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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 25, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Involvement in Missile Attacks on U.S. Naval Ships - Paul Bucala (American Enterprise Institute)
    Iran almost certainly played a role in the missile attacks against the USS Mason near the Bab al Mandab Strait on Oct. 9 and 12.
    Senior U.S. officials asserted with "great confidence" that Houthi forces were "unquestionably involved" in the missile strikes.
    Iran likely supplied the missiles and, at the very least, Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) or Lebanese Hizbullah operatives provided technical expertise in support of those who launched the attack.
    Iran or its proxy, Lebanese Hizbullah, may have also played a direct role in planning and conducting the attack.

Palestinians Announce Year-Long Campaign Against "Crime" of Balfour Declaration (Times of Israel)
    The Palestinian Authority has announced a year-long campaign to commemorate 100 years since the "crime" of the Balfour Declaration, to be launched on Nov. 2, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported Monday.
    In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour announced his government's intention to establish "a national home for the Jewish people" in the Land of Israel, on the eve of the British conquest of the then-Ottoman territory of Palestine.
    See also Palestinians Launch Balfour Apology Campaign at House of Lords (Palestinian Return Centre-UK)

A Debt of Honor to British Mandatory Official Lewis Andrews - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    Australian-born Lewis Andrews was the British district commissioner for the Galilee during the British Mandate and a known friend to the local Jewish community.
    He was murdered on Sept. 26, 1937, in Nazareth. His killers remain unknown to this day, although it is believed they were followers of Sheikh Izz ad-Din Abd al-Qassam, for which Hamas' Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades are named.
    During his years in Mandatory Palestine, Andrews transferred tens of thousands of acres of land into Jewish hands, promoting the establishment of communities formed as part of the tower-and-stockade settlement enterprise.
    Dozens of communities in Israel's northern Hula and Beit She'an valleys and in the central Hefer Valley would probably not exist if not for him.
    Andrews also provided vital diplomatic protection to the Jewish community during the hearings held in the late 1930s by the Peel Commission, which was tasked with investigating the 1936-1939 Arab revolt, factually debunking the Arabs' assertion of being "dispossessed" of their land.
    Andrews saved dozens of Jewish lives during the 1921 Jaffa riots and the 1929 Palestine riots, and had survived two previous attempts on his life: in Acre in 1922 and in Jerusalem in the early 1930s.
    The Arabs rejoiced at his murder. Andrews had taken the Balfour Declaration at its word.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egyptian General Who Oversaw Destruction of Gaza Tunnels Assassinated - Nour Youssef
    Brig. Gen. Adel Ragai, commander of the Egyptian army's Ninth Armored Division, was shot and killed outside his home in a Cairo suburb on Saturday by three gunmen. Egyptian media suggested that Ragai had been targeted because he played a prominent role in the destruction of border tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. (New York Times)
  • Cuba, Iran's Island in the Sun - Emanuele Ottolenghi
    Iran has established 80 cultural centers across Central and South America. It views these centers as a vehicle for the spread of its revolutionary ideology to America's backyard. Thanks to the centers' missionary work, thousands of Latin American converts flock to the regime-run Al Mostafa International University in Qom each year for indoctrination.
        In the last three years, Iran has established a Shiite cultural center and a mosque in Havana that is actively recruiting and converting Cubans. While there was no Shiite community on the island before, Iran came in to proselytize and the Castro government let them in. The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (The Hill)
  • Turkey's New Maps Are Reclaiming the Ottoman Empire - Nick Danforth
    In recent weeks, Turkish President Erdogan has criticized the Treaty of Lausanne, which created the borders of modern Turkey, for leaving the country too small. He spoke of the country's interest in the fate of Turkish minorities living beyond these borders, as well as its historic claims to the Iraqi city of Mosul. Maps of Turkey appearing on Turkish TV recently aren't maps of the Ottoman Empire but are maps of Turkey, just a little bigger. (Foreign Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Italy's Prime Minister: Next Time We'll Vote Against UNESCO's Jerusalem Resolution - Barak Ravid
    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Friday assailed the anti-Israel resolution adopted by UNESCO last week that disregards Judaism's historic connection to the Temple Mount. "It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position (i.e., abstaining) even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe. I have asked diplomats handling these issues to cease doing so....To say that the Jews have no links to Jerusalem is like saying the sun creates darkness."
        A senior official in Jerusalem said Renzi's remarks follow strenuous protests by the Israeli embassy in Rome and the Jewish community in Italy. Mexico and Brazil have also announced a change in position since the UNESCO vote. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Bravo Mr. Renzi - Fiamma Nirenstein (Il Giornale-Italy)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Israel Will Help Rebuild Gaza If Hamas Disarms - Elior Levy
    In an interview published Monday in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman outlined an alternative reality for Gaza. "There are extremely radical elements in Gaza who have the destruction of Israel at the top of their priorities. But I want to be clear: if they make the decision to stop digging tunnels, smuggling arms and firing rockets at us, we will be the first investors in the rehabilitation of Gaza. We will be the first to invest in a maritime trading port, an airport and an industrial zone. Gaza could one day be the new Hong Kong or Singapore. Hamas invests more than NIS 100 million in military infrastructure instead of in health and education."  (Ynet News)
  • PA Releases Four Palestinians Detained after Visiting Israeli Succa - Adam Rasgon
    Palestinian Authority security forces on Sunday released four Palestinians who were arrested after visiting the succa of Efrat Council head Oded Revivi on Wednesday, following the intervention of the Israeli Defense Ministry. PA Deputy-Governor of the Bethlehem Governorate Muhammad Taha told Wattan TV on Thursday that "all Palestinians condemn the [visit], and visiting settlers is completely unacceptable."
        Before their release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the international community to pressure the PA to release the four, saying that their arrest was "yet one more proof of the Palestinian refusal to make peace."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Why Palestians Can't Make Peace - Editorial
    If you needed any more clues as to why a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement remains so elusive, consider the case of four Arabs who accepted an invitation for the holiday of Sukkot in the nearby Israeli community of Efrat on Thursday. The Palestinian Authority arrested them. The invite from the Israeli mayor was intended to promote peace. Sadly, it's all par for the course for the PA - whose textbooks teach hatred of all Jews, whose laws reward Israeli-killing terrorists, and whose leaders have spent decades silencing (often fatally) any Palestinian who dares work with Israel's government. (New York Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Truth about Egypt's Revolution - Oren Kessler
    In Arab Fall: How the Muslim Brotherhood Won and Lost Egypt in 891 Days, Eric Trager describes the Brotherhood as a powerful, if quiet, presence from the start of the 2011 rallies against Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood was the only movement in Egypt organized and disciplined enough to challenge the old regime at the ballot box. Trager suggests the military's move against Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was not the inevitable result of its determination to deny the Brothers their place in the political power structure. Instead, it was the Brotherhood's own lack of vision and incompetence that drew Egypt's largest-ever crowds to the streets demanding redress.
        The book is indispensable not just for its account of how the Brothers failed so disastrously at governing Egypt but equally for its analysis of how Washington failed so completely to understand them. Three years on, Egypt's Brotherhood is a vastly diminished force, with its leadership and much of its support base imprisoned, exiled or killed under the Sisi government. The writer is deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Wall Street Journal)
  • "Ethnic Cleansing" and Pro-Arab Propaganda - Benny Morris
    After the publication of my article, "Israel Conducted No Ethnic Cleansing in 1948" (Ha'aretz, 10 Oct. 1948), critics again claimed that Israel perpetuated ethnic cleansing. In 1948, some Palestinians were expelled (from Lod and Ramle, for example), some were ordered or encouraged by their leaders to flee (from Haifa, for example), and most fled for fear of the hostilities and apparently in the belief that they would return to their homes after the expected Arab victory.
        My opinions about the history of 1948 haven't changed at all. My opinion changed during the 1990s about only one thing - the Palestinians' willingness to make peace with us. In 2000, after Yasser Arafat's "no" at Camp David (which was backed by his successor Mahmoud Abbas), and in light of the second intifada and the nature of that intifada, I realized they weren't interested in peace. Unfortunately, the situation hasn't changed since.
        In 1947-1948 there was no a priori intention to expel the Arabs, and during the war there was no policy of expulsion. Moreover, it's well known that tens of thousands of Arabs remained in the territory of the Jewish state - in Haifa and Jaffa, in Jisr al-Zarqa and Fureidis, in Abu Ghosh and Ein Nakuba, in the Galilee and the Negev. The writer is a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. (Ha'aretz)

Hamas Has Its Sights on the West Bank - Elior Levy (Ynet News)

  • Hamas today has no true patron. After it chose to side with the Sunnis in Syria against the Assad regime, Iran stopped supporting Hamas politically and is still waiting for its political leader Khaled Mashal to come to Tehran to personally apologize.
  • Saudi Arabia hasn't forgotten Hamas' close relations with Iran - Saudi Arabia's greatest enemy - and has not welcomed Hamas with open arms.
  • Neither has the Egyptian government, which has been systematically flooding Hamas smuggling tunnels along its border and keeping the Rafah Border Crossing closed.
  • There are currently only two countries which support Hamas: Turkey - which supports more in words than in deeds, and Qatar - which has turned into the terror group's largest financier.
  • Meanwhile, Mashal knows he has a real possibility of becoming president of the Palestinian Authority if elections should ever take place.
  • Therefore, Hamas has been organizing a civilian infrastructure in various Palestinian cities in the West Bank, investing tens of millions of dollars to establish these infrastructures there as well as in east Jerusalem. The money is being transferred via Palestinian businessmen who have permits to cross from Gaza to the West Bank, along with people coming from Jordan.

Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.
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