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June 6, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Terrorist May Have Lured Police to Deadly Shootout in Australian Suburbs - Ben Westcott (CNN)
    An armed standoff in Melbourne, Australia, which left one civilian dead and two police in hospital was a "terrorist attack by a known criminal, a man who was only recently released on parole," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters Tuesday.
    Police said they were aware of a claim from ISIS that one of its "soldiers" carried out the attack. ISIS issued the claim through its Amaq News Agency in Arabic and English.
    Yacub Khayre, who was shot and killed, had called CNN-affiliate Channel 7 News to say he dedicated his attack to ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Qatar Residents Rush to Stock Up on Food after Border Closed (Doha News)
    Many residents have rushed to supermarkets in Qatar this morning to stock up on food items after waking up to news of Saudi Arabia closing the country's only land border.
    Customers could be seen piling their carts high with supplies of milk, water, rice and eggs at several popular grocery stores today, which were even busier than is usual for Ramadan.

Video: What Made This a 'War of No Choice' (Six Day War Project - Jerusalem U)
    In the week before the start of the war, the Arab streets echoed with calls to destroy the Jewish state.

Video: Day One of the 1967 War (Six Day War Project - Jerusalem U)
    In the early morning of June 5, Israel launched a preemptive aerial strike on Egyptian air force bases in response to Egypt's ongoing provocations. Every military jet in the Israeli Air Force, except for 12, took off, flying low to avoid radar detection and observing complete radio silence.
    They bombed and incapacitated the runways of 11 Egyptian air force bases, as well as the aircrafts on the ground.

Question of the Day: Did Jibril Rajoub Say on Israeli TV that the Western Wall Should Be under Jewish Control? - Pinhas Inbari (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    What are the implications of Rajoub's statement?
    See also Question of the Day: Did Rajoub Renege on his Comments on Jewish Sovereignty at the Western Wall? - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    What was Rajoub's motive for saying this on Israeli TV?

June 6, 1967 Headline: Major Tank Battle in Sinai Desert between Israel and Egypt (Guardian)
    Israel claimed early today that it had achieved victory in the air by destroying 374 Arab aircraft. It also claimed that Israeli ground forces had captured the towns of Rafah astride the main road from the Gaza strip to the Suez canal and El Arish, farther west.
    A tank battle involving more armor than was used at Alamein was reported to be in progress between Israel and Egypt in the Sinai desert.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:
  • Senate Prods Trump to Move Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem - Elana Schor
    The Senate overwhelmingly agreed on Monday night to nudge President Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that he punted on last week.
        The Senate voted 90-0 on a resolution marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification. The measure includes language that "calls upon the president and all United States officials to abide by" a 1995 law that urged then-President Bill Clinton to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. (Politico)
        See also Text of Senate Resolution Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem (Congress.Gov)
  • Breaking: Syrian Kurdish-led Forces Launch Offensive on IS 'Capital' Raqqa
    A U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters has launched an offensive to capture the jihadist group Islamic State's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. (BBC News)
  • How Communities Respond to Terrorism - and Overcome Fear - Sara Miller Llana, Scott Peterson, Christa Case Bryant
    What's the best way to respond to terrorism and the fear it tries to instill? As foreign correspondents, that's a question we've asked ourselves - and watched civilians grapple with, from Jerusalem to Istanbul to Paris.
        While religion is often blamed as a catalyst for this region's conflicts, it can also be a solace for those affected by violence. During a spate of violence against Israelis in 2014, Crista showed up at a synagogue in west Jerusalem, where Palestinians had killed four rabbis at prayer the morning before, to find a young father and mother emerging with their infant son. Despite the attack, they had gone forward with the traditional circumcision ceremony they had planned to hold there. "We decided to do it today to show we're not running away,] said the father.
        "This whole thing of rebirth is a constant in the Jewish history," the baby's grandfather, Yosef Sorotzkin, explained. "It's in our belief, culture, religion, that we push forward." (Christian Science Monitor)
        See also Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism - Fiamma Nirenstein, editor (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:
  • Hamas Commander Involved in Kidnap of Israeli Teens Expelled from Qatar - Sue Surkes
    A Palestinian terrorist believed by Israeli intelligence officials to have planned the kidnap and murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank in the summer of 2014 has been expelled from Qatar. Palestinian sources confirmed Monday that the kingdom asked several top Hamas officials to leave for Lebanon, Turkey and Malaysia.
        The list of Hamas officials Qatar has asked to leave its territory included Saleh al-Arouri, said to be the group's military commander in the West Bank and the founder of the West Bank branch of Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Israeli intelligence officials believe that Arouri helped plan the June 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens - Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel. (Times of Israel)
  • UNRWA Apologizes for Using Syria Photo in Gaza Campaign - Tovah Lazaroff
    UNRWA has apologized for twice using a photo of a Palestinian child living in Syria, this time in its fund-raising campaign for Gaza.
        The double use of the photograph was brought to light by the Geneva-based group UN Watch, whose executive director Hillel Neuer posted both pictures on Twitter with the caption: "Left: UNRWA photo, Jan.27, 2015, of girl in Syria. Right: Same UNRWA photo, May 29, 2017, but now she's 'Aya from Gaza' oppressed by Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
  • Citizens in Jerusalem Celebrate Ramadan around Giant Lantern
    Palestinians gathered in the Old City of Jerusalem to light a giant lantern on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan. The traditional Ramadan lantern is 10 meters in height, making it the biggest in the holy city.
        One of the organizers of the event said that it aims to bring people together to celebrate the holy month. Families gathered around the lantern to take photos and selfies and to partake in the celebrations. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Forgotten Truth about the Balfour Declaration - Martin Kramer
    When the fuller story is told, the Balfour Declaration is no longer a British imperial grab but the outcome of a carefully constructed consensus of the leading democracies of the day.
        The key to understanding the fuller story is this: in regard to Palestine, Britain could not have acted alone, because it belonged to an alliance. The Allied powers, especially Britain and France but also Russia, Italy, and later America, were fighting together. Their policies had to be coordinated. It would have been unthinkable for Britain to have issued a public pledge regarding the future of territory yet to be taken in war without the prior assent of its wartime allies-especially those that also had an interest in Palestine.
        The American role deserves particular emphasis. Few Americans know that Wilson approved the Balfour Declaration in advance, or that this approval had a decisive effect in the British cabinet. (Mosaic Magazine)
  • The Six Day War at 50 - Richard Haass
    Many Israelis and Palestinians have come to recognize the reality of one another's existence and the need for some sort of partition of the land into two states. But for now the two sides are not prepared to resolve what separates them. Both sides have paid and are paying a price for this standoff.
        Meanwhile, the region and the world have mostly moved on, concerned more about Russia or China or North Korea. And even if there were peace between Israelis and Palestinians, it would not bring peace to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or Libya. Fifty years after six days of war, the absence of peace between Israelis and Palestinians is part of an imperfect status quo that many have come to accept and expect. (Newsday)
  • Five Reasons Why Israel Should Care about the Qatar Crisis - Seth J. Frantzman
      1.   It hurts Hamas. Qatar has supported Hamas over the last decade and hosted former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal for the last five years in Doha. The new pressure on Qatar has encouraged it to expel Hamas members and will reduce its support for the group.
      2.   It brings Israel closer to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf. Israel has shared interests with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in opposing Iran. The crises with Qatar allows writers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to speak out more firmly against Hamas. Saudi's Al Arabiya has showcased interviews with Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot.
      3.   It shows U.S. influence is back in the region. The background of the current crises was a feeling that U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to "drive out" terror gave a blank check to local states to act.
      4.   It delegitimizes terror. The regimes that have broken relations with Qatar pay lip-service to fighting terror and instability. Israel prefers a stable region without terror groups undermining neighboring states. So long as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other states work in concert, the winds of stability will blow in Israel's direction as well.
      5.   It bolsters Israel's hand in general and Israel's current government in particular. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken about the Iranian threat for two decades. If the Arab states are more concerned with Iran and Qatar, than with the Palestinians, that takes pressure off of Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Distinction between Hizbullah and the "Lebanese State" now Meaningless - Tony Badran
        The goals of strengthening the Lebanese state and disarming Hizbullah are at odds with each other. Hizbullah has completed its takeover of the Lebanese state, including and especially its political institutions and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), along with other security agencies. Strengthening the Lebanese state today means strengthening Hizbullah.
        Hizbullah's control over Lebanon ensures that counting on the "Lebanese state" to disarm Hizbullah is a non-starter. The function of the Lebanese government is to defend Hizbullah, and to align its policies with the preferences of the group and of its patrons in Tehran. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)

Five Myths about 1967 that Just Won't Die - Aaron David Miller (Atlantic)

  • The 1967 war generated opportunities and a new, more pragmatic dynamic among the Arab states and Palestinians, which at least partially reversed the results of the war itself and transformed much of the Arab-Israeli arena. With this in mind, here are some myths about the war's centrality and impact that need to be reexamined.
  1. "The 1967 war was the most consequential and impactful of the conflicts between Israel and the Arabs."
    The 1948 conflict was more foundational, creating as it did the state of Israel, the Palestinian refugee problem, and a political revolution in Arab politics that would see various coups and revolutions.
  2. "There were very real and missed opportunities for Arab-Israeli agreements in the wake of the war."
    Not really. There was a flurry of initiatives, statements, and U.S. and Russian maneuvering during the postwar period. And in November 1967, UN Security Council Resolution 242 established the guiding principles for Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. From my personal experience, I can attest that diplomats and would-be peacemakers often imagined openings and opportunities where there were none.
  3. "The 1967 war was an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians."
    The war would carry an unintended set of consequences that would redefine the Palestinian national movement. The discrediting of the Arab states, particularly the bankruptcy of Arab nationalism, would force Palestinians to strike out on their own. The Arab defeat reenergized Palestinian identity and put Palestinians on the political map.
  4. "The 1967 war was a catastrophe for peacemaking."
    Not really. In strategic terms, the 1967 war created one new reality that could not be denied: Arab state weakness and the rapidly fading prospect of destroying Israel by force, even in phases. The growing alignment between Israel and the Sunni states, particularly in the Gulf, attests to a new pragmatism born of a common threat perception of a rising Iran and Sunni jihadis, and sheer Arab state fatigue with the Palestinian issue.
  5. "Fifty years later, Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians are ready to solve the conflict."
    Don't bet on it. The core of the impasse is a reality that shows no signs of changing: the gaps on the core issues-1967 borders, the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state-are Grand Canyon-like. Without their narrowing, no matter how the new peace process starts, it is hard to imagine it ending well.

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