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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
December 11, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Coroner: Palestinian Official Died of Heart Attack - Itay Gal (Ynet News)
    The official Israeli pathology report on PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein's death contradicted Palestinian claims that he was killed by IDF actions, saying he died of a heart attack.
    See also Preliminary Autopsy Report on Ziad Abu Ein (Israel Ministry of Health)
    The autopsy was carried out at the forensics institute in Abu Dis. Participating were Dr. Chen Kugel and Dr. Maya Furman from Israel's National Institute of Forensic Medicine, as well as representatives from the Palestinian forensics institute and doctors from Jordan.
    The death of Ziad Abu Ein was caused by a blockage of the coronary artery due to hemorrhaging underneath a layer of atherosclerotic plaque.
    The deceased suffered from ischemic heart disease; blood vessels in his heart were found to be over 80% blocked by plaque. Old scars indicating that he suffered from previous myocardial infarctions [heart attacks] were also found.
    The poor condition of the deceased's heart caused him to be more sensitive to stress.
    See also British Reporter: Palestinians Prevented Israeli Medic from Aiding PA Official - Ben Cohen (Algemeiner)
    Sky News Middle East correspondent Tom Rayner reported that Palestinians prevented an Israeli medic from providing first aid to Ziad Abu Ein.
    See also Video: IDF Doctor Stopped from Treating Abu Ein (Sky News-UK)
    Sky News video footage shows an IDF doctor (with blue gloves and a stethoscope) prepping Abu Ein's arm for an IV - before being stopped by Palestinians.

Irish Parliament Backs Recognition of Palestinian State - Conor Barrins (AFP)
    Irish lawmakers urged their government Wednesday to recognize Palestine as a state in a symbolic motion that sailed through parliament unopposed. The government is not bound to follow the motion.
    The Israeli embassy in Dublin said, "A vote in favor of this motion, therefore, is a vote for Ireland, a neutral country, to intervene in a foreign conflict in favor of one national movement at the expense of another. That is not how peace is brought about."

Syrian Al-Qaeda Using Captured UN Vehicles - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Syrian opposition sources say the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front has taken over areas along the Israeli-Syrian border and used a captured UN vehicle as a car-bomb during attacks against Assad's army near the city of Daraa.

Iran Launches "We Love Fighting Israel" Campaign - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    The Iranian regime has launched a nationwide social media campaign called "We Love Fighting Israel," which encourages Iranian teens to photograph themselves alongside messages of hate for the Jewish state.
    "Our people love fighting against the Zionists and the Islamic Republic has proved this as well," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying in a recent speech.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • EU Urges Feasibility Study for Importing Israeli Natural Gas - Jonathan Stearns
    Top EU officials said the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline, which Israel, Greece and Cyprus are promoting, merits a feasibility study. "This is an interesting project," said Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti of Italy, which holds the EU's rotating presidency. Russia's decision this month to halt construction of the $45 billion South Stream pipeline is emboldening efforts in the EU to find new sources of the fuel. (Bloomberg)
  • Report: Qatar Allows Money to Flow to Islamic State, Other Terrorists - Guy Taylor
    The government of Qatar continues to willfully turn a blind eye to individuals channeling money to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups across the Middle East and to Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, despite joining a U.S.-led military coalition battling the group, according to a report released Wednesday by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "Qatar-based terror finance challenges have metastasized into a pressing, world-class crisis."
        Individuals taking advantage of Qatar's 'permissive jurisdiction' for terror finance have provided funding in recent years to the leaders of [the Islamic State], the Khorasan Group, the Nusra Front (under which Khorasan operates), al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Shabaab, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and core al-Qaeda in Pakistan, to name just a few."  (Washington Times)
        See also Qatar and Terror Finance - David Weinberg (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • U.S.: Anti-Islamic State Coalition at Odds over Syria Strategy - Felicia Schwartz
    Brett McGurk, the Obama administration's deputy envoy in the effort against Islamic State, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday that the coalition is "firmly united" in its strategy in Iraq but holds divergent views on how to deal with Syria.
        "Many of our coalition partners do not envision themselves as having signed up to bring about a political transition in Syria through military force, considering such a transition potentially even more destabilizing than the situation we face now," he said. "At the same time, other coalition partners are urging strikes against the Assad regime, considering the regime a central source of instability in the region....We are firm in our commitment that any future government cannot include Bashar al-Assad, who has forfeited any claim of legitimacy to govern and remains a magnet for terrorism in the region."
        McGurk reiterated the administration's view that the operation to defeat Islamic State would take years. "We are now in the earliest phases of phase one."  (Wall Street Journal)
  • Kerry, Netanyahu to Meet in Rome for Middle East Talks - Lesley Wroughton
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Rome on Sunday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on moves at the UN to create a Palestinian state, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Senior Palestinian Official Dies after Clash with IDF Soldiers at Demonstration
    Senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein, who served as deputy minister for prisoner affairs, died after clashing with IDF soldiers on Wednesday afternoon at a demonstration in the West Bank. Abu Ein, 55, collapsed at the site and was evacuated by ambulance. Footage from the demonstration showed him lying on the ground and clutching his chest. The IDF said it had been preventing the entrance of some 200 "rioters" into an Israeli settlement when the clash occurred.
        Abu Ein, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, was extradited from the U.S. to Israel in 1981 for a 1979 terrorist bombing in Tiberias that killed two Israeli teens and injured more than 30. He was released during a 1985 prisoner swap for three Israeli prisoners captured during the First Lebanon War. (Times of Israel)
        See also A Critical Moment for Israeli-Palestinian Security Coordination - Amos Harel
    The consequences of Wednesday's death of PA Minister Ziad Abu Ein following clashes with Israeli soldiers will become clear in another few days. On Wednesday, Fatah leader Jibril Rajoub said the PA would stop working with Israel on security - although such a step may be confined to the realm of rhetoric. Even if it happens, Israelis and Palestinians can be expected to resume at least informal contact to make sure they don't lose control of the situation altogether.
        Despite the claims of senior PA officials, the footage of Abu Ein's death does not appear to indicate that he was killed on account of IDF violence. Abu Ein was an older man, a heavy smoker with health problems who got caught up in a violent confrontation with Israeli forces that involved shoving. (Ha'aretz)
  • Jordan Parliament Debates Deal to Buy Israeli Gas
    Jordan's Lower House Tuesday opened a debate about an agreement between the state-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and Noble Energy, a U.S. company developing an offshore Israeli gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, to supply NEPCO with gas over a 15-year period at a cost of $15 billion. "Jordan's higher interest is above secure energy sources in a manner to cut the financial cost on the treasury," said Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Mohammed Hamed.
        Hamed noted that imported gas from Israel will be half the price of liquefied gas and heavy fuel, and one-third of diesel prices. He said Jordan had imported more than 80% of its gas from Egypt in recent years, before supplies ground to a halt, and dismissed lawmakers' fears that the deal would leave Jordan "hostage" to a certain country [Israel]. (Petra-Jordan)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • ISIS May Have Sympathizers within the Egyptian Military - Khalil al-Anani
    The Islamic State (ISIS) has officially entered Egypt. On Nov. 10, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a militant movement that operates out of the northern Sinai Peninsula, pledged allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
        Analysts now fear that the group may have sympathizers in the Egyptian military's ranks. Since Sisi's coup, a significant number of military officers has defected and joined radical groups. According to the Egyptian media, a devastating attack against a military checkpoint in Sinai last October which killed 31 soldiers was planned and executed by two former army officers, Emad Abdel Halim and Hesham Ashmawy.
        There has also been speculation that a defected navy officer was involved in a recent Ansar Beit al-Maqdis assault on an Egyptian ship in the Mediterranean that left five navy officers injured and eight missing. The writer is an Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). (Foreign Affairs)
  • Palestinian Participation in the "Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Statute" - Alan Baker
    The celebrations by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership regarding the significance of their being invited to participate as an observer in the deliberations of the ICC Assembly of States Parties in New York on Dec. 8 are nothing more than a deliberate attempt to mislead the international public. The Assembly of States Parties is nothing more than an administrative body that regulates the management of the court. In the words of the President of the Assembly of States Parties, "this step is not indicative of any action the court's judicial body might later take." The writer served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel's ambassador to Canada. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

An Arab Prince Denounces Islamism - Daniel Pipes (Washington Times)

  • On Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, 45, the crown prince of Bahrain, candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways to fight it.
  • The time has come, he says "for us to get rid of" the phrase "War on Terror," a term that dates back to 9/11. "When we faced communism we understood it as an ideology. Terrorism is not an ideology."
  • "We are not only fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats." They are also tyrants, isolationists, and misogynists who will need to be fought "for a very long time."
  • He scorns them for being "very much like the seventeenth century" and having "no place in our modern twenty-first" century.
  • He urges us "to discard the term 'War on Terror' and focus instead on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil theocracies." "It is the ideology itself that must be combated. It must be named, it must be shamed, it must be contained, and eventually it must be defeated."

    The writer is president of the Middle East Forum.

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