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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
March 16, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Muslim Terror in Toronto - Peter Edwards (Toronto Star-Canada)
    Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, appeared in court Tuesday, charged with stabbing two soldiers at a Canadian Forces recruitment center Monday.
    Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said Tuesday that Ali was armed with a large knife, and called out: "Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come here and kill people." 

France Tries Again for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks - Laurence Norman and Rory Jones (Wall Street Journal)
    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault sought backing on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers for a new push to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
    But some European diplomats have questioned the timing, warning it is likely to generate little momentum during the U.S. presidential campaign and when EU-Israeli relations have grown cold.

Poll: 56 Percent of Palestinians Support Attacks - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    56% of Palestinians support the continuation of the current wave of attacks on Israelis, while 41% oppose it, according to a public opinion poll published on Sunday by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center.
    See also Same Poll: Most Palestinians in West Bank Oppose Stabbing Attacks on Israelis - Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    79% of Palestinians in Gaza back the stabbing attacks on Israelis, compared to 54% of Palestinians in the West Bank who oppose them, a survey by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center found.
    See also Complete Poll Results: Poll No. 85 - Intifada, the PA and ISIS (JMCC)

British Justice Secretary Slams Israel Boycott: "BDS Campaign Indulges Prejudice" (Jerusalem Post)
    British Secretary of Justice Michael Gove on Tuesday told the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism conference in Berlin that the BDS "campaign indulges prejudice rather than fighting it."
    In Britain, "we have made clear that local authorities and public bodies cannot adopt BDS policies aimed at Israel; they cannot use public resources to discriminate against Jewish people, Jewish goods and a Jewish state."

New International Airport to Open near Eilat in 2017 - Michelle Malka Grossman (Jerusalem Post)
    Flights at the new Ramon International Airport in Timna, north of Eilat, are expected to begin taking off in 2017, the Transportation Ministry said Tuesday.
    It will serve as the alternative to Ben-Gurion International Airport during emergencies, and will replace the current Eilat airport.
    The airport is named after Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the Columbia space shuttle explosion in 2003, and his son Assaf, who was killed in a fighter jet crash in 2009.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Gears Up for Showdown with Russia over Iran Missile Tests - Adam Kredo
    The U.S. is preparing for a diplomatic showdown with Russia as it prepares to release an official report accusing Iran of breaching international accords prohibiting the test-firing of ballistic missiles, according to Obama administration officials. Iran and its allies argue that the UN resolutions governing the nuclear deal only suggest that the Islamic Republic abstain from testing ballistic missiles, a claim the U.S. has publicly opposed in recent days.
        One U.S. official said, "Contrary to what the Russians believe, we, the U.S., strongly believe that the launches by Iran do fall under the scope of [UN Resolution] 2231. Ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering a payload of at least 500 kilograms to a range of at least 300 kilometers are inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons."
        Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, "is clearly furious with Russian protection for Iran and is dragging the rest of the administration along with her in an attempt to do something that holds the Iranians accountable for their illegal missile launches," the source said. (Washington Free Beacon)
        See also U.S. to Keep Pushing for UN Action on Iran Despite Russian Objection
    The U.S. on Monday vowed to continue pushing for UN Security Council action on Iran's recent ballistic missile tests. "This merits a council response," U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said. "Russia seems to be lawyering its way to look for reasons not to act....We're not going to give up at the Security Council, no matter the quibbling that we heard today."  (Reuters)
        See also Statement on Iranian Ballistic Missile Launches - Amb. Samantha Power
    "The United States is deeply concerned about Iran's recent ballistic missile launches, which are provocative and destabilizing. Moreover, Iranian military leaders have reportedly claimed these missiles are designed to be a direct threat to Israel. We condemn such threats against another UN Member State and one of our closest allies."
        "UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls upon Iran not to undertake any launches of ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. We will raise these dangerous launches directly at Council consultations....These launches underscore the need to work with partners around the world to slow and degrade Iran's missile program. We will therefore continue to insist on full implementation of Resolution 2231, which expressly prohibits third-party support to Iran's ballistic missile program, as we also consider our appropriate national response."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
  • Russia to Leave S-400 Antiaircraft System in Syria - Michael Birnbaum and Hugh Naylor
    After Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to pull warplanes from Syria on Tuesday, Russia said it would leave its potent S-400 surface-to-air missile system in Syria. That means that Russia will continue to control Syrian airspace. "We will not ease" the fight, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said in Moscow on Tuesday. "We will intensify it. But for that end we do not need the contingent that is present today."
        Many analysts said Russia's pullout will put significant pressure on Assad to work out a power-sharing agreement with the opposition. (Washington Post)
        See also Russia's Withdrawal Is Another Facade - Anna Borshchevskaya (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Raising Height of Egypt Border Fence - Gili Cohen
    Defense officials said Tuesday Israel would increase the height of its fence on the Egyptian border by one meter over dozens of kilometers, making it six meters high, following an uptick of incursions by African asylum seekers over the past year. In 2014, 14 people crossed the border, compared with 200 in 2015. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Terror Attack in Jerusalem Thwarted Wednesday
    A Palestinian teenager was detained after he attempted to jump over a security turnstile at a West Bank checkpoint to avoid a security check before crossing into Jerusalem on Wednesday, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. A search revealed a concealed knife. According to the initial police interrogation, he intended to carry out a stabbing attack. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also No Terrorist Attack at Tel Aviv Military Base - Ben Hartman
    After a reported stabbing attack on an IDF soldier in north Tel Aviv Tuesday afternoon, it was determined that there was no terrorist attack and a man had an altercation with the soldier at a bus stop, not at a military base. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Palestinian Attacks Are a Product of Their Prevailing Moral Code - James Sorene
    The 320 stabbings, shootings and car rammings since last September are a macabre new normal that blights life in Israel. At Palestinian schools, terrorists are treated as heroes. In the Palestinian media, the attacks are reported as glorious feats. PA salaries are paid to convicted terrorists. Palestinian President Abbas never condemns the attacks or suggests that perhaps his people should stop trying to kill Israelis. And it's likely that UK aid money supports all this reprehensible activity.
        Palestinians are launching these attacks because their prevailing moral code is signaling that it's a highly honorable thing to do. Every leader has a choice and Abbas and his ministers chose to ride the wave rather than challenge it. Every time he praises a martyr, the deal that establishes a Palestinian state alongside Israel will drift further into the distance. The writer is CEO of BICOM-Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Debating an Increase in U.S. Military Aid to Israel - David Makovsky
    Israel needs to prepare itself militarily for dealing with the limitations of the Iranian nuclear deal - namely, the expiration of restrictions on centrifuges and enrichment in ten to fifteen years and the possibility of cheating beforehand. Other factors include the likely increase in Iranian funding for dangerous regional proxies, the increase in U.S. arms sales to Sunni Arab states in order to offset Iranian activity, and the growing presence of nonstate actors on Israel's borders.
        Although Israel has (quietly) developed closer ties with some of the Gulf states in recent years, both Jerusalem and Washington believe that Israel's qualitative military edge should be preserved. Some Israelis point to Iraq as an example, noting that Islamic State militants are now armed with American weapons previously provided to the Iraqi army. The writer is director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Iran after the Nuclear Deal - Ephraim Kam
    There is an overall consensus in Israel that the nuclear agreement concluded with Iran is an appalling deal - not only for Israel, but for the entire Middle East. Iran agreed to postpone the advancement of its nuclear capabilities in order to remove the economic sanctions, but not to abandon its strategic aim of developing nuclear weapons. According to the agreement, after 10 to 15 years Iran will be allowed to operate a large uranium enrichment program, which will significantly shorten the development of a nuclear bomb.
        Inspection regulations are stricter than before but still have significant loopholes. For example, Iran bypassed many inspections of nuclear sites by claiming them to be military sites. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)

Why It Doesn't Matter What Israel Does - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • This past week Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to pull back military operations from Ramallah and Jericho in the West Bank as a gesture of good will. Yet the Palestinians were not interested.
  • Abbas sometimes pays lip service to a two-state solution. But he either can't or won't make peace because he knows that Palestinian national identity is inextricably tied up with the century-old war on Zionism that regards Israel as an illegitimate entity.
  • That is why his PA and the Fatah Party that controls it continue to treat terrorism against Jews as a heroic endeavor and not even the personal request of the American vice president was enough to make him disavow the latest "martyr" slain while killing an American veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who was visiting Tel Aviv.
  • In January, Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition Zionist Union party, publicly noted that a two-state solution is impossible for the foreseeable future because the Palestinians won't agree to it.
  • There is now a consensus that stretches across party lines in Israel about the lack of a peace partner. The overwhelming majority of Israelis know that any further land given up to the Palestinians will ultimately become a terror launching pad.

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