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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 20, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Basij Commander: Millions of Iranians Ready to Deploy in Gaza (Al-Manar-Lebanon)
    The commander of Iran's Basij force, Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, said Monday in Tehran that millions of Iranians are ready to be sent to Gaza to help the Palestinians in their fight against the Zionist regime, Iran's Fars news agency reported.
    In an interview on Sunday, Naqdi elaborated on Iran's plans to arm the West Bank as it did in Gaza.
    Iranian officials have underscored the necessity for arming the Palestinians in the West Bank, saying that the move would lead to Israel's collapse.

Israeli Experts Fight Ebola in Sierra Leone - Sarit Rosenblum and Smadar Shir (Ynet News)
    Yotam Politzer, an emissary in Sierra Leone for IsraAID, walks around with a thermometer in his bag and takes his temperature three times a day. Navonel Glick is also from IsraAID. Dr. Yaron Wolman is head of Child Survival and Development for UNICEF in Sierra Leone.
    The three Israelis in the heart of the area affected by Ebola are part of a broad multinational force mobilized to help prevent the spread of the disease.
    Dr. Wolman says, "Everything you see in Hollywood movies about epidemics that wipe out the world is taking shape right before our eyes. Our war aims to prevent the eradication of entire communities."

Jordanian Parliament Honors Jerusalem Terrorists - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    A day after the massacre of five Israelis at a Jerusalem synagogue, the Jordanian parliament agreed to a request on Wednesday by MP Khaled Hussein al-Atta to read a prayer from the Quran in memory of the two terrorists, Rassan and Uday Abu-Jamal.

Temple Denial - Ruthie Blum (Israel Hayom)
    Former Israeli ambassador Dore Gold has written about "Temple Denial," the Palestinian campaign to cast aspersions on Israel's connection to Jerusalem in general and to the Temple Mount in particular.
    "The great irony of this new Palestinian version of Jerusalem's history is that it contradicts the original Islamic tradition. Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari (839-923 CE) was a leading commentator on the Quran and is known as one of Islam's greatest historians."
    "In his account of the conquest of Jerusalem by the second caliph, Umar bin al-Khattab, al-Tabari describes him heading toward 'the area where the Romans buried the Temple [bayt al-maqdis] at the time of the sons of Israel.'"

IDF: Four Rocket Launch Tests from Gaza in Past 24 Hours (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF said Thursday that there have been four rocket launches from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea in the past day, suggesting that "Gaza terrorists are experimenting in order to increase rocket launching capabilities."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry in Diplomatic Overdrive on Iran Nuclear Deal - Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper
    With a deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal fast approaching, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry embarked Wednesday on a last-minute diplomatic push to secure an agreement - or at least prevent the process from collapsing. Despite his efforts, though, signs increasingly pointed to Monday's deadline passing without a deal and the negotiations being extended a second time. Tony Blinken, President Obama's deputy national security adviser, said, "It depends entirely on whether Iran is willing to take steps it must take to convince us, to convince our partners, that its program would be for entirely peaceful purposes."  (AP-ABC News)
        See also Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks Would Be a Hard Sell in Congress - Paul Richter
    In its efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration will face a challenge selling it at home. If negotiators fail to meet the Nov. 24 deadline, they may announce some kind of partial agreement. But they also are likely to seek time for further talks, officials say. That would leave the White House seeking congressional support for an extension.
        But the administration wouldn't want to disclose full details of the talks for fear it could provide ammunition for critics who worry that a bad deal would allow Iran to gain bomb-making know-how. "This would be very messy politically for the administration," said Jofi Joseph, who was a White House nuclear specialist earlier in the Obama administration.
        "There is a persuasive argument that we've given [the Iranians] a year and if they can't come to a strategic decision it's hard to say when they'll ever come to that decision," he said. "And unless we go back to more sanctions, we're going to give the Iranians the illusion that they can string this out forever."  (Los Angeles Times)
  • UN Security Council Strongly Condemns "Despicable Terrorist Attack" in Jerusalem Synagogue
    The UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned Tuesday's "despicable terrorist attack" in a synagogue in Jerusalem, resulting in the murder of four innocent civilians worshipping there and a police officer, as well as the injury of many more. (United Nations)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Cooperate with Secretary-General's Probe of Damage to UN Facilities in Gaza War - Barak Ravid
    Israel has agreed to cooperate with the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry established by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the damage to UNRWA facilities during the Gaza war. The Board will also investigate incidents in which weapons were found on UN premises. However, Israel will not cooperate with the investigation of the Gaza war by the UN Human Rights Council. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Coroner Agreed with Israeli Finding that Bus Driver Committed Suicide - Ido Efrati
    The death of bus driver Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni, who was found hanged inside his bus in Jerusalem on Sunday, has been treated in the Palestinian media as a murder perpetrated by Jews. However, the Palestinian coroner who was present during the autopsy, Dr. Saber Al-Aloul, who was appointed by the family of the driver, concurred that the cause of death was suicide, said Dr. Chen Kogel, director of Israel's Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine. "Medically speaking, this is a clear-cut case. We did not find anything at all to indicate any foul play and all the findings are compatible with suicide," says Kogel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Thousands of Israeli Druze and Jews at Funeral for Policeman Slain in Terror Attack - Kobi Nachshoni
    The Druze and Jewish communities in Israel on Wednesday honored Master-Sergeant Zidan Saif, the Druze policeman who died from wounds sustained in Tuesday's synagogue terror attack. President Reuven Rivlin and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich were among those present at the funeral.
        "Your son did not hesitate or waver....He stood fearlessly against the terrorists and risked his life to protect the people of Jerusalem," Rivlin said. A religious ruling by the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, distributed in social networks, said a prayer for the dead must be recited in a synagogue for a Druze fighter who gave his life to protect Israel. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • U.S. Should Cut Aid to Palestinians for Supporting Terrorists - David Pollock
    The synagogue massacre by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem on Tuesday was an act of premeditated murder in cold blood, not part of some "cycle of violence." That three of these entirely innocent victims were also U.S. citizens does not make the crime any worse, but it does provide an extra reason for the U.S. to respond in the right way. The U.S. government should now act to hold to account those responsible for this horror.
        While Abbas personally condemned this terrorist attack, at the same time he allows his advisers, his ruling Fatah political party, and his official media to praise and glorify these terrorists as heroes, martyrs and more. His government pays convicted terrorists and their families regular stipends. And Abbas himself just wrote a formal letter of condolence to the family of the Palestinian terrorist who shot and almost killed Rabbi Yehudah Glick just a few days ago.
        This means that the U.S. should, in line with existing U.S. law, move immediately to cut some of our very substantial aid to the Palestinian Authority - unless Abbas publicly repudiates and unequivocally ends this practice of hypocrisy and deception about incitement to murder. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (New York Daily News)
  • There Can Be No Justification for this Cold-Blooded Murder in Jerusalem - Editorial
    By any standard, the brutal murder of one British and three American worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue by a pair of axe-wielding Palestinians was a grotesque act of terrorism. But rather than issuing an unequivocal denunciation of the murders, Baroness Warsi, the former Foreign Office minister, sought instead to draw a parallel between this wanton act of brutality and recent protests at the al-Aqsa mosque.
        Baroness Warsi was no doubt hoping to reassert her anti-Israel credentials. Fortunately, she is no longer responsible for representing Britain's interests overseas, having resigned her post in August in protest at the Coalition's policy on Gaza. In retrospect, this was a wise decision. Had she still been in office when she made her ill-judged comments, she would undoubtedly now be packing her bags. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Jerusalem Terror Attack "Strikes at Soul" of Jews Worldwide - Daniel Burke
    The attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem "is an attack on all of us," said Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who leads Ohev Sholom Synagogue in Washington. "Any terrorist attack is a horror. But to attack people while they are engaged in prayer, are talking to God, is a new low." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief of rabbi of Britain, said, "For this terrorist attack to occur in a synagogue, deliberately targeting innocent Jews deep in prayer, is something that strikes at the soul of Jewish people around the world."  (CNN)

Don't Rush into a Deal with Iran - Yehuda Yaakov (Boston Globe)

  • As the Nov. 24 deadline on negotiations to prevent the development of Iran's nuclear program approaches, the U.S. and other major players seek to strike a deal. Meanwhile, Iran's leaders seem uninterested in peaceful solutions and continue to say as much publicly. Just recently, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei asked on his social media account: "Why should & how can Israel be eliminated?"
  • The determination to resolve the Iranian crisis seems to have taken on a life of its own. But it should not blind us to what is happening on the ground. It is important when the IAEA, in its latest report, points to Iran violations of the November 2013 interim agreement; it is important when that same report emphasizes that Tehran continues its refusal to cooperate with the Agency's investigation of its military nuclear activities.
  • These are not trivial matters; they go to the heart of the Iranian nuclear crisis and the imperative of preserving global peace and security in this context.
  • Perhaps other nations can ignore what is right in front of them - Israel cannot. We find ourselves in a geopolitical climate in which we cannot afford to give our aggressors the slightest opportunity to achieve their devious goals. This is why we believe that Iran must not be allowed to become a nuclear threshold power, that the P5+1 countries must not rush into a deal that would allow Tehran to rush to the bomb.
  • Whether there is a deal or not, Iran will remain a main contributor to instability both regionally and globally. It has a proven track record which cannot be ignored by anybody - especially not by our friends, especially not now. History has already demonstrated that the words of despots need to be taken at face value.

    The writer is Israel's Consul General to New England and dealt with Iranian issues for the Foreign Ministry from 2001 to 2014.

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