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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 1, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Abbas Admits Trump Was "Enraged" during Bethlehem Meeting - Yasser Okbi (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a PLO meeting on Tuesday that his "meeting with President Donald Trump was not comfortable" because Trump was "enraged," the London-based Al-Arabi al Jadid reported, quoting a senior Palestinian source.
    Abbas also attacked the prisoner hunger strike and said it was a conspiracy to undermine him.

UN Chief: "Denial of Israel's Right to Exist Is Anti-Semitism" (The Tower)
    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told leaders from the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday in New York that "denial of Israel's right to exist is anti-Semitism."
    Guterres also denounced campaigns to erase Jewish and Christian history in Jerusalem, saying, "History must be respected. Jerusalem is a holy city for three religions."

Little Chance for a Sunni Arab Alliance with Israel - Zalman Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    President Trump sees the proximity of interests between Israel, the Sunni Arab countries and the U.S. on the Iran issue as a stimulus for advancing peace.
    But do these ideas, which in themselves are positive, match the reality of the Sunni Arab world? In truth, the alliance mentioned is between Arab countries and America, not Israel.
    The Arab street - including in Egypt and Jordan which are at peace with Israel - does not seek normalization with Israel, but rather sympathizes with its enemies.
    Since this is the case, how much would Arab leaders be willing to endanger their standing with their people in exchange for genuine rapprochement with Israel?
    The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

Gaza Reporter Who Captured Hamas Execution on Camera "Is Now Hiding" - Ludovica Iaccino (International Business Times-UK)
    A Palestinian reporter who recorded the execution of three men by Hamas is now hiding as he fears reprisal. Last Thursday, Hamas executed three men accused of murdering one of its commanders.
    "The reporter who took the video is now hiding in Gaza as he fears he could be arrested by Hamas security forces," claimed Mustafa Ayach, General Manager of the Gaza Now news agency.
    Ayach has been living in Austria since 2015 after fleeing Gaza due to persecution by Hamas security forces due to his reports.

Abbas Appoints Jailed Israeli Arab Terrorist to Fatah Central Committee - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed convicted Israeli Arab terrorist Karim Younes to the Fatah Central Committee, the governing body of his Fatah party, Palestinian Media Watch reported Monday.
    Younes, together with his cousin Maher Younes, kidnapped and murdered IDF soldier Avraham Bromberg on November 26, 1980.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump to Keep U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv - For Now - Elise Labott and Dan Merica
    President Donald Trump is expected to renew the waiver that keeps the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv instead of moving it to Jerusalem, several senior administration and diplomatic sources told CNN. A senior administration official said Wednesday that Trump still supports the move but believes now may not be the best time to anger the Palestinians by moving the embassy. Every U.S. president has signed a waiver twice a year after a law was passed in 1995 mandating the relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem. (CNN)
  • Manchester Attacker Mainly Acted Alone, UK Police Say - Ceylan Yeginsu
    Salman Abedi, who detonated explosives in Manchester, England, last week, killing 22 people and wounding dozens, mainly acted alone, British police said Tuesday. The sophisticated planning and execution of the attack had initially led British authorities to believe that Abedi had the support of a larger terrorist cell. But detectives said their reconstruction of Abedi's movements and actions before the attack showed that he had acted mostly on his own.
        Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said, "Our inquiries show Abedi himself made most of the purchases of the core components." Abedi is believed to have visited Tripoli four days before the attack, and experts say it is likely that he received training there to build the device he used for the bombing. (New York Times)
  • Israeli Ambassador to UN Elected VP of General Assembly
    Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon was elected Wednesday as vice president of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly as a representative of the Western European and Others (WEOG) group. He will chair General Assembly meetings when the president is absent and have a say in setting the agenda. (ABC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Oren: Netanyahu Is Very Serious about a Peace Deal with the Palestinians - Raoul Wootliff
    Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said Sunday that Israel's success in building a state came from its investment in public institutions, but the Palestinians have failed to lay the foundations for a state. "If we give them a state tomorrow, it will fail in days or even hours," he said.
        According to Oren, not only is Prime Minister Netanyahu interested in a peace deal with the Palestinians, but he is deeply involved in the detailed minutiae of every proposal. Based on his experience with the prime minister during "many, many hours spent dealing with this...I will tell you unequivocally, he's serious. He's very serious."
        "I will also tell you equally unequivocally that he would not agree to a Palestinian state that will fall apart, that will threaten us militarily, that will be militarized, that is capable of signing treaties with foreign powers, that's going to involve the withdrawal of Israeli forces or that's going to involve the uprooting of Israeli citizens."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel's Finance Minister Briefs PA Prime Minister on Steps to Improve PA Economy - Herb Keinon
    Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met Wednesday in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to brief him on the steps Israel is taking to improve the economic situation in the PA. The meeting comes amid efforts by the U.S. to jump-start the diplomatic process. The steps include opening the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan 24-hours-a-day for the next two months, upgrading crossing points in the West Bank, establishing an industrial zone near Tarqumiya, and easing restrictions on Palestinian building in specific parts of Area C in the West Bank that adjoin Areas A or B. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Denmark Reexamining Donations to Palestinian NGOs - Barak Ravid
    The Danish Foreign Ministry has begun a comprehensive examination of its donations to non-governmental organizations in the Palestinian Authority, according to a statement from Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. On May 17, Samuelsen met in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who asked Samuelsen to cut Danish funding for Palestinian NGOs involved in inciting against Israel and promoting boycott, divestment and sanction measures against it.
        "It is possible that in the wake of the examination we will be forced to stop our support of a number of Palestinian organizations. Until this examination is complete we won't sign any new grants for Palestinian organizations," Samuelsen said. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Woman Stabs Israeli Soldier in West Bank - Tovah Lazaroff
    A Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli soldier on Thursday outside Mevo Dotan in the West Bank before she was shot. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Is Iran Mass Producing Advanced Gas Centrifuge Components? - David Albright and Olli Heinonen
    The head of Iran's nuclear program says Iran has the capability to initiate mass production of advanced centrifuges on short notice. The mass production of these centrifuges (or their components) would greatly expand Iran's ability to sneak out or breakout to nuclear weapons capability. If the statement is true, Iran could have already stockpiled many advanced centrifuge components, associated raw materials, and the equipment necessary to operate a large number of advanced centrifuges.
        The U.S. and the IAEA need to determine the status of Iran's centrifuge manufacturing capabilities, including the number of key centrifuge parts Iran has made and the amount of centrifuge equipment it has procured. They need to ensure that Iran's centrifuge manufacturing is consistent with the intent of the nuclear deal. The Iranian statement illuminates significant weaknesses in the Iran deal that need to be fixed.
        David Albright, a physicist, is founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security. Olli Heinonen is former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and head of its Department of Safeguards. (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • It's a Delusion to Think that Terror Attacks Are about Foreign Policy - Jonathan Freedland
    One camp argues that the root cause of terror attacks is Western foreign policy and our record of armed intervention in Muslim lands. But the link is not so simple or direct. Talk to those who devote their lives to the study of violent jihadism, reading ISIS propaganda and interviewing its devotees, and a different picture emerges.
        For one thing, it's not all about us. Most of jihadis' victims are other Muslims, in the Arab world or in Africa. When they murder and maim Shia Muslims by the hundreds, they're not doing that to punish Western foreign policy. When ISIS set about the massacre of Yazidi men and the enslavement and mass rape of Yazidi women and girls, it wasn't revenge for Western meddling. It takes an oddly Eurocentric view of the world to decide that this is a phenomenon entirely of the West's creation.
        It's not clear what a foreign policy designed to soothe rather than inflame jihadi opinion would look like - or that it would get you very far. Staying out of Muslim countries might seem like the obvious answer, but it offers no guarantees. Not against those who can regard an eight-year-old girl and her friends as "crusaders," worthy of death for the sin of dancing in a "shameless concert arena."  (Guardian-UK)

As Long as the Arab World Views Israel as a Temporary Aberration to Be Conquered, Israel Will Stand Fast - Einat Wilf (Fathom-BICOM)

  • The prevailing Muslim, Arab and Palestinian view is that Zionism is a historical aberration that will not - and must not - last. Any Israeli effort to end the military occupation in the West Bank in a manner that would bring it peace and security thus clashes with the Muslim, Arab and Palestinian view that no place for compromise and agreement exists that would grant legitimacy to Zionism and the State of Israel and that would accept its permanence.
  • Zionism was always going to challenge human imagination - the story of an oppressed and persecuted people, living among hostile host nations, who found the will to rise up, liberate themselves, and rebuild a sovereign nation in their ancient homeland.
  • It is unsurprising that to the Muslims and Arabs who occupied the land since their conquest of it in the seventh century, the story appeared insane. The Jews represented a people whom the Muslim Arabs have, over centuries, come to view as their inferiors. The idea of Jews as the equals of Muslim Arabs could not be allowed to stand.
  • In the negotiations following the 1948 war, the Arabs not only refused to meet with representatives of the State of Israel, but took great pains to emphasize that the armistice lines were not to be borders. Borders implied permanence. These were cease-fire lines only, because the war was not over and sooner or later there would be another war that would erase that humiliating eyesore from the Arab region.
  • In 2000 and 2008, the Arab Palestinians refused to say "yes" to Israeli proposals that would have ended the military occupation of the West Bank. For most Israelis, the repeated Palestinian failures to say "yes" reinforced the view that more than they wanted a state for themselves, they wanted to deny a state to the Jewish people.
  • It is necessary to demonstrate to the Muslim-Arab world that their view of history is wrong, and that rather than constituting a second Crusader state, Israel is the sovereign state of an indigenous people who have come home. This can only be achieved through Jewish power and persistence over time. And it can only be achieved if those who truly seek peace send the message to the Arab world that the Jewish people are here to stay.

    The writer, a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute, is a former Knesset member.

Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.
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