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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 18, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Hizbullah-Linked Group Laundered Drug Money through Miami Banks - David Ovalle (Miami Herald)
    Three suspected associates of the Middle Eastern terror group Hizbullah, suspected of laundering cocaine money for the Colombian cartel, have been busted after agents say they illegally moved $500,000 into Miami banks through a series of complicated financial transactions.
    The main player, Mohammad Ahmad Ammar, 31, who was living in Medellin, Colombia, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail last week.

Israel Listened In on Arab States' Preparations for Six-Day War - Ronen Bergman (Ynet News)
    Former Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Shlomo Gazit has revealed that Israel gained access to the secret recordings of a conference Arab nations held in Casablanca, Morocco, in September 1965 to prepare for a possible war with Israel.
    Arab military commanders spoke openly and with relative candor about the capabilities of the militaries under their command.
    It was King Hassan II of Morocco who allowed the Mossad to closely monitor the conference. "Immediately after the end of the conference, (the Moroccans) gave us all of the needed information, and didn't deny us anything," recounted Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad intelligence officer.
    The recordings of all of the conference's discussions provided an unprecedented look into the behind-the-scenes workings and mindset of the enemy's leadership.

Peace Index: 71% of Israeli Jews Do Not Foresee Peace with Palestinians in Coming Years (Peace Index)
    According to the October 2016 Peace Index poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, 71% of Israeli Jews do not believe that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will lead to peace in the coming years, while 25% do believe this.

Iraqi Refugee Pleads Guilty to Trying to Bomb Two Houston Malls for ISIS (AP-CBS News)
    Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, who came to Houston from Iraq in 2009, pleaded guilty Monday to trying to help the Islamic State by setting off bombs at two Houston malls.
    "I want to blow myself up. I want to travel with the Mujahidin. I want to travel to be with those who are against America. I am against America," Al Hardan wrote.

Israeli-Designed Bacteria Could Help Solve World's Plastic Problem - Zafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
    Only 14% of the 311 million tons of plastic produced every year is recycled, while the rest festers in our environment.
    An Israeli research team at Ben-Gurion University has developed genetically engineered, plastic-eating bacteria that targets polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common thermoplastic polymer resin used in bottles and food containers.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iraqi Forces Push toward Mosul - Kareem Fahim and Loveday Morris
    A force comprising thousands of Kurdish and Iraqi army soldiers wrested territory from the Islamic State outside the northern city of Mosul on Monday, facing occasionally fierce resistance at the start of an offensive against the extremists' main stronghold in Iraq. In a televised address, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi called the battle the most ambitious offensive launched by Iraq's security forces since they were created after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
        The forces pushing to play a role in Mosul's liberation include Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribal fighters, Iranian-backed Shiite militias, and government units supported by the U.S.  American troops are helping to coordinate logistics, conduct planning, and oversee the air campaign, and are expected to move forward with Iraqi forces and peshmerga as they advance on Mosul. (Washington Post)
        See also Islamic State Crushes Rebellion in Mosul as Army Closes In - Ahmed Rasheed
    Islamic State has crushed a rebellion plot in Mosul, led by one of the group's commanders who aimed to switch sides and help deliver the caliphate's Iraqi capital to government forces. IS executed 58 people suspected of taking part in the plot after it was uncovered last week. Residents said the plotters were killed by drowning. (Reuters)
  • Islamic State Militants Kill 12 Egyptian Soldiers in Sinai
    At least 12 members of Egypt's security forces were killed and six wounded when ISIS fighters on Friday attacked a checkpoint about 40 km. from Bir al-Abd in North Sinai, sources told Reuters. (Al Jazeera)
        See also Egypt Conducts Sinai Airstrikes in Response to Attack by Islamic State
    The Egyptian military said Saturday it had launched airstrikes over a three-hour period targeting terrorists in North Sinai in retaliation for a terrorist attack on Friday. A large number of terrorists were said to have been killed, along with the destruction of vehicles and storage areas for weapons and ammunition. (Reuters-Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Asks Russia to Revise Military Coordination Due to New Russian S-300 Missiles in Syria - Barak Ravid
    The Israel Defense Forces has approached the Russian Defense Ministry to request that new coordination procedures be developed now that Russia has stationed S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria, Izvestia reported. The Russians stationed the new missile system at their naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus about two weeks ago.
        "In the context of the hotline between [Israel and Russia], the Israelis sent us a request to develop new procedures and open-fire rules to be added to the existing coordination mechanism," a Russian source said, adding that the request was made to prevent Russian missile systems in Syria from firing at Israeli aircraft by mistake. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Border Police Officer Stabbed near Jerusalem Saturday
    A Border Police officer was stabbed near Har Adar outside of Mevaseret Zion on Saturday morning by an attacker who had been hiding in bushes near the community's security fence. The attacker fled. (Ynet News)
  • Poll: Palestinians Reject Peace Solution Based on 1967 Lines
    59% oppose the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines as a final solution for the Palestinian cause, according to a poll of 1,362 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza conducted on Oct. 13-15, 2016. 73% oppose the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with some land exchanges. 79% reject the creation of a binational state for both Arabs and Jews.
        While 67% of Palestinians in the West Bank oppose an armed intifada in the Palestinian territories, 52% in Gaza support this. 50% of Palestinians in Gaza say current circumstances compel them to desire to emigrate abroad.
        79% consider Britain responsible for the catastrophes that befell the Palestinian people. While 56% support the French Initiative for holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East, 63% think it will fail. (Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies-An-Najah University-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Palestinians' Calculated Play to Define an Exclusively Muslim Jerusalem - Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
    Last week, the Executive Board of UNESCO approved an irresponsible measure that denies Jerusalem's historical record and diminishes Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city. This approach is both flawed and dangerous; a peaceful resolution and the future of Jerusalem cannot be dictated, it must be mutually agreed upon by both the Palestinians and Israelis.
        Nowhere in the UNESCO document will you see any culpability for the Palestinian Authority's incitement to violence and terror that has gripped Jerusalem over the past year. UNESCO and the UN writ large wish to recognize the Palestinians as a legitimate and self-governing state, but when it comes to accountability, it absolves their leaders of any responsibility for the actions of their people. That is why it is incumbent upon the U.S. to vehemently oppose measures like this and stand in support of Israel to defeat efforts aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state's right to exist.
        When the agency tasked with preserving history and culture is erasing it, the system is obviously broken. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is Chairman Emeritus of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and current Chairman of its Middle East and North Africa subcommittee. (Ha'aretz)
  • UNESCO's Jerusalem Resolution Ignores Christian Roots Too - Amanda Borschel-Dan
    A recent UNESCO resolution refers to Jerusalem holy sites by Muslim names only, ignoring the historic ties of Jews and Christians. In 335 CE, Emperor Constantine, the first Roman emperor who converted to Christianity, inaugurated the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as part of a rebuilt Christian Jerusalem.
        The center of this burgeoning Christianity remained outside of the Temple Mount. Bar-Ilan University History Prof. Yvonne Friedman said the Byzantine Christians in Jerusalem "saw the Temple Mount as the Jewish center."  (Times of Israel)
  • A Growing Rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt? - Zvi Mazel
    There seems to be a growing rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the twin mainstays of the Sunni front against Iran's terrorist operations and nuclear threat, and against the rogue Sunni Islamic State. At a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Syria on Oct. 8, Egypt voted with Russia to defeat a French proposal calling for a stop to bombing on Aleppo, and also voted for a Russian counter-proposal opposed by the West. The Saudi representative strongly condemned the two votes.
        Egypt, fearing an Islamic takeover, believes Syrian unity must be preserved at all costs, and aligned itself with Russia with regard to Syria. Saudi Arabia is steadfastly supporting Sunni rebel groups fighting to eliminate Assad and set up a Sunni regime. These groups include Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which is still manufacturing terrorism in Egypt. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Romania and Sweden. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Authority's Future Is Not in Rewriting History - Daniel Taub (Jerusalem Post)

  • In the wake of the latest UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem spearheaded by the Palestinian Authority, thoughtful Palestinians should have doubts about the long-term value of repeated Palestinian efforts to subvert the facts of history to a political agenda.
  • Consider the Palestinian campaign to re-brand Rachel's Tomb. Until the 1990s, Palestinian schoolbooks referred to this site, located outside of Bethlehem, as the Tomb of Rachel, while Muslim scholars frequently described it as "Rachel's Dome, the Jewish place of worship."
  • Starting in the mid-1990s, the tomb was re-branded as the "Mosque of Bilal ibn Rabah," and Palestinian textbooks were rewritten accordingly. This rewriting of history flew in the face of Muslim teachings, in which Bilal ibn Rabah, Muhammad's first muezzin, was buried in Damascus, and which had always revered the tomb as the burial place of the matriarch Rachel.
  • I served as the head of the Israeli side of the Culture of Peace track of negotiations with the Palestinians during this Orwellian rewriting of history. In examining textbooks for deliberate distortions of history for political ends, we recalled the famous saying of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts."
  • Deliberately distorting the facts of history and teaching falsehoods solely to advance political goals is a form of child abuse.

    The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the UK.

        See also Jerusalem: Capital of the Jews - Rivkah Fishman-Duker
    For nearly twenty different ancient Greek and Roman pagan authors from the third century BCE to the third century CE, Jerusalem definitely was a Jewish city. An examination of these texts indicates unanimous agreement that Jerusalem was Jewish by virtue of the fact that its inhabitants were Jews, it was founded by Jews, and the Temple, located in Jerusalem, was the center of the Jewish religion. Despite the negative views of Jews and Judaism expressed by authors such as Manetho, Apion, Tacitus and Juvenal, the Jewish identity of Jerusalem is always clear and never a subject of dispute. (Jewish Political Studies Review, 4Nov2008)

Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Chol Hamoed Sukkot.
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