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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
January 26, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Pastor Freed by Iran Says He Was Tortured - Emily Stephenson (Reuters)
    Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor who was freed in a prisoner swap with Iran, told Fox News on Monday that he was tortured and left in solitary confinement for refusing to sign a false confession.
    Abedini said that while in Tehran's Evin prison he was beaten by interrogators, left with an al-Qaeda prisoner who tried to kill him, and watched people screaming and crying while taken to be hanged.

Palestinian Cleric at Al-Aqsa Mosque: Islamic State Should Conquer Rome, Washington, Paris through Jihad (MEMRI TV)
    In a lesson posted on the Internet on Jan. 16, 2016, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Abu Taqi Al-Din Al-Dari said:
    "The Islamic state should work to conquer the world through Jihad for the sake of Allah" and that "it must conquer Rome, Washington, and Paris."
    "The relationship of the Abode of Islam with the abodes of the infidels is one of war. Therefore, the Islamic state must prepare and then act to annex those countries, and to impose its control and authority over those countries."

Palestinian Media Spurring Wave of Terror - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    Hamas' Al Aqsa television channel has been devoting nearly all of its air time over the past four months to encouraging attacks on Israelis.
    Interviews with relatives of terrorists are a daily occurrence. Other channels such as Palestine al-Yom and al-Quds also carry daily broadcasts that encourage attacks.
    Moreover, the news of every attack is accompanied by songs of joy and praise to the martyrs.

$100M Program to Foster U.S.-Israel Scientific Collaboration (JTA)
    American Jewish philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman is launching a $100 million program promoting scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Israel.
    The Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, announced Monday, aims to foster collaboration between the "highest-achieving" American post-doctoral researchers and graduate students and "leading researchers" at Israeli universities.

Protesters Disrupt Jewish Reception at Chicago Gay Rights Conference (JTA)
    Hundreds of protesters sought to disrupt a reception for Jewish participants at a gay activism conference in Chicago on Friday.
    The protesters entered the reception and took over the stage, preventing the visiting Israelis from speaking.

Israel High-Tech Sector Raises Record $4.4 Billion in 2015 (Reuters)
    Israel's high-tech sector raised a record $4.43 billion in 2015, up 30% from 2014, the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center said on Monday.
    IVC said there were 708 deals last year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ISIS Planning New Attacks in Europe - Kim Willsher and Peter Walker
    Islamic State is actively focusing its attention on conducting large-scale attacks in Europe similar to those last year in Paris, Rob Wainwright, the head of the EU's law enforcement agency Europol, has said. He told a meeting of interior ministers in Amsterdam that ISIS had "developed a new combat-style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage, with a particular focus in Europe."  (Guardian-UK)
        See also Islamic State Boasts of Assassin Boot Camp Capable of Unleashing Mass Murderers on Europe - Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times)
  • Intelligence Agencies Eye Latin American Penetration by Iran-Backed Hizbullah
    Mexican intelligence, in cooperation with Canadian intelligence services, has recently revealed activities by Lebanese Hizbullah under Iranian support in Latin America: in Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and the border zone between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
        Mexican authorities recently arrested a Lebanese Hizbullah operative at the U.S. border who was caught with fake identification papers and drugs. The detainee confessed to being associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and that he was on a mission to collect data on foes of the Iranian government. He said the mission of the "Abbas al-Musawi unit" and the "Imad Mughniyah unit" is to scout out any threats on Iran in a score of countries across the world and prepare for striking them. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
        See also South of the Border, A Threat from Hizbullah - Matthew Levitt (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Woman Murdered by Palestinians in West Bank - Elisha Ben Kimon
    Shlomit Krigman,23, was stabbed to death and another woman was wounded by two Palestinians who attacked them outside a grocery store in Beit Horon in the West Bank. The terrorists, Ibrahim Alan and Hussein Abu Ghosh, who is affiliated with Hamas, were shot and killed by a security guard. The terrorists also planted three pipe bombs next to the store. (Ynet News)
        See also Video: Supermarket Cashier Uses Shopping Cart to Fend Off Palestinian Attackers - Ben Hartman
    During the attack at a grocery store in Beit Horon, cashier Mordechai Shalem used a large metal shopping cart to stop the knife-wielding attackers from entering the store, saving the lives of those who were inside. The dramatic moments were caught on the store's security camera. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Slain Woman Remembered as "Beloved, Sweet, and Full of Light" - Adiv Sterman (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Sisters Charged with Making Bombs to Attack Israelis - Amos Harel
    Diana and Nadia Havila, both 18, from the Tulkarm region, were arrested last month after pipe bombs were found during a search of their home. Diana made the bombs after learning how to do so from videos on the Internet. (Ha'aretz)
  • UNESCO Raps Iran over Holocaust Cartoon Contest - Barak Ravid
    The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently filed a complaint with the Iranian government over its plan to hold another cartoon contest for caricatures denying the Holocaust. On Jan. 4, Israel's envoy to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen wrote to UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, saying, "It is incumbent to condemn this severe act of Holocaust denial....It is time for UNESCO to demand accountability from the Iranian regime with regard to its malicious rhetoric, Holocaust denial and global negative activity."
        On Jan. 15, Bokova responded that she was "deeply outraged" when she heard that once again Iran was holding such a contest, which she vigorously condemned, saying it would "further serve to incite hatred, racism, and discrimination. This goes against the objectives pursued by UNESCO to promote greater understanding and knowledge about the Holocaust."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Is Palestinian Society Copying ISIS? - Moshe Arens
    Palestinian children knifing people while yelling "Allah Akbar" are a sign that Palestinian society is plumbing new depths. Years ago, it was Palestinian terrorists who hijacked and blew up planes, then there were the suicide bombers who blew themselves up in buses and hotels, and now it is the turn of the children with kitchen knives and scissors, attacking rabbis and pregnant women.
        Those who ascribe this to the Israeli "occupation" are offering lame excuses for a culture that glorifies death and killing, a culture that can bring no succor to its people. Copying the example of ISIS, with its brutal executions, is doing incalculable damage to Palestinian society and the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian leadership has failed generations of Palestinians. They have educated Palestinian children to dedicate themselves to terror and death. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ten Years of Hamas Rule - Jonathan Schanzer
    Ten years ago, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. The secular Fatah faction, Washington's choice as the pragmatic incumbent ruling party in the Palestinian Authority (PA), lost the elections because of the growing (and correct) public perception that the party was ossified and corrupt, a perception still dogs Fatah to this day. Hamas' military offensive in Gaza that began on June 7, 2007, left Hamas firmly in control. The PA forces, which had been trained and armed by the U.S., failed miserably.
        Ten years on, the intra-Palestinian conflict, with a decade of failed reconciliation efforts, is a glaring blind spot among Western policymakers. There are two separate Palestinian governments in Gaza and the West Bank, two sets of cadres of political elites, two distinct economies, and increasingly two different cultures. Yet the overriding assumption in the West is that deft diplomacy coupled with Israeli territorial concessions could pave the way for the Palestinian Authority, unpopular and corrupt as it may be, to somehow bring Gaza back under its jurisdiction.
        It may be time to acknowledge that if the Palestinians can't peacefully resolve their own territorial conflict, they certainly are not likely to resolve the one with Israel. The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Newsweek)
  • No, Iran Is Not "Opening Up" - Anne Applebaum
    Iran is not "opening up" or becoming "more Western" or more liberal. Maybe Iran's foreign minister will now pick up the phone when John Kerry calls. But other than that, the nature of the Iranian regime has not altered at all. On the contrary, the level of repression inside the country has grown since the "moderate" Rouhani was elected in 2013. In 2014, Iran carried out the largest number of executions anywhere in the world except for China. Women who don't wear veils are still vulnerable to arrest and sentencing.
        There isn't much point in wishfully hoping that foreign investment will "open up" Iran, either: In the current circumstances, foreign investment is far more likely to enrich the existing elite. If so, the result will be greater repression, more effective disinformation and, of course, more money for the export of the ideology of the Iranian revolution to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. (Washington Post)

Palestinians: Western Media's Ignorance and Bias - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)

  • Two Western journalists in Israel at the end of 2015 asked to interview Jewish settlers living in the Gaza Strip. Imagine their embarrassment when it was pointed out to them that Israel had completely pulled out of Gaza ten years ago.
  • A few years ago a Ramallah-based journalist received a request from a correspondent to help arrange an interview with Yasser Arafat, except at that point, Arafat had been dead for several years.
  • I have had journalists assure me that before 1948 there was a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. They were taken aback to learn that prior to 1967, the West Bank had been under the control of Jordan, while Gaza had been ruled by Egypt.
  • One journalist several years ago asked to visit the "destroyed" city of Jenin, where "thousands of Palestinians had been massacred by Israel in 2002." She was referring to the IDF operation in the Jenin refugee camp where nearly 60 Palestinians, many of them gunmen, and 23 IDF soldiers were killed in a battle.
  • When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for the international media, someone has to be the good guy (the Palestinians), someone has to be the bad guy (the Israelis), and everything gets refracted through that prism. When it comes to the Palestinians, many Western journalists see no evil. They have for years refused to report on the financial corruption and human rights violations that are rife under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas regimes.
  • Thus, the international media's indifference in the face of the current wave of stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis should come as no surprise. International headlines often show more sympathy toward Palestinian attackers than toward the Israelis who were attacked.

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