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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
July 26, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Abbas Decides to Escalate Tensions over Jerusalem - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
    Fatah sources say PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has decided to ride the recent wave of unrest in east Jerusalem and lead the struggle against Israel over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, after King Abdullah of Jordan forced Israel to take down the metal detectors at the Temple Mount.
    At a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Tuesday, Abbas endorsed the position of the Muslim Waqf in east Jerusalem to continue the protests.
    He also instructed that preparations begin for approaching the International Criminal Court in The Hague and joining 28 international organizations as a state.
    Abbas sent a message to the residents of east Jerusalem, saying, "Jerusalem is ours and it is our capital. What you are doing is correct and we supported and support all that you did and are doing."
    In order to improve his standing in east Jerusalem, Abbas also announced that he was giving $25 million to institutions there.
    The writer, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center.

U.S. Navy Ship Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Patrol Boat in Persian Gulf - Barbara Starr and Zachary Cohen (CNN)
    A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat Tuesday in the Persian Gulf, U.S. defense officials said.
    The Iranian boat, believed to be operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, came within 150 yards of the USS Thunderbolt.

When Will the Palestinian Muslims Accept the Jews as a Sovereign People? - Nadav Shragai (Israel Hayom)
    The Temple Mount is where the Palestinians opt time and again to light their fire of religious conflict with the Jewish people.
    Since its establishment, the State of Israel has tried to avoid interreligious conflict, but the Muslims always revert back to it.
    The metal detectors installed by Israel at the entrances to the Temple Mount were just an excuse.
    Islam is unwilling to accept the Jews' presence in any form other than as an enslaved religious minority, certainly not as a sovereign people.
    We've seen this play out dozens of times before.
    See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israeli Medical Team in Fiji for Surgeries (Xinhua-China)
    More than 50 Fijian children will undergo surgery by a team of medical specialists from Israel beginning Monday at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva.
    The team was part of the Mashav project, the humanitarian arm of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which assists more than 60 countries to alleviate hunger, disease and poverty.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians Keep Up Holy Site Boycott Despite Israel's Removal of Metal Detectors - Isabel Kershner
    The Muslim authorities in Jerusalem instructed worshipers to remain outside the Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday, even after Israel removed the metal detectors from entrances to the holy site that had prompted days of violent clashes. "Now everybody is mobilized," said Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian professor at Al-Quds University in east Jerusalem. "This is multidimensional. Everyone wants to be part of the political equation."
        Rumors abound among Palestinians that Israel will now install X-ray cameras around the mosque compound capable of seeing through clothing, fueling new tensions in a conservative society where many women wear long robes and head coverings. The police issued a denial on Tuesday, saying: "The Israel Police does not use any type of camera that harms privacy in any way and has no intention of using such cameras in the future. The purpose of the cameras is to protect and guard public safety."  (New York Times)
  • White House Applauds Israeli Action on Metal Detectors
    The White House welcomed Israel's decision to remove metal detectors from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Tuesday after their installation triggered violence. "Israel has removed the recently installed magnetometers and cameras, despite the demonstrated need to enhance security at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the wake of the murder of two Israeli police officers at the site on July 14," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region."  (AFP)
  • Top EU Court Keeps Hamas on Terror List
    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement should remain on the EU terrorism blacklist. The EU's top court overruled the General Court's view of 2014 that there was insufficient evidence to maintain asset freezes and travel bans on Hamas. (Reuters)
  • Haley: Time to Get Serious about Disarming Hizbullah
    U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Tuesday: "Truth be told, the Security Council often makes the Middle East more complicated than it actually is. It obsesses over Israel. And it refuses to acknowledge one of the chief sources of conflict and killing in the Middle East - that is, Iran and its partner militia, Lebanese Hizbullah."
        "Hizbullah is a terrorist organization. In its own words, it is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It has the blood of hundreds of Americans and thousands of others on its hands. Together with its Iranian patron, Hizbullah seeks to cause destruction throughout the Middle East. Some see "two wings" to Hizbullah - a terrorist wing, and a political and social wing...but it is dangerous fiction."
        "The United Nations...has passed multiple resolutions calling on Hizbullah to disarm. It has called on the Lebanese state to exercise control over its territory. But neither of these things has happened....Hizbullah openly defies these resolutions and impedes the Lebanese government's ability to exercise full control over its territory."
        "Hizbullah's illegal weapons build-up is putting the people of Lebanon in great danger....We must begin to get serious about enforcing our own resolutions that have been routinely violated by Iran and Hizbullah."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Fatah Calls to "Intensify" Struggle over Temple Mount after Israel Removes Metal Detectors
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction has called for Muslims to "intensify the popular struggle" over the Temple Mount, despite the removal of metal detectors and security cameras from the site on Tuesday. In the wake of a July 14 terror attack carried out with guns that had been smuggled onto the Mount, Muslims have performed mass prayer protests outside the Jerusalem compound, some of which devolved into clashes with Israeli security forces.
        On Wednesday, the Fatah Central Committee said that it would continue protests over the security measures and called for this week's Friday prayers to again take place outside of the compound. A Waqf official said it was continuing the boycott of the Temple Mount and that new high-tech cameras would not be accepted in place of the metal detectors. Waqf officials also demanded that the increased police presence be removed. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Blinded in Terror Attack Urges UN to Stop PA's Terrorist Stipends - Itamar Eichner
    Oren Almog, who lost five members of his family along with his eyesight in a terrorist attack in Haifa in 2003, called on the UN Security Council on Tuesday to stop the Palestinian Authority's payments to convicted terrorists. "The same Palestinian leadership, which talks with international leaders about its desire for peace, is actually paying salaries to terrorists and their families, every single month, salaries that rise relating to the number of victims. Those who kill more, get more," he explained. "In 2016 alone...$86,000 went directly to people involved in the killing of my family."  (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Millions of Muslims Know the Al-Aqsa Mosque Is Not in Danger - Moshe Arens
    There are millions of Muslims around the world who know that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not in danger and that it is probably safer under Israeli control. Most certainly Israel's Muslim citizens know this only too well. Until such time that courageous Muslims will be prepared to rebut the falsehoods, the incitement will continue and innocent blood will be spilled. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • This Isn't about Metal Detectors - Benny Avni
    Are they really going to start World War III over metal detectors? Mecca, which is a holy site, has metal detectors. And the Vatican. And many buildings in Manhattan and around the U.S.  Yet on Monday the UN Security Council convened an "emergency" session on this new "threat to international peace and security" - and did so behind the safety of UN metal detectors.
        This isn't about metal detectors. For the longest time, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has utilized the Al-Aqsa Mosque to manufacture Palestinian and Muslim rage. In the long run, America's smart move is to start addressing the follies of manufactured Muslim outrage and holding Abbas and the Palestinians accountable for their incitement. That is the true threat to international peace and security. (New York Post)
  • Fatah Says the "Campaign for Jerusalem" Has Begun - Daniel Pipes
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party announced Saturday that the "campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation."
        The Temple Mount crisis highlights why a steady 80% of Palestinians believe they can eliminate the Jewish state. Islam carries with it the expectation that any land once under Muslim control is an endowment that must inevitably revert to Muslim rule. Palestinians consistently report their belief that the State of Israel will collapse within a few decades.
        A confrontation over the Temple Mount uniquely excites this expectation because it reaches far beyond the local population to arouse the passions of many of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. Palestinians rejoice in their role as the tip of an enormous spear. The writer is president of the Middle East Forum. (Wall Street Journal)

Congress Considers Bill Criminalizing Support for Israel Boycott - Andrew Breiner (Roll Call)

  • The proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act threatens large fines for businesses and individuals who make statements, including social media posts, saying that they are boycotting Israeli companies.
  • The Anti-Boycott Act is a rare bipartisan effort, with 31 Republican and 14 Democrat co-sponsors in the Senate, and 117 Republican and 63 Democrat co-sponsors in the House.
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the bill's lead author, noted that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has misinterpreted the legislation and expressed his intention to "make it clearer."
    See also Congress Can Send a Powerful Message by Passing the Israel Anti-Boycott Act - Joshua S. Block (The Hill)
  • The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would expand existing U.S. anti-boycott laws, which currently prohibit participation by Americans in discriminatory foreign government-led boycotts against Israel.
  • This legislation does not in any way regulate civil society organizations which are critical of Israeli policies or prevent them from speaking out in favor of boycotts. But commercial conduct is not speech.
  • Legislation protecting Israel from boycotts has already passed in over 20 U.S. states. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is not an effort to suppress free speech, but an important weapon in the fight against hate and intolerance.

    The writer is CEO and President of The Israel Project.

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