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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
February 3, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

India Arrests Suspect Planning Attacks on Israeli Targets - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Jeb Afridi, who is active in the Students Islamic Movement of India, was arrested last week by India's security forces for committing a terror attack in 2014.
    He was planning to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in Bangalore.
    In the 2014 attack, he exploded a bomb outside a restaurant at which an Israeli delegation was supposed to dine.
    A woman was killed and three were wounded, but there were no Israeli casualties.
    Afridi also admitted to an arson attempt at the Israeli Visa Services offices in November 2015.

New Gaza Tunnel Collapse Kills More Hamas Operatives (Jerusalem Post)
    Hamas officials confirmed on Wednesday the death of at least two of its operatives in a terror tunnel collapse in Gaza. Eight others were reported missing.
    Last week, seven Hamas men were killed when a tunnel collapsed close to the border with Israel.

Peace Index Poll: 71 Percent of Jewish Israelis Do Not See Peace on the Horizon (Tel Aviv University and Israel Democracy Institute)
    26% of Jewish Israelis believe that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will lead in the coming years to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, while 71% do not, according to the Peace Index poll conducted on Jan. 26-28.

U.S. and Israeli Arms Firms Bag UK Military Aircraft Training Contract (RT-Russia)
    Israeli arms company Elbit Systems and U.S. military contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) have won a £500 million contract to provide aircraft training for the UK military.
    Ascent Flight training director Paul Livingston said: "Modern training aircraft selected specifically to meet the bespoke needs of the UK's Armed Forces will deliver optimized training alongside high tech simulators and classroom trainers."
    Ministry of Defence Procurement Minister Phillip Dunne said the deal was "fantastic news for the future of our military aircrew" and would provide them with "a modern training system which will equip them to deliver on the front line."

Israeli Hiker Discovers 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Seal in Galilee (Jerusalem Post)
    While walking with his children, a farmer from Kfar Hittim in the Lower Galilee discovered a 3,500-year-old Egyptian seal, the Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.
    Dr. Dafna Ben-Tor, curator of Ancient Egypt at the Israel Museum, identified the seal as a scarab amulet from the New Kingdom, the period stretching from the 16th-11th centuries BCE.
    The amulet "shows King Pharaoh Thutmose III seated on the throne" alongside the monarch's name, she said.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • House Passes Bill Again to Restrict Obama Lifting Iran Sanctions
    The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation on Tuesday that would restrict President Obama's ability to lift sanctions under the international nuclear deal with Iran, three weeks after a similar vote was canceled. House members voted 246-181 to pass the "Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act," almost entirely along party lines. The legislation is not expected to become law as Obama has promised a veto, saying the measure would kill the nuclear agreement. (Reuters-New York Times)
  • Rockets from Yemen Kill 375 Civilians in Saudi Arabia - William Maclean and Angus McDowall
    Mortars and rockets fired at Saudi Arabian towns and villages have killed 375 civilians, including 63 children, since the start of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen in March, Riyadh said on Monday. Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said the Houthi militia and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had fired more than 40,000 projectiles across the border since the war began, with 130 mortars and 15 missiles fired at Saudi border positions on Monday alone. (Reuters)
  • Kerry Warns of Islamic State Expansion in Libya - Carol Morello
    Advances in the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq are forcing the extremists to abandon territory there, generating concerns that they are carving out a new stronghold in oil-rich Libya, Secretary of State John Kerry told foreign ministers from 23 nations in the coalition fighting the Islamic State on Tuesday. "The last thing in the world you'd want is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars in oil revenue."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. to Invest $120 Million in Israeli Tunnel Detection System - Alex Fishman
    The U.S. government is set to invest $120 million in developing and manufacturing an "Israeli invention" for detecting and identifying tunnels, in collaboration with the Israel Ministry of Defense, which will invest a similar amount. A U.S. deputy defense secretary visited Israel a few weeks ago and saw the anti-tunnel project in its early stages around Gaza. Impressed, he approved $40 million for the first year.
        The system is supposed to detect digging, or any other activity, up to a depth of dozens of meters underground. The U.S. is in need of such a system on its Mexico border. The injection of American money and technology will shorten the deployment time of the system in Israel. Hamas can see the digging work on Israel's side, planting something in the earth. They understand that when the project is completed, it will neutralize their ultimate attack weapon: tunnels. (Ynet News)
  • Next U.S. President "Might Not Be Bound by Iran Deal" - Herb Keinon
    The Iran nuclear deal was not a signed treaty and therefore "the next president might not be bound by the deal," Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said on Tuesday, noting that polls showed that 80% of the public was opposed.
        Hoenlein said it was not right to frame the deal as a defeat for the pro-Israel community in the U.S., since the debate was not about Israel, and that America is also threatened by an emboldened Iran flush with sanctions relief money and able to fund its proxies around the globe.
        Hoenlein noted that "Hizbullah people are in Mexico....Iran has weapons manufacturing plants in South America, all sorts of businesses, including one of the richest uranium fields, second only to Canada, in Venezuela."
        He added that he has been told by people in the administration that the Middle East is not going to be the focus of President Obama's final year. He said that while there have been disagreements with the Obama administration, "we also have to acknowledge there are a lot of good things between Israel and the U.S." He said he has not seen any evidence that recent French moves regarding a Mideast peace conference were coordinated with Washington. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • France Undermines the Oslo Accords It Witnessed - Amb. Alan Baker
    France is party to the EU's signature as witness to the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. By the same token, the UN General Assembly in Resolution A/50/21 of December 4, 1995, expressed its full support for the Oslo Accords and the peace negotiation process. Thus, it is incumbent on France, which voted in favor of the UN resolution endorsing the agreement and the negotiation process, not to attempt to undermine the same agreement and process, nor to prejudge issues that are still open and to be negotiated.
        In threatening to unilaterally and arbitrarily recognize a Palestinian state, France is clearly prejudging the issue of the permanent status of the territory and is attempting both to bypass and undermine the negotiating process called for by the UN. By engaging in a parallel, un-agreed process with the declared aim of imposing upon one side - Israel - the outcome of an international conference, France is acting against all accepted norms and principles of conflict-resolution. The writer participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords and served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Organized Crime in Palestinian Cities: A Taboo Subject - Ali Qleibo
    Systemic organized crime in the major Palestinian urban centers has become rampant with sporadic shooting, firebombs, and setting cars and houses on fire. Jenin and Nablus are plagued with gangs that take shelter in impenetrable "neighborhoods." In Jerusalem, Palestinian thugs and fortune hunters have taken over and hold real estate owners and shopkeepers in terror.
        Moreover, the violence that is erupting between competing militias, on both the family level and within the political structure, has created a state of lawlessness and chaos that permeates the major cities. Extortion levied on business owners, shopkeepers, and restaurateurs thrives unabated.
        The usurping of a property is accomplished either by rental or by purchase of a fraction of the property from one of the heirs. Once the land or property is rented, a first payment is advanced, but once the new tenant moves in, the rent money stops and the land or house is de facto appropriated.
        The daily press does not report the reign of terror. References are scarce, as NGO human rights observers concern themselves exclusively with reporting Israeli transgressions.
        A senior Palestinian official told Al-Monitor, "The state of security chaos in the West Bank has resulted since early 2015 in about 26 Palestinian deaths - seven of which were in Nablus - and the majority of those involved in these incidents are security services personnel." Dr. Ali Qleibo is an anthropologist and lecuter at Al-Quds University. (This Week in Palestine)

The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem: An Extremist Megaphone - Steven Stalinsky (Wall Street Journal)

  • Over the past two years, in President Obama's efforts to counter violent extremism, he has emphasized the responsibility of Muslim "scholars and clerics" to help ensure that mosques are not used as a platform to preach Islamist extremism.
  • Few Westerners are aware of the content of the sermons, lectures and lessons offered at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. On Jan. 16, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Abu Taqi Al-Din Al-Dari called in a sermon for jihad against the West and Europe, and for the burgeoning Islamic State to "conquer Rome, Washington and Paris."
  • Many of these sermons are posted on the mosque's two official YouTube channels and have been translated from the Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute. What we have found at Al Aqsa is a steady stream of calls for jihad and martyrdom, venomous attacks on Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, and praise for al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other jihadist groups.
  • Calls for the destruction of the U.S. and the West, including promises that Islam will take over the world, are other common themes. On July 24, 2015, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dweik said: "The caliphate will come to be, and the nuclear bomb will be produced," adding that this future Islamic caliphate will "fight the U.S. and will bring it down" and "eliminate the West in its entirety."
  • On Oct. 27 at Al Aqsa, Sheikh Khaled Al-Maghrabi called for the annihilation of the Jews all over the world. On May 29, Sheikh Al-Maghrabi explained why Jews were killed in the Holocaust. "On Passover," the Jews "would knead the dough for these matzos with children's blood. When this was discovered, the Israelites were expelled across Europe."
  • If incendiary sermons such as those at Al Aqsa were being delivered in any Western city, authorities would not tolerate them.

    The writer is executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

        See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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