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June 12, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Terror Attacks in Europe Drive NATO Closer to Israel - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    At NATO headquarters in Brussels on Sunday, the British flag flew at half-mast in mourning over the attacks in London and Manchester.
    The attacks by the Islamic State in Western Europe are spurring NATO to draw on Israel's experience with counter-terrorism.
    Israel's defense establishment has noted increasing interest by NATO in cooperation with the IDF in the areas of counter-terrorism, defending borders, and home front security.
    2018 is expected to see a renewal of Israel Navy craft participation in NATO patrols against terror and the smuggling of war materiel in the Mediterranean, which had been frozen due to tension with Turkey.

Turkey: Activists Killed in 2010 Flotilla Incident "Should Have Foreseen...the Risk" - Sevil Erkus (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Compensation worth $20 million provided by Israel over the killing of Turkish activists onboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 has yet to be paid.
    The Turkish Finance Ministry told a court that it "rejected the exorbitant amount of material and moral compensation asked" by the families.
    The ministry said the victims "should have foreseen that they may be subject to such an attack because the problems between the Israeli state and Gaza are well-known. They took the risk of any attack or intervention."

Video: June 10, Day Six of the 1967 War (Six-Day War Project - Jerusalem U)
    Syria continued to shell Israel from the Golan Heights in the north.
    The Israeli army sought to stop Syrian shelling of Israeli civilians once and for all and took control of the Golan Heights to prevent Syria from targeting communities in northern Israel.

Palestinian Man Donates Recovery Room to Haifa Hospital - Ilana Messika (TPS-Ynet News)
    A senior Palestinian official who underwent cancer treatment at Rambam Hospital in Haifa has donated tens of thousands of shekels to support improved treatment of childhood cancers and Israeli-Palestinian medical cooperation.
    "Palestinian, Israeli, Syrian and children from other countries receive treatment in the hospital for a variety of serious illnesses and need all the help they can get. I decided to contribute as much as I could, both as a humanitarian act and as a symbol of solidarity," said M., who would not reveal his identity.
    M. underwrote the establishment of a children's recovery room to provide a supportive environment for children before and after chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
    Some 1,200 Palestinian children and adults from the PA and Gaza visit the hospital every year for cancer treatment.

Palestinians Confuse Movie Set for New Outpost - Elior Levy and Elisha Ben-Kimon (Ynet News)
    The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on a new Israeli outpost being built near Deir Istiya in the Samaria region of the West Bank.
    Yet the "outpost" was actually a temporary set for a movie featuring children's star Yuval Shemtov, known as "Yuval the Confused."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Urges UN to Designate Hamas as Terror Group after Tunnel Found under Gaza Schools
    Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon on Friday urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to designate the Palestinian movement Hamas as a terrorist organization after it was revealed that Hamas had built a tunnel beneath two UNRWA schools. "It is of the utmost importance that the Council ensures that all UN-affiliated agencies, and especially UNRWA, remain neutral and safeguarded from abuse by terrorist organizations," he wrote in a letter to the UNSC. "Our reports of Hamas' military buildup and use of children in military campaigns have fallen on deaf ears. This time, the international community must not turn a blind eye toward such cynical exploitation."  (Sputnik-Russia)
        See also UNRWA Condemns Hamas for Tunnel under Schools in Gaza - Ian Deitch
    UNRWA, the UN aid agency that helps Palestinians in Gaza, on Friday condemned the territory's Hamas rulers after discovering a tunnel running under two of its schools. UNRWA said it "condemns the existence of such tunnels in the strongest possible terms," adding that it "robustly intervened and protested to Hamas." The agency said it is sealing the tunnel under its premises and will ban students and staff from the building until the issue is resolved. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Red Cross on Missing Israelis: Hamas Must Abide by International Humanitarian Law
    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday urged Hamas authorities to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law with regard to five Israeli nationals who went missing in Gaza. "Persons captured alive must be accounted for and treated humanely. Human remains, too, must be handled with dignity, identified and returned to the families concerned," said Jacques de Maio, the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel. Intentionally withholding information about missing persons is acting in violation of humanitarian law.
        Hamas is thought to hold three Israelis who entered Gaza illegally as well as the remains of two soldiers killed in fighting in 2014. (International Committee of the Red Cross-Times of Israel)
        See also Hamas Rejects Red Cross Request to Reveal Fate of Israeli Soldiers - Kifah Ziboun (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: "The Time Has Come to Disband UNRWA" - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to a Hamas tunnel discovered earlier this month under two UNRWA schools in Gaza, told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday that he told visiting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that "the time has come for the UN to reconsider the continued existence of UNRWA." He said the UN has a refugee agency, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has dealt since World War II with millions of refugees around the world. Palestinians have their own separate agency, UNRWA, which also incites against Israel.
        "I regret that UNRWA, to a large degree, by its very existence, perpetuates...the Palestinian refugee problem," he said. "Therefore, the time has come to disband UNRWA and integrate it into the UNHCR."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to Reduce Gaza Electricity Supply at Palestinian President's Request - Barak Ravid and Amos Harel
    Israel's Security Cabinet decided Sunday to respond to the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reduce the supply of electricity to Gaza. The ministers accepted the Israeli army's recommendation against leniency toward Hamas and to act in accordance with Abbas' decision. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Arabs Charged in Hamas Plot to Kill IDF Soldier - Anna Ahronheim
    Three Israeli Arab residents of Jaljulya were charged Thursday with a plot to kill an Israeli army officer, the Israel Security Agency said Thursday. Security services had detained seven residents on suspicion of weapons trafficking, and the investigation revealed that brothers Adam and Fares Faqi were planning an attack. Adam Faqi had been recruited into Hamas by another brother, Muhammad, while in Gaza for a family wedding in 2014 and underwent small-arms training. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • How the Jewish Vote May Have Helped Decide the UK Election - Yair Rosenberg
    The British election on Thursday resulted in a hung parliament with no party garnering a majority but the Conservatives remaining the largest party. A coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland (DUP), which won 10 seats, would provide the Conservatives, who won 318 seats, with a governing majority in the 650-member Parliament.
        A key factor in enabling the Conservatives to cling to power may have been Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's alienation of the Jewish vote. Pre-election polling found that just 13% of British Jews planned to vote for Labour, largely due to concerns about Corbyn, whose associations with anti-Semites rattled many. This ultimately came back to haunt Corbyn, as Labour lost the so-called London "Bagel Belt" - even as the rest of the capital swung Labour - preventing the party from taking enough seats to deny May a coalition majority with the DUP. (Tablet)
        See also Did Israel Just Win the British Election? - Walter Russell Mead
    Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will be forming a government with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. One of the few reservoirs of strong pro-Israel feeling in the UK lies in Northern Ireland, and many of Ulster's Protestants are as sympathetic to Israel as their U.S. cousins. Travelers in Northern Ireland will sometimes see Palestinian flags in Catholic neighborhoods and the Star of David banner in Protestant ones. The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University. (American Interest)
        See also UK Conservatives Working with DUP Will Be Good News for Israel - Steven Jaffe
    Northern Ireland's DUP MPs are among the staunchest supporters of Israel in the House of Commons. When in 2014 the issue of recognizing Palestine came up in Parliament, 5 of the 12 MPs that opposed it were from the DUP. DUP MPs also spoke in the debate earlier this year on the Balfour centenary and have been outspoken in condemning Palestinian incitement and funding for terrorist prisoners.
        There are fewer than 80 members of the Jewish community in Northern Ireland. So it seems hard to reconcile DUP interest in Israel with electoral self-interest. But Northern Ireland is the UK's "Bible belt" and Christian Zionism is a potent force amongst Ulster's church-going Protestant community. But their support for Israel is also secular. They draw parallels between Northern Ireland's experience of terrorism and Israel's and feel that both Ulster unionists and Israeli Jews get an unfair hearing in the world's press. Belfast-born Steven Jaffe is a consultant to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. (Jewish News-UK)
  • Saudi Newspaper Criticizes Hamas - Yasser Okbi
    The Saudi newspaper Okaz reported Friday that Hamas has invested "$120 million in the last three years in intensive tunnel construction....Hamas allocates millions of Saudi and UAE dollars in order to support Iranian-orchestrated terror."
        Saying "there is no difference" between the Islamic State and Hamas, the paper called for immediate Arab intervention in order to prevent Hamas' exploitation of Gaza's citizens. "Hamas uses all the aid that the Palestinians receive to support their interests, it digs tunnels beneath schools, houses and hospitals and thereby poses a danger to the lives of Palestinian civilians."  (Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)

The Jewish Connection to Jerusalem - David Suissa (Jewish Journal of Los Angeles)

  • With all the talk of renewed diplomacy in the Middle East involving Israel, one of the most emotionally charged issues will be the status of Jerusalem. I attended a multi-media presentation the other night at the Museum of Tolerance titled, "Jerusalem United: Fifty Years of Freedom, Three Thousand Years of Jewish History."
  • The presenter, Ambassador Dore Gold, who is now President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, made a compelling and visual case for the deep, uninterrupted, 3,000-year Jewish connection to Jerusalem using artifacts from biblical times, ancient scrolls, recent archeology discoveries, and legal documents from international bodies that appeared on a large screen.
  • Discussing international efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, he brought out legal documents that show that "Israel is the most legitimate state in the UN. It is the only state whose legality was recognized even before it was founded by both the League of Nations and the United Nations."
  • And like a good attorney, he didn't skip the emotional part. I mean the sense of outrage that Gold feels towards anyone who denies a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. International bodies like UNESCO have had no problem passing resolutions denying a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Gold is acutely aware of this pervasive movement to negate Jewish history and strike at the core of Jewish identity.
  • Gold also reminded us that attacks on Jewish legitimacy and identity are nothing new. "The Romans understood that to wage war and defeat their enemies, they needed to attack their identity, not just their physical bodies. After crushing the last Jewish rebellion against them, they renamed Jerusalem 'Aelia Capitolina,' and Judea was given a new name: 'Syria-Palestine.' They wanted to erase the memory of Jewish self-rule forever."

        See also "There Is Massive Support for United Jerusalem among U.S. Jews" - Dudi Caspi (Israel Hayom)

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