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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
June 22, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Red Alert to Warn of Tunnel Digging into Israel - Matan Tzuri (Ynet News)
    From now on, a red alert will be sounded not only when rockets are launched at Israel but also when information is received about digging tunnels into Israeli territory from Gaza.
    The alarm sound will be identical, but southern residents will also receive an SMS message instructing them to go into their homes and switch off the lights until further notice.

"Selling a House to a Jew Is a Betrayal of Allah" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    A Palestinian Muslim who commits the "crime" of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal's family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.
    This campaign of punitive measures, recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, has received the blessing of senior Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials.
    It is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a Jew or Christian.
    The campaign undermines Palestinians' long-standing claim that Jews "illegally seize" Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem.
    It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs hard cash for the properties.

The Risks of the Iran-Boeing Deal - Emanuele Ottolenghi (The Hill)
    Boeing is reportedly in line to sell Tehran 100 aircraft. But the deal is fraught with danger.
    Iran certainly needs new aircraft for legitimate transportation. But Tehran also needs these aircraft to airlift weapons and militias to Syria.
    Daily flights are providing fresh supplies and recruits to the Syrian army, their Hizbullah proxies and Iran's own Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
    There are also financial risks involved in the deal, including the threat of lawsuits from attorneys trying to collect $50 billion of outstanding judgments for victims of Iranian terrorism.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Israel's Airobotics Raises $28.5M for Operator-Free Drones - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Israeli start-up Airobotics said Tuesday it has raised $28.5 million in funding for a new drone platform that will allow companies to operate drones without the need for expensive and skilled drone operators.
    The system includes a completely automated base station from which the drone launches and lands on its own, without needing human intervention.
    Airobotics' solution can be used by the mining, oil and gas industries, ports, and other industrial facilities which need aerial views for surveys and mapping, inspection, security and emergency needs.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel and Turkey Nearing Deal to Normalize Relations - Deniz Zeyrek
    Turkey and Israel are nearing a deal to end strained relations stemming from the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. Israel apologized to Turkey in 2013 and agreed on compensation for the Turkish victims. Turkey's third condition was the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.
        Under the agreement, all aid from Turkey will be delivered to Gaza through Israel's Ashdod port. Israel will enable Turkey to build a hospital and desalinization plant in Gaza and, together with Germany, to build an electric power plant. "The most important thing here is lifting the isolation of Gaza for humanitarian purposes," Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on June 17. (Hurriyet-Turkey)
        See also Israel: Turkey Accord "Very Close" - Herb Keinon
    Israel and Turkey are "very close" to a rapprochement agreement, Yaakov Nagel, acting head of Israel's National Security Council, told Israel Radio on Tuesday. According to media reports, Turkey will prevent Hamas from acting against Israel from its territory. (Jerusalem Post)
  • South Korea Warns of Islamic State Threat to U.S. Bases - Jesse Johnson
    Islamic State has gathered information on 77 U.S. and NATO air force facilities around the globe and is urging its supporters to attack them, South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a statement Sunday. Islamic State has listed both South Korea and Japan as terrorist targets since last year.
        The National Institute for Defense Studies Japan, the Defense Ministrys core research arm, said in its 2016 East Asia Strategic Review released in March that Islamic State was becoming a growing threat to East Asia, including Japan. This was highlighted by the kidnapping and killing of Japanese nationals. (Japan Times)
  • Islamic State Expands with Six Armies on Three Continents - Rowan Scarborough
    The Islamic State has created at least six functioning armies outside its Iraq-Syria base, the Congressional Research Service said in a June 14 report, "Islamic State and U.S. Policy." Islamic State is metastasizing globally by attracting waves of henchmen in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan. The six franchises are not simply cells but viable armies with training bases, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, and hundreds, if not thousands, of fighters.
        The Islamic State in Egypt, which may have more than 1,000 members, claimed responsibility for bringing down Metrojet Flight 9268 over Sinai, killing all 224 people onboard on Oct. 31, 2015. The Islamic State in Saudi Arabia has taken credit for a series of attacks since 2014. The Islamic State in Libya has as many as 6,000 fighters. The Islamic State in Nigeria, also known as Boko Haram, has killed thousands of innocents. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province, Afghanistan, has 3,000 fighters including hundreds of ex-Taliban. The Islamic State in Yemen has unleashed a series of attacks on Shiite mosques. (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Blasts Europe's "Colonialist" Peace Initiative - Raphael Ahren
    Europe's approach to Israel appears to be a resurrection of its past colonialism, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told the Times of Israel on Tuesday. "When I look at the sequence of the EU implementing labeling [for settlement products] and now the endorsement of an international conference, I feel that those are the ghosts of a colonial European past coming back to life....They have no credibility whatsoever if they deal with this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict without dealing with the major issues that are far more important to Europe and the world, starting with the Syrian civil war, and challenges that Europe itself is facing, such as Brexit, immigration and Islamic terror."
        "Whenever you are a European leader unpopular at home, and whenever you face insurmountable challenges, then there's nothing like organizing a conference on Israel to create a false agenda that will attract attention elsewhere....If the EU really wants to promote the peace process it should invest all its energies to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiation table." That is the only way to achieve progress, as evidenced by Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, he said. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Mistakenly Killed during Palestinian Attack on Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway - Tovah Lazaroff
    The IDF is investigating the shooting death of a 15-year-old and the wounding of four other Palestinian teens who were driving near a violent Palestinian attack on Israeli motorists on Route 443 early Tuesday. The teens were in a car on a Palestinian road underneath Route 443, just as soldiers were shooting at suspects who had thrown stones and firebombs at cars on the highway, a main artery between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. "A preliminary investigation showed that they were close to the scene but were not involved in the violence," an IDF spokeswoman said.
        Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that were it not for the difficult security situation that is entirely the fault of Palestinian incitement and terrorism, "Israel would not have to use force to protect its citizens." Unfortunately, Nahshon said, "the list of Israelis killed by rocks thrown by Palestinians on the roads is a long list, and every injured Israeli proves the need to use security measures against this phenomenon." Over the past eight months, Palestinian attacks have killed 34 people, including two American citizens. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • To Defeat ISIS, We Must Take the Iranian Threat Seriously - Dennis Ross
    To defeat ISIS we must blunt its appeal. ISIS claims to have a divine mandate. Suffering military defeats can demonstrate the hollowness of this claim. Ultimately, we need the Sunnis - clerics, tribes and governments - to discredit and replace ISIS on the ground. If Sunnis are politically and economically excluded and repressed, it will be only a matter of time before we see the next incarnation of ISIS.
        Sunnis see a predatory Iran using Shiite militias to dominate the region and fear the U.S. is ready to acquiesce in their dominance. Until we can show we take the Iranian threat seriously, and will work with our Sunni partners to raise the cost to Iran of its destabilizing actions, the Sunnis will be unlikely to play the role that only they can against ISIS. The writer, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was a senior Middle East adviser to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. (USA Today)
  • Who's Winning the Middle East's Cold War? - Robert Harvey
    There are few problems in the wider Middle East that cannot be traced back to the power rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. For the moment, the Iranians seem to be riding high. Following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's decision to agree to an international deal limiting Iran's nuclear capability, Western sanctions have been all but removed. Meanwhile, Iran's creeping de facto annexation of parts of Iraq - astonishingly, with American acceptance - continues. Iran also has an overwhelming manpower advantage, with a population of 77 million, compared to Saudi Arabia's 28 million.
        The Saudis believe that their great traditional ally, the U.S., betrayed them by concluding the nuclear deal with Iran. Meanwhile, they fear that the chaos in neighboring Iraq has exposed them to chronic strategic risks. Yet the long-term outcome of this cold war is not hard to predict. The Shia might be able to maintain influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon (through Hizbullah), but some 90% of Arabs are Sunni Muslims, and thus potential Saudi allies. The writer is a former member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. (Project Syndicate)

The "Occupation" Ended 20 Years Ago - Efraim Karsh (Jerusalem Post)

  • The declaration of principles (DOP, or Oslo I) signed on the White House lawn in September 1993 by the PLO and the Israeli government provided for Palestinian self-rule in the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • On September 28, 1995, despite the PA's abysmal failure to clamp down on terrorist activities in the territories under its control, the two parties signed an interim agreement, and by the end of the year Israeli forces had been withdrawn from the West Bank's populated areas with the exception of Hebron (where redeployment was completed in early 1997).
  • On January 20, 1996, elections to the Palestinian Council were held, and shortly afterward both the Israeli Civil Administration and military government were dissolved.
  • Israel relinquished control over virtually all of the West Bank's 1.4 million residents. Since that time, nearly 60% of them have lived entirely under Palestinian jurisdiction (Area A). Another 40% live in towns where the PA exercises civil authority but Israel has "overriding responsibility for security" (Area B). Some 2% of Palestinians continue to live in areas where Israel has complete control, but even there the PA maintains "functional jurisdiction"(Area C).
  • In short, since the beginning of 1996, and certainly following the completion of the redeployment from Hebron in January 1997, 99% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has not lived under Israeli occupation. As the virulent anti-Israel and anti-Jewish media, school system and religious incitement can attest to, during these years, any presence of a foreign occupation has been virtually non-existent.
  • This means that the presentation of terrorism as a natural response to the "occupation" is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth.

    The writer is emeritus professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at Kings College London, and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University.

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