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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 Wednesday,
May 24, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

An Explosion in the Frequency of Terrorist Attacks Against Western Countries - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross (Atlantic)
    Over the past three years, there has been an explosion in the frequency of terrorist attacks against Western countries, and in the lethality of these events.
    From Paris in November 2015 (130 dead) to the March 2016 bombings at the Brussels Airport (32 dead), to a cargo truck plowing through crowds in Nice (86 dead), to a truck striking a Christmas market in Berlin (12 dead), and now in Manchester (22 dead), the message is that no place is truly safe.
    And they are growing increasingly adept at killing us.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

How to Defeat Suicide Bombers - Max Boot (Commentary)
    A suicide bomber set off his explosives outside the Manchester Arena while concert-goers were leaving after the performance.
    This indicates the limits of security measures: While it's possible to screen those going inside, there will always be vulnerability outside the security checkpoint. In Iraq, lines of people waiting to go through security checkpoints were often struck by suicide bombers.
    Israel found itself under incessant assault from suicide bombers during the Second Intifada (2000-2005) and figured out how to defeat this terrible menace through a combination of offensive and defensive security measures.
    The number of suicide attacks in Israel fell from 53 in 2002 to none by 2009, through still-ongoing efforts by the IDF to disrupt West Bank terror cells before they can strike.
    What the Israelis learned is that suicide bombers do not work alone: they require other people for indoctrination and preparation. Stop those other people - who are not suicidal - and you can prevent the human fuse from being lit.

U.S. Special Forces Raid Al-Qaeda Compound in Yemen, Kill 7 Terrorists - Bill Roggio (Long War Journal)
    U.S. special operations forces raided an Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) compound in Marib province in Yemen on Tuesday and killed seven AQAP operatives "through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes."
    U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said AQAP "has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct, and inspire terror attacks against America, its citizens, and allies around the world."
    The U.S. military has launched more than 80 airstrikes throughout Yemen so far this year.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Israel Celebrates Jerusalem Day - Alexander Fulbright (Times of Israel)
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday opened the 50th annual celebrations of Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel's reunification of the city in the 1967 Six-Day War.
    "We will always insist on Jerusalem. There never has been, there will never be any other reality. Here, in these stones, beats the heart of the Jewish People," he said at the official ceremony at the Western Wall.
    "Jerusalem is the heart of the State of Israel, and the Kotel (Wall) is the heart of Jerusalem," said Rivlin, whose family has lived in Jerusalem since 1809.
    See also Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Reunification of Jerusalem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    As Israel marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem according to the Hebrew calendar, explore videos, photos, and links to resources about Israel's capital.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Soldiers Deployed on Britain's Streets in Race to Foil Second Terror Attack after Threat Level Raised to "Critical" - Gordon Rayner
    Up to 5,000 soldiers will be deployed on Britain's streets amid fears that the Manchester suicide bomber had accomplices preparing further attacks, Theresa May has announced. For the first time in 10 years, the Prime Minister said the terror threat had been raised to the highest possible level, from severe to critical, meaning an attack is "expected imminently."
        Investigators fear that the British-born bomber Salman Abedi, 22, of Libyan descent, was part of a wider network of ISIS-inspired terrorists, including a bomb-maker, who may still be at large. Mrs. May said: "It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack." Intelligence experts believe the device detonated in Manchester on Monday was so sophisticated that Abedi must have either been given specialist training abroad or used a bomb made by a technician who has not yet been captured. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Manchester Bomb Suspect Said to Have Ties to Al-Qaeda - Alexander Smith
    Salman Abedi, the Manchester suicide bomber, had ties to al-Qaeda and had received terrorist training abroad, a U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday. Abedi was identified by a bank card found in his pocket at the scene of the explosion. He had traveled to Libya within the last 12 months, one of multiple countries he had visited, and had "clear ties to al-Qaeda," the official said. Abedi's bomb was "big and sophisticated," using materials hard to obtain in Britain. "It's almost impossible to see he didn't have help." Members of his own family had even informed on him in the past, telling British authorities that he was dangerous. (NBC News)
  • Trump Underscores U.S. Commitment to Maintaining Israel's Qualitative Military Edge
    According to a White House readout of the meeting between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, the president "underscored the U.S.' ironclad commitment to Israel's security, including to the maintenance of Israel's Qualitative Military Edge. The two leaders also agreed on the need to counter Iran and its proxies, including by building strong military capabilities to protect Israel and the region from Iranian aggression."  (White House)
        See also below Observations: President Trump's Visit to Israel
    Links to video and text of President Trump's speech at the Israel Museum, his visit to Yad Vashem, and his visit to Bethlehem. (White House-YouTube)
  • Palestinian Protesters in Gaza Hold Trump Effigy at Gunpoint
    Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza City to protest Donald Trump's visit on Tuesday and express their outrage over his labeling of Hamas as a terrorist group during his stay in Saudi Arabia. The anti-Trump rally was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is itself regarded as a terrorist group by the U.S. and EU.
        The demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans and waved Palestinian, Hamas, Iranian and PFLP flags. The procession was headed by a truck, on the back of which was a tied-up effigy of Trump, with two masked gunmen pointing AK-47s at it. A picture of the president with a footprint on his face was also anchored to the truck. (RT-Russia)
        See also Palestinians Underwhelmed by Trump's West Bank Visit - Joshua Mitnick (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Working to Restart Peace Talks - Itamar Eichner
    U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt is to arrive in Israel on Thursday to continue efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Presidential advisor Jared Kushner told Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Tuesday that the Trump administration's goal was to create the conditions to renew peace negotiations in the foreseeable future. (Ynet News)
  • Israeli Border Policeman Stabbed in Netanya Terror Attack - Raanan Ben-Zur
    A Palestinian man from the West Bank stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer in Netanya on Tuesday. A witness said, "The policeman had his back to the terrorist. I noticed the terrorist coming from behind, unexpectedly, jumping up with a butcher's knife and yelling 'Allahu Akbar.' He brought the knife to (the policeman's) neck and cut him....The policeman regained his composure within seconds, drew his weapon and shot several bullets at (the terrorist's) upper body."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Leakers Who Revealed Israel as Intelligence Source Did Far More Damage than Trump - Marc A. Thiessen
    Trump did not reveal to anyone that Israel was the source of intelligence he shared with the Russians. So how did the New York Times, which broke the news of Israel's role, find out? According to the Times, its sources were "a current and a former American official." NBC News, meanwhile, reported that it had confirmed the Israeli role "with three government officials."
        Ponder the irony: These geniuses were so appalled by Trump sharing sensitive intelligence with the Russians that they shared even more sensitive intelligence with the media. In so doing, these leakers possibly did far more damage to U.S. national security - and intelligence-sharing between the U.S. and Israel - than anything Trump may have revealed to the Russians. That is the assessment of John Brennan, Barack Obama's CIA director, who said last week that "the real damage to national security is...what was leaked in the aftermath," adding that "these individuals who still stay within the government and are leaking this stuff to the press need to be brought to task."
        When the Obama administration exposed Israel's role in the "Stuxnet" cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program, a member of Obama's national security team intentionally exposed intelligence sources and methods to the New York Times. The damage this leak did - both to the operation and the trust between our two countries - was incalculable. Where was the deep concern for the exposure of this intelligence? These leakers are the ones who cannot be trusted with sensitive intelligence. The writer is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (Washington Post)
  • President Trump's Visit to the Middle East - Amos Yadlin and Eldad Shavit
    The royal welcome President Trump received in Saudi Arabia and his meetings with a long list of Arab and Muslim leaders provide him with the image of the authoritative leader of a superpower and the demonstration of a united front against Iran and the Islamic State.
        The U.S. administration's drive to promote the political process between Israel and the Palestinians marks the first opportunity in many years for a different, more realistic process. Even if it is not currently possible to reach a final status agreement, there is a greater chance than in the past to implement interim arrangements. This might improve the reality on the ground and create an environment more conducive to reaching a final status agreement in the future.
        Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, Executive Director of INSS, served for more than 40 years in the Israel Defense Forces including 9 as a member of the General Staff.  Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit served as head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Trump Wins Over Israel by Saying He Loves It and Stands with It - David Horovitz
    "Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction," President Trump said in his main speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Then he departed from his prepared text, and added: "Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me." The remark was met with cheers and a standing ovation. "Thank you," said the U.S. president three times as he waited patiently for the clapping to stop. And then, waving a hand out toward his audience, with a smile, he said, "I like you too."
        Those few seconds summed up Trump's visit to Israel - his expressions of instinctive solidarity with the Jewish state - after eight years of what Israelis always felt was somewhat conditional, caveat-filled support from President Obama.
        Israelis know no more than Americans about how Trump's presidency will play out. They cannot be sure of what he will say or do. But he came to Jerusalem. He told Israel he loved it. He vowed to stand with Israel against Iran. And he stood in respect at the Jews' most holy place of prayer. (Times of Israel)
        See also Trump Builds Rapport in Israel; Policies to Come? - David Makovsky (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Observations: President Trump's Visit to Israel

Netanyahu: Together We Can Defeat the Forces of Militant Islam (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Donald Trump at the Israel Museum on Tuesday:
  • "Israel is not simply the story of the past. It's the story of a nation reborn, of a barren land brought back to life, of an ancient language revived, of an exiled people who returned, of Jewish sovereignty restored."
  • "I believe that the alliance between America and Israel is more important than ever. Together we must defeat those who glorify death and protect those who celebrate life. Together we can defeat the forces of militant Islam who seek to destroy the civilized world."
  • "I have no doubt that freedom will defeat fear, that light will vanquish darkness, because that is the story of America, a nation that has defeated the forces of tyranny, that is the beacon and hope of all humanity. And that is the story of Israel, a nation that has overcome unimaginable horrors and impossible odds, and is the hope of the Jewish people."
Trump: Crush the Hateful Ideology that Drives Terrorism (White House)

President Donald Trump told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum on Tuesday:
  • "This trip is focused on...bringing nations together around the goal of defeating the terrorism that threatens the world, and crushing the hateful ideology that drives it so hard and seems to be driving it so fast."
  • "Jerusalem is a sacred city. Its beauty, splendor, and heritage are like no other place on Earth. What a heritage. The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel's white and blue flag."
  • "No child is born with prejudice in their heart. No one should teach young boys and girls to hate and to kill. No civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons."
  • "We must build a coalition of partners who share the aim of stamping out extremists and violence, and providing our children a peaceful and hopeful future. But a hopeful future for children in the Middle East requires the world to fully recognize the vital role of the State of Israel."
  • "Even as we work toward peace, we will build strength to defend our nations. The United States is firmly committed to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias. So we are telling you right now that Iran will not have nuclear weapons."

        See also Video: President Trump at the Israel Museum (White House), Text: President Trump at the Israel Museum (White House)
        Video: President Trump at Yad Vashem (YouTube), Text: President Trump at Yad Vashem (White House)
        Video: President Trump in Bethlehem (YouTube), Text: President Trump in Bethlehem (White House)

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