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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
February 14, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

New Plans to Counter Israel Boycott Announced by British Government - Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    New measures to prevent British councils from boycotting Israel have been announced by UK Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
    "We need to challenge and prevent divisive town hall boycotts which undermine good community relations. No council should be boycotting any company or country unnecessarily," Javid said Monday.
    "We will clamp down on these inappropriate and needless boycotts once and for all."
    See also BDS Crowds Disrupt Israeli UN Envoy's Talk at Columbia University in New York - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)

Qatari Envoy: PA Stalling Solution to Gaza Power Shortage - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Qatar's special envoy to Gaza, Muhammad al-Amadi, told the Times of Israel last week that in some cases it is Palestinian officials who are holding up efforts to better the lives of Gaza residents.
    He said he was working on an agreement that would help solve the Gaza energy crisis, but that while Israel has agreed to take part in the deal, the Palestinian Authority has been holding it up.
    Al-Amadi also said, "I am in contact with senior Israeli officials and agencies and the relationship is great."
    See also PA Fumes at Qatar Accusation It Doesn't Care about Gaza Energy Crisis - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)

Egyptian Inflation Hits Highest Level in a Decade - Arwa Gaballa (Reuters)
    Egypt's inflation rate soared to its highest level in more than a decade, hitting 31% in January as the effects of IMF-endorsed austerity measures ripple through an economy undergoing painful reforms.
    The austerity measures carry enormous political risks for President Sisi.

Photos: When Moshe Dayan Toured the Vietnam War - Hen Maloul (Ha'aretz)
    Former Israeli chief of staff Moshe Dayan went to Vietnam in 1966 as a reporter for Ma'ariv and was embedded with American troops on the ground.
    Dayan, then 51, was initially assigned to a company in the First Marine Division and later to the Green Berets, America's elite anti-guerilla unit.

Israeli Firm to Clean Up Toxic Drain in Delhi, India (Sputnik-Russia)
    Israeli firm Ayala Water and Ecology Ltd., which specializes in phytoremediation, a technique that uses shrubs to remove and destroy contaminants in soil and water, has been contracted to clean up a highly-polluted channel that drains into the Yamuna River in Delhi, India's capital.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump, Netanyahu Align on Tough Iran Stance before Talks - Nike Ching
    As President Donald Trump prepares for his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since entering the White House, Middle East analysts say the two want to set in motion a chain of events that could block Iran, redefine Israel's relationship with the Arab world, and create Israeli-Palestinian peace. (VOA News)
        See also Israeli PM Seeks "No Gaps" with Trump Ahead of White House Talks - Luke Baker
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, preparing for his first meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, will work with advisers on Tuesday to align Israeli and U.S. thinking on the Middle East and ensure "no gaps" remain. For Netanyahu, ensuring he and Trump are in lockstep is critical to putting the friction of the Obama administration behind him and laying the ground for a more fruitful relationship with the U.S.
        "The alliance between Israel and America has always been extremely strong and it's about to get even stronger," Netanyahu said Monday. "Donald Trump and I see eye-to-eye on the dangers emanating from the region but also on the opportunities. We'll talk about both as well as upgrading the relations between Israel and the United States in many, many fields."  (Reuters)
  • Hamas Appoints Pro-Iran Militant as Gaza Leader - Isabel Kershner
    Yehya Sinwar has been chosen as the new leader of Hamas in Gaza. Kobi Michael, former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said Sinwar "represents the most radical and extreme line of Hamas," and is affiliated with, and favors support from, Iran. Describing Sinwar as a "bitter enemy" of Egypt, Michael said Sinwar also favored cooperation with Islamic State affiliates fighting the Egyptian Army in Sinai. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Egypt, with Israel's Aid, Racks Up Successes Against ISIS in Sinai - Amos Harel
    Egyptian security forces have registered a series of successes against the ISIS branch in Egypt called Sinai Province in recent months, according to intelligence sources in Israel. Sinai Province, which numbers about 1,000 fighters, blames Israel for giving the Egyptians intelligence on their organization and for joining aerial attacks aimed at its leaders.
        Egypt's President Sisi told Egyptian radio last month that 20-25,000 soldiers have been deployed in northern Sinai in coordination with Israel. An Israeli security source told Ha'aretz: "In recent months we see a dramatic change in the outcome of the fighting in favor of the Egyptian army."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Two Palestinians Killed in Gaza Tunnels
    Hamas said Monday that one of its fighters, Ahmad Asaad Shihada al-Barim, 22, from Khan Yunis, was killed when a "resistance tunnel" collapsed. The term "resistance tunnel" generally indicates tunnels between Gaza and Israel.
        Separately, the Palestinian Information Center said Monday that Mumin Abu Hamid was killed when Egyptian forces flooded a smuggling tunnel between Gaza and Egypt. (Ma'an News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Mideast Rules for the New U.S. Administration - Bret Stephens
    On Israeli-Arab issues, sometimes the best advice is to "do nothing." Had John Kerry adopted this advice, he might have been spared his fruitless yearlong foray into Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which led to the 2014 Gaza War. Had Condoleezza Rice adopted it, she might not have advocated Palestinian elections that led to victory for Hamas in 2006. Had Bill Clinton taken it, he might have been spared the diplomatic humiliation of being spurned by Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000.
        The State Department has been rolling the boulders of "land for peace" and the "two-state solution" up the hill for 50 years, and still thinks one last push will do the trick. The goal of any new diplomacy should not be to "solve" the Palestinian problem but to anesthetize it through a studied combination of economic help and diplomatic neglect. The real prize lies in further cultivating Jerusalem's ties to Cairo, Riyadh, Amman and Abu Dhabi, as part of an Alliance of Moderates and Modernizers that can defeat Sunni and Shiite radicals.
        It is time to dispose with the flimflam that the Mideast's contrived borders are sacred. The U.S. should offer to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured in 1967 from Syria. U.S. recognition would put the Assad regime and its Iranian and Russian backers on notice that there's a price for barbaric behavior. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Careful Way to Go After Muslim Brotherhood Radicals - Jonathan Schanzer
    The Muslim Brotherhood's hateful and anti-Western worldview has long served as an ideological gateway to jihadi terrorist groups. The Trump Administration is mulling an order designed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. Some Brotherhood branches belong on that list, some don't. The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New York Post)
  • The Plan to Defeat ISIS: Key Decisions and Considerations - James F. Jeffrey
    While ISIS is the most urgent priority in the Middle East, it is not the only, or even the most dangerous, one. Iranian expansionist activity, at times partnered with Russia, poses at least an equal security risk to the region and key U.S. interests. Defeating ISIS, while worthy in itself, must be done in a manner to reinforce regional stability and U.S. interests.
        Considerations related to the defeat of ISIS itself include how, and with whom, we defeat ISIS. The U.S. interest is to advance a "day after" scenario that keeps the U.S. in the region, maintains our new (Syrian Kurdish YPG) and old (Turkish and Iraqi) relationships, pushes back Iranian ambitions, and "manages" an inevitable Russian presence. The writer served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq as well as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor. This is from his Feb. 7 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

"The Two-State Solution": What Does It Really Mean? - Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The phrase "two-state solution" is repeated daily by international leaders and organizations. However, the phrase is bandied about without a full awareness of its history or of the practical aspects of its implementation in the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
  • It is accepted that a situation in which a neighboring Palestinian state would be politically and economically unstable and open to manipulation by terror elements could never be acceptable to Israel and would constitute a threat to Israel's security.
  • It is accepted that a unified Palestinian leadership must be able to speak in the name of the entire Palestinian people and capable of entering into and fulfilling commitments. Such a situation does not exist at present.
  • On the basis of experience gained with the existing agreements, any permanent status agreement between the sides will need to include solid guarantees - legal, political, and security - that a Palestinian state will not abuse its sovereign prerogatives and international standing in order to violate or void the agreements.
  • It is clear that a Palestinian state will only emanate from direct negotiations between Israel and a unified Palestinian leadership. Issues such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements will only be resolved by negotiation and not by partisan political resolutions emanating from the UN or any other source.
  • Any such state must recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, in the same manner in which Israel would recognize a Palestinian state as the nation state of the Palestinian people.

    Amb. Alan Baker, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

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