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July 8, 2014

In-Depth Issue:

Are #GazaUnderAttack Images Accurate? No - Neil Meads (BBC)
  Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. 
  A #BBCtrending investigation has found that many of these images are not from the latest conflict and not even from Gaza. Some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq. See Video

Website for Israel's Home Front Command (English) (IDF)
  Website in Hebrew.Map showing warning times by region.

The "Red Alert App" that Warns Israelis of Incoming Missiles (iTunes)
  Download App

‘No Shame’ in Egypt Using Israeli Gas, Says Petroleum Minister - Mohamed Ayyad (Daily News - Egypt)
  Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Ismail does not mind allowing British BG Group to import gas from Israel. “There is no embarrassment in Egypt using the gas the BG Group imports from Israel given our economic issues,” the minister went on. He stated that politically speaking, the president and the government working indirectly with Israel “is no longer taboo.”

Declaring an Islamic State, Running a Criminal Enterprise - Matthew Levitt (The Hill)
  When the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) stormed into Iraq and captured Mosul the group not only walked away with a tremendous amount of abandoned military hardware, but also raided the city's central bank and took off with some $425 million. 
  ISIS, which has renamed itself the Islamic State and unilaterally declared the reestablishment of an Islamic caliphate, has been financially self-sufficient for at least eight years, according to U.S. government estimates.
  This success was the result of its successful criminal enterprises, including mafia-inspired tactics like extortion, kidnapping, smuggling and racketeering.

Japanese Minister of Economy Signs First Ever Industrial Agreement with Israel - Aryeh Savir (Ynet News)
  Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshimitsu Motegi, arrived in Israel on Sunday with a delegation of Japanese industrialists and signed a first of its kind industrial research and development (R&D) collaboration agreement with Israel’s Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett. Israel is the first country with which Japan has signed such an agreement. 
  The Japanese minister is heading a delegation including top level representatives of Japanese industry as well as senior representatives of Japan’s Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, which oversees Japanese industry, industrial R&D, and cyber technology.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israel Launches Military Offensive against Gaza Militants - Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan
    Israel launched an offensive against Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing some 50 targets, including homes, in a campaign meant to end Palestinian rocket fire into the Jewish state. The Israeli military urged Israelis within a 40-km (24-mile) radius of the southern coastal territory to stay within reach of protected areas and ordered summer camps shut as a precaution against rocket fire. 
      Gaza militants had fired more than 80 rockets at Israel on Monday and military officials said more than 200 rockets had been shot at Israel in the past month, an enormous increase in shootings. 
      The IDF said it targeted about 50 sites in aerial and naval assaults. Palestinian officials said more than 30 of them were bombed before dawn, including two homes in southern Gaza, one of which was identified by a neighbor as belonging to a Hamas member. The Palestinian Interior Ministry said the family in the targeted home had received a telephone call from an Israeli intelligence officer asking them to leave the house because it would be bombed, and the family evacuated in time. (Reuters)
  • Soccer Thugs Killed a Palestinian Boy in Jerusalem - Liel Leibovitz
    Like so many of the narratives beamed out of the Middle East by pale Western journalists who know so painfully little about the region and its inhabitants, this story, too, is difficult to understand. If you want to understand the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir in the hands of six young Israelis last week, don’t turn to Bibi or the Bible or Hamas or Abbas: turn to Beitar Jerusalem, the favorite soccer team of Israel’s undivided capital. 
      All six suspects are fanatical Beitar fans. Members of the murderous cabal are all affiliated with La Familia, a small group of several thousand Beitar fans known for their anti-Arab opinions and a more general penchant for thuggery. The truth is that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian Authority, settler rabbis and Hamas all have nothing to do with the terrible events that unfurled after six lowlifes forced a sweet-faced kid into their car and burned him alive. Soccer does. So please, enough with the ancient hatreds and the cycle of violence. The death of Muhammed Abu Khdeir is a terrible tragedy, but it’s not one unique to Israel. Anyone who watches soccer more frequently than a few matches every four years understands that intuitively. (Tablet)

  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Defense Minister Ya'alon: Israel Prepared for Gaza Campaign which Will Not End within Days - Yaakov Lappin
    Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon completed a security evaluation meeting with the Home Front Commander, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Eizenberg on Tuesday. "We are prepared for a campaign against Hamas, which will not end within days. Hamas is leading the current confrontation to a place in which it seeks to exact a heavy price from our home front. There is a need for patience," Ya'alon said at the end of the meeting. 
      "In recent hours, we have struck with force and hit dozens of Hamas assets. The IDF is continuing with the offensive effort, in a manner that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas. We will not tolerate missile and rocket fire on Israel, and we are prepared to expand the campaign through all of the means available to us, to continue striking Hamas," he continued. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF Strikes Hamas Tunnel while Terrorists Preparing an Attack
    The IDF targeted a Hamas tunnel early Monday morning, preventing an imminent terror threat to Israeli citizens. Hamas terrorists built the tunnel, which extends from Gaza into Israel, in order to execute complex attacks against civilians and IDF soldiers. 
      At the time of the strike, terrorists inside the tunnel were working with explosives, causing a massive blast that killed seven Hamas operatives. The terrorists likely planned to use the explosives to carry out an attack against Israel. (IDF )
  • Suspect Held in Killing of 20-Year-Old Israel Woman - Marissa Newman
    A taxi driver from the Galilee village of I’billin was arrested last month in connection with the death of Shelly Dadon, 20, with officials saying the slaying was likely nationalistically motivated, police said Sunday. Yousef Hussein Halifa admitted he drove Dadon on May 1 to the Migdal Haemek industrial center, where she was headed to a job interview, and later stabbed her to death. (Times of Israel)

  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Grieving Israeli Mother Condemns Revenge Killing, Offers Condolences
    Rachel Fraenkel made a public statement Monday outside her home in Nof Ayalon at the end of the shiva period for her son Naftali, one of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and killed last month. 
      “Even in the abyss of mourning for Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, it is difficult for me to describe how distressed we are by the outrage committed in Jerusalem – the shedding of innocent blood is against morality, is against the Torah and Judaism, and is against the foundation of the lives of our boys and of all of us in this country,” Fraenkel said. 
      “Only the murderers of our sons, along with those who sent them and those who helped them and incited them to murder — and not innocent people — will be brought to justice: by the army, the police, and the judiciary; not by vigilantes. No mother or father should ever have to go through what we are going through, and we share the pain of Mohammed’s parents,” Fraenkel said. 
      Fraenkel said the legacy of the three Israeli teens “is one of love, of humanity, of national unity, and of integrity. Alongside the pain of this terrible act, we take pride in our country’s zeal to investigate, to arrest the criminals and to stop the horror, and we hope that calm will return to the streets of our country.” See Video (Hebrew) (JTA)
  • The Abyss Between Two Heinous Episodes - Ruth R. Wisse
    Representatives of the American government seeking peace in the Middle East have been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders as though dealing with equivalent societies with an equal investment in territorial compromise. Now that Jewish suspects have been apprehended in the Jerusalem murder of a 16-year-old Arab there are those who would cite the parallel between this heinous crime and the recent murders of three Israeli teens as proof of moral and political equivalence between the two societies. 
      But are the situations comparable? 
      Speaking at the funeral of the three Jewish boys on July 1, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion." 
      It is one of the ironies of Israel that Jewish parents whose children are murdered by Arabs are not guaranteed justice as surely as Arabs whose children are murdered by Jews. 
      Ms. Wisse is research professor of Yiddish literature and comparative literature at Harvard University. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel: the Ultimate Guarantor of Jordan's Security - Yossi Melman
    The growing Islamist threat to its stability and integrity are a source of concern for not only the Hashemite House of Jordan and its elites but also for Israel, the U.S. and the UK. Jordan has always been a loyal ally of the British and the Americans, and even more so since 9/11 and the war on global terrorism. Israel, directly or indirectly via the U.S. and the UK is, de facto, the ultimate guarantor of Jordanian sovereignty. Israeli intelligence has played a major role in protecting the Hashemite rulers from terrorist plots throughout the years. The earthquake in Iraq is sending shock waves to the desert kingdom. (i24News)

  • Observations:

    Peace Is the Only Path to True Security for Israel and the Palestinians - U.S. President Barack Obama (Ha'aretz)

  • I’ve seen what security means to children in Sderot who just want to grow up without fear, to families who’ve lost their homes and everything they have to Hizballah’s and Hamas’s rockets.
  • And as a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain endured by the parents of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who were tragically kidnapped and murdered in June. I am also heartbroken by the senseless abduction and murder of Mohammed Hussein Abu Khdeir, whose life was stolen from him and his family.
  • From Harry Truman through today, the United States has always been Israel’s greatest friend.
  • Budgets in Washington are tight, but our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad. The United States is committed to providing more than $3 billion each year to help finance Israel’s security through 2018. American investments in Israel’s cutting-edge defense systems like the Arrow interceptor system and Iron Dome are saving lives.
  • We are also working to ensure that Iran does not ever possess a nuclear weapon. Through tough international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, we are attempting to peacefully address a major threat to global and regional security, including the security of Israel.
  • We have always been clear-eyed that resolving the decades-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians would take enormous effort and require difficult decisions by the parties.
  • Peace is necessary because it’s the only way to ensure a secure and democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel.
  • Peace is also, undeniably, just. Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination. In President Abbas, Israel has a counterpart committed to a two-state solution and security cooperation with Israel.
  • Finally, peace is possible. This is one of the most important things to remember during setbacks and moments of frustration. It will take political will to make the difficult choices that are necessary and support from the Israeli and Palestinian people and civil society. Both parties must be willing to take risks for peace.

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