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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
December 5, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Yemen's Former President Saleh Killed by Houthi Rebels - Hakim Almasmari (CNN)
    Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed Monday by Houthi rebels as he tried to flee Sanaa, the capital.
    Two days earlier, Saleh announced the end of a three-year alliance with the Iranian-backed Houthis.

Did American Missile Defense Fail in Saudi Arabia? - Max Fisher (New York Times)
    Last month it was announced that Saudi forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen's Houthis at Riyadh airport with a U.S.-made Patriot missile.
    However, evidence analyzed by a team of missile experts appears to show the missile's warhead flew unimpeded over Saudi defenses and nearly hit its target.

Assad's War Crimes Revealed - Ian Birrell (Mail on Sunday-UK)
    800,000 pages of potential evidence have been smuggled out of Syria, some even signed by President Bashar Assad himself, that expose murderous activities and systemic abuse by the Syrian regime.
    Bill Wiley, the veteran war crimes investigator heading the project, said, "Assad is the worst criminal in the region and he should not be above the law."
    Wiley, a former Canadian army officer, set up the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) in 2011.

U.S. Weapons Pour into Lebanon - Jack Detsch (Al-Monitor)
    Pentagon officials recently informed Congress of plans to supply the Lebanese Armed Forces with six light attack helicopters and a Scan Eagle surveillance drone.
    The Pentagon has sent nearly $350 million in weapons to Lebanon over the past three years, including Bradley fighting vehicles, machine guns and night-vision goggles.
    However, there are growing concerns that the Lebanese army isn't as independent from Hizbullah as it claims.
    In a 2014 report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that U.S. Embassy officials in Beirut had not fully complied with Pentagon security checklists for weapons provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which critics worry could fall into the hands of the Shiite militia.

Children on PA TV: The Jews Poisoned Arafat (MEMRI)
    On Nov. 17, 2017, official PA TV broadcast a children's show marking the anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat.
    During the show, a young boy named Adnan said, "Before he died, the Jews put poison in his [Arafat's] food, and then he died."
    The host responded, "Bravo. That's very important information. Abu Ammar [Arafat] died of poisoning. That's right. They put poison in his food, and he was martyred."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • McMaster: 80 Percent of Pro-Assad Forces in Syria Are Iranian Proxies - Joyce Karam
    U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster told the 2017 Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday, "The fact that we were trying to accommodate Iran has empowered Iran across the globe....We have to address growing Iranian capability, and their use of militias, proxies and terrorist organizations."
        McMaster accused Iran of seeking "hegemonic aims" in the region, "using a campaign of subversion in Iraq" and providing support for President Assad of Syria, where "about 80% of Assad fighters are Iranian proxies in Syria to establish a land bridge over into the Mediterranean...[and] a proxy army on the borders of Israel."  (The National-UAE)
  • France, Germany Want Iran to Reverse Ballistic Missile Program
    France and Germany agree that Iran must reverse its ballistic missile program and end its "hegemonic temptations" across the Middle East, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday alongside his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Report: Israel Attacks Military Research Center in Syria - Roi Kais
    Israel reportedly attacked a military scientific research center in the Jamraya area on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday night, according to Syrian media. The Jamraya area contains many military facilities as well as what is likely a chemical weapons production and storage site. (Ynet News)
  • Two Israeli Bedouin Arrested over Murder of IDF Soldier
    Security forces on Friday arrested two Israeli Bedouin on suspicion of involvement in the fatal stabbing of Sgt. Ron Kokia in Arad on Thursday, it was announced Monday. During the investigation, one of the suspects informed his interrogators of the location of the soldier's rifle which was stolen during the murder. The suspect was brought to the site and reconstructed for security forces how the attack took place. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Responds to Turkish Threats: Jerusalem Has Been the Jewish Capital for 3,000 Years - Noa Landau
    Turkish President Erdogan said Tuesday that if President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, this "will result in Turkey's cutting diplomatic ties with Israel." A senior Israeli official responded that "Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years and the capital of Israel for 70 years, whether Erdogan recognizes it as such or not."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Defense Minister, Opposition Leader Urge U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital - Marissa Newman
    Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and opposition Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid on Monday urged President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv. Lieberman brushed off threats of violence by Palestinians and the wider Arab world, saying Israel will "know how to deal with all the ramifications" of any U.S. recognition. He hailed Jerusalem recognition as the "right step" and a measure that would be "very, very important to all Jewish people."
        Lapid said the U.S. should have recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital "70 years ago," or at the very least "the day after '67," referring to the Six-Day War when Israel reclaimed the whole city. (Times of Israel)
  • Video: Jerusalem Mayor Urges U.S. to "Bring the Embassy Home"
    Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Monday, "On behalf of the city of Jerusalem, the beating heart and soul of the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years, I thank you [President Trump], from the bottom of my heart, for your commitment and intention to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel....In Jerusalem, we don't cave in to pressure and we don't let threats or violence stop us from doing what is right."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Preparing for Palestinian Protests after U.S. Jerusalem Decision - Stuart Winer
    Israeli defense officials have held meetings in recent days to review possible scenarios in the event of a change in America's policy on Jerusalem, Yediot Ahronot reported Tuesday. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Won't Undermine the Peace Process - Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer interviewed by Susan B. Glasser
    "People take the embassy issue, or...recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, and they connect it with the peace process. But as you know, the peace process with the Palestinians began in 1993. Jerusalem's been our capital since 1948, '49, '50 when we actually moved everything over there."
        "I don't think it's going to undermine the peace process at all. On the contrary, I think it will actually lay a cornerstone for peace because what it says is that under any peace agreement in the future, Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. That's clear. If somebody could show me any kind of peace plan that doesn't have Jerusalem be capital of Israel, I'd like to see it. Every single peace plan that's ever been put down has Jerusalem be a capital of Israel."
        "I don't think the United States recognizing Jerusalem as a capital will prevent any sort of peace agreement from happening in the future. It's not actually a sensible argument. What it will do is it will right a historic wrong. Something that should have happened 69 years ago will finally happen. And then we have to get about the process of trying to advance peace between the parties. I think the message that it will send to the Palestinians is, 'Hey, wake up. Understand that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. You have to deal with that reality.'"  (Politico)
  • Why U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital Is Important - Herb Keinon
    Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel's National Security Council, said Arab threats of violence over U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital are likely to have little impact on the U.S. administration. Furthermore, he said, "both sides of the Ramallah-Gaza divide have no wish for another round of violence, certainly not because of a symbolic reason that basically changes nothing on the ground." Lerman said that nobody in the Arab leadership is eager to confront President Trump at this stage, and that he believes Saudi Arabia would "support an American initiative that helps the Palestinians adjust their expectations to a level that is deliverable and implementable."
        U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would send a strong message to the Palestinians that their dream of rewriting history so that it does not include any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem is simply not going to work. Such a recognition would correct a historical anomaly that denies Israel the right to say where its capital is. With such recognition, Lerman said, the U.S. would help debunk the idea "that somehow this is not a negotiation between two sides, but an international court of law in which Israel is in the dock."  (Jerusalem Post)

Ten Reasons for Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel - Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Jerusalem has been the official capital of the State of Israel and center of its government since 1950, the seat of Israel's President, Knesset, and Supreme Court.
  • In 1967, Jordan rejected warnings from Israel and opened an aggressive war by bombarding Jerusalem. In response and in self-defense, Israel captured east Jerusalem. As such, Israel's status in eastern Jerusalem is entirely legitimate and lawful under the international law of armed conflict.
  • Numerous politically-generated resolutions and declarations by the UN, attempting to revise and distort the long history of Jerusalem and to deny basic religious, legal and historic rights of the Jewish People and the State of Israel in Jerusalem, have no legal standing and are not binding. They represent nothing more than the political viewpoints of those states that voted to adopt them.
  • Acknowledging the fact that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and locating the embassy in Jerusalem are the sovereign prerogatives of the U.S.  They would be an acknowledgment of a long-standing factual situation and rectification of a historic injustice.
  • Statements by Arab leaders that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital or locating the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will endanger the peace process and bring a wave of violence are unfortunate attempts to threaten a sovereign government and incite.  Surrendering to such threats would be a dangerous precedent and a sign of weakness.

    The writer, a former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians.

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