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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 2, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Launches First Environmental Research Satellite - Melanie Lidman (Times of Israel)
    Israel launched its first environmental research satellite on Wednesday morning from French Guiana, in partnership with the French space agency CNES.
    The satellite will take high-resolution photographs of specific sites to track desertification, erosion, pollution, natural disasters, and other phenomena linked to climate change.
    The camera on the satellite can take photographs on wavelengths not discernible to the human eye, and the high resolution makes possible "precision agriculture" for water, fertilizer, and pesticide needs.
    The satellite was launched together with a military observation satellite for the Italian military, both built by Israel Aerospace Industries.

Iran Finds New Route to Arm Yemen's Houthi Rebels - Jonathan Saul (Reuters)
    Iran's Revolutionary Guards have started using a new route to funnel covert arms shipments to their Houthi allies in Yemen's civil war.
    Iran had been shipping weapons and military advisers to the Houthis either directly to Yemen or via Somalia. This route, however, risked contact with international naval vessels on patrol in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
    For the last six months, the Revolutionary Guards have begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran, transferring equipment to smaller vessels in Kuwaiti waters.
    Gerry Northwood, a former British Royal Navy captain who has commanded warships in the region, said, "The whole Persian Gulf is a hive of small boat activity." Hundreds of ships sail through the Strait of Hormuz every day.

How to Sell a Suicide-Bomber Subsidy to Congress - Eli Lake (Bloomberg)
    Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization's representative in Washington, has the unlucky task of defending the Palestinian Authority's martyr payments to Congress.
    In an interview last week, he said that the money goes to pay for laptop computers and college tuition for children who otherwise would be facing a bleak future.
    But this raises an obvious question. If the PA wants to give poor children laptops and college tuition, why not just do that? Why create a special allowance for only the children and families of Palestinians who kill Jews?
    See also Canadian Tax Dollars Shouldn't Subsidize Palestinian Terrorists - Casey Babb (National Post-Canada)

At Hamas Summer Camp, Teens "Liberate" Al-Aqsa Mosque, "Kill" Israeli Soldiers (MEMRI-TV)
    A video posted on a Palestinian website on July 19 shows teens at the final ceremony of a summer camp in Gaza run by Hamas' 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades stabbing and killing Israeli soldiers as they storm and "liberate" the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Says New U.S. Sanctions Violate Nuclear Deal - Rick Gladstone
    Iran said on Tuesday that it had lodged a complaint over new American sanctions with the commission that polices possible violations of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Iran and the U.S. have often accused each other of violating the "spirit" of the agreement, but filing a complaint indicated that Iran had gone a step further.
        The administration announced sanctions on July 18 related to Iran's development and testing of missiles, along with its support for Syria's government and software theft. It further penalized Iran with more sanctions on Friday after Iran launched a satellite. New sanctions against Iran also are part of legislation passed by Congress last week. (New York Times)
        See also below Commentary: Iran's Emerging Space Program - Farzin Nadimi (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Strengthens Taylor Force Act in Advance of Vote - Ben Cohen
    A revised version of the Taylor Force Act to be voted on by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday places even more stringent conditions on aid to the PA in response to its policy of paying salaries to terrorists and their families. The act, if passed, would restrict aid to the PA until the State Department certifies that it is no longer inciting and funding terrorist violence.
        Among the notable changes is a clause calling on all donor countries that fund the PA to "cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror." The PA would also be required to revoke "any law, decree, regulation, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation" for terrorists and their families as a condition for receiving U.S. aid. The State Department would be required to submit an annual declassified report specifying the dollar amount spent by the PA on terror payments, as well as its general progress in ending incitement.
        Addressing humanitarian concerns about cuts in legitimate aid to needy Palestinians, the six medical facilities comprising the East Jerusalem Hospital Network - which provide medical services unavailable to Palestinians in the West Bank - are exempted from the restrictions. (Algemeiner)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Jordanian Government Leaked Israeli Security Guard's Photo to the Press - Itamar Eichner and Smadar Perry
    The Jordanian government gave the press a copy of the official diplomatic identity card of the embassy guard involved in last week's shooting in Amman, a high-ranking Jordanian official said. Israel was angered by the guard's personal details being made public, believing this will endanger his life. According to a top Israeli official, this is a hostile measure that goes against what was agreed upon to resolve this crisis quietly while getting to the truth of what happened. (Ynet News)
  • Iran and Turkey Fueled Temple Mount Crisis - Eyal Zisser
    While most of the Arab nations sought to defuse tensions in Jerusalem, Iran and Turkey sought to fan the flames by transferring money to Islamic organizations to continue the struggle to "defend Al-Aqsa." But the interests of the Iranian regime and the Turkish president are not the best interests of the Palestinians or Israeli Arabs.
        The Palestinians would be wise to remember that Iran has always been willing to fight Israel to the last Lebanese, Palestinian or Syrian soldier. The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. (Israel Hayom)
        See also Iran Paid for Thousands of Prepackaged Meals for Temple Mount Protesters - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom)
  • Arab Mother Hides Gun under Child - Judah Ari Gross
    Israeli troops arrested a Palestinian couple in Hebron on Wednesday who had hidden over 200 rounds of ammunition in their children's bedrooms, the Israel Police said. During a search of their home, the border guards noticed the mother "was holding one of the children in a suspicious way." When she was asked to put him down, she initially refused, saying her son was sick, but eventually acquiesced and took out a pistol that she had hidden beneath him. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Iran's Emerging Space Program - Farzin Nadimi
    According to the U.S. Strategic Command's initial assessment, Iran's attempt to place an operational satellite into orbit on July 27 using a Simorgh space launch vehicle (SLV) experienced catastrophic failure shortly after liftoff at the Imam Khomeini National Space Center, 220 km. southeast of Tehran in Semnan province. Iran's first attempt to launch a Simorgh took place in April 2016 and was described by U.S. intelligence sources as "partly successful" although not intended for satellite orbital insertion.
        An SLV incorporates many common technologies with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and a Simorgh-type ballistic missile is estimated by rocket engineers to have a 7,500-km. range with a 700-kg. warhead. This range falls short of the continental U.S. but covers all of Europe and Asia.
        With this latest launch, Iran's space program has emerged from a three-year dormancy initiated by President Rouhani, but probably issuing from technical and budgetary constraints as well. Further launches can be expected in the near future, a worrisome scenario considering assessments that a ballistic-missile derivative of the Simorgh could potentially achieve intercontinental range. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Averting a Third Lebanon War - Mark Dubowitz and Mike Gallagher
    Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in cooperation with Hizbullah, has been constructing missile-production facilities in Lebanon. Israeli officials now say that pre-emptive strikes may be necessary to destroy these missile capabilities before they're operational. In recent years, Israel repeatedly struck transfers of "game-changing" weaponry that could challenge Israel's military superiority and pose severe threats to its civilians.
        Hizbullah's inventory has expanded to 150,000 missiles, compared to 50,000 at the beginning of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. An increasing number are highly accurate, capable of delivering a massive payload to anywhere in Israel. While Israel has advanced missile defenses, Iran and Hizbullah are now seeking an arsenal that can overwhelm these systems.
        The Trump administration should make it clear to Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri that it is his responsibility to dismantle these facilities, as well as to ensure that southern Lebanon is free of "any armed personnel, assets and weapons" not under direct control of the Lebanese government, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
        Mark Dubowitz is the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer. (Wall Street Journal)

How Terrorists Use Foreign Aid to Fund Terror - Doug Lamborn and Elazar Stern (Washington Times)

  • PA financial rewards for terror attacks is an issue that has brought us - members of the U.S. and Israeli legislatures - together, since Palestinian terror impacts both of our countries. It matters to Israel because the Palestinian funding invites constant attacks against Israelis.
  • It matters to the U.S. not just because innocent Americans and Israelis are being murdered, but also because in the last 25 years the U.S. has sent more than $5 billion in foreign aid to the Palestinians. This aid is meant to foster stability and promote peace in the region. Yet the Palestinian Authority is using our aid for the exact opposite purpose.
  • In the Israeli Knesset, a law has already passed the first stage of the legislative process that would impose a dollar-for-dollar deduction in the amount of tax revenues Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority based on the amount the PA pays terrorists.
  • Some will argue that we know exactly where our foreign aid is going. But the reality is that, despite our good intentions, when the U.S. pays for governance, utilities, and social welfare programs, it is freeing up PA money to pay for terrorist stipends.
  • Others argue that these American and Israeli initiatives could destabilize the West Bank - but prominent Israeli national security figures reject this prediction, and the fact remains that the status quo itself is unstable. Funding that enables the PA to reward violence and killing is not a recipe for calmness, whereas removing an incentive to carry out acts of terror will be an important step toward peace and stability.
  • But above all, our most basic moral value is the sanctity of human life. It is simply unacceptable to allow our money to promote murder. All civilized countries should stop aid money going to compensate acts of terror.

    Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. IDF Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Elazar Stern is a member of the Knesset for the opposition Yesh Atid party.

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