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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
November 1, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Only 10 Percent of Israelis Think Iran Deal Decreased Nuclear Threat - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
    52% of Israelis think the nuclear deal with Iran did not change the level of threat Tehran poses to Israel, while 28% think it increased the threat, and only 10% think it decreased it, according to a poll conducted in September and released on Tuesday by Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policy and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

Hamas Hands over Gaza Border Crossings to Palestinian Authority - Raf Sanchez (Telegraph-UK)
    Hamas began handing over control of Gaza's borders to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday under an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement.
    These include the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings into Israel and the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

Israeli General: Iran's Hacking Ability Improving - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
    The Israeli military faces thousands of cyber attacks a day and many are orchestrated by Iran whose hacking capabilities are improving, the Israeli general in charge of network security said.
    Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan, who heads the IDF command, control, computer, communications and intelligence (C4I) plus cyber division, said Iran has mounted attacks on Israel with the help of proxies like Hizbullah.
    "They are not the state of the art, they are not the strongest superpower in the cyber dimension, but they are getting better and better," Padan said.
    A report published by security firm FireEye said that hackers likely linked to Iran's government are behind attacks on Saudi and other Western aerospace and petrochemical firms.
    President Trump has accused Iran of cyberattacks against U.S. "critical infrastructure, financial system, and military." 

Russia Starts Building Bushehr 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Iran (RT-Russia)
    Construction of the Bushehr 2 nuclear power plant in Iran has begun, Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced Tuesday.
    The project's cost is estimated at $10 billion and will take up to ten years to complete.
    The deal signed by Russia and Iran in November 2014 included the option of building six more reactors.

Iraqi Parliament Criminalizes Display of "Zionist" Symbols - Rikar Hussein (VOA News)
    Following the display of the Israeli flag in Kurdish pro-independence rallies, the Iraqi parliament voted Tuesday to prosecute those who raise the Israeli flag.
    "This is an exercise that damages the reputation of Iraq and its nation and the law punishes it by the maximum penalties," said Salim al-Jabouri, speaker of the Iraqi parliament.

Indian Commandos Head to Israel for Combat Drill (Economic Times-India)
    India on Tuesday dispatched a 45-member contingent, including Garud commandos, to Israel to take part in the "Blue Flag-17" exercise from Nov. 2 to 16, the first time India has participated in a military exercise in Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • ISIS-Inspired Terrorist Kills 8 in Manhattan Truck Attack - Corky Siemaszko
    An ISIS-inspired terrorist in a rented pickup truck deliberately mowed down several people on a bike path in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring a dozen more. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29, who immigrated from Uzbekistan in 2010, also crashed into a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, then exited the truck and shouted "Allahu Akbar" before firing a gun, senior law enforcement sources said. A police officer returned fire, hitting Saipov, who was hospitalized.
        He left a note in the truck claiming he committed the attack on behalf of the Islamic State. "This was an act of terror and a particularly cowardly act of terror," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. (NBC News)
        See also "We Stand with America," Israel's UN Ambassador Says after NY Terrorist Attack
    "Just as the U.S. has always stood by our side in our times of need, Israel will always stand with America in the fight against terror," Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said following Tuesday's terrorist attack in Manhattan. (Algemeiner)
  • Iran Revolutionary Guards Commander: Americans Are within Range of Our Missiles
    "Based on the policies specified by the Leader (Ayatollah Khamenei), the range of our missiles is limited to 2,000 km., but we have the capability to increase the range; yet at present it is sufficient because the Americans are in a 2,000 km. radius from our country," Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said in Tehran on Tuesday. "The Americans fear the consequences of war with Iran and know that if such a war starts, they will lose."
        Last month, Gen. Jafari said, "If reports prove to be true that the stupid U.S. administration intends to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization, then the IRGC will also specify the U.S. army as a group (and target it) like ISIS in all parts of the world, especially the Middle-East." "The Islamic Republic of Iran intends to solve the regional issues somewhere else other than the negotiating table; there is nothing and no one to negotiate about or with," he stressed. (Fars-Iran)
        See also Ayatollah Khamenei Urges Islamic World to Continue Anti-Israel Fight (Press TV-Iran)
  • Video: Riders Reenact WWI ANZAC Cavalry Charge in Israel
    Australian riders reenacted the World War I ANZAC cavalry charge against Ottoman forces in Beersheba on Tuesday to mark the event's centennial. The charge by the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division helped clear the way to Jerusalem for British forces in 1917. (AFP)
        See also Video: In Beersheba Reenactment, Dignitaries Treated to Maori War Cry (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel's New Technology to Neutralize Terror Tunnels - Yoav Zitun
    The tunnel dug by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that was exploded by the IDF on Monday did not yet have an exit point in Israel, even though it penetrated into Israeli territory. Israel has installed new technology on the Gaza border with extremely sensitive sensors, which alerted IDF forces in the sector that a tunnel being dug underground had crossed the border.
        In tandem with the new technology, the IDF has been installing a new underground obstacle to neutralize tunnels. It will physically block tunnels using a thick concrete wall that penetrates deep below ground. Upon detecting a tunnel, it pumps in liquid cement to destroy it. The system is also capable of overcoming attempts to dig tunnels beneath the wall. (Ynet News)
        See also Tunnel Explosion Sent Message to Hamas - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The IDF's explosion of an offensive tunnel infiltrating Israel from Gaza indicates that it possesses the ability to accurately locate terror tunnels and destroy them. The tunnel explosion was also aimed at conveying a message to Hamas: "Stop with these tunnels. We see you, and we'll soon see you even better while you dig. So why waste money and put lives at risk?"  (Ynet News)
  • UN Aiding Palestinian Legal Efforts Against Israel - Eric Cortellessa
    The recently released plan outlining UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) support for the Palestinian Authority in 2018-2022 designates $18 million for aiding Palestinian efforts to put more pressure on Israel via international legal action. The purpose of the aid is to equip Palestinian institutions "with the knowledge and tools to effectively access international accountability mechanisms in order to hold Israel accountable for its violations under international law," the document says. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Shia Unrest in Hizbullah's Beirut Stronghold - Hanin Ghaddar
    On Oct. 25, Lebanese police raided unlicensed street vendors in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiya, the main headquarters of Hizbullah. In response, protesters were caught on television badmouthing not the central government, but Hizbullah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. It is common knowledge that government security authorities never enter Dahiya unless they coordinate with Hizbullah. After one woman found her shop flattened, she said: "We all provided martyrs for you in Syria. I have three injured sons. And this is how you're treating us?"
        The Syria war has changed the Lebanese Shia community's perceptions of Hizbullah. The poor neighborhoods are providing fighters while the upper middle class and rich neighborhoods are benefiting from the war. In some neighborhoods, posters of "martyrs" cover the walls, and funerals for young men have become a daily occurrence. In other neighborhoods, however, the war is very distant, in large part because wealthy Shia do not send their sons to fight.
        Hizbullah has dragged the Shia community into wars with Israel many times in the past, but these conflicts were relatively short, and local Shia were usually rewarded by ample money and services afterward. The Syria war is different. It has been dragging on for years, costing Hizbullah its image as a "resistance" group and its ability to provide social services, taking the lives of many young men in the process. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • How Balfour Explains Why the Peace Process Failed - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Last year Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced he was suing Great Britain over the Balfour Declaration, issued on Nov. 2, 1917. The symbolism of his protest tells us more about what is preventing peace between Israel and the Palestinians than any of the usual explanations about settlements, borders, or Jerusalem. Palestinian Arabs are still unreconciled to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," as British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour stated.
        "The problem Palestinian Arabs have with Israel is its existence - not 'settlements,' 'occupied' territory or the security barrier," writes Elliot Jager in The Balfour Declaration: 67 Words, 100 Years of Conflict.
        After Balfour, subsequent British governments not only whittled down the size of the Jewish home, but also betrayed their promise by limiting the rights of the Jews in order to appease the Arab and Muslim world. That led to a series of proposals for further dividing the land, but the Arabs refused every such offer, including the UN partition plan of 1947. Sharing even part of the country was unthinkable.
        Until the Palestinians understand why the Jews also have a right to be there, they will remain doomed to live in a limbo in which they can neither reverse the verdict of history nor find a way to live in peace alongside those who benefited from Balfour's promise. (

The Historical Significance of the Balfour Declaration - Dore Gold (Jewish Political Studies Review)

  • On July 24, 1922, the British pledge to help build the Jewish National Home was explicitly incorporated into the text of the League of Nations Mandate, which called for "putting into effect" its terms. The Balfour Declaration thus was transformed into a binding obligation under international law. Moreover, it was approved unanimously by the Council of the League of Nations, made up of 51 member states.
  • The Balfour Declaration is important because it recognizes the historical bond of the Jewish People to the Holy Land, a bond which existed long before the declaration. What was significant was its public and formal recognition and its incorporation into international law.
  • In his testimony before the Peel Commission on Jan. 7, 1937, David Ben-Gurion noted: "I say on behalf of the Jews that the Bible is our Mandate, the Bible which was written by us, in our own language, in Hebrew in this very country. That is our Mandate. It is only recognition of this right which was expressed in the Balfour Declaration." Thus, the British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration, upon which it was based, did not create Jewish historical rights, but rather recognized a pre-existing right.
  • The historic Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel is the real claim to statehood. The tendency to justify Zionism on the basis of the Holocaust is totally misconceived. Not only was Zionism a thriving and successful movement prior to this tragedy, but the Holocaust destroyed its largest human reservoir and severely set it back.
  • The Jewish population of Mandatory Palestine contributed large numbers of volunteers and committed its manpower, agriculture, manufacturing and expertise to the Allied cause. Unfortunately, this contribution was soon forgotten.
  • When the State of Israel was born in 1948, it was invaded by a coalition of Arab armies which received their training and weapons from the main colonial powers: Britain and France. Ironically, the rise of Israel was an anti-colonial development accelerating the demise of European colonial empires.
  • Israel's enemies seek to misrepresent and falsify the historical facts. They try to portray modern Israel as a product of European colonialism, with no roots in the land and no historical rights. Modern Israel is the heir and successor to ancient Israel. The Balfour Declaration recognized this bond.

    Amb. Dore Gold, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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