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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 20, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Qatar Threatened to Expel Mashaal If He Agreed to Egypt's Cease-Fire Deal - Yifa Yaakov (Times of Israel)
    Qatar threatened to expel Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal if Hamas agrees to the cease-fire framework put forth by Egypt, Al-Hayat reported Wednesday.
    Qatar was demanding that Egypt give it a role in ending the Gaza crisis, a demand which Egypt rejected.

Report: Armed Groups in Syria Have Several Hundred Anti-Aircraft Missiles (AP-New York Daily News)
    Armed groups in Syria have several hundred portable anti-aircraft missiles that could easily be diverted to extremists and used to destroy commercial planes, according to a report Tuesday by the Small Arms Survey, a respected Switzerland-based organization.
    On Monday the U.S. FAA banned all U.S. airlines flights in Syrian airspace, saying that armed extremists in Syria are "known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons which have the capability to threaten civilian aircraft."

Iran Aids Hamas with Missile Technology - Guy Taylor and Maggie Ybarra (Washington Times)
    Sources in both Washington and Jerusalem say long-time Iranian assistance is what ultimately helped Hamas build the thousands of rockets it fired at Israeli targets from Gaza starting in July.
    While Israeli sources agreed that the majority of the rockets fired from Gaza during the latest round of violence were actually homemade by Hamas, at least a small number were actually long-range M302 rockets believed to have been made in Syria but provided to the Palestinians by Iran.
    Israeli officials have asserted that Iran has attempted to ship long-range M302 rockets to Hamas over the past two years.
    Israel intercepted a clandestine naval shipment of M302 rockets in March that was en route to Gaza courtesy of Iran. In June, an investigation into the incident by a UN panel of experts concluded that the weapons shipment represented a violation of an existing UN arms embargo on Tehran.

Jordan Deports Palestinian Refugees Escaping Syria (Human Rights Watch)
    Jordan refuses entry or forcibly deports Palestinian refugees escaping Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Aug. 7.
    The report, Not Welcome: Jordan's Treatment of Palestinians Escaping Syria, says Jordan has officially banned entry to Palestinians from Syria since January 2013 and has forcibly deported over 100, including women and children.
    Most of Syria's neighboring countries have also placed entry restrictions on Palestinians from Syria.
    See also Why Jordan Doesn't Want More Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)

Picketers at Oakland, California Keep Israeli Ship from Unloading - Rebecca Bowe (Guardian-UK)
    A group of activists returned to the Port of Oakland in California for a second day on Sunday to picket to prevent an Israeli ship from unloading its cargo in protest of recent violence in Gaza. Dockworkers reporting for the evening shift did not cross the picket lines.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Breaks Cease-Fire with Rocket Attacks on Israel - William Booth and Orly Halpern
    Hamas and the other militant factions in Gaza broke a temporary cease-fire by launching more than 50 rockets at Israel on Tuesday including longer-range rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and Israel responded with airstrikes. The resumption of hostilities shut down talks in Cairo. (Washington Post)
        See also Washington: Hamas Responsible for Renewed Rocket Fire, U.S. Would Veto Moves Against Israel for Alleged War Crimes - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
    The U.S. views Hamas as responsible for the violation of a temporary truce in Gaza and condemned the renewed rocket fire, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday. "Hamas has security responsibility for Gaza," she said, and reiterated that the U.S. supports Israel's right to defend itself against terror attacks from Gaza.
        Harf had harsh words for Palestinian attempts to bring war crimes allegations against Israel through membership in the International Criminal Court. She warned that if PA President Mahmoud Abbas seeks ICC recognition for the Palestinian Authority, it "would undermine what Palestinians are trying to achieve." Even if the Palestinians were to seek to refer Israel to the ICC, she said, she "personally cannot imagine a scenario in which the U.S. would not veto" any Security Council vote to refer Israel to the ICC for a war crimes investigation. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas: Israeli Strike Killed Gaza Commander's Wife and Child
    Hamas said Wednesday that an Israeli air strike killed the wife and child of its Gaza military chief, Al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Deif. "The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter" Tuesday night, Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzouk wrote on Facebook. (AFP-Daily Star-Lebanon)
        See also Israeli Justice Minister Expresses Support for Targeted Killings of Terror Leaders - Attila Somfalvi
    "The targeted killing of any person who deals in terror is not only legitimate but desirable in my eyes. Throughout these periods I always support the targeted killings of terror leaders," said Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday, after Hamas claimed Israel tried to kill Al-Qassam Brigades chief Mohammed Deif.
        Regarding the renewed Hamas rocket fire, Livni said: "We must not let them think that the fire leads Israel to pay up. We must continue to deter them and only then will they understand that they cannot achieve more by using terror."
        Israel's chief negotiator to the peace process with the Palestinians added: "I believe in the strength of the Israeli people. There is an ideological, Islamist terror organization which does not recognize our right to exist here; I see the public is unified in the understanding of what needs to be done."  (Ynet News)
  • Islamic State Claims It Executed American Photojournalist James Foley, Holds Another U.S. Reporter - Karen DeYoung and Adam Goldman
    The Islamic State militant group claimed Tuesday to have beheaded an American photojournalist in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. A video posted on YouTube, later removed, purported to show the execution of James Foley after he recited a statement in which he called the U.S. government "my real killers."
        A second prisoner, said to be Steven Joel Sotloff, like Foley an American journalist who disappeared while covering Syria's civil war, then appears in the video. The masked executioner, speaking in English, identifies Sotloff and says that "the life of this American citizen, Obama, depends on your next decision."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Responds to Hamas Cease-Fire Violations - Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon directed the IDF to respond forcefully against terrorist targets after Hamas renewed rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Israel will respond to Hamas' latest cease-fire violations with a degree of force that will convince it that breaking truces is not worthwhile, Israeli officials said Tuesday. This was the 11th cease-fire Hamas violated since the fighting began on July 8, an official said.
        Meanwhile, Egyptian sources reported that a serious rift erupted between Fatah and Hamas negotiators in Cairo following reports that the Islamist movement had planned to stage a coup against the PA in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Cannot Be Easily Deterred - David Horovitz
    As rocket fire on Tuesday marked the latest in a string of Hamas truce violations, the notion that some kind of lasting arrangement was soon to emerge from the indirect negotiations in Cairo was again rudely shattered. Netanyahu is not about to approve a deal that gives Hamas any remotely significant diplomatic reward for firing 3,500 rockets at Israel and building an elaborate cross-border attack tunnel network.
        Hamas lost dozens of its tunnels, and perhaps 1,000 of its gunmen, and pleaded for a cease-fire, apparently believing it could negotiate a diplomatic resolution more satisfactory than the military face-off had yielded. But most of its elite fighters are still alive, and it still has thousands of rockets, and is capable of manufacturing more in mid-conflict.
        Hamas is not seeking freedom for the people of Gaza when it demands the "lifting of the siege," a seaport and an airport. Rather, it is seeking the capacity to further its goal of wiping out Israel by getting all the restrictions lifted on its capacity to build a still nastier war machine. But only if Hamas believes its survival is in danger will it call a long-term halt to the fire. And that would require a far more significant military operation. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel's Record on Civilian Casualties Compares Well to America's - Evelyn Gordon
    According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, of the victims of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2008 whose age and gender could be determined, 46% were women and 39% were children. By contrast, according to the UN, 12% of all Palestinians killed in Gaza were women and 23% were children, far lower than the percentages killed in U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.
        The White House, Pentagon, and State Department have all accused Israel in the harshest terms of doing too little to prevent civilian casualties. Yet Israel's record on this score is better than America's. (Commentary)
  • Stop Giving Money to the UN's Relief Agency for Palestinians - It's the Best Hope for a Palestinian State - Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky
    UNRWA, the UN's 65-year-old, internationally funded welfare organization for Palestinians, should be commended for providing much needed shelter and aid to displaced Gazans during the crisis. But UNRWA should have no role in Gaza's reconstruction. On three occasions rockets were found in UNRWA schools, closed for the summer, and at least once they were returned to Hamas. On another occasion, the UNRWA accused Israel of targeting civilians sheltering in a school when in fact those deaths were caused by a Hamas rocket that fell short.
        UNRWA's many responsibilities should be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, as a means of strengthening the PA practically, politically, and in the eyes of Gaza's residents. This would be one of the timeliest means of rebuilding the PA in a region where it has been weakest, Gaza, and a way to begin the long overdue process of dismantling UNRWA.
        As it is, UNRWA is effectively a branch of Hamas. The overwhelming majority of its employees in Gaza belong to the Hamas-linked trade union. An unknown number of employees are actual Hamas fighters. Alexander Joffe is a fellow and Asaf Romirowsky an adjunct fellow at the Middle East Forum. (New Republic)
  • Removing Kosher Food from Shelves in UK Is Giving In to Hatred - Stephen Pollard
    Whether it is Islamist extremists on the streets of London or IS beheadings in Syria and Iraq, terrorism is designed to instill such fear that a society or community changes its very way of life. On Saturday, a branch of Sainsbury's removed all kosher food from its shelves over fears that anti-Israel protesters picketing outside would attack the shop. Compared with the impact of the 7/7 murders, Sainsbury's behavior was certainly banal. But in its way it was both giving in to, and colluding with, a form of terrorism.
        The kosher produce in the shop - which is not the same as Israeli produce - was apparently made in the UK and Poland. I can think of no other description for Sainsbury's behavior than that it is a "hate crime." How else should one describe the targeting of Jews - by removing kosher food from a shop. Worse, the idea that the best way to deal with a mob of angry anti-Israel protesters is to give them even more than what they want, is not merely spineless. It is exactly the response that terrorists seek. The writer is editor of the Jewish Chronicle. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also The Largest Shareholder in Sainsbury's Is the Qatar Investment Authority - Michelle Mazel (Jerusalem Post)

Who Will Stand Up for the Christians? - Ronald S. Lauder (New York Times)

  • Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? The UN focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.
  • The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.
  • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq. Where it truly excels is in its carnage, rivaling the death orgies of the Middle Ages. "They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick," Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo told CNN, describing a scene in a Mosul park. "More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung."
  • Just as I will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.
  • Good people must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It's not as if we are powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth. I write this as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters. The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign of death must be stopped.

    The writer is the president of the World Jewish Congress.

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