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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
September 22, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Officials Turn Medical Treatment in Israel into a Profitable Business - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    How do Palestinian patients obtain permits to receive medical treatment in Israel? By paying bribes to senior Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza.
    At the same time, Palestinians whose lives are not in danger but who pretend they are - including relatives of senior PA and Hamas officials - receive permits to travel to Israel and other countries under the pretext of medical emergency, while those who cannot afford to pay the bribes can wait years before obtaining such permits.
    Hamas and PA officials have turned medical care into a business that earns them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

The Israeli Volunteer Drivers Who Help Sick Palestinians - Shaul Adar (New Republic)
    A Palestinian policeman and Leila, his three-year-old daughter who suffers from high blood pressure, are on their way to Tel Hashomer Hospital, near Tel Aviv, for treatment for the little girl.
    They were picked up at the border crossing by my brother, Amir Adar, 60, an Israeli software engineer and a volunteer for Road to Recovery, a group of Israelis who drive sick Palestinians to Israeli hospitals from the West Bank and Gaza.
    Many people with cancer, people who need a transplant or children who need dialysis go to Israel for life-saving treatment.
    Road to Recovery's 500 volunteers provide the Palestinians with a free ride and the company of an Israeli to ease their fears.

De-Radicalization Expert Says It's Possible to De-radicalize Violent Muslim Extremists - Steve Karnowski (AP-ABC News)
    A German scholar testified Tuesday that it's possible to de-radicalize violent Muslim extremists using the same techniques developed in Europe to help neo-Nazis break with their pasts.
    Daniel Koehler appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis, who in November will sentence nine Minnesota men who were convicted of plotting to join Islamic State.
    Koehler, who directs the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies in Stuttgart, said the U.S. doesn't currently have any de-radicalization programs like those in Europe and Canada.

Menorah Carving in Stone Found in Jordan - Philippe Bohstrom (Ha'aretz)
    A seven-branched menorah with a branching three-legged base carved on a stone block in the wall of a 1400-year-old Byzantine church in Abila, Jordan, is the first tangible evidence of a Jewish presence in the ancient Hellenistic city, located near the border with Syria, not far from Israel.
    Depictions of the Jewish menorah with a tripod base were popular in Judaism of the 4th-6th centuries CE.
    This can be seen in the mosaic floors of several synagogues, for instance in Hammath Tiberias, Beit She'an, Beit Alpha and Nirim.
    The first known menorah is mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 25:31-40, 37:17-24).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu Meet in New York
    President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Wednesday. Prior to their meeting, Netanyahu said: "First, I want to thank you for the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed last week. It greatly enhances Israel's security. It fortifies the principle that you've enunciated many times that Israel should be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. Secondly, I want to thank you for the extensive security and intelligence cooperation between our two countries."
        "Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America, and America has no greater friend than Israel. Our alliance has grown decade after decade....It's an unbreakable bond based on common values, buttressed by common interest, and bound by a shared destiny."
        President Obama said: "It is important for America's national security to ensure that we have a safe and secure Israel, one that can defend itself...and we want to make sure that Israel has the full capabilities it needs."  (White House)
  • Arab States Shelve Push Against Israel at UN Nuclear Agency - Shadia Nasralla
    Arab states will not submit an Israel resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference next week for the first time in three years, a senior Arab diplomat said. Arab nations have been unable to push through such resolutions since 2013. (Reuters)
  • Signs of Panic and Rebellion in the Heart of Islamic State's Caliphate - Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim
    In Mosul, Iraq, the largest city under Islamic State control, IS has been carrying out more arrests and executions in recent months. The U.S. military estimates that around 3,000 to 4,500 militants remain in Mosul. Over the past two months, U.S.-led airstrikes have killed 12 Islamic State leaders in the city.
        Some officials said people who have collaborated with Islamic State are attempting to switch sides. There are also signs of disarray among Islamic State's ranks, with increasing corruption inside the group. Despite a ban on leaving the city, some residents have been able to escape by paying large bribes. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel: Netanyahu's Meeting with Obama Was "Positive" - Danielle Ziri
    A senior official from Prime Minister Netanyahu's entourage on Wednesday described the meeting with President Obama as "positive." He said the two nations are "synchronized" on "almost everything," except for the issue of settlements. During their meeting the two leaders spent a considerable amount of time discussing the crisis in Syria. Wednesday's meeting was their 17th since 2009. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Discussion of Settlements a "Marginal" Part of Obama-Netanyahu Meeting - Raphael Ahren
    An Israeli official confirmed that the possibility of a U.S.-led initiative to advance the peace process in the period between the U.S. elections on Nov. 4 and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 was not discussed at all during the Obama-Netanyahu meeting. While senior Obama administration officials claimed Obama raised "profound U.S. concerns" that settlement-building was eroding prospects for peace, the senior Israeli official said the discussion of settlements "was a marginal part of the meeting."
        Netanyahu argued that the Israelis in the West Bank are no obstacle to peace, but the Palestinians' refusal to drop their demand for the right of return and to recognize a Jewish state in any borders are. (Times of Israel)
  • Syrian Children Brought to Israel for Treatment - Roi Kais
    In mid-August, a bus from the Jewish-American aid organization Amaliah brought 21 Syrian children and their parents from the Qunietra region to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed. The Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya has also been receiving busloads of Syrian children accompanied by their families over the past few weeks. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The New York Bomber Was Not a Lone Wolf - Matthew Levitt
    In recent years, the pool of potential homegrown terrorists has expanded: Today there are open investigations on about 1,000 potential homegrown violent extremists in all 50 states. Evidence indicates that suspects thought to have been lone wolves might more accurately be described as known wolves - people whose radicalization, suspicious travel, and changes in behavior were observed by acquaintances.
        The New York bomber, Ahmad Khan Rahani, lived in Quetta, Pakistan - home of the Afghan Taliban Shura Council - for nearly a year until March 2014. Based on the sophistication of the bombs Rahani constructed, authorities suspect he received some sort of personalized explosives training. The writer is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism & Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Policy)
  • Iran Must Stop Meddling in Arab Affairs - Saad Hariri
    On Feb. 14, 2005, a massive bomb killed the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, my father, along with 22 other Lebanese. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague identified five Hizbullah operatives as collaborators in the murder. That would mean his assassination was carried out by Iran's allies in Lebanon, who are financed and controlled by the regime in Tehran.
        In 2008, Hizbullah moved to occupy Beirut and turned its weapons against the Lebanese people. More recently, Hizbullah has prevented Lebanon from electing a new president and has imposed a gridlock on the country's government in order to blackmail the citizenry into accepting its demands. Meanwhile, Hizbullah has sent thousands of young Lebanese men to fight and die in Syria to defend the odious regime of Bashar al-Assad. Assad - with the help of Iran, its Revolutionary Guards and its proxies - has created the worst refugee problem since World War II.
        We have not forgotten the taking of Americans, and other Westerners, as hostages in the 1980s by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. We have not forgotten the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut airport, which killed 241 American soldiers. The amnesia in much of the world about these events leaves us dumbfounded. The writer, a member of the Lebanese Parliament, served as prime minister between 2009 and 2011. (New York Times)
  • Ideological Fault Lines in the Wreckage of the Arab State System - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
    This study maps four Arab ideological camps: the Iranian camp, the Islamic State camp, the Muslim Brotherhood camp, and the "counter camp," which includes Saudi Arabia, most of the Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, as well as the Kurds and other non-Arab players. These camps have been fighting each other to the death across a range of regional fronts. Islamic State and its affiliates are under siege and losing ground, while Muslim Brotherhood forces are in political decline. The writer is a former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel's National Security Council. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Dramatic Obama Moves on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Unlikely - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)

  • There are those who think that President Obama might back a UN Security Council resolution on Palestine in his final weeks before he hands over power, or endorse a French initiative, or unveil a detailed peace plan, or publish past understandings as a blueprint for the future.
  • Obama-Netanyahu won't be over till it's over, but unleashing a dramatic new gambit at the very end of his presidency would see Obama asked pointedly why he had left it all so ineffectually late.
  • Obama said he hoped to hear from Netanyahu "how Israel sees the next few years." This is not the formulation, one might reasonably conclude, of a departing president seriously contemplating one last, drastic, bridge-burning - and almost certainly doomed - bid to try and impose a solution.
    See also Putting Obama's Words on Israel-Palestinians in Perspective - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
  • In his final address as president to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Obama devoted 31 words of a 5,600-word speech to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land."
  • Reflecting a penchant to play up the negative, the Israeli media highlighted the second part of Obama's sentence while downplaying the first part: that the Palestinians must reject incitement and recognize Israel's legitimacy.
  • But in reality, Obama's sentence was telling in its symmetry, apportioning responsibility equally to both sides. And the Palestinians came first in the sentence order.

        See also As Obama's Term Wanes, So Does Focus on Israeli-Palestinian Issue - Arshad Mohammed and John Irish
    A U.S. official said he does not expect the White House to decide whether Obama might make a speech on the Israeli-Palestinian issue or seek to pass a new UN Security Council resolution until Americans elect his successor. (Reuters)

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