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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
September 1, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Anti-American Propaganda Film: Young Men Destroy U.S. Navy Ships with Flags and Battle Cries (MEMRI)
    A propaganda film titled "Steadfastness 2" was produced by the Organization of Islamic Information, an office under the supervision of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
    It shows the Iranian response to a U.S. attack in the Persian Gulf, with young men brandishing the Iranian flag and vanquishing American aircraft carriers with their battle cries.
    The film appeared on the Javan website on August 21.

Erdogan Approves Turkey-Israel Normalization Deal (Daily Sabah-Turkey)
    Turkish President Erdogan on Wednesday approved the normalization deal with Israel, which was recently passed by parliament.
    The two countries will exchange ambassadors in the next few weeks.

Danish Team Removes 500 Tons of Chemical Weapons from Libya (AP-New York Times)
    A Danish-led international operation to rid Libya of its chemical weapons has removed 500 tons of chemicals from the country to ensure that they will not fall into the wrong hands, Denmark said Wednesday.
    Britain and Finland assisted with the operation.

Shi'ite Casualties Mount in Syria - Ali Alfoneh (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    According to official death notices and press reports on funeral services held in Iran and Lebanon, 1,987 Shi'ite fighters (including Iranian military personnel) were killed in combat in Syria between January 19, 2012, and August 29, 2016.
    The fatalities include 965 Lebanese (Hizbullah), 438 Iranians, 429 Afghanis, 85 Pakistanis, and 70 Iraqis.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Israeli Team Sires Intel's "Fastest-Ever" Processor - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Intel Corp. announced Tuesday its most advanced, seventh-generation processor, whose development was led by its facility in Haifa, Israel.
    The "Kaby Lake" processor, which will power ultra-thin notebooks and laptop-tablet hybrids, is 70% faster than a 5-year-old PC.

Photo: Ramat Gan Safari Welcomes Baby Giraffe - Tsahi Dabush (Ynet News)
    Dikla, a giraffe at the Ramat Gan Safari, gave birth to a 1.9-meters-tall (6 feet, 3 inches) male calf during the weekend.
    After the birth, caretakers noticed Dikla was not nursing her calf so they fed the baby giraffe using a bottle.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Report: U.S. Agreed to "Secret" Exemptions for Iran after Nuclear Deal - Jonathan Landay
    The U.S. and its negotiating partners agreed "in secret" to allow Iran to evade some restrictions in last year's nuclear agreement in order to meet the deadline for it to start getting relief from economic sanctions, according to a report published Thursday by the Institute for Science and International Security. "The exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favor Iran," said the institute's president David Albright, a former UN weapons inspector and co-author of the report.
        Among the exemptions were two that allowed Iran to exceed the deal's limits on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep in its nuclear facilities. Albright said the exceptions risked setting precedents that Iran could use to seek additional waivers. (Reuters)
  • Khamenei Calls Both Democrats and Republicans "Morally Bankrupt"
    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei said Wednesday the U.S. is "morally unfit to express a position on Iran's efforts to boost her defense. Both parties in the U.S., either the ruling Democrats or the GOP who were ruling in the past, are morally bankrupt with a dark record of systematic crimes."  (Mehr-Iran)
  • U.S. Court Voids $655 Million Verdict Against PLO over Israel Attacks - Jonathan Stempel
    A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday threw out a $655.5 million verdict against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization for damages suffered by American families from terrorist attacks in Israel. By a 3-0 vote, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said a lower court judge erred in concluding he had jurisdiction over the case. The 10 families who had won the verdict had sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which lets American victims of international terrorism sue in U.S. courts. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Soldier Shot near Joseph's Tomb in West Bank
    An Israeli soldier was shot overnight Wednesday while providing security for Jewish worshippers at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus in the West Bank. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Joseph's Tomb remains under Israeli control. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Czech Republic Bows to Palestinians - School Maps to Show Tel Aviv as Israeli Capital - Itamar Eichner
    After the Palestinian Ambassador to the Czech Republic requested that the Czech Ministry of Education not teach children that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, the Czechs bowed to the request. Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emanuel Nachshon responded: "The Foreign Ministry is working with the relevant authorities in the Czech government to cancel this devious order. There is no limit to Palestinian incitement. They are not content with poisoning only the minds of young Palestinians, but also request to sow lies into the minds of the youth of the Czech Republic."  (Ynet News)
  • Israel to Transfer Additional Water to Palestinians
    The project to construct a canal linking the Red Sea to the Dead Sea will also see the transfer of 30 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinian Authority, under an agreement signed Wednesday at a global water conference in Stockholm. The agreement was backed by Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Across Syrian Kurdish Regions, a Sense of Betrayal by Washington Is Setting In - Sudarsan Raghavan and Liz Sly
    The Pentagon's decision to arm a mostly Syrian Kurdish force has paid big dividends in northern Syria, where the Islamic State has been on the run in recent months. Then Turkish tanks and warplanes entered Syria last week and began targeting the Kurds, their long-standing enemy. But what happened next blindsided Kurdish leaders: Their American allies sided with the Turks - and ordered the Kurdish forces to hand over hard-won territory.
        "Unfortunately, as Kurdish allies fighting against terrorism and making a lot of victories, we expected more from the United States," said Idriss Naasan, a former official in the Kurds' self-proclaimed government in Syria. In Turkey, as well, there is mounting anger at the Obama administration for demanding that Turkish forces stop battling the Kurds in northern Syria. (Washington Post)
        See also An Israeli Perspective on the Syrian Kurds - Alex Fishman
    Israel's strategy in Syria is based on the assumption that if the country breaks into autonomous minorities, this would stop the Iranian/Shi'ite takeover and eventually thwart the main threat to Israel: an Iranian hold on the Golan Heights. But the Americans are now selling out the Syrian Kurds to the Turks.
        The Turks and Russians reached an understanding according to which the Turks will accept that Assad remains in power for an interim period and in return, the Russians will allow them to fly through Syrian airspace, bomb and destroy the Kurdish autonomous contiguity in Syria, and create a buffer zone that would keep both ISIS and the Kurds away from the Turkish border. (Ynet News)
        See also Kurds Carve Out a Home in Syria, Testing U.S. Ties with Turkey - Raja Abdulrahim and Dion Nissenbaum (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Decay of the Syrian Regime Is Much Worse than We Think - Tobias Schneider
    Over the past three years, despite foreign military aid and support, the Assad regime has continued to atrophy at an ever-increasing pace. If these trends continue, the Syrian president will soon find himself little more than a symbolic common denominator around which a loose coalition of thieves and fiefdoms can rally. The great majority of forces in Syria today fight an increasingly localized war for the protection of their particular communities. For example, Latakia is being protected not by Assad's largely imaginary "4th Corps" of the Syrian Arab Army, but by Mohamed Jaber and his Desert Hawks.
        Syria's president has become not only perfectly expendable as guarantor of the state, but ought to be considered the last remaining obstacle to a peace process based on local ceasefires. The Syrian state is gone for good. At this point, a quick decapitation might be preferable to a drawn-out implosion. (War on the Rocks)
  • The "Other" Palestinians - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war in 2011. Since the beginning of this year (until July), 200 Palestinians were killed in Syria. But because these Palestinians were killed by Arabs, and not Israelis, this fact is not news in the mainstream media.
        The Palestinian Authority leadership is currently seeking to improve its relations with the Assad regime in Syria - the very regime that is killing, imprisoning and torturing scores of Palestinians on a daily basis. The PA recently celebrated the inauguration of a new Palestinian embassy in Damascus.
        Yarmouk, 8 km. from the center of Damascus, is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. In 2002, 112,000 Palestinians lived there. By the end of 2014, there were less than 20,000, who live without running water or electricity. More than 12,000 Palestinians languish in Syrian prisons. Some 503 Palestinian prisoners have died under torture in recent years. Yet Western journalists lavish time on Palestinians delayed at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while they ignore barrels of explosives dropped by the Syrian military on residential areas in refugee camps in Syria. (Gatestone Institute)

Waiting for a Palestinian Leader Ready to Make Peace with Israel - Menahem Milson (Mosaic)

  • The issues I discussed with Palestinian interlocutors more than four decades ago continue to reverberate loudly today.
  • Despite the Oslo agreement between Israel and the PLO in the early 1990s, which led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there has been no progress toward the realization of a two-state solution.
  • The Palestinian leadership insists on the right of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their original homes in Israel, which would effectively spell the end of Jewish sovereignty.
  • It has also rejected or failed to respond to repeated official offers from Israel to move toward the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
  • I continue to maintain that a two-state peace settlement is the only solution that is both just and internationally recognized.
  • Although it does not seem feasible at present, I am convinced it can become so if and when a Palestinian leader emerges who, like Anwar Sadat in 1977, openly and unequivocally declares his readiness to make peace with Israel and to end the conflict in return for Israeli territorial concessions.

    Col. (ret.) Menahem Milson, former head of the civil administration in the West Bank, is professor emeritus of Arabic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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