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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
December 28, 2016

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic State Arrests Reveal Jihadi Threat near Washington - Rowan Scarborough (Washington Times)
    Law enforcement agencies have arrested nine Northern Virginia residents on charges of aiding the Islamic State.
    All but one were in their teens and early 20s. They included a police officer, a Starbucks barista, Army soldiers, bankers and a cabdriver.
    They are suspected of conducting terrorism planning through Twitter, Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and other platforms and apps.
    "These mostly young male Muslims become radicalized either by Islamist imams at some of the thousands of mosques across America, at school, or over the ever-present internet sites that spew anti-West, anti-Christian hatred," said Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and researcher on Islamism who lives in Northern Virginia.

Palestinians "to Take Hundreds of Israeli Soldiers to International Criminal Court (i24 News)
    The Palestinian Authority plans to take hundreds of IDF soldiers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2017, Palestinian journalist Nasser Laham, a close confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said Sunday, according to Israel's Channel 2.
    "In 2017, we'll go to The Hague. We have hundreds of pages of names of IDF officers. Every pilot and every officer and every soldier - we have his photo, we have his name, and we are waiting for him at The Hague."

New Zealand Is a Colonialist State Founded on the Theft of Maori Land - Liel Leibovitz (Tablet)
    New Zealand introduced the resolution in the UN Security Council that pronounced settlements to be illegal.
    New Zealanders are no strangers to settlements. In 1831, there were fewer than 1,000 Europeans living in New Zealand among the local Maori tribes. These Europeans had neither historical attachment nor any legal claim to the land.
    Eventually, Maori sovereignty in their ancestral homeland was effectively eliminated.
    See also The Occupiers Who Voted Against Israel - Alan Dershowitz (Gatestone Institute)
    Votes in favor of the anti-Israel UN resolution were cast by Russia, which has occupied Konigsberg since 1945, after capturing that ancient German city, ethnically cleansing its population, and bringing in hundreds of thousands of Russian settlers; China, which has occupied Tibet and brought in thousands of Chinese settlers; France, which occupied and settled Algeria for many years; and Great Britain, which has occupied and colonized a significant portion of the globe.

Terror Cell Planning to Attack IDF Soldiers Uncovered - Itay Blumenthal (Ynet News)
    Israeli security forces have stopped a terror cell of Israeli Arabs who were planning to carry out attacks against soldiers in the Negev, it was announced Tuesday.
    Mohammad Masri, 37, of Beersheba, and Abdullah Abu Iyash, 26, from Kuseife, were arrested by the Israel Security Agency in November. The two had conducted observations of their targets and a Carl Gustav assault rifle was found in their possession, along with IED detonators.
    Masri was a member of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and was involved in a pipe bomb explosion that killed a 15-year-old girl, for which he served a 12-year prison sentence.

Obama's Legacy on Israel - Elliott Abrams (Weekly Standard)
    Just weeks before leaving office, President Obama could not resist the opportunity to take one more swipe at Israel - and to do real harm.
    Obama has done us one favor, which is to settle the long argument about his attitude toward Israel.
    No partisan of his can henceforth say with a straight face, as Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times in 2012: "The only question I have when it comes to President Obama and Israel is whether he is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most."
    When the crunch came, Israelis had to turn to Egypt to try to postpone a UN vote.
    Think about that: there is more trust between Israel and Egypt today than between either of them and the U.S.
    The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egyptian Report Reveals Obama's Collaboration with Palestinian Authority in UN Ambush of Israel - Yochanan Visser
    Israel's Channel 1 broadcast a report on Tuesday quoting Egyptian media that published the secret protocol of a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and two top Palestinian Authority officials in Washington on Dec. 15. Oded Granot, an Arabic-speaking Middle East expert, said the protocol was iron-clad evidence that the procedure that led to the ambush against Israel in the Security Council on Friday was coordinated between Kerry, Rice, PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat, and Ryad Mansour, the PA envoy to the United Nations.
        Kerry and Rice told the two PA officials that the Obama administration was ready to cooperate with a Palestinian action at the Security Council on condition that the resolution would be "balanced." Kerry also reportedly suggested to Erekat that the PA could bring up ideas to set the parameters for a forced permanent solution to the conflict.
        Granot said the Egyptians most likely published the protocol to express their frustration with the attitude of the Obama administration in orchestrating the move behind the back of Egyptian President el-Sisi. (Western Journalism)
        See also Israel Expects More U.S.-Led Moves at UN, Israeli Official Says
    "We expect more moves at the UN," an Israeli official told the Times of Israel on Tuesday. "The protocol that appeared in the Egyptian press tallies with what we know. It's actually just the tip of the iceberg of U.S.-Palestinian collusion."  (Ha'aretz)
  • House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer Urges Kerry Not to Disadvantage Israel in Future Negotiations
    House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a statement Tuesday saying: "I urged the Administration to veto the recently passed UN Security Council resolution regarding Israel and settlements. Unfortunately, they failed to do so, and Israel's enemies were strengthened."
        "Now, it is my understanding that Secretary Kerry, in the last few days of this Administration, intends to outline the parameters of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This flies in the face of the United States' longstanding position that such a formulation should be reached only through negotiations by the parties and not by the United States, the United Nations, or any other third party."
        "I urge Secretary Kerry and the Administration not to set forth a formula, which will inevitably disadvantage Israel in any negotiation. The United States must now take steps to signal unequivocally to the entire world that we will continue to stand by our ally Israel as it seeks to build a future of peace and safety as a Jewish state and an equal member of the family of nations."  (Office of the Democratic Whip)
        See also Top Democrat Slams Obama's "Parting Shot" at Israel - Bridget Johnson
    The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), told MSNBC on Tuesday that "it's not a matter of whether you're for settlements or against settlements" - the U.S. should have stood up for Israel at the UN Security Council. "What's important is regardless of how one feels about settlements, the fact is, the United Nations never gives Israel a fair break."
        "Israel relies on the United States to block the most onerous of resolutions against them. And we didn't do it and I think it was a mistake....Israel's the only democracy in the Middle East and it's a strong ally of the United States. And at a time when half a million people are dying in Syria, there's all kinds of genocide in South Sudan, all over the world, all the Security Council can do, with U.S. acquiesce, is censure Israel for settlements? I mean, give me a break."  (PJ Media)
        See also Obama's Former Mideast Envoy: U.S. Should Have Vetoed UN Resolution - Yousef Saba
    President Obama's former special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, a Democrat who served as Senate Majority Leader, told MSNBC Tuesday that "Obama would have been wise to veto" last week's UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. Mitchell argued that because there is an incoming administration, which will ultimately decide its own Middle East foreign policy, Obama should have postponed the vote if possible and, if not, vetoed it. (Politico)
  • Britain's Jewish Community Leaders Say Government Should Have Vetoed UN Resolution - Justin Cohen
    Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responding to the UN Security Council motion to condemn Israel, said: "I am deeply disappointed that the UK Government failed to take the honorable course of exercising its power to veto a biased and unbalanced resolution."
        "The UN has once again chosen to demonstrate its hostility to Israel. The Security Council resolution passed on Friday is destructive to peace because it encourages Palestinians to believe that they can maintain their refusal to come to the negotiating table. I note that the Security Council has been an utter failure in saving hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria. It clearly thinks of Israel as an easier target."
        Paul Charney, chairman of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, said, "Yet again the United Nations has proven to the international community that it is a biased, one-sided body, hell bent on criticizing Israel above all other nations of the world in every one of its fora....For the UK government to firstly not have used its veto to quash this resolution but even more so voting for it shows a lack of understanding and support for the Jewish nation."  (Jewish News-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Arabs "Ethnically Cleansed" Jews from West Bank in 1948
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday: The anti-Israel resolution that just passed in the UN Security Council is based on the argument that Israel is "altering the demographic composition" of Judea and Samaria. The UN has consistently ignored the fact that Jews were ethnically cleansed from these territories in 1948, which is why there were no Jews in the area until after 1967.
        Some context: In 1929, Arabs carried out a massacre in Hebron against the Jews who were living there, including women and children, while the British police stood by. In 1948, during Israel's War of Independence, the Jewish residents of Gush Etzion were expelled and murdered. The Arab Legion from Jordan destroyed the Jewish villages of Kalya (near the Dead Sea) and Atarot (north of Jerusalem). The Arab Legion also ethnically cleansed the Jews who were living in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, and then blew up all of the synagogues there.
        Not a single Jew remained in any of the territories conquered by the invading Arabs in 1948. The reaction of the UN to this reality? Silence. Another important reminder: The terms of the British Mandate awarded national rights to the Jewish people - and only the Jewish people - in the Land of Israel. The Mandate, which expanded upon the Biblical and historical connection of the Jewish people to its land, was adopted by the UN and until today it is a binding document under international law that defines the international legal status of the Land of Israel. The UN has no legal justification for its decisions, only ignorance and malice. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Israel's Culture Minister Lights Hanukkah Candles at City of David in Jerusalem Where "My Forefathers Walked 2,000 Years Ago" - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat lit a hanukkiah on Tuesday at the City of David National Park archeological site to unveil a restored 2,000-year-old road leading to the Western Wall. "Mr. President Barack Obama, I am standing here, on Hanukkah, on the same road on which my forefathers walked 2,000 years ago," said Regev. "No resolution in any international forum is as strong as the steadfast stones on this street....No other people in the world has such a connection and link to their land."
        The ceremony, initiated to officially begin united Jerusalem's 50th year celebrations, also featured rare relics, including millennia-old ballista balls, jugs and jewelry discovered by archeologists who excavated the once well-travelled road during the Second Temple period. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Video - Krauthammer: It's As If the UN Passed a Resolution Declaring Mecca Jewish Territory
    Columnist Charles Krauthammer discussed the recent UN resolution on Fox News, saying, "Does anybody think that Venezuela and New Zealand spent nights slaving over the wording of this resolution? (They were the ones who introduced it.) Of course not. This was a U.S. operation all the way."
        "The pernicious part is the inclusion in the resolution of the term 'east Jerusalem.' That was totally unnecessary, and it's completely illogical. It turns the holiest site in Judaism - the Temple Mount, the Western Wall - into foreign territory. People say, 'it's the third holiest shrine in Islam.' It's the first holiest shrine of Judaism. It's as if the UN passed a resolution declaring Mecca and Medina to be sovereign Jewish or Christian territory. It's absurd, it's an insult to the intelligence of the world, and it is supremely damaging to the Israeli claim to its own holy places."  (National Review)
  • Why This UN Resolution Was Different - Jonathan S. Tobin
    UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was the culmination of an eight-year effort to distance the U.S. from Israel. That process began in January 2009, when the new president openly stated that one of his top foreign policy priorities was to create more "daylight" between the two allies. It continued through years of ginned up fights with Netanyahu over settlements, borders, Jerusalem, and the president's push for a rapprochement with Iran that culminated in the nuclear deal in 2015.
        While previous resolutions unfairly criticized the Jewish state, none of them specifically labeled the Jewish presence in territory Israel took control of in the 1967 Six-Day War as illegal. It means that hundreds of thousands of Jews living in decades-old Jewish neighborhoods in the city of Jerusalem or in settlement blocs that even Obama has conceded would remain inside Israel in the event of a peace treaty are now international outlaws.
        It will put air in the sails of an anti-Semitic BDS (boycott, divest, sanction) movement that had seemed to be losing ground in recent years. Now, for the first time, it can claim to have the backing of the UN. Under the terms of this resolution, Jewish holy places in Jerusalem are considered to be Palestinian. This is an endorsement of the vicious Palestinian campaign at UNESCO and other UN bodies to deny Jewish history and religion by claiming Jerusalem's holy places are exclusively Muslim.
        Moreover, it removes any incentive for the Palestinian Authority to budge from its refusal to negotiate peace with Israel. In effect, Obama, who has claimed to be a champion of the peace process, has effectively killed it. (Commentary)

UN Security Council Resolution 2334: A Disservice to the Cause of Peace - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

  • The Palestinian leadership may yet rue the day they managed to secure an American abstention leading to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2334. This poorly designed and atrociously timed diplomatic tool seems set to harm, if not entirely destroy, the very purposes it was designed to serve.
  • It is bound to do damage to Israeli interests (and those of Palestinian employees in Jewish-owned businesses) by giving momentum to the BDS movement. Moreover, when Israeli leaders are confronted with a UN and U.S. endorsement of the Arab narrative, they are unlikely to feel comfortable enough to work for an equitable compromise, and certainly not when there is no partner for compromise on the other side.
  • The so-called "Occupied Palestinian Territories" were never Palestinian at any point: first, the Palestinian leadership rejected UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 and launched a war of annihilation against Israel; and second, the territories were held between 1949 and 1967 by an occupying power that gained the recognition of only two states (Britain and Pakistan) to their annexation to Jordan. Thus, Israel is the only existing inheritor of the League of Nations mandate, which called for the "close settlement of Jews on the land."
  • A second unfortunate aspect is that the Obama administration, secure in the presumption that it was "saving Israel from itself," drew no lessons from its own past errors of judgment. Obama's efforts to create "daylight" between U.S. and Israeli positions led to the one of the longest barren periods in the history of the peace process. Now the mistake has been repeated and worsened.
  • A "solution" that encourages the Palestinians to believe in the forced removal of hundreds of thousands of Jews living beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including in east Jerusalem, is a pipe dream.

    The writer is former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel's National Security Council.

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