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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 28, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

With Israel's Knowledge, U.S. Jewish Leader Holds Talks with Qatar over MIAs in Gaza - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Malcolm Hoenlein, the veteran executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was in Qatar a few weeks ago, where he met with the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and discussed the missing Israeli soldiers and civilians being held in Gaza.
    The Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem is aware of these talks.
    Hoenlein has for years maintained covert contacts with Arab and Muslim countries and regularly meets with the heads of state of Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and other countries in the Middle East.

Britain Training Saudi Troops to Fight in Yemen - Mark Nicol (Mail on Sunday-UK)
    Up to 50 British Army personnel have been teaching battlefield skills to Saudi Arabian troops who will be deployed in Yemen.
    The British training mission has involved Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers from the Royal Logistic Corps teaching Saudi troops how to defuse roadside bombs.

Iranian Wrestler Deliberately Loses to Avoid Fighting Israeli Opponent - Georgina Rannard (BBC News)
    Iranian wrestler Alireza Karimi-Machiani crashed out of his match against Russia's Alikhan Zhabrailov on Saturday after appearing to receive instructions to lose, rather than face Israel's Uri Kalashnikov in the next round at the Senior U23 World Championship in Poland.

Iran's Middle East Gains Are Due to Arab Weakness - Brian Katalus and Yoram Schweitzer (Foreign Policy)
    For decades since the 1979 revolution, Iran's regime has worked to shift political dynamics in key countries across the region to their favor.
    The past decade witnessed a historic expansion of Iranian influence as it deeply embedded itself in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.
    Yet Iran's gains are largely due to the deep fractures and divisions within Arab countries.
    As one leading academic in Israel said, "the story has not been so much about Iran's inherent strength, but rather one of weaknesses within Arab countries."
    Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Yoram Schweitzer, a visiting fellow at the Center, is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

The Changing Perspectives of Jerusalem's Arabs - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Post)
    According to an Israel Hayom poll and soon-to-be-published research on the employment of east Jerusalem Arabs by Marik Shtern and Ahmed Asmar, 42% of Jerusalem Arabs feel a sense of belonging to Israeli society, a third are proud to be Israeli, and 43% recognize the historical and religious connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
    85% of east Jerusalem Arabs were born after the city's reunification in 1967 and do not remember a time when the city was divided.
    Many are undergoing a process of "Israelization," not to say Westernization, and are becoming more and more like Israeli Arabs.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • High-Level Contacts between North Korea and Iran Hint at Deeper Military Cooperation - Jay Solomon
    High-level meetings between North Korean and Iranian officials in recent months are stoking U.S. concerns of bilateral nuclear collaboration between the two American adversaries. Officials say both have already signaled a commitment to jointly develop their ballistic missile systems and other military-scientific programs.
        North Korea has vastly expanded its nuclear and long-range missile capabilities over the past year, developing intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially target the western U.S. with nuclear warheads.  U.S. and South Korean intelligence services have tracked a steady stream of Iranian and North Korean officials visiting each other in a bid to jointly develop their defense systems. Iranian opposition groups allege that senior Iranian officials have visited North Korea to observe some of its six nuclear weapons tests. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Syria Kurds Say U.S. to "Adjust" Weapons Deliveries
    Washington will "adjust" its delivery of weapons to an anti-jihadist alliance in Syria dominated by Kurdish fighters, Kurdish officials said Monday. Abdel Karim Amr, an official with the Kurdish administration in northern Syria, said, "Obviously, there will be an adjustment in the delivery of arms to the SDF after the elimination of ISIS, but there is no change in U.S. policy regarding coordination."  (AFP)
  • Israel Navy Deploys Ship-Based Iron Dome - Barbara Opall-Rome
    The Israeli military has declared operational capability of a ship-based version of the Iron Dome air defense system following a live-fire test on Monday that destroyed multiple incoming targets at sea. The system was deployed onboard the INS Lahav, a Sa'ar-5 corvette. "Officially, from today, we added another operational layer to defend Israeli assets in the Mediterranean Sea," said Brig.-Gen. Zvika Haimovich, commander of the Air Force's Aerial Defense Division. Iron Dome has been credited with more than 1,700 successful intercepts since it was first deployed in 2011. (Defense News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Russian Spy Chief Said to Visit Israel for Briefing on Syria Ceasefire
    The director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, reportedly visited Israel on Thursday to brief Israeli security officials on the conflict in Syria, Israel's Channel 10 reported Monday. The Israeli officials reiterated that Israel is not bound by the ceasefire deal in southern Syria reached earlier this month and that Israel would continue to act militarily in order to ensure its security interests.
        According to a report on Hadashot news on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Syrian President Assad via a third party that Israel will intervene militarily if Assad "invites Iranian forces to establish themselves in Syria via an agreement of any kind."  (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Wants UNIFIL to Do More to Report on Hizbullah Arms Violations - Herb Keinon
    Israel Foreign Ministry deputy director-general for diplomacy Alon Ushpiz and deputy director-general for the UN and international organizations Alon Bar briefed a number of ambassadors from states contributing to UNIFIL on Monday ahead of a discussion on UNIFIL in the Security Council scheduled for Wednesday.
        Israel does not expect UNIFIL to confront Hizbullah militarily, but it wants there to be a better record of violations, one diplomatic official said. Jerusalem has complained in recent months that it has provided information to UNIFIL about Hizbullah establishing outposts along the border with Israel, but that these complaints were dismissed without serious investigation or inspection. UNIFIL has 10,700 military personnel from 41 countries, with most troops coming from Indonesia, Italy, India, Spain, Ghana, Nepal, Malaysia, France, Finland and Ireland. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Saudi Journalists and Academics Speak Positively of Israel
    In a tweet on Friday, Hamza al-Salem, assistant professor at the College of Business Administration at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said, "I expect that if peace were made with Israel and the visa and entering and exiting process were made easy, it [Israel] would become the top tourist destination for Saudis. It is one of God's most beautiful countries in terms of its nature and development. It has combined the spirit of the beauty of the east and west, old and new civilizations. When we have made peace with Israel, exploitation of it will become nonexistent. The government will not accept inciting against it."
        Saud Fozan, a journalist for, tweeted in October, "I am not here to defend the Jews, i.e., the Israelis, but truth be me one Israeli who killed a single Saudi, and in return I can list 1,000 Saudis who murdered their own kin with explosive belts by joining al-Qaeda and ISIS."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Caliphate Is Destroyed, But the Islamic State Lives On - Michael P. Dempsey
    Islamic State no longer controls any major population center in Iraq or Syria. But it is a resilient and adaptive enemy that will work doggedly in the coming months to keep its brand alive. Many battle-hardened veterans will try to retreat into remote regions of western Iraq and eastern Syria and then periodically attack government forces and urban centers, sending a reminder to local populations that Islamic State is still operationally viable.
        At the same time, Islamic State still retains some control over eight global branches and networks, especially in central and southern Libya, and in Southeast Asia. Many Islamic State fighters are also likely to return to their countries of origin, with at least some determined to carry on the fight from there. The writer is a former acting director of U.S. national intelligence who served as deputy director of national intelligence in 2014-2017. (Foreign Policy)
  • Time to Recognize Israeli Sovereignty in Golan Heights - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amiram Levin
    Alarming agreements are taking shape in Syria between the U.S., Russia and Iran concerning the deployment of forces near Israel's northern border. The Israeli response should be a demand for international recognition of Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights and an agreement which won't allow the presence of Iranian and Hizbullah forces in the Syrian Golan Heights. The writer served as head of the IDF Northern Command. (Ynet News)
  • Prerequisites for Negotiating Peaceful Coexistence - Jose V. Ciprut
    Despite the fact that a state of Palestine does not exist, it was, by Sep. 14, 2015, already "recognized" by 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the UN. But this label does not guarantee Palestine's viability as a functional entity until and unless it can also reach a "mutually just and durable peace" agreement with the democratic Jewish State of Israel, with which it must sincerely want to coexist. The sad realities on the ground indicate that the conditions for such mutual coexistence are not only nonexistent right now but unattainable for the foreseeable future, owing to the persistent absence of a shared ethical foundation.
        The PLO can no longer credibly pretend to be amenable to negotiating peaceful coexistence with Israel at the same time that it refuses direct contact with it; waits for "an acceptable final deal" to be served up by a third party; and instructs yet another third party [the ICC] to prosecute its future peace partner for "serious war crimes" - in utter disregard of binding agreements to the contrary.
        One cannot pretend to be ready in good faith to engage in peace negotiations with a putative future partner whom one formally asks the ICC to pursue and condemn for matters that should be resolved through direct negotiation. The writer is a conflict analyst, social systems scientist, and international political economist. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Why the 1947 UN Partition Resolution Must Be Celebrated - Martin Kramer (Mosaic)

  • Compared with the festivities surrounding the Balfour Declaration centenary, relatively little attention is being paid to the 70th anniversary of the UN partition vote. But there is a compelling reason to emphasize the 1947 resolution, and to do so time and again. That reason: the Arabs rejected it. And because they did, preferring war, they cannot escape their share of responsibility for the war's consequences: their nakba.
  • Evasion of responsibility explains why the Palestinians, in telling the saga of their "dispossession," stress the Balfour Declaration and downplay the partition resolution.
  • Prior to the 1947 vote, the UN General Assembly empowered UNSCOP, comprising representatives of 11 uninvolved member-states, to investigate the situation and make recommendations. This is now standard procedure in the handling of conflicts. But Palestinian Arab leaders at the time boycotted UNSCOP.
  • In the Arab view, the Jews had no right to anything. They thought that once the British left, they would defeat the Jews. Why concede anything to a motley mob of cowardly Jews?
  • It took more than 60 years for a Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to describe Palestinian and Arab rejection of partition as a "mistake" (in an interview in 2011).
  • It is important to mark this anniversary of the UN partition vote and every anniversary to come. It isn't just a reminder of Israel's legitimacy; it's a reminder of Arab responsibility.

    The writer is founding president emeritus of Shalem College in Jerusalem and a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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