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July 31, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Palestinian Islamist Kills One, Wounds Five in Stabbing Attack in Hamburg, Germany - Melissa Eddy (New York Times)
    German police said Saturday that a Palestinian born in the UAE, who killed one person and wounded five others with a knife in Hamburg, was known to them as a recently radicalized Islamist.
    The man's application for asylum had been rejected and he was in the process of being deported, officials said.

Australia Thwarts "Islamic-Inspired" Plane Attack Plot - Benjamin Cooper (Reuters)
    Australian police foiled "Islamic-inspired" plans for a bomb attack on an aircraft and arrested four men, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said on Sunday.

Inside Iran's Mission to Dominate the Middle East - Borzou Daragahi (BuzzFeed)
    Seasoned Lebanese Hizbullah fighters sometimes serve as trainers for Shiite militiamen in Iran.
    Hoder, a Hizbullah commander, estimated that 2,000 of his colleagues had been deployed to Iraq to train militiamen, and said that Hizbullah trainers had also been dispatched to Yemen to prep Iranian-allied Houthi fighters.
    "What we learn [from previous battles], we used on the ground in [southern Lebanon] against the Israelis in 2006, and in Aleppo in 2015. And hopefully, in the Galilee someday soon," he said, referring to the northern part of Israel and the ultimate purpose of his efforts.
    "We are winning. Look who's running Lebanon. Look who's controlling Sanaa [Yemen's capital] and Baghdad."
    "Israel knows what Iran is building, who they're working with, what the training is, and where the training is," said Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the research division of IDF Military Intelligence.
    "We keep trying to find ways to start slowing them down so when the big war starts they have less capability."

Why Did Israel Remove the Metal Detectors? - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Amir Avivi (Ynet News)
    It is ludicrous to view metal detectors as a threat to freedom of Islamic worship, or a change to the status quo at the holy site.
    Nevertheless, Israel's defense establishment recommended removing the metal detectors. Why?
    Right now, Israel's enemies across the Middle East are busy fighting one another. Israel remains outside of the combat arenas.
    In the wider perspective, Israel's interest is not to enter into a new conflict. Israel has no interest in uniting the Islamic world against it.

Passage to Israel - Karen Lehrman Bloch (American Spectator)
    The images that appear in Passage to Israel were chosen because of their deeply emotional - spiritual - beauty that bypasses ideology and goes straight to the soul.
    The Facebook page for the book receives more than a third of its "likes" from Arabs living in Israel and the West Bank.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Seeks to Test Iran Deal with More Inspections - Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee
    The Trump administration is pushing for inspections of suspicious Iranian military sites as one element of what is to be a more aggressive approach to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, senior U.S. officials said. While the Trump administration seeks to police the existing deal more strictly, it is also working to fix what Trump aides have called "serious flaws" in the deal that - if not resolved quickly - will likely lead Trump to pull out.
        That effort also includes discussions with European countries to negotiate a follow-up agreement to prevent Iran from resuming nuclear development. To force inspections of new sites in Iran, the U.S. would need to enlist the support of the IAEA and a majority of the countries in the deal. But the U.S. has yet to produce compelling evidence of illicit activity at a military site that the IAEA could use to justify inspections, officials said. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Haley: Latest Missile Launch Shows We Can't Trust Iran
    U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley responded Friday to Iran's latest missile launch: "The issue with Iran always comes back to mistrust. Iran's widespread support for terrorists tells us we can't trust them. Iran's breaking its obligation on missile testing tells us we can't trust them. Yesterday's launch proves that yet again."
        "Under this administration, the United States will not let Iran off the hook for behavior that threatens our interests and our allies. We will not simply trust Iran's word that they are in compliance with international obligations. We will continue to impose consequences until Iran stops its provocations and complies fully with Security Council resolutions."  (U.S. Mission to the UN)
  • Iran Condemns New U.S. Sanctions, Vows to Pursue Missile Program - Ramin Mostaghim
    "We will continue with full power our missile program," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told state television IRIB on Saturday, dismissing new sanctions passed by Congress last week as "hostile, reprehensible and unacceptable."
        Nader Karimi Juni, an analyst close to Rouhani's government, said Iranian leaders don't believe the UN and European powers will ultimately back the U.S., and so Iran "will not compromise on missile projects and will remain defiant."  (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Tried to Stab Soldiers in West Bank on Friday
    Abdullah Takaatka, 24, rushed at IDF soldiers with a knife at the Gush Etzion Junction in the West Bank on Friday and was shot dead, the Israeli military said. Palestinian rioting was reported on Friday in several locations in the West Bank, including Bethlehem and Hebron. (Times of Israel)
  • The Temple Mount Crisis: Differing Reactions among Middle Eastern States - Zvi Bar'el
    Israel wasn't the only one fearing a Palestinian intifada resulting from the Temple Mount crisis. Many Arab leaders shared the alarm, because - as proven during the Arab Spring - uprisings are a dangerous, contagious disease that could put Arab regimes in a violent confrontation with their own people.
        Egypt's streets remained silent during the Temple Mount furor and the Egyptian media dealt with other burning issues. President Sisi has been working to stabilize the border with Gaza at the PA's expense, with his overwhelming support for Abbas' bitter rival, Mohammed Dahlan. Sisi also is more interested in the reconciliation process in Libya to safeguard Egypt's western borders from a terror spillover.
        Turkey's President Erdogan can curse Israel as much as he likes, but his weight and status in influencing the PA or the West Bank's religious leaders is next to nil. (Ha'aretz)
  • Temple Mount Crisis Threatened Arab Regimes More than Israel - Reuven Berko
    Muslim Waqf officials in Jerusalem were euphoric when Israel removed the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, but their removal was nothing more than a tactical move. The Arab states, and even the Palestinian Authority, recognized the Islamist attempt to set in motion a wave of insurrection against them with the claim "Al-Aqsa is in danger." Indeed, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah called for a mass revolt against the "passive" Arab regimes in the name of Al-Aqsa. Dr. Col. (ret.) Reuven Berko was an adviser on Arab Affairs to the Jerusalem district police. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Mass Celebrations in Umm al-Fahm Accompanied the Funerals of Terrorists - Moshe Arens
    Muslims who celebrated their "victory" over Israel will in time learn that it was a hollow victory. In due time all the necessary security measures will be taken at the entrances to the Temple Mount for the protection of everyone who visits this holy site.
        Unfortunately, engraved in the memory of many will remain not only the criminal act by three Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm, but even more disturbing, the mass celebrations there that accompanied their funerals. Those who wanted to believe that it was the act of a few crazed individuals are sorely disappointed. The writer served as Israel's Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha'aretz)
  • Showing the Americans Which Side Wants Peace - Alexander J. Apfel
    President Trump and his Middle East advisors witnessed an insatiable, enraged, rock-throwing, blood-thirsty, suicidal mob screaming "Allahu akbar," expressing their willingness, even eagerness, to die in their quest to see the dismantlement of metal detectors. They see an abhorrent obsession with, and glorification of, death, a determination to become a martyr for reasons no reasonable, or sane person can begin to fathom. And who is the man openly encouraging this barbaric and backward behavior? Mahmoud Abbas.
        With regard to any prospective peace talks, Trump has already seen with whom we are expected to do business. It doesn't take the construction of a home in the West Bank to demonstrate that neither the Palestinians, nor their leaders, are partners for peace in any future negotiations. It simply takes the installation of a few metal detectors in a location where three of their men carried out a murder.
        With Abbas' rhetoric twice calling for a "day of rage" over the metal detectors and severing security ties with Israel, convincing Trump that he seeks peace will be no small challenge. At the same time, Netanyahu will have shown that by removing the metal detectors, he demonstrated flexibility, while the Palestinians yet again demonstrated no flexibility. (Ynet News)
  • How Can the Palestinian Authority Defend Paying Lifetime Salaries to Terrorists Convicted of Murder? - Julie Lenarz
    In 2016, the average wage in the UK was £2,272 per month. The family of the knife-wielding Palestinian terrorist who brutally butchered three members of the Salomon family at Shabbat dinner on July 21 will soon enjoy a generous monthly payment of at least £2,385 plus supplements, courtesy of the PA.
        Murder, preferably multiple murder, is a lucrative business in the Palestinian territories. The PA's policy of rewarding terrorists makes it complicit in the murder of Jews. But what's most revolting is that Palestinian murder is bankrolled by the international community. There's a good chance that your hard-earned cash could end up being used as blood money by the PA to reward murderous terrorists. If we are serious about fighting terrorism, scrutinizing Palestinian behavior before donating hundreds of millions in aid would be a good place to start. The writer is Executive Director of the Human Security Centre in London. (International Business Times-UK)

The Jews: One of the World's Oldest Indigenous Peoples - Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The Palestinian "Balfour Apology Campaign" to demand the annulment of the Balfour Declaration is part of a consistent policy of denying the rights of the Jews to their national homeland as a people indigenous to the area.
  • Yet the Jewish People for more than two millennia has consistently maintained the strongest claim to be the aboriginal people in its ancestral homeland, and their existence and roots are widely documented, acknowledged, and recognized.
  • Christianity grew out of Judaism, and the early Christian existence and settlement in the Holy Land were part and parcel of the Jewish existence and settlement there.
  • Arab and Palestinian leaders are attempting to establish a mythical, new narrative according to which the "Palestinian People" have existed as a distinct people indigenous to the area for thousands of years, predating the Jewish People.
  • Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the PLO, claimed in 2014 that he is a direct descendant of the Canaanite tribes who lived in Israel some 9,000 years ago. Yet according to Erekat's own Facebook entry, the Erekat clan is from the northwestern Arabian Peninsula and settled in the Palestine area around 1860.

    Amb. Alan Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center, served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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