Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
May 18, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Pope Francis Didn't Call Mahmoud Abbas "an Angel of Peace" - Stephen Kruiser (PJ Media)
    A BBC reporter claimed that Pope Francis said, "you are an angel of peace," while presenting a gift to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.
    However, the Vatican reporter for the Italian newspaper La Stampa wrote that Francis said:
    "May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace."
    See also Media Gets Pope's Abbas Comments Wrong - Tom Gross (Weekly Standard)
    Pope Francis told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he could be an angel of peace. The pope did not say that Abbas was an angel of peace.

How the IDF Watches a Thousand Boats and Knows Which Belong to Hizbullah - Amir Buhbut (Walla-Hebrew)
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has been threatening to conquer territory inside Israel for the past two years.
    In a recent interview, he discusses his plans, including landings on the beaches of Hadera and Netanya.
    According to intelligence from reliable sources, Hizbullah is building forces and acquiring weapons to threaten IDF forces at sea.
    The IDF is preparing for scenarios involving frogmen, jet skis, speedboats, unmanned boats, booby-trapped boats, and even kamikaze UAVs.
    Dr. Shimon Shapira, a former senior IDF intelligence officer and today a senior research fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, recalled this week the start of Hizbullah's naval forces:
    "Frogmen began training in Beirut Harbor under the supervision of Iranian officers, especially on how to attach mines to the naval ships that were enforcing a blockade on Lebanon. Later they went to Iran for exercises and to practice long-distance swimming and landing on Israeli beaches."
    In 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, Hizbullah fired a C-802 missile that struck the Hanit, killing four sailors and nearly sinking the Israeli ship.
    In response, the Israel Navy has invested in advanced intelligence gathering and control measures.
    See also Israel Intercepts 40 Diving Suits En Route to Gaza - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli customs employees intercepted 40 diving suits at the Nitzana customs terminal on the border with Gaza early this month, authorities announced on Monday.
    Security sources assessed that the package was part of Hamas' attempts to build up its offensive naval strike force.

Hizbullah Conducts a Press Tour in Syria - Anne Barnard (New York Times)
    Hizbullah has been on a media blitz over the past week, seeking to counter the impression that its grinding campaign in Syria is going badly after battlefield losses.
    It also is striving to counter social-media messaging from insurgent groups that have taunted Hizbullah in online videos.
    One Hizbullah fighter said he could not resist sharing "my ideology."
    "We who defeated the Israelis will also defeat the terrorists," he said. "And we will take Jerusalem."

Girl Killed by Gunfire During Palestinian Wedding Celebrations (Ma'an News-PA)
    A Palestinian girl, Ilaa al-Araj, 16, was killed Saturday evening after she was hit in the head by gunfire during wedding celebrations in the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus in the West Bank.
    Local sources said she had been watching the celebrations from the roof of her home.
    It remains a common practice to fire gunshots during celebrations. In 2006, three young girls were accidentally killed by gunfire at a wedding in Jenin.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Obama: Mideast Peace Deal Not Possible at This Point; Palestinians Cannot Expect to Have a State If They Don't Recognize Israel - Nadia Bilbassy-Charters
    In an interview broadcast on May 15, President Obama told Al-Arabiya: "I am a deep and strong supporter of Israel, and the connection between the United States and Israel is obviously powerful. And Israel has legitimate security concerns. There's no doubt about it. And what is also true is I'm deeply committed to a Palestinian state."
        "The only solution to me over the long term is a two-state solution. And we worked very hard, but, frankly, the politics inside of Israel and the politics among the Palestinians, as well, made it very difficult for each side to trust each other enough to make that leap."
        "And what I think at this point, realistically, we can do is to try to rebuild trust - not through a big, overarching deal, which I don't think is probably possible in the next year, given the makeup of the Netanyahu government, given the challenges I think that exist for President Abbas - but if we can start building some trust around, for example, relieving the humanitarian suffering inside of Gaza...then I continue to believe that the logic of a two-state solution will reassert itself."
        "I've said to the Israelis you cannot remain a state that is both a democracy and Jewish if you continue to have this problem unresolved. And with respect to the Palestinians, I've said that you cannot expect to have a state of your own and the full dignity and respect that is inherent for all human beings if you also don't recognize Israel, because Israel is not going anywhere."  (Al-Arabiya)
  • Key Iraqi City Falls to ISIS as Security Forces Flee - Tim Arango
    Despite intensified American airstrikes in recent weeks, the last Iraqi security forces fled Ramadi on Sunday as the city fell to the Islamic State, whose militants ransacked the provincial military headquarters, seizing a large store of weapons, and killed people loyal to the government. The fall of Ramadi represented the biggest victory so far this year for the Islamic State.
        The deterioration in Anbar province over the past month underscored the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi Army, which is being trained by American military advisers, and raised questions about the U.S. strategy to defeat the Islamic State. One Iraqi soldier who had been stationed at the Anbar Operations Command headquarters said the forces had left behind a huge cache of weapons recently sent by Baghdad, including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns supplied by both the U.S. and Russia. (New York Times)
        See also Iranian-Aligned Shiite Militias Head into Anbar Province - Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim
    Iranian-aligned Iraqi Shiite militias headed Monday into Anbar province a day after its capital Ramadi fell to Islamic State militants. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Sunday ordered the Iranian-backed militias to join the fight to take back control of the city. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria - James Gordon Meek and Justin Fishel
    In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, U.S. special operations forces killed ISIS oil and gas "minister" Abu Sayyaf, who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama administration said Saturday. (ABC News)
        See also U.S. Raid, Airstrikes Kill 32 Islamic State Members in Syria
    At least 32 Islamic State members, including four of its leaders, were killed in air strikes and a U.S. special forces raid in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday. (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Forces Seize Digital Trove in Syria Raid - Gordon Lubold and Adam Entous
    The U.S. special-operations force in Syria came away with laptops, phones, and documents that could prove valuable in efforts to disrupt Islamic State's ability to raise funds. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Jerusalem Will Remain Undivided under Israeli Sovereignty - Herb Keinon
    Jerusalem historically has been the only capital of the Jewish people, and so it will remain, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Sunday at the official Jerusalem Day ceremony. "We need to tell the truth, without fear. This is where we began our path as a nation, this is our home and this is where we will stay."
        "Only under Israeli rule will there be freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem. Believers pray at their holy sites not in spite of our rule in the city, but precisely because of it." "We will forever preserve an undivided Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty....Who opposes our presence in Jerusalem? Those who refuse to recognize our right to exist as a sovereign nation in our own state."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Mideast Experts Blast European Criticism of Israel - Benjamin Weinthal
    Responding to the call by the European Eminent Persons Group on Middle East issues (EEPG), which urged the EU to take unilateral actions against Israel for the stagnant peace process, Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, told the Jerusalem Post on Friday, "Far from being a peace proposal, this is a re-statement of standard European mythology, which is based entirely on and reinforces the Palestinian narrative....This approach patronizes Palestinians, treating them like children incapable of moral behavior or of taking responsibility for their actions, while legitimate Israeli security concerns are erased."
        Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, noted, "The belief that Hamas is a legitimate partner for peace and would change its mandate and commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state glosses over any real understanding of the Islamist narrative." He said the approach of the group "presumes that there is a real, meaningful desire for peace on the Palestinian side," ignoring "the fragmentation between Gaza and the West Bank, and above all the refusal of the PA to engage in direct negotiations with Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Jerusalem: Delusions of Division - Nadav Shragai
    The demand has again been raised that Jerusalem's division be adopted as a policy goal. But dividing Jerusalem is likely to cause much worse security problems and hamstring the ongoing, sophisticated, cooperative work of security forces and intelligence in thwarting Palestinian and Islamic terrorist attacks. Moreover, division of the city will expose hundreds of thousands of Jews along the new border to a very real threat of light-weapon and machinegun fire from the Arab neighborhoods. In the past, Palestinians fired at similar ranges from Beit Jalla and Bethlehem into the Gilo neighborhood on and off for four years.
        When the security fence was constructed along the northern side of Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Palestinian residents opted to move to the Israeli side of the fence. A division of the city can be expected to bring tens of thousands of Arabs into Jerusalem, and to cause tens of thousands of Jews to flee from it.
        Each year about 18,000 Jews leave the city. The main reason is the grave shortage of housing. Halting the process of emigration from Jerusalem is not possible without multiplying the annual building of dwellings.
        This is from the Introduction to Jerusalem: Delusions of Division (Hebrew, 2015; English edition forthcoming, 2015). The author was a reporter for Ha'aretz in 1983-2010 and currently writes for Israel Hayom. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
        See also Media Ignores Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    Jews and Arabs in united Jerusalem have been telling their leaders for years that, alongside the violence and terrorism, there are also unity and cooperation that often overcome politics and differences. Anyone who talks to the residents of east Jerusalem quickly discovers that many prefer to remain under Israeli sovereignty rather than forgo the advantages of Israeli democracy and become part of the Palestinian Authority. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Photos of Divided Jerusalem from 60 Years Ago - Roi Yanovsky (Ynet News)
  • Mr. Zarif's Disconnect on Human Rights - Masih Alinejad
    During an interview last month with TV host Charlie Rose, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif asserted that Iran doesn't "jail people for their opinions." I'm an Iranian woman who was jailed at age 19, while pregnant, for helping to create a student newsletter - in other words, for having an opinion. Like too many others, I have been forced into exile because of my opinions.
        Two weeks ago security agents arrested human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, the deputy director of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), which was cofounded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi.
        Zarif does what he is paid to do. As a diplomat, he will defend the country's unsavory human rights record. He will back Iran's judiciary as it keeps Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and others in detention. He will defend the persecution of the Bahai religious minority. The writer is an Iranian journalist living in New York. (Washington Post)

Much More Is Needed to Stop Iran from Getting the Bomb - Lindsey Graham (Wall Street Journal)

  • The president must either negotiate an agreement that will permanently prevent an untrustworthy Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons - or walk away. If he instead commits to a plan that will lead to a nuclear Iran, Congress must stop it.
  • Iran is the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and the world. It is openly committed to the destruction of Israel. It sits at the nexus of nearly every major global threat. To allow this pariah nation to acquire nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy them against us and our allies - and to share them with radical Islamic organizations - would constitute an incalculable threat to our national security and an existential threat to Israel.
  • Our negotiators and the Iranians have offered wildly differing interpretations of the negotiated framework. On every principle, Iran insists it will never accept our terms. Serious questions remain about how this deal can prevent a nuclear Iran.
  • Will international sanctions be lifted before proof that Iran is in compliance? Can we have a good faith agreement with a regime that for decades has lied and cheated, and still has never come clean about its past efforts to weaponize nuclear technology? Will Iran be required to demonstrate changed behavior - with respect to its nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of terrorism?

    The writer is a U.S. senator (R-S.C.).

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.