Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
February 18, 2016


In-Depth Issues:

IDF to Defend Against Cyber Attacks on Vital Infrastructure - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF's new cyber security division is comprised of eight special cyber units whose responsibilities will be to defend against cyber attacks on vital Israeli infrastructure such as water, electricity, banking, cellular networks, and more.
    Recent large cyber attacks carried out in the past three months include the collapse of the internet in Turkey for 20 hours, which came on top of a three-month attack on Turkish banks.
    Another cyber attack led to the collapse of a third of Ukraine's electrical grid for three weeks last Christmas, and the main airport in Kiev was shut down for two days.
    "Cyber attacks have turned into a legitimate weapon of war," an IDF officer said.




Egyptian Schools to Teach Peace Treaty with Israel for First Time (Ha'aretz)
    The 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt will be taught in Egyptian schools for the first time, Israel Army Radio reported Tuesday.
    A new Egyptian history textbook includes a chapter on the peace deal that speaks of the two countries having "ended the state of war" and of "each side respecting the sovereignty and independence of the other side."




UK Sniper Used Israeli Rifle to Kill ISIS Commander - Kieran Corcoran (Daily Express-UK)
    An elite SAS sniper blew the head off an Islamic State commander teaching 20 jihadis how to decapitate prisoners.
    The crack soldier, operating in northern Syria, fired the bullet from three quarters of a mile away using an Israeli-made Dan .338 rifle.
    Suppressing equipment meant that flashes and noise from the shot were kept to a minimum and the soldier went undetected.




Israel Unveils New Weapons at Singapore Airshow - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    At the Singapore Airshow this week, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled its new "Roamer" class missiles. The missile hovers in the air like a UAV until it locks on the target, then collides with it and destroys it.
    IAI also unveiled the Rotem, a tiny drone equipped with an electro-optical thermal camera that can enter through windows and maneuver around fences.




Israel's Yael Naim Is "Singer of the Year" in France - Viva Sarah Press (Israel21c)
    Israeli-French singer-songwriter Yael Naim, 38, a French-born, Israeli-raised soul singer, won Female Artist of the Year at the 2016 Victoires de la Musique (France's Grammys).
    Her new album, Older, was nominated for Album of the Year.
    Naim won album of the year in 2008 and French singer of the year in 2011.



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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Britain Bans Public-Sector Boycotts of Israel
    Local authorities and public-sector organizations in Britain are banned from boycotting Israeli suppliers under new government rules, and violators could face severe penalties, the British government said on Wednesday. The British Cabinet Office said such boycotts "undermine good community relations, poisoning and polarizing debate, weakening integration and fueling anti-Semitism." The British government said the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement required signatories to treat suppliers equally, and therefore any discrimination against Israeli suppliers would be in breach of the agreement.
        Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I want to commend the British government for refusing to discriminate against Israel and Israelis and I commend you for standing up (for) the one and only true democracy in the Middle East."  (Reuters)
        See also Paris City Council Condemns Attempts to Boycott Israel (JTA)
  • Ayatollah Khamenei: Global Zionism Network Dictates U.S. Iran Policy
    Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that the global Zionism network dictates the policies of the U.S. and many EU members vis-a-vis Iran. "The U.S. and many European governments' policies are dominated by this (Zionist) network." "A U.S. official has in recent days said they would take action to dissuade foreign investments in Iran...that's exactly why it has been repeatedly stated that Americans are not trustworthy."
        In response to Washington's protests against the slogan of "Death to America" in nationwide rallies, Khamenei said, "When you act like this, when your past and present is nothing but open hostility, what else do you expect from the Iranian people?"  (Fars News-Iran)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Demands UN Condemn Hizbullah Threats - Danielle Ziri
    "When a terror organization threatens the citizens of a member state, silence is not an option," Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, demanding that he denounce Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah's threat this week to bomb Haifa's ammonia plant. Danon noted that the involvement of Hizbullah in the Syrian civil war and its military buildup in southern Lebanon were "a flagrant violation" of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, including Hizbullah, after the Second Lebanon War in 2006. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sparks Fly as Visiting UK Parliamentarians Meet PA Officials - Raoul Wootliff
    A group of British lawmakers from the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) clashed with Palestinian Authority officials Wednesday during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah. PA negotiator Nabil Shaath and other Palestinian officials hurled accusations against the group for their implicit support of the 1923-48 British Mandate in Palestine.
        "The specific accusations that came out from the meeting were the attempt to blame us, as being 'the British,' for the entire situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories as a result of having the Mandate, years and years before I was even born," said MP John Howell, the vice president of CFI who led the delegation. Wednesday's meeting made him question the viability of talks with the PA. "It's difficult to see that these people could be a basis for negotiation. I think there would have to be some agreement about how so many things in the world have genuinely changed before we can start talking."  (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Jewish Leader: Ties between Jerusalem and Washington Remain Stable - Attila Somfalvi
    "America has one reliable ally, one 'aircraft carrier' in this whole region that it can count on at any time, where it can preposition a billion dollars in equipment and it'll be there in six months," Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told Ynet on Wednesday. "I think there's generally been a lessening of the [U.S.-Israel] tensions and focusing again on the overwhelming things that unite America and Israel more than ever: The fight against terrorism, the instability in the region," he said.
        "The American public supports Israel by an overwhelming majority and it's been consistent and constant. Even on the Iran issue the American public supported the position that we advocated and expresses concern today about the Iran deal. We need every part of the American people to stand with Israel....The American people 'get it.' It's quite remarkable the degree to which they do despite a lot of the media distortion."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Jews Know that a Boycott Is Just the Beginning - Jonathan Neumann
    The British government has decided to ban boycotts of Israel by local councils. The boycotters target the Jewish state alone and do not go after any other liberal democracy or British ally, let alone any dictatorship; only Israel, the Jew among nations. Wherever the BDS movement surfaces, it is accompanied by harassment of Jews.
        Boycotts have been the instrument of Jewish persecution for a millennium. The last century taught the Jews full well that what begins with a boycott by a few thugs or unknown academics does not end there. BDS cannot be tolerated in a decent and civilized society. BDS and anti-Semitism may come for the Jews first, but the radicalism behind them has us all in its sights. The writer is a director of Jewish Human Rights Watch. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Have the Palestinians Renounced the Peace Process? - Alan Baker
    Riyad Malki, the minister for foreign affairs of the Palestinian Authority, announced in Tokyo on February 15: "We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiation." This is all the more ironic since it is Israel that is being accused and held responsible for obstructing the return to a negotiating mode, whether by the French foreign minister, the U.S. State Department or the EU leadership.
        Malki's declaration runs solidly against Yasser Arafat's solemn commitment in his letter dated September 9, 1993, to prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, according to which: "The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process and to the peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved by negotiation."
        This official announcement by the Palestinian foreign minister should be considered a clear violation of all Palestinian commitments so far, and possibly as a fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords. One might hope that all those senior politicians and foreign ministers who consider themselves involved in the Middle East peace process will demand solid, public reassurance by the Palestinian leadership that the Palestinians have not given up the option to solve the dispute through negotiation. 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 Post)
Observations:

The Arab Attitude toward Israel's 2005 Unilateral Disengagement - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jewish Political Studies Review)

  • Israel's 2005 unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria was perceived as an achievement of the Palestinian struggle. The decision to pursue disengagement was taken at a time when Palestinian terrorist activities reached their highest levels. From the Arab point of view, it exposed the failure of Israeli society to cope effectively with that challenge.
  • The Palestinians began to think that the pressure on Israel should continue, which could then bring them closer to their next objective - a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, and from Jerusalem.
  • One may argue that the 2006 election victory for Hamas may be attributed to the perception of the general public which saw Hamas as the critical player in forcing Israel to seek disengagement from Gaza. For Hamas, Israel's decision clearly vindicated the movement's insistence that terror is the only way to liberate Palestine.
  • Israel would claim that it no longer had the status of an occupier in Gaza, and its decision to leave the Philadelphi Route along the Gaza-Egypt border was defended on that basis. Yet the Palestinians easily managed to enlist international support for their position which still considered Israel as an occupying power, in a place where it had neither a military nor civilian presence.
  • Unilateral concessions are perceived in the region as signs of weakness, and hence invite additional pressure. Conversely, demonstrating resolve discourages pressure. Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon encouraged the Palestinians to choose confrontation and launch the Second Intifada. The disengagement convinced the extremist elements among the Palestinians, along with Hizbullah, to continue the armed struggle, including a focus on kidnappings.
  • There is a basic structural weakness in Western political and strategic thinking, a fundamental naivet which makes it difficult to see the other side as an enemy whom one must confront until he changes his policy and ceases to be an enemy. Many believe that even when the other side unequivocally regards us as an enemy that must be destroyed, we must view him as an opponent that can and should be placated and turned into a partner.

    Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser served as the head of the Research Division for IDF Military Intelligence in 2005 at the time of the disengagement from Gaza and parts of northern Samaria.

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