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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 9, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

International Media Misreport Tel Aviv Terror Attack (Ynet News)
    The BBC and CNN have angered Israelis for their misleading headlines about Wednesday's terror attack in Tel Aviv which claimed the lives of four Israelis.
    CNN reported "Two 'terrorists' arrested, with terrorists in quotation marks, while the BBC headline reported "Tel Aviv shooting: Three killed in shopping center attack."
    Only the New York Times referred in its headline to "Palestinian gunmen," while Sky News, The Guardian, The Telegraph and others omitted any such mention.

Miracle in Tel Aviv: Terror Victim Shot Twice in the Head and Survives (Maariv-Jerusalem Post)
    Asaf Bar and his girlfriend were sitting at the Max Brenner cafe when a Palestinian terrorist at the table next to them opened fire in their direction. Two bullets struck Asaf in the head, but he miraculously survived.
    Bar's father, Avner, said: "He spoke to us now, he can move all his body parts. One bullet remains in his head and the other was removed."

Peace Index Poll: 72% of Israeli Jews Say Wrong to Term Israel's Control as "Occupation" - Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann (Tel Aviv University-Israel Democracy Institute)
    The May 2016 Peace Index asked, "In your opinion, is it right or not right to define Israel's control of the territories as 'occupation'"?
    72% of the Jewish public said it was not right, while 24% said it was right.

IS Seizes Saudi Weapons from Syrian Rebels - Jeremy Binnie (IHS Jane's)
    The Islamic State (IS) has released evidence that weapons bought from Bulgaria by the Saudi Ministry of Defense have been diverted to Syrian rebel groups.

Israel Sees Jordan Surviving ISIS Threat - Yossi Melman (Jerusalem Post)
    Despite a terrorist attack that killed five people in Jordan Monday, the Hashemite Kingdom is a relatively stable state.
    Jordan is an important base for the Western coalition fighting ISIS and supporting rebel groups opposed to the Assad regime in Syria.
    CIA advisers, U.S. military trainers, and American special forces are operating very closely with the Jordanians.
    The Jordanian security services are highly appreciated by Israeli and Western counterparts, and are one of the best at penetrating ISIS and gleaning information from its ranks.
    Bordering areas in Syria and Iraq that are controlled by ISIS and al-Qaeda, it is a wonder that Jordan has managed to survive.
  Yet the regime of King Abdullah, relying on its loyal army and supported by the Bedouin population, has maintained a sense of calm and stability.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire in Tel Aviv, Leaving Four Dead - Isabel Kershner
    Two Palestinian gunmen posing as restaurant patrons opened fire on civilians in a popular Tel Aviv cafe on Wednesday night, killing four Israelis. Dressed in black suits, the two men sat down and ordered food, according to witnesses, before embarking on a shooting rampage. (New York Times)
        See also Palestinians Murder Four Israelis in Tel Aviv Restaurant - Judy Maltz
    Four Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in a terror attack at the Max Brenner restaurant in the Sarona Marketplace in Tel Aviv. The victims were Ido Ben Ari, 42; Ilana Neve, 39; Michael Feige, 58; and Mila Mishayev, 32. The Palestinian assailants came from the West Bank town of Yatta near Hebron. One was shot by a security guard and another was wounded by police while trying to escape. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Hamas Claims Responsibility for Tel Aviv Attack (Times of Israel)
        See also Video of Tel Aviv Shooting
    The gunmen are seen wearing black suits and ties. (Times of Israel)
  • U.S. Lawmakers Want More Iran Sanctions - Patricia Zengerle
    Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday he would like to pass legislation to extend expiring sanctions on Iran and enable Congress to quickly enact new ones if necessary over the country's ballistic missile tests. However, lawmakers have not yet unified behind a proposal that would attract enough votes to pass. Sen. Bob Corker, the committee's Republican chairman, said he is working on legislation with Cardin that he hopes will attract strong bipartisan support. The Obama administration has warned Congress that it would oppose new sanctions. (Reuters)
  • FBI Steps Up Use of Stings in ISIS Cases - Eric Lichtblau
    The FBI has significantly increased its use of stings in terrorism cases, employing agents and informants to pose as jihadists, bomb-makers, gun dealers or online "friends" in hundreds of investigations into Americans suspected of supporting the Islamic State. Charges have been brought against nearly 90 Americans believed to be linked to the group. FBI officials say they are careful to avoid illegally entrapping suspects and give them an "out" to back away from the planned attack.
        Michael B. Steinbach, who leads the FBI's national security branch, said the FBI could not afford to "just sit and wait knowing the individual is actively plotting." The FBI has about 1,000 open investigations into "homegrown violent extremists."  (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel Won't Let Iran Open Golan Front - Raoul Wootliff
    "Iran will not be allowed, using Hizbullah, to use Syrian territory to attack us and open up another terrorist front against us in the Golan," Prime Minister Netanyahu told TASS during a visit to Moscow on Tuesday.
        "We don't know what will become of Syria, but in any arrangement, it cannot be an Iranian base for terrorism and aggression," he told Interfax. "Israel will continue to share its concerns with the Russian government regarding Hizbullah. This terrorist group has called for the murder of every Jew and therefore must be prevented from acquiring advanced weaponry from anyone. Hizbullah launched thousands of missiles at our civilians and we will not allow them to amass even more sophisticated weaponry on our border."  (Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu: U.S., Not Moscow, Is the Cornerstone of Israel's Foreign Relations - Tovah Lazaroff
    The U.S. remains Israel's chief ally and cannot be replaced by Russia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday before flying home after a two-day visit to Moscow. "It is not desirable or practical to replace the United States [with Russia]. The U.S. is the cornerstone of our foreign relations." "I'm not looking for an alternative. We have a firm relationship with the U.S.," Netanyahu said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN Funds Hamas Regime in Gaza - Ronit Zilberstein
    The Hamas regime in Gaza receives UN funding, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter, a former director of the Israel Security Agency, said on Tuesday. "Every year, the U.S. gives $350 million and the EU gives $450 million [for UN activities in Gaza]. A clear majority of this money ends up in the pockets of Hamas."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Iran Deal, One Year In - Raymond Tanter
    In Washington, support is growing for the notion that the Obama administration has failed to hold Tehran accountable for nuclear violations, downplayed Iran's economic windfall from sanctions relief, and ignored the deal's negative regional implications for state sponsorship of terrorism.
        Critics hoped in vain that the nuclear deal would place explicit limits on ballistic missiles. The burden, however, was left to the UN rather than the parties to the deal. In selling the nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry assured Congress that the administration would provide a robust diplomatic response to Tehran's missile launches. Sadly, such was not the case.
        In selling the nuclear deal, the administration also expressed a hope and implied an expectation that Tehran would moderate its participation in terrorism. But the U.S. State Department's 2015 Country Report on Terrorism has called Iran the top state sponsor of terrorist activities, irrespective of the nuclear deal. The writer was a former member of the National Security Council staff and Representative of the Secretary of Defense to arms control talks during the Reagan-Bush Administration. (Foreign Policy)
  • Palestinian Health Ministry Gave Misleading Report to WHO
    On May 26, the World Health Organization called for an investigation into alleged abuses of "mental, physical and environmental health" rights of Palestinians by Israel, the only country singled out during the annual assembly of the UN body. Prior to the decision, the Palestinian Ministry of Health submitted a report to WHO containing photos that highlight the report's total lack of credibility.
        Page 30 of the PA report presents a picture captioned: "Settlers attacking a Palestinian child while being observed by Israeli occupation forces." In fact, it is a photo showing the eviction of Israeli settlers by Israeli security forces with no Palestinians present.
        A photo captioned: "Photograph taken during the Israeli war on Gaza, 2014" is a primitive Photoshop version of a picture originally published on a blog to illustrate a story on how Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities. The mountains which appear in the original (and do not exist in Gaza) were erased from the photo.
        A third photo, captioned: "The devastation wrought by the Israeli war on Gaza, 2014," was first published on the BBC website in 2006, reporting on the Second Lebanon War. Could you imagine the outrage if Israel was caught using just a single fake or distorted photo? (CAMERA)

Egyptians Begin to Envision Warmer Relations with Israel - Ofir Winter (Institute for National Security Studies)

  • A string of statements by current and former senior Egyptian state and military officials and independent publicists have appeared recently in the Egyptian press, calling for a reassessment, under certain conditions, of the traditional reservations regarding the "temperature" of the country's relations with Israel.
  • Egypt's openness to eventual "warm" peace with Israel emerges in a new geopolitical context. Normalization is no longer presented only as bait aimed at Israel but rather reflects Egypt's genuine interests and those of other Arab countries in creating a "new regional order" that will include broader and more open cooperative efforts with Israel for the sake of security stability and economic welfare in the region.
  • "Warm" peace with Israel during the current period is actually meant to fill the vacuum left by the reduction of U.S. involvement in the region. It aims at establishing a new regional axis in which Egypt, the Gulf states, and Israel will join forces.
  • May Azzam, who published a series of articles in al-Masry al-Youm under the title "Are the Arabs Ready for Warm Peace?," noted that the Palestinian problem no longer heads the Arab public agenda; an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights is not currently a relevant prospect, in light of the war in Syria; and the "resistance" organizations of Hizbullah and Hamas are considered by some Arab states to be outcast terrorist groups.
  • According to Azzam, "most of the Arab governments already do not regard Israel as their most bitter enemy and rank other countries ahead of it on the hostility and hatred scale." She pointed to the Egyptian necessity for promoting "a turnover in the principles on which we were educated and that became part of our fundamental concepts."
  • Another columnist in al-Masry al-Youm, writing under the pseudonym "Newton," stated that after decades of living side-by-side with Israel, the time has come for Egypt to update its "operative program" to enable it to reap the fruits of peace between the two countries. In his view, the new security understandings between Egypt and Israel regarding the deployment of forces in the Sinai Peninsula have proven "the existence of mutual trust and the coordination that serves the interests of both countries."

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