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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
May 4, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Archbishop of Canterbury Prays at Western Wall in Jerusalem, Condemns Anti-Semitism - James Macintyre (Christian Today-UK)
    The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, prayed with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
    Welby later noted: "Within European culture, the root of all racism, I think, is found in anti-Semitism. It goes back more than 1,000 years in Europe."
    "Within our Christian tradition, there has been century upon century of these terrible, terrible hatreds in which one people, who at the same time have contributed more to our culture as a people than almost any other that one can identify, that one people are also hated more specifically, more violently, more determinedly, more systematically than any other people."

Netanyahu Thanks Italy for UNESCO Vote (ANSA-Italy)
    Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday phoned Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano to thank Italy for voting against a UNESCO resolution tabled by Arab countries contesting Israeli sovereignty over part of Jerusalem.
    "Netanyahu thanked Italy for its choice, which represented an example for the other countries, and congratulated Italy for its leading role," the Italian Foreign Ministry quoted Alfano as saying.

Video: Israeli Jets Fly over Israel on Independence Day (JTA)
    Video of Israel taken from IDF planes during Independence Day flyover Tuesday.

The Palestinian Authority Is Already a "Failed State" - Shoshana Bryen (Washington Times)
    The Palestinian Authority's 2016 budget shows estimated expenditures of $4.25 billion but revenues of only $2 billion. That includes more than $1 billion in contributions from UNRWA, the EU, and the U.S.
    After 23 years and billions of other people's dollars, time and expertise, Palestinian Arabs still lack infrastructure for a viable economy.
    While President Trump expresses optimism over the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, as things stand now, an independent Palestinian state would be born a "failed state."
    The writer is senior director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington.

Medicine in Israel: A Model of Jewish-Arab Equality and Coexistence - Ronny Linder-Ganz (Ha'aretz)
    Israel's public healthcare system is a model of genuine commonality between Arabs and Jews.
    Arabs fulfill 12.4% of jobs in the government healthcare system, 42% of nursing students are Arab, and 38% of druggists are Arab.
    In 2015, 16% of all medical students were Arab; at the Technion medical school, Arabs were 38% of students and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 31%.
    Prof. Ahmed Eid, head of general surgery at Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital and one of this year's Independence Day torch lighters, does not see a glass ceiling for Arab doctors and nurses. "Personally, what I wanted, I achieved," he says.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Abbas Meets Trump at the White House
    President Donald Trump told PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday: "I'm committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement. But any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States, or by any other nation."
        "I also applaud the Palestinian Authority's continued security coordination with Israel....They work together beautifully. But there cannot be lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement and violence and hate."  (White House)
        See also Hamas: Abbas Not Authorized to Negotiate on Behalf of the Palestinians - Dov Lieber (Times of Israel)
  • White House: Trump Asked Abbas to Resolve Issue of Payments to Families of Terrorists in Israeli Jails
    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that during President Trump's meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, "some of the topics that were discussed...were: advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace; preventing incitement to violence, particularly media outlets directly associated with the Palestinian Authority; strengthening efforts to combat terrorism, including defeating ISIS; measures to empower the Palestinian economy and provide economic opportunity for the Palestinian people. And, additionally, the President raised concerns about the payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have committed acts of terror, and to their families, and emphasized the need to resolve this issue."  (White House)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Former Defense Minister Ya'alon: Trump Is Looking for a Deal, But There Is No Partner for a Deal" - Gil Hoffman
    Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in an interview, "Since the dawn of Zionism, the Arab position has been consistent, with no Arab leader being willing to divide the land with us. [PA President] Abbas won't deliver the goods. There isn't anyone on their side who can. Trump is looking for a deal. But there is no partner for a deal."
        "Because Abbas won't change his views...when the decisive time comes, he [President Trump] will see that it is the Palestinians who refuse to make peace, just like [U.S. Presidents George W.] Bush and [Bill] Clinton [did]....The problem is the lack of readiness among the relatively moderate Palestinians like Abbas to accept Israel in any borders, including pre-1967 borders."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Stabbing Attack Foiled in Hebron
    A Palestinian with a knife ran screaming toward Israeli Border Police forces on Thursday near the Tomb of Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron. Border Police shot the assailant. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Arrests Palestinian Terror Cell Responsible for West Bank Shootings
    Israeli security forces arrested two members of a terrorist cell affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the Jenin area of the West Bank, the Israel Security Agency announced Thursday. Shafiq Mahmud Shafiq, 35, and his cousin Louis Ahmed Shafiq Za'abaneh, 33, were responsible for shooting attacks targeting Israeli civilians and IDF forces in April. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Fatah and Hamas Agree, Israel Has No Right to Exist - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement doesn't recognize Israel. Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Treasury and Economy Muhammad Shtayyeh told PA TV on March 26, "To this moment, Fatah does not recognize Israel. The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah's conferences."
        Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Zahar of the Hamas movement's political bureau told Lebanese TV that Hamas' new charter accepting the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is "a tactical step that does not harm the right of the Palestinians to all of the land of Palestine."  (Palestinian Media Watch)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • UNESCO's Latest Resolution on Jerusalem: Much of the Same - Amb. Alan Baker
    Once, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was considered a credible and reputable professional organization. Today, intent on undermining the universal character of UNESCO, the Palestinian leadership has taken the organization hostage. UNESCO's special character has been gravely and irreparably polluted and prejudiced in order to delegitimize Israel. The Palestinian leadership's fixation with delegitimizing Israel is clearly a "poke in the eye" of the new U.S. administration and an ominous message to all seekers of peace.
        Nobody should take the May 2 UNESCO anti-Israel resolution seriously. It is nothing more than a non-binding, politicized expression of the political opinion of the extremist, anti-Israel states voting for it. It has no legal status whatsoever. The Palestinian leadership has, once again, devoted its international efforts to abusing an international organization in order to delegitimize Israel, rather than to instill mutual good faith and seek peace. The writer served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Is It Wise to Enlist Arab States to Help Break the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock? - John Hannah
    Israel and several Arab regimes now face common threats from Iran and radical Islamic terrorism, a convergence of interests that is increasingly driving the former adversaries together. It is thought that the time could be ripe to have Arab countries step out of the shadows and take center stage in helping break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock.
        But when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the differences over what would constitute an acceptable solution remain profound - with the Arab states, and certainly Arab public opinion, still overwhelmingly hostile to Israeli positions. Does it really make sense to stress test Israel's incipient and still-fragile cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states on the one issue that remains the source of their greatest disagreement? The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Foreign Policy)
  • Iran Is Building Two Land Corridors to the Mediterranean - Ehud Yaari
    While Tehran hopes to achieve regional hegemony in the long term, its current plan is to focus on obtaining and maintaining a predominant position in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. For the last three years, General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force within Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been busy setting up two land corridors across the Levant (one in the north and one in the south), linking Iran to the Mediterranean. These pathways would provide a link to Hizbullah in Lebanon and finally end at the edge of the Golan Heights, serving as chains to move military supplies or militiamen when needed.
        Once the battles raging in Syria and Iraq subside, Iran will most likely continue to develop its proxy militias in both states, in the same manner that it props up Hizbullah in Lebanon. These militias are intended to help preserve the pro-Iranian governments across the Levant and maintain the corridors.
        The Trump administration should work with its regional counterparts to thwart Iran's attempt to build these two corridors. The U.S. should back Israel's effort to prevent the Iranians from securing a foothold on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The writer is a Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel Two television and a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)

Israel at 69 - David Harris (Huffington Post)

  • "The coming into being of a Jewish state in Palestine is an event in world history to be viewed in the perspective, not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand, or even three thousand years." (Winston Churchill)
  • As Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day this week, I'm not dispassionate. The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from around the world; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are accomplishments beyond my wildest imagination.
  • When one adds that all this took place in the Middle East, where Israel's neighbors determined from day one to destroy it through any means available, Israel's story becomes all the more remarkable.
  • The age-old connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel is unique in the annals of history. Indeed, that connection is of a totally different character from the basis on which the U.S, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the bulk of Latin American countries were established; that is, by Europeans with no legitimate claim to those lands who decimated indigenous populations and proclaimed their own authority.
  • In addition, North African countries were conquered and occupied by Arab-Islamic invaders who totally redefined their national character.
  • To understand the essence of Israel's meaning, it is enough to ask how the history of the Jewish people might have been different had there been a Jewish state in 1933, in 1938, or even in 1941. If Israel had controlled its borders and the right of entry instead of Britain, how many more Jews might have escaped and found sanctuary?

    The writer is CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

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