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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 26, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Crack Halts Flow in Natural Gas Pipeline Used to Generate Half of Israel's Electric Power - Avi Bar-Eli (Ha'aretz-Globes)
    Israel's supply of natural gas has been halted after a crack in the pipeline from the Tamar gas field was discovered last Thursday. The gas is used to generate more than half of Israel's electric power.
    Israel's power stations have switched to more expensive and polluting diesel fuel to produce electricity, while the gas flow is expected to be restored on Wednesday.

Israel Is Watching the World's Response to North Korea and Iran - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror (Israel Hayom)
    One has to be hopelessly optimistic or extremely naive to think the Iranians will not take advantage of the legitimacy they will enjoy once the deal lapses to become a nuclear state, or, at the very least, a nuclear threshold state that could build and launch a bomb within a few months without anyone being able to stop it.
    If the U.S. does not take action to stop the likes of North Korea or Iran, no other world power will.
    This is a critical question for Israel, because an American decision to do nothing will oblige Israel to think of what it may be required to do by itself in the future.

Iran Says Israel Is Behind Kurdish Referendum (Tasnim-Iran)
    Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Hossein Baqeri accused Israel on Monday of orchestrating the independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Hizbullah: A Financial Assessment - Yaya J. Fanusie and Alex Entz (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
    Hizbullah is a key part of Iran's expansionist objectives, and it has established an Iranian footprint on multiple continents.
    Hizbullah makes roughly a billion dollars annually through support from Iran (which provides the bulk of its funding), donations from elements within the Lebanese diaspora, and smuggling and drug trafficking networks worldwide.
    Yet U.S. sanctions, the costs of providing social services in southern Lebanon, and the ongoing Syrian civil war have strained its funding.
    In 2016, U.S. officials believed the group was "in its worst financial shape in decades."

IDF Soldiers Recall Coming Face to Face with Terrorists - Shlomi Diaz (Israel Hayom)
    A group of IDF soldiers recall incidents that brought them face to face with terrorists and in which their bravery helped them neutralize the attackers and save the lives of their comrades.

IBM Buys Israeli Start-Up Cloudigo - Max Schindler (Jerusalem Post)
    IBM is buying the Israeli data center start-up Cloudigo, its founder Eran Gampel said over the weekend.
    Cloudigo offers network infrastructure support for handling user traffic online.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S.: Iran's Recent Ballistic Missile Launch Was Fake - Lucas Tomlinson
    Iranian state television released video footage Friday claiming to show the launch of a new type of medium-range ballistic missile. But U.S. officials say the video was of a failed launch in January when the missile exploded shortly after liftoff. (Fox News)
  • Russian Jets Strike U.S.-Backed Forces in Eastern Syria - Erin Cunningham and David Filipov
    The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Russian warplanes targeted SDF fighters in three locations in Deir al-Zour province Monday, including at a major gas field they had seized Saturday from militants. It was the second time this month that the SDF has been targeted by Russian strikes. (Washington Post)
  • Funding Issues Threaten PA-Hamas Reconciliation - Kifah Ziboun
    The reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah was called into question after PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara said he was not able to pay an additional 43,000 Hamas military and civilian government employees. Bishara said the PA is suffering from a financial crisis and its debt exceeds $3 billion. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Kills Three Israelis near Jerusalem - Yotam Berger
    An Israeli Border Police officer and two Israeli security guards were shot dead and another seriously injured when a Palestinian attacker opened fire outside the West Bank community of Har Adar near Jerusalem. The attacker, who was part of a group of Palestinian workers entering the community, was killed. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Terrorist Had Worked Inside Jewish Community for Years (Times of Israel)
        See also Netanyahu: Israel Expects Abbas to Condemn Terror Attack - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the Har Adar terror attack Tuesday. Netanyahu said that the attack is the result of "systematic incitement by the Palestinian Authority."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas, Islamic Jihad Praise Deadly Palestinian Shooting Attack - Adam Rasgon (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians Tortured by PA Want Israel to Pay Compensation from Seized PA Funds - Yotam Berger
    More than two months ago, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Palestinian Authority was required within 30 days to pay hundreds of thousands of shekels in legal expenses to Palestinians who were tortured by the PA. The legal expenses are a preliminary measure to be followed by actual compensation for the torture.
        So far, the PA has not paid, prompting the Palestinian plaintiffs to apply to the Israeli Finance Ministry to seize the amount owed from PA funds held by Israel, as well as to impound 500 million shekels to satisfy the impending compensation awards. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • How Trump Can Improve the Iran Deal - Mark Dubowitz and David Albright
    There is a way for President Trump to highlight the Iran nuclear deal's egregious deficiencies while showing his determination to improve the Iran nuclear deal or leave it. The president should refuse to certify the deal under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act because its fundamentally flawed architecture makes it too dangerous to continue. By patiently following the deal, Iran can gain nuclear weapons, as well as a nuclear-capable arsenal of missiles giving it regional hegemony and the ability to threaten the U.S.  Decertifying doesn't mean breaking the deal. That happens only if the U.S. reimposes sanctions that have been lifted or suspended.
        The president should designate the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, as Congress has required he do by Oct. 31. He should also instruct the Treasury to blacklist companies with Revolutionary Guard and military ownership, and should redesignate Iran Air (which is buying planes from Boeing and Airbus) as a terrorist entity for airlifting weapons and fighters to Syria. A brutally repressive and aggressive Iranian regime should not be allowed to have a North Korean-style glide path to dozens of nuclear weapons and ICBMs.
        Mr. Dubowitz is chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Albright is president of the Institute for Science and International Security. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Support Kurdish Independence - Ron Prosor
    Anyone in the business of spotting winners should bet on an independent Kurdish state. Backing the Kurds is not only strategically smart - they are a steadfast ally in the fight against the Islamic State and Islamist extremism, doing battle alongside American soldiers - it's also the right thing to do.
        An independent Kurdish state would be a beacon of hope in a part of the world where hope is desperately needed. An independent Kurdish state would be a victory for democratic values, national self-determination and the rights of women and minorities. Over the past three years, Kurdistan, which is about the size of Maryland, has taken in nearly two million refugees, including Assyrians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shabaks and Christians fleeing the Islamic State.
        Even without a formal state, the Kurds have built a society that is economically viable, with functioning institutions, including elections for Parliament and a relatively free media. And they've proved capable of defending themselves against Islamic State. With a state, the Kurds could become an even more valuable and constructive ally against extremism. Israel supports the Kurds' right to self-determination.
        The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and chairman of the Interdisciplinary Center's International Diplomacy Institute in Herzliya. (New York Times)
        See also The Future of Kurdistan: Between Turkey, the Iraq War, and the Syrian Revolt - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2012)
  • Trump Tries a New Tack on the Peace Process - Evelyn Gordon
    The Trump administration's refusal to publicly commit to a two-state solution as the goal of the peace process serves an important purpose. That's because insisting that the end goal be a Palestinian state is a major concession to the Palestinians that has never been accompanied by a corresponding Palestinian concession to Israel.
        Though the Palestinians insist on a Palestinian nation-state, they still refuse to accept a Jewish nation-state alongside it. Instead, they demand that millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees be allowed to relocate to Israel, turning it into a binational state.
        For the first time in the history of the peace process, the president has told the Palestinians that if they want to reinstate America's commitment to a Palestinian state, they will have to give something in exchange. (Commentary)

New U.S. Perspectives on Israeli-Palestinian Peace - U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman interviewed by Naama Lanski (Israel Hayom)

  • Chief Palestinian negotiator "Saeb Erekat...asked [me] how he could talk to me when I sat with Netanyahu at the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day, which he called 'the worst day in our history.' I said to him, candidly, it's the best day in my history, it was the day that the Kotel [Western Wall] opened for Jewish prayer after 19 years. My parents cried when they heard that Jerusalem had been reunified and immediately made plans for my bar mitzvah at the Kotel, which we celebrated a few years later."
  • "I told Erekat that our narratives are very different. I'll never try to convince you that your pain is not heartfelt, and I hope that you'll never try to convince me that our pain and our wishes are not heartfelt. That's not what this is about. It's not about convincing each other who is right and who is wrong. We have to respect our different views....We have to put these overarching emotional issues aside and find a way for Palestinians to have a better life, to achieve their ideals, in a way that doesn't threaten Israel."
  • "I have no interest or tolerance to hear that the Jewish people don't have a connection to Jerusalem. It's a waste of time. Don't waste my time telling me something that I fundamentally reject."
  • "Over the last eight years...there was an equivalence created between settlements and terrorism. Settlements are an's a fair point for discussion. But that's all it is - a point for discussion. Terrorism, meanwhile, is murder. And you can't say that one side should stop terror in exchange for the other side freezing settlements. There's no equivalence there."
  • "A lot of academics will look at how Israel treats the Palestinians without recognizing...the security risks and the terrorism that led to this point....Here you have a conflict that has lasted for several generations and led to unspeakable acts of barbarism against innocent Jewish civilians. So in the context of that conflict, you get to a place where you impose a security apparatus that at least temporarily keeps people safe."
  • "There's this...disconnect that holds Israel to an impossible standard. They expect Israel to accept incoming missiles without defending itself when every other nation in the world, including the United States, would do so....It doesn't mean that people can't criticize Israel. But that's different than expecting Israel to act differently than any other nation - that's where it becomes irrational and hateful."

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