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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 3, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Extends Condolences to America in Wake of Las Vegas Shooting - Joy Bernard (Jerusalem Post)
    In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
    "On this awful day, the people in Israel stand shoulder to shoulder with the American people. Our hearts are with the families of the victims and we wish full recovery to the injured. We grieve with you."

Number of Torture Victims Increasing in Hamas-Controlled Prisons - Mohammed Othman (Al-Monitor)
    Torture has become a key method of interrogating detainees in Hamas-controlled prisons in Gaza, Palestinian human rights centers report.
    The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), in a report issued on Sept. 20, noted that during July it received 38 complaints of torture and ill-treatment in the Palestinian territories, 26 of which were in Gaza.
    In its annual report for 2016, ICHR documented hundreds of complaints submitted by victims of torture in Gaza.

20,000 Lulavs for Sukkot Arrive from Gaza - Stuart Winer (Times of Israel)
    20,000 date palm fronds arrived in Israel from Gaza on Monday for use in a traditional Jewish religious ritual during the coming Sukkot holiday, the Defense Ministry said.

Lost Jewish City Discovered Underneath Israeli Army Base - Aristos Georgiou (International Business Times-UK)
    Archaeologists digging under the old parade grounds of a disused IDF training base near the town of Beit El in the West Bank uncovered a Jewish city dating back to the First Temple period (960-568 BCE), Yediot Ahronot reported.
    "The findings are amazing," said archaeologist Yevgeny Aharonovitch. "We found keys for doors that were intended for housing units, we found tools that were used by Jews, and seal types belonging to the [Jewish] period."
    The city was probably destroyed in a great earthquake near the end of the 8th century CE, he said.

Playtika Acquires Israel's Jelly Button Games - Gwen Ackerman (Bloomberg)
    Chinese-owned, Israel-based, social casino-game company Playtika Ltd. will acquire Israel's Jelly Button Games Ltd. in a deal worth "tens of millions" of dollars.
    Jelly Button's games include Pirate Kings, where players become pirates who conquer islands in search of gold, artifacts and revenge; and Board Kings, an online board game in which users build a city and protect it from strangers.
    The two games have been downloaded more than 80 million times.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Envoy Greenblatt: Any Palestinian Government Must Commit to Nonviolence
    On the occasion of the visit by a Palestinian Authority delegation to Gaza, President Trump's special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt posted a statement on Twitter on Monday saying: "Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties, and peaceful negotiations."  (Twitter)
  • Suicide Bombers Target Damascus Police Station
    Two suicide bombers attacked a police station in Damascus on Monday, killing 17 civilians and police. (AP-ABC News)
        See also Drone Strike Kills 8 Hizbullah Fighters in Syria
    On Monday an unidentified "drone hit a Hizbullah position near the town of Sukhna (in central Homs province) killing eight fighters, and injuring more than 20," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (AFP-Al-Monitor)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Mossad Chief: Iran "Closer than Ever" to Israel's Borders - Judah Ari Gross
    The head of the Mossad intelligence service, Yossi Cohen, warned on Monday that Iran, through its proxies, is operating closer "than ever before" to Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria, and that Iran "continues with its vision of a significant nuclear capability, which is meant to lead it to a military nuclear capability." Cohen said the intelligence service "carries out hundreds, thousands of activities every year - some of them complicated and deep within the heart of enemy countries."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Eyes Latest Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Moves - Herb Keinon
    Israeli diplomatic officials, viewing the latest Hamas-Fatah reconciliation moves, say, "Hamas is trying to gain international legitimacy without accepting Israel's right to exist, without disarming, and without accepting the Quartet principles" to accept previous agreements and forswear terrorism. They say Hamas "remains a ruthless, mass-murdering terrorist organization that seeks Israel's destruction."
        Construction Minister Yoav Gallant, a member of the security cabinet and a former IDF major general, said, Israel "will judge any kind of conversation between Hamas and the Fatah organization according to specific parameters. First of all, are they willing to accept the existence of Israel in this area? Second, are they going to stop shooting and terrorist actions against Israel? And third, do they look to a future of Palestinians and Jews living side by side in this area? If the answer to these questions is positive, there is a lot to talk about. If the answer to these questions is negative, nothing has changed and this is only a camouflage."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Sea of Galilee Sinking toward Lowest Level Ever Recorded - Melanie Lidman
    Israel Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor announced on Monday that the Sea of Galilee is at dangerously low levels and is expected to reach "the lowest level ever recorded" as Israel experiences one of the worst droughts in 100 years. Last year, northern Israel received just 10% of the average winter rainfall.
        Thanks to five desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast, Israel stopped pumping water from the Sea of Galilee two years ago. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hamas Seeks to Take Over the Palestinian Authority - Yaakov Lappin
    The recent terror attack that killed three Israelis in Har Adar is a reminder of Israel's fragile security situation. Hidden from view is a titanic daily struggle between Israel's security forces and Palestinian terrorists. In July and August alone, the Israel Security Agency and the IDF thwarted more than 70 terror cells in the territories that were busy planning and trying to execute attacks. In the West Bank, Hamas is continuously trying to set up, fund, arm, and dispatch terror cells on jihadist missions against Israeli targets on both sides of the 1949 armistice line.
        Prof. Boaz Ganor, executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, said Hamas' policies have two parallel, complimentary parts. "One is a covert consolidation program throughout the West Bank, to create the basis for a future violent clash with Fatah and the PA's forces. The second effort is about seeking rehabilitation from the PA and Abbas, creating a unity government, and waiting for Abbas' passing, and for the unity government to fall like a ripened fruit into Hamas' hands, without the need for a violent clash between the two movements."
        At the same time, Hamas keeps trying to blow up Israelis. Its cells try to manufacture explosives and plant them on Israeli buses, or as roadside bombs. It is also plotting kidnappings, hoping an Israeli hostage can be traded for the release of more Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is willing to bide its time as it seeks ways to take over the territories. Both elections and armed revolution are acceptable routes, whichever works best. (
  • Tony Blair Blasts Roger Waters for Spewing "Ideological Poison" about Israel - Glen Owen
    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned Pink Floyd guitarist Roger Waters for comparing the Israeli government to Nazi Germany. "I think the criticism [of Israel by Waters] is so ludicrous that it indicates a basic hostility to the notion of a homeland for the Jewish people....You've got to overcome the legacy of that ideological poison which has dripped into the system over many decades," he said.
        "I'm a great fan of the music of Pink Floyd, but I don't agree with Roger Waters and his campaign. I think it is part of a wider alliance which is dangerous and worries me...which is the leftist-Islamist alliance. It's a growing problem...there is nothing progressive about a totalitarian ideology."  (Mail on Sunday-UK)
  • Putin Is Now Mr. Middle East - Henry Meyer and Donna Abu-Nasr
    Israelis, Turks, Egyptians and Jordanians are all beating a path to the Kremlin in the hope that Vladimir Putin, the new master of the Middle East, can secure their interests and fix their problems. The latest in line is Saudi King Salman, who this week will become the first Saudi monarch to visit Moscow. Former U.S. chief Mideast peace negotiator Dennis Ross said, "Putin has succeeded in making Russia a factor in the Middle East. That's why you see a constant stream of Middle Eastern visitors going to Moscow."
        "Washington remains the indispensable power in the region," said Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa director at Eurasia Group. But its commitment to traditional alliances is weakening, he said, and that's encouraged regional leaders to hedge their bets. (Bloomberg)

Why the Arab-Jewish Conflict Remains Unresolved - Rick Richman (Mosaic)

  • This year marks the 80th anniversary of the 1937 British Peel Commission Report, which first proposed a "two-state solution" for Palestine.
  • The Palestinian Arabs rejected both the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which formally declared British support for "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, even after Britain in 1923 severed the larger portion of Palestine, east of the Jordan River, and recognized Emir Abdullah of Transjordan as its new ruler.
  • In 1936, the Arabs sabotaged trains, roads, and telephone lines, engaged in widespread violence against Jews, and conducted guerrilla attacks against British Mandate authorities. In response, the British established the Peel Commission to "ascertain the underlying causes of the disturbances" and make recommendations for the future.
  • On July 7, 1937, the British Cabinet released the Peel Commission Report. It traced the 3,000-year Jewish connection to Palestine; found that building the Jewish national home had been advantageous to the Arabs; noted the very large increases of the Arab population in Jewish urban areas; and observed that Jewish hospitals and clinics served both Arabs and Jews.
  • The report concluded that the underlying cause of the Arab revolt was the implacable Arab opposition to the Jewish presence in Palestine. The report stated that the "ugliest element in the picture" was attacks by Arabs on Arabs who were suspected of insufficient adherence to the views of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem.
  • The commission found that Arab nationalism in Palestine, rather than arising from "positive national feeling," was "inextricably interwoven with antagonism to the Jews." Thus, even if the Jewish national home were "far smaller...the Arab attitude would be the same." Nor could Arab "moderates" facilitate a peaceful settlement, since on major issues they invariably ended up siding with the extremists.
  • Eighty years after the first proposal for a two-state solution, even "moderate" Palestinian Arab leaders still reject its basic premise. They want a Palestinian state, but not if the price is recognition of a Jewish state.

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