Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 8, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Military: "Elements from Gaza" Involved in Sinai Border Attack (Al Ahram-Egypt)
    In a statement aired on Egyptian state television Monday, Egypt's armed forces said elements from Gaza took part in the deadly attack in Sinai on Sunday.
    "Coinciding with the attack, elements from Gaza carried out a mortar shell attack on the Karam Abu-Salem border crossing."
    Similarly, an Egyptian security official was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, as saying that Islamist elements who infiltrated Egypt from Gaza through tunnels are behind the attacks, along with other Islamists situated in the areas of Al-Halal Mountain and Al-Mahdia in eastern Sinai.
    See also Report: "Army of Islam" from Gaza in Sinai Terror Attack - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    The London-based al-Hayat newspaper quoted Egyptian sources as saying that Cairo officials have identified the terrorists behind Sunday's attack in Sinai, some of whom are members of the al-Qaeda affiliated "Army of Islam" which operates in Gaza.
    See also Egypt Intelligence Chief: We Have Detailed Information about Sinai Attack - Manar Ammar (Bikya Masr-Egypt)
    Morad Mowafi, head of Egypt's intelligence agency, told Turkey's Anadulo news agency on Tuesday that they had information about the deadly attack in Rafah and those who were involved in it.
    He said that the "terrorist group" behind the attack is spread between Egypt's Sinai and Gaza.
    Mowafi said, "Yes, we had detailed information about the attack, but we never imagined that a Muslim would kill a Muslim on the hour of breaking the fasting in Ramadan."
    Moussa Abu Hamed of Hamas said Tuesday that Israeli intelligence handed its Egyptian counterpart a list of 9 terrorists who are suspects in the attack.
    See also Al-Qaeda Affiliate - Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) - Receives Formal Sanctuary in Hamas-Ruled Gaza - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Report: Iranian Soldiers Torturing Syrian Detainees (Al Jazeera)
    Al Jazeera talks to a Syrian deserter in Iraq who tells of Iranian buses coming to Syria packed with Iranian soldiers, who are torturing, killing and dismembering Syrian political prisoners.

Israel Sells UAVs in Latin America (UPI)
    Israel's Elbit has secured another multimillion-dollar contract to supply its Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 drones to an unnamed Latin America country.
    It has been reported that Elbit previously supplied units to Chile and Mexico.

American Jewish Gymnast Wins Olympic Gold - Nancy Armour (AP)
    Gymnast Aly Raisman finished the Olympics in style, winning the title in the floor exercise Tuesday.
    In the U.S. captain's floor routine, her tumbling passes were some of the most difficult, and she got such great height on them you could have parked a double-decker bus beneath her, while her landings were secure.
    Watch Olympic Gold Medalist's "Hava Nagila" Floor Exercise (Eurovision Sports-7Aug12)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egyptian Air Strike Kills 20 Militants in Sinai - Yusri Mohamed
    Egypt on Wednesday launched air strikes around the town of Sheikh Zuwaid, 10 km. from Gaza, following clashes overnight between armed men and security forces at several checkpoints in northern Sinai. More than 20 suspected Islamic militants were killed in the crackdown on jihadists blamed for a deadly attack on Egyptian border police on Sunday. On Tuesday night, armed men opened fire on several checkpoints in al-Arish, the main state security and administrative center for northern Sinai. Gunmen also attacked checkpoints in Rafah, adjacent to Gaza. Three policemen and one resident were wounded.
        Israel says it has agreed in the past to Egyptian requests to bring more troops into Sinai and the terms of the peace treaty are no obstacle to combating militants threatening both countries. "What we see in Egypt is a strong fury, a determination of the regime and the army to take care of it and impose order in Sinai because that is their responsibility," senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad told Israel Radio on Wednesday. "If they don't remove and uproot (the threat), it will continue to strike."  (Reuters)
  • Iran Vows It Will Not Allow Assad to Fall - David Blair and Richard Spencer
    Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, arrived in Damascus Tuesday as a visible symbol of Iranian support for President Assad. "Iran will never allow the resistance axis - of which Syria is an essential pillar - to break," he said. "What is happening in Syria is not an internal issue but a conflict between the axis of resistance, on one hand, and the regional and global enemies of this axis, on the other."
        In response, Assad reassured his Iranian guest: "The Syrian people and their government are determined to purge the country of terrorists and to fight the terrorists without respite."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Eye on Iran and Syria, Israel Hardens Missile Shield - Dan Williams
    Israel is upgrading its Arrow II ballistic missile shield in a U.S.-backed "race" against Iran, Syria and other regional enemies, a senior Israeli defense official said on Sunday. The new "Block 4" generation of guided interceptor rockets, radars and technologies for synchronizing Arrow with U.S. systems was being installed in deployed Israeli batteries, a process that would take several weeks, the official said. "The accuracy and the reach will be greater," the official said of Arrow, which has been operational since 2000 and is designed to blow up incoming missiles at altitudes high enough for non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.
        Having helped underwrite Arrow, the Americans were free to draw on its technologies for their own uses, the official said. "The policy of the (Israeli) Ministry of Defense is to provide all data to the U.S., for the security of the U.S., including on targets, interceptors, radars and command and control," the official said. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • The Short-Lived Morsi-Hamas Honeymoon - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Sunday's terror attack in Sinai which killed 16 Egyptian border guards took place just when it seemed that Hamas and Egypt were about to embark on a honeymoon. Just last week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi received Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in his palace in Cairo and agreed to ease restrictions on residents of Gaza, despite opposition from Egypt's Supreme Military Council. In interviews with Arab TV stations and comments on social media sites, many Egyptians blamed their president for the "massacre" in Sinai and demanded the closure of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.
        Apart from the political damage, the terror attack has also dealt a severe economic blow to Hamas. Immediately after the attack, the Egyptians forced the Hamas government to close down all underground tunnels that are used to smuggle not only weapons but also various goods and fuel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mubarak's Fall Means Improved Israel-Africa Ties - Ariel Kahana
    During the first six months of 2012, 15 African leaders visited Jerusalem, compared with 13 such visits in all of 2011. A senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official explained that Egyptian President Mubarak "was the greatest block to Israel's relations with Africa.
        During his time, Egypt saw itself as the leader of Africa as well as of the Arab world. In this role, Mubarak did everything in his power to make the cold peace between Israel and Egypt the standard for our relations with African nations as well." The Egyptian ruler would threaten African nations that sought to strengthen ties with Israel. Gaddafi was even more active in this realm.
        African leaders also see a common interest with Israel in countering the spread of radical Islam. A Foreign Ministry official noted that "nearly all the [non-Arab] African states had Islamic minorities, and weapons were streaming not only into Gaza but throughout the African continent."  (Makor Rishon-Hebrew, 3Aug12)
  • Hamas PM's Brother-in-Law Treated at Israeli Hospital - Elior Levy
    Four months ago the husband of Suhila Abd el-Salam Ahmed Haniyeh - the sister of Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh - suffered a serious cardiac episode which could not be treated at any hospital in Gaza. He and his wife were taken to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva where he received urgent treatment. After being hospitalized in Israel for a week, his condition stabilized and the couple returned to Gaza.
        Ismail Haniyeh attacks Israel at every opportunity, and the terror group he heads does not recognize Israel's right to exist. (Ynet News)
        See also Hamas' Haniyeh Blames Israel for Sinai Attack - Elior Levy and Roi Kais (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • In Egypt's Sinai, Militants Pose a New Threat - Jeffrey Fleishman
    Bedouin tribesmen in Sinai are careful not to exaggerate the radicals' capabilities and suggest they consist of no more than a few hundred Egyptians connected to local cells that have bonded with radicals from Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza. The groups receive weapons, including mortar launchers and high-caliber guns, trafficked from Libya and Sudan.
        "They think everyone other than them is an infidel," said tribal leader Arafat Khedr Soliman. "They want their own Islamic state." Tensions between tribesmen and militants have deepened in recent months, notably after extremists blew up a mausoleum of a respected religious sheik, claiming that such shrines are against Islam. Tribal leaders who rebuilt the grave site have warned their young that the militants are perverting religion and endangering a way of life. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Muslim Brotherhood Isn't the Real Threat in Jordan - Sean L. Yom and Wael al-Khatib
    Jordan wants the U.S. to believe that Islamists, headlined by the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Action Front (IAF) party, are the most dangerous opposition in the kingdom. Yet this is pure fiction. In truth, nearly two years of protests have exposed the more perilous threat to the Hashemite kingship to be a new generation of tribal opposition. Whereas urban opposition groups like the IAF draw strength from the Palestinian majority, concentrated in Amman, the most spirited Friday protests now erupt in the northern and southern tribal areas outside the capital.
        Ironically, Syria's worsening civil war has exerted a chilling effect. Many tribal protesters admit to voluntarily moderating their actions for fear of creating chaos on Jordanian soil. (Foreign Policy)
  • The Fate of Syria's Chemical and Biological Weapons - Dany Shoham
    Syria's chemical weapons are locally manufactured but contain the telltale prints of Iranian and possibly Russian assistance. An appreciable quantity of Iraq's chemical and biological arsenal was smuggled into Syria prior to and during the Second Gulf War and is now part of the Syrian stockpile.
        The most plausible scenario may be an attempt to transfer the arsenal to Iran towards the last days of the regime. The ability of concerned nations to act is severely limited. While the U.S. has held military exercises focused on chemical and biological weapons in Syria, a follow-up study found that 75,000 troops would be needed to secure Syria's chemical arsenal. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham, a microbiologist, is a former IDF senior intelligence analyst. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Iran's Anti-Semitism Makes It the Greatest Threat to Jews - Colbert I. King (Washington Post)

  • The Holocaust was the most evil event of the 20th century. So it is abhorrent to me that a government in today's world would advocate a repeat of that horror.
  • And it is almost beyond belief that the rest of the world would hear such an outrage and look the other way. I am referring to the leaders of today's Iran and the global ho-hum response to the most virulent form of state-sponsored anti-Semitism since Nazi Germany.
  • As a non-Jew, I recognize vicious anti-Semitism when I see it. The Iranian government is as anti-Semitic as the Third Reich. Ahmadinejad's call for the annihilation of Israel echoes the Fuehrer's call for Jewish extermination.
  • The international focus today is on Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons and the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Tehran to Israel. That ignores the wider threat of Iranian-sponsored anti-Semitism to Jews everywhere.
  • Iran's bigotry poses a moral challenge to the rest of the world. We did not stop the greatest atrocity of the 20th century. Will we be up to preventing the potential genocide of the 21st century?

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