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March 27, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

FBI Technology Led to Breakthrough in JCC Investigation - Eliyahu Kamisher (Jerusalem Post)
    In mid-March, 14 FBI agents and technical experts arrived in Israel for the JCC bomb threat investigation, bringing sophisticated technology that the Israel Police did not have access to previously, which turned out to be essential in locating the suspect.
    "[Israel Police] were at the goal line and needed some help to punch it across," said Cary Gleicher, the FBI's top attache to Israel.
    See also JCC Bomb Threat Suspect Said Behind over 1,000 Calls (Times of Israel)
    The Israeli-American teenager suspected of being behind the recent bomb threats to American JCCs made more than 1,000 threatening phone calls targeted schools and other public institution over the past two years, Yediot Ahronot reported Sunday.

Israeli Ambassador: For First Time in Many Years, "No Daylight" between Israel, U.S. - Amir Tibon (Ha'aretz)
    Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, told the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on Sunday that "for the first time in many years, perhaps in decades, there is no daylight" between the governments of the U.S. and Israel.
    Dermer also praised new U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley who was "finally bringing clarity" to the UN with regard to Israel.

10 Egyptian Soldiers, 15 ISIS Militants Killed in Sinai Fight - Nour Youssef and Declan Walsh (New York Times)
    Ten Egyptian soldiers and 15 ISIS militants were killed during a raid on an Islamist insurgent base in central Sinai, an Egyptian military spokesman said Thursday.
    The Egyptian soldiers died in two roadside blasts on Wednesday.

Israeli Soldiers Thwart Stabbing Attack in West Bank - Elisha Ben Kimon and Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    A Palestinian terrorist tried to stab a soldier with a screwdriver at a bus stop in the Nablus area of the West Bank on Monday.
    IDF troops overpowered the attacker without opening fire.

Hizbullah and the Gullible Arabs - Mohammed Al Shaikh (Al Arabiyia)
    Lebanon's Hizbullah is the creation of Iran. It receives most of its funding from Iran and secures the rest from drug deals across the world.
    These factors destroy the idea that the aim of Hizbullah's arms is to resist Israel and protect Lebanon's borders.
    The Iranians and their product Hizbullah propagate this idea to arm the Shiite militia in Lebanon so it can be used to protect Tehran's influence and control.
    Arabs, who are especially gullible, have not learned anything from the history of fake leaders who used the Palestinian cause as an excuse to serve their greed and domination.
    Examples of these leaders are Saddam Hussein and Gamal Abdel Nasser. Now there is Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. All of them exploited the Palestinian cause to achieve their aims.
    Most Arabs believe the same lie uttered by deceitful leaders.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Diplomat Accuses UN of Bias Against Israel - Anne Gearan
    The Trump administration is strongly condemning what it calls a systemic anti-Israel bias at the UN, arguing Friday that UN monitoring of West Bank settlement activity allowed by the Obama administration is the latest example. Michele Sison, the No. 2 U.S. diplomat at the UN, spoke against the unfair singling out of Israel during a closed session of the UN Security Council on Friday. There and elsewhere, the Trump administration is arguing that the UN has allowed valuable time and attention to be hijacked for bashing Israel.
        "There can be no moral equivalency between the building of homes and murderous terrorism," Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon said Friday. "The only impediment to peace is Palestinian violence and incitement. This obsessive focus on Israel must end."  (Washington Post)
  • UK Puts UN Human Rights Council "On Notice" over "Anti-Israel Bias" - Jon Sharman
    The UK has put the UN Human Rights Council "on notice" over what it called its "disproportionate focus on Israel." On Friday the UK mission to the UN said it would vote against all resolutions about Israel's conduct in the territories if things did not change, condemning the council's "unacceptable pattern of bias." The mission also questioned why Israel was still a standing agenda item while "Syria's regime butchers and murders its people on a daily basis."  (Independent-UK)
        See also Britain's Pro-Israel Pivot - Editorial
    Just days after the Dec. 23 vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 criticizing Israel's settlements, a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We do not believe it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally." Since then, May's government has made a concerted effort to demonstrate that it will be adopting a more pro-Israel stance. We welcome this change and encourage other Western countries to join Britain in combating Israel's unfair treatment at the UN. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: We Will Defeat Radical Islamic Terror Much Quicker If We Work Together with Other Threatened Nations
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet on Sunday: "Last Friday I spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May. I sent her condolences, on behalf of the government and people of Israel....I told her that we in Israel have stood against car-ramming and stabbing attacks and we understand that the terrorism that is striking us is the terrorism that is striking London, Brussels, Nice and other places around the world. This is the terrorism of radical Islam that calls for concerted action everywhere in order to defeat it. We will defeat it much quicker if we work together."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Does the Assassination of a Senior Hamas Member in Gaza Mean Escalation? - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Mazen Fuqha, a senior member of Hamas' military wing, was shot four times in the head in Gaza City near his home on March 24 by two men who used a pistol with a silencer. Fuqha had operated a cell that carried out a suicide bombing of a bus in 2002 that killed nine Israelis and injured 40 others. He was sentenced to nine life terms before his release in the Shalit deal in 2011.
        The killing in the heart of Hamas-controlled Gaza constitutes a serious blow to Hamas' prestige and shatters the sense of security for Hamas officials. From now on, they will begin to move around with armed escorts and security guards.
        Hamas is promising revenge against Israel, but the likelihood that Hamas will start firing rockets at Israel in response is low. Rocket fire into Israel would result in a strong Israeli response and another round of fighting that is not currently in Hamas' interest.
        Therefore, Hamas may respond with terrorist acts perpetrated by its "dormant cells" in the West Bank, in attacks against Israelis living there or inside the Green Line. Moreover, in order to surprise Israel, Hamas may deviate from its policy and carry out a revenge attack against Israeli or Jewish targets abroad, just as Hizbullah has done. The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Commander's Killing May Serve as a Warning - Ron Ben-Yishai
    Hamas senior commander Mazan Fukha was one of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released in 2011 in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Immediately after his release, Fukha joined the leadership of Hamas' military wing and began initiating terror attacks. Most of Hamas' terror attack planning systems and main units in the West Bank and Gaza are headed by prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal.
        Fukha's assassination, even if it was not carried out or commissioned by Israel, serves as a warning to the rest of the prisoners who were released in the Shalit deal and returned to their evil ways. We should also take into account the possibility that Fukha's assassins were Gazans who had scores to settle with him and Hamas - for example, members of the Salafi groups who are being persecuted by Hamas. (Ynet News)
        See also Salafist Groups, Not Hamas, Behind Gaza Rocket Fire - Amos Harel
    Israel Security Agency and military officials describe the sporadic rocket fire from Gaza at Israel as protest moves by Salafi groups against Hamas because the regime in Gaza has imprisoned over 550 of their members. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The UK Cracks Down on the UN's Anti-Israel Dishonesty - Ron Prosor
    The UK's statement on Friday calling out the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for its "disproportionate focus on Israel" was an uncharacteristically forceful and public statement of truth on the issue. Human rights in every other country are debated under "Agenda Item 4"; only Israel has an entire agenda item of its own - "Agenda Item 7," a structural, institutionalized mechanism singling out Israel at the council. The result, noted Britain's Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, is that of 135 country-specific resolutions adopted by the council, 68 have targeted Israel.
        This partly explains why in the past decade, although more than 300,000 civilians have been killed in Sudan, 55,000 children killed in Syria and more than 3,000 people executed in Iran, Israel has received more condemnation than those countries combined.
        Britain broke ranks with the other European members and voted against a resolution regarding Israel and the Golan Heights. "We cannot accept the perverse message sent out by a Syria Golan resolution that singles out Israel, as Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian people," said Braithwaite. The writer is Israel's former ambassador to the UN. (Jewish News-UK)
  • UN Human Rights Council Declares Israel World's No. 1 Human Rights Violator - Anne Bayefsky
    The latest session of the UN Human Rights Council, which wrapped up in Geneva on Friday, adopted five times more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth. The council is now the principal UN engine of BDS - the campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. It has sponsored the creation of a blacklist of companies directly or indirectly doing business with Israeli settlements.
        Since the U.S. returned to the council in 2009, it has made speeches about "unacceptable" Israel-bias and voted against the anti-Israel resolutions, and then pays for their implementation. Staying on the council means American taxpayers will pay for the production of a blacklist of American companies doing business with Israel. The writer is director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. (Fox News)

What's the Palestinian Contribution to Peace? - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)

  • It is clear that President Trump would like to move the Israelis and Palestinians forward toward a peace agreement. According to press reports, his adviser, Jason Greenblatt, recently held discussions in Jerusalem on how Israeli settlement activities might be limited, and of steps that might be taken to improve the Palestinian economy.
  • These are important subjects to cover, but there is another one that simply must be on the table (and perhaps it was). The list of subjects must include what the Palestinians will give, not just what they will receive.
  • Congress is increasingly hostile to continuing American aid while payments to convicted terrorists and their families by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) continue.
  • There is also the matter of "incitement," meaning statements and actions by the PA that glorify terror and demonize Israel and Jews. In the last few decades, under presidents of both parties, the U.S. has said this must stop but has never penalized the PA when it did not.
  • It would be a mistake to give the PA and PLO concessions in return for nothing. It would be a mistake to reward Abbas merely for returning to negotiations he should never have left and that are not a favor to the U.S. or to Israel.

    The writer, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the CFR, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration.

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