Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Daily Alert Mobile
Search Back Issues
  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
February 15, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

First Israeli Research Satellite Launched into Space - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Israel successfully launched into space Wednesday a new nanosatellite to conduct scientific missions for Ben-Gurion University.
    BGUSAT - a little larger than a milk carton - is outfitted with innovative cameras that can photograph a large array of weather phenomena.
    In addition, a project from Tel Aviv University was one of four experiments included on the SpacePharma nanosatellite, a Swiss-based project launched in the same rocket.
    The rocket was launched from the southern Indian spaceport of Sriharikota by India's Space Research Organization and carried a record 104 satellites.

Israel Withdraws Ambassador from Egypt over Security Concerns - Raf Sanchez and Magdy Samaan (Telegraph-UK)
    Israeli Ambassador David Govrin and embassy staff were pulled out of Egypt at the end of last year over security concerns.
    While other foreign ambassadors are able to move relatively freely around Cairo, the Israeli envoy traveled everywhere with a heavy security detail.
    Govrin, a fluent Arabic speaker, posted a YouTube video in July talking about his affection for Egypt and his hopes for Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Report: Syrian Forces Used Chlorine Bombs in Final Push for Aleppo - Carole Landry (AFP)
    Syrian government forces dropped chlorine bombs at least eight times during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine people, among them four children, and injuring 200, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The U.S. and Israel Must Grow Their Economic Alliance - Josh Kram (New York Observer)
    America now exports more to Israel than it does to Russia or Indonesia.
    Israel is also an outsized investor in the American economy, investing more than Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Russia, or all of Africa.
    Israel's investment in America helps create good jobs across the country, such as the nearly 9,000 employed by Israel's Teva Pharmaceuticals.
    The writer is senior director for Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Headlines Hamas Doesn't Let You See - Francine Wolfisz (Jewish News-UK)
    Martin Himel, a Middle East correspondent for 25 years, interviewed combatants, civilians and politicians from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for his provocative documentary, "Eyeless In Gaza," which premieres in London later this month.
    Using the 2014 Gaza War as a starting point, the film features clips taken from media coverage at the time.
    Himel believes there has been "significant distortion" in reports on Israel due to what he calls "group think."

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Archives Portal 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Says Two-State Solution Isn't Condition for Mideast Peace - Tracy Wilkinson and Alexandra Zavis
    A senior White House official briefing reporters on Tuesday ahead of the Trump-Netanyahu meeting on Wednesday said, "A two-state solution [between Israel and the Palestinians] that doesn't bring peace is not our goal that anybody wants to achieve." Asked whether peace didn't equal a two-state solution, the official said, "Maybe, maybe not."
        "It's something the two sides have to agree to," the official added. "It's not for us to impose that vision....Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that's what the parties want, or something else. If that's what the parties want, we're going to help them."  (Chicago Tribune)
  • Iran Establishes Network to Train Foreign Terrorists - Rowan Scarborough
    Iran has escalated its overseas terrorist operations, establishing a network of 14 training bases for foreign fighters, the National Council of Resistance of Iran said Tuesday in Washington, specifying the camps' locations and the countries represented. The council said Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has approved a directorate inside the Revolutionary Guards' Quds force "to expand its training of foreign mercenaries as part of the regime's strategy to step up its meddling abroad, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Afghanistan and elsewhere."
        "Every month, hundreds of forces from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon...receive military training and are subsequently dispatched to wage terrorism and war." Some Quds graduates have shown up on the U.S. doorstep in Latin America. (Washington Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Iran Grabs the Reins in Gaza - Pinhas Inbari
    Hamas has chosen Yahya Sinwar, one of the security prisoners released in the "Shalit deal" in 2011, as its senior leader in Gaza. The implication of the selection means that Iran has retaken the reins in Gaza after a long hiatus during which Egypt, on one hand, and Turkey and Qatar, on the other, tried to fill the vacuum.
        Iran chose to take back the reins in Gaza because of the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Iran fears that in Wednesday's talks in Washington, Trump and Netanyahu will discuss an aggressive option vis-a-vis Iran.
        It is doubtful if any "elections" were held in Gaza to choose Sinwar. The result is due to pressure by Hamas' military wing on the political wing, and the announcement's timing is Iran's way of conveying a message before the Trump-Netanyahu talks.
        If that's the case, don't expect that Sinwar's "election" foretells a new escalation from Gaza against Israel - just the opposite. Iran will restrain Hamas in order to keep the Gaza front available for Iran's own needs, and Iran's alone. The writer is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio and is an analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Does Islamic State in Sinai Have an Ability to Hurt Israel? - Judah Ari Gross
    Despite last week's rocket attack on Eilat from Sinai, the IDF and independent military analysts say an impending large-scale confrontation between Israel and the Islamic State-affiliate in Sinai is not likely. Israel is certainly on the IS list of targets, but the terrorist group is simply far too busy fighting Egyptian forces to open another front with Israel, according to an intelligence officer in the IDF Southern Command. He noted that IS views Muslims who do not follow their radical view of Islam as worse than non-Muslims.
        "Will the Sinai Province suddenly take the position that Israel's going to be the principal target and that they'll start marching towards al-Quds [Jerusalem]? No," the intelligence officer said. "But does the Islamic State in Sinai have an ability to hurt Israel? Yes."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why Did U.S. Veto UN Post for Palestinian Ex-PM - Benny Avni
    Last week UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres nominated former PA prime minister Salam Fayyad to be the UN envoy in Libya. America's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley then declined to approve the nomination. Naming "Palestine" as Fayyad's state of origin is crucial. Never before had a person from a country that is not a full UN member been named to such high post. American law forbids funding any international organization that recognizes "Palestine" as its full member.
        American officials, as well as their Israeli counterparts, sensed that the move was yet another step in the PA's strategy of gaining world recognition through creeping UN acceptance.
        A former IMF official, Fayyad is indeed well liked by diplomats, including many in Israel. As finance minister and prime minister, he was one of the only PA officials actually attempting to build state institutions and promote financial viability before he was pushed aside by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Yet the UN nomination was not about Fayyad, but about the claim to statehood that his nomination represents. (New York Sun)
  • Foreign Government Funding to Political NGOs Operating in Another Democracy Is a Violation of Sovereignty and Self-Determination - Gerald M. Steinberg
    For many years, the governments of Belgium, the United Kingdom, and most other Western European governments have provided millions every year to NGOs involved in BDS, war crimes allegations against Israel, and lawsuits against the government in the Israeli courts. This European funding of groups on one side of the political spectrum has a direct impact on Israel's society and political system.
        European funding for radical NGOs targeting Israel has no parallel in the democratic world. All foreign government funding to political NGOs operating in another democracy is a violation of sovereignty and self-determination. The writer is president of NGO Monitor and professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University. (Ynet News)
  • For the Palestinians, the Two-State Solution Was Always a Fraud - Joel Fishman
    During the war in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese intention was to conquer South Vietnam, but they spoke of the "Two-State Solution" to disguise their aims and manipulate world public opinion. They adopted a strategy of phases which would enable them to reach their goal by gradual steps.
        In the early 1970s, Salah Khalaf led a PLO delegation to Hanoi to learn from the North Vietnamese. There, they met the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap and political advisors who coached them on presenting their case and changing their image of being terrorists.
        Khalaf recounted that the North Vietnamese advised the Palestinians to devote attention to the intermediate stages of their war. "The Politbureau members gave a long expose of the various stages in the Vietnamese People's struggle, explaining why they had had to resign themselves to various concessions, sometimes important ones such as the division of the country into two separate, independent states."
        It is still necessary to listen carefully to what the enemy is saying and what he means. We live in a high-technology culture of sound bites, but in order to understand what is wrong here, we must remember the history of this slogan, which was designed from the start to be a swindle. It began as a tool of political warfare, and its purpose never changed. (Mosaic-Mida)

A Step toward Mideast Peace: Tell the Truth - Max Singer (Wall Street Journal)

  • If President Trump wants to advance the possibility of peace, he should begin by challenging the five big untruths that sustain the anti-Israel consensus:
  • Israel occupies "Palestinian territory." This is nonsensical: There never has been a Palestinian government that could hold any territory, meaning Israel could not have taken "Palestinian land." The West Bank is "disputed" land. Israel came to the territory it holds not only during a defensive war but also through historical and legal claims, including the 1922 League of Nations mandate to establish a Jewish homeland.
  • Millions of Palestinian "refugees" have a "right of return" to Israel. Practically none of the people so defined are refugees as normally defined; rather they are the descendants of refugees. The Arab world has kept them in misery for three generations to preserve their plight as a weapon against Israel. Privately, American diplomats understand that the normal description of Palestinian "refugees" is a fraud and that these descendants have no legal "right of return."
  • Israelis and Palestinians have comparable claims to Jerusalem. Although Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque is significant in Islam, the city itself has essentially no religious importance. It is not mentioned in the Quran or in Muslim prayers. It was never the capital of any Islamic empire.
  • There was no ancient Jewish presence in Israel. Palestinian leaders insist that this is true. It feeds their claim that the Jews came to Israel as foreign colonialists. This falsehood can be sustained only because it is politely tolerated by the U.S. and Europe.
  • The Palestinians are ready to accept a "two-state solution" to end the conflict. The U.S. has a tendency to assume that Palestinian leaders are ready to accept Israel if suitable concessions are offered. But what is the evidence for this? When did the Palestinians give up their long-term commitment to destroy Israel? Undoubtedly, many Palestinians are willing and even eager for peace. Yet it is still taboo in Palestinian debate to publicly suggest accepting Israel's legitimacy.

    The writer, a founder of the Hudson Institute, is a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.