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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 Thursday,
June 15, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Netanyahu Condemns Virginia Shooting, Says Israel Stands with U.S. (Prime Minister's Office)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday:
    "On behalf of the Government and people of Israel, I send our heartfelt wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Congressman Steve Scalise and the other victims of today's tragic shooting attack in Virginia."
    "We stand with the victims, their families and the American people on this difficult day."

Dozens of Islamic State Militants in Suicide Vests Launch Mosul Counterattack - Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim (Washington Post)
    Dozens of Islamic State militants wearing suicide vests penetrated Iraqi police lines in Mosul on Wednesday in a large-scale counterattack.
    The militants also launched seven car bombs at the front lines south of the Old City, their last foothold in the city.

U.S. Deploys Long-Range Artillery in Southern Syria - Ryan Browne (CNN)
    The U.S. military has moved its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from Jordan into southern Syria for the first time, positioning it near the U.S.-Coalition training base at Al-Tanf, three U.S. defense officials confirmed Tuesday.
    HIMARS, a truck-mounted system which can fire missiles as far as 300 km., represents a major boost to U.S. combat power in southern Syria.
    HIMARS has been used to strike ISIS targets from firing positions in Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
    See also Iran's Plans in Syria - Ahmed Eleiba (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
    Iranian news agencies have featured photographs of Maj.-Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, together with members of the Fatimid Brigade and the Syrian army at a location on the Iraqi-Syrian border.
    They reflect an Iranian-Syrian plan to link the Shia militias on both sides of the border as part of Tehran's larger plan to create a land corridor from Tehran through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean.
    U.S. forces on the ground in Syria are obstructing this scheme, however, and have launched three attacks against Iranian-affiliated contingents near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders.
    The Americans have fortified a 55 km. area around Al-Tanf to create a no-go zone.

Video: Navigating the Road to Peace (Six-Day War Project - Jerusalem U)
    On Nov. 22, 1967, five months after the Six-Day War, the UN passed Resolution 242, calling on Israel's Arab neighbors to end acts of aggression against Israel and recognize its boundaries.
    Twelve years later, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a treaty with Israel assuring peace and cooperation in exchange for the return of the Sinai Peninsula - which made up 90% of the land Israel captured in the Six-Day War.
    In 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Despite Tillerson Reassurance, Palestinians Not Stopping "Martyr" Payments - Ali Sawafta
    Palestinian officials say there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis, contradicting comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. One Palestinian official said, "There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them. They could perhaps be labeled differently," but "they are not going to be stopped."  (Reuters)
  • Iranian Navy Missile Boat Harasses Three U.S. Navy Ships, Marine Helicopter in Strait of Hormuz - Sam LaGrone
    Three U.S. Navy ships and a Marine helicopter were harassed during a night transit of the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday by an Iranian Navy Houdong-class guided-missile boat, U.S. 5th Fleet officials said Wednesday. The Iranian boat came within 800 yards of the U.S. ships and harassed the formation with a spotlight, then trained a laser on a helicopter that accompanied the ships. (U.S. Naval Institute News)
  • U.S. Holds Hamas Responsible for Humanitarian Situation in Gaza
    State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday: "We are concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza....But no one should lose sight of this fact, that Hamas bears the greatest responsibility for the current situation in Gaza."  (State Department)
        See also UN Says Gaza Crisis Is "Internal Palestinian Dispute"
    The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Territories Robert Piper on Wednesday characterized the ever-worsening crisis in Gaza as "an internal Palestinian dispute."  (Ma'an News-PA)
        See also Hamas Could Easily Solve Gaza's Electricity Crisis, But Prefers to Finance Tunnels and Rockets - Avi Issacharoff
    Gaza residents had power for only three hours on Tuesday. Hamas could, if it wanted to, pay for enough electricity to significantly improve power supplies. But it prefers to spend millions a month digging attack tunnels into Israel and manufacturing rockets. Estimates say Hamas is spending $130 million a year on preparations for war. (Times of Israel)
  • Turkish Guards to Be Charged in Washington Embassy Protests - Peter Hermann
    D.C. authorities are to announce criminal charges Thursday against 12 members of Turkish President Erdogan's security detail who authorities say attacked protesters outside the ambassador's residence last month in Washington. Police officials say arrest warrants have been issued and that the suspects, all believed to be in Turkey, are now wanted in the U.S.
        On May 26, the New York Times published a video-graphic tracking 24 Erdogan supporters during the fight, including 10 it identified as members of the president's formal security team and 6 dressed in khaki that were Turkish guards. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli President Hosts Muslim Leaders at Ramadan Iftar Dinner
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted Muslim leaders and foreign diplomats for a celebratory iftar dinner marking the end of the day's Ramadan fast on Monday evening. Among those attending were the President of the Shariya Court of Appeals, the Qadi Abed Alhakim Samara; Chairman of the Arab Regional Council Heads and Mayor of Sakhnin Mazen Ganim; as well as ambassadors to Israel from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. (i24 News)
  • Revolutionary Technology Reveals Hidden Text on Biblical-Era Shard - Amanda Borschel-Dan
    Using a revolutionary new technique for performing multispectral imaging, a team from Tel Aviv University has discovered never-before-seen Hebrew inscriptions on a First Temple-era shard. The discovery raises the possibility that other "blank" shards from the period may also contain undiscovered texts, and there are now plans for a wider reexamination of all shards from that time period.
        Some 91 ink-on-clay shards written on the eve of the Kingdom of Judah's destruction were unearthed at Tel Arad in the 1960s. The legible writing was deciphered by top scholars, and for the past 50 years they have been prominently displayed in the Israel Museum. Now, previously invisible words and sentences have been discovered on the back side of one of the first shards to be examined with the new technology.
        The new text was discovered by chance. While photographing the known text, Michael Cordonsky, the imaging lab and system manager at the School of Physics and Astronomy, flipped the shard - just in case - and found three lines of writing from two and a half millennia ago. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Top American Jewish Leader: Stop Making Excuses for Abbas on Palestinian Incitement - Barney Breen-Portnoy
    The time has come to stop making excuses for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the issue of incitement, Malcolm Hoenlein - the executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations - told Algemeiner this week. Abbas is "directly involved in incitement," he said.
        Hoenlein expressed support for the Taylor Force Act, which was introduced in Congress in February, noting, "Our stance against the funding of terrorists and their families has been a longstanding position."
        Regarding Trump's declared desire to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Hoenlein said, "I think the fact that he didn't force a meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas shows, hopefully, that he is realistic about the prospects for a negotiated settlement at this moment....Any talks must be held directly between Netanyahu and Abbas, and should be encouraged, but not forced. Otherwise, they will not work."  (Algemeiner)
  • Palestinian Political Culture Makes It Impossible for Abbas to Stop Paying Terrorists - Jonathan S. Tobin
    After telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that the problem of the Palestinian Authority's payment of salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families had been solved, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee a day later that there was only an "active discussion" about the issue.
        Within hours of Tillerson's initial statement, members of Abbas' government announced that there were no plans to stop payments to terrorists. Indeed, they considered the entire discussion a form of "aggression" against the Palestinian people.
        Anti-Jewish violence is an essential element of the Palestinian national narrative. Ending support for terror is essential to peace, but it's also an impossible task for Abbas, who is worried about losing support to his Hamas rivals. Palestinian political culture makes it impossible for Abbas to end the payments. (New York Post)

The Holocaust Did Not Create Israel - Einat Wilf (Ha'aretz)

  • Music conductor Daniel Barenboim wrote in Ha'aretz on June 8 that Israel exists because of the Holocaust. The claim is that Israel "was given" to the Jewish people by the guilt-ridden world after the Holocaust.
  • Israel was not "given" to the Jews. The last thing on the agenda of the European nations at the end of World War II was guilt feelings toward the Jews.
  • Just as India and Pakistan and other nations did not need the murder of a third of their people to receive a country at that time, the Jewish people would have obtained its own state at the end of World War II, not because of the Holocaust, but rather because of the dismantling of the British empire as a result of the war.
  • Denying Zionism means denying that Jews can, by force of vision, desire and work, act as an active agent and shape a future in which they are not the victims of others. Denying Zionism means that the State of Israel becomes a "gift" that was given by others - not as a result of what the Jews did by and for themselves.
  • Moreover, denying Zionism turns Israel - alone among all countries in the world - into a conditional state, which is permitted to exist as long as those who received it, by grace and not by right, will find favor in the eyes of those who "gave" them the country.
  • The right of the Jewish people to have a country in its own homeland is a universal right, which is reserved for every people - the right to stand on its own authority and to control its fate.

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

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