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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
July 15, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian UN Rep Says Every Missile Fired from Gaza at Israel Is "Crime Against Humanity"  (MEMRI)
    The Palestinian representative at the UN Human Rights Council, Ibrahim Khreisheh, told PA TV on July 9, 2014:
    "The missiles that are now being launched against Israel - each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at a civilian target."
    "Please note that many of our people in Gaza appeared on TV and said that the Israeli army warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing, because [the Israelis] followed the legal procedures."
    "As for the missiles launched from our side...we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall."

U.S. Warns of Yemen-Syria Terror Collaboration (AFP)
    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that intelligence suggesting that expert bomb makers from Yemen have teamed up with jihadist militants in Syria was "more frightening than anything" he had seen before.
    ABC News said U.S. intelligence suspects Yemeni bomb makers in Syria have designed an explosive device small enough to fit in a laptop computer.

"Slightest Doubt" Cancels Mission, Says Top Israeli Pilot - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
    A senior Israeli air force commander who has flown combat sorties all throughout the past week asserted Monday that the fact-checking of possible targets and in-air awareness of his pilots to the possibility of harming civilians is unrivaled.
    "I can say categorically, if the slightest doubt arises, then they don't fire," said Lt. Col. T. "I don't think there's an equivalent anywhere in the world."

Gaza Rules - William Saletan (Slate)
    By the standards of war, Israel's efforts to spare civilians have been exemplary. The worst civilian death toll occurred in a strike on the Khan Yunis home of a terrorist commander.
    Residents say the family got both a warning call and a non-lethal "knock on the roof" to signal an impending strike. Israel didn't fire until the family had left the house. Then some went back inside, trying to form a human shield.

Living under Fire: Israelis Stand Tall - Michael Widlanski (New York Post)
    We're concerned but not frozen by fear. We're vigilant. We live our lives as best we can, knowing that thriving is the best revenge against those who hate us.
    We come together to meet the challenge of enemies who hate us only because we are different from them - a predominantly Jewish state in a Muslim neighborhood, a democratic island in an authoritarian sea.
    Iron Dome is now scoring over a 90% interception rate, but no defense is perfect. When enemies keep shooting at you, you eventually have to disarm them.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Accepts Egyptian Proposal for Cease-Fire; Hamas Rejects It as Rocket Fire Continues from Gaza - Ian Lee and Jethro Mullen
    Israel has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Hamas, but the militant group rejected it. Hamas' Qassam Brigades dismissed any talk of a cease-fire, saying its battle with "the enemy" will "increase in ferocity and intensity." Rocket fire has continued from Gaza into Israel. (CNN)
        See also Text of Egyptian Proposal for a Ceasefire - Yossi Melman (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Rocket Hits Eilat, Wounding Five - Yoav Zitun
    A rocket fell in Eilat at the southern tip of Israel on Monday. Five people were wounded by shrapnel. Earlier Monday, an IDF soldier was injured by mortar fragments and an 8-year-old boy was injured in a southern Israel community near Gaza. Two sisters aged 11 and 13 were wounded by rocket debris near Beersheba. Two rockets fired from Syria also hit Israel. (Ynet News)
        See also Rockets from Lebanon Hit Northern Israel for Fourth Time since Gaza Operation Began - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
        See also Update: Palestinian Rocket Fire on Israel
    At least 1,081 rockets have been launched at Israel by Palestinians in Gaza since July 8.  845 of those rockets hit Israel, while 191 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. 27 rockets fired from Gaza have fallen within Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for most of the rockets fired. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Iron Dome, Israel's Anti-Missile System, Changes Calculus of Fight with Hamas - Griff Witte and Ruth Eglash
    Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system has proved remarkably successful at intercepting the incoming fire. The system is widely credited here with allowing Israel to endure more than 1,000 rocket attacks in the past week without a single fatality as of Monday night. To Israeli security officials, the success of Iron Dome is akin to that of the separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank, which they say helped bring an end to an onslaught of suicide bombings in the early 2000s. (Washington Post)
  • Khamenei Calls for Significant Increase in Iranian Uranium Enrichment Capacity - Louis Charbonneau and Parisa Hafezi
    A major speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week has limited the ability of the Iranian delegation at nuclear talks to make concessions, diplomats said. Khamenei suggested that Iran needed 190,000 centrifuges - a 19-fold increase in its current operational capacity to refine uranium. U.S. and European negotiators want Iran to have a figure in the low thousands to ensure it cannot quickly amass enough for atomic bomb fuel.
        "(Khamenei's) statement served both as a directive upon his negotiating team and as an apparent effort to shift the framework of the debate away from Western demands, essentially grounding the talks," according to a Western intelligence analysis of the speech. "In our assessment, Khamenei's remarks...were aimed at sending a clear message to the international community that the negotiating team does not have the mandate to compromise on the most critical issues under discussion."  (Reuters)
        See also Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal - David E. Sanger
    Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif, faced with an imminent deadline for an agreement with the West on the future of the country's nuclear program, said in an interview on Monday that Iran could accept a deal that essentially freezes its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years. Because the proposal would leave centrifuges spinning in place, Iran would retain what is known as a "breakout capability" to race for a bomb. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Deploys Third New Iron Dome Battery - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel deployed a third new Iron Dome anti-rocket system on Tuesday, bringing the total number of operational air defense batteries to ten. The deployment came ahead of schedule after engineers and technicians worked around the clock to prepare the batteries. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Isn't Desperate for a Truce - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas has become the darling of the Arab media, a popular hero that has rained rockets on Tel Aviv and Haifa. While it may be frustrated by its inability to inflict Israeli casualties, Hamas is basking in its newfound popularity.
        Hamas doesn't seem to be in a panic or on the verge of collapse. Most people who come into contact with Hamas these days are under the impression that it doesn't want to stop the fighting without a significant achievement. (Times of Israel)
  • Boy Saves Great-Grandmother as Rocket Hits near Home - Tovah Lazaroff
    David Khashdi, age 7, likely saved his great-grandmother's life on Monday when he helped her into the protected room in her Ashdod home, seconds before a rocket hit outside, shattering all the windows and blasting a hole in the living room wall. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israeli 5-Year-Olds Know the Siren Drill - Alona Ferber
    After one week of rocket sirens, Eva Ira's five-year-old daughter knows the drill. She knows that when the siren blares, she has to go somewhere safe, whether the shelter in her kindergarten, or her bedroom. "It's like a game for her," she says. At night, however, her daughter is frightened. "One of us sleeps in the room with her every night."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Reflections on Gaza from an Israeli Mother - Avital Leibovich
    Midnight, and the sirens are blaring. The kids are long asleep. I have one minute to wake them up and get them to our shelter. Whom do I carry there first?
        It is precisely as a mother that my heart goes out to the innocent Palestinians in Gaza. A cruel and inhumane Hamas regime endangers their lives in the name of radical jihad. (Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran: The Regional Power behind the Hamas War Effort - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall
    Iran is an arsonist, inflaming the conflicts in the Middle East. Since the "Pillar of Defense Operation" in 2012, Iran has been investing heavily in improving the quantity and quality of the rockets in the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad arsenals. Its endgame is to preserve its influence via its proxies and to use the Palestinian organizations as Iran's first defense line.
        The Iranian rockets include Grad, Fajr-3 and the longer-ranged Fajr-5, M-75, and M302 rockets which have reached the Haifa region. Iran also provided Hamas with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and drone technology. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force coordinates the smuggling, shipping and delivery of the weapons to Gaza, the training in Iran and in Lebanon, and the transfer of funds.
        The longstanding disregard of Iran's export of revolution and terror has fostered a situation where Iran holds a threatening posture toward vital U.S. and Western interests. The writer is a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel: "We Are Not at War with the Palestinians, We're at War with Hamas"
    Amb. Dore Gold, a foreign a policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview on Monday: "We have a very serious problem in that Hamas has embedded its military capability inside the Palestinian population. What do you do if you're Israel? Do you just say okay we're going to use massive firepower against Palestinians?"
        "We are not at war with the Palestinians, we're at war with Hamas, so we want to separate the military capability of Hamas from the Palestinians and that's what the Israeli military strategy is right now working on."
        "A sustainable cease-fire is not a cease-fire that leaves thousands of Iranian rockets sitting in place ready to be used at the next crisis or the next time Tehran wants them to put pressure on Israel. We're just not going to allow that kind of situation."  (Fox News)
  • The Palestinian Blessing - Bret Stephens
    As of Monday, Hamas had fired more than 1,000 missiles at Israel, aimed more or less indiscriminately, without inflicting a single Israeli fatality. It isn't every enemy whose ideological fanaticism is exceeded by its military and technological incompetence.
        Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank is supposed to be a bystander in this conflict. But he made his sympathies known when, within a day or two, he accused Israel of "genocide" and "war against the Palestinian people as a whole." Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against the Palestinian refugee town of Yarmouk a year ago and then starved out the remaining residents. More than a quarter-million Palestinians living in Syria for decades have also been made refugees. Yet last month Abbas congratulated Assad on his re-election. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Undermining Israel's Right to Self-Defense: The UN Pathology - Anne Bayefsky
    Every time Israel is attacked, not only does the UN fail to maintain peace and security - it attempts to gut Israel's inherent right of self-defense. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a "situation report" on July 9, 2014. It provides a "background on the crisis" that states:  "The latest escalation round started on 11 June when Israeli forces targeted and killed an alleged member of an armed group, along with a child accompanying him, and Palestinian factions responded by shooting rockets at southern Israel."
        Next came Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who told journalists: "I utterly condemn these rocket attacks and more especially I condemn Israel's excessive acts of retaliation." Pillay expressed "serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international law" and called for an "independent" investigation.   (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu: Israel Cannot Accept Another Gaza in the West Bank - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set out his worldview at a press conference in Hebrew on Friday. He indicated that he sees Israel standing almost alone on the frontlines against vicious Islamic radicalism, while the rest of the as-yet free world does its best not to notice the march of extremism.
  • Given the march of Islamic extremism across the Middle East, he said, Israel simply cannot afford to give up control over the territory immediately to its east, including the border between Israel and Jordan, and the West Bank and Jordan.
  • The priority right now, Netanyahu stressed, was to "take care of Hamas." But the wider lesson of the current escalation was that Israel had to ensure that "we don't get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]." "I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the Jordan River."
  • Naming both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his security adviser Gen. John Allen - who was charged to draw up security proposals that the U.S. argued could enable Israel to withdraw from most of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley - Netanyahu said: "I told John Kerry and General Allen, the Americans' expert, 'We live here, I live here, I know what we need to ensure the security of Israel's people.'"
  • Netanyahu answered those who argue that holding onto territory for security purposes is less critical in the modern technological era, and argued by contrast that the closer your enemies are, physically, to your borders, the more they'll try to tunnel under those borders and fire rockets over them.
  • "If we were to pull out of Judea and Samaria, like they tell us to, there'd be a possibility of thousands of tunnels" being dug by terrorists to attack Israel, he said. The West Bank is 20 times the size of Gaza. Israel, he said, was not prepared "to create another 20 Gazas" in the West Bank.

        See also Netanyahu: "Imagine 80 Percent of Americans under Attack"
    As CBS' Bob Schieffer interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, warning sirens sounded in Tel Aviv.
        Netanyahu: "The sirens went off because Hamas has fired rockets on Israel's major city; they're firing rockets on all our cities. I want your audience to imagine what it would be like if all the cities of the United States...from the East Coast to Colorado, 80% of your population, would be in bomb shelters with a minute to a minute and a half red alert warning time to get into those shelters. That's what we're experiencing right now as we speak."
        "Any country would act to defend itself against this. We are doing exactly what any country would do, what you would do if you were targeted from across the border....We're sorry for any accidental civilian death, but it's Hamas that bears complete responsibility for such civilian casualties."  (CBS News)

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