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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
January 20, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Attack in Golan Exposes Iran's Growing Presence along Israel's Borders - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Hizbullah confirmed that an attack was conducted against a joint Iranian-Hizbullah reconnaissance operation in Mazrat al-Amal in the Kuneitra area on the Golan Heights.
    In addition to the death of six Hizbullah operatives headed by Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of the notorious Imad Mughniyeh, at least three Iranian Quds Force commanders were killed including Gen. Mohammed Allahdadi, Ali Tabatabai, and an additional Iranian by the name of Assadi, who was, in all likelihood, the commander of the Iranian expeditionary forces in Syria.
    Tabatabai was responsible on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps for the Golan front with Hizbullah's Jihad Mughniyeh.
    Gen. Allahdadi was the IRGC liaison officer to Hizbullah and to Syrian Intelligence and in charge of the weapons shipments from Iran to Hizbullah.
    The fact that at least three high-ranking IRGC officers were killed in the attack highlights once more that Iran perceives Syria and Lebanon as Tehran's first line of defense against Israel.
    See also Report: Slain Iranian Was Planning Hizbullah Missile Bases - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
    Gen. Mohammed Allahdadi was a ballistic missile expert tasked with building four new Hizbullah missile bases near the Israel-Syria frontier, the London Times reported Tuesday.

Video: The AMIA Bombing in Buenos Aires - Its Cover-Up and Investigation - Alberto Nisman (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Argentinian government and the judge in charge covered up the investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires in which 85 persons were killed and 151 wounded in the deadliest bombing in Argentinian history.
    AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead on Sunday, the day before he was to testify that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman had covered up Iranian involvement in the bombing.
    On Dec. 25, 2007, Nisman spoke at the Jerusalem Center about the cover-up.
  Nisman Video - Part 1
  Nisman Video - Part 2
  Nisman Video - Part 3

Report: Hamas Building "New Generation" of Rockets (Times of Israel)
    Israeli intelligence officials believe Hamas is manufacturing a "new generation" of rockets and is reconstructing its cross-border tunnels, the London Times reported on Monday.

Arsonists Torch Car of Palestinian Professor Who Led Auschwitz Trip (Ha'aretz)
    The car belonging to Mohammed Dajani, the former Al-Quds University professor who led the first organized group trip of Palestinian university students to Auschwitz, was torched in Jerusalem over the weekend.
    In 2007 Dajani founded Wasatia, a social and political movement based on concepts of moderation, pluralism, democracy and justice that he found in the Quran.
    Following the March 2014 trip, he was denounced as a traitor and collaborator, and expelled from the Al-Quds University workers' union.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Islamic State Threatens to Kill Two Japanese Hostages, Demands $200 Million
    A video released Tuesday shows the Islamic State threatening to kill two Japanese hostages unless they receive a $200 million ransom in the next 72 hours. Haruna Yukawa was kidnapped in Syria after going there to train with militants. Kenji Goto Jogo is a respected Japanese freelance journalist who went to report on Syria's civil war. (AP-Los Angeles Times)
  • Canadian Soldiers Exchange Fire with ISIS
    Canadian soldiers opened fire on Islamic State extremists in Iraq over the last week in the first ground firefight between Western troops and ISIS. Brig.-Gen. Michael Rouleau said Monday that Canadian special forces soldiers were visiting front-line positions with Kurdish peshmerga forces when they came under mortar and machine-gun fire. The Canadian soldiers used sniper fire and "neutralized" the machine gun and mortar without taking any casualties. (AP-Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Signals Shift on How to End Syrian Civil War - Anne Barnard and Somini Sengupta
    American support for a pair of diplomatic initiatives in Syria underscores the West's quiet retreat from its demand that President Bashar al-Assad step down immediately. Facing military stalemate, well-armed jihadists and the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the U.S. is going along with international diplomatic efforts that could lead to more gradual change in Syria.
        One new concept is a UN proposal to "freeze" the fighting on the ground, first in the city of Aleppo. Another is an initiative from Russia to try to spur talks between the warring sides in Moscow in late January. (New York Times)
  • Gazans Rally Against France, Praise Islamic State - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Hamas allowed a rally on Monday by Salafi jihadists in Gaza in support of Islamic State and the deadly attacks by three Islamist gunmen in France. Demonstrators held aloft posters of the gunmen and burned French flags outside the French cultural center. "You have to await more heroes of Islam, you worshippers of the Cross," the crowd chanted.
        Islam "orders us to punish and kill those who assault and offend Islam's Prophet Mohammad," said Abu Abdallah al-Makdissi. Many of the activists wore uniforms similar to those of Islamic State fighters. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Former PM Barak: Iran Is Waiting for Opportunity to Go Nuclear - Gidi Weitz
    Former Israeli prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak said in an interview: "The Iranians, who are excellent at assessing the situation, believe that the American administration has changed its aim from one goal - that there not be a militarily nuclear Iran - to another goal without acknowledging it - that there not be a military nuclear Iran 'on our watch.' The Iranians seek to buy time to wait for the opportunity where...the world can't deal with them for a year. Then they'll run and we could face an established fact."  (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Soldiers Honored for Bravery During Gaza Conflict - Yaakov Lappin
    IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz on Monday approved citations for bravery to 25 soldiers for their actions during the 2014 Gaza war. Lt. Eitan Pund, armed only with a handgun, led four soldiers into a terrorist tunnel in Gaza on Aug. 1 after the kidnapping of Lt. Hadar Goldin. He was able to retrieve evidence that allowed the army to declare Goldin dead.
        St.-Sgt. Maj. (res.) Omri (full name withheld) jumped on a fellow soldier after a grenade was thrown at the unit in Gaza on Aug. 2, protecting him with his body. During combat, Omri strove to engage the enemy, risking his life repeatedly while helping to evacuate injured soldiers.
        St.-Sgt. (res.) Yogev Ofir was in a unit targeted by a terror cell with an anti-tank missile on July 25. Ofir rushed to the site and returned fire, using ammunition from other soldiers when his own ran out. He provided cover so the wounded could be evacuated and helped treat them despite sustaining an injury himself.
        While lying in ambush for a terror cell in Gaza on July 29, U.S.-born Sgt. Sahar Elbaz's unit came under fire. While the other members of the unit changed position, Elbaz remained in place and returned fire despite coming under intense enemy fire, and killed four terrorists. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Regional Council Leader near Gaza Tells UN Panel of Mortar Attacks, IDF Restraint during 2014 War - Jonathan Beck
    Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Jelin's testimony last week to a UN commission in Geneva, in which he describes the heavy shelling of his region near the Gaza border, was broadcast by Israel Army Radio on Sunday. The Eshkol Region was one of the hardest hit during the war, absorbing hundreds of shells and rockets as well as underground infiltration attempts by Hamas fighters from Gaza.
        Jelin broke down while describing the death of Daniel Tragerman, a 4-year-old boy killed by a mortar shell on Aug. 22. "Every day between 100 and 120 mortar shells explode in our communities....Daniel Tragerman, a child 4.5 years of age, understands that when he hears the Color Red siren he needs to reach shelter...but he doesn't make it. This is his photograph....What is he to blame for? He's to blame for not making it to the safe room in 15 seconds."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The ICC Preliminary Examination: Cause for Concern, Not Panic - Pnina Sharvit Baruch
    The fact that a preliminary examination was opened by the ICC does not, in and of itself, indicate that the prosecutor believes that war crimes were committed. As of late 2014, some ten preliminary examinations were underway, including of British forces in Iraq and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. There was also a preliminary examination of the Gaza flotilla incident from 2010, after which the ICC decided not to investigate the incident.
        The decision to open a preliminary examination should be taken seriously, but it is not cause for undue pressure. There is still a long way to go before an investigation is opened, and it is not at all certain that indictments will be issued against Israelis. If Israel undertakes serious investigations of the allegations that it committed war crimes, this will be an effective and significant obstacle to an ICC investigation of these acts. The writer, a senior research associate at INSS, headed the IDF's International Law Department. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • ICC Undermines Its Own Independence with Palestine Inquiry - Eugene Kontorovich
    The ICC prosecutor did not actually determine that Palestine qualifies as a "state" under the well-established legal definitions of the term. Rather, she substituted the determination of the UN General Assembly in 2012 to call Palestine a "non-member state." The GA is not a judicial body but a political one. Its determinations are political, not legal. (It also has no power under the UN Charter to create or recognize states.) The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. (Washington Post)
  • Why Modernity Is Incompatible with Political Islam - Charles Hill
    Political Islam's purpose is not only to be incompatible with modernity but also to oppose it, demolish it and replace it in every regard. The modern world may be summarized as a series of intellectual movements, institutional achievements and generally accepted ideas that across the span of the past three or four centuries have slowly shaped a basically workable and common international order.
        Political Islam considers the modern international system incompatible. First, the concept of the state is itself at odds with Islamist views. As one fighter with ISIS forces said, "We are opposed to countries." Second, democracy can be interpreted in Islamist terms as an abomination to the faith in that it requires legislation on behalf of a sovereign people, whereas Islamists must adhere to Sharia law alone. Prof. Charles Hill, a career foreign service officer, is the Diplomat-in-Residence and a lecturer in International Studies at Yale University. (Politico)

Why Won't Europe Acknowledge the Grave Threat to Its Jews? - Deborah E. Lipstadt (Tablet)

  • The day after the Paris market massacre, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that the "anti-Semitism problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French Muslims."
  • J.J. Goldberg, a guest on her show, disagreed. He recalled the case of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew who was kidnapped and tortured for 20 days by a group of French Muslims, and the murder of young children at the Toulouse Jewish school by a French Muslim. He observed that a French Muslim murdered four visitors at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May.
  • What needs to be said is that there is a problem in a segment of the Muslim world. It is extremism that justifies and celebrates killing individuals for angering them and Jews just for being Jews.
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon insisted that the attacks had nothing to do with religion, characterizing them as "criminality." If it was just criminality, then what happened at the Hyper Cacher supermarket was a hold-up, and not anti-Semitism.
  • Nowhere have I heard an acknowledgement that Europeans have failed to take seriously these attacks on Jews. Instead, people have explained away the attacks by suggesting they're a response to Israel's actions in the Middle East. That argument telegraphs the message that, while killing Jews was wrong, it was understandable.
  • I ask the general European population to recognize that these attacks directly threaten them and the liberal democratic society they treasure. It begins with the Jews but it never ends with them. They must realize that they ignore atrocities against Jews at their own - not just our - peril.

    The writer is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University.

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