful."
  • For three millennia, Jerusalem has been the capital of three native Jewish states - Judah, Judea and Israel. Jews have constituted the majority of Jerusalem's residents since the pre-Zionist 19th century. In contrast, Palestinian Arabs have not ruled Jerusalem for a single day.
  • Political influence over language is also reflected in the use of the term "West Bank." The Jordan River is only a few meters wide. The claim that its western bank extends for some 65 km., encompassing Judea and Samaria, demonstrates how politicized terminology drives the conflict. Its use began when the Jordanian government marketed the term in the 1950s in an attempt to legitimize its occupation of the region between 1949 and 1967. Before Israel's War of Independence, the British Mandatory authorities referred to the region as Judea and Samaria.
  • The expansion of Jerusalem's neighborhoods to accommodate the city's growing population is a matter for the municipality. It is not the concern of third parties such as the U.S. State Department.

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