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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
October 26, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

British PM Theresa May Vows to Mark Balfour Centennial "with Pride" - Ashley Cowburn (Independent-UK)
    UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons on Wednesday: "We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel, and we will certainly mark the centenary [of the Balfour Declaration] with pride."
    "We must also be conscious of the sensitivities that some people do have about the Balfour Declaration and we recognize that there is more work to be done."
    See also PA Foreign Minister Calls British Premier's Remarks on Balfour Declaration "Offensive" (WAFA-PA)
    See also PA Education Ministry Rallies School Children to Protest Balfour Declaration - Ben Cohen (Algemeiner)

Judo Federation Chastises Abu Dhabi over Israeli Treatment - Ian Deitch (AP-Washington Post)
    The International Judo Federation on Wednesday demanded that the United Arab Emirates treat Israeli athletes equally after reports it is banning the Israeli flag at an upcoming contest.
    The IJF wrote to the president of the UAE Judo Federation saying, "all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, shall be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception."

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Kicks Off 7-City North American Tour at Carnegie Hall - Jane Levere (Forbes)
    The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its 2017 seven-city North American tour at Carnegie Hall in New York on Wednesday.
    Concluding on Nov. 9, the tour will include Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, West Palm Beach and Miami, as well as three additional concerts at Carnegie Hall.
    See also Zubin Mehta's 5 Most Memorable Moments with the Israel Philharmonic - Gabe Friedman (JTA)

Israeli Nili Block Wins Thai Boxing Title at European Championships in Paris (Algemeiner)
    Four-time world champion Israeli Nili Block took home another title on Saturday, winning the gold medal at the Thai Boxing European Championships in Paris, Ynet reported.

    See also Israel Wins 8 Medals at European Paralympic Youth Games - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    The Israeli team brought home three gold medals, two silver and three bronze at the European Para Youth Games held in Liguria, Italy, on Oct. 9-15, where it competed for the first time.
    Seven of the medals were won by 3 swimmers and the 8th was in bocce. Overall, Israel ranked 12th out of 24 countries.

Israel Anticipates Record Year for Tourism - Rina Rozenberg Kandel (Ha'aretz)
    In the first nine months of 2017, 2.5 million tourists arrived in Israel - a 22% increase over the same period in 2016.
    By the end of the year, the number of tourists to Israel is expected to surpass 3 million, for the first time ever.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Thwart Hizbullah's Cash Flow - Richard Lardner
    The House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation Wednesday to block the flow of money to Iran-backed Hizbullah and to sanction the group for using civilians as human shields. The bill targeting Hizbullah's finances, sponsored by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), directs the administration to sanction the people and businesses engaged in fundraising and recruitment activities for the group. (AP-Washington Post)
  • U.S. Security Adviser Slams Iran's "Malign, Destructive" Regional Influence
    U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told Alhurra television on Wednesday: "It's very difficult to see how there can be an enduring peace if one side that has perpetuated and accelerated the violence is not removed. So it's important for everyone in the reduce the malign, destructive influence of Iran and the Revolutionary Guards Corps."
        McMaster said the Iranians have done a "very good job...of infiltrating and subverting Iraqi state institutions and functions, as well as creating these militias that lay outside the Iraqi government's control. They grow these militias...and threaten governments [in the region] with those militias if those governments take action against Iranian interests."  (RadioFreeEurope-RadioLiberty)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 130 Israeli Companies, 60 International Corporations on UN "Blacklist" - Itamar Eichner
    130 Israeli companies and 60 international corporations operating in Israel have received warning letters from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra'ad al-Hussein cautioning them of their impending inclusion in a "blacklist" of companies active in the territories. No such lists pertaining to other regions of conflict - such as the Crimean Peninsula and Western Sahara - have been created.
        The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has been working to promote legislation in Congress determining that any company divesting its business dealings from Israel will be considered to have "capitulated" to the Arab boycott, and would thus be in violation of American law. (Ynet News)
        See also Protect American Business from Blackmail - Pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act - Anne Bayefsky (Fox News)
  • Internal Dissent in Hamas over Reconciliation Deal - Avi Issacharoff
    Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a key Hamas leader in the West Bank, said Tuesday that the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah "is only a media event." Yousef pointed to the PA's arrests in recent days of many Hamas activists in the West Bank and also noted that the PA's sanctions against Gaza remain in place. In the West Bank there is real dissent among Hamas leaders, many of whom were left out of the talks that brokered the reconciliation. (Times of Israel)
  • Report: Hizbullah to Leave Syria to Prepare for Conflict with Israel - Daniel Siryoti
    Hizbullah is planning to withdraw its forces from Syria in 2018 in order to bolster its presence along the border with Israel, the Lebanese news site Lebanon 24 reported on Tuesday. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • ISIS Likely to Continue Attacks Even If They Lose All Their Territory - David Zucchino
    Islamic State is clinging to 5% of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria three years ago, the commander of the international military campaign against ISIS, Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, said in an interview on Wednesday. He said 1,500-2,500 militants remain in western Iraq and an additional 2,500-5,500 in the Euphrates River valley in eastern Syria. But he warned that Islamic State militants were likely to continue to mount terrorist attacks and maintain underground cells. (New York Times)
        See also The Future of ISIS: Some Things Cannot Be Killed - Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar
    The attempt to reestablish the Islamic caliphate failed because the Muslim world - not only the "infidels" - despised its gruesome, seventh-century execution methods. ISIS has lost the large swathe of territory it controlled, but its members will seek revenge against all those who attacked them. At the same time, the fall of Sunni ISIS strengthens the Shiite axis. The idea of an Islamic caliphate remains alive in the hearts of many millions. In the near or distant future it will be resurrected and begin anew. The writer served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Image Is Improving in Greece - George N. Tzogopoulos
    Israel has been consistently portrayed by Greek journalists as the aggressor and the Palestinians as innocent victims and Jerusalem's close cooperation with Ankara only fueled this negative perception. But after the setback in Israel's relations with Turkey after the Mavi Marmara incident in June 2010, Jerusalem decided to look for new allies in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Greece in August, opening a new chapter in a relationship that had been marked for decades by misunderstandings and suspicion.
        Greek Premier George Papandreou saw Israel as a critical ally in an era of economic austerity and the Greek media followed his lead. While 207,711 Israeli tourists came to Greece in 2012, arrivals from Israel are expected to be 530,712 in 2017. As a "start-up" nation, Israel also attracted the attention of Greek entrepreneurs.
        Moreover, the racist behavior of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and its position that Israel is Greece's "eternal enemy," have (to an extent) associated anti-Israel voices in Greece with political extremists. After 2015, a leftist government, Syriza, came to power, bringing with it Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Though he had participated in pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the past, Tsipras treats Israel as an ally. The writer is a lecturer at the Democritus University of Thrace. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Standing Up to Agricultural Terrorism - Boaz Haetzni
    The wholesale theft of agricultural produce committed last Saturday at Moshav Shekef by 70 residents of the Palestinian village of Beit Awwa illustrates the extent of an ongoing problem. Zionism's fight for its life in Israeli farms in the Galilee and the Negev plays out in daily acts of economic and agricultural terrorism. Fences are destroyed, herds and crops are stolen, irrigation systems are wrecked, and protection money is demanded.
        In response, Israeli civilians founded "Hashomer HaHadash," named after the pre-World War I "Hashomer" (Watchman) defense organization, and donate their time to guard fields and herds. We volunteers don't even get gas money, but a smile of thanks from those who continue to hold onto the nation's land and our future in this country. This grassroots organization coordinates fully with the Israel Police. (Israel Hayom)

The President's Iran Decision: Next Steps - Dr. Olli Heinonen (Foundation for Defense of Democracies-U.S. House of Representatives)

Dr. Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and head of its Department of Safeguards, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday:

  • To increase the likelihood that the JCPOA ensures the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, there must be a far more robust and meaningful verification of the deal's provisions. To that end, several measures will be necessary.
    1. The IAEA's quarterly reports on the deal's implementation must be enhanced.
    2. The IAEA should complete the follow-up actions related to its investigation of the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of the Iranian nuclear program, including site visits and interviews with scientists.
    3. The JCPOA and related agreements must apply to all sites related to the Iranian nuclear program, with no exceptions for military sites or any others.
    4. Iran should ratify the Additional Protocol well before the sunset provisions take effect and before the IAEA issues a Broader Conclusion about the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
    5. The UNSCR 2231 limitations on ballistic missiles should be extended to cruise missiles, while the restrictions on missile ranges and payloads should be lowered.
    6. These and other measures should extend Iran's one-year breakout time indefinitely into the future, while enabling more effective enforcement.
  • Iran's ballistic and cruise missiles tests have demonstrated a reach of thousands of kilometers. The growing range of Iranian missiles indicates Tehran's desire to go beyond pure deterrence. Experts at the UN Security Council have acknowledged that some of these missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
  • Despite such cause for concern, the ballistic missile limitations set by UNSC Resolution 2231 expire six years from now, at most. This expiration would give Iran free rein to develop its missile capabilities about the time the JCPOA permits Iran to start expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities, which could generate fissile material for nuclear warheads. Thus, any effort to fix the JCPOA or negotiate a complementary agreement should provide for capping the range of Iranian missiles.

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