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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
May 23, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Suicide Bomber Attacks Concert in Manchester, England; 22 Killed, 50 Injured - Barney Henderson (Telegraph-UK)
    A suicide bomber targeted Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by American singer Ariana Grande on Monday, killing 22 and injuring 50.

    See also Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism - Fiamma Nirenstein, ed. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Syria Has Effectively Ceased to Exist - Jonathan Spyer (Foreign Policy)
    Six years into the Syrian war, the survival of President Bashar al-Assad's regime is ensured - but it has become something of a facade.
    The interests of Russia and Iran from above, and the local concerns of a myriad array of pro-regime irregular militias from below, are the decisive factors - not the decisions of the country's nominal rulers.
    The rebellion had been driven out of eastern Aleppo, seemingly paving the way for the defeat of the insurgency. But five months later, the rebels still appear far from collapse.
    Syria is today divided into seven enclaves: the territory controlled by the regime, three separate areas of rebel control, two Kurdish cantons, and the Islamic State area.
    The regime cannot now be militarily defeated, but neither has it any clear road to victory. Decisions made by Assad and those around him will not be the decisive factor in determining Syria's future.
    The writer is a senior research fellow at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs, IDC Herzliya.

Video: Why Did Israel Go to War in 1967? (Six-Day War Project-Jerusalem U)
    The regional atmosphere leading up to the 1967 Six-Day War.

Shulamit Cohen-Kishik, Israeli National Hero and Undercover Spy, Dies at 100 - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Shulamit (Shula) Cohen-Kishik, an Israeli spy who worked undercover in Lebanon, passed away on Sunday at the age of 100.
    Born in Buenos Aires, at 16, she married Joseph Kishik, a wealthy Jewish-Lebanese businessman from Beirut, who took her back with him to Lebanon.
    At the eve of the 1948 War of Independence, Cohen contacted Israeli intelligence and become a Mossad agent, code named "The Pearl."
    Cohen spent the next 14 years helping to bring persecuted Jews from Arab countries to Israel and gathering intelligence about Lebanese military activities.
    In 1961, Cohen was arrested for espionage. She was brutally tortured and sentenced to death, but the sentence was dialed back to 20 years.
    In 1967, Cohen was released in a secret prisoner exchange after the Six-Day War. She then immigrated with her family to Jerusalem.
    In 2007, Cohen was chosen to light a torch for the Independence Day ceremony. "I did what I did because I wanted to, because I loved the country and I wanted to help its establishment," she said.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump in Bethlehem: Peace Can Never Take Root Where Terrorism Is Funded and Rewarded - Karma Allen
    At a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday in Bethlehem, President Donald Trump denounced the terrorist attack in Manchester, England. He added, "Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded. We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice....The terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort must be driven out from our society forever."  (ABC News)
        See also Text of Trump's Speech in Bethlehem (Ha'aretz)
  • Trump Becomes First U.S. President to Visit Jerusalem's Western Wall - Ken Bredemeier
    U.S. President Donald Trump touched the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Monday, the first visit at the Jewish holy site by a serving American leader. He walked alone to the massive stone wall, placed his right hand on the wall for about 30 seconds and then, as is custom, tucked a small prayer note into a crevice. Trump also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was buried. (VOA News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Trump: "Iran Will Never Have a Nuclear Weapon" - Barak Ravid
    At the start of a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday in Jerusalem, President Trump spoke at length about the big powers' nuclear agreement with Iran. "Iran should be very grateful to the United States. Iran negotiated a fantastic deal with the previous administration....We not only gave them a lifeline, we gave them wealth and prosperity. And we also gave them an ability to continue with matter where we go we see the signs of Iran in the Middle East."
        "Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they now feel was a terrible, terrible thing for the United States to enter that deal. And believe me, Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, that I can tell you."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Netanyahu Outlines Israel's Goals in Possible Peace Talks
    As he welcomed President Trump at the airport on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "We've already made peace with Egypt and with Jordan, and Israel's hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. The peace we seek is a genuine and durable one, in which the Jewish state is recognized, security remains in Israel's hands and the conflict ends once and for all."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinian with Knife Killed while Attacking Police near Jerusalem - Judah Ari Gross
    A Palestinian man attempted to stab Israeli border police at a guard post in the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, police said Monday. The attacker, a resident of Bethlehem, was killed. (Times of Israel)
  • Rocket Fired at Israel from Sinai on Tuesday - Gili Cohen
    A rocket was fired toward Israel from the Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday morning that was projected to land in an open area. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Finding a "Zone of Possible Agreement" for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations - Michael Singh
    For Israel, the overriding interest implicated in any peace negotiation is security. A recent poll by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs found that 76% of Israelis felt Israel should retain full security control of the West Bank in any future peace agreement, and that 57% would not support a deal without such a condition. Israel has other territorial, economic and diplomatic interests, to be sure, but will only consider a prospective deal if it clearly advances the nation's security.
        Polls also suggest that most Palestinians continue to harbor maximalist aspirations, as Daniel Polisar of Shalem College has noted. There is clearly no squaring Israel's interest in security with maximalist Palestinian territorial ambitions.
        Whether conflict leads Israelis to prefer negotiations to the status quo depends in part on whether they feel the Palestinians' aim is to compromise with them or eliminate them. Not only Hamas but many ordinary Palestinians, through polling, have made clear that their aim is the latter. The writer is managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (National Interest)
  • Israel Needs Palestinian Demilitarization and Defensible Borders - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen
    In his 1978 book And Now Tomorrow, then-Labor party leader Shimon Peres discusses the demilitarization of a future Palestinian state. "If a separate Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. It will also have bases for the most extreme terrorist forces and they will be equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles that will endanger not only passersby but every plane and helicopter flying in Israel's skies and every vehicle traveling on the main highways of the coastal plain....The main problem is not agreeing on demilitarization, but upholding such an agreement in practice."
        The completion of the Israeli withdrawal from Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] in 1996 and the 2005 disengagement from Gaza are proof that our rule over another people has ended. About 90% of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria has been under the Palestinian Authority's rule since the mid-1990s and Gaza's population has been under Hamas rule since 2007.
        Therefore, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict currently focuses on the Jerusalem area and Area C. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin argued that Israeli control in these areas - all the settlements, military bases, main highways and the vital area leading to the Jordan Valley - was the minimum necessary to preserve defensible Israeli borders. The writer served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts. (Israel Hayom)
  • Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Is Not a "Concession" to Israel - Shalom Lipner
    While Israelis believe unabashedly that all foreign missions should be situated in Jerusalem, they largely reject any portrayal of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem as some form of "concession" to Israel. Few would be willing to proffer any substantial quid in return for what is regarded as little more than a symbolic quo. From an Israeli perspective, moving the U.S. Embassy would simply correct an injustice and affirm existing reality.
        Jerusalem hosts world leaders on a daily basis. If anything, it is members of the diplomatic corps who would be the primary beneficiaries of the embassy's relocation, spared the need to travel back and forth from Tel Aviv to conduct their official business. Nothing prevents the U.S. from promoting its consulate in Arnona - a neighborhood in uncontested, western Jerusalem - to embassy class.
        When successive U.S. administrations pretend that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel - or that Israel has no capital at all - they merely insult their Israeli friends. The writer, a nonresident senior fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, served at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem from 1990 to 2016. (Politico)

Instead of Paying Electricity and Medical Bills, the PA and Hamas Choose to Fund Terror - Evelyn Gordon (Commentary)

  • The PA is getting billions of dollars a year in foreign aid to fund humanitarian needs in both the West Bank and Gaza. But both Palestinian governments have chosen to deprive their people of basic necessities - including electricity and medical care - to support anti-Israel terror.
  • Earlier this month, the Arab Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem announced it would no longer accept patients from either the West Bank or Gaza because the PA owes it $42 million and it can no longer afford to buy medicines. Medicines are in similarly short supply in Gaza because the PA stopped paying for them.
  • Gaza has also been suffering severe power shortages because neither the PA nor Hamas is willing to pay for fuel to run the local power plant. The only reason Gaza has enough power for even a few hours a day is that Israel has begun quietly picking up the tab for the electricity brought into Gaza from Israel. In other words, Israel cares more about Palestinians' electricity needs than either the PA or Hamas.
  • At the same time, both the PA and Hamas seem to have plenty of money for their top priority: incentivizing or directly funding anti-Israel terror. The PA spent $129 million last year paying salaries to convicted terrorists and another $175 million in stipends for families of terrorists killed while trying attack Israelis. Similarly, Hamas spends $100 million a year on building its capacity to attack Israel by making rockets and digging cross-border attack tunnels.
  • So the PA and Hamas simply consider paying terrorists and building the capacity to attack Israel a higher priority than paying for medical care or electricity for their people.

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