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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
March 2, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic State Targets China - Michael Martina (Reuters)
    Vowing to plant their flag in China and that blood will "flow in rivers," a new video released this week by Islamic State shows ethnic Uighur fighters training in Iraq.
    Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people from western China's Xinjiang region, have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for militant groups there.
    In the video, a shot of Chinese President Xi Jinping gives way to flames in front of a Chinese flag.
    One fighter says, "We will certainly plant our flag over America, China, Russia, and all the infidels of the world." Another fighter refers to the "evil Chinese Communist infidel lackeys."
    Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a Chinese hostage in 2015.

Russia and Syrian Regime Bomb U.S.-Backed Fighters in Syria - Dan Lamothe (Washington Post)
    Russian and Syrian regime forces bombed U.S.-backed fighters Tuesday near the Syrian city of al-Bab, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said Wednesday, characterizing the incident as a likely mistake.

Senior Church of England Bishop Condemns Israel Apartheid Week (Jewish News-UK)
    Dr. Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield and Chair of the Council of Christians and Jews, said this week:
    Israel "Apartheid Week is not a helpful or constructive way to address the serious challenges of Palestinians and Israelis. Over time it has become a source of great tension between Jewish students and others on UK campuses."
    "Rather than informing the dialogue around this complex issue, it can often close down dialogue and leave Jewish students feeling intimidated, vulnerable and insecure at a time of rising anti-Semitism in the UK and beyond."

UN Peacekeepers in Africa Using Israeli Security Technology - Shlomo Cesana (Israel Hayom)
    The UN is using Israeli observation balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to protect its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.
    The equipment is used to guard outposts, carry out operations and gather intelligence.
    Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, "Israel stands at the forefront of security innovation and technological advancement. We are happy that [UN officials] have understood the Israeli advantage, and we are working to broaden this cooperation."

Israeli Startups Raise $700M in 2017 So Far (Globes)
    Israeli startups raised nearly $700 million in January and February, keeping pace with last year when Israeli startups raised a record $4.8 billion, according to IVC.
    The pace of financing is all the more impressive in light of reports of a downturn in startup financing in the U.S.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ISIS Calls to "Terrorize" Jewish Communities in the West - Julian Robinson
    ISIS fanatics have issued a chilling call for fellow extremists to "terrorize" Jewish communities in the West through an ISIS-linked Telegram channel called Lone Mujahid - a chat room which encourages "lone-wolf"-style attacks. Supporters were advised to "dress up like a Jew" and conceal weapons under their coats before "unleashing the pain of the Muslims" on their victims. A separate message included a list of Jewish communities in Britain. (Daily Mail-UK)
  • ISIS Intimidation Escalates in Egypt's Sinai - Dahlia Kholaif
    Women traveling on buses in northern Sinai say Islamic State fighters have boarded the vehicles, introduced themselves as religious police and threatened to whip them and splash them with acid if they don't comply with the militants' dress code. They "warned that those who don't wear full-face veils or travel without a male guardian will face punishment," said Marwa Elfar, a teacher. (Wall Street Journal)
  • UN Investigators Say Syria Deliberately Bombed Humanitarian Aid Convoy - Nick Cumming-Bruce and Anne Barnard
    UN investigators said Wednesday that the Syrian Air Force deliberately bombed a humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo in September. The Syrians first dropped barrel bombs from helicopters on the UN convoy, then fired rockets from jets, then strafed survivors with machine guns, killing 14 aid workers. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Kills Knife-Wielding Palestinian Assailant - Elisha Ben-Kimon
    A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli at his home in front of his children at the Mor Farm outpost near Teneh Omarim in the southern Mount Hebron area of the West Bank on Wednesday. The Israeli then shot and killed the terrorist. (Ynet News)
  • IDF: Renewed War with Hizbullah May Also Involve Lebanese Army - Arik Bender
    IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevy told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that the chances for the outbreak of war with either Hamas or Hizbullah are low. He explained that Hizbullah is embroiled in fighting in Syria. However, he added that whenever the next conflict with Hizbullah does break out, the Lebanese army will likely join the war against Israel because of Lebanon's growing dependence on Iranian aid. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Quietly Begins Exporting Natural Gas to Jordan - Eran Azran
    Israel began exporting natural gas to Jordan in January after two companies operating at the Dead Sea - Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine - were connected to Israel's national pipeline network. To keep the Israeli side at arm's length, the gas is technically being sold to the Jordanians by an American company, NBL: Eastern Mediterranean Marketing. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Muslim Brotherhood: Terrorists or Not? - Mokhtar Awad and Samuel Tadros
    Supporters of having the U.S. designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization insist that it has helped incubate terrorist ideologies and encouraged violence. Moreover, the Brotherhood has already been designated as a terrorist group by several American allies, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
        The old Muslim Brotherhood splintered after its fall from power in Egypt in 2013. In its place stand two competing leaderships, along with spinoff groups engaged in terrorism. Designating the entire Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as a terrorist organization wouldn't reflect today's realities - to say nothing of a blanket designation against all Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the world. Instead, the administration should target specific individuals, factions and spinoff groups that have been involved in terrorist activity.
        Mr. Awad is a research fellow at George Washington University's Program on Extremism. Mr. Tadros is a fellow at the Hudson Institute and the Hoover Institution. (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. Should Shut Down Iran's Top Terrorist - Kenneth R. Timmerman
    As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleymani is Iran's top terrorist. The Quds Force is in charge of "extraterritorial" operations for the IRGC - it's the overseas terrorist wing. The Quds Force has been implicated in terror plots all around the world, including a failed 2011 attempt to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Suleymani and his operatives were also implicated in the September 11 plot, helping 10 to 12 of the Saudi hijackers travel clandestinely through Iran to Afghanistan and providing logistical and other support.
        The introduction of explosively formed projectiles onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan by Suleymani and his men changed the scope and scale of U.S. casualties, ultimately accounting for as many as 1,500 U.S. battlefield deaths. After Osama bin Laden, Qassem Suleymani has more American blood on his hands than any terrorist. It's time we shut him down for good. (Washington Times)
  • UN Human Rights Council Quicksand - Anne Bayefsky
    The Bush administration had refused to join the UN Human Rights Council, or to pay for it, the most anti-Israel, twisted bastion of moral relativism in the UN system. There is a permanent agenda of ten items that governs proceedings at every Council session. One agenda item is devoted to human-rights violations by Israel, and one generic agenda item is for all other 192 UN member states that might be found to "require the Council's attention."
        The U.S. joined the Council in 2009. It would vote against the anti-Israel resolutions, often 46 to 1, and then turn around and spend American taxpayer dollars to implement those very resolutions. Staying on the Council means paying for the Council.
        A 2016 Council resolution calls for the creation of a blacklist of all companies that are connected with or do business with Israeli settlements "directly or indirectly." Not surprisingly, the Council has no comparable boycott scheme for the world's most heinous regimes. The writer is president of Human Rights Voices and director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. (National Review)
  • Bab al-Mandab Shipping Chokepoint Under Threat - Cmdr. Jeremy Vaughan, USN and Simon Henderson
    The Bab al-Mandab Strait controls access to the Red Sea and the southern end of the Suez Canal. More than 60 commercial ships transit the strait every day, and several passenger cruise liners use the route as well. Houthi rebels have attacked warships in or near the strait on at least four occasions since last fall.
        After the U.S. government warned about mines in the strait on Feb. 9, ships were advised to transit only during daylight. Cmdr. Jeremy Vaughan is a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute. Simon Henderson is director of the Institute's Gulf and Energy Policy Program. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

World Leaders Must Condemn Anti-Semitism Wherever It Is Found - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Jewish People Policy Institute)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem on Wednesday:

  • The rebirth of Israel means that the Jewish people now have the capacity to defend ourselves. Israel restored our means to resist militarily against those who would try to physically vanquish us and to resist politically by having a voice among the councils of the nations and in public opinion.
  • Anti-Semitism certainly has not disappeared. But there is much we can do to fight back. World leaders need to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism wherever it is found.
  • I appreciate the fact that in the last few weeks and days, President Trump and Vice President Pence have taken a strong stance in condemning anti-Semitism. This is what we expect too from European leaders, most of them have done it, and this is what we must demand from governments around the world because Jews around the world should not live in fear.
  • I have just returned from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, two Muslim nations, and I met there with Jewish communities as I did in Singapore and in Australia. It was startling to see in two Muslim countries Jewish children proudly singing Jewish songs in Hebrew, proud of their heritage, proud of their people. This is the future we'd like to see.
  • Israel's influence is expanding as never before. And as it expands, we are garnering allies for our people everywhere. The entire world is coming to Israel because of our expertise in technology and in countering terrorism. And this is why I've never been more hopeful about the Jewish future.
  • Israel is stronger than ever. Our impact in the world is ever expanding. 100 years ago, on the eve of the Balfour declaration, people asked what to do about what they called, "The Jewish question." Well, 100 years later, the answer is clear. Israel is the answer.

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