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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
March 6, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Video: Watch IDF Soldiers Uncover Weaponry in Iranian Shipment Headed to Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
    See also Video: IDF Intercepts Iranian Shipment of Rockets to Terrorist Organizations in Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
    See also Video: The Course of Iran's Weaponry Shipment to Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)

U.S. House Declares Israel a "Major Strategic Partner"  (
    The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act by a 410-1 vote.
    The bill declares Israel a "major strategic partner" of the U.S.
    The bill expands the U.S.-Israel relationship in a number of areas including forward-deployed U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel, the transfer of essential military equipment to Israel, assistance for the Iron Dome missile defense system, and the promotion of cooperation in energy, water, science, homeland security, and agriculture.

Video: Hizbullah Terrorists Plant Explosives on Israel-Syria Border (Ynet News)
    The IDF has raised the alert level in the Golan Heights Wednesday after troops shot at Hizbullah terrorists attempting to plant explosives on Israel's border with Syria.

UN Report Inflates Numbers of Palestinians Living Under Israeli Control in West Bank - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    A UN report published Wednesday inflated the number of Palestinians living under full Israeli control in the West Bank for political reasons, said IDF Col. (ret.) Shaul Arieli, who mapped the boundaries of West Bank areas A, B and C in 1995.
    While the report claimed that 297,900 Palestinians live in Area C, a subdivision of the West Bank with full Israeli security and administrative control, Arieli said just 75,000 Palestinians live there.

Residential Gas Lines Cut in Jerusalem, Terror Attack Suspected - Efrat Forsher (Israel Hayom)
    The Israel Police are investigating a suspected attempt to carry out a coordinated terror attack in Jerusalem after gas lines in residential buildings on three different streets were found cut on Tuesday.
    Burning candles were left near the leaking gas containers at one of the locations.
    A source in the fire department said that all three cases showed clear evidence of sabotage.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says It Worked with Israel to Track Seized Iranian Rockets
    The United States said Wednesday its intelligence services and military worked with Israel to track a ship carrying an intercepted shipment of advanced Iranian rockets for Palestinian militants. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington started to work with Israel as soon as it knew the shipment was on the move.
        "Throughout this time our intelligence and military activities were closely coordinated with our Israeli counterparts who ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting this shipment of illicit arms," Carney said. "We will continue to stand up to Iran's support for destabilizing activities in the region in coordination with our partners and allies....These illicit acts are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran's Security Council obligations."  (AFP)
  • Netanyahu Offers Help for California's Drought - Jonathan Ferziger
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday offered to help California weather its drought with water conservation and desalination techniques pioneered by his country's scientists. Israel, a country that's 60% desert, has become a technological leader in countering drought. Desalination of sea water, reuse of treated sewage for agriculture, software creating an early-warning system for leaks, computerized drip irrigation, and careful accounting of every drop have become the norm in Israel.
        "We're in the midst of a mega drought," California Gov. Jerry Brown said. "Israel has demonstrated how efficient a country can be and this is a great opportunity for collaboration."  (Bloomberg)
        See also Netanyahu: Silicon Valley, Israel Pact to Unleash New Innovation - Natalia Angulo
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been touring Silicon Valley to meet with tech leaders this week, signed a strategic pro-business partnership with California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday. The deal will enable Israeli companies to access the California Innovation Network, a system of 16 iHub business incubators that includes clusters of research parks, university and federal labs, economic development groups and venture capital funds.
        "Through this agreement, California and Israel will build on their respective strengths in research and technology to confront critical problems we both face, such as water scarcity, cyber security and climate change," Brown said. (Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Intercepted Iranian Weapons Haul Provides Glimpse of a Covert War - Yaakov Lappin
    The IDF's interception of a ship that Iran sent to deliver powerful rockets to Gaza is a small glimpse into an ongoing, daily covert war. On one side is Iran, which is transporting powerful arms to terrorist organizations sworn to jihad against Israel. On the other side are Israel's intelligence agencies which use classified techniques to track the weapons' movements.
        Islamic Jihad, which is Iran's official proxy in Gaza, would likely have taken possession of the M-302 rockets, but the weapons may also have been destined for Hamas, since Iran and Hamas have begun a dialogue to try to repair their divisions. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: Palestinians Torpedoing Peace Talks - Spencer Ho
    "The Palestinians are the ones torpedoing the [peace] talks by setting conditions," Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio on Thursday, adding that "Israel would not agree to any further conditions for the continuation of talks." PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that he would only continue peace negotiations past the April deadline if Israel agreed to freeze construction in West Bank settlements and free additional prisoners. (Times of Israel)
  • Attack on Weapons Convoy on Lebanon-Syria Border a Risk Worth Taking - Eliezer Marom
    The attack on a weapons convoy on the Lebanon-Syria border on Feb. 24 was the seventh such strike in recent months and part of the ongoing battle against the smuggling of arms to terror organizations, led by Hizbullah. The Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis of evil is conducting extensive smuggling of weapons to terror groups in our region to be directed at Israel.
        Israel must continue thwarting the smuggling of high-quality weapons to Hizbullah. This is a sensible investment in the present which will make the future much easier, and a risk that has to be taken. Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom was the commander of the Israeli Navy in 2007-2011. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Fantasy Middle East - Jeff Jacoby
    In the fantasy Middle East there is a robust Palestinian peace camp eager for a two-state solution. In therealMiddle East, the real Mahmoud Abbas spurned Israel's offer of a Palestinian statein 2008, then refused for years to take part in talks with Israel, confident that Washington would pressure Israel into making more concessions. Yet instead of negotiating in good faith at last, Abbas wants still more up-front concessions, a demand he repeated on Monday.
        What drives the conflict is not a hunger for Palestinian statehood, but a deep-rooted rejection of Jewish statehood. Palestinian leaders heatedly insist that they will never agree to any such thing. PA negotiatorSaeb Erekat complains: "When you say, 'Accept Israel as a Jewish state,' you are asking me to change my narrative." Just so. That narrative - that Jews are aliens in the Middle East, and Jewish sovereignty over any territory is intolerable - is precisely what must change if this conflict is to be resolved. (Boston Globe)
  • No, Israel Is Not Doomed - David Harsanyi
    Jeffrey Goldberg's lead paragraph in his interview with President Obama on the future of Israel sums up the conversation well: "Obama will warn Netanyahu that time is running out for Israel" and that "Netanyahu, alone among Israelis, has the strength and political credibility to lead his people away from the precipice."
        But any backlash Israel faces today is far less threatening and consequential than what it faced in the past when the UN General Assembly went so far in 1975 as to declare "Zionism is Racism," a resolution later rescinded.
        As far as European economic sanctions go, those threats typically amount to a lot more haranguing than action. Israel is more economically resilient today than it was in decades past: less isolated and less reliant on European markets. It's experienced a booming economy - even through the worst of the worldwide downturn.
        The president's posture is also confusing when we consider that nearly all reports indicate it is Mahmoud Abbas' stubbornness that's slowed down the process toward a deal. (The Federalist)

What the Iranian Arms Shipment Means - Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)

  • In the wake of the seizure of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets by the Israeli Navy in the Red Sea, a former U.S. official observed that "the so-called [Iranian] moderates are presiding over an aggressive foreign policy designed to create instability throughout the region. If Rouhani is in favor of all this, he is no moderate; if he is opposed to it but cannot stop it, he has no influence....His only function is to mislead the United States into thinking he is a moderate, so that we change our policy toward Iran and weaken the sanctions."
  • As Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pointed out, the Iranians are not only using the talks and sanctions relief for cover to continue their advanced research and missile program, but also they are inhibiting the U.S. from responding to Iranian behavior outside the talks.
  • Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a key architect of sanctions, warns, "The nuclear talks with Tehran already have constrained the Obama administration's willingness to respond to a range of Iranian provocations including the arming of anti-American terrorists like Hamas, Hizbullah, Iraqi Shiite militias and the Taliban, extremist groups in Yemen and Bahrain, and rogue regimes like Assad's."
  • "Iran's threat network will be supercharged when the Islamic Republic becomes a threshold nuclear state and American willingness to push back forcefully will be even more severely constrained....That freedom for terror, after all, is a major reason why Tehran has pursued nuclear weapons capability in the first place."
  • Iran is a fundamentalist Islamic state that employs terror and murderous allies (e.g., Syria) to accomplish its aims, including the destruction of the State of Israel. In putting a friendlier face on its interlocutors with the West, the regime hopes to lift sanctions while keeping its sponsorship of terror going full tilt and its nuclear weapons program intact. So far, it's working like a charm.

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