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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
July 13, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Iran Building Long-Range Ballistic Missiles in Syria (MEMRI)
    A Syrian opposition website has reported on a new Syrian facility manufacturing long-range missiles in Wadi Jahannam, between Baniyas and Hama.
    The facility is subordinate to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which has been identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as "the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them."
    Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad recently visited the facility, meeting with Iranian and Syrian experts.

Ex-PA Minister Says He Quit over Rampant Corruption in Ramallah - Dov Lieber (Times of Israel)
    Shawqi al-Issa, who served as PA Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Social Affairs in 2014-15, revealed Sunday in a Facebook post that the reason he quit was the high level of corruption in the Palestinian government.
    He wrote that "the well-qualified and non-corrupt officials continued to be removed, while those suspected of corruption had their positions strengthened."

Biased Textbooks Turning Young Americans Against Israel - Rafael Medoff (
    "There's no doubt the lack of sympathy for Israel on college campuses today is at least partly the result of several generations of teenagers being educated with textbooks that are slanted against Israel," said Dr. Sandra Alfonsi, founder of Hadassah's "Curriculum Watch" division.
    After parents in Anchorage, Alaska, complained to their local board of education in 2004 about the 540-page Arab World Studies Notebook, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) prepared a 30-page analysis of the book.
    The AJC found it to be riddled with "overt bias and unabashed propagandizing," such as depicting Israel as the aggressor in every Arab-Israeli war and praising Muslim conquerors throughout the ages for their "gentle treatment of civilian populations."
    The Anchorage Board of Education removed the Notebook from the local high school curriculum.

New Israeli Security Measures at Checkpoints Catch Palestinians with Hidden Knives - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The IDF caught 25 Palestinians carrying knives at checkpoints in the West Bank between April and June.
    Some checkpoints have a reinforced concrete room with shatter-proof glass, along with a scanning machine capable of detecting and identifying the exact location of metal or sharp objects on the body.
    The system allows for a comprehensive search without endangering the safety of the soldier who stands in an adjacent room.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Senate Panel Weighs Bill to Cut U.S. Funding to Palestinians over Payments to Terrorists - Ben Evansky
    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard testimony Wednesday on the Taylor Force Act, named for a West Point graduate who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist last year in Tel Aviv. The committee's ranking member, Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), said, "What the Palestinian Authority is doing is financing terrorism. That must end and the United States must use every opportunity to bring that to end." Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who served under President Obama, asserted that the payments incentivize murder.
        Elliot Abrams, a former senior official under President George W. Bush, said, "What's really tragic here is the complete lack of leadership by President Abbas, who is defending these payments. I think he has an opportunity to explain this to the Palestinian people and he has instead dug his heels and he's defending the system."  (Fox News)
        See also Sen. Corker: Palestinian Terrorists Seek to Commit More Heinous Crimes in Order to Get More PA Money
    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday: "The Palestinian Authority, as a government, has created a system in law that pays Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails more money if they have a longer sentence. I read an affidavit that shared testimony by prisoners that made it clear they attempted to commit crimes that were more heinous to serve more time so that they would get more money for their family....This is a Palestinian Authority-sponsored program that incentivizes terrorism."
        "When a government recognizes terrorism as a valid form of political resistance, how can they possibly be ready for peace?...Should U.S. taxpayer dollars support a government that incentivizes terrorism? I believe the answer is 'no.'"  (
  • Iran Poised to Gain as ISIS Falls in Mosul - Maria Abi-Habib and Asa Fitch
    As Iraq's U.S.-backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul on Monday, Iran is shaping up to be one of the biggest winners in the struggle for influence in Baghdad and across the region. Nouri al-Maliki, a former Iraqi prime minister supported by Iran, is campaigning to win back his old job in next year's Iraqi election, which could determine whether the country tilts toward Iran or the U.S.
        Moreover, Islamic State's losses in Mosul are expected to make it easier for Iran to ship weapons through northern Iraq and Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon. "Today the resistance highway starts in Tehran and passes through Mosul and Beirut to the Mediterranean," Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader, said last week. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Meets with U.S. Envoys on Peace Push - Raphael Ahren and Dov Lieber
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday met with U.S. Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. A senior White House official described Greenblatt's arrival in Jerusalem as "an interim visit as talks continue about potential next steps. President Trump has made it clear that working toward achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him."  (Times of Israel)
  • For U.S., Israeli Housing Plans Are No Longer the Obsessive Center of Attention - Raphael Ahren
    Today, drama over Israeli plans to build houses in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem has become unimaginable. As long as the Israeli government coordinates its moves with the White House and does not embarrass it, the Trump administration will likely refrain from denouncing Israel for plans to expand existing settlements.
        This new wind from Washington is clearly being felt by the Palestinians, who have dropped the demand for a settlement freeze as precondition for talks without much arm-twisting. The fixation on settlements has been superseded by a focus on a large portfolio of issues that need to be addressed. To Ramallah's great chagrin, those issues include incitement to violence and the Palestinian Authority's payments to jailed terrorists and their families. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The North Korean Challenge: Insights for the Middle East - Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov
    North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un possesses an arsenal of 15-20 nuclear bombs, and now has proven his capability of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea is continuing to develop its long-range capabilities, which will threaten population centers in the U.S., while at the same time miniaturizing nuclear warheads in order to mount them on long-range missiles.
        Israel is assessing the implications of the crisis, particularly with respect to the Iranian nuclear program. Concern exists that American restraint and continued provocative North Korean behavior would signal to Tehran that a country determined to cross nuclear red lines is able to do so, even in the face of American opposition. According to this model, it is worthwhile for Iran to continue developing its nuclear capabilities and its missile program in order to attain a nuclear deterrent.
        From Israel's perspective, it is necessary to resume a comprehensive dialogue with Washington (which has not taken place on a serious level since 2015), and to formulate a joint policy towards Iran's nuclear ambitions and the risks incurred by the JCPOA. It is also important to formulate a response to the possibility of the spread of knowledge and elements of the North Korean nuclear program to Iran or its allies in the region, as was the case with the nuclear reactor in Syria in the preceding decade.
        Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, heads the INSS, where Avner Golov is a research fellow. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Modi's Visit to Israel Makes Arabs Envious - Ghassan Charbel
    Arabs took close note to Benjamin Netanyahu freeing up his day to attend his visiting guest, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What turned heads around is that Modi viewed Israel as a prevalent beacon in technology and he clearly spoke of his country's tremendous need to benefit from Israel's capabilities in this field. The visit resulted in the signing of an agreement for India to secure its very own Israeli signature Iron Dome weapon system worth $2 billion.
        What is more dangerous is that a country the size of Israel can offer the Indian army such a large-scale weapons deal. Ever more threatening is that Israel now has managed to develop an advanced strategic, military, security and economic relationship with a country with the size and geopolitical significance of India.
        When reading between the lines and closely reviewing the Middle East, Arabs discovered that in recent years, Israel had achieved a series of victories without firing a bullet. Waves of extremism in the Arab world have caused untold calamities, creating a long list of issues and conflicts in which the Palestinian cause is merely one of many. This time Arabs did not feel envy alone, but sensed utter defeat for those who are failing to catch up with the developing world. The writer is editor-in-chief of the London-based Asharq al-Awsat. (Al Arabiya)

Creation of the Western Wall Plaza in 1967 Was Necessary and Legal - Nathaniel Belmont and Lenny Ben-David (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Articles published by Reuters and the New Yorker in June 2017 described the demolition of the Mughrabi (Moroccan) Quarter of Jerusalem and the eviction of the approximately 650 Arab inhabitants which took place on June 10, 1967, three days after Jerusalem's reunification.
  • While these articles blame Israel, in reality, there is evidence that the neighborhood's days were numbered. Together with the adjacent Jewish Quarter, which had been demolished by the Jordanians, both quarters were nothing more than decaying slums built on rubble. Reuters itself describes the Mughrabi Quarter as "ramshackle."
  • In 1965 and 1966, prior to the war, some 1,000 Arabs were relocated by the Jordanian administration - some by force - from the Jewish Quarter to the newly created Shuafat refugee camp, by order of Jordan's then-prime minister Wasfi Al-Tal.
  • Israel follows legal norms when appropriating private property for public use and public safety - offering due compensation. A 1968 letter from former residents of the Mughrabi Quarter affirms that many residents received compensation.
  • Jordan failed to recognize this basic legal norm in 1949 when it razed the Jewish Quarter, expelled its residents, and looted and desecrated 58 synagogues, all without compensation.
  • From a legal standpoint, the demolition of the Mughrabi Quarter and relocation of its inhabitants was justified and necessary by any acceptable standard to ensure public safety and security and to provide tens of thousands of worshippers with a safe, sanitary passage to Judaism's most holy site, and sufficient public space to worship there.

    Nathaniel Belmont, an intern at the Jerusalem Center, is a student at the University of Western Ontario.
        Lenny Ben-David, a former Deputy Chief of Mission at Israel's Embassy in Washington, is Director of Publications at the Jerusalem Center.

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