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November 23, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 60 Percent of Americans Say U.S. Is at War with Radical Islamic Terrorism (Rasmussen Reports)
    A survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted on Nov. 17-18 finds that 60% believe the U.S. is at war with radical Islamic terrorism. Just 24% disagree.
    56% of Democrats believe America is at war with radical Islamic terrorism, a view shared by 70% of Republicans and 54% of unaffiliated voters.
    92% of all voters now regard radical Islamic terrorism as a serious threat to the U.S. This includes 73% who say it is a "very serious" one, up from 50% in Oct. 2014.

Israeli Killed during Islamist Hotel Siege in Mali - Jonathan Lis (Ha'aretz)
    An Israeli, Shmuel Benalal, 60, was among the 20 people killed Friday after Islamist militants attacked the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali.
    Benalal, an international consultant, was in Mali to help the government curb religious fundamentalist influences on the country's school system.

Iran Sentences Washington Post Reporter to Prison - Peter Holley (Washington Post)
    Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been held by Iran for the past 16 months, has been sentenced to a prison term, the state news agency announced Sunday.
    Rezaian faced four charges, including espionage.

Are There Any Moderate Rebels in Syria? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    The Free Syrian Army has gradually vacated its leading role in the battle against the Assad regime, to be replaced by the followers of the jihadists.
    The different Islamist coalitions present on the ground today can hardly be defined as being "a moderate opposition."

Europe's Largest Department Store Removes Israeli Products from Shelves - Ofer Aderet (Ha'aretz)
    Europe's largest department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, has removed Israeli products from the shelves following the EU decision to label Israeli products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
    See also German Department Store Apologizes for Pulling Golan Wines (JTA)
    Germany's KaDeWe department store in Berlin has apologized for removing wines made in the Golan Heights from its shelves and said it will return them immediately.
    The company said it acted "rashly and insensitively" in carrying out a recent EU labeling regulation.

"Daddy, Buy Me a Machine Gun" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi expressed his satisfaction with his 2-year-old son's singing on official PA TV on Oct. 27.
    "A boy who is not yet three!" Tirawi said. "Yesterday, he sang to his mother: 'Escort the Martyr to his wedding.'"
    "Today his mother told me that he sang: 'Daddy, buy me a machine gun and a rifle, so that I will defeat Israel and the Zionists.'"

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Islamic State Presence in the U.S. Is "the New Normal," FBI Director Says - Tina Susman
    FBI Director James B. Comey has warned that Islamic State, an organization that was added to the agency's list of foreign terrorist groups only last year, is now in virtually every state. "This is sort of the new normal," Comey said in July after announcing the arrests of 10 people believed linked to Islamic State plots. Comey has said that as many as 900 investigations are underway into suspected terrorist-related plots, and officials say the majority involve Islamic State.
        The FBI cited at least 15 cases in August in which defendants were arrested, copped pleas or sentenced. In the two weeks before the Paris attacks, the FBI announced arrests or guilty pleas in five cases involving Islamic State or al-Qaeda. (Los Angeles Times)
  • U.S. Marines Send Attack Jets to Kill ISIS Fighters in Iraq - Andrew deGrandpre
    Thousands of U.S. Marines and sailors have moved into the Persian Gulf as part of the Obama administration's pledge to ramp up its air campaign against the Islamic State after last week's terror attacks in Paris. On Thursday, Marine planes conducted a series of airstrikes on ISIS targets inside Iraq, according to the Navy. (Military Times)
        See also U.S. Special Forces to Arrive in Syria "Very Soon"
    Dozens of U.S. special operations troops will arrive in Syria "very soon" as promised by President Obama, special envoy Brett McGurk told CBS television's "Face the Nation." The troops will help organize local forces battling the Islamic State in northern Syria. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Two Female Palestinians Stab Two in Jerusalem on Monday - Gili Cohen and Yair Ettinger
    Two female Palestinian assailants, aged 14 and 16, stabbed a Palestinian man in his 70s near the Mahane Yehuda outdoor market in Jerusalem on Monday. Another man was wounded while trying to stop them. The assailants were shot by a police officer while trying to stab others. One was killed and the second seriously wounded. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Murders Israeli Woman in Gush Etzion on Sunday - Gili Cohen and Ido Efrati
    Hadar Buchris, 21, was stabbed to death at Gush Etzion junction by Isam Thwabteh, 34, from Beit Fajar, a nearby Arab village. Israeli army soldiers shot and killed the assailant. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Citizens and Security Forces Stop Palestinian Terrorists on Sunday - Tovah Lazaroff
    Citizens and security forces killed a female Palestinian terrorist, Ashraqat Katnani, who attempted to knife Israelis at a bus stop near the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus in the West Bank on Sunday.
        In another incident, a Palestinian taxi driver, Shadi Hassib, 32, from al-Bireh near Ramallah, rammed into an Israeli car at the Mishor Adumim junction and then attempted to stab an Israeli at the scene with a knife. Two other Israelis at the scene shot the terrorist and killed him. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Father: "Martyred" Daughter Asked Me about the Best Knives in the House - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority on Sunday accused Israel of planting knives near the bodies of Palestinians who are killed during stabbing attacks against Israelis. However, after Ashraqat Katnani, 16, was killed after she tried to stab Israelis near Nablus, the girl's father, Taha, was quoted by Palestinian media saying that his daughter set out to seek "martyrdom" and "I'm proud of her."
        Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Netanyahu's Arabic-language spokesman, said that the father also said: "She wanted to stab, asked me about the best knives in the house."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinian Authority Says "Killing Palestinian Teen Is War Crime"
    The Palestinian government Sunday described the killing a 16-year-old Palestinian schoolgirl as a "brutal war crime against humanity and childhood." In a press release, the PA said Israel "has mastered the art of distorting the truth to mask its crimes by accusing every [Palestinian] victim of plotting a stabbing attack and planting a knife next to the body to support its allegations." The PA stressed that Ashraqat Katnani was "a victim to Israel's terrorism."  (WAFA-Palestinian News Agency)
  • Palestinian Stabs Four Israelis in Kiryat Gat on Saturday - Matan Tzuri
    Muhammad Tarda, 18, from Yatta near Hebron in the West Bank, stabbed four people in the Israeli city of Kiryat Gat on Saturday evening, including a 13-year-old girl, a 51-year-old man, and two women aged 44 and 56. The suspect was captured with the blood-soaked knife in his possession. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Are Some Terror Victims More Innocent than Others? - Elliott Abrams
    Speaking in Paris on Nov. 17, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the November killings in Paris are more terrible than those of January. "There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of - not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they're really angry because of this and that." Sure. They were angry about cartoons that lampooned Muhammad, and about Jews. Completely understandable.
        When people kill journalists and Jews, that is not an attack on "everything that we do stand for," whereas attacking a restaurant and stadium and a concert hall is. A bit odd: Do we stand for good food and sports and music more than we stand for freedom of the press and freedom of religion? Religious minorities and journalists perhaps are to blame in some sense for their own troubles.
        At Harvard last month Kerry had this reaction to the terror spree of Palestinians stabbing Jews in and near Jerusalem: "There's been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there's a frustration that is growing." This statement was plainly false. There has been no "massive increase in settlements," something the statistics show quite clearly. The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Weekly Standard)
  • Academic Boycott? Palestinians Benefit from Cooperation with Israel - Ilan Troen
    The American Anthropological Association passed a motion in support of BDS on Friday. Israel has become enmeshed in a moral binary in which it is widely assumed to be in the wrong. Those academics who advocate a boycott of Israel nowhere acknowledge the disruptions to Israeli education in the context of the missile war against Israel or of the terrorist attacks motivated by ideologies that deny the right of the Jewish people to an independent state.
        They ignore the reality that Palestinian universities were created only after 1967 during Israeli control. Thousands of Israeli Arabs study and teach at Israeli institutions, including the president of an Israeli college. Similarly, Palestinians from the PA collaborate with Israelis in education and research projects in health, agriculture and environmental problems. Even Hamas leaders send family members to Israeli university hospitals.
        BDS resolutions still the voices of those genuinely interested in resolving this conflict. Academic boycotts are an instrument for silencing and intimidation. The writer is Professor of Israel Studies at Brandeis University. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also American Anthropologists Vote to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions - Jeffrey R. Young
    The American Anthropological Association at its annual meeting in Denver on Friday voted 1,040 to 136 in favor of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

The EU Decision to Label Products from the Settlements - Oded Eran, Nizan Feldman, and Eran Yashiv (Institute for National Security Studies)

  • There are numerous economic, political, institutional, and technical constraints that are likely to make it difficult for unofficial and official players in Europe to undertake additional measures that will cause substantial damage to the Israeli economy.
  • These constraints are due mainly to the composition of Israeli exports. Most of the Israeli goods exported to the EU and other important markets are used as production inputs, and are not consumed by the general public as end-user products.
  • Campaigns calling on consumers to boycott Israeli goods may perhaps detract from exports of agricultural products and processed foods, which account for less than 10% of total exports to the EU, but it is more difficult to affect exports of chemical and rubber products, computing, machinery, and optics. These goods account for more than 45% of total exports to EU countries.
  • The identity of the companies exporting from Israel poses another political obstacle to those seeking to enforce significant punitive measures. A substantial proportion of exports from Israel are composed of goods produced by multinational companies that have established manufacturing activity in Israel, or else by Israeli companies with subsidiaries in Europe and other markets. Official restrictions on trade or investment vis-a-vis Israel are liable to wind up damaging the direct interests of those multinational companies.
  • The EU labeling decision leaves implementation in the hands of each country. A number of governments, headed by Germany, have already announced their opposition to enforcement of the measure. Additional countries may hesitate to engage in confrontation with various groups, including the U.S. Congress.

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