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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 10, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Wins Olympic Medal in Judo (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi, 27, defeated Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women's 63kg weight class, Israel's first medal at the Rio Olympics.
    "The medal is for all of Israel," said Gerbi after her victory.
    See also Israel Wins First Olympic Medal since 2008 (Times of Israel)

Hizbullah Fighter in Leaked Tape: "We Were Abandoned"  (NOW-Lebanon)
    A purported audio tape of a Hizbullah fighter recorded during the fighting over the weekend in Aleppo reveals that the Lebanese fighters were abandoned by other pro-government forces.
    "They [pro-regime fighters] all left us, the Iranians, Afghans and Syrians...all of them left us," the fighter complained in the message which began circulating on social media Sunday.
    He also warned that rebel forces were repeatedly attacking, though "they are taking a lot of casualties," adding that "they are in good shape, [while] the [Syrian] army disintegrated."
    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday that Hizbullah lost at least 12 fighters along the Aleppo front.

Photos: British Special Forces in Syria - Quentin Sommerville (BBC)
    The BBC has obtained exclusive pictures showing for the first time British special forces operating on the ground in Syria.

How Your Tax Dollars Are Funding Hamas' Next Terror War - Benny Avni (New York Post)
    On Tuesday, Israeli police announced the arrest of a contractor for the UN Development Program in Gaza. Last week, Israel announced the arrest of the manager of Gaza operations of World Vision, a Christian charity.
    In 2014, the U.S. government funded World Vision to the tune of nearly $200 million. That same year, the UNDP received nearly a half-billion dollars from American taxpayers.
    It's time to stop financing every new round of Hamas' war on Israel.

Israeli Minister: "Our Relations with Our Neighbors Are the Best They've Ever Been" - Elhanan Miller (Tablet)
    "Israel receives more international legitimacy today than it has since independence," Ayoob Kara, Israel's deputy minister for regional cooperation, said recently. "Our relations with our neighbors are the best they've ever been."
    "Once, [Arab politicians] used to run away from me when they heard I'm Israeli," said Kara, Israel's most senior Druze politician. "Today, we are praised by ministers and parliament members from places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco." They do so quietly, however, he added.
    Regarding the Palestinian track, Kara says, "We have no partner, and there is no chance of progress on that. [The Palestinians] are even talking about canceling the Balfour Declaration, so who exactly am I waiting for?"

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Indicts Second Gaza Aid Worker for Helping Hamas - and Says There Are Others - Joe Dyke
    Israel said Tuesday it had charged Waheed Borsh, 38, who works for the UN Development Program (UNDP), with helping the Islamist movement Hamas, the second such indictment in a week. The UNDP promised "a thorough internal review of the processes and circumstances surrounding the allegation."
        "This is not an isolated case, but rather a troubling trend of the systematic exploitation by Hamas terrorists of UN organizations," said the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, Israel's former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said Tuesday it was likely other aid agencies were similarly involved with Hamas. "If we published two, just think how many there are besides. And there are for sure."  (AFP-France 24)
        See also Photo: Naval Dock Built by Hamas Using UN Funds
    This aerial photo shows the naval dock built by Hamas for terrorist activity, using UNDP resources meant for Gaza humanitarian aid. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Outside Help Behind Rebel Advances in Aleppo - Erika Solomon
    Syria's opposition has hailed rebel advances in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, as a stunning success. But the offensive against Assad's troops may have had more foreign help than it appears: activists and rebels say opposition forces were replenished with new weapons, cash and other supplies before and during the fighting. "At the border yesterday we counted tens of trucks bringing in weapons," said one Syrian activist who crosses between Syria and Turkey. "It's been happening daily, for weeks...weapons, artillery - we're not just talking about some bullets or guns."
        Some believe the money and supplies came from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Adel Jubair, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, has repeatedly warned that Riyadh could increase military aid to the rebels if attempts to resolve the conflict politically were further disregarded. (Financial Times-UK)
        See also Hizbullah, Iraqi Militia Sent to Counter Syrian Rebels in Aleppo - Amir Toumaj
    Iran's Fars News Agency reported Monday on the deployments of Hizbullah's elite 2,000-man Radwan Battalion and Iraqi Harakat al Nujaba forces to the Aleppo area. Iranian media also reported the deaths of two Iranians since Saturday. (Long War Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Islamic Group Hizbut Tahrir to Be Outlawed in Israel
    Israel is pursuing legislation to outlaw Hizbut Tahrir, a radical, international, pan-Islamic organization affiliated with Islamic State, Channel 10 reported Monday. The group has been outlawed in several European countries, including Turkey, Russia and Germany.
        Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the decision followed clear evidence implicating Hizbut Tahrir in a series of terrorist attacks across Israel in 2015, originally attributed to Hamas. Hizbut Tahrir rejects Israel's right to exist and seeks to replace it with an Islamic caliphate. (Israel Hayom)
  • PA Fires Palestinian Who Helped Jewish Terror Victims - Efrat Forsher
    A Palestinian man who was first to offer assistance at the scene of a terrorist attack that killed Rabbi Michael Mark and injured his wife and daughter last month has been dismissed from his public service job in the Palestinian Authority. A relative of the man said, "since it became clear that he was the first to arrive at the scene of the attack and that he helped the victims, he and his family have been subjected to a smear campaign and received threats....He was fired from his job in the public sector of the Palestinian Authority. They told him that he was let go because of budget cuts, but he was the only one who was fired."
        Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, "I understand that the Palestinian Authority fired the person who helped the Mark family. This is the behavior that encourages terrorism. I will demand...action to stop this abuse of someone whose only sin was to help injured Jews."  (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF Prepares for Hizbullah Invasion - Or Heller
    Some 45% of Hizbullah's regular fighting forces are currently deployed in Syria. While it is gaining military experience, the number of its combat fighters as well as morale are declining. At the same time, Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah continues to brag about "conquering the Galilee," with the tactical maps behind him reflecting Hizbullah's intention to invade the cities of northern Israel. A senior IDF officer on the Lebanese border says, "Hizbullah can produce a company-level attack with a holding force, they can operate with UAVs, tanks and artillery."
        The Israel-Lebanon border abounds with thick vegetation that provides ideal cover for a Hizbullah force planning a ground attack. In response, Israel has been clearing afforested areas and erecting a man-made cliff that rises to a height of 5-7 meters. (Israel Defense)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel and Sunni Arabs: A Marriage of Convenience - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
    Many of the world's nations are looking on in surprise and admiration at the ever-strengthening ties between Israel and the more important Sunni Arab countries in the region - the open relationship with Egypt and Jordan, and the informal relationships with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates.
        It is clear to the Sunni states, which once viewed the U.S. as a superpower whose mere existence was enough to stop any threat they faced, that things have profoundly changed. Even if the U.S. is still a superpower, it has lost the will to use its power in the Middle East.
        These countries are looking for someone to help them at this time of need. Israel is the only country in the area whose stability is not in question. It is a strong country, both economically and militarily, and it has the ability and willingness to defend its essential interests.
        This is the foundation for the blossoming relationships between Israel and these Sunni countries. It is a marriage of convenience, not of love, but it is one of increasing importance. The writer is a former Israeli national security advisor and former Director of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Ambassador: Canadian Green Party's Pro-Boycott Policy "Totally Unhelpful" to Peace - Ian MacLeod
    Responding Monday to the Canadian Green Party's weekend decision to embrace a global campaign to ostracize Israel despite objections from Green Leader Elizabeth May, Israel's ambassador to Canada, Refael Barak, said he "deeply regret(s)" the decision. Supporting BDS "prejudicially singles out Israel, and is totally unhelpful to those who support the pursuit of a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."
        Foreign investments in Israeli assets hit a record high last year of $285.12 billion, a near-tripling from 2005 when the BDS campaign was launched by Palestinians, according to Bloomberg. (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)
  • Terrorism Doesn't Have to Be Very Sophisticated - Shiraz Maher
    One of the things we've come to understand in the last few months is that terrorism doesn't have to be very sophisticated. Now you can just go get a knife, or hire a truck, to wreak havoc and devastation. It's the simplification of terrorism. Getting your car and ramming someone has been well established in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for a long time, but it had not yet translated into Europe. Unfortunately, I think we're well into it now in Europe, mainly because of the demonstration of success by these people who rely on their lack of sophistication.
        Islamic State is unique in that it revels in its barbarism. People are not prepared to go out and make arguments for IS. The writer is deputy director at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London. (Fathom Journal)

The New Threat of Very Accurate Missiles - Dr. Max Singer (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • New technology controls a warhead's accuracy not by improving the precision of the missile's launch, but by guiding the missile's warhead as it approaches its target. "Terminal guidance," as this technology is known, can enable warheads to be delivered over very long distances and to hit within meters of their aim-points.
  • Precision-guided missiles make it possible to threaten decisive damage with a small number of non-nuclear weapons. They can have a strategic effect that is comparable in important ways to that of nuclear weapons.
  • Terminal guidance technology is now beginning to spread among smaller powers. It is reasonable to expect that over the next twenty years, some smaller countries that do not possess medium-range missiles might acquire such missiles with terminal guidance.
  • If terminal guidance technology spreads to more countries (and possibly to terrorist groups), we will be living in a new world as these countries and groups will have the ability to inflict decisive damage. Countries in possession of precision-guided missiles can't kill as many people as with nuclear weapons, but they can still produce many casualties and cause significant strategic damage.
  • Israel, unfortunately, has been the first to enter this new world of precision-guided missiles. It faces at least two enemies that already have this capability, or are likely to have it within the next few years (Iran and Hizbullah). Someday, Hamas might also acquire such weapons.
  • Israel is not helpless before this new threat. Enemy missiles can be deterred, or destroyed on the ground, or stopped by missile defenses. And the amount of damage, particularly in terms of human casualties, caused by these missiles can be drastically reduced by civil defense.

    The writer, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is co-founder of the Washington-based Hudson Institute.

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