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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
March 23, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Israeli Firm Helping FBI to Open Encrypted iPhone (Reuters-Fox News)
    Israel's Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software, is helping the FBI's attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters, Yediot Ahronot reported on Wednesday.
    Cellebrite's forensics system is used by law enforcement, military and intelligence to retrieve data hidden inside mobile devices.

U.S. Targets Al-Qaeda in Yemen Airstrike that Kills Dozens - Thomas Gibbons-Neff (Washington Post)
    Dozens of al-Qaeda fighters were killed when American manned and unmanned aircraft struck an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula training camp in Yemen on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.
    "Our initial assessment is that dozens of AQAP fighters have been removed from the battlefield," Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood said.

Virginia General Assembly Passes Anti-BDS Resolution - David Holzel (Washington Jewish Week)
    On March 9, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) targeting Israel, in an 86-5 vote with 9 abstaining. Virginia's Senate passed an identical resolution a day earlier by a voice vote.
    The resolution condemns the BDS "movement and its activities in Virginia, as its agenda is inherently antithetical and deeply damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East."
    See also Virginia Becomes 7th U.S. State to Pass Anti-BDS Laws (Albawaba-Jordan)
    Virginia became the 7th American state to come out against the BDS movement, following Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.

Sharia in Denmark - Judith Bergman (Gatestone Institute)
    A television documentary, "The Mosques Behind the Veil," was aired in March on Danish TV2. Two young Muslims from outside Denmark went undercover in Gellerupparken, a predominantly Muslim ghetto in Aarhus.
    For three months, the fictitious couple, Fatma and Muhammed, visited eight mosques in Denmark with hidden cameras to hear what imams say behind closed doors.
    Fatma learned from imam Abu Bilal of the Grimhoj mosque that Muslims who leave Islam may be killed, that young children who refuse to pray should be beaten, and that a woman may not take a job without her husband's permission. At three other mosques the clerics gave her the same answers.

Palestinians Shun Joint Israeli-Palestinian Business Center - Shlomo Cesana (Israel Hayom)
    The Israeli-Palestinian Traklin Business Center, located next to Tulkarem, has been shuttered since the recent wave of terrorist attacks began in October 2015, because the Palestinian Authority has forbidden PA residents from going there.
    The Center serves as a neutral and safe place for Israeli and Palestinian businesspeople to meet and conduct bilateral business and trade relations.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Belgians Hunt Islamic State Suspect Who Escaped Bombing Scene - Alastair MacDonald
    Belgian police are hunting an Islamic State suspect seen with two supposed suicide bombers shortly before they struck Brussels Airport in the first of two attacks that also hit the city's metro, killing at least 30 and wounding over 200. An unused explosive device was later found at the airport. (Reuters)
        See also After Brussels Attack, World Looks to Israel as Model for Airport Security - Vladimir Isachenkov and Vanessa Gera
    With Brussels on lockdown and the French prime minister saying that Europe is "at war," European leaders held emergency security meetings and deployed more police, explosives experts, sniffer dogs and plainclothes officers at key points. "The threat we are facing in Europe is about the same as what Israel faces," said Olivier Guitta, the managing director of GlobalStrat, an international security consultancy. "We have entered an era in which we are going to have to change our way of life and take security very seriously."
        Pini Schiff, a former security director at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, which is considered among the most secure in the world, said the attacks at the Brussels airport mark "a colossal failure" of Belgian security and that "the chances are very low" such a bombing could have happened in Israel. (AP)
  • Congress Calls for Full Funding of U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Programs - Adam Kredo
    A bipartisan coalition of 30 senators, led by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), is calling to fully fund several joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense systems including Iron Dome, the Arrow III interceptor, and David's Sling. Congress allocated $487 million for the programs in 2015. "Amid growing rocket and missile threats in the Middle East, it is prudent for the United States and Israel to advance and accelerate bilateral cooperation on missile defense technologies," they wrote. (Washington Free Beacon)
        See also Text of Senators' Letter on Funding U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Programs (U.S. Senate)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Speaks to Belgian Prime Minister, Offers Counterterror Help
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke by phone with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, offering condolences to the families of the victims in the deadly Brussels attacks and Israeli assistance to combat terror. (Times of Israel)
        See also What Europe Has to Learn from Israel on Security - Yossi Melman
    There are 11 visible security and inspection points at Ben-Gurion Airport - from a roadblock at the airport entrance to the airplane gates. For decades, security experts from international airlines, police forces and security agencies have come here to learn Israeli know-how and doctrines. Unfortunately, this happens only after spectacular terrorist attacks, such as the 1988 Pan Am bombing and 9/11. It took Western democracies a while to reach the conclusion that human life is no less important than human rights.
        According to media reports, Belgian authorities had advance warning about an "imminent terror attack." Yet neither the country's police nor its security forces increased their presence in the streets or deployed checkpoints at the entrances to the airport. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dubai Security Chief: Independent Palestinian State Would Be Another Failed Arab State - Maayan Groisman
    The Head of General Security for the Dubai Emirate, Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, stated on Twitter on Monday that a Palestinian state led by Arabs would join the list of failed states in the Arab world. In light of what he described as Arab incompetence in running a state and the distinguished economic talents of Jews, Tamim claimed that a joint Jewish-Palestinian state will only prosper under Israeli leadership. He added, "We should not treat Jews as our enemies. We should treat them as cousins with whom we have a controversy over land inheritance."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Belgium Has Become the Hub of Terror in Europe - Greg Miller and Joby Warrick
    The carnage in Brussels has exposed the extent to which Belgium has become the Western hub of the Islamic State terrorist threat that has spread across the Middle East and deep into Europe. Belgium has seen a larger share of its Muslim population leave to fight in Syria than has any other Western country. The Molenbeek district of Brussels is a particularly fertile breeding ground for militants, including several involved in the Paris attacks last year.
        "It's kind of astonishing how hard it is for bureaucracies to be galvanized without direct experience of a major terror attack," said Daniel Benjamin, a former top counterterrorism official at the State Department. "The tragedy is that country after country has had to learn this the hard way," he said, describing the Islamic State's support network in Belgium as "probably the most fully developed [terror] infrastructure in Europe."
        Belgium's relatively small security force is widely regarded as among the least effective in Europe. Because of Europe's open borders, Belgium's terrorism problem now threatens all its neighbors, said Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies. (Washington Post)
  • Killing Off ISIS to Preserve the West - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Noam Tibon
    I have spent more than 30 years fighting terrorism and believe a series of steps is needed for the defeat of ISIS. First, ISIS must be stopped from repeating its terrorist successes. Media coverage of "successful" terrorist attacks serve as inspiration for the next attack. Second, Western countries must tighten their border control measures to prevent infiltration by terrorists. Third, given that Turkey is a NATO member state, securing Turkey's border to prevent infiltrators from reaching Europe must become a NATO mission.
        Fourth, to defeat ISIS, the Sunni Arab countries must be encouraged to become much more active. Shiite militias supported by Iran can be just as cruel and ruthless as ISIS, creating an incentive for more Sunni civilians to adopt the group's jihadist ideology. A true victory over ISIS is possible only if the group is crushed by the weight of Sunni forces.
        Fifth, more effort needs to be devoted to dismantling ISIS' financial infrastructure. Oil and gas fields need to be targeted; money smuggling networks need to be eliminated; religious organizations raising money for jihadist activities need to be stopped. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Impact of the AIPAC Conference in Washington - Lenny Ben-David
    While some pundits predicted AIPAC's demise after it strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal, its policy conference this week, with its unprecedented attendance and media coverage, proved that AIPAC emerged from the Iran debate strong and confident.
        Bellicose Iran's misbehavior since the deal has vindicated AIPAC's opposition. Today, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are considering new sanctions against the Iranian regime.
        One should never take to the bank the promises made during election season in any democratic country. But the speeches of presidential candidates set the standards for all politicians of their party, including those running for Congress. The writer served 25 years in senior posts in AIPAC in Washington and Jerusalem, and as Israel's Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy in Washington. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Netanyahu to AIPAC: Attacks on Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino, Istanbul, and Israel Are One Continuous Assault on All of Us. To Defeat the Terrorists We Must Fight Them Together (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the AIPAC Policy Conference (via satellite feed) on Tuesday:

  • The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks in Israel this is one continuous assault on all of us. In all these cases the terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It's not as if we could offer them Brussels, or Istanbul, or California, or even the West Bank.
  • That won't satisfy their grievances. Because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear. Well, my friends, that's not going to happen. The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together. That's how we'll defeat terrorism - with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.
  • At the UN, Israel is subjected to consistent, systematic discrimination. Why would anyone think that the UN could decide on a fair and secure peace for Israel? Yet amazingly, there are some who believe exactly that. They seek to impose terms on Israel in the UN Security Council. Such an effort in the UN would only convince the Palestinians that they can stab their way to a state.
  • A Security Council resolution to pressure Israel would further harden Palestinian positions, and thereby it could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years. And that is why I hope the United States will maintain its longstanding position to reject such a UN resolution. Peace won't come through UN Security Council resolutions, but through direct negotiations between the parties.
  • If the international community really wants to advance peace, it must demand that the Palestinians stop poisoning the minds of their children. If the international community wants to advance peace, it must address the true core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders.

        See also Video: Palestinian Incitement Exposed (Prime Minister's Office)

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