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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 9, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Car-Ramming in Paris Wounds Six French Soldiers (AFP)
    A car ploughed into soldiers in the northwestern suburbs of Paris on Wednesday, injuring six in the town of Levallois-Perret.
    The mayor, Patrick Balkany, described the incident as "without doubt a deliberate act." He said the car "accelerated very fast when they were coming out" of the barracks.

Scotland's Political Leaders Back Israeli Culture at Edinburgh - Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, and Labour's Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale all pledged to support the International Shalom Festival celebrating Jewish and Israeli culture at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this week.
    The festival aims to build cultural bridges and celebrate coexistence and peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
    Pro-Palestinian campaigners have attacked the event.
    See also Israel Theater Company Defies Protesters at Edinburgh - Lee Levitt (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    The Jerusalem theater company Incubator Theater returned to the Fringe after its run three years ago was cancelled amid anti-Israel protests.

Israeli Solar Power Bringing Light to African Villages - Kayla Steinberg (Jerusalem Post)
    An Israeli nonprofit organization, Innovation: Africa, is bringing drip irrigation and solar power to villages in eight African countries.
    The nonprofit has a local staff working in 147 African villages as well as a team in Israel, all working on water surveys, drilling, construction, and solar power.
    The project is operating in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and South Africa, and there is a large list of villages waiting to be helped.

Lessons from Israel's Wars in Gaza - Raphael S. Cohen et al. (RAND Corporation)
    A report prepared for the U.S. Army covers a five-year period of conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza from 2009 to 2014.
    It analyzes how an advanced military fought a determined, adaptive, hybrid adversary, and describes how the Israel Defense Forces evolved to meet asymmetric threats.
    The report draws a series of lessons from the Israeli experience for the U.S. Army: from the importance of armored vehicles and active protection systems to the limitations of airpower in urban terrain and of conventional militaries to deter nonstate actors.

Israel's Credit Rating Outlook Upgraded - Amiram Barkat (Globes)
    International credit rating agency S&P is changing its rating outlook for Israel from neutral to positive.
    S&P's current credit rating for Israel is A+. Between 2011 and 2016, Israel has lowered the ratio of public debt to GDP, the main criteria for a country's credit rating, from 69% to 64.6%.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.-Israel Teams Ramp Up Missile Interceptor Builds - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Two U.S.-Israeli industrial teams working on jointly funded missile defense programs are ramping up production of three distinct interceptors that collectively defend against an entire spectrum of threats, from short-range rockets to Iran's most advanced, medium-range ballistic missiles. Intercepting missiles for the Arrow-3, David's Sling and Iron Dome are being built in large part in the U.S. through a network that extends across more than 30 states.
        "In accordance with congressional mandates and our government-to-government agreements, each one of these [intercepting systems] is being produced at least 50% in the U.S.," said Moshe Patel, director of the Defense Ministry's Israel Missile Defense Organization. According to Patel, U.S.-based work on all three interceptor programs is transitioning from low-rate initial production to full-rate production. (Defense News)
  • Abbas to Gradually Cut Gaza's Budget - Kifah Ziboun
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would gradually stop paying up to $1.5 billion a year for Gaza if Hamas refused to hand over the territory to the current Palestinian government. "Our goal is to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation," Abbas said Sunday. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Islamic State Is Fighting to the Death in Raqqa, Syria - Louisa Loveluck and Thomas Gibbons-Neff
    For three years, the Syrian city of Raqqa was the Islamic State's greatest stronghold, providing a launchpad for attacks around the world. But the city is now emptying out as U.S.-backed forces inch their way in, in a grinding battle of attrition. Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, said previous offensives have ended when the militants retreated, but this time there would be no escape. "Raqqa is completely surrounded. They are fighting to the death."
        U.S. Col. Ryan Dillon said last week that after two months of heavy fighting, the SDF holds 45% of Raqqa. Islamic State is booby-trapping houses and sending waves of suicide bombers to ensure that the SDF pays for each foot of ground. Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy for the coalition, said Sunday that 2,000 Islamic State fighters remain in the city. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • PA Says Won't Resume Security Coordination with Israel Unless Demands Are Met
    Palestinian officials said Monday that the Palestinian Authority would not consider resuming security coordination with Israel unless it acceded to a number of demands. Mahmoud al-Habbash, Abbas' advisor on religious and Islamic affairs, said Israel first had to cease all military activity in Area A of the West Bank, as well as grant the PA the right to control border crossings to Jordan. (Ma'an News-PA)
        See also Abbas Is Trying to Squeeze Israel - Yoni Ben Menachem
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas is promoting a new media spin: that Israel has confined him to his Mukata headquarters in Ramallah. The truth is that Abbas is free to travel, even overseas, whenever he wishes, but he needs to do it in coordination with Israel as he has done for the past 12 years, in line with the security coordination set out in the Oslo Accords. However, Abbas has proclaimed a freeze on security coordination with Israel.
        The crisis over the metal detectors at the Temple Mount is over, but Abbas is now presenting new conditions before he will agree to renew security coordination. Abbas is playing with fire. Israel has no intention of giving in to his demands. At best, Israel is willing to provide him with a small ladder to enable him to come down from the tall tree he has climbed. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Palestinian Girls Who Attended Coexistence Summer Camp in U.S. Face Ridicule at Home - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian teenage girls are facing ridicule and hate for attending a summer camp for coexistence in Santa Fe, New Mexico, organized by the Creativity for Peace group. Photos of the Israeli and Palestinian girls enjoying their time together have enraged many Palestinians and other Arabs, who took to social media to express their disgust. The angry reactions should be seen in the context of the Palestinians' strong opposition to all forms of "normalization" with Israel.
        The Palestinian girls being castigated on social media are the latest victims of a culture of hate into which Palestinians have been inculcated. This environment is the direct result of an ongoing campaign of incitement and indoctrination that aims to delegitimize and demonize Israel and Jews. Such campaigns will surely warn any Palestinian leader against seeking real peace with Israel. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Democratic Socialists of America Break with Founders, Support Israel Boycott - Ronald Radosh
    At its recent national convention in Chicago, Democratic Socialists of America, a group founded in 1982 by the late Michael Harrington with Irving Howe, passed a resolution in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. The statement avoids any mention of the rights of Israelis to have a Jewish state.
        Turning against Israel is a major departure from where the founders of the DSA stood. Both Michael Harrington and Irving Howe were critical of aspects of Israeli policy, yet they unreservedly supported the existence of the State of Israel and favored a two-state solution. I heard Harrington stress that support for Israel was a position that democratic socialists held as a matter of principle which, along with opposition to Soviet totalitarianism, would never be reversed. How ironic that a group that calls itself democratic is now undermining the one full democracy in the Middle East. The writer is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. (Daily Beast)
        See also Disgrace and the Democratic Socialists of America - Paul Berman
    The Socialist Party of America was sincerely opposed to superstitious and medieval bigotries of every kind. Therefore, it became the first American party truly to open its arms to the Jewish immigrant masses, circa 1900. The first two Jewish members of the U.S. Congress were Socialists - Meyer London from the Lower East Side and Victor Berger from Milwaukee.
        Today the members of Democratic Socialists of America chant "from the river to the sea/Palestine will be free," which is a murderous chant, directed at any Jews who remain within those borders. (Tablet)
  • Russia and Iran Are the Winners in Syria - Prof. Eyal Zisser
    The seven-year civil and jihadist war in Syria, that has destroyed much of the country, is approaching its end. The fighting is winding down thanks to cease-fire deals brokered by Moscow and implemented throughout the country, including along the Israeli-Syrian border on the Golan Heights.
        Thanks to Russia's military might, but also to the weakness of the rebel allies, the Russians have successfully quelled the revolt against Assad. Russia is the big winner in Syria, with its military forces deployed throughout the country. But the Russians wouldn't have gotten as far as they have without Iran. After all, it wasn't the Russian planes that determined the outcome - it was the Iranians and their allies, Shiite militias and Hizbullah fighters.
        It's a profitable deal for Iran: rather than positions along the border with Israel, the Iranians will get a port on the Syrian coast and an entire military setup from Damascus to the Iraqi border. The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. (Israel Hayom)

North Korea's ICBM Test Is a Win for Iran - Ted Poe (National Interest)

  • North Korea's recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile is a game changer. It holds the potential for North Korea to transfer this dangerous technology to another rogue regime, its longtime ally Iran.
  • For years, experts have suspected North Korea as being the key supporter behind Iran's missile and nuclear programs. Today, many of the missiles Iran would use to target American forces in the Middle East are copies of North Korean designs.
  • North Korean engineers are in Iran helping to improve its missiles to carry nuclear warheads, according to a report released last month by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the same opposition movement that exposed Tehran's secret nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak in 2002.
  • Iran is using North Korean blueprints to build as many as thirteen secret underground missile launch facilities and North Korean experts are assisting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' efforts to develop nuclear warheads and guidance systems.
  • This would enable Iran to launch nuclear weapons at the large U.S. bases in the Middle East that restrain Iran's expansionist ambitions.
  • The missile tested by North Korea in July demonstrated an ability that could put American cities as far as Chicago within its nuclear crosshairs. With North Korea outpacing our own expert expectations, Iran will likely not be far behind.

    Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.

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