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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
July 5, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Agrees to Open Gaza Border Crossing - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
    Egypt is preparing to open the Rafah border crossing this September, allowing free passage of Palestinian civilians from Gaza to Egypt and back.
    Egypt has invested millions of dollar in preparing the crossing for its reopening.
    The crossing was closed when Hamas came to power 10 years ago.

PA Lays Off 6,145 Gaza Employees - Adam Rasgon (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday forced 6,145 of its civil employees in Gaza into early retirement, as a part of measures to pressure Hamas to concede control over the territory, a PA government spokesman said.

Israeli Border Police at West Bank Checkpoint Foil Jerusalem Terror Attack - Jacob Magid (Times of Israel)
    Israeli border police foiled a terror attack Tuesday after finding a bag of knives, stun grenades and firebomb materials during the search of a Palestinian vehicle headed into Jerusalem at a checkpoint outside Bethlehem.
    Security forces stopped the vehicle after noticing that its front and rear license plates did not match. The six riders also lacked entry permits.
    The suspects admitted during initial questioning to planning to carry out a terror attack in Jerusalem.

Operation Entebbe as Told by the Commandos - Ronen Bergman and Lior Ben-Ami (Ynet News)
    First-hand testimonies of fighters who participated in the Israeli commando raid to free a planeload of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 3, 1976.
  * Planning the Mission
  * Heading to Uganda
  * Storming the Terminal
  * The Fight Outside
  * The Return Home

Hamas Bans Women from Using Motorcycles - Nasouh Nazzal (Gulf News-Dubai)
    The Hamas Interior Ministry in Gaza on Monday announced a ban on women riding or being carried on motorcycles.
    "This does not suit our society socially or morally. Nor does it fit with Muslim rules and regulations," the ministry said.

New Airport to Be a Game-Changer for Southern Israel Tourism - Judy Lash Balint (
    The new, ultra-modern Ilan and Assaf Ramon Airport, scheduled to open next spring near Eilat, is expected to be a game-changer for southern Israel's tourism scene.
    RyanAir, Monarch, Finnair, SAS and Wizz have signed up to use the new airport in the Arava Valley.
    Once Ramon Airport opens, Eilat and Ovda airports will be closed, and at full capacity, Ramon Airport will be able to accommodate up to 2 million passengers per year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • India's Leader Kicks Off Historic Visit to Israel - Josef Federman
    India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday kicked off a high-profile visit to Israel aimed at celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations and strengthening his country's already warm ties with the Jewish state. Modi will not be visiting the Palestinians. Palestinian President Abbas visited Modi in India in May, and Indian officials say they handled all their business at the time. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Israel Welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday: "We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world."
        "It's been said, Prime Minister, that in Silicon Valley in California the two most common languages overheard are Hindi and Hebrew....The Jews of India and the 100,000 Israelis of Indian descent are a wonderful human bridge between our two nations, our two peoples."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Video: Indian Prime Minister Visits Israel's Holocaust Memorial - Tamara Zieve
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, on Tuesday. At the conclusion of his visit, Modi wrote in the guest book: "I am deeply moved by my visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum. It is as much a poignant reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago as it is a symbol of the endurance and fortitude of the Jewish people."
        "As we deal with conflict, intolerance, hatred and terror in our time, Yad Vashem serves as a mirror to society around the world. May we not forget the injustices of the past and its devastating toll on humanity, and remembering the past, we may empower our children to make compassionate, just and righteous choices for their future."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • March for "Justice" by Erdogan Opponents in Turkey Gains Momentum and Alarms Government - Kareem Fahim
    A march to Istanbul by protesters from Turkey's largest opposition party has swelled in size since it left Ankara as pictures of the growing crowds are posted on social media, attracting newcomers. The 260-mile march, scheduled to end Sunday, also risks a violent confrontation with the authorities as it approaches Istanbul, where thousands more people are likely to join the rally.
        The march began June 15, the day after the arrest of Enis Berberoglu, a CHP parliament member, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for giving an opposition newspaper a video purportedly showing Turkish intelligence sending weapons to Syria. Some of Turkey's most famous journalists are on trial, accused by prosecutors of treason for writing stories critical of the government. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast: Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel and UNESCO: A New Era Has Not Yet Arrived - Dore Gold
    UNESCO yet again adopted an outrageous resolution defining Israeli activity in east Jerusalem as illegal and referring to the Temple Mount as a "Muslim site of worship." True, ten states voted for the resolution, but taking together the eight states that abstained with the three states that opposed the resolution, more states (11) refused to back the anti-Israel initiative this time than the number that were prepared to lend their support (10).
        Among the states abstaining were significant African states like Angola and Tanzania. Burkina Faso opposed the resolution outright. The voting pattern of these states demonstrates the importance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to expand Israeli ties in Africa. Tanzania participated in the summit meeting Netanyahu held in Uganda last July commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Entebbe raid. This time, not a single European state backed the resolution.
        There are states that should be the focus of Israeli and U.S. diplomacy in the future. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan supported the UNESCO resolution despite Israeli efforts toward these countries. Cuba also backed the resolution, though it has been trying to improve its relations with Washington. Surprisingly, Vietnam, which has been improving economic ties with Israel, along with the Asian "tigers," went along with the initiative. The visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel - at the time of the vote - symbolized the kinds of changes in Israel's international relations that should help defeat these anti-Israel moves in years ahead.
        The writer, president of the Jerusalem Center, served as Israel's ambassador to the UN and director general of the Foreign Ministry. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • For India and China, the Cold War Is Over and They Have Billions of People to Feed - David Rosenberg
    Anyone trying to fathom the new, high-profile friendship between Israel and India should look to China, with which Israel is also enjoying warming ties. Both India and China were hostile toward Israel during the Cold War era. They took up the Palestinian cause as part of their fight against Western dominance.
        With the collapse of the communist bloc, both established relations with Israel in 1992, but deeper ties only came later, based on Israel's proven capabilities in defense technology. More recently, Israeli prowess in civilian technology has come to the fore as India and China focus on economic development and feeding their populations.
        At the same time, the Palestinians' status as the cause celebre of the Middle East has declined in the wake of the Arab Spring. The Arab world is preoccupied with the struggle with Islamic State and other domestic threats. Meanwhile, record low prices for oil play into the hands of oil importers like India and China, who know their suppliers can't be choosy about their customers' politics.
        Prime Minister Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, strongly identified with Hindu nationalism, is less concerned about pushback from the country's 180 million Muslim minority arising from warmer relations with Israel. Modi first visited Israel in 2006. BJP leaders look to Israel's successes in overcoming its enemies and its lack of natural resources as a model. (Ha'aretz)

National Identity Theft at UNESCO - Yishai Fleisher (Jerusalem Post)

  • In the ancient city of Hebron stands a colossal, 2,000-year-old burial monument built by the Jewish king Herod the Great atop the 3,800-year-old tombs of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and most of the founding family of the Jewish People. The last person to be buried there was the Jewish forefather Jacob, also known as Israel. It is this structure, known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, which the PA is audaciously trying to claim as its own at UNESCO.
  • The Book of Genesis records Abraham's negotiation and purchase of the Machpela cave in Hebron for a family burial plot. Archaeological remains attest to Jewish life in Hebron during the First and Second Temple periods. Throughout the Middle Ages, Jewish and Christian travelers noted the presence of a Jewish community living in Hebron and worshiping at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
  • In 637 CE, during the early Muslim conquest, Muslims and Jews coexisted in Hebron. But in 1267 CE, the Mamluks, a Muslim military caste from Egypt, captured Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and rebranded it the Mosque of Ibrahim. They imposed a jihadist policy of banning Jews, Christians and all non-Muslims from entering the building.
  • Yet even under Mamluk rule, Jews stubbornly held prayer services at the outside wall of the building for the next 700 years. So things went until 1929 when a horrific pogrom ended in the murder of 67 Jews. The community's survivors were then evicted by the occupying British.
  • In the Six-Day War, Israel regained control of Hebron and the tombs, and Jews flocked to the site. Since then, secure passage, freedom of access, and freedom of worship for all faiths has been ensured at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, while 700,000 pilgrims and tourists visit the site yearly.
  • If the UN and UNESCO cannot uphold the values and principles necessary to protect world cultures and heritage sites, let its validity be brought to question - not that of the Jewish People.

        See also New Palestinian Attempt at UNESCO to Claim Hebron and the Patriarch's Tomb as a Palestinian Site - Amb. Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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