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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 19, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

UN Offers to Monitor Gaza Construction Material (AFP)
    The UN is ready to check imports of construction material sent to Gaza in order to ease Israel's concerns that supplies could be used to rebuild Hamas tunnels, UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council on Monday.
    "Construction material must be allowed into Gaza...[but] their access to Gaza must be facilitated in such a way that fulfills Israel's security concerns," Serry said.
    "The United Nations stands ready to lend its support in this regard." 

Israel Ends Export to EU of West Bank Dairy, Poultry Produce - Jonah Mandel (AFP)
    Israel will end exports of poultry and dairy produce to the EU from West Bank communities, Israeli and European officials said on Sunday.
    The restrictions stem from directives issued by the European Commission in February, in which "the EU no longer recognized the authority of the veterinary inspections services of Israel to approve the export of poultry and (dairy products), the origin of which are in settlements," a European official said.
    Israeli officials said the move would have minimal economic effect as the produce affected would now be channeled towards the local Israeli market.

Hizbullah Lowers Fighting Age as It Takes on Islamic State - Nicholas Blanford (Christian Science Monitor)
    Hizbullah has begun sending fighters as young as 16 to the battlefields of Syria, an indication that the Shiite army is being stretched by fighting Sunni jihadis there, as well as dispatching advisers and trainers to the new battlegrounds of Iraq.

Israel Shows New Capabilities in Gaza War - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    On July 8, the first day of the Gaza war, five Hamas frogmen attempted an amphibious assault on an Israeli military base bordering northern Gaza. They didn't get far.
    First, they were spotted by a Navy coastal sensor, which streamed targeting data through the Army's new command-and-control network to air, sea and ground forces.
    A Merkava tank had them in its sights, as did Israeli Air Force unmanned aircraft. At the same time, a Navy offshore patrol vessel equipped with Tammuz missiles was following the frogmen.
    "In the end, everyone shot at the same time," said IDF chief signals officer Brig. Gen. Eyal Zelinger.

Israel's First Christian Arab Pre-Military Class Graduates (Israel Hayom)
    Israel's first pre-military course specially tailored for Christian Arab citizens entering the Israel Defense Forces graduated in a formal ceremony in Haifa this week.
    The 30-member group includes four women. Some 128,000 Arab Christians live in Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IS Militants Threaten to "Drown Americans in Blood"
    The Islamic State (IS) warned the U.S. on Monday in a video that it will attack Americans "in any place" if U.S. airstrikes hit its militants. The video shows a photograph of an American who was beheaded during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and U.S. tanks being blown up in Iraq. A statement in English reads, "We will drown all of you in blood." U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq have helped Kurdish fighters take back some territory captured by IS. President Obama said Monday that the Islamic State posed a threat to Iraq and the entire region. (France 24)
        See also Islamic State Leader Warns America: "Soon We Will Be in Direct Confrontation" - Marc A. Thiessen
    IS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi warned in January: "Our last message is to the Americans: Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day."  (Washington Post)
        See also Threat Posed by the Islamic State - U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Brett McGurk (House Foreign Affairs Committee, 5 Feb 2014)
  • Kerry: Declared Syrian Chemical Weapons Destroyed, "But Much More Work Must Be Done" - Thomas Gibbons-Neff
    Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Monday: "We removed and have now destroyed the most dangerous chemicals in the [Syrian] regime's declared stockpile...but much more work must be done." There are still "discrepancies and omissions related to Syria's chemical weapons declaration."  (Washington Post)
        See also White House: Syria Must Still Destroy Chemical Weapons Production Facilities
    President Obama's statement on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons noted: "Going forward, we will watch closely to see that Syria fulfills its commitment to destroy its remaining declared chemical weapons production facilities."  (White House)
  • U.S. Group Cancels Trip to Glasgow after City Council Flies Palestinian Flag - Kerry Gill
    Plans to bring 600 U.S. visitors to Glasgow have been abandoned because of the city council's decision to fly the Palestinian flag. The trip, which would have injected hundreds of thousands of pounds into Glasgow, and the Scottish economy, was a reward to 600 salesmen and women, and their spouses, from one of the top worldwide corporations.
        But after reading about Glasgow's decision to fly the Palestinian flag over the City Chambers to show solidarity with Gaza, the New York-based vice-president of the company wrote to Glasgow's Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, saying: "I was...spearheading an event in Glasgow for 600 business visitors to be guests of your wonderful city. We were scheduling six days in Glasgow.... Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip."  (Express-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaza Cease-Fire Extended by 24 Hours - Elior Levy
    Israel announced it agreed to extend the temporary truce in Gaza for 24 hours while it continued to negotiate a permanent agreement with the Palestinian delegation in Cairo. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Arrested 93 Hamas Men in West Bank over Terror Network Targeting PA, Israel - Gili Cohen
    The Israel Security Agency has interrogated 46 Hamas operatives in the West Bank over the past three months on suspicion of setting up a network of cells to commit attacks against Israel and to carry out a coup against the Palestinian Authority. Altogether, 93 Hamas members have been arrested since May for involvement in this network.
        As a result of the arrests and interrogations, the security services have seized NIS 600,000 shekels ($171,000); 24 rifles, mostly M-16s; six pistols; seven rocket launchers; and a large quantity of ammunition. The head of the network was Riad Nasser, 38, of Deir Kadis near Ramallah, who did jail time in Israel in the past for his Hamas activities. Nasser was recruited by Saleh Arori, who did 16 years in an IDF prison and was subsequently deported and now lives in Turkey. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Abbas: Hamas Plot Against PA Threatens Unity Government - Yoav Zitun
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he was following reports of a Hamas plot to topple the PA government with great concern, and that the information posed a serious threat to the future of the Palestinian unity government. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel: Coup Attempt in West Bank Planned by Hamas Official in Turkey (Zaman-Turkey)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel Is Held to an Impossible Standard - Richard Cohen
    Americans massacred as many as 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968. Americans have killed children while attempting to kill their fathers and made all sorts of mistakes in wartime, but none of this changed the nature of the society. We ought to be measured by our intent, not by what went astray.
        The same holds for Israel. It is not a child-murdering community, although Syria, next door, most certainly is. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas Seeks an Islamic Caliphate, Not an Independent Palestinian State - Zvi Mazel
    As an Islamic jihadi caliphate is strengthening its hold in the heart of the Middle East, the West seems intent on venting its frustrations on Israel, which is defending itself against Hamas, another radical Islamist group. Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the express purpose of destroying Israel and establishing an Islamic state on the ruins of the Jewish state.
        Unfortunately, the West has yet to realize that Hamas is using the Palestinian problem and spouting fake nationalistic slogans in order to further its aims. Yet Hamas does not speak of creating an independent Palestinian state. Instead it says it is fighting "occupation," a word encompassing Tel Aviv and the whole of Israel.
        Egypt is the last rampart of the Arab world against the barbaric Islamic state taking shape, as Iraq and Syria are in disarray. The writer is a former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
  • What My Visit to Israel Taught Me about the War in Gaza - Andrew Percy
    You're facing an enemy whose founding principle is the total destruction not only of your country but your entire people. It uses civilian locations to fire thousands of rockets at your country. This enemy also digs tunnels into your country so it can murder your people en masse and it describes large civilian deaths on its own side as an "effective strategy."
        I've just returned from Israel where I've spent time responding to sirens, running to bomb shelters and watching Hamas rockets deliberately aimed at civilians being shot out of the sky by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. In my talks with Israelis almost every conversation started with the question: "What would you do?"
        Balance in this debate seems to have been lost. A terrorist network has been made to look like the victim with some asking incredibly why Hamas isn't allowed a missile defense shield! While Jewish people get attacked in the streets of Western Europe for simply being Jewish, Hamas terrorists are relieved of the responsibility for the plight of their own people. The writer is a Tory MP in Britain. (Daily Express-UK)

Why the Islamic State Represents a Dangerous Turn in the Terror Threat - Gerald F. Seib (Wall Street Journal)

  • The threat from Islamic extremism has morphed into something new, more ambitious and more dangerous. This threat represents a long-term danger to the U.S., but a more immediate threat to America's friends and foes alike across the Middle East and even Europe.
  • Precisely because the threat from the extreme Islamist movement known as Islamic State is so far-reaching, this movement cries out for a coordinated international coalition to counter it.
  • "ISIS is not a shadowy terrorist cell; rather it is a proto-state that is testing the best ways to get the world's attention and broader support from the Muslim community abroad," says a new analysis by the Institute for the Study of War.
  • ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broadly defines the group's ambitions as well as its enemies. The world, he says, now has divided into two camps, "the camp of Muslims and the mujahidin everywhere, and the camp of the Jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions - all being led by America and Russia and mobilized by the Jews."
  • Lest anyone doubt the expanse of ISIS' ambitions, the most recent edition of its magazine Dabiq quotes from an Islamic tradition reflecting the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad: "You will invade the Arabian Peninsula, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. You will then invade Persia, and Allah will enable you to conquer it. You will then invade Rome, and Allah will enable you to conquer it."

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