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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
March 28, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Navy on Alert for Hamas Naval Commandos - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    In recent months, Israeli naval forces have recorded several incidents in which sailors deployed underwater hand grenades after they suspected that Hamas divers were approaching their ships.
    The IDF has also begun to upgrade the defensive systems of surface vessels in light of the new threats, deploying defensive systems that function in the same manner as the "Trophy" active protection system.
    The IDF has also deployed several specialized underwater detection systems along the coast.

Islamic State Terrorists Likely to Target Israelis in Sinai - Shlomo Cesana (Israel Hayom)
    The Counterterrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office issued a severe travel advisory on Monday, saying Islamic State may try to target Israelis vacationing in Sinai during the Passover holiday.
    Bureau Director Eitan Ben-David showed reporters videos published by Sinai Province, showing operatives practicing shooting attacks against Israelis on beaches or taking taxis to tourist destinations.
    The bureau also urged Israelis to avoid visiting Turkey entirely, except for passengers boarding connecting flights in Istanbul, and for those already there to leave.
    Travel warnings were also reiterated for Jordan, Thailand, India, Greece and Cyprus.

Foreign Investors Flock to Iran - Asa Fitch and Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
    Dozens of development projects and deals with European and Asian companies have been hammered out since Iran's nuclear accord with world powers in 2015 lifted a range of sanctions.
    Government-approved foreign direct investment in Iran shot up to more than $11 billion last year, official figures show, from $1.26 billion in 2015.
    Yet foreign companies still face daunting obstacles to doing business in Iran, which placed 131st out of 176 countries for corruption in a ranking by Transparency International last year.
    Moreover, large international banks remain reluctant to re-establish links with Iran, making money transfers into and out of Iran a challenge.

Sick Kids Cross Israel's Border - Gareth Andrews (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    At many hospitals in Israel, children from both the West Bank and Gaza are treated with the best care available.
    At the Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel, Palestinian kids and their caretakers - mothers, grandmothers and occasionally fathers - meet volunteers from the Road To Recovery.
    This is a group of Israeli volunteers who come to one of three checkpoints to the West Bank and Gaza.
    These remarkable people, 1,000 strong, use their own cars to make about 100 trips daily to the key hospitals able to provide pediatric care.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UN Envoy Nikki Haley: No More UN Resolutions Against Israel - Ron Kampeas
    The Trump administration will not allow a repeat of last year's UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel for its settlements, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told AIPAC on Monday. The U.S. will "never again do what we saw with Resolution 2334 and make anyone question our support" for Israel, Haley said, as she received an extended standing ovation. (JTA)
        See also Video: Ambassador Nikki Haley Speaks at AIPAC (YouTube)
        See also Netanyahu to AIPAC: Israel and America Confront the Same Enemies and Defend the Same Values
    Israel has no greater friend than America and America has no greater friend than Israel. For the security of both Israel and the United States, we must ensure that the forces of militant Islam are defeated. That means preventing Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons.
        Israel's hand is extended to all of our neighbors in peace. We teach peace to our children. And it's time the Palestinian Authority does the same. (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Video: Prime Minister Netanyahu Addresses AIPAC (AIPAC)
  • U.S. Boosts Military Backing for Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen - Gordon Lubold and Jay Solomon
    The Trump administration has significantly increased military support for Sunni Arab states fighting al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias in Yemen, including greater intelligence and logistical support, said U.S. and Arab officials. The U.S. also is moving to resume the sale of precision-guided weapons to Saudi Arabia, which were frozen during the final months of the Obama administration. Arab military officials have lauded the increased U.S. cooperation as pivotal to their own effort to push back against Iranian expansionism in the Persian Gulf region. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Islamic State Releases Video Threatening Iran
    The Islamic State threatened Iran in a rare Farsi-language propaganda video released on Monday. A masked man says, "O, Khamenei, you cursed person who controls the so-called Islamic Iranian regime, rest assured that soon we will destroy your house." Several captured soldiers are decapitated in the video, one of whom is wearing a badge indicating that he is a Shiite fighter. "We will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before," says another man.
        "Iran raised its slogans against the U.S. and Israel to deceive the Sunnis while Iranian Jews live safely in Iran under its protection, and it has provided them with temples and churches as seen in Tehran and Isfahan," the narrator says. (AFP-Guardian-Nigeria)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Targeted Killings as Calculated Risks - Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay
    While Israel has not responded to Hamas' accusations that it was behind the death of Hamas senior commander Mazen Fuqha, targeted killings have been used over the years to ravage terrorist organizations at all levels. By eliminating single terrorists, future attacks can be prevented; terrorists are forced to focus on personal survival, stunting their ability to attack Israel; and the method helps minimize unwanted collateral damage.
        Opponents argue that every killed terrorist has a replacement, and that killing a terrorist will lead to an escalation in hostilities and revenge attacks. The answer is that terrorist groups, by their very nature, try attacking regardless of any desire to avenge the death of one operative or another; and generally, a terrorist attack dedicated to avenging a comrade would have been carried out anyway.
        It is correct to say that every terrorist has a replacement, but often the death of a senior terrorist disrupts the preparations for an attack, while all his valuable operational knowledge and experience are lost to the organization. The writer, former deputy head of the Israel National Security Council and former head of the IDF military history department, is a lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. (Israel Hayom)
  • No One Protests Civilian Casualties in Mosul - Ben-Dror Yemini
    Hundreds of women and children were killed in west Mosul last week when the Americans bombed the area as part of their operations against the Islamic State. There were no claims of "war crimes" or of a "disproportional response." Such hostile sentiments are reserved only for Israel.
        From a comparative perspective, the number of civilian deaths caused by Israel in the 2014 Gaza war was much lower, even though Hamas spokespeople repeatedly boasted that they use civilians as a human shield.
        Israel is not treated like the rest of the Western states. As soon as the first reports about civilian casualties emerge, international pressure begins, including demonstrations, protests and condemnation articles. Forgiveness in such situations are reserved for every other army, but not for Israel. (Ynet News)
        See also The Cost of the U.S.-ISIS Battle - Tim Arango
    Dozens of Iraqi civilians were buried under the rubble of their homes in western Mosul after American-led airstrikes flattened almost an entire city block last week. Iraqi officials said the final death toll could reach 200 or more, making it one of the worst civilian tolls ever in an American military strike in Iraq. (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Pay for Slay in Palestine: U.S. Aid Becomes a Transfer Payment for Terrorists - Editorial
    PA officials tell foreign audiences that they oppose terrorism, yet they pay generous rewards to Palestinians who carry out bombings, stabbings and other attacks against innocents in Israel. These payments are codified in Palestinian law, which dictates that the deadlier an attack, the richer the reward. Payments equaled $315 million last year, or 8% of the PA budget. The family of Bashar Masalha, who last year stabbed 11 people near Tel Aviv and killed Taylor Force, a U.S. Army veteran visiting Israel, now receives monthly payments equal to several times the average Palestinian wage.
        The White House has invited PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington "in the near future." Whenever that meeting happens, ending the PA's bureaucracy of terror should be atop the agenda. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Iran Nuclear Deal May Ignite Arab Arms Race - Yoel Guzansky
    UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba told a Carnegie conference last week that the UAE is not pleased with its nuclear compact. Iran got a better nuclear deal than us, he said, and "it continues to keep its uranium enrichment program, while we made a commitment to forgo uranium enrichment." The first of four UAE civilian nuclear reactors is scheduled to be operational in a few months.
        Four other Middle Eastern countries are in different stages of their own independent nuclear program - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Since the nuclear deal permits Iran to pursue unrestricted uranium enrichment in the future, other countries in the region have justification for their own enrichment programs. The Saudis have embarked on an ambitious nuclear plan involving no fewer than 16 nuclear reactors. The kingdom has also signed nuclear cooperation agreements with South Korea, Russia and China.
        Iran's Arab neighbors, who are demanding to match Iran's nuclear capability, will likely continue to develop their nuclear programs in what seems like a regional, below-the-radar, slow-motion, nuclear arms race. The writer, a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. (The Hill)

New Poll: Decrease in Support among Israeli Jews for Withdrawal from the West Bank and the Establishment of a Palestinian State (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • A poll conducted on March 20-21, 2017, by leading Israeli pollster Mina Tzemach for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found a decrease in support among Israeli Jews for withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
  • Willingness to agree to a withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a peace agreement declined from 60% in 2005 to 36% in 2017. Support for the Clinton Parameters proposed by President Bill Clinton in December 2000 declined from 59% in 2005 to 29% in 2017.
  • 79% say it is important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. 83% oppose transferring the Temple Mount to the Palestinians.
  • 88% say that Israel cannot withdraw from territories that border on Ben-Gurion Airport. 81% say that Israel cannot withdraw from territories bordering the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway (Route 443).
  • 76% want Israel to have full security control of the West Bank. 81% say it is important that Israel retain sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.
  • 71% say an agreement should be conditioned on Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

        See also Poll: Only 12% of Israelis Believe Full West Bank Withdrawal Would End Conflict - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)

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