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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
June 28, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Amidror: Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Will Have Little Impact on Hamas - Ben Hartman (Jerusalem Post)
    Former Israeli national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror said Monday that Israel-Turkey reconciliation will have little impact on Hamas since "Turkey doesn't have the influence people think they have on Hamas."
    He added that even the major civilian infrastructure projects that Turkey is planning in Gaza won't be enough to sway Hamas decision-making.

Erdogan Slams Israel over Jerusalem (Times of Israel)
    Hours after his country announced a reconciliation agreement with Israel, Turkish President Erdogan on Monday said that despite the agreement, Turkey would continue to address the grievances of the Palestinians and object to "Israel's unlawful practices in Jerusalem and in [the] Al-Aqsa [mosque]."

Consequences of Israel's Six-Year Break with Turkey - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    The six-year break in relations between Israel and Turkey had a number of unintended but significant consequences.
    In 2008, 560,000 Israelis vacationed in Turkey; by 2011 the number of Israeli tourists fell to 79,000.
    In 2009, the two countries did $2.6 billion in bilateral trade; by 2014 that number jumped to $5.4 billion.
    After the Syrian civil war prevented Turkish exports through Syria to Arab countries and the Persian Gulf, in 2015 more than 10,000 Turkish trucks arrived by sea to Haifa, then drove across Israel to Jordan and points east.
    The breakdown of ties with Turkey led to a significant warming of Israel's ties with Cyprus and Greece - both bitter historic rivals of Turkey.
    In the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident, Ankara canceled more than a dozen arms deals with Israel and ended the use of Turkish airspace for training by the Israel Air Force. Alternative locales for training were found in Romania and Bulgaria.

Four Suicide Bombers Attack Christian Village in Lebanon - Zeina Karam (AP-ABC News)
    Four suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests in the Lebanese Christian village of Qaa near the border with Syria on Monday, killing five people and wounding at least 15.
    Civilian security guards in the village saw the suspicious men at 4 a.m. and called out to them, when they threw a hand grenade.
    Then one suicide attacker blew himself up in front of a home, and three other attackers followed, detonating their suicide vests one after the other as people gathered.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Turkey, Israel Sign Deal to Normalize Ties
    An agreement to restore ties was formally signed on Tuesday by Turkey's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu in Ankara and Israel's Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem. (DNA-India)
        See also below Observations - Netanyahu: How the Agreement with Turkey Serves Israel's Interests (Prime Minister's Office)
  • U.S. Eyes Israeli Short-Range Missile Interceptor for Europe Defense - Dan Williams
    The U.S. has tested the Tamir short-range interceptor missile used by Israel's Iron Dome system with a view to incorporating it or a future American counterpart in European-based air defenses against Russia. During a visit to Israel, Maj.-Gen. Glenn Bramhall of the U.S. Army's Air and Missile Defense Command said he saw a new need to complement his corps' mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors. Iron Dome provides coverage against rockets with ranges of between 5 km. (3 miles) and 150 km. (95 miles), Israeli experts say. (Reuters)
        See also U.S. Air Defense Commander: We Can Learn So Much from What Israel Does - Yaakov Lappin
    U.S. Maj.-Gen. Glenn Bramhall, responsible for air defenses in Washington, D.C., told the Israel Air Missile Defense Conference on Monday, "The Israel Defense Forces have taken the necessary steps to dominate the air space." Those who fail to dominate the sky are destined to be buried under it, he warned. "We in the U.S. Army can learn so much from what Israel does."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Nasrallah: Hizbullah Wouldn't Exist without Iran - Majid Rafizadeh
    In a speech broadcast on Friday, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah scoffed at recent U.S. sanctions, stating that these will not impact his group since Hizbullah receives full financial and arms support from the Islamic Republic of Iran. "We do not have any business projects or investments via banks.... Hizbullah's budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, come from the Islamic Republic of Iran...[and] will not be affected" by any fresh sanctions. "As long as Iran has money, we have money."
        Previously, when sanctions were imposed on Iran, Tehran had to reduce its funding to Hizbullah. U.S. money transfers to Iran and sanctions relief appear to have empowered and emboldened both the Iranian government and the Hizbullah leader. The U.S. is now seemingly playing a critical role in assisting and facilitating the ways through which Hizbullah receives significant aid from the Iranian government. (Al Arabiya)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Meets Kerry in Rome - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the residence of the American ambassador in Rome on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Netanyahu said he discussed with Kerry "how we can advance the [peace] process with the Palestinians, difficult though it may be."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Stone Jewish Worshipers at Western Wall in Jerusalem - Nir Hasson
    Palestinians threw rocks at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall on Tuesday, striking a 73-year-old woman in the head on a third day of confrontations involving the adjacent Temple Mount. Police arrested 11 masked Palestinian rioters. (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Aide: "Wherever You See an Israeli, Slit His Throat" - Dov Lieber
    Sultan Abu al-Einein, an adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a Fatah Central Committee member, said during an interview with the Palestinian news site Donia al-Watan: "Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat." The comment came in response to a question about normalization between members of Fatah and Israel. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Is Good for America - Benny Avni
    Having America's two most powerful regional allies work together, rather than fight each other, is good for everyone. Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are challenged by Shiite Iran and by the Islamic State. Turkey is now joining that alliance.
        "The Turks reject Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony," Dore Gold, the director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, told Israel Radio. "It doesn't take a Henry Kissinger" to understand that the agreement "adds to our security and facilitates cooperation in other fields."  (New York Post)
  • Turks Were Responsible for Creating Rift with Israel - Avi Issacharoff
    It was the Turks who were responsible for creating the crisis in relations with Israel. It was they who dispatched that flotilla to Gaza in 2010, knowing full well that the vessels would not reach their destination, and that Gaza was getting aid supplies in any case from Israel. It was the Turks who prolonged the crisis for years, despite Netanyahu's apology during the March 2013 visit by President Obama to Israel.
        The Turks have already announced that they will be dispatching an aid ship to Ashdod port this week overflowing with humanitarian aid. But this is media spin. Aid ships anchor almost every day at Ashdod full of goods intended for Gaza. (Times of Israel)
  • Why Turkey Needed to Reconcile with Israel - Armin Rosen
    Turkey is far weaker, less stable, and more vulnerable than it was six years ago. The failure and eventual removal of Egypt's short-lived, Turkish-supported, Muslim Brotherhood-led government reduced some of Ankara's influence and appeal. But the defining event for Turkish regional policy has been the civil war in Syria. ISIS has carried out repeated attacks inside Turkey. Moreover, Turkey's military and political influence in northern Syria has been reduced as ISIS and then Syrian Kurdish fighters took over nearly the entirety of the Syrian-Turkish border region. (Tablet)
  • Israel and Brexit - Oded Eran and Vera Michlin-Shapir
    The crisis in Europe will most likely weaken the ability and impulse of EU member countries to deal with Middle East issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Europe will be preoccupied with keeping the union together, though in recent years Britain was a force for moderation with respect to EU policy toward the conflict.
        On the other hand, Israel remains concerned about the increasing support for Muslim fundamentalist forces in Europe and growing anti-Semitism on the continent. While Israel will continue to function in the sub-bodies of the EU, its influence will be weakened following the British exit. Dr. Oded Eran, a former director of INSS, served as Israel's ambassador to the EU and Jordan. Vera Michlin-Shapir is a research associate at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies)

Netanyahu: How the Agreement with Turkey Serves Israel's Interests (Prime Minister's Office)

In announcing the agreement with Turkey on Monday in Rome, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

  • "Israel has reached an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel, for security, for regional stability and for the Israeli economy....The world and the Middle East are in turmoil and my policy is to create centers of stability in this unstable and stormy region....Israel and Turkey are two major powers in the region and the break between us is not good for our vital interests."
  • "The first thing in this agreement is protection for IDF commanders and soldiers from criminal and civil claims, both those being prosecuted now and those that might be prosecuted in the future....The agreement...stipulates that the Turkish parliament will pass a law cancelling all of these processes in Turkey."
  • "The second thing that this agreement gives is maintaining the maritime security blockade of the Gaza Strip....This interest is vital to prevent the strengthening of Hamas....Of course, we are allowing ships to dock at Ashdod port and unload civilian and humanitarian cargoes there for the Gaza Strip."
  • "The third thing that this agreement does, along with maintaining the security arrangement, is to allow for dealing with humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, subject to Israel's security procedures and considerations....Beyond the humanitarian consideration, this is also an outstanding interest of Israel's, especially in two areas - water and electricity."
  • "An additional thing that the agreement gives is a commitment to prevent all terrorist or military activity against Israel from Turkish soil, including collecting funds for these purposes."
  • "This agreement opens the way to cooperation on economic and energy matters, including the gas issue...creating markets for the gas that we are extracting from the sea....[Israel's] Leviathan [gas field] could supply both the Egyptian market that we intend to work with and also the Turkish market, as well as the supply of gas through Turkey to Europe."

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