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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
January 12, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

ISIS Using Quadcopters to Drop Bombs on Iraqis - Jeff Schogol (Military Times)
    Islamic State fighters in Mosul are using quadcopters to drop munitions "akin to a small, little grenade" on Iraqi security forces and civilians, said Col. Brett Sylvia, a U.S. Army commander in Iraq.
    ISIS has "the same ability that any 13-year-old kid in the States" has to purchase quadcopters online.
    Sylvia said U.S. troops have been able to "bring to bear some of our technical capabilities" to help the Iraqis shoot down nearly a dozen drones.

Video: Does Israel Prevent Palestinian Freedom of Movement in the West Bank? - Ami Horowitz (Fox News)
    One of the main accusations against Israel is that it has installed numerous checkpoints across the West Bank that disrupt Palestinian daily life and make it difficult to travel between Palestinian cities.
    To verify this, I traveled in a Palestinian car with a Palestinian driver throughout the West Bank. We were never stopped.
    There are checkpoints where one enters Israel from Palestinian territory, which were set up after a rash of terrorism. Thousands of Palestinians use these points of entry into Israel in order to get to their jobs.
    At the Kalandia checkpoint into Jerusalem, I asked Palestinians how long it takes them to cross over into Israel.
    Three different people replied, "Ten minutes." One said the actual time that "the soldier checks my ID or my work permit is just one minute."

Israel Cracks Down on Palestinian Weapons Factories - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
    Israeli security forces have been cracking down on clandestine Palestinian weapons factories in the West Bank, leading to a significant increase in the purchase price of such weapons.
    A year ago a homemade Carlo sub-machine gun cost NIS 1,500; today it costs NIS 7,000.
    An improvised Kalashnikov assault rifle that cost NIS 25,000, today costs NIS 40,000. An M-16 rifle that cost NIS 50,000, today costs NIS 80,000.

Tourism to Israel Up 3.6% in 2016 - Michal Raz-Chaimovich (Globes)
    Incoming tourism in 2016 totaled 2.9 million tourists, up 3.6%, compared with 2015, with 250,000 tourists arriving in Israel in December alone.
    The countries from which tourism grew the most were China (69%), Croatia (62%), Belarus, Latvia, and Georgia (41%), Malaysia (35%), Philippines (27%), and India (13%).
    The U.S. and Russia continue to lead in the number of tourists, followed by France, the UK, Germany, and Ukraine.

Israeli High-Tech Firms Raise Record $4.8 Billion in 2016 (Reuters)
    Israeli private high-tech companies raised an all-time high of $4.8 billion in 2016, up 11% from 2015, a report showed on Tuesday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson Criticizes U.S. Decision to Abstain from UN Israel Vote - Steven Mufson and Karoun Demirjian
    At a confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson condemned the Obama administration's decision not to veto a UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel's settlements in the West Bank. He said the resolution was "not helpful" and "undermines" the conditions for peace talks to continue.
        He described Secretary of State John Kerry's subsequent speech criticizing Israel as "quite troubling." He also suggested the onus was on the Palestinians to make a "serious demonstration" of good faith toward negotiations before there could be a discussion about settlement construction.
        Tillerson said it was important for the U.S. to recommit to its alliance with Israel, which he said "is, was and always has been our most important ally" in the Middle East. (Washington Post)
  • Is Europe's Jihadist Problem Generating Empathy toward Israel? - Cnaan Liphshiz
    Following Sunday's terror attack in Jerusalem which killed four Israeli soldiers, the Israeli flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Paris City Hall, while Rotterdam City Hall flew the Israeli flag at half-mast - all signs of solidarity with the Jewish state.
        "I think it's a new development that sincerely stems from the change in the mind of many people in Europe, in government and beyond, who now understand better than a few years ago the impact and influence of terrorism on the daily lives of innocent victims," Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to the EU and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said Wednesday.
        Yet the gestures of empathy toward Israel will not likely carry over to EU policy, said Eran. "These gestures are heartwarming and indicative of a positive change, but there is a clear distinction between empathy and policy in the corridors of the European Union, which is likely to remain as critical as ever."  (JTA)
  • Israel Confirms Strong Cooperation with Egypt - Josef Federman
    An Israeli defense official on Wednesday confirmed that his country has allowed Egypt to beef up its forces in Sinai as part of a shared struggle against Islamic militants, after Egyptian President Sissi said Monday that there are 25,000 Egyptian troops operating in Sinai. (AP-ABC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Calls for Anti-Terrorism Coalition with U.S. and Moderate Arab States - Yaakov Katz
    The U.S. should establish a regional coalition to fight terrorism that would include Israel alongside moderate Arab states, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview. This coalition would be similar to the one the U.S. established ahead of the First Gulf War in 1991, but would this time include Israel. "The moderate Arab world understands that the real threat against it is not Jews, Zionism or Israel, but rather the radicals in the Muslim world," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA to Pay Monthly Stipend to Wife of "Martyr" Who Killed 4 Israelis on Sunday - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
    The Palestinian terrorist who drove his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem on Sunday, murdering 4 and wounding at least 15, was described by the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Monday as a "martyr." Official PA TV referred to him 7 times as a "martyr" (shahid) in its report of the incident.
        According to its policy of supporting all Palestinian terror, the PA will reward the wife of this murderer with a lifetime monthly allowance of 2,900 shekels ($760), in addition to a one-time grant of 6,000 shekels ($1,580). PA President Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the terror attack. (Palestinian Media Watch)
        See also Incentivizing Terrorism: Palestinian Authority Allocations to Terrorists and their Families - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • IDF Prepares for Next War with Hamas in Gaza - Yoav Zitun
    Both the IDF and Hamas are already preparing for the next war in Gaza. As Hamas prepares to bring thousands of fighters into Israel through a network of subterranean tunnels with the intent to murder and kidnap Israelis, "We plan to turn the enemy's tunnels into death traps," said Colonel Yuval Ben-Dov of the IDF Southern Command. Israel's policy is to end the next war with Hamas' defeat rather than buying two or three more years of calm. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Division of Jerusalem Is No Solution to Terror - Nadav Shragai
    Anyone who demands after Sunday's ramming attack that Jerusalem be divided is fleeing from terrorism rather than confronting it. Anyone who deludes the public by saying that cutting Jabel Mukaber - the home town of the terrorist - off from Jerusalem will contain terrorism will quickly discover that terrorism is following them into their own neighborhoods.
        Hundreds of terrorist attacks have been thwarted thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Security Agency in east Jerusalem neighborhoods. More walls and fences and separation will make it more difficult to operate against, frustrate, and gather intelligence on potential terrorism - allowing those who plan terrorism to make it many times more powerful.
        Residents of east Jerusalem as a whole are not the enemy. The enemy is the minority among them who attack us and instill fear in their own community. Most of the residents of east Jerusalem want to continue living in a unified Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Often, residents of east Jerusalem are the ones who beg the Israeli authorities to protect them from Hamas thugs. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Video: Indivisible Jerusalem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Syria Hardly Exists - David W. Lesch and James Gelvin
    More than 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line and nearly 70% live in extreme poverty, meaning they cannot secure basic needs, according to a 2016 report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research. The unemployment rate is 58%, with a significant number of those employed working as smugglers, fighters or elsewhere in the war economy. Life expectancy has dropped by 20 years since the beginning of the uprising in 2011. About half of children no longer attend school. Diseases formerly under control, like typhoid, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and cholera, are once again endemic.
        Upward of 500,000 are dead from the war and more than two million are injured. Close to half the population of Syria is either internally or externally displaced. And the battle is, in reality, far from over. David W. Lesch is a professor of Middle East history at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. James Gelvin is a professor of Middle East history at UCLA. (New York Times)
  • Commercial Diplomacy in the Middle East - Haisam Hassanein
    The Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZs) protocol between Egypt and Israel, guided by U.S. commercial diplomacy, helped save the Egyptian textile industry. After the QIZ's inception, Egyptian ready-made garment exports jumped from $288.3 million in 2005 to $636.2 million in 2006, reaching $842.4 million in 2015.
        Today, QIZ locations include Alexandria, the greater Cairo area, the central Delta region, the Suez Canal area, and upper Egypt. As of 2015, the QIZs had helped create 280,000 new jobs in the textile and apparel sector. The initial list of 397 QIZ-approved companies has expanded to more than 700.
        Egyptian-born Haisam Hassanein received an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from Tel Aviv University, where he was named the graduate school valedictorian, and is currently a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)

Arab World: A Violent Region in Turbulent Times - Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli (MEMRI)

  • The sixth report on Arab development issued by the UN Development Program was released on Nov. 29, 2016, at the American University in Beirut. The report highlights the fact that in the last decade the Arab world has experienced "the most rapid increase in war and violent conflict" compared with other regions of the world.
  • The Arab world also has "the dubious distinction" of comprising the largest number of failed states, showcasing a high scale of "fragility and failure" in addition to being the source of the largest number of refugees and displaced people.
  • The report shows that the Arab world is home to 5% of the global population but had a 45% share of global terrorist attacks in 2014, claiming the lives of 21,000 people, and 68.5% of battle-related deaths in that same year.
  • The Arab countries have pursued an economic model that "for financing, counts heavily on external windfalls, including aid, remittances and rents from oil revenues." Income and wealth are not derived from "work, innovation and risk-taking," but rather from public largesse.
  • Unlike the fast-growing East Asian countries which relied heavily on the manufacturing sector as a vehicle for job creation, the Arab economies have registered low if not negative growth.

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