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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 16, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Denies Cutting Water Supplies to West Bank (Al Jazeera)
    Israel's national water company has denied cutting water supplies to the West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, utility company Mekorot told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
    The Israeli military coordinator in the West Bank said a pipe that supplies water to various villages had burst, causing a shortage of water.
    "Israeli civil administration teams spent hours repairing it. It was fixed, The water flow has been regulated since then and is currently up and running," he said.

Night Vision Equipment Enables Egyptian Army to Thwart Sinai Attack (Ma'an News-PA)
    Using advanced night vision surveillance devices, Egyptian army forces noticed tens of terrorist gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers advancing toward its checkpoints south of Sheikh Zuweid in Sinai early Wednesday.
    The Egyptian forces fired artillery shells at the gunmen, killing 35, Egyptian security sources said.

West Bank Gunmen Carjack Palestinian Minister (Ma'an News-PA)
    Unidentified men stopped PA Minister of Social Development Ibrahim al-Shaer at gunpoint near Kalandia north of Jerusalem on Tuesday and hijacked his car.
    A Palestinian security source speculated that the attack could be related to the recent arrest of four young Palestinian men from Kalandia by PA security forces.
    See also PA Security Forces Clash with Gunman near Jerusalem, Bystander Killed (Ma'an News-PA)
    Palestinian security officers clashed with masked gunmen on Wednesday in Kafr Aqab, an Arab neighborhood in northern Jerusalem. A 15-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet.
    Palestinian security forces began a crackdown overnight Tuesday in northern Jerusalem neighborhoods after masked gunmen hijacked the car of PA Minister Ibrahim al-Shaer.

Israel Faces Up to Two Million Cyberattacks a Day - Ora Coren (The Marker-Ha'aretz)
    The number of cyberattacks on Israeli computers responsible for critical infrastructure has grown from hundreds or thousands a day four years ago to as many as two million in a day, said Prof. Isaac Ben Israel, director of Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center.
    "We discover between 200,000 and 2 million hacking attempts every day in Israel on critical infrastructure such as water, electricity and railroads, but they are well-protected."
    "In the last two years especially, we've learned how to identify hackers by their country of origin, by terror and criminal organizations or intelligence agencies and the level of threat."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. to Incorporate Missile Defense Funds in Military Aid to Israel - Matt Spetalnick and Dan Williams
    The Obama administration is prepared to incorporate missile defense funds in a new long-term agreement on military aid for Israel, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, accommodating in principle a key request by its ally. "We are prepared to make an unprecedented multi-year missile defense commitment as part of a new memorandum of understanding with Israel on military assistance," the official said. "This commitment, which would amount to billions of dollars over 10 years, would be the first long-term pledge on missile defense support to Israel, affording Israel robust support for its missile defense, as well as predictability and facilitating long-term planning."  (Reuters)
        See also U.S. to Guarantee Long-Term Missile Defense Aid - Michael Wilner
    According to a senior Obama administration official, the Israeli government has succeeded in securing a central request in its negotiations over a decade-long U.S. defense package: A long-term guarantee of missile defense aid, incorporating an annual allocation that had previously been negotiated every year. The White House had indeed shrunk its budget proposals for Israeli missile defense consecutively over the last three years, and each year experienced pushback from Congress. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Orlando Shooter Posted Facebook Messages Pledging Allegiance to ISIS Leader and Vowing More Attacks - Kevin Sullivan
    On the day of his rampage in Orlando, Omar Mateen posted messages on Facebook vowing that there would be more attacks in the coming days by Islamic State in the U.S., according to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state....I pledge my alliance to [Islamic State leader] Abu Bakr al Baghdadi....May Allah accept me," Mateen wrote. "The real Muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the West....Now taste the Islamic State vengeance."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Official: "Next War with Hamas Will Be Its Last" - Yaakov Lappin
    The next war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza will be the last for the Islamist regime, a senior source in the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. Israel has no desire to control Gaza, but it also will not tolerate an endless "war of attrition" with Hamas. Senior military officials have made changes to the IDF's goal in any future Gaza conflict. Should hostilities erupt again, military planners would seek the destruction of Hamas' military wing, not establishing deterrence like they did in past wars.
        The defense source described Hamas as an ongoing and growing threat to Israel. Any attempt to present it as a pragmatic entity that can be guided into recognizing Israel is "nonsense." "We see how they are educating the next generation. We see the brainwashing in the Gaza Strip....All of their money goes to building up force and arming themselves. Their media makes clear that there is only one aim for Hamas, and that is destroying the State of Israel."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Top Israeli Diplomat: Palestinian Conflict "Close to Bottom" of Sunni Arab Agenda - Raphael Ahren
    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "pretty close to the bottom" of the agendas of both Israelis and the Arab world, Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold told the annual Herzliya Conference on Wednesday. According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "strategy," an Israeli rapprochement with Sunni Arab states will take place before a peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached.
        Critics often admonish the Israeli government for the frozen peace process, Gold noted, saying that this was not necessarily the case in reality. "Under the ice there is a lot of hot water moving, and we hope that we will be able to use the new relations in the Arab world, combined with our new relations in Asia and Africa, to build a better situation for our relations between us and our Palestinian neighbors."  (Times of Israel)
  • Kissinger: Mideast Turmoil Prevents Regional Peace Initiative - Tovah Lazaroff
    Regional turmoil makes it impossible to use the 2002 Arab Peace Plan to help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Herzliya conference on Wednesday. "A number of states are not in a position right now to undertake any regional peace initiative." For such an agreement to last, the regional Islamic states would have to offer Israel guarantees, and "one would have to ask oneself which countries are in a position to extend guarantees."
        Looking at a direct Israeli-Palestinian process, Kissinger said he was "not optimistic that the outcome can be negotiated this year or in the very near future." Rather than trying to resolve everything at once, Israel should take small doable steps with its neighbors that can be built upon for a future peace deal. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Don't Buy the Spin: Iran Is Getting Economic Relief - Mark Dubowitz and Annie Fixler
    During the 18-month period starting in late 2013, interim sanctions relief enabled Iran to move from a severe recession to a modest recovery. During that time, the Islamic Republic received $11.9 billion through the release of its restricted assets. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has received access to an additional $100 billion in previously frozen foreign assets.
        If Tehran wants to encourage foreign investment and alleviate international banks' concerns, it needs to end its support for terrorism, missile development, and destabilizing regional activities, and to reduce the economic power of the Revolutionary Guards and the supreme leader's business empire. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
  • Orlando Shooting Shows How ISIS Calls the Shots - Robert Pape
    ISIS is creating a new role for itself as the producer of terror who attracts the right cast, provides a rough draft of the script, and ensures publicity after the fact. That Omar Mateen was able to gather the necessary tactical knowledge to carry out this complicated act of terror shows that inspired attacks can now be as deadly as directed ones, and that the online reach of ISIS is a true game changer. ISIS has found a way to bring the fight to us. The writer is director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism. (Boston Globe)
  • Common Points to Terror Attacks in Tel Aviv and Europe - Yossi Melman
    The Orlando terror attack is reminiscent of the terror attacks in Tel Aviv this past year: the New Year's Day Dizengoff shooting, last week's Sarona Market shooting, as well as international terror attacks, including the Brussels airport attack and the Paris shootings. All of these attacks were carried out by young, marginalized Muslims who disagree with Western values, become religious extremists and choose to take matters into their own hands.
        The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, was on an FBI list of people thought to be potentially dangerous. Mateen was on the list not because of the background of his Afghani parents, but due to intelligence information gathered against him. Despite the FBI's investigations, Mateen passed a security course and was licensed to purchase and own guns. (Jerusalem Post)

Why Do Terrorists Commit Terrorism? - Peter Bergen (New York Times)

  • To try to figure out why terrorists do what they do, researchers at the think tank New America and I reviewed court records in more than 300 cases of people charged with jihadist terrorism in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. I have also spoken to terrorists' families and friends and even to the terrorists themselves.
  • The easy explanation - that jihadist terrorists in the U.S. are "mad" or "bad" - proved simply wrong. Around one in 10 had mental health problems, below the incidence in the general population. 12% had served time in prison, compared with 11% of the American male population.
  • I found that the perpetrators were generally motivated by militant Islamist ideology; dislike of American foreign policy in the Muslim world; a need to attach themselves to an ideology or organization that gave them a sense of purpose; and a "cognitive opening" to militant Islam.
  • For many, joining a jihadist group or carrying out an attack allowed them to become heroes of their own story.

    The writer is a vice president of New America, a professor at Arizona State University and CNN's national security analyst.

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