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July 4, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Death Toll from Palestinian Terror Wave Reaches 40 (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    Since September 13, 2015, 40 innocent people have been killed in Israel in Palestinian terrorist attacks (including a Palestinian, two Americans and an Eritrean), and 511 wounded.
    There have been 155 stabbing attacks and 76 attempted stabbings; 96 shootings; 45 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one bus bombing.

Abbas Refuses to Condemn Palestinian Terror Surge (Times of Israel)
    As of Saturday night, PA President Mahmoud Abbas refused to condemn the current surge in Palestinian terrorism, including the killing of a 13-year-old Israeli girl on Thursday and a father of 10 on Friday, though he has been urged to do so by numerous Israeli and world leaders.
    Israel's Channel 2 reported on Saturday that Abbas is also said to be furious with the Quartet, which on Friday issued a report that included withering criticism of PA incitement against Israel and the glorifying of terrorism.
    See also Palestinians Honor Families of Teenage Terrorists - Roi Yanovsky and Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    Families of Palestinian teenage terrorists imprisoned in Israel were honored on Saturday at a special dinner in east Jerusalem.
    At the event, attended by former Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, each family was given a commemorative plaque and a drinking mug featuring an image of its jailed relative.

Gaza Jihadists Claim Rocket Attack that Struck Israeli Kindergarten - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Aknaf Beit al-Makdis, a Gaza-based jihadist group claiming affiliation with Islamic State, took responsibility Saturday for a rocket fired on Friday night that struck a kindergarten in the Israeli town of Sderot, severely damaging the building which was empty at the time.

Arab League Head Attributes Terror in Europe to Palestinian Issue - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit, the new Secretary General of the Arab League, told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram on Sunday:
    "The threats which the Europeans are subject to, which are damaging world security and causing all this terror, are a direct result of the failure of the international community to solve the Palestinian issue."

Police Arrest 58 Arabs for Rioting on Temple Mount - Daniel K. Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
    Following several days of rioting on the Temple Mount last week, Israeli police have arrested 58 Arabs who attacked Jewish visitors and the officers protecting them, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld announced Sunday.
    The majority of the suspects were identified by CCTV footage and were arrested in the east Jerusalem neighborhoods where they reside.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israelis Mourn Elie Wiesel as One of Their Own - Aron Heller
    Elie Wiesel never lived in Israel, but on Sunday the country mourned the death of the esteemed author and Nobel peace laureate as though it had lost a national icon. A frequent visitor who was fluent in Hebrew, Wiesel was a confidant of prime ministers and a towering cultural figure so revered that two premiers considered nominating him to be the country's ceremonial president. His enduring legacy of "Never Again" mirrored the psyche of a nation built on the ashes of the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews.
        Wiesel's advocacy for Israel went far beyond Holocaust commemoration. Despite his close relationship with President Obama, he took out advertisements in four major newspapers in 2010 that criticized the Obama administration for pressuring the Netanyahu government to halt settlement construction in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem. "When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time," Wiesel wrote in the ad. "It is a homecoming."  (AP-ABC News)
        See also The Importance of Elie Wiesel - Jonathan S. Tobin
    While Elie Wiesel always tried to be above partisan politics and appeal to the world's conscience wherever genocide was taking place, he never stopped advocating for Israel and its right to self-defense. (Commentary)
        See also Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 87 - Joseph Berger (New York Times)
  • Iran Marks Annual Anti-Israel Day
    Tens of thousands of Iranians took part in state-sponsored anti-Israel rallies across the country on Friday to mark the annual Quds Day. Some protesters set Israeli and U.S. flags on fire while others chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," Iranian media reported. Attending the rally in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said, "We are far away from the ideal of liberating Palestine."  (Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty)
        See also Hizbullah Scraps Quds Day Event amid Security Fears (AP-Times of Israel)
  • Former Israeli Foreign Minister Livni Summoned by Scotland Yard during London Visit over Alleged War Crimes - Donald Macintyre
    Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni was summoned on Thursday for a "voluntary interview" from Scotland Yard detectives examining alleged war crimes during Israel's 2008-09 military operation in Gaza, as Livni prepared to attend a conference in London. Israel expressed "great concern" to London over the summons. "We would have expected different behavior from a close ally such as the UK," a foreign ministry statement said. In the end, Livni was granted special diplomatic immunity by the UK government. (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Yeshiva Head Killed, 3 Family Members Injured in Drive-By Shooting near Hebron - Judah Ari Gross
    Rabbi Miki Mark, 48, director of the yeshiva in Otniel in the West Bank, was killed Friday and his wife and two of his children were injured when their family car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle and overturned, south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Over 20 bullet holes were found in the car. (Times of Israel)
        See also President Rivlin Eulogizes Slain Rabbi - Elisha Ben Kimon
    At Michael Mark's funeral, a relative delivered a message from Mark's 14-year-old daughter Tehila, who was injured in the attack, who described her father's final moments: "I saw you in your last moments....You didn't let go of the steering wheel, you didn't try to protect yourself. Until your last breath you tried to save us. I never imagined these would be my last moments with you, but I am proud of you. You are a hero."
        President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke at the funeral, said he is related to the slain father of 10. "I stand in front of your coffin, Miki, Michael, in sorrow and anguish, and with me stand an entire nation, together grieving," Rivlin said. "Terrorism has been with us since the beginning of our national home here, for generations from 1929 through to 2016. But even when our loved ones' blood is spilled, it does not to weaken our resolve. We are not afraid. We do not give up. We do not retreat....Our roots are deeply planted in the soil of this country."  (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Describes Aiding Israeli Family after Shooting Attack
    In the moments after the Friday drive-by shooting attack that killed Rabbi Miki Mark, a local Palestinian couple helped the surviving members of his family escape the overturned vehicle and administered first aid until first responders arrived at the scene. "At first I thought it was an accident. I opened the door, which was difficult because the car was overturned," the Palestinian man, a resident of Hebron, told Israel's Channel 2. "The girl was inside the car screaming, 'They're killing us.'"
        He said his wife, who is a medical doctor, worked to stanch the bleeding from the teen's wound while he called an ambulance. "The girl told me, 'God sent an Arab to help us,'" he added. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel Stands with America - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    In honor of American Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro: I want to reaffirm again that our greatest alliance, our most basic alliance is with the United States of America. When Americans look at Israel, they see themselves, and when Israelis look at America, they too see themselves. We also share the same enemies. The values we hold most dear are anathema to terrorist groups like ISIS, Hizbullah, Hamas, and regimes like Iran.
        I'm deeply grateful for the political and military support America has given Israel over the years. But I'm even more grateful for what America is: the land of the free, the home of the brave; a nation which, to paraphrase Lincoln, has so often been the best last hope of humanity. America has made this world a much better place. It has provided more opportunity for more people than any other country in the history of the world.
        Tonight I join you in celebrating America. I admire your history; I treasure your friendship; I cherish our alliance. When America is denigrated by some abroad, Israel stands with America, shoulder to shoulder, through thick and thin. We are here for you as you are here for us. Thank you and Happy Fourth of July. God bless America. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • The Palestinian Incentive Program for Killing Jews - Eli Lake
    For the Palestinian Authority, the killers of Jewish Israelis are considered "martyrs." As such, their families are paid for the service these murderers have done for the Palestinian cause. As Commentary's Evelyn Gordon has noted, Palestinian prisoners and their families are actually paid a higher wage than what most Palestinians earn for nonviolent work.
        The mother of Mohammed Tarayra, the Palestinian who last week stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old Israeli girl, as she was sleeping in her bed, told a local news outlet: "My son is a hero. He made me proud." She may soon receive a steady check from the PA to honor her son's murder. (Bloomberg)
        See also Israel to Withhold PA Funds Equal to Its Payments to Terrorists
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday ordered that the entire amount of Palestinian Authority support for terrorists and their families be deducted immediately from the tax revenues that Israel transfers monthly to the PA. Israel believes that the encouragement of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership - in the form of both incitement and payments to terrorists and their families - constitutes an incentive for murder. (Prime Minister's Office)

Israel Responds to the Quartet Report on Middle East Peace (Prime Minister's Office)

The Prime Minister's Office said on Friday:

  • Israel "welcomes the Quartet's recognition of the centrality of Palestinian incitement and violence to the perpetuation of the conflict. This culture of hatred poisons minds and destroys lives and stands as the single greatest obstacle to progress towards peace."
  • "Israel shares the Quartet's historical commitment to advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace through direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions. In previous agreements, Israel and the Palestinians committed to discuss every difficult issue exclusively through direct, bilateral negotiations."
  • "Nevertheless, the record shows a history of repeated Palestinian rejection of offers to negotiate and compromise from Israeli governments across the political spectrum. Israel cannot negotiate peace with itself."
  • "We regret the failure of the Quartet to address the real core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people in any boundaries."
  • "The report also perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace. When Israel uprooted every settlement in Gaza, it did not get peace. It got war."
  • "It is troubling that the Quartet appears to have adopted the position that the presence of Jews living in the West Bank somehow prevents reaching a two-state solution. The presence of nearly 1.8 million Arabs in Israel isn't a barrier to peace; it is a testament to our pluralism and commitment to equality."

        See also U.S.: Quartet Report Meant to Be "Constructive" - Michael Wilner
    The purpose of the new report by the Middle East Quartet published Friday is to urge "affirmative steps" toward peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - not to assign blame for the stalemate, a senior Obama administration official told the Jerusalem Post. The report carefully places blame for the continuation of the conflict on both sides. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Muslim States Condemn Quartet Report
    The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), representing 57 Muslim states, on Saturday censured a report by the Middle East Quartet, stressing that the document is biased in favor of Tel Aviv. (Press TV-Iran)
        See also Text: Report of the Middle East Quartet - July 1, 2016 (United Nations)

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