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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
January 7, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Authority Reducing Incitement - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
    PA officials have realized that Hamas, which wishes to bring about the PA's collapse, is behind the recent terror wave.
    That is why the Temple Mount issue, which was the greatest motive for the violence, has suddenly disappeared from the PA's discourse in the territories.
    PA leaders are not encouraging violence as much and are not inciting as much. In the past two weeks, PA security forces have even been instructed to stop protestors from flocking to areas of friction.
    The PA is not referring to the recent wave of violence as an intifada. Hamas is the only one using that term.
    Last month, the Israel Security Agency arrested a Hamas military infrastructure in Abu Dis near Jerusalem. Most of its members are students at the local university.
    This infrastructure, which received money and was operated by Hamas in Gaza, built explosives labs, recruited two suicide bombers and recruited Israeli Arabs to lead the suicide bombers into Israel.

Turkey Is Building an Aircraft Carrier - Thomas Seibert (Daily Beast)
    Turkey is building an aircraft carrier with "trans-continental" capabilities.
    The 225-meter Anadolu, set to enter service in 2021, is designed to take fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, tanks, troops, and landing vessels to areas around the Mediterranean and as far as the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, officials say.

Spain Compensates Israeli University for Excluding Students (JTA)
    Spain has paid Ariel University in the West Bank $107,000 in compensation for damages caused by its exclusion from an international competition among solar-energy innovators in 2009.
    The Spanish Council of State ruled that the exclusion of Ariel University violated the nation's constitution that forbids discrimination based on nationality or place of origin.
    ACOM, a pro-Israel organization based in Madrid, called the decision a "legal victory against BDS." 

Remains of 3,400-Year-Old Fortress Found in Nahariya (Times of Israel)
    The remains of a Canaanite fortress dating back three and a half millennia were uncovered during an archaeological dig in Nahariya, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
    The area near the fortress revealed many artifacts, including human and animal statuettes, bronze weapons and imported pottery.
    The dig was undertaken ahead of foundation work for the construction of a multi-story apartment building with an underground parking lot.
    It was decided that the new building's basement would display part of the remains, allowing tenants and visitors to view the finds.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Democratic Lawmakers Call for Immediate Sanctions on Iran over Missile Tests - Jacob Kornbluh
    Seven Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday called on the Obama Administration to impose immediate punitive sanctions in response to Iran's recent violations of UN Security Council resolutions by conducting two ballistic missile tests. "We call on the Administration to immediately announce new U.S. sanctions against individuals and entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program to ensure Iran is held accountable for its actions." A letter sent to President Obama was signed by Representatives Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Albio Sires, Gerry Connolly, Susan Davis and Jerry Nadler. (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles)
  • Israeli Disaster Relief Team Supporting UK Flood Victims Have "Become Heroes" - John Fisher
    Residents in the flood-affected areas of Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Kirkgate in Leeds have been helped by four volunteers from IsraAID, an Israeli disaster relief charity, who flew in on Monday. The volunteers are working to repair homes and distribute blankets and food in the worst hit areas.
        Team leader Navonel Glick said "people were shocked" when they realized we were from Israel. "When the victims realized we had actually travelled from Israel they couldn't believe it. Suddenly they started to grin from ear to ear and then the reaction was, 'Wow! Really? From Israel. You truly came to help us from Israel?'" The delegation have become heroes, with people pointing to them as they walk through the streets. Many have approached them to shake hands and express their gratitude. "We have another team waiting to be sent from Israel. We just have to assess where they are most needed."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • New Mossad Chief: Iran Deal "Significantly Increases" Threat to Israel - Tamar Pileggi
    The nuclear agreement with Iran signed in July has "significantly increased" the threat to Israel posed by the Islamic republic, Yossi Cohen warned Wednesday as he was sworn in as the new head of the Mossad intelligence agency. "The key challenge is the Iranian threat. Despite the nuclear deal - I think because of it - the threat has significantly increased."
        "Iran continues to call for Israel's destruction, while intensifying its military capabilities and strengthening its grip on the region," Cohen said. "It employs terror cells as a means to achieve these goals."  (Times of Israel)
  • IDF Uncovers Rocket Launcher in West Bank
    The IDF searched a Palestinian residence in Beit Sanina in the Hebron area of the West Bank after receiving intelligence information and uncovered weaponry and munitions including a rocket launcher. Two suspects were arrested. (Jerusalem Post)
  • IDF: Israel Has "Common Language" with Moderate Arab States - Yasser Okbi
    A senior IDF officer told the Saudi news outlet Elaph that Israel had secret relations and common interests with a number of Arab states besides Egypt and Jordan. The officer explained that the Middle East "region is built on four different powers. The first is Iran and its supporters including Syria, Hizbullah, the Houthis in Yemen and other Iranian-supporting groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad."
        "The second power, and the most important one today, are the moderate countries such as Egypt, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states. Israel has a common language with these states....The third power is the Islamic Brotherhood, which no longer has influence after failures in Egypt and Tunisia. The fourth power consists of jihadi groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, who fight everyone from Iran to the moderate states as well as the Muslim Brotherhood."
        "We in Israel are an island of stability in this stormy sea. But there is a danger that the strife will reach us as well if the instability in the region continues for a long time. Therefore, we need to take advantage of the opportunity and work together with the moderate states to renew quiet in the region."  (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • A Saudi View of Iran - Dan Drollette, Jr.
    Prince Turki al-Faisal, a senior member of the Saudi royal family, was a Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and UK, and served as head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate for more than 20 years. He said in an interview: "We're the ones who suffer from Iran's politics and policies. If you look at the whole range of Iranian interference, you look at Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, there's a whole host of problems for us, with Iran being the initiator and the instigator and the inciter of instability and negative issues in the area."
        "The Iranian people are the most delightful people you can meet. And particularly across the Gulf in the Arab world there is respect and admiration for Iranian culture and historic achievements....[But] the leadership in Iran is the one that has pushed the Iranian people into the position they are today....Look at the elections in 2009 when Ahmadinejad was running for his second term. There was then what could have been called the Iranian Spring. But the regime vehemently oppressed it, and many people lost their lives. Many people are sitting in jail. The movement's leaders are still under house arrest....Things are not settled in Iran. There is popular anti-regime sentiment everywhere."  (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
  • Time for Palestinians to Recognize that the Jews Are Here to Stay - Bassam Tawil
    The only thing the Palestinian leadership and terrorist organizations can agree on is their obsession to destroy the State of Israel and establish a Palestinian state on its ruins. As long as the Palestinians thought they could get what they wanted through negotiations and intransigence, they concealed their true intentions.
        However, when it became clear the Israelis would not waive their demand for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state or their objection to the right of return, Palestinian extremism came out of hiding. That is evident from the results consistently obtained by opinion polls carried out by Palestinian polling centers, which show that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians support an armed campaign against Israel and want to see it destroyed.
        The Palestinian leadership has not yet internalized that nothing will make the Israelis leave. Terrorism only strengthens their resolve. We keep making the awful mistake of educating our children, generation after generation, to hate the Jews and Israelis and to want to destroy the State of Israel. We continually brainwash viewers of government-run Palestinian TV with the nonsense that, with the help of Allah, the State of Israel is temporary and will eventually cease to exist.
        We should have understood a long time ago that Jews exist in Palestine, that they are here to stay forever, and that murdering them in the streets is not going to change anything. The time has come to try creating - for the first time in history - a peaceful and demilitarized Palestinian state, which the Israelis have indicated for decades they would be all too happy to help us achieve. (Gatestone Institute)

The Failures of the International Community in the Middle East since the Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916-2016 - Amb. Freddy Eytan (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot divided the Middle East between Britain and France in secret in the midst of World War I in a way that did not take into account the demographic, socio-cultural and religious aspects of the local peoples. Several Arab tribes found themselves dispersed into different states.
  • Rule by the Alawite minority in Sunni majority Syria and domination of the Sunni minority over the Shiite majority in Iraq led to uprisings, coups and revolts that continue to this day. Today, across the region, authority has collapsed and people are reaching for their older identities - Sunni, Shiite, Kurd. Sectarian groups, often Islamist, have filled the power vacuum.
  • All the unrest in the Arab world is internal, social, religious and tribal, with no link to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It emerged as a result of corrupt leaders who, for decades, benefited from the poverty and ignorance of their citizens and stole from the national treasury by creating a police state and ruling by terror and a cult of personality.
  • The greatest challenge to the legacy of the Sykes-Picot Agreement comes from radical Islam, whose factions deny the idea of nationalism in general and of local nationalism in particular. They believe in reviving the Islamic Ummah (nation) as one political entity that should be governed according to Shariah (Islamic law).

    Amb. Freddy Eytan, a former Foreign Ministry senior advisor who served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels, was Israel's first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

        See also A Century after Sykes-Picot: Strategic and Geopolitical Aspects - Yossi Kuperwasser
    The new order created by the Sykes-Picot agreements had split the real control over the area (formerly part of the Ottoman Empire) between the international powers, while promoting a benign version of Arab nationalism and dividing the territory between loyal Arab leaders along borders drawn by the foreign powers. At the same time, the agreements reconstituted the national homeland of the Jewish people over what was to be mandatory Palestine.
        Arab nationalism was introduced by the British and Sykes himself invented the four-colored Arab national flag. But this concept gave insufficient weight to the role of religion, affiliation to the tribe and region, the aspirations of other nationalities in the region, and led to basic resentment towards foreign ideas. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was formerly Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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