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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
May 25, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Alters Intelligence Sharing with U.S. - Ken Bredemeier (VOA News)
    Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the U.S. after President Donald Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month.
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Army Radio on Wednesday, "I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there's unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States."

Czech Parliament Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    The Czech Parliament approved on Wednesday the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 112 of the 156 MPs supported the resolution.
    The parliament also condemned recent UNESCO decisions that do not recognize the rights of Jews to Jerusalem and called on the government to stop payments to UNESCO.
    See also Netanyahu Thanks Czechs for Pro-Israel Resolutions - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)

Construction of Wall around Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon Nears Completion - Mohammed Zaatari (Daily Star-Lebanon)
    The past few weeks have seen a surge in construction of a concrete wall barrier around the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in Lebanon. A security source said the wall is now "80% complete."
    Ain al-Hilweh has been rocked by clashes. In April, six days of clashes left 10 dead and 50 wounded.

Video - Jerusalem: The 50th Anniversary of Reunification - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (YouTube)
    Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.
    See also Video: Media Myths about Jerusalem (CAMERA)

Video: Egypt Expels UN Observers (Six-Day War Project-Jerusalem U)
    In 1967, Egyptian President Nasser amassed tens of thousands of troops along Israel's border and ordered the UN peacekeeping force to leave.
    See also Why Israel Opposes Using International Forces to Protect Its Security (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

5 Palestinians Injured in "Accidental Explosion" in Gaza (Ma'an News-PA)
    Five Palestinian were injured in an accidental explosion at a "resistance site" in Gaza on Wednesday, two of them critically.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UK Finds More Bomb-Making Materials in Hunt for Terror Network - Kim Sengupta
    UK police and security services have found bomb-making materials which could be primed for imminent attacks in the extensive raids following the Manchester suicide bombing. One suspect device was blown up in a controlled explosion.
        Crime scene photos of shrapnel, a battery pack and the detonator used in the attack were published by the New York Times in a suspected intelligence leak, condemned by UK officials. (Independent-UK)
        See also Israel Extends Condolences to Britain over Manchester Attack (JTA)
  • U.S. to Boost Sanctions on Iran, Review Aircraft Export Licenses - David Lawder
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, "We will use everything within our power to put additional sanctions on Iran, Syria and North Korea to protect American lives." He also said he is reviewing licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran. Mnuchin said that sanctions "really work" and were responsible for bringing Iran to the negotiating table ahead of the nuclear deal. (Reuters)
  • Kushner Working Quietly on Mideast Peace - Jeff Mason and Luke Baker
    President Donald Trump gave his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the job of forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians, where peace talks have been stalled for years. Kushner is not a full-time envoy in the traditional model. Rather than broadcasting his plans and dashing among the parties in a high-profile display of shuttle diplomacy, his approach has been decidedly low-key.
        The day-to-day discussions with leaders in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Amman and the Gulf have been handled by Jason Greenblatt. Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed they had met with Kushner, but underlined that they had nothing to say about what was discussed. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Israel Has Made Jerusalem an Island of Tolerance and Religious Freedom
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a special Knesset session marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, said Wednesday: "The dark cloud that hung over Jerusalem was dispersed 50 years ago. We embarked on an unprecedentedly justified defensive war and won a resounding victory....Above all else, this was an event of historic justice: Jerusalem - our national capital for 3,000 years - returned to its original owners....Only under our sovereignty did it become an island of tolerance and freedom of religion."
        "Again and again, there are attempts to erase our roots in Jerusalem, deny our connection to it, dissolve our sovereignty over it....But I am certain that this absurd play will eventually fail. Because the truth is stronger than any lie."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Photos: Tens of Thousands March in Jerusalem Day Flag Parade - Daniel K Eisenbud (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Increased Military Aid to Israel Ahead of Trump Visit - Herb Keinon
    The U.S. promised to increase military aid to Israel to help maintain the country's military edge, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Wednesday. "The U.S. added another $75 million to the aid package for [Israel's] missile defense program."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Yadlin: U.S. Arms Deal with Saudis Shouldn't Worry Israel - Gili Cohen
    The recent massive U.S. arms deal with Saudi Arabia does not endanger Israel, says Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence who today heads the Institute for National Security Studies. "It consists of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system to intercept ballistic missiles, whose chance of reaching us is very low, tanks Israel knows how to deal with, and Black Hawk helicopters - these are weapons that shouldn't raise concern." Some of these systems are intended as defense from missiles fired by the Iran-affiliated Houthi militia insurgents in Yemen, said Yadlin.
        "I think that we must first see the shared interests created for Israel and Saudi Arabia, in the face of the major threats in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia isn't today an active enemy state," he added. (Ha'aretz)
  • Pollard Loses Bid to Relax U.S. Parole Conditions - Gil Hoffman
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan on Wednesday rejected a bid by Jonathan Pollard, who served 30 years in prison for spying for Israel, to relax his parole conditions. Pollard is required to wear an electronic tracking device, obey a curfew and allow his computers to be monitored. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian with Bombs Arrested at West Bank Checkpoint - Yotam Berger
    A Palestinian was arrested Wednesday at a checkpoint near the village of Salem in the West Bank carrying two pipe bombs. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Terrorism Persists Because It Has Been Rewarded - Alan Dershowitz
    The many terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists have elevated their cause above all other causes in the human rights community. Other groups with grievances have learned from the success of Palestinian terrorism and have emulated them. Even today, when the Palestinian Authority claims to reject terrorism, they reward the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists with large compensation packages that increase with the number of innocent victims.
        If the perpetrator of the Manchester massacre had been Palestinian, and if the massacre had taken place in Israel, the Palestinian Authority would have paid his family a small fortune for murdering so many children. People and organizations that pay other people for killing innocent civilians are known as accessories to murder. The writer is professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School. (Washington Examiner)
  • The Middle East Welcomes a U.S. President Who Is Not Obama - Jonah Goldberg
    For all of Obama's alleged expertise, his foray into the Middle East foundered on his arrogance and naivete. He bought into the idea that the road to stability and peace in the Middle East went through Jerusalem. And he crafted an Iranian deal that alienated both our democratic ally Israel and our strategic Sunni allies. He turned a blind eye to Iran's crushing of the Green Revolution and dithered to the point of complicity in the Syrian abattoir. Meanwhile, Iran remains as implacably hostile and as determined to be a regional hegemon as ever. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Saudi Journalist to Palestinian Leaders: It Is Time for Peace with Israel
    Saudi journalist Mash'al Al-Sudairi wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat on May 21, 2017, that Palestinian leaders for many years had missed numerous diplomatic opportunities to resolve the conflict with Israel, and they had at the same time lost Palestinian lands on the West Bank and wreaked destruction on Gaza. "Young Palestinians deserve to live, aspire, and act like the young people of other nations. We have had our fill of sorrow, oppression, idiocy, and the spouting of extremist slogans."  (MEMRI)

The Real Crisis in the Arab Middle East - James L. Gelvin (History News Network)

  • The Arab Middle East faces numerous threats to human security, beginning with violence and bad governance.
  • According to The Economist's "Democracy Index 2016," among the 22 members of the Arab League, 16 are labeled as authoritarian - the worst proportion of any region in the world.
  • Dramatic increases in population have led to diminished water resources, overgrazing, and soil exhaustion. By 2025, 18 out of 22 states in the region will be below the water poverty line.
  • Besides oil, the Arab Middle East has little to export. The region was less industrialized in 2000 than it was in 1970.
  • Of the top 300 universities in the world, only one - Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia - is in the Arab world.
  • According to the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report, the Arab world is the worst region to be a woman. Of the bottom 20 countries out of 144, 11 are in the Arab world.

    The writer is professor of modern Middle East history at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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