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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 5, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Detects Flurry of Iranian Hacking - Jay Solomon (Wall Street Journal)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards hacked email and social-media accounts of Obama administration officials in recent weeks, U.S. officials said.
    The cyberattacks are the latest sign that the regime has not moderated its hostility toward Washington despite the nuclear accord.
    U.S. officials say the IRGC has developed an army of cyberattackers, trained by Russia, who have focused on such targets as Wall Street banks, Saudi oil companies and both internal and external opponents of the regime.

Iran Responsible for Killing 14 Percent of U.S. Troops in Iraq - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 were killed by Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, and another 861 were wounded, according to a report by U.S. Central Command.
    U.S. military leaders told the Senate that Iranian terror activities have claimed the lives of around 500 U.S. soldiers, which accounts for at least 14% of all American casualties in Iraq.
    See also Killing Americans and their Allies: Iran's Continuing War Against the U.S. and the West - Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp and Major (ret.) Chris Driver-Williams (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israel Blasts Palestinians after Accusations of Organ-Harvesting (Reuters)
    Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon on Wednesday rejected Palestinian allegations that Israel had recently harvested organs from Palestinians its forces had killed, condemning the charges as anti-Semitic.
    The chief Palestinian delegate at the UN, Riyad Mansour, on Tuesday wrote to the president of the UN Security Council claiming that the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces "were returned with missing corneas and other organs."
    Danon said, "This blood libel by the Palestinian representative exposes his anti-Semitic motives and his true colors."
    He called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "to repudiate this sinister accusation and to condemn the ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders."

How a Blood Libel Against Israel Is Born - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    On the one hand, the Palestinian leadership glorifies the perpetrators of the stabbing attacks, encourages continued attempts to murder Jews, and boasts that thanks to the Palestinian "knife intifada" the Jews fear for their lives.
    Yet, in the same breath, the Palestinian leadership claims that Israel is executing "innocent" Palestinians on the "false" charge that they are attempting such attacks and is even fabricating the scenes of the crimes.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Backlash Against U.S. in Iran Gathers Force after Nuclear Deal - Thomas Erdbrink
    Anyone who hoped that Iran's nuclear agreement with the U.S. portended a new era of openness with the West has been jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings over the past few weeks. In addition to arrests of American citizens in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, said the "Death to America" slogan is eternal. New anti-American billboards in Tehran include a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph. And an Iranian knockoff of the American Kentucky Fried Chicken chain was summarily closed after two days.
        A backlash against the U.S. appears to be underway. State-sanctioned media have been producing a litany of American conspiracy theories including the possibility that the CIA was responsible for downing a Russian jetliner in Sinai, and that a "network of American and British spies" has been rounded up. The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned on Sunday that a new sedition was underway involving the U.S. and its "domestic allies."  (New York Times)
        See also Anti-U.S. Fervor Alive in Iran Despite Nuclear Deal
    Chanting "Death to America" and burning the U.S. flag, Iranian protesters Wednesday marked the anniversary of the 1979 storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran with a show of anti-Washington fervor despite the nuclear deal. Demonstrators held placards with slogans including "Down with USA" and "Down with Israel." Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi gave a fiery speech attacking U.S. "atrocities" ranging from slavery and the treatment of Native Americans to phone tapping and "the killing of 300,000 Iraqis."  (AFP)
  • Report: Mutiny within Iran's Revolutionary Guard After It Incurs Heavy Losses in Syria
    A rising death toll within Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria is leading to a mutiny among some senior commanders, who have refused to obey orders to fight there, according to a source close to the Revolutionary Guard. The source said several Revolutionary Guard generals from Ahvaz province, which has a large Iranian-Arab population, have "chosen retirement and pursuing business activities" rather than having to head to Syria. The Revolutionary Guard has opened an official investigation into the large numbers of suddenly retired generals from the region. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
        See also Rising Iranian Casualties in Syria - Ariel Ben Solomon
    Ali Alfoneh, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, told the Jerusalem Post, "My survey of open-source data, collected from the Persian language accounts of funerals in Iran, shows that 165 Iranian nationals, 154 Afghan nationals, and 26 Pakistani nationals - all Shiites - have been killed in combat in Syria since January 2013....Ever since the first Russian military engagement in Syria on September 30, there has been a marked increase in Afghan and Iranian casualties, making October the bloodiest month in the entire course of the civil war for Iranian and Afghan forces." 34 Iranians were killed in October. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Border Policeman Critically Wounded in West Bank Car-Ramming Attack - Gili Cohen and Chaim Levinson
    An Israeli border policeman, 20, was critically wounded on Wednesday in a car-ramming attack at the Halhul Junction in the West Bank. The assailant, Ibrahim Saqafi, 23, of Hebron, was shot and killed. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Uncovers 2,000-Year-Old Acra Fortress
    Excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the City of David in Jerusalem have uncovered the Greek Acra - the famous stronghold built by Antiochus IV. In recent months, excavators have exposed a section of a massive wall, a base of a tower of impressive dimensions (4x20 meters), and a glacis - a defensive sloping embankment designed to keep attackers away from the base of the wall. Lead sling shots, bronze arrowheads and ballista stones were discovered at the site, stamped with a trident, which symbolized the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. In 141 BCE, the Acra fortress surrendered to Simon Maccabee after a prolonged siege. (Israel Antiquities Authority-Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also A Happy Day for History and Truth - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Lone Wolf Terrorism and Social Media - Boaz Ganor
    When senior Palestinian Authority officials joined the chorus accusing Israel of desecrating and "contaminating" the al-Aqsa Mosque, this mainstream voice was the catalyst that drove inflamed young people into the streets to randomly wound and kill Israelis. By any rational cost-benefit analysis, the initial wave of attacks seems to have failed. In most cases, the terrorist perpetrators were killed, wounded or captured, and the strategic damage they were able to inflict was limited. As a result, the Palestinian terrorist organizations led by Hamas published instructions on the Web on how the attackers could be more effective.
        The social networks are used by many young terrorists as a platform to convey their political messages before leaving for their attacks. Without these messages, the terrorist acts might lose their meaning. Another aspect is the glorification bestowed by the social media on the terrorists. Each terrorist act becomes a model for emulation, sparking a vicious cycle that is fueling a terrorist epidemic.
        Nevertheless, we need to be absolutely clear that the current wave of terror will only subside after the messages from the Palestinian leadership to the Palestinian public change. The writer is executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and dean at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abbas' Opposition to Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: Strategic Implications - Col. Dr. (ret.) Shmuel Even
    While in 1993 Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Abbas does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This position has profound significance for the negotiations on a permanent settlement, because it means Palestinian advocacy of an independent Palestinian state next to a bi-national (Jewish-Palestinian) Israel, in contrast to a solution of two states for two peoples. The writer became a senior research fellow at INSS following a long career in the IDF's Intelligence Branch. (Institute for National Security Studies)
  • Why Is the EU Stigmatizing Israel? - David Walzer
    Many Israelis look in utter astonishment at EU plans to compel European importers and retailers to brand Israeli products from the settlements with newly minted, Israel-specific consumer labeling. And it seems these labels would apply only to Israel, not to other countries or territories embroiled in territorial disputes. Israel is an ally for Europe in the Middle East. We share the same humanist aspirations for our countries. But the labeling of Israeli products will not contribute to advancing the Middle East peace process.
        We are being told the economic impact of such labeling should be small. But it stings that we are being singled out for special treatment. This is a political step with the distinctly political message that Israel is to be blamed and punished for the stagnation of the peace process. In Israel it is hard to explain how this could conceivably help kick-start peace talks. Nor does it appear to be a timely message. The Middle East is ablaze, with wars raging in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. And in these times the EU sees fit to slap quasi-sanctions on Israel, the only state in the region whose constitution embraces and defends Europe's own values. The writer is Israel's Ambassador to the EU and NATO. (Politico)

What Do Palestinians Want? - Daniel Polisar (Mosaic)

  • To better understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians, I embarked on a comprehensive analysis of all reliable and publicly available surveys in the West Bank and Gaza over the past two decades.
  • In matters that involved both Israel and the Palestinians, massive majorities blamed Israel and denied any responsibility on their side.
  • As anyone observing Israeli politics over the last decade is aware, the most widely held position within Israel favors the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet three of every five Palestinians believe Israel aspires to reconquer Gaza and the West Bank, annex them, and expel the Arab residents plus the Arab citizens of Israel.
  • And this, despite the fact that in the past quarter-century, not a single Israeli Knesset member, respected public figure, or major media personality has advocated such a view in public or is reliably claimed to have expressed it in private.
  • A majority of Palestinians, 51%, assert that Israel will "destroy the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and build a synagogue in their place."
  • In 2011, American political consultant Stanley Greenberg commissioned a survey of Palestinians on behalf of The Israel Project in which 72% declared it morally right to deny that "Jews have a long history in Jerusalem going back thousands of years."
  • In a 2015 poll commissioned for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy by David Pollock, only 12% agreed that "Both Jews and Palestinians have rights to the land," while more than 80% asserted that "This is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to it."

    The writer is provost and executive vice-president of Shalem College in Jerusalem.

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