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 Tuesday,
March 14, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Sets Up Underground Rocket Factories in Lebanon - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Iran has established rocket factories in Lebanon that are under the control of Hizbullah, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida reported Monday, citing a deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
    The factories, said to be located underground, have reportedly been in operation for the past three months.
    Their staff includes advisers from the IRGC, as well as hundreds of Lebanese experts trained at the Imam Hossein University in Tehran.
    The Iranian general said that the decision to produce rockets in Lebanon came after Israel bombed weapons factories in Sudan and supply routes for Iranian rockets via Syria.

UK Pro-Palestinian Group Leader Deported from Israel (BBC News)
    Hugh Lanning, chairman of the UK's Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, was deported from Israel after arriving on Sunday.
    The Embassy of Israel in London said PSC "leads the campaign in the UK to demonize and boycott Israel."
    "Lanning is associated with the leaders of Hamas, which is designated as a terror group across the European Union - a group whose anti-Semitic charter calls for killing all Jews."
    Israel released a photo showing Lanning meeting in 2012 with the then-leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.

After Brexit, Israel Senses a Chance to Boost Trade with UK - Mark Leftly (Guardian-UK)
    After talks in London last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced a joint working group charged with "preparing the ground" for a trade deal.
    The trade relationship between Israel and Britain is already worth 4.9 billion pounds.
    On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in Jerusalem as he stood beside Netanyahu: "We are...building a global identity as a Britain that's coming out of the EU and we want to build on our trading partnership with you. We are the biggest European trading partner with Israel."
    The Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems is in a consortium that provides the UK Ministry of Defense with training aircraft and simulators. One in seven UK National Health Service drugs come from Israel.
    Britain, in effect, outsourced trade negotiations to European bureaucrats in the 1970s.

How Hamas Is Winning Hearts and Minds in Europe - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    The Palestinians Abroad Conference in February in Istanbul was attended by members of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated networks all over Europe.
    Their shared goal is to promote international legitimacy for Hamas in its bid to challenge the PLO's international standing as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
    In this way Hamas is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance.
    These groups include the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the Charity Coalition (also known as the Union of Good), and Friends of Al-Aqsa.

RSS Feed 
Key Links 
Archives Portal 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians to Set Conditions on Returning to Peace Talks - Kifah Ziboun and Nazir Majli
    As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets on Tuesday in Ramallah with President Trump's envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Palestinian Authority would engage in fresh negotiations with Israel based on four conditions: halting settlements, releasing a number of prisoners, guaranteeing the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines, and determining a timeframe for the end of negotiations.
        Sources said the Palestinian Authority's new conditions show its acceptance of a U.S. mediating role and of direct negotiations with Israel, contrary to its previous stance on the need to have an international mechanism as the basis for launching the peace talks. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims Damascus Bombings as Message to Iran - Bassem Mroue
    The Levant Liberation Committee, an al-Qaeda-linked group, claimed responsibility Sunday for twin suicide blasts near holy shrines frequented by Shiites in the Syrian capital Damascus that killed at least 40 people and wounded over a hundred on Saturday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll had reached 74. The Levant Liberation Committee, dominated by Fatah al-Sham, said the blasts were a message to "Iran and its militias."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • Russia Deploys Special Forces in Egypt, Eyes Libya Role - Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali and Lin Noueihed
    Russia appears to have deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya in recent days. Diplomatic officials said the Russian deployment might be part of a bid to support Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar. The top U.S. military commander overseeing troops in Africa, Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, told the U.S. Senate last week that Russia was trying to exert influence in Libya to strengthen its leverage over whoever ultimately holds power. (Reuters-U.S. News)
        See also Russia Seeks Another Mediterranean Naval Base in Libya - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Meets Trump Envoy Greenblatt to Discuss Peace and Settlement Construction
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for five hours on Monday in Jerusalem with Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations. Greenblatt reaffirmed President Trump's commitment to Israel's security and to the effort to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations. The two also continued discussions relating to settlement construction. (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinians Protest PA Decision to Try Those Who Planned to Murder Israelis
    After locals gathered on Sunday in Ramallah in protest of a case against slain activist Basel al-Araj and five other Palestinians who were imprisoned last year by the Palestinian Authority, PA police violently suppressed the demonstration. There were also reports of clashes between Palestinian security forces and demonstrators in Daheisha in Bethlehem following a similar protest.
        The six Palestinians were detained last April and accused of illegal weapons possession and planning an attack on Israel. After a hunger strike by the six ultimately led to their release in September without any charges, four were immediately detained by Israeli forces and Al-Araj, who remained in hiding, was killed last week in a clash with Israeli forces. On Sunday the Ramallah district court announced that al-Araj's fellow prisoners in the case would still be tried in court. (Ma'an News-PA)
        See also Palestinian Protesters Call on Abbas to Resign, End Security Cooperation with Israel - Adam Rasgon
    Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Ramallah's Manara Square on Monday to call on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to resign and end security cooperation with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Weaponry May Have Killed Gaza Doctor's Three Daughters - Almog Ben Zikri
    The building where four relatives of Gaza doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish were killed during the Israel-Hamas war of 2009 contained weaponry not used by Israeli forces, indicating that the IDF may not have caused their deaths, the state said in a court brief submitted last week in response to a lawsuit filed by the doctor.
        Lt. Col. Eran Tubal, head of the IDF ground forces' materials and chemistry laboratory, conducted lab tests on shrapnel extracted from two of the wounded who were hospitalized in Israeli hospitals. One fragment included an explosive called R-Salt, which is not used by the IDF but is commonly used in explosives produced in Gaza. The fragments also contained potassium nitrate, which is not used in IDF artillery but is "a key element in the engines of improvised rockets like the Qassam," a Hamas rocket, Tubal wrote. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Presence in Syria Threatens Many Countries - Abdlrahman Al-Rashed
    Israel has expressed the view that any arrangement to end the war in Syria should not allow an Iranian military presence and that of its proxies to remain in the country. The truth is, Iran and its proxies' military presence in Syria also affects the security of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and the Gulf.
        The weakness of the Syrian regime's military capabilities and Iran's will to compensate that by its own forces and militias altered the security and political aspects of the entire region and not just Syria. Most likely the region's countries will not oppose Russia filling the military and security vacuum using its forces or other international ones, as long as they do not include Iranian Revolutionary Guards or other foreign militias. The new U.S. administration agrees with most of the region's countries that it is important to limit Iran's expansion in the region. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Do Supporters of Palestine Accept Indiscriminate Murder? - Robert Fulford
    In their struggle against Israel, the Palestinians have developed an enormous fan base in the countries of the West, particularly among university students. Do these people know even a little about the reality they are supporting?
        I read that the PLO gave the name "Brothers of Dalal" to a camp for young people, run by its Supreme Council for Youth and Sports. It honors Dalal Mughrabi, a Fatah lieutenant who directed the Coastal Road Massacre on March 11, 1978, in which 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were killed and 72 were wounded. Mughrabi and eight other Palestinian terrorists also died. She led a team who landed on the coast near Tel Aviv.
        On the beach they encountered Gail Rubin, an American photographer taking nature pictures. They asked directions and, after she answered, Mughrabi killed her. On the coastal road they hijacked a taxi, killing its occupants. They seized two buses and put all the passengers in one of them. Israeli soldiers stopped the bus and it exploded because Mughrabi blew it up with a grenade. Mughrabi became a heroine and martyr among Palestinians.
        There's something especially ugly about celebrating Mughrabi's achievement. She killed at random. She willingly killed Israelis of every kind, and perhaps a few tourists who got in her way. By raising her to the level of national standard-bearer, Palestinian leaders applaud the killing of innocents, morally authorizing others to do the same. Official Palestine stands firmly behind erratic, indiscriminate homicide. (National Post-Canada)

Obama's Legacy, a Nuclear Iran? - Emily B. Landau (Middle East Quarterly)

  • To former President Obama, the Iran deal is a shining nonproliferation success story. But his assessment is wrong. The JCPOA has many flaws and weaknesses.
  • Up until 2013, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) had sought to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure - except perhaps for an extremely limited and mainly symbolic enrichment program - and to deny it the ability to develop nuclear weapons.
  • However, by 2014, the P5+1 had deemed this goal unattainable and settled instead for a much watered-down aim: merely lengthening Tehran's breakout time from several months to a year while leaving much of its nuclear infrastructure intact. Moreover, they agreed to lift the restrictions in 10-15 years regardless of any change in Iran's behavior.
  • Concessions, such as agreeing not to discuss ballistic missiles, opened the door to further compromises. The red-lines regarding the dismantlement of Iran's nuclear infrastructure turned pink, and many disappeared altogether. This included the number of centrifuges left spinning (originally 1,500, then 4,000, finally 6,000).
  • Furthermore, the centrifuges were not dismantled but rather mothballed; the Fordow facility was left running; R&D was enabled into a full range of advanced centrifuges; and the demand for inspections of suspicious activities "any place, any time" turned into a much longer and ambiguous process. The hard-gained leverage of the biting sanctions that brought the Iranians to the table was gradually squandered in a process where Washington projected greater eagerness for a deal than Tehran.
  • Obama's only achievement lies in kicking the nuclear can down the road to future administrations. But he created a reality in which it will be far more difficult to stop Iran down that road. The JCPOA does not end Tehran's nuclear ambitions, nor has it lived up to the president's hope of ushering in a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations.

    Dr. Emily B. Landau is director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.