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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 24, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Jordan's King Abdullah: Muslims Must Unite with Jews, Christians to Beat Islamic State (Jordan Times)
    Jordan's King Abdullah II told Australian TV on Wednesday: "The destruction of ISIS should be everybody's priority."
    "We look at it as a civil war inside of Islam, but we can't do it without the help of Christians and Jews, and other religions and other nations, because this thing is not just located in Syria or Iraq, it's in Libya - we're dealing with Boko Haram and Shabab, you have the Taliban....So unless we look at this in a global, holistic approach, we're never going to win."

Palestinian Cleric Urges Muslims to Nuke Israel (MEMRI TV)
    Palestinian cleric 'Abd Al-Salam Abu Al-'Izz, speaking at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, said that Muslims should "take the Pakistani nuclear weapons...and use them in the service of Islam" to "eliminate the state of the Jews in one or two strikes."

Hizbullah's Victory March - Omer Einav (Institute for National Security Studies)
    Hizbullah power and rule over events in Lebanon are currently undisputed.
    Realization by the U.S. that aid to Lebanon in effect constitutes aid to Hizbullah could lead to reconsideration of such aid.
    Hizbullah's leading interest is fortifying the Assad regime in Syria and strengthening the Iranian axis stretching from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut.

Senior Al-Qaeda Leader in Syria Killed in Airstrike (CBS News)
    U.S. forces conducted an air strike near Sarmada, Syria, on Nov. 18, that killed Abu Afghan Al-Masri, a senior al-Qaeda leader, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Tuesday.

U.S. Adds Three Islamic State Commanders to Global Terrorist List (U.S. State Department)
    The U.S. State Department has designated Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, Basil Hassan, and Abdelilah Himich as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
    Al-Meshedani is an Iraqi Islamic State leader who manages arriving foreign terrorist fighters, handles guesthouses for them, and transports suicide bombers.
    Hassan is an external operations plotter for ISIS. In 2013, Hassan was accused of shooting Lars Hedegaard, a 70-year-old Danish author and journalist.
    Himich is a senior foreign terrorist fighter and external operations figure who was reportedly involved in the planning of ISIS' November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 Brussels attacks.
    See also List of U.S.-Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (U.S. State Department)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli General Facebook Chats with Palestinians - Shlomi Eldar
    Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), set up the Facebook page Al-Monsiq (The Coordinator) in March 2015 to improve communications with residents of Gaza and the West Bank. In mid-November, Al-Monsiq's 80,000 Palestinian followers were asked to send in questions for Mordechai. Throughout the 30-minute chat, hundreds of participants reacted with "likes" and openly addressed the security, diplomatic and economic situation. Mordechai responded to them in Arabic.
        One of the main messages Mordechai sought to deliver was that "if you are asked to pay someone for an exit permit [from Gaza or the West Bank] to Israel, don't pay." He thereby sought to counter the flourishing industry of fake documentation and extortion by Palestinian middlemen who charge high fees for obtaining entry permits.
        Mordechai noted that "the number of Palestinians working in Israel these days is the highest since the year 2000 [when the second intifada broke out]. Some 75,000 permits have been granted." He added that Israel has an additional quota of 10,000 permits that can be issued immediately, and urged the Facebook users to apply through the PA. (Al-Monitor)
  • ISIS: A Catastrophe for Sunnis - Liz Sly
    The Islamic State is being crushed, its fighters are in retreat and the caliphate it sought to build is crumbling. The biggest losers, however, are millions of ordinary Sunnis whose lives have been ravaged by their murderous rampage. The vast majority of the 4.2 million Iraqis who have been displaced from their homes by the Islamic State's war are Sunnis. In Syria, Sunnis are also bearing the brunt of the violence and dislocation as Sunni towns and neighborhoods are being leveled by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.
        Although the territory seized by the Islamic State is mostly Sunni, the fighters wresting it back are overwhelmingly Shiite or Kurd. In some places, liberators with no previous ties to the communities they have freed remain behind after the battles have been won.
        In Kazukha, Iraq, the residents belonged to a tribe that supported the Islamic State and will never be allowed to return, said Capt. Aziz Haji Khalaf, a Yazidi. "They were all with Daesh [ISIS], and they participated in the massacres of Yazidis. For this reason, we cannot live with Arabs ever again."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Arson Suspected as Wildfires Rage across Israel - Raphael Ahren
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that there were signs that some of the wildfires sweeping across Israel were deliberate acts of arson. Israel's firefighting planes are being supplemented by planes from Greece, Croatia, Russia and Turkey. (Times of Israel)
        See also Half of Current Fires Caused by Arson
    Half of the fires that have burned across Israel since Tuesday were caused by repeated arson, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan told Army Radio on Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Arab Social Media Rejoices over Fires in Israel - Roi Kais
    The hashtag "Israel is burning" has become one of the top trends on Arab social media, with countless people gloating over the recent rash of fires plaguing Israel. (Ynet News)
  • Netanyahu: Israel Is Ready for Peace, the Palestinians Are Not - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday that in his meetings with world leaders, they always ask what they can do on the Palestinian issue. "I say invite me and Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] to a meeting right now, in your capital. I am willing to come." Netanyahu said those he meets generally get "very excited," but quickly become disappointed when the message comes back from Ramallah that the time is not right, and that there are Palestinian preconditions.
        "Everybody gets the message: Israel is ready for peace, Israel is not the obstacle for peace, Israel wants to move ahead with peace. And who gets that message best? The Arab states." In the Arab world "you see sparks of change, people saying maybe we have to reevaluate our attitude toward the Jewish people and the Jewish state."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ya'alon: Iran Aspires to Dominate the Region - Anna Ahronheim
    Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday that Iran is "no longer politically isolated. There are no longer any crippling sanctions and they do not feel there is any threat militarily whatsoever. They've succeeded in gaining hegemony, not only in Tehran, but also Baghdad, Damascus, Lebanon and Yemen, challenging Western interests in the region."
        "We have clear evidence of them breaking UN resolutions" regarding the proliferation of arms and support of terrorism, he added. "The Iranian aspiration is to dominate the region."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran, Hamas and the Threat to the Palestinian Authority - Khaled Abu Toameh
    "Relations between Iran and Hamas are currently undergoing revitalization, and are moving in the right direction," Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of Hamas' "external affairs," announced last week. In reality, Hamas and Iran have no meaningful ideological or strategic differences. Both share a common desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic empire. The two are also committed to an "armed struggle" against Israel, and are vehemently opposed to any compromise with it.
        PA officials continue to express deep concern over Iran's meddling in Palestinian affairs. Israel's presence in the West Bank has thus far thwarted Iran's repeated attempts to establish bases of power there. Abbas has no choice but to work with Israel if he wishes to prevent Iran and its supporters from overthrowing his regime and hanging him as a traitor. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Myth of Israel's Demographic Doomsday - Gregg Roman
    Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly warned of a demographic doomsday for Israel and that time is "running out." But time is not running out. For starters, there's no more reason to include Gaza in the equation than to include Lebanon or Jordan: the Israeli occupation there ended a decade ago. Moreover, most Palestinians in the West Bank also live in self-rule areas that Israel has effectively vacated and does not wish to govern.
        A second problem is that the official PA estimates and projections of Arab population growth have been deliberately inflated to boost the PA's negotiating stance and qualify for more foreign aid. Third, the birth rate of Israeli Jews has been rising steadily in recent years, to 3.1 in 2015 - the same as that of Israeli Arabs - even as Palestinian birth rates have steadily declined, to 3.7. With the highest birth rate in the developed world and substantial Jewish immigration adding to their ranks every year, Israeli Jews are not at risk of becoming a minority in the foreseeable future. The writer is director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. (The Hill)

Anti-Israel Boycott Prevents Peace, Assaults Jewish Identity - Miriam F. Elman (Syracuse Post-Standard)

  • On Oct. 25, Dr. Mohammed Dajani spoke to LIME, an Israeli-Palestinian student dialogue group that I mentor at Syracuse University. Dajani garnered international attention in 2014 when he was vilified for taking a group of Palestinian students to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
  • After an assassination attempt, Dajani was forced to resign his Al Quds University position. Now he speaks to university audiences about his family history, the radicalization of Palestinian society, and his transformation from an Israel-hater into an admirer of Israel's pluralistic democracy. Dajani also voiced his opposition to the BDS campaign.
  • BDS is often presented as a nonviolent social justice movement. But contrary to the popular account, BDS wasn't initiated in 2005 by West Bank civil society groups. The platform was developed a few years earlier in Iran, then it was rolled out at the 2001 UN-sponsored Durban conference - an anti-Semitic hate-fest so despicable that the U.S. delegation walked out.
  • In my experience, many who gravitate to BDS are caring people who harbor no ill-will toward Jews. But there can be no denying that BDS has mainstreamed anti-Semitism.
  • Recent reports show that on university campuses, BDS is strongly correlated with a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric and harassment. At colleges where there are active boycott campaigns, Jewish students report hiding their Jewish-Zionist identities to avoid being ostracized from progressive groups.

    The writer is an associate professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, where she is research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.

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