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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
June 29, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

U.S.: Islamic State Media Focusing on Israel as a Target (Sputnik-Russia)
    U.S. Special Envoy to the Counter-IS Coalition, Brett McGurk, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday:
    "[Islamic State] media statements in recent months, as they suffer losses on the battlefield, have focused on Israel as a target, clearly hoping to generate international headlines to compensate for its defeats. We must not allow this to happen."

The Palestinian Authority's Crackdown on Journalists - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Arrests of Palestinian journalists by the PA due to unfavorable reporting on the Palestinian Authority and its security forces have become commonplace.
    In the past few years, Palestinian security forces have arrested several journalists and bloggers for criticizing President Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials.
    The campaign against journalists is designed to prevent the world from understanding that the PA is a dictatorship. So far, the plan is working.

New Jersey Passes Anti-BDS Legislation (JTA)
    The New Jersey General Assembly on Monday voted 69-3 with 2 abstentions to approve legislation that prohibits the state from investing pension and annuity funds in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. The bipartisan bill unanimously passed the state senate in May.

Israel Aerospace to Lease 5 Drones to German Army - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    The German army plans to rent five Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) at a cost of 580 million euros.
    IAI UAVs previously leased to Germany were used in combat in Afghanistan.
    The German army selected the Heron TP over the U.S.-made Reaper and Predator.

IDF Acquires New 150 Km.-Range Rockets - Yossi Yehoshua (Ynet News)
    The IDF is equipping itself with Israel Military Industries rockets which have a range of 150 km. and can hit targets within a 10-meter accuracy radius.
    The new rocket will enable Israel to eliminate thousands of Hizbullah targets throughout Lebanon.

Gorgeous Animation Makes Hebrew Music Video a Worldwide Hit - Viva Sarah Press (Israel21c)
    1.6 million people have shared a music video in Hebrew for the song "Ma'agalim"  (Cycles).
    Director Uri Lotan has worked on projects with Sony Pictures Image Works, Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
    "Please take a few moments to immerse yourself in this lovely new music video," writes Christopher Jobson on the Colossal blog. "The attention to detail in color and texture of every frame is breathtaking."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Istanbul Airport Terror Attack: 41 Killed, 239 Injured
    At least 41 people were killed and 239 injured Tuesday in a triple suicide bombing and gun attack at Istanbul's main Ataturk airport. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said initial indications suggest the Islamic State was behind the attack. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said one of the terrorists opened fire on people with an AK-47 automatic rifle and then blew himself up. Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said 3 suicide bombers carried out the attacks in 3 different spots at the airport. (Daily Sabah-Turkey-Reuters)
  • Hizbullah Suffering from Battle Losses and Banking Restrictions - Joyce Karam
    Al-Hayat reported last week that Hizbullah lost 25 members in one round of the recent fighting around Aleppo. According to the report, Hizbullah and pro-Iran proxies are growing furious at Russia for lack of air-cover in that battle. Ever since it announced a partial air withdrawal from Syria, Russia has been noticeably less involved in providing air cover for the battles that involve Hizbullah, IRGC and Afghani mercenaries. Moreover, the fact that Aleppo is 260 km. from Hizbullah's operational base on the Lebanese border has made it a logistical nightmare for Hizbullah.
        At the same time, Lebanon's Central Bank, against Hizbullah's wishes, has decided to implement and adhere to new U.S. sanctions, so as to prevent the isolation of the whole financial sector. More than 100 accounts affiliated with Hizbullah have been shut down, and its parliamentarians have been receiving their salaries in cash due to the new restrictions. (Al Arabiya)
  • Jews Forbidden Entry to Temple Mount in Jerusalem after Palestinian Riots - Aron Heller
    Israeli police on Tuesday banned non-Muslims from the Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan following three days of clashes with Palestinians at the site. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said rocks and other objects were hurled toward police forces and Jewish worshippers in a nearby plaza. Palestinians had holed up in the Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the mount and attacked officers with fireworks and other objects stockpiled inside. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu to UN Secy.-Gen. Ban Ki-moon: Help Return Our Soldiers and Citizens Home
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem on Tuesday: "Hamas is cruelly and illegally holding the remains of our soldiers and holding our citizens. I ask you to use your standing to help return home these soldiers and these citizens."
        "Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas has genocidal aims. It doesn't merely practice terrorism. It says openly that its goal is to wipe off from the face of the earth a member state of the United Nations. I hope the UN will highlight Hamas' crimes and understand that our security measures are aimed only at keeping our citizens safe from this threat and that we use judicious force in this regard. I don't know what any other country, faced with thousands of rockets and missiles aimed at its citizens, at its children, would do differently."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israeli Arab Arrested Who Tried to Join ISIS in Syria - Yaakov Lappin
    The Israel Security Agency announced on Wednesday the arrest of Ibrahim Agbariya, an Arab Israeli resident of Umm El-Fahm, who attempted to travel to Syria and join ISIS before being arrested by Turkish authorities and returned to Israel. Security forces said Agbariya had spent recent months viewing videos and content produced by ISIS, and began developing an affiliation with its jihadist ideology. He then "decided to go to Syria to join combat in the ranks of the organization."
        Agbariya left a letter to his family explaining his intention to "join the jihad." "Some of the people he knew were aware of Agbariya's intentions, and supported the idea," the ISA said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Relative Quiet in West Bank Due Largely to PA Security Coordination with Israel - Avi Issacharoff
    It's Ramadan in Ramallah in the West Bank and the streets are full of people, the markets are bustling, and the stores are announcing sales and discounts. The political horizon is blocked, and there is no intra-Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, while security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians continues.
        Hamas websites are publishing near-daily reports of more and more raids and arrests of Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives by Abbas' security forces. In addition, in recent months the PA succeeded in preventing a significant number of terror attacks against Israeli targets.
        This coordination isn't the fruit of any great Palestinian fondness for Israeli Jews. Mainly as a result of its rivalry with Hamas, the PA realized that the latest wave of violence served Hamas' interests while undermining its own status. That is why the PA decided to confront the terrorists and demonstrations. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel-Turkey Accord Will Not Signal Near-Term Revival of Defense Ties - Barbara Opall-Rome
    An agreement between Israel and Turkey to normalize ties, announced Monday, is unlikely to trigger near-term resumption of defense trade or bilateral military cooperation. "This agreement does not confer a green light to restore the intimacy we once knew among our defense industries and military cadres, even if there was such a desire in Turkey, which is doubtful," said Giora Eiland, a retired Israeli major general and former Israeli national security adviser. "The Turkish security establishment that once saw itself as operating in harmony with Israel no longer exists." Erdogan "managed to purge or repress the vestiges of Ataturk" and "we don't have natural, like-minded friends there anymore."
        Eiland said Erdogan's policies in support of the Muslim Brotherhood are antagonistic toward Israel, and that it would be irresponsible to pursue meaningful intelligence, operational and technology transfer ties under the current regime in Ankara. (Defense News)
  • Is the U.S. Government Funneling Millions to Groups that Promote Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Views? - Natalie Johnson
    U.S. grants have gone to organizations that have called for the international community to divest from Israel, rationalized terrorist attacks against the Jewish state, and compared Israelis to Nazis, NGO Monitor, a watchdog for non-governmental organizations, found in a new study to be published later this month.
        "We encourage the end of all funding, both directly and indirectly, for NGOs that participate in the demonization and delegitimization campaigns," Naftali Balanson, the chief of staff at NGO Monitor, told a meeting last week on Capitol Hill. "When you have organizations that are receiving money ostensibly for peace, human rights, and democracy, but they refuse to work with Israeli partners, they refuse to meet with Israelis, and push for boycotts, those are in direct contradiction and seem to be a complete waste of taxpayer money....The U.S. should be using its money to encourage peace, more cooperation, and the reduction of tensions."  (Washington Free Beacon)
  • The EU-Israel Relationship Post-Brexit - Alex Benjamin
    With Britain's exit from the EU, we have lost a good, solid and largely dependable pro-Israel voice in European institutions. We have lost not only a great number of MEPs who were our friends and allies, but also many more British staffers and policy wonks.
        But there are opportunities too. The states of Eastern Europe will undoubtedly feel emboldened and their voices will become louder after Brexit. As these countries enjoy a by and large excellent relationship with Israel, their rise can only be good news for us. The writer is director of EIPA: Europe Israel Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)

In Israel-Turkey Deal, No Winners and Losers - Zalman Shoval (Israel Hayom)

  • Obviously, there were concessions from both Israel and Turkey ahead of signing the deal, but we should remember the Kissinger principle on diplomacy: Negotiations must not result in one side achieving its goals and the other being forced to concede most of its interests. In other words, negotiations must not paint a picture of winners and losers.
  • An objective test would prove that Israel's achievements are greater than Turkey's as the latter got off the high horse on which it rode during the early stages of negotiations. The Gaza blockade, a necessity for Israeli security, will not be lifted.
  • Israeli diplomacy made use of political developments that are not related to us, but that work in our favor: Turkey's growing isolation - from the Arab and Muslim world, from Europe, the U.S., and Russia.
  • Turkey knows very well that the nuclear deal will quickly end Iran's political and economic isolation and that its hegemonic trends in the Middle East endanger not just the Sunni Arab world, but also Turkey itself. Israel's and Turkey's shared interests on this issue are clear to both countries.
  • Turkey is not likely to become Israel's best friend now, at least not as long as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in power, but there is no doubt that the geopolitical balance has shifted in Israel's favor.

    The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

        See also Erdogan Failed to Lift the Gaza Blockade - Jack Khoury
    The Israel-Turkey dispute over Israel's blockade of Gaza ended in a compromise that could have been reached from day one had Erdogan not kept insisting that the blockade be lifted completely. The man who in recent years was seen as the Islamic world's strongest leader is now losing his power and influence, and was therefore compelled to drop his demand in exchange for permission to build a few projects in the Strip. But Hamas can't publicly criticize Erdogan, the only major ally it has left in the region. (Ha'aretz)

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