SYRIAN EXILES’ MESSAGE TO ISRAELIS. Rahim and Amar made their way to the U.S. earlier this year after having been imprisoned by the Syrian regime. Under Syrian law, meeting with Israelis constitutes treason. "If authorities find out that I spoke to you, they will butcher my family," Rahim tells this Yediot Ahronot reporter. Amar says: "We have no ideological hatred for Israel or for Jews....It's true that for years they taught us to hate Israel and fight it, but many Syrians already realized that they are being taught to hate Israel to divert attention away from the oppression in the country." "The alliance between Syria and Iran that threatens the Middle East will come to an end after Assad is gone. Most Syrians despise Iran," he adds. Both Rahim and Amar tell of Iranian-speaking snipers who do not speak Arabic being deployed across Damascus and helping in repressing the protests. (Ynet News)


HAMAS LEADER HANIYEH: GOAL IS DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL IN STAGES. At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the "interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem," but Hamas' long-term "strategic" goal is eliminating all of Israel. "The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel]....We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine." Haniyeh also promised that Hamas will "lead intifada after intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine." (Palestinian Media Watch)


ISRAEL’S TOP 20 GREATEST INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME. Indispensable Israeli inventions are being displayed and demonstrated at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. Israel's top inventions highlighted at the exhibition include: Netafim smart drip micro-irrigation, Ormat geothermal power plants, Pythagoras Solar windows, Hazera Genetics slow-ripening cherry tomato, EpiLady electric hair remover, MobileEye safe auto navigation system, Leviathan Energy silent wind turbine, BriefCam video-synopsis technology, Better Place electric car network, Intel Israel computer processors. TA Count real-time microbiology detection, Solaris Synergy solar panels that float on water, HydroSpin internal pipe electricity generator, Elbit electro-optic observation system, Turbulence interactive movie, Decell Technologies GPS and phone-based road traffic information monitoring, PrimeSense 3D vision technologies, Takadu water utilities monitoring, EarlySense hospital patient monitoring, Panoramic Power energy monitoring (Jerusalem Post).


ISRAEL: PALESTINIANS ARE NOT WORKING TOWARD PEACE. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that the Palestinians are not working toward peace but rather trying to internationalize the conflict. Therefore, Israel must work to manage the conflict and not solve it. "No territorial concession will solve the real issues: refugees, security arrangements, and Jerusalem." "The only change that would happen here if we return to 1967 borders would be that the Kassam and Grad rocket fire will not only come from Gaza into southern Israeli cities but also from Kalkilya [in the West Bank] into central Israel." "The countries who criticized us need to understand that construction in the West Bank is not an obstacle to peace and those who pose an obstacle to negotiations, and the opportunity for peace, are the Palestinians who refuse to negotiate with us." (Ha'aretz)


ISRAEL: HAMAS ENTRY INTO PLO IS A MOVE AWAY FROM PEACE. On Thursday, Israel slammed the announced deal for Hamas to join the PLO, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev saying that if Abbas "embraces Hamas, if he walks toward Hamas, he is walking away from peace." Hamas, Regev said, is totally opposed to peace and reconciliation, believes that the Jewish state should be obliterated, and that terrorism against civilians is justified. "Hamas is not a political organization that uses terrorism, Hamas is to its very core a genocidal terrorist organization," he said. (Jerusalem Post)




ISRAEL IS WIDE AWAKE AS DECISION TIME APPROACHES ON NUCLEAR IRAN. Israel has been publicly debating the wisdom of a military strike on Iran's nuclear program. But it is not "sleepwalking" into a war. The Israeli discourse is a real debate driven by the feeling that Iran's nuclear project is advancing, international resolve is insufficient and regime change does not look imminent. • Israel perceives a nuclear Iran as a potentially existential threat. The possible combination of extreme Islamism, a messianic leadership calling to "wipe Israel off the map," and nuclear weapons is deeply sobering. Given Israel's collective memory of the Holocaust and its hostile surroundings, Israelis take this threat especially seriously. • Even assuming Iran can be deterred from using a nuclear bomb, a nuclear Iran will dramatically upset the strategic balance in a region undergoing revolutionary transition. Having defeated international pressure and acquired a nuclear umbrella, Iran will be emboldened as a radical regional pole. • A nuclear Iran will overshadow the calculations of regional actors, trigger a regional nuclear arms race, destroy the non-proliferation treaty and increase the danger of miscalculation towards a nuclear crisis. • Iran will escalate its destabilizing power projection, threatening Israel and moderate Arab regimes, undermining any peace process, manipulating energy markets and posing as guardian of certain Muslim communities even beyond the Middle East. Over time, one cannot rule out proliferation to non-state actors. Containment and deterrence will do little to offset these severe consequences. The Israeli public debate reflects the fact that Israelis do not want war. Rather, they feel that while the problem is not exclusively theirs, a failure of international pressure will leave them alone with that decision. Far from sleepwalking, Israelis have their eyes wide open and expect others to do the same. The writer, former chief of staff to Israel's minister of defense, is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (DAILY ALERT - Financial Times-UK)


PALESTINIAN IDENTITY IS A RECENT INVENTION. The concept of Palestinian identity and nationalism is a recent invention. Today, however, it is clear that Palestinian nationalism has emerged and become a political factor. Historically, Arabs living in the area now known as Palestine were regarded not as a separate entity but as part of the general Arab people. No independent Palestinian state has ever existed. The first Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations in the area that met in February 1919 to consider the future of the territory formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire declared: "We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria." Palestinian spokesperson Ahmad Shuqeiri told the UN Security Council in 1956 that Palestine was nothing more than southern Syria. The head of the Military Operations Department of the PLO, Zuheir Muhsein, declared on March 31, 1977, "Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity....The existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there for tactical reasons." Only after the State of Israel was established in May 1948 did the term "Palestinian" become exclusively used in referring to Arabs in the area. The writer is a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)


ARAB SPRING SENDING SHUDDERS THROUGH CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. In his annual Christmas message to the world, Bethlehem mayor Victor Batarseh called for a comprehensive boycott of Israel. "We call for boycotting Israel culturally, educationally, in sports, economics and trade," Batarseh declared. The Bethlehem mayor's Christmas message completely ignored the fact that the "Arab Spring" has been anything but a blessing to Christians living in Arab countries. According to Rita Daou of Agence France Presse, "The rise of Islamist movements in countries swept by the Arab revolutions has sent shudders throughout the region's Christians who fear for their survival." The Palestinian Authority has done little to protect Christians against assaults by Muslims - including rape, intimidation, land theft and financial extortion. But these are all "sensitive" issues that many Christian leaders do not want to discuss in public out of fear of being accused of serving Israel. This is why many leaders of the Christian community deliberately ignore what happened in 2002 in Bethlehem, when dozens of Muslim gunmen stormed the Church of Nativity and hid inside for five weeks. Israel remains the only place in the Middle East where Arab Christians feel protected and safe. (DAILY ALERT - Hudson Institute-New York).


FATAH DECLARES WAR ON NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction has declared war on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah official, said over the weekend. Fatah's decision came following a series of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and academics to promote peace and "normalization" between the two sides. "If all the meetings the Palestinian leadership has had with the Americans, Europeans and Quartet representatives haven't achieved anything, how can these informal meetings lead to any results?" the Fatah leader explained. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAEL IS A VIBRANT DEMOCRACY. The Israel you personally see and hear is so completely different from the Israel you read and hear about in the media. The Israel that I saw over the past several weeks was a vibrant democracy. The Israeli character - contentious, confrontational, opinionated, argumentative, direct and uncompromising - is what makes Israel quintessentially democratic. Recently, a "human rights" group gave Israel the lowest ranking - along with Afghanistan and other repressive theocracies - on its religious freedom index. This is because the complaints by secular Jews about the excessive influence of Orthodox rabbis on Israeli politics have been so loud. In reality of course there is almost total freedom of religion in Israel, in the sense that no one is forced to be religious. Israel can do better but it isn't comparable to Afghanistan - or for that matter Iran. In some respects, it is freer than the U.S.: In Israel an atheist can be elected to high office; not in the U.S. Now even Iceland has put in its two cents. It has decided to become the first European country to recognize Palestine as a state on the 1967 "borders." Thus according to the wise men and women of Iceland, every Jew who prays at the Western Wall is trespassing on Palestinian territory. Every Israeli student who makes his or her way to the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus is an unlawful occupier. And every Israeli who lives in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem must be moved out of his home, despite the reality that Jews have lived in the Jewish Quarter for more than 2,000 years. The writer is a Harvard law professor. (Jerusalem Post)


U.S.: TREATMENT OF ISRAEL AT UN IS ‘RELENTLESS, OBSESSIVE, UGLY AND BAD FOR PEACE. UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Wednesday: At the UN, "all countries come in for knocks every now and again, including, if not especially, our own. But what Israel faces daily at the UN is something entirely different. As Ambassador Prosor can attest, it's relentless. It's obsessive. It's ugly. It's bad for the UN. It's bad for peace. And it must stop." "There is no substitute for direct, face-to-face negotiations. The goal remains a lasting peace: two states for two peoples, Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace. That is the only path to Israel's decades-long quest for security and the only path to fulfilling the Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations. And that is why we have stood firm on principle as the Palestinians sought UN membership prematurely." (DAILY ALERT - ISRIA)


HAMAS CALLS FOR THE FORMATION OF AN ARAB ARMY. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday called for the formation of an Arab army “to liberate Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque very soon.” Addressing tens of thousands of supporters during a rally in Gaza City marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Haniyeh said his movement remained committed to armed struggle as a strategic option to liberate “all the occupied Palestinian territories,” and that Hamas, “together with all the free peoples, will lead the fight to liberate all Palestine.” Held under the banner of “Jerusalem, We are Coming,” the rally was one of the biggest shows of support for Hamas in recent years. Hamas officials estimated the number of participants at 350,000. However, some Palestinians put the figure at fewer than half of that. The event was attended by many schoolchildren, some under the age of 10, dressed in military outfits and brandishing fake rockets and rifles. One of the boys, Iyad Taha, nine, told a local reporter: “As of today, I belong to Hamas. When I grow up I will be with Hamas and defend the Aksa Mosque and Muslims. Hamas beat the occupation [Israel] and ridiculed them. It kidnapped their soldier and forced them to release our prisoners.” Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders addressed the crowd from a 16-meterlong podium in the shape of a ship carrying an emblem of the Aksa Mosque. The world could no longer ignore Hamas’s strong presence in the Palestinian arena, Haniyeh said. “Anyone who wants to enter the Palestinian arena will have to deal with Hamas, which is a prominent and great player in the arena,” he said. Referring to the recent prisoner exchange agreement for Gilad Schalit, Haniyeh said that the “armed resistance” has succeeded in gaining the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons. He hailed the prisoner swap as a “security, military and negotiations battle” with Israel. Haniyeh warned that the Palestinian Authority’s continued clampdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank was threatening to torpedo efforts to reconcile Fatah and his movement. The Hamas leader heaped praise on the Arab Spring, saying the antiregime protests have benefited Hamas in particular and the Palestinian cause in general.


HAMAS AND THE TEMPLE MONTY PYTHON. Even by the standards of the flowery rhetoric of their usual outbursts, Hamas has excelled on the subject of the closure of a wooden ramp leading from the Western Wall plaza up to what Jews call the Temple Mount. Spokesman Fawzi Barhum said this was a "violent act which amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places." This reaction is reminiscent of something from Monty Python. The ramp is a rickety temporary structure that is considered as both a fire hazard and in danger of collapse. It really ought to be demolished and a permanent structure built as in days of old. The ramp is used almost entirely by non-Jewish and non-Muslim tourists. Muslims use one of the other ten entrances which are currently open. Oddly enough, when the wooden ramp was first built, to replace a crumbling earthen ramp, the Muslim authorities opposed its construction. How closing the ramp amounts to a "war on the Muslim holy places" is beyond me since the decision to temporarily close the ramp in no way prevents Muslims from accessing the site. Closing a bridge which Muslims don't use, hardly counts as an act of repression. (Sky News-UK)


ISRAEL FIELDING NEW COMMUNICATIONS GEAR. The Israeli military is deploying a new encrypted communications device developed with Elbit Systems called Elad Yarok, that can be used with open frequencies used by the military and can transfer data - including video and photographs - over encrypted frequencies in real time. "This is, in fact, the first time that anyone has been able to connect traditional radio transceivers to more advanced communication devices capable of delivering media," said Lt. Col. Yigal Padel. "We are the first to successfully develop such military capabilities." (DAILY ALERT - UPI)


THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR THREAT IS NOT ABOUT ISRAEL. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's former national security advisor, a poll by the Saban Center in Washington showed that in order to get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons, a majority of Israelis would favor Israel giving up its reported nuclear capabilities. The actual question asked was: "Given a choice of two options, one where both Israel and Iran have nuclear weapons and one where neither has them, 65% of Israeli Jews support the latter while only 19% support the former." Notably, the poll did not offer the Israeli public a third option: namely that Iran be denied nuclear weapons and Israel be left alone. It also did not ask Israelis if Iran could be trusted to live up to a commitment to halt its nuclear program. In addition, why would anyone want to create a link between the Iranian nuclear program and Israel? The intellectual flaw in the Israel-Iran question is the idea that Iran's quest for nuclear weapons is connected primarily to Israel and to what Israel does, rather than the fact that Iran seeks nuclear capability to dominate the Middle East (DAILY ALERT - Israel Hayom)




ARABS SCARED OF THE TRUTH. • Many Arab leaders utilize the Palestinian issue as a means to sowing fear among their own peoples. The greater the oppression and deprivation of human rights, the greater the scaremongering. The media under these dark regimes refer to the Jewish state as the "Zionist enemy," lest the simple folk get confused and perceive Israel as a friendly, peace-seeking state. • The historical truth shows that Israel fought wars that were forced upon it by those who convinced themselves that Israel is simply fiction, a fleeting phenomenon that shall quickly disappear from the Middle East's map. In practice, this tiny state scored one victory after another, proving that it is entrenched deep in this soil. • Israel is being accused of drawing out the negotiations and lacking a genuine, honest will to secure peace among its leaders and citizens. But don't Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan attest to its serious intentions? Israel gave up, for peace, the Sinai Peninsula (an area three times Israel's size and rich with natural resources). • In an Egyptian TV interview, after five and a half years in captivity, Gilad Shalit chose to express his hope that the conflict shall end. On the other hand, released Palestinian prisoners announced their commitment to continuing terrorism and bloodshed. • The Arab world is still in love with zealous words and mindless attacks: impassioned calls, baseless threats, and the flexing of muscles. The time has come to abandon the path of hatred and exploit the opportunities for peace via negotiations, because there is no other way. The writer is Spokesman and Director of Public Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, Turkey (Ynet News).


CONTAINING AND DETERING A NUCLEAR IRAN: QUESTIONS FOR STRATEGY, REQUIREMENTS FOR MILITARY FORCES. Even without a nuclear weapon, Iran is difficult to deter: its diffuse leadership structures and constant domestic power struggles make it hard to determine which individual leaders, groups of leaders and institutions should be the objects and targets of deterrence. Furthermore, the Iranian approach to military power is a highly asymmetrical strategy that substitutes nuclear weapons, irregulars, proxies, and terrorism for conventional strength. Containing Iran requires effecting the isolation of the Iranian regime, disconnecting it from great power patrons, limiting its ability to peel off neighbors and regional players to serve its agenda, limiting its use of proxies, and more. The keystone of any containment policy is a military strategy of deterrence. An Iran policy of containment must meet the basic Cold War standard of credibility. The deterrent posture depends on an adequate U.S. nuclear arsenal of offensive systems; a substantial investment in forward deployed and reinforcing conventional forces; and the preservation of strong alliances that permit relatively good policy integration, military cooperation, and basing and access for U.S. forces. A credible U.S. offensive deterrent must be "persistent": that is, dedicated forces must be active, available, and "present," at least in the mind of the adversary. In addition, the role of U.S. offensive nuclear forces as the central feature of a "defense umbrella" covering American allies and their interests across the greater Middle East will be critical. Current policies and plans, however, do not reflect such considerations. Though containment and deterrence are possible policies and strategies for the U.S. and others to adopt when faced with a nuclear Iran, we cannot share the widespread enthusiasm entertained in many quarters. Indeed, the broad embrace of containment and deterrence appears to be based primarily on an unwillingness to analyze the risks and costs (DAILY ALERT - American Enterprise Institute).


ISLAMISTS’ ELECTION VICTORY IN EGYPT LEAVES WESTERN PREDICTIONS IN SHAMBLES. Just a few months ago leading experts were overwhelmingly predicting that all those great secular, liberal, college-educated kids with their iPhones in Tahrir Square represented the new Egypt and would bring all their wonderful values to the revolution. It was primarily those who have been writing about radical Islamic politics (and, of course, the Israelis, who can't afford to get it wrong on Muslim political habits) who warned that this was all going to end in the rise in Egypt of radical Islamist, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-Western governance. In the first round of elections, the grand total for all the parties that are considered part of the liberal-secular bloc - the makers of the glorious Arab Spring democracy - was 13%. (DAILY ALERT - Washington Times)


U.S. WARNS PALESTINIANS: STOP LEAKING CONTENT OF QUARTET TALKS. The U.S. government has asked senior Palestinian officials to refrain from leaking details of talks that took place recently between Middle East Quartet envoys, Israeli representatives and the PA, a senior U.S. official said. The Palestinians presented the Quartet with two documents relating to the borders of a future Palestinian state and security arrangements with Israel in November, but Quartet representatives told Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian negotiating team, that the proposals were not relevant because they had not been presented in direct talks with Israel, the official said. The Obama administration sees the Palestinian strategy of presenting proposals to the Quartet without engaging in direct talks as an attempt to change the rules of the game. (Ha'aretz)


HAMAS UND FATAH: THE UNITY GOVERNMENT THAT ISN’T – AND WON’T BE. Each time Fatah and Hamas announce that they are close to ending their dispute, the Palestinians quickly discover that the two rival parties are not telling the truth. In fact, the two parties have a common interest in maintaining the status quo for as long as ever. Fatah is now sitting in the West Bank and benefiting from the millions of dollars that are being poured into its coffers every month. Ironically, Israel's security presence in the West Bank is one of the main reasons why Abbas and Fayyad are still in power. The Fatah leaders know that the day Israel withdraws from the West Bank, Hamas will become so strong that it will seize control of the area in a matter of days or weeks. For Hamas, the status quo is good because the Islamist movement continues to control Gaza without facing real challenges. Both Fatah and Hamas know that unity means losing the financial backing of their patrons in the West and Tehran and the Arab world. (DAILY –ALERT - Hudson Institute-New York)


THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY: A DEPENDANCY RATHER THAN A COUNTRY. The Israeli government has announced it will turn tax revenues over to the Palestinian Authority, allowing the Palestinians to meet payroll and cover some other basic expenses. Holding the payments back was Israel's response to the Palestinian quest for statehood at the UN. The key difference between states and other entities is sovereignty: the ability and power to manage their own affairs. The Palestinians do not collect their own taxes; handouts from donors and the delivery of tax receipts from Israel keep the PA alive. An authority that must beg for the money that keeps it alive may call itself a state, and may for political reasons be called a state by other people, but as a matter of fact and truth it is a dependency rather than a country. By withholding money from the PA, Israel was delivering a pointed reminder that the Palestinians can only have a state as a result of Israeli actions. And there is no way to actual, as opposed to nominal, statehood except through negotiations with the neighbors. (DAILY ALERT - American Interest)


EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS TRY TO STEM ISLAMISTS IN VOTE. Ahead of elections, Egypt's Coptic Church discreetly told followers to vote for the Egyptian Bloc, an alliance of leftist and liberal parties sponsored by a Christian tycoon, and the country's Christian minority turned out in droves for voting Monday and Tuesday. The prospect of an Islamist victory in the election has Egypt's Christians, who make up about 10% of the population of 85 million, terrified that one day strict Islamic law will be imposed, raising fears over the fate of a community that predates the coming of Islam to the country. Mubarak did little to advance Christian civil rights, but his police state ensured certain lines were not crossed. Now with Mubarak gone, the election turnout marks a shift for Christians: They increasingly feel they have to assert themselves (DAILY ALERT).


THE ARAB SPRING AND ANTI-SEMITISM (by Jeffrey Goldberg). The desire of Arabs to be free of their dictators is sometimes expressed in grotesquely anti-Jewish terms. Now in Cairo, and across the Arab Middle East, Israel and the Jews are serving once again as universal bogeymen. This truth doesn't conform to the generally accepted narrative of the Arab Spring, but ignoring it won't make it disappear. Cairo is rife with anti-Semitism. On my last visit, I met with leaders of ostensibly liberal parties who were convinced Jews were conspiring to bring about the collapse of the Egyptian economy (something that Egypt's military rulers are accomplishing all by themselves). Expressions of anti-Semitism are common even at the higher reaches of Egyptian politics. Presidential candidate Tawfiq Okasha, speaking on the television station he owns, recently said, "Not all the Jews in the world are evil. You may ask: Tawfiq, what is the ratio? The ratio is 60-40. 60% are evil to varying degrees, all the way to a level that words cannot describe, while 40% are not evil." He added that even among the 40% of non-evil Jews there is only one in a million who is blameless. In Cairo today, this might count as a progressive idea. (DAILY ALERT - Bloomberg)


THE PALESTINIANS RESURRECT THE PARTITION PLAN. UN General Assembly Resolution 181 - the famous Partition Plan - was approved on Nov. 29, 1947. In 1999 the Palestinians were to claim that, according to Resolution 181, "both parts of Jerusalem - west and east - are occupied territory." However, Resolution 181 proposed internationalizing Jerusalem only as an interim measure, for ten years, after which there was to be a referendum. Given the Jewish majority in Jerusalem, it was expected that the city would then be annexed to the Jewish state. It is also important to recall that UN General Assembly resolutions are only recommendations and do not bind member states under international law. Moreover, the Arab states rejected Resolution 181 in its entirety, especially its call for establishing a Jewish state. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, understood the moral importance of Resolution 181 because of its recognition of the right of the Jewish people to a state. But on Dec. 3, 1949, at the end of Israel's War of Independence, Ben-Gurion told the Knesset he opposed calls for Jerusalem's internationalization: "We can no longer regard the UN Resolution of 29 November as having any moral force. After the UN failed to implement its own resolution, we regard the resolution of 29 November concerning Jerusalem to be null and void." Furthermore, it was not the UN that legally created the Jewish state with Resolution 181, but rather Israel's own declaration of independence in 1948. (Israel Hayom)


ISRAEL TO RETHINK DEFENSE NEEDS IN WAKE OF ARAB SPRING. Ill winds blowing through the Arab Spring will force Israel to rethink its overall security needs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated at the cabinet meeting on Sunday. "There was a lot of talk about where the Arab Spring was going," one government source said. "It appears now that it is not going in a good direction." Noted the source, who was in the cabinet meeting, "There were elections in Tunisia, and the Islamists won. There were elections in Morocco over the weekend, and the Islamists won. People here are very concerned about Egypt. It looks now as if the revolution is going in a certain direction. Wherever the Arabs vote, the Islamists are winning" (Jerusalem Post).


AFTER THE ARAB SPRING, WINTER. When the Arab Spring arrived in the Middle East and North Africa it was unhesitatingly welcomed by Western leaders. Everyone hoped for the best. But hope is not quite enough. The shooting of protestors in Tahrir Square by the Egyptian army is the latest sign that the Arab Spring is giving way to an Arab winter. Elections have indeed taken place in Tunisia, but as in Algeria, they have simply served as a springboard for well-organized Islamist parties to gain power. In Egypt, the polls already suggest a similar triumph for the Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood's political aims are akin to those of the revolutionary Khomeinists in Iran. Libya's election is further off, but Islamists have a head-start. The end result may well be that this push for democracy produces its antithesis: the rule of militant Islam. it will be far harder to justify the Libyan intervention should it transpire that NATO merely facilitated an Islamist takeover. In the long-term, representative democracy provides the only answers to the failures of the Arab world. But in the short-term this process will be complex, fraught and bloody. The writer is an associate director of the Henry Jackson Society. (DAILY ALERT - Spectator-UK)


WIRTSCHAFTSWUNDER IM HEILIGEN LAND (3. Teil).Wie alles andere im Heiligen Land wird auch die Frage, warum Israel – vor allem im Vergleich zu seinen Nachbarn – wirtschaftlich so gut dasteht, immer auch vom eigenen Blick auf die frühere und gegenwärtige Politik in der Region abhängen. Dabei werden die israelischen Erfolge gerne heruntergespielt und das Land sowohl als Sündenbock als auch als Prügelknabe für die Fehler der anderen missbraucht. Und da beinahe die Hälfte der Bevölkerung des Westjordanlandes und 80% der des Gazastreifens unter der Armutsgrenze leben, bietet das nicht nur die Bedingungen für Mangel, Arbeitslosigkeit und Radikalisierung sondern auch Munition für die Gegner Israels. Israel steht immer noch ernsthaften wirtschaftlichen Herausforderungen gegenüber, nicht zuletzt die Überkonzentration des Wohlstands in den Händen von etwa fünfzehn Familien von Wirtschaftsmagnaten, die jene Konzerne kontrollieren, die die israelische Wirtschaft dominieren. Doch trotz allem beinhaltet das Beispiel von Israels "Performance trotz aller Widrigkeiten" zahlreiche Lektionen für Entwicklungsländer, die nicht ignoriert werden sollten. Im Gegensatz zu den hoch politisierten Karikaturen Israels als Protektorat der USA, das den Holocaust für sich ausnützt, entstammen beinahe alle seine Erfolge der starken Überzeugung, dass das eigene Schicksal nicht in der Verantwortung der Anderen liegt. Entwicklungsländer täten besser daran, Israel nachzueifern als es schlechtzumachen. (Sunday Times, 13.11.11)


UNREST IN EGYPT, ALARM IN ISRAEL. Israelis are nervously watching Egypt's revolution reignite with protests in Tahrir Square, raising fears a decades-old military dictatorship may soon be replaced by Islamist radicals who will pose a new security threat. Maariv reported that Israel's army chief, Benny Gantz, "presented the Security Cabinet with a scenario involving the cancellation of the peace treaty" between Egypt and Israel. The peace treaty with Egypt has been a cornerstone of Israel's security doctrine for three decades, guaranteeing relative quiet along its southern border and allowing Israel's military to focus on threats elsewhere. "In light of the Jan. 25 Revolution, Israel no longer has the luxury, or the security, of dealing with a handful of Egyptian leaders," writes Mirette Mabrouk of the Brookings Institute. "Israel is still going to have to deal with a government more accountable to its people. And considering that any new government is going to struggle with the prodigious social and economic burdens left by the former regime, a populist foreign policy may be considered an easy crowd-pleaser." Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defense and foreign minister, said, "The Islamists are going to inherit the mantle of the dictators. A wave of Islamic rule, with all it entails, is sweeping across the Arab world. It will replace secular dictatorships with Islamic ones. We should have expected nothing else." (DAILY ALERT - National Post-Canada)


HIZBULLAH WAITS AND PREPARES. Many analysts believe that Iran could direct Hizbullah to unleash its military might against Israel, pummeling it with thousands of long-range rockets, placing the Jewish state's heartland on the frontline for the first time since 1948. The two sides have been making feverish preparations for another encounter, one that neither Hizbullah nor Israel wants but that both believe is probably inevitable. The rate of recruitment into Hizbullah's ranks has soared and some receive advanced training in Iran. Military instruction is interspersed with religious lessons, teaching the importance of jihad, martyrdom and obedience to Hizbullah's religious figurehead, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the supreme leader of Iran. Hizbullah has evolved into the most formidable nonstate military force in the world. It has amassed as many as 50,000 rockets, including guided missiles that can strike targets in Tel Aviv, and Hizbullah fighters are being trained to cross the border into Israel in the next war. (DAILY ALERT - Wall Street Journal)


WILL JORDAN BECOME HAMAS’ NEW HOME? Two weeks after new Jordanian Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh was appointed, he announced: "The expulsion of Hamas from Jordan in 1999 was a political and legal error." The thinking in Jordan is that when Assad's regime falls, Hamas will need a new home. This is an excellent chance for Jordan to return to the center of Palestinian politics, from which it has been excluded for a decade. Qatar recently held intensive talks with Jordanian King Abdullah in a bid to advance Hamas' return to Jordan. Hamas has still not decided which way to go. Even if Hamas is not asked to leave Syria, the new regime is likely to stop giving it the generous services supplied by Assad. Qatar could be a comfortable base, but it's far from the territories, while Jordan is conveniently near the West Bank and Gaza. On the other hand, Hamas has had no guarantee that Jordan will agree to the opening of Hamas offices, including a communications network and perhaps logistics bases. Hamas also has a problem with Jordanian public opinion; the Jordanian elite doesn't understand why Jordan has to reconcile with Hamas after its leadership joined the Syrian-Iranian axis. (Ha'aretz)


MITCHELL SAYS PALESTINIANS MUST SHOW FLEXIBILITY. Former U.S. Middle East envoy Sen. George Mitchell spoke at the University of Maine in Belfast last week, saying, "The Israeli leaders agreed to halt new housing in the West Bank for 10 months. It was much less than what we asked for but more than anyone else had done. The Palestinians rejected it as worse than useless. They were strongly opposed to it. Then nine months on, there were negotiations for a couple of weeks that were discontinued by the Palestinians on the grounds that Israel wouldn't continue the settlement freeze. What had been less than worthless a few months earlier became indispensable to continue negotiations." The Palestinians will not get 100% of what they want. It is not attainable, he said. The question is: will they negotiate to get a stake in their future or continue to fight for a past that is out of reach? (DAILY ALERT - Free Press-Maine)


ISRAEL WARNS OF TERRORISTS WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, ARMED BY IRAN. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told CNN on Sunday: • "The IAEA report has had a sobering impact on many world leaders, as well as the public....People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons....And that should be stopped." • "And under a nuclear Iran, the whole region will turn nuclear - Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt will have to turn nuclear. The countdown toward nuclear materials in the hands of terrorists will start." • "But, more than this, they will use the nuclear umbrella to intimidate neighbors all around the Gulf, to sponsor terror. Try to think what happens...three years downstream, and you end up with a Bahrain overwhelmed by Iran. Who will come to the rescue?" • "Who would have come to rescue Kuwait when it was taken by Saddam Hussein 20 years ago, if Saddam could have said credibly enough that he has three or four crude nuclear devices?" (CNN)


PALESTINIAN RIGHT OF RETURN? NOT IN MY BACKYARD. The Israel Project has been conducting polling and focus groups in Gaza and the West Bank for two years as part of the Arabic People to People Program. A recent Palestinian focus group session in Nablus in the West Bank demonstrated that, just as in America and elsewhere, the top issue for Palestinians is the economy and jobs. While their leadership continues to insist on a Palestinian "right of return," Palestinians in the West Bank are less than enthusiastic about their return to a future state of Palestine. Today, after having waged a bloody intifada, Palestinians enjoy the fruits of economic peace generated by several years of quiet cooperation between the Israeli government and the PA and by large sums of U.S. and European aid. Life is beginning to look good, and residents don't want their new-found prosperity threatened by the sudden influx of refugees, many of them intentionally kept impoverished, from camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. We need to listen to the Palestinians more closely. The writer is executive director of The Israel Project's Israel office (Jerusalem Post).


ISRAEL: HAMAS-FATAH UNITY WOULD HARM DIPLOMATIC PROCESS. PA President Mahmoud Abbas cannot have both peace with Israel and reconciliation with Hamas, officials in Jerusalem said on Thursday as Fatah announced significant progress toward forming a unity government with Hamas. "We have said before that Abbas can choose peace with us or Hamas, but they don't go together," one official said. Washington is also sending messages to Abbas not to sign off on a deal with Hamas, warning that the PA could face a cut-off of U.S. funds if it did so without Hamas first recognizing Israel, forswearing terrorism, and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. One Israeli official characterized Abbas' behavior over the past few months as "problematic," citing his moves at the UN, his public praise for the kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit, and his refusal to condemn last month's missile fire from Gaza into Israel. (Jerusalem Post)


SYRIA JOINS UNESCO COMMITTEE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS. A short time after UNESCO, the UN's organization for education and science, accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member despite strong U.S. and Israeli opposition, it is now Syria's turn to receive a present from the organization. On Wednesday, the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad was chosen to be the Arab representative on the UNESCO committee the deals with issues relating to the implementation of human rights. UNESCO's decision comes after Assad's regime managed to kill 3,500 demonstrators and arrest tens of thousands, without any due process whatsoever (Maariv, 17Nov11).


TUNESIA: ISLAMIST PRIME MINISTER NOMINEE CALLS FOR RESTORED CALIPHATE, LIBERATION OF JERUSALEM. The Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda invited Houda Naim, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council based in Gaza, to speak at a rally in Sousse on Sunday, the first time a member of Hamas has addressed the Tunisian public. Naim stated her hope that the "liberation" of Tunisia would lead to the liberation of Palestine. At the event, Ennahda's general secretary Hammadi Jebali, recently proposed by the party to be the new prime minister of Tunisia, declared that the occasion was "a divine moment in a new state, and in, hopefully, a 6th caliphate," referring to the historical system of Islamic monarchies. Jebali also echoed Naim's words, stating, "The liberation of Tunisia will, God willing, bring about the liberation of Jerusalem (Daily Alert, 16.11.2011).


OBAMA, ERDOGAN FIND SHARED INTEREST. Turkish media outlets reported that after Prime Minister Erdogan's mother died last month, President Obama called him and the two "spoke for 45 minutes about their feelings." This personal rapport is the foundation of a new U.S.-Turkish relationship. In June 2010, for example, Turkey voted at the UN Security Council against a proposal for U.S.-sponsored sanctions on Iran. Obama told Erdogan how upsetting Turkey's UN vote had been to him, and Ankara stopped defending Tehran. Turkey has also emerged as the region's key opponent of the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on demonstrators, with Ankara supporting and hosting members of the opposition. The writer is director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Washington Post)


ON ISRAEL-EGYPT BORDER, BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD FENCE. A vast project to put a high-tech fence between Egypt and Israel is being carried out with surprising speed. The fence is five meters high - twice the height of the separation fence in the territories and of the fences on Israel's other borders. This year it consumed 15% percent of the country's annual steel consumption. The fence is going up at a rate of 800 meters a day. By the end of next January, the first 100 km. of the 240 km. fence will be in place. The effects of investment in fencing can be seen best along the border with Syria in the Golan Heights. After Palestinian and Syrian demonstrators managed to infiltrate the border during Nakba Day rioting, the Defense Ministry repaired the fence at a cost of NIS 50 million. Since then, "demonstrators have come from Syria, seen that the fence is impassable, and gone back," says the deputy director general of the Defense Ministry, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Bezalel Treiber. (Ha'aretz)


PRISONER SWAP OPENS WAY FOR U.S. TO PROSECUTE TERRORISTS WHO SLEW U.S. CITIZENS. On Aug. 9, 2001, Ahlam Tamimi, a member of Hamas, drove a suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem, where the bomber blew himself up, killing 15 people including Judy Greenbaum, an American citizen from New Jersey. On March 5, 2003, Abigail Leitel, 14, from New Hampshire, was killed, along with 14 Israelis, by a suicide bomber on a Haifa bus plotted by three Hamas members: Fadi Muhammad al-Jabaa, Maedh Abu Sharakh, and Majdi Muhammad Amr. On Sep. 9, 2003, a Hamas suicide bomber slew seven people including American citizens David and Nava Applebaum at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem. Ibrahim Dar Musa helped plan that bombing. The perpetrators of each of these murders of Americans are now free and living in Jordan or Gaza because Hamas demanded that they be released in exchange for Gilad Shalit. Since the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, it has been a capital crime under American law to "kill a national of the United States, while such national is outside the United States." No statute of limitations precludes prosecution of old offenses. Another law, passed in 1994, made it a federal crime to use an explosive bomb "against a national of the United States while such national is outside of the United States." The Department of Justice should now indict, extradite, and put to trial in U.S. courts, under American law, these killers of American citizens. The writer was a federal prosecutor and served as deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice. (DAILY ALERT - New York Sun)


AMERICANS’ SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL RISING. Americans' support for Israel is up, with a 10% increase in support among Democrats in the past six months, an Israel Project poll released on Thursday revealed. The poll demonstrated that the majority of Americans believed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was more committed to peace than his Palestinian counterpart. The support of "opinion elites" - those who display high engagement in foreign policy, education and income - exceeded the general sample by 7 percentage points. 68% characterized Israel as "one of our strongest allies," while 56% consider Palestinians to be "extremist" and an "obstacle to peace." 73% of voters and 86% of the opinion elite support a two-state solution that would recognize "Israel as a homeland of the Jewish people and Palestine as the homeland of the Palestinian people." (Jerusalem Post)


A DIPLOMATIC INTIFADA. The third intifada is being waged against Israel in the international arena. A Diplomatic Intifada is aimed at rallying the world against Israel in the hope of forcing it to accept all of the Palestinian Authority's demands, first and foremost a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines. The PA has concluded that there is no point in continuing negotiations because no Israeli government could give the Palestinians everything they want. PA officials are hoping that international pressure will force Israel to its knees. PA representatives say they are planning to seek the prosecution of hundreds of Israelis for alleged war crimes against Palestinians. Talking to Palestinian officials in Ramallah, one is left with the impression that the PA is out to punish Israel more than achieve a state for its people. By launching a worldwide campaign against Israel, Abbas now risks losing the sympathy of a majority of Israelis who support the two-state solution. (Hudson Institute-New York)


JORDAN TRIES RAPPROCHEMENT WITH HAMAS. Last week, Jordan's new prime minister Awn Khasawneh announced that Jordan's 1999 decision to deport leaders of the Palestinian jihadist group Hamas was a mistake. Some reports even indicate that Hamas would like to transfer its headquarters back to Amman, particularly since the unrest in Syria has made it harder for the group to operate there. Khasawneh's rapprochement with Hamas is an attempt to woo the Islamic Action Front, Jordan's arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, into a government coalition. Khasawneh understands that appeasing the Islamist group, whose appeal has grown in recent months, may help preserve the Hashemite Kingdom. Last month, King Abdullah promised (yet again) that Jordan would move toward a more representative parliament. If and when Jordan becomes truly representative, the rise of Islamist forces is a foregone conclusion. The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (Weekly Standard).


U.S. HIGH COURT SKEPTICAL IN ISRAEL PASSPORT CASE. U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday heard the case of a boy born in Jerusalem to American parents who want his passport to list Israel as his birthplace. A 2002 law included a provision allowing Israel to be listed as the place of birth on the passport of any American citizen born in Jerusalem. While Israel calls Jerusalem its "eternal and indivisible" capital, few other states accept that status including the U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked why Congress would trump the president in foreign affairs. Justice Antonin Scalia said, "You are saying whatever Congress says, the president has to comply with." Chief Justice John Roberts said the president has determined that putting Israel on the passports would create significant problems and questioned if a court can second-guess that judgment. "The court seemed poised to...rule that the statute unconstitutionally infringes on the president's power to recognize, or decline to recognize, that any state exercises sovereignty over Jerusalem," said Columbia Law School Professor Sarah Cleveland. A ruling in the case is expected by the middle of next year. (Reuters)


AFTER UNESCO WIN, PA TO PURSUE ISRAEL IN INTERNATIONAL FORUMS. Following its admission to UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority is planning to pursue Israel legally in international forums for allegedly stealing Palestinian antiquities and changing the Arab and Islamic character of holy sites in Jerusalem, said Hatem Abdel Qader, former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs. Abdel Qader also said the Palestinians were planning legal action against Israel for its intention to replace the temporary wooden Mughrabi Bridge at the southern entrance to the Temple Mount. (Jerusalem Post)


PALESTINIAN ‘MODERATES’ PRAISE TERROR TO ARABIC MEDIA; TALK PEACE TO THE WEST. The assumption of the essential moderation of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas is one that can only be maintained by ignoring virtually everything the PA does and says. The latest examples are the statements by Abbas and his aide Jibril Rajoub in which they praised the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit by Hamas. Abbas told an interviewer the crime was a "good thing," while Rajoub saluted all those involved with Shalit's abduction. While Palestinian leaders portray themselves as moderate peace seekers to the West, the official Palestinian media run by Abbas and his government is a font of incitement against Israel and Jews. Abbas' goal of international recognition for Palestinian statehood without first making peace with Israel is based on his unwillingness to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. (DAILY ALERT - Commentary)


LIES TOLD ABOUT ISRAEL ARE BEYOND BELIEF. Yelling slogans to the effect that "Israel is apartheid" and "Zionism is racism" doesn't make any of it true. No one objects to Saudi Arabia having only Muslims as citizens. No one objects to Pakistan and Iran and others declaring themselves an "Islamic state." They are ethnic states. Yet why is the "Jewish state" singled out for condemnation? Arabs are 20% of Israel's population. They have the vote and all citizenship rights. The bottom line is that in Israel there is nothing remotely like South African apartheid. A flood of anti-Israel propaganda is about to pour over South Africa through the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. The "International People's Tribunal" is theater: the actors know their parts and the result is known before they start. Israel is to be dragged into the mud. The writer was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail. (DAILY ALERT - Times-South Africa)


POLL SHOWS 40 PERCENT OF JERUSALEM ARABS PREFER ISRAEL TO A PALESTINIAN STATE. New research reveals that 42% of the Palestinians who reside in Jerusalem would try to move to Israel if their neighbourhood became part of a new Palestinian state. 39% say they would prefer Israeli to Palestinian citizenship. The common understanding that Arabs are being driven from Jerusalem is false: Since 1967, the Palestinian population has more than quadrupled from 70,000 to 288,000. During the same period, the city's Israeli population has roughly doubled from 250,000 to 500,000. The view that Arabs cannot build in Jerusalem is also false: Only 24% of east Jerusalem Palestinians say they are dissatisfied with "the ease or difficulty of obtaining building permits" (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).


ISRAEL: UNESCO VOTE HARMS CHANCES FOR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS. In response to the UNESCO vote accepting Palestine as a member state on Monday, the Israel Foreign Ministry stated: "This is a unilateral Palestinian maneuver which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement. This decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into an actual state, yet places unnecessary burdens on the route to renewing negotiations. Israel believes that the correct and only way to make progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians is through direct negotiations without preconditions." "The Palestinian move at UNESCO, as with similar such steps with other UN bodies, is tantamount to a rejection of the international community's efforts to advance the peace process. Israel thanks those countries which displayed a sense of responsibility and opposed this decision." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


ISRAEL AND THE APARTHEID SLANDER.It is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it. One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues "apartheid" policies. The use of "apartheid" is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations. In Israel, there is no apartheid. Equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court. Those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace. (New York Times)


DEFENSE ISN’T ENOUGH. Israel is facing a terrorist rocket war. There is always some "splinter group" operating or "sporadic shooting" despite cease-fire agreements. Initially, the terrorist rockets threatened a few thousand. Now they can reach hundreds of thousands; next time, when their range can reach central Israel including Tel Aviv, they will threaten millions of Israelis. The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system is praiseworthy, but it cannot protect against mortars, short-range rockets, anti-tank missiles or even long-range rockets. Nor can a battery stationed in Ashkelon respond to fire on Rishon Lezion. Defense alone cannot win. There is no justification for the fact that parents in Ashkelon have to live in fear for their children's lives. Hamas is not part of the solution - it is the problem. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan is former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff and former Chairman of Israel's National Security Council. (Israel Hayom)


THE LARGEST INFLUX OF CHRISTIANS INTO THE HOLY LAND SINCE THE CRUSADERS. The schedules for Mass at the two Roman Catholic churches in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, reveal a change that has dramatically altered the face of Christianity in the Holy Land. The two Masses in Arabic for the town's native Arab Christian population are outnumbered by four in English, attended mainly by Filipina caregivers. Then there are others in Spanish, for South Americans; French, for African migrants; three South Asian languages, including Konkani, spoken in the Indian district of Goa; and, for a generation of Christians raised among Israel's Jewish majority, Hebrew. In September, a colorful celebration for Indian Catholics alone drew 2,000 people. That's twice the total number of native Catholics in the parish. For centuries, Christianity here meant the ancient communities of Christian Arabs. The past two decades, however, have seen one of the most significant influxes of Christians into the Holy Land since the Crusades, and it has created a wholly new Christian landscape shaped by the realities of Israel. If one counts all of the people in Israel who are neither Jewish nor Muslim, these newcomers outnumber Arab Christians by more than five to one. On a recent Sunday, the chapel at the Ratisbonne monastery in downtown Jerusalem rang with the sound of hymns in Tagalog, one of the languages of the Philippines. Most of the worshippers were women who serve as caregivers for elderly Israelis. Today there are 40,000 Filipino workers in Israel. There are now several thousand children born to foreign workers who speak Hebrew as a first language and celebrate Jewish holidays with their classmates. Among the 1 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union who began moving to Israel en masse in the early 1990s, about a third were not Jewish but qualified for citizenship because they had a Jewish spouse or lineage. Among them were an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 practicing Christians, mostly Orthodox. (AP)


QUARTET ON MISSION IMPOSSIBLE IN MIDEAST LOGJAM. World powers trying to revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians may be flogging a dead horse and their repeated failure is eroding what credibility they have left as mediators. Some political analysts argue it is now time for them to scale back their ambitions. With faint hope of a deal, would-be peacemakers may inevitably find themselves seeking to manage rather than resolve the generations-old conflict. The latest effort by the Middle East Quartet - meetings in Jerusalem on Wednesday to bring the parties to the same table for talks on a permanent peace deal - was arguably a failure before it began. "The Quartet is irrelevant because it is stuck on a road which is not leading anywhere," said Shlomo Avineri, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a former director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "The Quartet is basically wrong-headed because it is avoiding realization that the attempt to bring the two sides together to negotiation about a final status agreement is wrong. It hasn't worked now for a long time," he said. (Reuters)


The next 'Daily Journal' will be posted on Sunday, 30th of October, 2011.


FOR SOME PALESTINIANS RELEASED IN PRISONER SWAP, FREEDOM IS RELATIVE. Of the roughly 100 former Palestinian prisoners released in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, 55 will remain under Israeli security restrictions that include limits to their movements and regular check-ins with Israeli authorities. The restrictions vary based on a risk assessment completed by the Israel Prison System, with some barred from leaving their village or city. Israel says these restrictions are necessary to protect its citizens because, left alone, some of the former prisoners may soon begin plotting attacks again. "A high proportion, we've learned from past experience, return to activities in terrorist organizations," says Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. The arrangements allow Israel to "monitor activities" of the released prisoners, he says. Although Israel is relying heavily on the PA to keep an eye on the released prisoners' activities in the West Bank, Israel will be solely responsible for enforcing these security arrangements, says Maj. Guy Inbar, spokesman for the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. The prisoners deemed by Israel as "high threat" - about 200 - will not return home, at least not immediately. Most were sent to Gaza, which is deemed a more secure place for them because of the strict procedures for entering Israel. About 40 prisoners deemed the highest risk were sent abroad to Turkey, Qatar, Syria, and Jordan. "We didn't want to see hardcore terrorists back in the West Bank, where they could more easily target Israelis," says Regev. "It's clear from the celebrations yesterday in Gaza that these murderers are not showing remorse for killing innocent civilians and Hamas calls them heroes. Anyone that had the illusion that Hamas is somehow moderating their position, this should serve as a wake-up call." (Christian Science Monitor)


REINING IN ABBAS. The U.S. House of Representatives wants to hammer Mahmoud Abbas and the PA for snubbing American-led diplomacy and applying for statehood at the UN last month. Congress and the White House should zero in on Palestinian corruption and shape a new aid regime that accomplishes U.S. objectives more effectively. Abbas controls the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund, whose board he hand-picked and whose by-laws he rewrote. Since 2006, the PIF has awarded contracts exclusively to Abbas cronies, including his sons, Yasser and Tareq. The PIF-backed Wataniya cellular phone company, which drew on international-donor funding, inked a lucrative advertising contract with Tareq, while his brother Yasser sat on its board. The Abbas family is now said to be worth millions, with lavish property holdings and investments throughout the Middle East. What's needed is not a wholesale cut in aid, but a concerted effort to root out PA corruption. This would include U.S. Government Accountability Office audits of Abbas' presidential budget, international oversight of the PIF, and a much closer look at the financial relationship between the PA and Hamas in Gaza. Most importantly, it would give the White House and Congress new leverage over the wayward Palestinian leadership. The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (National Interest)


PRISONER SWAP WITH ISRAEL EMBOLDENS HAMAS. Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit returned home Tuesday looking pale and rail thin to a country bracing itself for fallout from a prisoner swap that has emboldened the militant Palestinian faction Hamas. As busloads of freed Palestinians arrived in the West Bank, residents waved Hamas flags, a rare sight in the Palestinian enclave where the rival Fatah has traditionally been more popular. Israeli doctors said Shalit showed signs of malnutrition and lack of exposure to sunlight but was otherwise healthy; his father said Shalit continues to suffer from shrapnel wounds received during his capture. "He came out of a dark pit, a dark cellar," his father said. (Washington Post)


WHAT AWAITS MUNA IN GAZA? Female terrorist Amana Muna from Fatah was the mastermind behind the murder of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum. As part of a project I conducted in Israeli prisons, I held lengthy conversations with her. It isn't only Israelis who view her as a monster. Her fellow inmates also think she is. She controlled the prisoners in her ward with an iron fist. Several inmates who refused to obey her orders suffered heavy punishments. Some were bitten by her while others suffered serious burns because they dared challenge her leadership. Hamas even vowed to "sort things out" with her upon her release. According to the prisoner swap deal, Muna will be deported to Hamas-controlled Gaza where she may initially be received as a hero. But she obviously won't enjoy much comfort in light of her abusive methods in prison. The writer is head of a terrorism project at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Ynet News)


GLOBALLY ISOLATED AND ECONOMICALLY CRIPPLED: Why Hamas Is Losing Gaza. According to recent surveys, if elections were held in Gaza today, Hamas would not be returned to power. In a March survey taken in the afterglow of the protests in Cairo, more than 60% of Gazans age 18 to 27 said they too would support public demonstrations demanding regime change. The euphoria over the release of Palestinian prisoners is unlikely to alleviate the bread-and-butter problems for which many Gazans blame Hamas. The party's election victory in 2006 put cadres of solemn, bearded men with little political or administrative experience in charge of running a government. They got high marks for making the streets safe, but they never came to grips with the Gazan economy, and they've failed to live up to their promise of corruption-free government. (TIME)


YA’ALON: MY HEART SAID ‘YES’, MY HEAD SAID ‘NO’. Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon released the speech he made to the cabinet Tuesday in which he explained his vote against the prisoner exchange with Hamas. "On the one hand, we have a responsibility for Gilad - the need to save his life and redeem a captive. But to bring about his release, we would have to free 1,000 terrorists. From experience, we know that the terrorists we release will lead to the murder of dozens and maybe hundreds of Israelis." He noted that the terrorists released in the 1985 prisoner exchange led the First Intifada and were directly responsible for the deaths of 178 Israelis and indirectly for many more. (Jerusalem Post)


THE REASONS FOR HAMAS ‘FLEXIBILITY’ ON SHALIT SWAP. The framework deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit - 1,000 for one - is pretty much the same one the German mediator put on the table two years ago. What changed are some of the key names on the list, and where the Palestinian prisoners will go after their release. Once Hamas took some "mega-terrorists" off the list and agreed that 203 of the prisoners from the West Bank would not be returning home, but instead be deported either to Gaza or abroad, Netanyahu agreed that six Israeli Arabs would be included in the deal, and that all 27 women would be released. At Tuesday's cabinet meeting, the ministers were presented with three reasons for Hamas' "flexibility." The weakened position of Syria, where Hamas has its headquarters, means it needed to start worrying about where it can move. Finding another host country, according to assessments in Jerusalem, might be more complicated as long as it continued to hold Shalit. The cabinet was also told that the changes in Egypt have had a huge impact on Hamas, giving the Egyptians a degree of leverage over the organization that President Hosni Mubarak never had. Egypt pressed Hamas to moderate its position, and Hamas responded. Finally, the cabinet was told that Israel's recent stiffening of the prison conditions for security prisoners also had an impact. (Jerusalem Post)


ANATOMY OF A DEAL. • Both IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz and Israel Security Agency (ISA) Chief Yoram Cohen declared recently that they were unable to offer the government a viable plan that would enable Israel to extract Shalit successfully and that a prisoner exchange deal was the only way to ensure his release. Cohen promised the prime minister that the ISA would be able to monitor the "heavyweight" prisoners who would be allowed to return to the West Bank. • The negotiations lasted for five years and four months. Some would argue that a similar agreement could have been secured a year or two ago, yet this is doubtful. While the agreement constitutes painful Israeli capitulation, Israel apparently managed to secure some of its demands. • The fate of the talks was in the hands of Egypt's military rulers. Israeli officials were gravely concerned that this regime could lose its ability to serve as mediator within a few months and come under the Muslim Brotherhood's influence. This is the "window of opportunity" officials in Jerusalem spoke of. This window could have been closed, given further upheaval in the Arab world. • The substantive fear that the arch-terrorists to be released would restore Hamas' West Bank infrastructure will now force the ISA and IDF to significantly boost their anti-terror operations and security deployment in Judea and Samaria while requiring greater manpower and additional resources. Moreover, Israel will have to toughen its security demands in the framework of talks with Abbas (Ynet News)


A VICTORY FOR ISRAELI SOLIDARITY. There are many good reasons to oppose the deal for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. The deal is a surrender by Israel to terror. It will empower extremists, spur Hamas on and weaken the PA. It will increase the risk of Israeli soldiers being kidnapped in the future. The deal will strengthen the feeling that sensitivity to human life is Israel's Achilles' heel. The deal that saves the life of Gilad Shalit could cost the lives of many Israelis whose names and faces we do not yet know. Yet, there is one decisive reason to support the deal: Israeli solidarity. Israel's main asset in human and security terms is the sense of mutual responsibility that its citizens and soldiers feel toward one another. Rightly or not, Shalit has become a symbol of mutual responsibility and his release will be the realization of Israeli solidarity. Only with time will we know what the proper balance was between what was correct and what was dangerous in the deal to release Shalit. (Ha'aretz)


ISRAEL SEES RISE IN SECURITY EXPORTS. Israel's security exports have risen since 9/11 from $2 billion a year to $7 billion. "The United States woke up to a new reality and today one can see Israeli security companies working worldwide...because we have already been there and we have the knowledge," said Itamar Graff, deputy director of SIBAT, the Israel Defence Ministry's export and cooperation branch. "When the world became aware of the matter of fighting terrorism, we already had decades of experience on the matter, with many existing technologies," Graff said. "On issues such as home-front protection, shore security and missile defence, people from around the world come to learn from us." (DAILY ALERT - UPI)


PALESTINIAN EXORTION. American diplomats who arrived in Ramallah this week for a reception in honor of Palestinian partner organizations and U.S. exchange program alumni were greeted by angry Palestinian protesters who shouted anti-U.S. slogans and hurled shoes at their armored vehicles. The message is: If you do not endorse our position and if you cut off financial aid, we will turn against you. It is called extortion. Instead of demanding changes in behavior, the Western governments always seem to pay up with no demands, and then look surprised when there are no changes and each time the ransom demand goes up. In recent weeks, PA officials have been encouraging Palestinians to stage anti-U.S. demonstrations and rallies to condemn Washington's "bias" in favor of Israel. PA media outlets, including some that had benefited from U.S. and EU financial aid and training, have also been taking part in the incitement against Washington's policies. What the Americans do not understand is that all the money in the world will not help them win the hearts and minds of a majority of Arabs and Muslims. But without Israel, the Middle East would be a more ugly and dangerous place to live in. Israel is the only democracy here and we need it. (DAILY ALERT - Hudson Institute-New York)


ISRAEL AND GERMANY TO JOINTLY HUNT DOWN REMAINING NAZIS. Israel and Germany are cooperating in a new legal campaign to find and put on trial thousands of Nazi war criminals. The joint project is the result of a recent precedent-setting ruling in Germany in the case of John Demjanjuk. There are about 4,000 names on the list of possible defendants, but probably very few are still alive. Demjanjuk, now 91, was convicted in May of 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. It was the first time prosecutors were able to convict someone in a Nazi-era case without direct evidence that the suspect participated in a specific killing. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem, said: "Even if only 2% of those people are alive, we're talking 80 people - and let's assume half of them are not medically fit to be brought to justice - that leaves us with 40 people, so there is incredible potential." (Ha'aretz)


WILL IRAN BE THE NEXT CHERNOBYL? The first Iranian nuclear power station is inherently unsafe and will probably cause a "tragic disaster for humankind," according to a document passed to The (London) Times attributed to a former member of the legal department of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. It claims that the Bushehr reactor, which began operating last month, was built by "second-class engineers" who bolted together Russian and German technologies from different eras; that it sits in one of the world's most seismically active areas but could not withstand a major earthquake; and that it has "no serious training program" for staff or a contingency plan for accidents. Bushehr was started in 1975 when the Shah of Iran awarded the contract to Kraftwerk Union of Germany. The Germans pulled out after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The reactor sustained serious damage in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 from airstrikes. The regime revived the project in the 1990s with Russian experts who wanted to start from scratch. The Iranians, having already spent more than $1 billion, insisted they build on the German foundations. This involved adapting a structure built for a vertical German reactor to take a horizontal Russian reactor. Of the 80,000 pieces of German equipment, many had become corroded or obsolete. "The Russian parts are designed to standards that are less stringent than the Germans' and they are being used out of context in a design where they are exposed to inappropriate stresses," the document says (DAILY ALERT – Fox News).


JERUSALEM MAYOR DEFENDS HOUSING CONSTRUCTION PLAN. Last week the Jerusalem Planning Committee approved the construction of 1,100 apartments in the Gilo neighborhood, a move that drew widespread criticism from abroad. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Tuesday stressed the importance of ongoing construction in the city "as the only solution to the housing crisis." "The Gilo construction critics expect that we will discriminate against Jews and only allow Arabs to build....When I talk to U.S. government officials, it appears they are not aware that we approve construction both for Arabs and Jews." "We build for Arabs in east Jerusalem, including legalization of unregulated housing. In the neighborhood of Arnona, we recently authorized 1,000 apartments for Jews and 1,500 for Arabs. So what do they want? That we freeze construction for everyone? For Arabs too? And leave the natural growth issue unanswered? Or only ban Jewish construction, in violation of Israeli and international law?" (Ynet News)


EVEN THE MOST MODERATE PALESTINIAN WON’T ACCEPT A JEWISH STATE. Anyone looking for reasons to despair about the prospects of peace in the Middle East need only pay attention to what Palestinian moderates like Sari Nusseibeh are saying against the idea of a Jewish state. His essay last week on the Al Jazeera website not only disparages Jewish rights to share the land but also Jewish history. Palestinians tend to forget the 1947 partition resolution explicitly demanded the creation of a Jewish state alongside an Arab one. Unless and until the Palestinians specifically accept that the part of the country they do not control is forever Jewish, the conflict will not be over. Nusseibeh knows very well that accepting Israel as a Jewish state does not mean it is a theocracy. Nor will it invalidate the citizenship of the country's Arab minority. The idea that recognizing a Jewish state would mean, as he claims, Palestinians will be legitimizing their own destruction is simply an absurdity that has no place in a reasonable discussion. Why then is it so hard for even a member of that small majority of Palestinians who actually believe in living in peace with the Jews to say the phrase "Jewish state?" Perhaps because to do so invokes finality to the conflict that gives even moderates like Nusseibeh pause. If even someone like him is moved to this level of invective by those words, then it is hard to imagine when the rest of Palestinian society will accept them and the permanence of their Jewish neighbors' hold on even part of the land (DAILY ALERT).


LAND WITHOUT PEACE: WHY ABBAS WENT TO THE UN. • Last week PA President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he will continue to boycott peace talks unless Israel gives up - in advance - claim to any territory beyond the 1967 lines. Meaning, for example, that the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is Palestinian territory. • This is not just absurd. It violates every prior peace agreement. They all stipulate that such demands are to be the subject of negotiations, not their precondition. • Abbas unwaveringly insists on the so-called "right of return," which would demographically destroy Israel by swamping it with millions of Arabs, thereby turning the world's only Jewish state into the world's 23rd Arab state. • The Palestinians are quite prepared to sign interim agreements, like Oslo. Framework agreements, like Annapolis. Cease-fires, like the 1949 armistice. Anything but a final deal. Anything but a treaty that ends the conflict once and for all - while leaving a Jewish state still standing. • For nearly half a century, the U.S. has pursued a Middle East settlement on the basis of the formula of land for peace, which produced the Israel-Egypt peace of 1979 and the Israel-Jordan peace of 1994. Why did Abbas go to the UN last week? To get land without peace. Statehood without negotiations. An independent Palestine in a continued state of war with Israel. • Land without peace is nothing but an invitation to national suicide. (Washington Post)


TEN DANGERS POSED BY A PALESTINIAN STATE (by Jan Willem van der Hooven – part 2). 5. Israel's main sweet water supply, apart from the overused Sea of Galilee, lies under the Samarian and Judean mountains. Should these become part of a future Palestine, the "water price" Israel's population will have to pay in the coastal plain of Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Ashkelon, etc. will be enormous, to the detriment also of millions of more moderate and peace loving Israelis. Who will supply this, the majority of Israel's population, with enough water once Israel has left the Samarian mountain range? 6. After all Israel's concessions since the days of the OSLO accords, and the subsequent painful willingness of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to cede more than 93% of the "occupied territories" to the Palestinians, the Arabs' response has always, only, been refusal. WHAT peace is then possible? Even now PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas remains adamant that he will NEVER accept a Jewish democratic state alongside his Palestine. Nor will Jerusalem, Ariel, Maaleh Adumim or Gush Etzion be able to remain inside Israel. All Palestinian refugees MUST be able to return to their original homes; and his future Palestinian state must be 'judenrein.' So what peace is then POSSIBLE, dear Israeli left? 7. With the very close cooperation today between Iran and the Hizbollah in Lebanon, and Iran and the Hamas in Gaza, together with the rapidly changing Muslim environment around Israel, from Turkey to Egypt, and the threatened peace even with Jordan, can we even imagine the danger an Islamic Palestinian State would pose, just 20 miles from Israel's main population centers of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa? Certainly this would spell the end of any security for Israel. As Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once said, "A Palestinian state will arise on the ruins of the State of Israel." 8. Further: Without the mountain range of Judea and Samaria, Israel will be physically indefensible - without any of the strategic depth that is essential for her existence. On top of that, the heights overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport could easily be used to fire even shoulder-launched rockets at incoming airliners, destroying Israel's essential tourism industry with a single blow. 9. For the more than nine million Jews still living in an increasingly anti-Semitic and dangerous world, there will no longer be enough space or territory to make ALIYAH to. Israel, in a foolish, self-destructive rush for peace at any cost, will have made the most painful concession - giving away the last piece of land where Jews, if they needed it, would be able to find a home and safety! That's the reward for the self-destructive intellect of those who claim they have it!


TEN DANGERS POSED BY A PALESTINIAN STATE (by Jan Willem van der Hooven – part 1). 1. In today's situation, a major withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will field the same results as Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, where the Hizbollah and Hamas, respectively, seized control. Far from bringing peace, Israel's abandonment will turn those areas into a terror-based state. 2. Sixty percent or more of the Palestinians - according to a recently published poll - want not a two state solution but a one state solution whereby, through the so called peace process, the sovereign Jewish State of Israel will be replaced with the State of Palestine. 3. Even were an agreement to be reached with the Palestinian Authority, it would only be to the advantage of Hamas, which already rules over the Gaza Strip - home to half the Palestinian population, and which will do everything in its power to penetrate the new Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria with its people - turning it into a third terrorist sphere on Israel's doorstep. 4. Considering that the withdrawal from Gush Katif - under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and from Amona - by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - brought Israel to the verge of a civil war, what would the uprooting of 200,000 plus Israeli men, women and children do to the fabric of the Israeli nation? It would wreak havoc! 5. If, however, the unthinkable were to happen as a result of the pressure brought to bear by the world - and here at home by the Israeli left: who would financially compensate all these Israeli settlers for their beautifully-constructed homes? At more than $200,000 per home times, say, 80,000, this would come to a horrendous $16 billion! Would Israel recompense its own people? Would the already bankrupt USA? Who would reimburse the people for all they would lose? Despite its many promises, Israel's government has yet to fully compensate the "mere" 9000 Israelis who were driven forcefully out of their Gaza homes. And now we're talking about nearly a quarter of a million people!


MAROCCO UNIVERSITY HOLDS HOLOCAUST CONFERENCE. A symposium on the Holocaust hosted by Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, in September included three days of presentations and panels on the Nazi genocide, its repercussions for Morocco, and the historical relationships between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East. During World War Two, when Morocco was occupied by the French under the Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis, Moroccan King Mohammed V is said to have protected the Jews living in his domain from suffering the fate that befell the Jews of Europe. (Ha'aretz)


TRUTH AND LIES AT THE THEATRE OF THE ABSURD. Some 1941 years ago, the Romans conquered the ancient Jewish kingdom of Judea by force and attempted to expunge all memory of the Jews' claim to the land by renaming the area Palestine. Mahmoud Abbas attempted to do the same thing by diplomatic force at the UN. If Abbas really wanted a state of Palestine to live in peace alongside Israel, all that is needed is for him to say that he accepts the right of Israel to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people, and that his own people will no longer wage war against it. If he were to say that, and to match those words by deeds to show he meant them - for example, by ending the incitement in the media under his command to hatred and murder of Jews and Israelis - there would be peace and a state of Palestine. For peace to be achieved, the belligerent has to stop making war. The Arabs have made war on the Jews in their ancient homeland since Israel became a state and indeed for three decades before that. The problem is not the absence of a state of Palestine. The problem is that the Arabs want to get rid of Israel. (DAILY ALERT - Daily Mail-UK)


HAS THE LEFT NO INTELLECT AT ALL? (by Jan Willem Van der Hooven – part 4). All Palestinian refugees MUST be able to return to their original homes; and his future Palestinian state must be 'judenrein.' So what peace is then POSSIBLE, dear Israeli left? With the very close cooperation today between Iran and the Hizbollah in Lebanon, and Iran and the Hamas in Gaza, together with the rapidly changing Muslim environment around Israel, from Turkey to Egypt, and the threatened peace even with Jordan, can we even imagine the danger an Islamic Palestinian State would pose, just 20 miles from Israel's main population centers of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa? Certainly this would spell the end of any security for Israel. As Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once said, "A Palestinian state will arise on the ruins of the State of Israel. "Further: Without the mountain range of Judea and Samaria, Israel will be physically indefensible - without any of the strategic depth that is essential for her existence. On top of that, the heights overlooking Ben Gurion International Airport could easily be used to fire even shoulder-launched rockets at incoming airliners, destroying Israel's essential tourism industry with a single blow. For the more than nine million Jews still living in an increasingly anti-Semitic and dangerous world, there will no longer be enough space or territory to make ALIYAH to. Israel, in a foolish, self-destructive rush for peace at any cost, will have made the most painful concession - giving away the last piece of land where Jews, if they needed it, would be able to find a home and safety! That's the reward for the self-destructive intellect of those who claim they have it!


HAS THE LEFT NO INTELLECT AT ALL? (by Jan Willem Van der Hooven – part 3).And now we're talking about nearly a quarter of a million people! Israel's main sweet water supply, apart from the overused Sea of Galilee, lies under the Samarian and Judean mountains. Should these become part of a future Palestine, the "water price" Israel's population will have to pay in the coastal plain of Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Ashkelon, etc. will be enormous, to the detriment also of millions of more moderate and peace loving Israelis. Who will supply this, the majority of Israel's population, with enough water once Israel has left the Samarian mountain range? After all Israel's concessions since the days of the OSLO accords, and the subsequent painful willingness of Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert to cede more than 93% of the "occupied territories" to the Palestinians, the Arabs' response has always, only, been refusal. WHAT peace is then possible? Even now PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas remains adamant that he will NEVER accept a Jewish democratic state alongside his Palestine. Nor will Jerusalem, Ariel, Maaleh Adumim or Gush Etzion be able to remain inside Israel.


HAS THE LEFT NO INTELLECT AT ALL? (by Jan Willem Van der Hooven – part 2).Far from bringing peace, Israel's abandonment will turn those areas into a terror-based state. Sixty percent or more of the Palestinians - according to a recently published poll - want not a two state solution but a one state solution whereby, through the so called peace process, the sovereign Jewish State of Israel will be replaced with the State of Palestine. Even were an agreement to be reached with the Palestinian Authority, it would only be to the advantage of Hamas, which already rules over the Gaza Strip - home to half the Palestinian population, and which will do everything in its power to penetrate the new Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria with its people - turning it into a third terrorist sphere on Israel's doorstep. Considering that the withdrawal from Gush Katif - under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and from Amona - by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - brought Israel to the verge of a civil war, what would the uprooting of 200,000 plus Israeli men, women and children do to the fabric of the Israeli nation? It would wreak havoc! If, however, the unthinkable were to happen as a result of the pressure brought to bear by the world - and here at home by the Israeli left: who would financially compensate all these Israeli settlers for their beautifully-constructed homes? At more than $200,000 per home times, say, 80,000, this would come to a horrendous $16 billion! Would Israel recompense its own people? Would the already bankrupt USA? Who would reimburse the people for all they would lose? Despite its many promises, Israel's government has yet to fully compensate the "mere" 9000 Israelis who were driven forcefully out of their Gaza homes.


HAS THE LEFT NO INTELLECT AT ALL? (by Jan Willem Van der Hooven – part 1). How in the world is it possible that people who claim to possess above average intelligence can be so destructive and so lacking in understanding? Is it their pride and arrogance that keeps them from seeing what should be clear to all:That once, years ago, they articulated the baseless belief that there was a way out of the conflict via negotiations, and now, after a great many Israeli surrenders and painful sacrifices made in pursuit of a certain accommodation (not to call it peace) with the Palestinians, they find it nearly impossible to reverse their strongly-held opinions lest they be rewarded with "I told you so" by those they scorn as nitwits and crude Israeli patriots? The psychological element, not the intellectual element, is often the reason Israel's elites choose to go the way they do. They crave to belong to the "we know better" crowd - the politically correct one. I despise this arrogance, this lack of moral courage to acknowledge the reality for what it is! All the facts are crystal clear, and so obvious to those who have eyes with which they dare to see. I will name but a few reasons - enough to make anyone perceive the foolishness of the so-often-repeated mantra: that only through a two state solution can a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict be found. It is not true. It is absolutely not true! This is why: In today's situation, a major withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will field the same results as Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, where the Hizbollah and Hamas, respectively, seized control.


PALESTIANIAN STATEHOOD AND THE LESSONS OF OSLO. "UN 194" is the slogan of the campaign to grant the Palestinians a seat at the UN, to recognize their authority as the 194th nation in that world body. This is the Palestinians' second chance, for there was the session of the General Assembly in 1947 that addressed the question of Palestine and the struggle between Arabs and Jews. A vote took place on the partition resolution that November and provided for two states to live side by side. Israel would become the 58th member state. The Palestinians refused the 59th seat. Were the Palestinians to look at their history, they would come to recognize that the one break that came their way happened in 1993, through direct negotiations with Israel. The peace of Oslo that secured them their national authority, that brought Yasser Arafat from his Tunisian exile to Gaza, was a gift of direct diplomacy. A generation later, the lesson of that accord remains unaltered. There can be no avoiding direct negotiations. The deliberations at the UN are only theater, just another illusion. The writer is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution (DAILY ALERT - Wall Street Journal).


STAND UP AGAINST PALESTINIIANS’ UN STATEHOOD BID: IT’S DANGEROUS TO ISRAEL. The decision facing Abbas was a simple one: return to direct peace negotiations with Israel or rebuff the U.S. and renew diplomatic warfare against Israel. In choosing the latter, Abbas has put at risk not only the Palestinian Authority's relationship with the U.S., but the aspirations of his own people. We are deeply concerned that the Palestinians' misguided pursuit of unilateral resolutions over negotiated agreements is moving the Arab-Israeli peace process in the wrong direction. Congress will not sit idly by. The U.S. will likely reconsider its assistance program for the PA and other aspects of U.S.-Palestinian relations should the Palestinians choose to move forward in requesting a vote on statehood. We urge Abbas to eschew the route of diplomatic warfare at the UN and embrace negotiations with Israel immediately. Direct negotiations with Israel are the only way to achieve true and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is the House majority leader. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is the House minority whip. (DAILY ALERT - New York Daily News)


THE PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD GAMBIT. • The Kurds - one of the oldest ethnic groups in the world - don't have a state. Neither do the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Uighurs and Tibetans of China, the Basques of Spain, the Chechens of Russia or the Flemish of Belgium. Yet when the UN holds its annual meeting in New York this week, the session will be dominated by the efforts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to declare statehood. • A vote at the UN won't create a Palestinian state and will likely retard the creation of one, perhaps for years. What Palestinians seek out of a UN vote isn't an affirmation of their right to a state, but rather another tool in their perpetual campaign to harass, delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel. • "We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years," Abbas said. That's another way of saying that the "occupation," in Abbas' view, began with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, and not with Israel's takeover of the West Bank and Gaza after a war that threatened Israel's existence in 1967. • Perhaps it's time to rethink the fundamental desirability of a Palestinian state so long as the Palestinians remain more interested in tearing down their neighbor than in building a decent political culture of their own (Wall Street Journal).


ISRAELI OFFICIALS: PALESTINIAN RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS JEWISH STATE SEEN AS CRITICAL. Israel has no intention of compromising on its demand that any future parameters for negotiations include Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, senior Israeli officials said Monday. Mideast Quartet envoys are meeting in New York to try and hammer out a formula for a return to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israeli officials said Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people was critical not only because it would signal that descendants of Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel, but also because it would rule out any possible future irredentist claims by Israeli Arabs to link up with a future Palestinian state. Quartet envoy Tony Blair related to this issue in an ABC interview on Sunday: "What the Israelis want to know is - if there is an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis - that's it: That's the end of all claims and the essential character of the State of Israel is preserved." (Jerusalem Post)


SHOWDOWN AT THE UNITED NATIONS. The UN "is a perfect venue for making Israel look like David going up against Goliath," says Martin Kramer, the Wexler-Fromer fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. While Middle Eastern and European media typically portray Israel as the bully, the optics at the UN, with virtually everyone lined up against the Jewish state, are going to be rather different. "The Europeans," says Kramer, "are going to be left feeling a little dirty for ganging up on Israel." Some are wondering if the UN bid may at last provoke a Palestinian version of the Arab Spring. Doubtful, says Kramer. "If there was going to be a Palestinian Arab Spring, it would've happened already. But the Arab Spring has shown that the other Arabs are not all free with only the Palestinians waiting to be liberated. Rather, the Palestinians are arguably better off than lots of others around the region. What irks the Palestinian leadership is that it hasn't been in the spotlight for a while." As for the possibility of a third intifada, one rule of Middle East politics, says Kramer, is that "if people are expecting something to happen, it won't." (DAILY ALERT - Weekly Standard)


PALESTINE MAY WIN A VOTE, BUT WON’T BE A STATE. Abbas' plan to ask the UN to recognize an independent state of Palestine will only defer the goal of an independent Palestine. There are only two member states of the UN that can bring it about: Israel and the U.S. Neither supports this resolution. Most Israelis view it as an attempt to limit their options in future negotiations, or to deny to them the holiest sites of the Jewish people and delegitimize the idea of a Jewish state. The U.S. opposes the resolution because it would represent yet another entirely symbolic and counterproductive gesture in the long history of Palestinian gesture-making. "This is about shortcutting a process for which there are no shortcuts," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. "At the end of the day, there's only one way to create two states for two peoples, and that is negotiations." "To have a drama that changes very little in the world vis-a-vis the actual conflict, and then to expect that while one party is taking this great victory lap the other party is going to run to the negotiating table, is not necessarily realistic." (DAILY ALERT - Bloomberg)


UK LEGAL REFORMS MAKE IT HARDER TO ARREST FOREIGN POLITICIANS. A legal reform came into force on Thursday that will make it harder to arrest foreign politicians visiting Britain for suspected human rights abuses committed in other countries. The changes won praise from Israel, which had issued vigorous calls for change after former foreign minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a trip to London in 2009 because Palestinian campaigners sought her arrest for war crimes. A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy said: "We are hopeful that this correction will finally close that loophole which was abused by opportunistic groups promoting their sinister purposes." The new law requires the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued in universal jurisdiction cases, meaning political considerations regarding allies such as Israel are more likely to be taken into account. (Telegraph-UK)


UN DIPLOMATS SAY COUNTRIES INTIMIDATED INTO SUPPORTUNG PALESTINIANS BID. Diplomats in the UN said some countries will support the Palestinian statehood bid not because they believe in their cause, but because Muslim and Arab countries may take punitive measures against them when they will need support in the Security Council or in bids to be appointed to important UN bodies. Diplomats have pointed to Australia as an example of this intimidation. Australia is pushing its nomination for a seat on the UN Security Council next year, and is expected to weigh its steps carefully so as not to anger the Muslim and Arab nations and the Nonaligned Bloc. Canada failed in promoting its nomination for a seat, not least because of its support for Israel. The Palestinian bid is not very popular among diplomats, who say it is "a nuisance we would like to have behind us." (Ha'aretz)




MORE DIPLOMATIC THEATRE? Some key European officials realize that the UN effort is yet another means for Abbas and the PLO to avoid direct negotiations with Israel along with the necessary compromises on refugee claims, Jerusalem and recognizing the Jewish right to national sovereignty. There are also signs that some parts of Palestinian society - particularly in the West Bank - are less than enthusiastic about this scenario of symbolic independence and possible confrontation. In recent years their economic situation has improved dramatically. Another period of instability, terrorism and the necessary Israeli responses to protect Israeli civilians would quickly destroy all of these gains. The Jordanian leadership has never been enthusiastic about a Palestinian state on its borders, with its potential spillover into Jordan's own Palestinian population. The writer, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is the founder of NGO Monitor. (DAILY ALERT - bitterlemons.org)


THERE IS NO PALESTINIAN RIGHT OF RETURN. International law does not obligate/recognize the legal right of Palestinian refugees to settle in Israeli territory. A close examination of General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) from 1948, as well as later ones, reveals that these resolutions do not grant Palestinian refugees the right of return to Israeli territory. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 also does not obligate Israel to allow the entrance of Palestinian refugees who were never Israeli citizens or residents. International citizenship law, refugee law, humanitarian law, and international criminal law do not place any obligation on Israel to admit Palestinian refugees, or grant them citizenship. A new ruling by the European Court of Human Rights rejected claims of Greek refugees exiled from northern Cyprus in 1974 that they should be allowed to resettle in their homes. Ruth Gavison, an Israel Prize winner and law professor, is president of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought. Yaffa Zilbershats, an authority on international and constitutional law, is deputy president of Bar-Ilan University. Nimra Goren-Amitai is a research scholar at Bar-Ilan. (Jerusalem Post)


THE FLOTILLA IS ALREADY BEHIND US. A few months back, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to dinner at Moscow's Pushkin Restaurant where, at the next table, by chance, sat Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. He turned to Netanyahu and said, "My country is in trouble. Our economic crisis is not improving, to put it lightly. Your reputation as finance minister precedes you. I would appreciate it if you could offer some suggestions." Since that night, the friendship between the two leaders has blossomed. On the diplomatic level, the flotilla is already behind us. Through diplomacy, this flotilla was stopped before its ships ever raised anchor. Condemnation of the flotilla and calls not to participate were heard from leaders around the world: the UN, the U.S. government, important European countries, Canada and Australia. Some governments, like Turkey's, would not even allow the flotilla to leave their territory, while Greece collected ships in its ports. It turns out that Greece preempted the IDF on Saturday. We were also witness to a series of mysterious mishaps. But it was Greek commandos who stopped the flotilla, in the name of protecting their country's vital interests. (DAILY ALERT - Israel Hayom)


THE COMING WAR. Both Lebanon and Syria now have an overriding reason to surprise attack little Israel from the North: Lebanon, squirming under the international judicial report which accuses four of Hizbollah's top men of involvement in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, would love to divert international attention from this by attacking Israel. The Hizbollah, which is today fully part of the Lebanese cabinet, has amassed 50 000 rockets for this purpose over the last few years. It has also recently moved into Lebanon some of its more heavy military equipment from storage on Syrian soil, due to the uncertainty of what might happen in the near future to Hizbollah's faithful patron: President Bashar al-Assad. Syria itself, after its security forces have mowed down more than a thousand civilians clamoring for more freedom, could quickly quell the growing global condemnation, and impending international sanctions, by striking at Israel even as the Hizbollah begins to rain down rockets on the Jewish state. And Syria has SCUD missiles armed with VX nerve gas in its arsenal. Egypt, under the escalating influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, may scrap its peace treaty with Israel and permit Hamas to launch thousands of its rockets on Israel's south. The IDF high command is preparing for the possibility of such an ominous and devastating attack, and we should pray for Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the heads of the Army, Navy and Air force, that God will endue them with wisdom and foresight to do what He wants them to do! (Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director International Christian Zionist Center)


LIFE FOR PALESTINIANS IN GAZA IMPROVED, SO WHY SEND FLOTILLA THERE? Last weekend thousands of Palestinians in Gaza preferred to enjoy their time on the clean beaches, swimming, sunbathing, riding horses, sailing, smoking water pipes and barbequing. Photos of this were published by a Hamas-affiliated website in an attempt to show that the situation in Gaza under Hamas rule is not as bad as many people think. No one is saying that the situation in Gaza is very good. It was never good - not when Egypt was there, not when Israel captured it in 1967, not when the PLO assumed control in 1994 and not under Hamas today. There has always been poverty in Gaza, where more than 80% rely on handouts from UNRWA and international aid organizations. But the irony is that, in comparison with the past, the situation in Gaza these days is much better, and many Palestinians are saying they don't miss the anarchy, corruption and lawlessness that prevailed under the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. Wouldn't it have been better if the flotilla organizers had planned a journey to the border between Turkey and Syria to help the thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled from their country in recent weeks? Those refugees cannot go to the beach or shopping malls and many of them are complaining about lack of basic foods and medicine. (DAILY ALERT - Hudson Institute-New York)


WHO IS BEHIND THE SECOND FLOTILLA? The second flotilla is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas. Many of the participating organizations can be directly linked with the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which in 2008 was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas. The UoG was initiated by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, in 2000. Other main organizers include the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as well as far-left socialists from Europe and the U.S. Many of the flotilla's main organizers have stated that its prime aim is to create provocations and harm Israel's image. Thus, far from being a peaceful, humanitarian effort to support the Palestinians in Gaza, the flotilla should be seen as a major, pro-Hamas effort to delegitimize Israel by a "red-green alliance" of leftists and Islamists. (DAILY ALERT - Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


THERE IS AN ISRAELI CONSENSUS ON THE BASIC FRAMEWORK OF PEACE. Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors on Tuesday: • We are fast approaching the time when the majority of Jews will live in the Jewish state. We [in Israel] already have the largest number of Jews in the world, but in a few years, we will do something that has defied the Jewish people for over two millennia, that is that the majority of the Jews will live in the Jewish state in the Jewish land. • The overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel and outside Israel, Israelis in Israel and friends of Israel outside Israel, agree on the basic framework of peace, assuming we had a peace partner who wanted to make peace with Israel. • We seek to achieve a peace and mutual recognition between two states, two nation-states for two peoples....This is the core of the conflict. This conflict is about the Jewish state. It's about the persistent refusal to accept that the Jews have a right for a nation-state of their own....It precedes the question of boundaries; it precedes the question of territorial dispute. • I said numerous times that I will accept a Palestinian state. Now President Abbas must stand before his people and he has to say these six words: "I will accept the Jewish state."...And the only way that it's going to happen is by the external pressure that says to the Palestinian leadership: "Just say it." • We don't want a repeat of what happened when we withdrew from Gaza or from South Lebanon. I believe that this will require for Israel to maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. There will be arguments about sovereignty, about territory, but I think that the question of demilitarization and a long-term military presence along the Jordan River are essential to guaranteeing any peace. A peace you cannot defend will not hold. A peace you can defend will. • What we have to achieve is an end to conflict - not to create a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel to continue the conflict and try to dissolve Israel by flooding it with refugees or by inducing irredentist pressures on the Arabs of the Galilee or the Negev (Prime Minister's Office).


THE FLOATING GAZA STRIP SHOW. Anti-Israel activists are launching a fresh high-seas publicity stunt. Freedom Flotilla II is a public-relations exploit in the guise of a humanitarian relief effort. Conditions in Gaza are far from the crisis activists would have the world believe. The people aren't starving, and they don't want for basic medical care. Two luxury hotels reportedly will open soon in Gaza, along with a new multilevel shopping mall. Life expectancy in Gaza is 74, seven years above the world average and higher than in Egypt, India or Russia. Infant mortality is less than half the world average. (Washington Times)


BUILDING BOOM IN GAZA. Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. As pro-Palestinian activists prepare to set sail aboard a flotilla to Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave is experiencing its first real period of economic growth since the siege they are protesting began in 2007. "The siege on goods is now 60 to 70% over," said Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University, who has led Gaza's Popular Committee Against the Siege. Gaza has never been among the world's poorest places. There is near universal literacy, relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than in much of the developing world. Hundreds of BMWs, pickup trucks and other vehicles have arrived in recent months from Libya, while dozens of white Kia Sportage models are widely thought to have come from the same looted dealership in Benghazi. (New York Times)


STOP SPOILING THE PALESTINIANS. In private conversations in recent days with visiting European statesmen, Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that the Palestinians are being treated by some EU member-states as a "spoiled child," habituating the Palestinians to believe that they can gain concessions without giving anything in return. This was precisely the message coming out of Europe this week as Mideast Quartet envoys prepared to meet in Brussels. As one senior Israeli official put it, the EU hopes to avert a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in September by "giving something" significant to the Palestinians. The hope among Europeans, according to this senior official, is that Israel will be pressured into agreeing to adopt President Obama's formula of restarting negotiations using the 1949 Armistice lines as a baseline. But the Palestinians will not be required to make any concessions to Israel. In other words, the Palestinians would be rewarded for their protracted intransigence - including their refusal to come to the negotiating table with Israel. Experience has shown that efforts to appease the Palestinians - including the U.S.-led demand for the 10-month settlement freeze accepted by the Netanyahu government last year - are liable to encourage not fresh readiness to compromise but, rather, still more intransigence, in order to secure yet more Israeli concessions. The best thing the international community could give the Palestinians is intelligent advice against seeking unilateral measures in the UN and in favor of genuine reconciliation with Israel and recognition of the Jewish state's right to exist peacefully. (Jerusalem Post)


NETANYAHU: PALESTINIAN LEDERS MUST SAY THEY ACCEPT ‘THE JEWISH STATE’. On the eve of a meeting of Quartet envoys in Brussels to review ways to restart the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the closing session of the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on Thursday that the end to the conflict will begin with the Palestinian leaders uttering six simple words: "I will accept the Jewish state." Netanyahu said that peace has eluded the sides for 90 years because the Palestinians never accepted Israel's existence in the region, within any borders. Israel seeks to get a clear Palestinian statement about Israel as a Jewish state front-loaded into any formula on restarting negotiations that might mention the baseline for talks as the 1967 lines, with mutual agreed swaps. "President Abbas must do what I did two years ago: he must stand up to his people and say, 'I will accept the Jewish state.'" Netanyahu said this in no way will impinge upon the rights of Arab citizens in Israel, but that a two-state solution must end any hope of further subdividing the Jewish state and calls for a "sub-state" for Arabs in the Negev or Galilee. (Jerusalem Post)


AIDING FRIENDS AND FOES IN PALESTINE. • The reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises a number of difficult issues for the U.S., including whether Washington can lawfully continue to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority if it includes Hamas as an equal partner. • U.S. law has long prohibited citizens from providing support to or doing business with Hamas, with violations punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or life in prison if the support results in the death of any person. • The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also enforces sanctions against Hamas and its affiliates, forbidding U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), and further requiring that U.S. financial institutions block any transactions involving assets of FTOs. • Should the Obama administration want to continue funding a Hamas-affiliated PA, current law gives him little leeway to do so. Douglas N. Greenburg served as a staff member of the September 11 Commission. Derek D. Smith is the author of Deterring America: Rogue States and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (DAILY ALERT - Foreign Affairs)


NOT STEALING PALESTINE, BUT PURCHASING ISRAEL. Since the early Zionists lacked military power, their efforts to build a presence in the Holy Land stand out as astonishingly mild. Acquiring property dunam by dunam, farm by farm, house by house, lay at the heart of the Zionist enterprise. They also focused on the rehabilitation of what was barren and considered unusable. They not only made the desert bloom, but drained swamps, cleared water channels, reclaimed wasteland, forested bare hills, cleared rocks, and removed salt from the soil. This history contradicts the Palestinian account that "Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people." Israelis should hold their heads high and point out that the building of their country was based on the least violent and most civilized movement of any people in history (DAILY ALERT - National Review).


U.S.: ISRAELI MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM CAN PROTECT OUR MIDEAST BASES. Israel's missile defence system will be integrated into a regional defence array planned by the U.S., Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency, said Monday in an interview published in the American Defence News journal. Israeli missile batteries may also protect Arab countries who are allies of the U.S. but with which Israel has no diplomatic ties. O'Reilly said that the multi-layered defence system being developed by Israel - comprised of Iron Dome and Magic Wand systems on the lower levels and Arrow 2 and 3 systems on the atmospheric level and above - will strengthen the ability of the U.S. to protect its forces in the Middle East. Israel is the only country today employing operational missile systems that are capable of intercepting rockets and missiles of different sizes and ranges. (Ha'aretz)


IDF HOLDS DRILL SIMULATING MASS MISSILE ATTACKS ACROSS ISRAEL. The Israel Defense Forces began a nation-wide Home Front defense drill on Sunday to prepare security forces for possible missile attacks at targets across the country. Municipalities, government offices, schools and kindergartens are to practice evacuating their buildings. Rescue services will also practice the evacuation of a geriatric hospital and of a factory housing hazardous materials. Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel Radio that Israel's "power of deterrence" would make anyone think twice before launching an attack against it, but the country "must be prepared also for difficult scenarios" in which hundreds of missiles strike Israel at the same time. (Ha'aretz)


NAKBA MYTH STANDS IN THE WAY OF PEACE. In the Arab/Palestinian narrative, Jewish sovereign equality in the Land of Israel was and remains a disaster. In the Nakba fabrication, 4,000 years of Jewish history in this land are erased and replaced with a Europe and Western conspiracy to settle Jews in "Arab/Muslim Palestine." The Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan (the 1947 version of the "two-state solution"), and the wars designed to push the Jews into the sea are also removed from the Nakba tale. The fact that an approximately equal number of Jews in Arab nations were forced out and absorbed successfully into Israel is also erased. A realistic peace process must first tackle the Nakba mythology, which has been allowed to fester and expand for so long. This means teaching basic facts - that the Jewish people have an undisputed historic connection with this territory - with the right to an independent state - and that the violent Arab rejection of compromise and the two-state solution in 1947/8, as well as the later wars, were responsible for the "suffering of the refugees." (DAILY ALERT - Canadian Jewish News)


AS ISLAMSITS FLEX MUSCLE, EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS DESPAIR. Before President Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, followers of the ultrafundamentalist Salafi strain of Islam that promotes an austere, Saudi-inspired worldview mostly confined themselves to preaching. Since then, the Salafis have entered the political arena, drawing crowds and swaying government decisions. Salafi militants also have blocked roads, burned churches and killed Copts. The Muslim Brotherhood now says it accepts Copts in all government positions, with the possible exception of president. By contrast, many Salafis believe it is forbidden by Islam for Christians to exercise political power over Muslims in any capacity, such as governors, mayors or ministers. (DAILY ALERT - Wall Street Journal)


THE DANGERS OF PREMATURE RECOGNITION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE. In a few months, the Palestinian Authority is expected to violate its agreements with Israel and all the international frameworks for Mideast peace by seeking premature recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN in September. • Israel remains dedicated to direct negotiations as the only method of resolving the conflict. Meanwhile, the PA has long abandoned peace negotiations. Instead, the Palestinian leadership has embarked on the path of unilateral action, preferring to attempt to force their will on Israel through international pressure. • UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1850 and the Roadmap for peace all call for a mutually-negotiated and agreed resolution of the conflict. All reject unilateral actions. • A unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would intensify rather than end the conflict. Indeed, the Palestinians would no longer have any incentive to negotiate and compromise. • Premature recognition would also allow the Palestinians to continue to avoid the important step of mutual recognition, which includes Israel's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Finally, the PA currently fails to meet the established legal tests for statehood. It does not rule the territory in question (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


HOW THE IDF HAS HELPED BRITAIN. • Col. Richard Kemp was asked in Tel Aviv on June 12 what prompted his extraordinary showing of support for the Jewish state. He responded: "Aside from my experience actually working with the IDF (which alone would have been enough for me to testify as to its character) there are two incidents in particular that stand out." • "The first happened when I was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan. Suddenly, we were confronted with an enemy whose many tactics included suicide bombings. We had never before had to confront suicide bombings, and we had no strategy with which to combat them." • "I telephoned an Israeli contact of mine, who arranged for a Brigadier General in the IDF to meet with me in London....For four hours, we sat in a lobby in a London hotel. He spoke; I took notes. And it was from that meeting that the entire counter-suicide-bombing strategy used by the British army was devised." • "The second incident happened a couple of years later, after the terrorist attacks in London on July the 7th, 2005. We in the UK were left deeply shaken by the attacks, and I remember that the first ones to call to offer help - for some time, in fact, they were the only ones to call - was the IDF. It was then that we knew who our real friends are." (Israel Defense Forces)


SAVING THE YALE ANTI-SEMITISM INSTITUTE. • Yale just killed the country's best institute for the study of anti-Semitism - the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism. Why? The answer is simple. • The institute held a three-day conference last August on "Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity," where more than a hundred scholars delivered papers. Some spoke, inevitably, about the fastest-growing and most virulent manifestation of contemporary anti-Semitism - the anti-Semitism in the Arab/Muslim world. • The conference provoked a firestorm. A Syrian American law student published a broadside in the Yale Daily News attacking the institute and the conference as fueling "anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia." The PLO representative to the U.S. wrote to Yale's president accusing the conference of demonizing Arabs. • Yale administrators and faculty quickly turned on the institute, accusing it of being too critical of Arab and Iranian anti-Semitism. A requisite five-year review of the institute was held five months after the conference. Its director was told that the institute would be shut down and its staff fired. The writer, professor of international affairs, ethics and human behavior at George Washington University, is a former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington Post).


HAMMERING ISRAEL ON THE 1967 LINES. • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has renewed President Obama's demand that Israel accept the 1967 lines as the starting point for future Middle East peace negotiations. • While the administration is trying to sell this pressure as being part of a master plan to head off a vote in the UN on Palestinian statehood, the administration is misjudging both the Palestinians and the diplomatic situation. • It should have already been made clear to both Obama and Clinton that any time they call for a unilateral Israeli concession in the hope that it will entice the Palestinians to return to peace talks, their move has the opposite effect. Obama's calls for settlement freezes in the West Bank and Jerusalem only caused the Palestinians to adopt these as preconditions for talks. The same is now true of the president's ill-advised emphasis on the 1967 lines. • Since the Palestinian Authority knows that it cannot sign a peace accord recognizing the legitimacy of Israel no matter where its borders may be drawn, they will seize upon any excuse not to talk and Obama has supplied them with just what they wanted. • Moreover, the reported desperation of the Americans to avoid casting a veto in the UN of the Palestinian attempt to gain a state without recognizing Israel and ending the conflict is also misplaced. • Appeasing the Palestinians in this manner will damage Israel's position. An Israeli concession on borders prior to talks even beginning will deprive them of their one bargaining chip. • The administration can't claim that it is supportive of Israel while at the same time hammering it to give in on borders. The notion that Obama must pressure Israel for its own good is not one that ought to make any sense to mainstream Jewish groups as well as to Congress (DAILY ALERT - Commentary)


THE CONTINUING WAR AGAINST THE JEWS. The New York Times has reported on the newest flotilla that will once again seek to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The new effort will apparently include a boat carrying Americans, who compared themselves to the Freedom Riders who 50 years ago rode buses to the South to challenge racial segregation then maintained by Southern states. Yet I believe the situation is more analogous to World War II, where the U.S. and our allies declared and enforced a boycott against Nazi Germany. Would those same American passengers have sought to break such a boycott, saying they supported the German people, not the Nazi government, knowing the German people had voted for Hitler in a democratic election before he took office as German Chancellor in January 1933? Why aren't these same protesters leading a flotilla to Syria's shores, where the Syrian government has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Syrian citizens who were non-violently protesting the despotic acts of their own government? It's possible the flotilla protesters don't go to Syria because they know the Syrian government is capable of killing them all in cold blood, while they know Israel will do everything possible to avoid bloodshed. (DAILY ALERT - Algemeiner)


Why History Matters: The 1967 Six-Day War - David Harris 43 years ago this week, the Six-Day War broke out. In June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn't exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside. The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem and destroyed many of those sites. The Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza, but they didn't. There wasn't even discussion about it. In the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. Just 22 years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews. Egypt's President Nasser demanded that UN peacekeeping forces in the area, in place for the previous decade to prevent conflict, be removed. Shamefully, the UN complied. Egypt blocked Israeli shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The U.S. spoke about joining with other countries to break the blockade, but did not act. After winning the war of self-defense, Israel hoped that its newly-acquired territories would be the basis of a land-for-peace accord. Feelers were sent out. The formal response came on September 1, 1967, when the Arab Summit Conference declared in Khartoum: "No peace, no recognition, no negotiations" with Israel. The 1967 war was an act of self-defense in the face of blood-curdling threats to vanquish the Jewish state. All wars have consequences, but the Arab aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (DAILY ALERT - Huffington Post)


DEMOGRAPHIC REALITIES AND PEACE. President Barack Obama was misinformed when he told AIPAC on May 22 that "the number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories." In fact, Palestinian fertility on the West Bank has already converged on the Israeli fertility rate of three children per woman, if we believe the Palestine Ministry of Health rather than the PA Statistics Bureau. Around 80,000 Palestinian men are employed by one or another of the "security forces" in Gaza and the West Bank. The actual number of men aged 20 to 40 in the territories is probably around 400,000, which means that one in five has a job carrying a gun. Taking unemployment into account that implies, that one in three Palestinian men with a full-time job is a gunman. The top school for Palestinian computer science students is Ariel University in Samaria, in the midst of a Jewish settlement. The education that young Arabs receive at the settlers' university on the West Bank is better than anything available among Israel's Arab neighbors. In a quiet way, the settlers of Samaria may do more for peace than the diplomats (DAILY ALERT - Asia Times-Hong Kong)


UN CAN’T DETERMINE BORDERS OR STATEHOOD. • The Palestinian observer delegation to the UN may introduce a resolution at the General Assembly calling for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 boundaries. Because of the automatic anti-Israel majority in the Assembly, it must be assumed that such a resolution, if proposed, will be adopted by a large majority. • In fact, a 2003 Arab-sponsored UN General Assembly resolution has already called for a "two-state solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security based on the Armistice Line of 1949." • Under international law, UN General Assembly resolutions are not binding. Furthermore, except for cases where a former border is inherited by new states, borders can only be delimited by agreement between the states concerned. No UN organ has the authority to delimit boundaries. • Only if the Security Council recommends membership can the Assembly accept a new member state to the UN. Decisions of the Security Council are of course subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members, which includes the U.S. • A declaration by the Palestinian Authority of a state within the 1967 lines would be a violation of the Oslo agreements, enabling Israel to legally claim that it is no longer obliged to fulfill its Oslo obligations, which include transferring funds, supplying electricity and allowing movement of goods and persons. The writer is a professor of international law at the Hebrew University and former legal adviser to the Israel Foreign Ministry. (DAILY ALERT - Jewish Chronicle-UK)


RAHM EMMANUEL? REALLY? Rahm Emanuel writes in a recent op-ed: "President Obama, like every student of the Middle East, understands that the shifting sands of demography in that volatile region are working against the two-state solution needed to end generations of bloodshed." I'm a student of the Middle East, and I think that's total nonsense. Why is the "demography" in the region against the two-state solution? Because there are more Palestinians? Who cares? That has absolutely zero political impact. Israel does not rule Gaza. Hamas does. Israel does not rule the people of the West Bank. Fatah does. That's been the basic situation now for 17 years. The failure to achieve peace is not based on borders or Jerusalem, but on the continued attempts by Muslims generally to wipe Israel off the map. Indeed, partly thanks to Obama's policies, they are more confident of doing so than they were 10 or 20 years ago. Finally, consider the logical fallacy of arguing that things are becoming worse, so Israel must rush into peace now. If things are going to be worse, why make concessions in exchange for a piece of paper that will be torn up, and that is guaranteed by people who can't be trusted? (Jerusalem Post)


IDF ACTIONS SIGNAL ISRAEL’S SERIOUSNESS OVER SOVEREIGNTY. The IDF's well-planned and cool-headed response to the new threat of flooding the nation's borders with civilian rioters sent a firm message to hostile neighbors on Sunday that Israel takes its sovereignty seriously. The IDF's Northern Command has fortified the northern border with a second barbed-wire perimeter and new lookout positions, and positioned senior commanders on the ground, who could quickly respond to developments and issue new orders. Soldiers were instructed beforehand to only open fire after issuing repeated warnings to activists against trying to breach the border. Observers are united in the belief that hostile elements will try to organize larger border incidents soon. (Jerusalem Post)


A UN RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE A PALESTINIAN STATE WITHIN THE ‘1967 BORDERS’ WOULD BE ILLEGAL. Read the full text of the May 25, 2011, letter to the UN Secretary General by jurists and international lawyers warning that the adoption of a resolution declaring a Palestinian state and determining its borders would be in stark violation of all the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as contravening UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and those other resolutions based thereon. "Such unilateral action by the Palestinians could give rise to reciprocal initiatives in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) which could include proposed legislation to declare Israel's sovereignty over extensive parts of Judea and Samaria, if and when the Palestinians carry out their unilateral action." "The Palestinian exercise, aimed at advancing their political claims, represents a cynical abuse of the UN Organization and of the members of the General Assembly. Its aim is to bypass the negotiation process called for by the Security Council." (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


PRO-PALESTINIAN ACTIVISTS CALL FOR MASS ‘FLY-IN’ TO ISRAEL IN JULY. Pro-Palestinian activists are planning to send hundreds of Palestinians living abroad on commercial flights to Ben-Gurion Airport on July 8 in a dramatic display of solidarity. According to a report released this week by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, organizers believe the planned Gaza flotilla is too limited in scope, and broader action is needed to "remove the blockade from the entire land of Palestine." After holding a protest rally at the airport, the arrivals plan to travel to the West Bank to "express solidarity" with Palestinians. Fifteen organizations are involved in the initiative, including the International Solidarity Movement. (Jerusalem Post)


THE CONFLICT ISN’T TERRITORIAL. As the prime minister's speech before Congress made clear, the main reason for the failure of all attempts to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israel's Palestinian dialogue partner in peace talks is the PLO, whose members, including Fatah, all reject Israel's right to exist as the Jewish people's nation-state. The Palestinians always stress that they are in favour of a "two-state" solution, rather than a solution based on "two states for two peoples." According to Palestinian leader Abbas, the Jews are not entitled to a state. The heart of the conflict with the Palestinians is existential and not just territorial. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the occupation started in 1948 and not in 1967. Hence, Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish people's nation-state is a required condition for a viable peace. Imparting this realization to the Palestinian public is a condition for implementing a peace deal and will require significant time. The writer is Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs. (Ynet News)


Time to Assert Jerusalem's Jewish Heritage - Nathan Diament President Obama said at a London news conference that Jerusalem goes deep into how the Jewish people think about their identity. As we mark 44 years of a reunited Jerusalem this week, we should appreciate the centrality of Jerusalem to Jewish identity. This is why most Israelis and American Jews consistently reject the idea that Israel surrender swaths of the holy city as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians. Modern Jerusalem is far more an interwoven checkerboard of Jewish and Palestinian areas than starkly segregated enclaves. It is no more feasible to separate the Palestinian and Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem from one another than to ethnically divide the neighborhoods of Manhattan. The international community would never expect the Muslims to cede sovereignty over Mecca, the cradle of their faith and history, any more than Americans would be asked to return Philadelphia to the queen of England. The Jewish people should be afforded no less respect. Jerusalem must remain united under Jewish sovereignty. The writer is director of public policy at the Orthodox Union. (JTA)


The Third Man • Missing from the Bibi vs. Barack drama in Washington was the man who really torpedoed the peace process, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is 76 and will retire from politics next year, having announced that he will not seek reelection. A man without charisma or great political courage, he lost first the 2006 elections and then control of Gaza to Hamas. • Abbas was never a serious candidate to make the difficult compromises that a peace deal with Israel would require and then defend himself against charges of treason and betrayal. To the generous peace offer made by Ehud Olmert in 2008, Abbas responded with silence. • Obama's mistreatment of the visiting Netanyahu can only have deepened the latter's belief that Obama was irretrievably hostile. Obama gave a major Middle East speech the day before Netanyahu arrived. The message was clear: I have no interest in what you are saying and will make my views plain even before we exchange one word. • Worse yet was the lack of any advance notice. The Israelis had been told days before that the Obama speech would cover the Arab Spring and say little about them, and were given only a couple of hours' notice that, on the contrary, the president would make a significant policy statement that contradicted Israeli views. They felt - and they were - blindsided. • In the Clinton and Bush administrations such major policy statements were preceded by weeks of consultations, and when a president breaks that pattern it is a deliberate and powerful message. This is the explanation for the brief tutorial in Israeli security concerns that Netanyahu held Friday in the Oval Office: The gloves were off, but it was Obama who took them off first. The writer, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration (DAILY ALERT - Weekly Standard)


PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD CANNOT BE REALIZED AT THE COST OF JEWISH STATEHOOD. Recently, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who had left Israel while the Arab world tried to murder our state at birth, attempted a symbolic "return," with varying degrees of success, across the Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian borders, and from the West Bank and Gaza. They were warmly praised in this effort by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the ostensibly moderate successor to Yasser Arafat with whom Israel has been trying for almost eight years to make peace. The Nakba onslaught against sovereign Israel, and its moving endorsement by Israel's putative Palestinian partner, was the latest bleak demonstration of the Palestinians' insistent refusal, for close to two-thirds of a century, to internalize the fact that the Jews have a historic claim to this sliver of land, and that their demands for statehood cannot be realized at the cost of ours. It is immensely troubling for many Israelis to recognize that our most important strategic partner is now publicly advocating, before any significant sign of Palestinian compromise on final status issues has been detected, that we withdraw, more or less, to the pre-1967 lines - the so-called "Auschwitz borders" - from which we were relentlessly attacked in our first two fragile decades of statehood. (Jerusalem Post)


ISRAEL IS AN AMERICAN VALUE. As the stunning and overwhelming response to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Congress showed, Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth. Well beyond the American Jewish and the Protestant fundamentalist communities, the people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America. It means more. The existence of Israel means that the God of the Bible is still watching out for the well-being of the human race. For many American Christians who are nothing like fundamentalists, the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and their creation of a successful, democratic state after two thousand years of oppression and exile is a clear sign that the religion of the Bible can be trusted. Being pro-Israel matters in American mass politics because the public mind believes at a deep level that to be pro-Israel is to be pro-America and pro-faith. Substantial numbers of voters believe that politicians who don't "get" Israel also don't "get" America. The haste with which liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi left the embattled president to take the heat alone testify to the pervasive sense in American politics that Israel is an American value. The deep American sense of connection to and, yes, love of Israel limits the flexibility of any administration. The writer was the Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations until 2010. (DAILY ALERT - American Interest)


WHAT OBAMA DID TO ISRAEL. Israel undertook the Gaza withdrawal on the basis of President George W. Bush's written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel. For two and a half years, the Obama administration has refused to recognize and reaffirm these assurances. Then last week, President Obama definitively trashed them. Three times the Palestinians have been offered 1967 plus swaps - at Camp David 2000, Taba 2001, and the 2008 Olmert-Abbas negotiations. Every time, the Palestinians said no and walked away. Indeed, in September the Palestinians are going to the UN to get the world to ratify a Palestinian state on the '67 lines. No swaps. The '67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter are Palestinian - alien territory for which Israel must now bargain. The very idea that Judaism's holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter is rightfully or historically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty. (Washington Post)


PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU ADDRESSES THE U.S. CONGRESS. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday: • Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East. Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East. • In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel. No distortion of history can deny the four-thousand-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land. • The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel's subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. • So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it. Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. I stood before my people and I said: "I will accept a Palestinian state." It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say: "I will accept a Jewish state." • The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel's borders. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967. • As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found. • If Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren't going to live that way either. • So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel's security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River (DAILY ALERT).


OBAMA’S LAND SWAP SURPRISE. Perhaps the most stunning element of Prime Minister Netanyahu's Washington trip is the degree to which he was surprised - again - by President Obama. For all the clarification Obama made during his Sunday speech to AIPAC of what he really meant by saying last Thursday that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 lines with mutually agreed-upon land swaps, in the final analysis Netanyahu was taken completely by surprise. Back in May 2009, during Netanyahu's first White House meeting with Obama, the president sprang a surprise with his call for an end to settlement construction. Beyond the whole debate of what Obama truly means when he says "1967 lines with land swaps," the concern in the Prime Minister's Office was that if left unchallenged, the impression would be that U.S. policy now called on Israel to return to those lines. It was in order to alter this perception that the prime minister challenged Obama so publicly. In addition, mutually agreed-upon swaps presupposes that Israel will have to trade land inside pre-1967 Israel for land retained beyond the Green Line - a principle Netanyahu is opposed to. This idea was part of the proposal that then-prime minister Ehud Olmert put on the table in his talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, part of an overall package that the Palestinians did not accept. (Jerusalem Post)


POLL AFFIRMS STRONG AMERIANC SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL A poll of more than 1,000 American Jews, conducted by Luntz Global on behalf of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) on May 16-17, found that 85% say Israel "is right to take threats to its existence seriously," that Israel's concerns are neither "irrational" nor "overstated." 84% say the Israeli government is committed to establishing genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, while 77% consider Palestinian incitement against Israel - its "culture of hatred" - to be a major obstacle to peace. 68% say a Palestinian state created in the West Bank would attack Israel within a short time (DAILY ALERT - CAMERA-IMRA).


OBAMA CLARIFIES ’67 LINES REMARKS. President Barack Obama told the AIPAC Policy Conference on Sunday: "Let me reaffirm what '1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps' means. By definition, it means that the parties themselves - Israelis and Palestinians - will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. It is a well known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years, including the new demographic realities on the ground and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people; each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace." (DAILY ALERT - Chicago Sun-Times)


AT ODDS WITH WASHINGTON. The U.S. president made it clear that his country would not cooperate with the Palestinian push for a UN General Assembly declaration recognizing a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines. Negotiation with Israel, not UN recognition, is the only route to Palestinian statehood, Obama said, reflecting consistent U.S. policy. However, while there were no signs that he was threatening or pressuring Israel, Obama did say that a two-state solution should be based on the 1967 lines, a clear endorsement of Palestinian demands. Obama claimed that the Arab Spring offered a unique opportunity to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, Netanyahu has presented what is in our opinion a more sober, realistic assessment. The instability running rampant in the region illustrates how easily regimes, including a newly founded Palestinian state, can suddenly be toppled and potentially taken over by Islamic extremists like Hamas. Problematic, too, was Obama's declaration that the sides should relaunch talks focusing initially on borders and security, leaving the "emotional" issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees for later. Israel's position has long been that such an order of business could enable the Palestinians to "pocket" the Israeli territorial concessions involved in border agreements without withdrawing their demand for a "right of return" for millions of Palestinians - which is the destruction of the Jewish state by demographic means. (Jerusalem Post)


OBAMA’S MIDEAST PEACE GAFFE. By saying that a division of territory between Israel and Palestine should be "based on" the "1967 lines," Obama gave a boost to Palestinian President Abbas, who has tried to make Israeli acceptance of this a condition for peace talks, and a slap to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has resisted it. That Obama would do this on the eve of Netanyahu's arrival in Washington for a White House meeting - and apparently without warning the Israeli leader - is a gaffe that has understandably angered Netanyahu and many of his U.S. supporters. This looks like another instance in which Obama's insistence on pushing his own approach to the peace process will backfire. Apparently at the last minute, Obama chose to include the 1967-lines idea in his speech. The result has been the draining of attention from the speech's central discussion of Arab democracy - and yet another pointless quarrel with Netanyahu. (DAILY ALERT - Washington Post)


POLL: PALESTINIAN SUPPORT FOR SUICIDE ATTACKS HIGHEST IN ARAB WORLD. A new survey finds that in key Arab nations and other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative, as they have been for nearly a decade. In Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan, views are even more negative than they were one year ago. In Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan, most say their own governments cooperate too much with the U.S. In Lebanon, while nearly nine-in-ten Shia offer a positive view of Hizbullah, nine-in-ten Sunnis and three-quarters of Christians rate Hizbullah negatively. Recent surveys have documented a decline in support for suicide bombing and the percentage of Muslims who say this type of violence is often or sometimes justifiable stands at 10% or less in Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan, with steep declines over the last decade in Lebanon and Jordan. Palestinian Muslims, however, remain an outlier on this question: 68% say suicide attacks in defense of Islam can often or sometimes be justified, a level of support essentially unchanged from 2007. And in Egypt, support for suicide bombing is actually on the rise - 28% believe it can be justified, up from 8% in 2007 (DAILY ALERT - Pew Global Attitudes).


NETANYAHU: ABBAS DISTORTING HISTORY. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of "distorting known and well-documented historical facts" in his recent op-ed in the New York Times. Netanyahu said the Palestinians were the ones to reject the UN Partition Plan of 1948, while the Jews agreed to it. "Arab armies assisted by Palestinian forces were those who attacked the Jewish state with the aim of destroying it. There is no mention of this in the article." The prime minister added, "One can deduce that the Palestinian leadership views the establishment of the Palestinian state as a means to continue the conflict rather than end it." (Ynet News)


BACK TO THE FUTURE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Sunday's coordinated attacks on the Israeli border mark a dangerous turn back toward Mideast conflict. Most of the Palestinians in Syria were bused to the Israeli border from two camps controlled by factions friendliest to the Assad regime. Syrian border guards, who since the 1974 truce have kept anyone on their side far from the frontier, let the arrivals rush through. As ominously, Egypt's post-Mubarak elites are brushing up on their Nasser-style nationalism and anti-Israel populism. Some of the leaders who helped mobilize the protesters on Tahrir Square joined in calls for a "Third Intifada" against Israel. Secular groups have joined with the Muslim Brotherhood in demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo. The Arab Spring began as an effort by Arab publics to reform their own sclerotic politics. If they now retreat to blaming Israel for all of their problems, the uprising in the streets will be for naught. (DAILY ALERT - Wall Street Journal)


THE PALESTINIANS DON’T WANT A STATE. At this time, the Palestinian political and social elites don't want a state. They very much want to see an end to Israel's occupation, but they understand that upon the establishment of their state they will have to forever give up the land beyond its borders. They realize that founding a state will automatically bury the "right of return." They understand that economically and geopolitically they will depend on the goodwill of neighboring states. Arab states too do not truly want the Palestinians to soon have a tiny nation-state with an unstable regime; a state that is geographically split and threatens the current order. Had they wanted such state, it would have been established long ago. In the democratization wave currently sweeping the Arab street, some 95% of democracy protestors make no mention of Palestine. They truly don't care. (Ynet News)


ISRAEL SHOWS OFF MISSILE DEFENCE AGAINST PALESTINIAN ROCKETS. To demonstrate Israel's new missile defense capabilities, the military took foreign journalists Thursday to the Palmachim air force base, south of Tel Aviv, for a rare look at its latest air defense weapons. A highlight was the Iron Dome system, designed to defend against short-range rockets that can travel up to 45 miles, which in its first operational deployment in April downed eight of nine rockets fired at Ashkelon and Beersheba by Palestinian militants in Gaza. Israel's multi-layered missile defense system also includes the Arrow for long-range ballistic threats and David's Sling, still under development, designed to intercept medium-range rockets (DAILY ALERT - Washington Post).


THE CULTURAL GAP BETWEEN THE WEST AND THE MUSLIM WORLD. While the West regards the elimination of bin Laden an important step in the fight against terrorism, in Arab and Muslim countries there were mixed reactions. In Lebanon, President Michel Suleiman (a Christian) and Druze politician Walid Jumblatt praised the U.S., along with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. However, the reactions of many other countries such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates were much less apparent. Egypt, which only three months ago led the fight against terrorism in the Arab world, decided not to comment officially. Islamists like Hamas, the armed wing of Fatah, and many Salafist organizations condemned the U.S. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh described bin Laden as a "holy Muslim warrior." Only if major educational reforms are executed in the Muslim world can we expect different reactions; otherwise, the cultural gap between the West and the Islamic world will remain wide. The writer served as Israel's Ambassador to Egypt and Sweden. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)


FATAH-HAMAS RECONCILIATION WILL HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON PEACE. The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal is a sign of the weakness of both Fatah and Hamas. In the last election, Hamas won 40% of the vote in a situation that was unusual, and since then they have lost a lot of that support. Both Fatah and Hamas were motivated to do something to show the Palestinian people that they're trying to get their act together. • Ultimately, I don't think it matters that much because Hamas will need to forswear its charter and its talk about eliminating Israel for there to be any realistic prospect the Israelis will want to negotiate with them. So as far as I can tell, the reconciliation is a smaller move than meets the eye and ultimately will not have much effect on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. For a long time, I have felt that there was much less prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace than people thought. So far for the last 10 years, I've been proven right. (Fareed Zakaria - CNN).


WHY THE HAMAS-FATAH DEAL IS BAD FOR THE PALESTINIANS. Last week's unity deal between Hamas and Fatah signals that Fatah no longer believes U.S. recognition and support are essential to their national aspirations. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is a blow to U.S. policy, and makes it more difficult for Washington to support a Palestinian state. Washington rightly regards Hamas as a terrorist organization for its decades-long involvement in attacks against Israeli civilians. The State Department lists Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, barring all formal diplomatic engagement with it. The Treasury Department also lists Hamas as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity, banning direct U.S. aid to all institutions in which Hamas is involved. Abbas knows this. So his decision to embrace Hamas was a deliberate choice to run around Israel and the U.S. The writer, a former intelligence analyst at the U.S. Treasury, is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (DAILY ALERT - Weekly Standard)


THE LEGITIMIZATION OF HAMAS. Hamas is obscurantist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, warlike and rejectionist. It calls for the death of homosexuals and bans dancing. Its charter beckons Muslims to hunt down Jews from "behind rocks and trees," claims that Muslims "have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad," and accused Jews of "Nazism." It picks fights with Israel that result in the needless deaths of Palestinian civilians. It could end the blockade in Gaza tomorrow if it wanted to, simply by laying down arms, renouncing terrorism and accepting Israel's right to exist - but no amount of Palestinian suffering will ever cause it to do so. Israelis, the majority of whom have long supported a two-state solution, cannot be expected to make deals with an organization constitutionally bound to the genocide of Jews (Ha'aretz).


THE END OF THE ‘PEACE PROCESS’. The agreement between Fatah and Hamas marks the end of a long period of cooperation and negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians. Cooperation with Israel to improve life in the West Bank and security cooperation against terrorism have now been jettisoned in favor of the appearance of unity. Why now? Hamas' invaluable support from Syria is as shaky as the Assad regime itself, and its usual opposition to PA elections is softened by the prospect of winning them. Moreover, Hamas has long sought to enter and dominate the PLO but was kept out of it. Abbas' willingness to let Hamas in is a considerable victory for Hamas. But why did Abbas do it? Public opinion polls suggest that Palestinians want national unity and reconciliation, so Abbas is playing to the voters. With polls showing that Hamas is quite unpopular in Gaza and weaker than in 2006, Fatah should be able to win the PA and PLO elections. Due to the deal with Hamas, any hope Israel's enemies, or its "friends" in Europe, had that President Obama would push Netanyahu into serious concessions when they meet in late May is now gone. The U.S. needs to be far clearer: we cannot and will not support any government where Hamas has a real influence and the security forces stop fighting terror. We must certainly not fund such a government, and indeed once Prime Minister Fayyad leaves we should be very wary of the financial practices of the PA. We do no favor to any Palestinian who really seeks peace, democracy, and independence if we pull our punches when a murderous terrorist group maneuvers to gain power in - and then take power over - all the Palestinian territories. (DAILY ALERT - Council on Foreign Relations)


THE ALAWITES AND ISRAEL. • The ruling group in Syria, the Alawites - a highly distinctive non-Muslim sect with no theological or territorial objections to a Jewish state - believe that two of God's incarnations were Joshua Ben-Nun, the original Jewish conqueror of the Land of Israel, and the fourth Caliph, Ali, who was murdered by the Sunnis. They do not fast during Ramadan or make pilgrimage to Mecca, have no mosques or indeed any public worship, and traditionally wear crosses like Christians. • The Alawites are outnumbered in Syria by 70 to 12 percent. Thus, in order to legitimize their rule among the Sunni majority, they must publicly project an image of championing Arabism by unrelentingly rejecting Israel and flirting with Israel's avowed enemies. Syria will not accept a peace treaty with Israel, no matter what the conditions are, because it would delegitimize the Alawite regime. • The Alawites are a purely ancestral religious group and like other groups of this type - Jews, Maronites, Armenians and Druze - their basic loyalty is to their own particular group rather than any larger unit they may seem to be part of. Even if they happen to speak Arabic, they do not necessarily understand themselves as being "Arabs." Alawites in Syria find it indispensable to publicly claim to be Arabs, but this does not reflect their real loyalties. • From Israel's perspective, it is better for the Alawites to maintain power in Syria than for a Sunni regime to take control there. These Muslims are particularly dangerous to Israel because they are of the same ethnicity as the Palestinians. For a Sunni regime in Syria, any wide-scale Israeli-Palestinian clash, such as the Gaza operation, would likely trigger an emotional response, pulling Syria into a war with Israel, regardless of the consequences. • This represents a much more serious danger to Israel than the fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, where popular attachment to the Palestinians is much more superficial (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University).


EGYPT FRONT-RUNNER SEEKS ISRAEL RESET. The leading candidate in Egypt's presidential race said that if he was elected he would break with former President Hosni Mubarak's reliably amenable policies toward Israel. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Amr Moussa also described a political landscape in which the Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed under Mubarak, is dominant. It is inevitable, he said, that parliamentary elections in September will usher in a legislature led by a bloc of Islamists, with the Brotherhood at the forefront. Moussa owes the bulk of his popularity to his trenchant criticism of Israel and the U.S. while he was foreign minister. In recent years, for example, he has said Israel's unacknowledged nuclear program poses a bigger threat than Iran's program. In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 89% of Egyptians said they had a positive impression of Moussa - far ahead of competitors such as Ayman Nour, of whom 70% approved. Mohammed ElBaradei rated 57% approval. (DAILY ALERT - Wall Street Journal)


NETANYAHU: ISRAEL WON’T NEGOTIATE WITH PALESTINIAN VERSION OF AL-QAEDA. Israel will not negotiate with a "Palestinian version of al-Qaeda," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday. "Declaring statehood in September is a dictate - and you don't achieve peace through dictates. It's a very bad idea," Netanyahu told Cameron during their talks in London. "When Abu Mazen (Abbas) embraces Hamas - an organization committed to our destruction - it is a tremendous setback for peace and an advance for terror," Netanyahu said. "We are talking about a Palestinian government in which half the members call for destruction of Israel and fire rockets on our cities." The real issue, he explained, is not the question of a Palestinian state, but rather of a Jewish state. "The refusal of the Palestinian Arabs to accept our country is at the root of the conflict." (Ha'aretz)


WILL BIN LADEN KILLING PAVE WAY FOR SIMILAR MOVES BY ISRAEL? • The American operation against bin Laden to a large extent employed a similar format to that used previously by Israel. Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash), former head of IDF Intelligence, explained in an interview: "We must not forget that we are not a [world] power. Not everything that is permitted to the Americans is permitted to us as well. But nevertheless, there is a gradual change in the rules of confrontation in the framework of the war on terror. A wider maneuvering space has been opened." • "In the past, the countries of the West were opposed to the Israeli claim that no distinction should be made between the so-called political echelon and the military echelon in the terrorist organizations. There is an important message in the Americans' decision to do away with bin Laden. It is not possible to distinguish between the leader and the operational echelon subordinate to him. The decision-makers have to be dealt a blow. Seven years ago, when we killed senior Hamas officials such as Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi, our approach was not accepted by the international community." • "Pinpointed assassinations are still a very important deterrent tool against senior leaders of the terrorist organizations. It is true that every terrorist leader can be replaced. Bin Laden will also have a replacement. What is important is the continuum of assassinations that is directed at the heads of the organization and indicates to them that they too have something to lose." (Ha'aretz)


STOP BLAMING ISRAEL FOR EVERY GRIEVANCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. As Gaddafi systematically massacres his people and the country descends into civil war, as armies slaughter civilians in Yemen and Bahrain, now Syria, I ask why good people have focused only on Palestine/Israel for more than half a century and not attended to the brutality and oppression endemic in the Islamic states. More Muslims are killed by their brethren in religious and power struggles than are killed by foreign powers. It could be that some of the relentless focus on Israel does indeed rise out of a deep stream of anti-Semitism. We Muslims need to accept our burdens too. While still holding Israel to account, we must stop dumping blame on it for all Middle Eastern grievances (DAILY ALERT - Independent-UK).


COUNTDOWN TO SEPTEMBER: ISRAEL, THE PALESTINIANS AND THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY The public debate in Israel over the Palestinian plan to seek UN support for statehood in September is based on a fundamental misconception: the UN General Assembly cannot by itself establish or recognize a Palestinian state. It can admit new members to the UN only after they have been nominated first by the UN Security Council, where any of the five permanent members could veto the nomination. The current Palestinian effort at the UN, moreover, seems redundant. The UN General Assembly already recommended the creation of a Palestinian state on December 15, 1988, and has even insisted on the 1967 lines. The 1988 resolution was backed by 104 countries; only the U.S. and Israel opposed it. But this and other past resolutions (including one as recently as December 18, 2008) did not create a new legal reality, nor did they change anything on the ground. In 1998, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was confronted with a plan by Yasser Arafat to declare a state in 1999, the Israeli government warned that such a move would constitute "a substantive and fundamental violation of the Interim Agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians (the Oslo II agreement). It issued a formal statement saying that if such a violation occurred, then Israel would be entitled to take all necessary steps, including the application of Israeli law to settlement blocs and security zones in the West Bank. Oslo II clearly established that "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations" (Article 31). The European Union actually signed Oslo II as a witness. Can EU countries then become active participants in changing the status of the territories whose fate is supposed to be determined only by negotiations? Israel must firmly oppose the September initiative in the General Assembly, even if the Palestinians already have the votes. It must make absolutely clear that this move is no less than a material breach of a core commitment in the Oslo Agreements, as the Israeli government asserted in 1998. Only a strong Israeli response will deter Abbas from going further down the road of unilateralism. (The writer, a former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs).


THE FATAH-HAMAS AGREEMENT: ANALYSIS AND INITIAL CONSEQUENCES.The new Egyptian regime is making use of the Palestinian card in order to strengthen its public standing as the party leading the campaign on behalf of Palestinian rights and against Israel. In addition, the undermining of the Syrian regime - the patron of Hamas - compels Hamas to reinforce its ties with Cairo and to be more prepared to assent to Egyptian demands that it display tactical diplomatic flexibility, intended to promote national Palestinian objectives and intensify the diplomatic pressure on Israel. Abbas is incapable of presenting a democratic alternative to Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations and prefers to live with them under one roof. This strategy previously cost the Palestinian Authority the loss of its rule in Gaza, and now it may facilitate a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and over the PLO institutions as well. (DAILY ALERT - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


WHY PALESTINIAN UNITY WON’T LEAD TO PEACE. The last time Abbas co-governed with Hamas was after the Palestinian legislative elections in early 2006, which Hamas won. By June 2007, their power-sharing arrangements broke down and Hamas overthrew Abbas' forces in Gaza. Israel is concerned that, in the aftermath of their new agreement, Hamas will try to exploit Abbas' weakness and take over the West Bank as well. If, under the agreement, the Palestinian Authority releases Hamas operatives from its prisons in the West Bank and at the same time calls off security sweeps against Hamas, the terrorist group's power in the field will undoubtedly rise. And what will happen to the Palestinian security forces that were trained by the United States and Jordan and have been acclaimed in the West in recent years? (DAILY ALERT - Foreign Policy)


PALESTINIAN LAUNCH THEIR REVOLUTION. It's not yet certain that a political deal announced Wednesday by the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions will stick - similar pacts have been proclaimed and then discarded several times in the last four years. But one thing is sure: If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas moves forward with the reconciliation with the Islamic Hamas movement, it will mean he has written off the Obama administration and the peace process it has tried to broker, once and for all. The reconciliation could mean the end of the West Bank administration headed by Salam Fayyad, a technocrat highly respected by both Americans and Israelis. If so, Congress will almost certainly suspend $400 million in annual U.S. aid. It could also mean the reorganization of Fatah's U.S.-trained security forces, which have worked with Israel to keep the peace in the West Bank for the last several years, and their eventual integration with the cadres of the Iranian-backed Hamas (DAILY ALERT - Washington Post)


THE MORALIST: INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR ASA KASHER. Tel Aviv University philosophy professor Asa Kasher co-authored the first IDF Code of Ethics. • Who tries harder than we do to warn the [non-combatant] neighbors [to leave a conflict zone]?...We recently carried out precisely such an act of warning - by publishing a map of Hizbullah positions in south Lebanon. Israel released details of hundreds of villages where Hizbullah has a position deep inside the village. From there, they'll fire on us if and when they want to, and we will have to protect ourselves. That means we'll have to fire into the village. The publication of this map is a warning....The populace has to know that it is in a dangerous situation. • If a neighbor doesn't want to leave, he turns himself into the human shield of the terrorist. He has become part of the war. And I'm sorry, but I may have to harm him when I try to stop the terrorist. I'll do my best not to. But it may be that in the absence of all other alternatives, I may hurt him. I certainly don't see a good reason to endanger the lives of soldiers in a case like that. • In Israel, where most of the soldiers are in the IDF because service is mandatory, "I, the state, took them out of their homes. Instead of him going to university or going to work, I put a uniform on him, I trained him, and I dispatched him. If I am going to endanger him, I owe him a very, very good answer as to why. After all, this is a democratic state that is obligated to protect its citizens. How dare I endanger him?...He is one of the citizens that I have an obligation to protect." • The package of measures that we take to minimize the harm to those who are not dangerous to us is truly without equal anywhere else....We make immense efforts...to minimize the harm to people who do not constitute a threat. • Self-defense extends to attacking the source of the attack....If I don't take action, he will presumably attack me again. He always wants to attack me. I have no reason to think that there will only be one Kassam or Katyusha. He'll fire another....I need to silence the source of the danger and therefore I am permitted to attack it. • The Zionist mainstream supported the Partition decision [in 1947], which provided for a state for the Jews and a state for the Palestinians. We recognized a Palestinian state from the very start....The question is under what circumstances will a Palestinian state be established. I don't have to help in the establishment of something that wants to wipe me out (Jerusalem Post).


THE ULTIMATE ALLY: AMERICA NEEDS ISRAEL NOW MORE THAN EVER. On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America's values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people's beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the U.S. through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision. • An ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. An ally assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation. Israel is certainly one of the few countries that fit this description. • Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig's observation 30 years ago still resonates today: "Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security." • For the price of annual military aid equaling roughly the cost of one Zumwalt-class destroyer, the U.S. helps maintain the military might of one of the few nations actively contributing to America's defense. It reinforces the only country capable of deterring Hamas and Hizbullah and impeding the spread of Iranian hegemony. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (DAILY ALERT - Foreign Policy)


PANIC IN EGYPT OVER MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’S CALL FOR ISLAMIC RULE. Statements by the Muslim Brotherhood's Deputy General Guide Dr. Mahmoud Izzat about the implementation of Islamic Sharia and punishments in Egypt has aroused strong fears among the liberal and left-wing political powers. They consider this to be a dissent from the national unanimity and a violation by the Muslim Brotherhood of its public stance and a wriggling out of the commitment to the civil state(DAILY ALERT - Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)


LOYAL, SECRETIVE SECURITY FORCES KEEP SYRIEA LEADER IN POWER. Unable to stem a growing popular uprising with promises of reform, ceaseless propaganda and restrictions on the news media, Syria's government still retains one powerful weapon: the solid support of a secretive web of security forces that so far show no signs of abandoning President Bashar Assad. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt, there have been few defections in the Syrian armed forces despite a burgeoning protest movement. "The president is chief of the armed forces just as he's president of the people," said a Lebanese army officer who has worked extensively in Syria. "He takes part in military exercises and inspects the army. It's not like Ben Ali and Mubarak, who only had political authority." The relationship between the government and armed forces in Syria more resembles that of Libya. As with Iran's 2009 protests, the Syrian government has also relied on mobs assigned to break up demonstrations with force. "It is the shabiha, gangs, many of them related to the Assad family," said Yassin Haj Saleh, a prominent writer in Damascus. "They're lawless and protected in a way. They will not be arrested, not be brought to court." Syria's 300,000-man, largely conscription army generally shares the values and political aspirations of the people. Only the 4th Armored Division, led by the president's brother Maher Assad, has been regularly deployed around the country to quell the unrest. Hafez Assad, a member of Syria's Alawite community, recruited senior officers from the country's minority Alawite, Druze, Ismaili and Christian faiths, positioning them in a life-or-death struggle with the large Sunni Muslim majority. "The minority networks dominate the command structure," said Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They see it as an us-versus-them situation. It galvanizes them against the kind of splitting that you saw in Egypt or Tunisia." (DAILY ALERT - Los Angeles Times)


QUIET IN THE PALESTINIAN ARENA: THE EYE OF THE STORM. Attempts to foment protests in the PA using Internet social media networks have not borne fruit. Several reasons can explain this non-activism. First, despite the claims that the PA is undemocratic and uses its security apparatus as a means of oppression, the atmosphere in the West Bank is still more open than in most of the Arab world. Second, the political storm in the Arab world is partly the result of difficult socioeconomic conditions, with no sense of improvement on the horizon. By contrast, the PA has recently witnessed significant improvements in its economic situation, and these extend to wider segments of the population. Third, under the direction of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the level of corruption has decreased dramatically, there is more transparency, and there is a greater sense that the government is serving the citizens, not just the interests of the ruling elite. In addition, anarchy in the streets has given way to law and order. After many long years of the Second Intifada, in which it was impossible to live a normal life, the Palestinians have lost much of their appetite for violence, anarchy, and grinding poverty. (DAILY ALERT - Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies)


IS THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY READY FOR STATEHOOD? At the April 13 meeting of the West Bank/Gaza donors group, the IMF and World Bank presented reports arguing that the Palestinians are ready for statehood. Yet that judgment requires three important caveats. First, it depends on future Israeli-Palestinian cooperation; second, it is contingent on Gaza's return to Palestinian Authority control; and third, it does not take into account the PA's broader political readiness for statehood, which continues to lag. • Digging into the tables accompanying the IMF report, one finds that two-thirds of current PA receipts are "clearance revenues," that is, taxes collected on the Palestinians' behalf by Israel and passed on to the PA. In 2010, the PA received $1.26 billion in clearance revenues, compared to the $750 million in domestic revenue it collected on its own. In other words, the PA is able to pay its bills only because of the money transferred by Israel. If bilateral cooperation ceased, the PA would be in no position to pay salaries. The World Bank and IMF are correct to praise Fayad, whose accomplishments came against long odds and will be vital to the success and sustainability of any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. But they have been put at risk by the stagnation of peace negotiations and the looming prospect of a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood. Moreover, they are insufficient without greater attention to the political aspects of state building (DAILY ALERT - Washington Institute for Near East Policy)


PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD HAS LOST ITS GLITTER. • Barring unforeseen developments, it appears as if the PLO and its Ramallah-based arm, the Palestinian Authority, will head to the UN General Assembly in September seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as the PLO inches towards this goal, it seems out of tune with prevailing Palestinian sentiment. • For one thing, the PLO is as much a part of the crumbling Arab order as any of the collapsing regimes around it; and it is now losing the last vestiges of its founding legitimacy as a product of the era of armed struggle and the contemporary national movement forged by Yasser Arafat. Today the PLO can claim no genuine representative status. • What is emerging instead is a slow but sure manifestation of a new transnational movement, centered less on statehood and more on forging a national project that will traverse the existing Palestinian divides - diaspora, occupied territories and Israeli Arab citizens - and bypass the notion of an independent Palestinian state on part of Palestinian soil. • This shift is premised on forging a new common identity and common national goal - embracing all sectors of Palestinian society and aimed at the entirety of Palestine before 1948. • From this perspective West Bank statehood seems an irrelevance, almost an anachronism. It matches neither the popular revolutionary zeitgeist of the Arab world nor wider Palestinian aspirations (Guardian-UK). The writer is a senior associate member of St. Antony's College, Oxford, and a former Palestinian negotiator.


ISRAEL UNDER PRESSURE TO OFFER PEACE PLAN. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under mounting pressure to unveil a new plan for solving the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict or risk having the U.S. and international community move ahead with a strategy of their own. Israel won some breathing space with the postponement last week of a meeting of international powers in Berlin, but American and European diplomats are continuing to prod Netanyahu to lay out his vision for restarting peace talks and ending the occupation of the West Bank. If he does not, diplomats warned, the Mideast Quartet may attempt to jump-start the process by formally endorsing, for the first time, the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital. Netanyahu's government has vehemently opposed such a move. UN and EU representatives were hoping to use the meeting to push for a Quartet statement endorsing the pre-1967 war borders, with agreed-upon swaps, as a basis for future talks. But U.S. officials argued for a delay, saying they first wanted a guarantee from the Palestinians that if such a statement were released, they would return to the negotiating table. The U.S. also worried that the move might lead Israel to boycott talks. (DAILY ALERT - Los Angeles Times)


FAILING TO CROSS THE MORAL THRESHOLD FOR STATEHOOD? After the arrest of the Awad cousins from Awarta for the brutal, blood-chilling murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, one might ask whether Palestinian society has moved beyond the threshold needed to become a functioning society. True, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unequivocally condemned the killings. But then Palestinian voices were heard claiming it couldn't be a Palestinian who killed the family. That degree of denial does not bode well for a functioning state. What is incumbent upon Palestinian society now - after having received various stamps of approval for statehood - is to finally start taking responsibility and owning up to the actions of its people. The "occupation" is the Palestinian justification for every atrocity - from sending women out as suicide bombers, to firing anti-tank missiles at school buses, to hacking a three-month-old baby to death. There have been a lot of occupied people throughout history, and they didn't go out and cut up four-year-old, cherub-faced boys (Jerusalem Post).


GAZA BORDER KIBBUTZ TARGETED BY ROCKET ATTACKS.President Shimon Peres visited Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Thursday, where residents are constantly under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza. Some of the youngsters in the kibbutz had been on the school bus that had dropped them off minutes before it was hit by an anti-tank missile last Thursday. In addition, on April 8, the kibbutz suffered a rocket attack that caused damage. Nahal Oz has a tradition of planting a tree wherever a huge hole is left in the earth by a rocket. Fourth-graders Shai, Ophir, and Chen told Peres that for the past two weeks they were forbidden to play outdoors. "Our lives are not the same as those of other children," they said. Peres pledged to do all that he could to encourage more people to settle at Nahal Oz and to bring more resources and investors to the kibbutz. Peres praised the children, telling them that they were real heroes in the eyes of the nation. "The State of Israel is proud of you for living in Nahal Oz despite all the dangers," he said. (Jerusalem Post)


NETANYAHU: ISRAEL SEEKING ‘A SECURE, SAFE PEACE’. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that his government will stand firm against any international pressure to accept the PA's unilateral conditions for reigniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. "We will stand for our principles and fight those who try to dictate terms that would strip us of security and peace." "We have been steadfast these two years, making sure that any peace agreement brings with it a secure, safe peace. Not just peace on paper, but a sustainable peace. I have set two core principles to that effect: the first - Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the Jewish people's homeland; and the second - real security arrangements on the ground." Such security arrangements are vital not only to protect peace, but also to safeguard Israel in case the peace agreement is breached. Regarding the recent tension on the Gaza border, the prime minister said, "We will not stand for fire on buses or on our children. We will not abide a situation where Israeli citizens are sleeping in shelters - anywhere." (Ynet News)


ALL SET TO BE A FAILED STATE. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, presented a report on Palestinian state-building efforts designed to assist the social promotion of the Palestinians in September, through a resolution by a body that lacks the authority to confer statehood on anyone, much less anyone as patently unprepared as the Palestinians. The Palestinians have yet to complete Phase I of the "Performance-Based Roadmap," which required that they put an end to all incitement, dismantle all terrorist groups and their infrastructure, and produce a constitution. Eight years later, the incitement continues, the premier terrorist group was voted into office in Gaza, and the constitution is unfinished. If your "president" is in the seventh year of his four-year term; if you have no functioning legislature and cannot hold parliamentary elections; if half your putative state is occupied by terrorists; if your education system is a cesspool of anti-Semitism; if you insist upon dedicating public squares to those who massacred civilians; if your ruling party is corroded by corruption; if you have no free press or independent judiciary; if you cannot implement anything in negotiations that you refuse to conduct in any event; and if you haven't finished Phase I of the Roadmap...well, you might not be ready for a state. (DAILY ALERT - Commentary)


IS OBAMA ABANDONING DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL? Until the current president took office, it was accepted U.S. policy - consistent with multiple UN resolutions, expressions of U.S. policy and international agreements - that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood was unacceptable and that Israel was entitled to defensible borders. The Economist reported last month: "If [British Prime Minister David] Cameron offers Israel mixed messages, he does so with the blessing of America's president, normally reliable diplomatic sources claim....Before the UN vote [condemning Israeli settlements] of Feb. 18, Barack Obama reportedly encouraged Mr. Cameron and others to take a tough line on Israel. In phone calls to his European allies, Mr. Obama is said to have expressed frustration at Mr. Netanyahu's approach to settlements, but to have explained he had 'too many domestic fires to extinguish' to risk a bust-up over Israel....In private, European officials have told Israel that their pressure is choreographed with America." (Washington Post)


ISRAEL MUST NOT SUCCUMB TO FALSE DIPLOMATIC ALARMS. States have never been created by UN declarations. Israel was not created by UN Resolution 181 in November 1947, but by David Ben-Gurion's declaration of Israeli independence on May 15, 1948, and by the IDF's ability to take and control the areas of the new state. A UN declaration, whether at the Security Council or the General Assembly, recognizing a Palestinian state within the borders of the April 1949 armistice lines with Jordan, with Jerusalem as its capital, will be no more effective than Security Council Resolution 1701, which prohibited Hizbullah from military operations in southern Lebanon, or General Assembly Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism. If this latest declaration is actually passed, it will merely serve as another reminder of the impotence of the UN and its irrelevance when it comes to dealing with international conflicts. The writer is a former Israeli defense minister, foreign minister, and ambassador to the U.S. (Ha'aretz)


WHY DOES AMERICA STILL SUPPORT ASSAD IN SYRIA? Three weeks and hundreds of casualties into the Syrian uprising, resurfacing is the atavistic U.S. attachment to a regime that not only has killed thousands of its own citizens, but contributed to the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of U.S. troops and contractors in Iraq. Since 2006 alone, Assad's Syria has exponentially increased the capabilities of the Lebanese Shia militia Hizbullah, providing it with advanced anti-ship and highly accurate M-600 missiles, top of the line anti-tank weapons, and has allowed it to establish a Scud missile base on Syrian soil. At the same time, Assad continues to meddle (and murder) in Lebanon, harbor and support Hamas, and subvert Iraq. Damascus remains a strategic ally of otherwise isolated Tehran. And in 2007, it was revealed that Assad's Syria was progressing toward building a nuclear weapon. Given the pernicious effect of Assad's policies on U.S. interests and the region, it's difficult to imagine that a successor or replacement regime could be worse. It's time to revise the assumption that Washington somehow has a vested interest in Bashar Assad's political survival. (DAILY ALERT - New Republic)


ISRAEL CONDUCTING GLOBAL WAR ON HAMAS. Israel's security agencies are stepping up targeted attacks throughout the world on Hamas' leadership in what one Israeli national security official called "intelligence-based prevention." In the past two months, Israeli operatives have intercepted a German ship in international waters, fired a missile at a suspected Hamas leader in Sudan, and captured a Hamas engineer in the Ukraine, according to Israeli and Western officials. "Israel defeated the wave of suicide bombing attacks against it in 2002 by identifying the leadership that was behind it and making it clear to them that they would pay a price," said Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and specialist on international terrorism. "Presently, the effort to cripple Hamas' military capabilities is no longer confined to the Gaza Strip alone, but to the entire Hamas global network and that of its allies." The renewed Israeli approach is in some ways a response to the international condemnation of the Gaza operation of 2009. Because the covert campaign targets leaders and is often done in secret, the diplomatic damage to Israel for these actions tends to be muted (Washington Times).


EGYPT AND SAUDI ARABIA, NOT LIBYA, ARE KEYS TO PEACE.The Obama team has been spending far less time than it should on the Mideast as a whole and far too much time on Libya. Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the keys to peace in the region and, in Riyadh's case, central to the flow of critical oil. Muslim extremists are moving to gain control in Egypt. Washington has to help the secular army and the street democrats do what they deem wise to prevent the religious radicalization of their country. Of equal importance, Washington has much to do to restore good relations with Saudi Arabia, given King Abdullah's perception that Obama helped push longtime ally Mubarak overboard. The king isn't going to democratize his country, whatever the humanitarians say, and Obama should leave matters alone there for the time being. More or less the same applies to the states of the Arabian Peninsula such as Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar. The writer is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Daily Alert)


AMERICA CAN STOP THE PALESTINIAN SQUEEZE PLAY AT THE UN. The Palestinian Authority blew off the Obama administration's peace efforts in the last two years, not even deigning to negotiate during the West Bank settlement freeze that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu enacted last year. The PA feels sure that the majority of UN members will back its demands to vote at the General Assembly in September to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. Yet the U.S. is not helpless to stop this strategy. Rather, Washington could start putting serious pressure on the PA at last. Abbas depends on foreign aid to keep his corrupt authority in place and on Western military aid and Israeli protection to prevent a Hamas coup d'etat in the West Bank. Were Obama to make it clear that the U.S. will not tolerate an initiative that disregards our interests, then it is more than possible that Abbas' bluff would be called. (DAILY ALERT - Commentary)


REPORT TO CONGRESS ON ISRAEL’S REQUIREMENTS FOR DEFENSIBLE BORDERS IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING MIDDLE EAST. Jerusalem Center President Amb. Dore Gold, IDF Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, and Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel appeared at a briefing for the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington on Tuesday, April 5, at the request of Committee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. In his presentation, Amb. Gold emphasized: Israel is confronting a new diplomatic assault that could well strip it of the territorial defenses in the West Bank that have provided for its security for over forty years, leaving it in a very precarious position against threats that are likely to emerge to its east in the years ahead. Traditional U.S. policy recognized that Israel is not expected to withdraw from all the territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. This was enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 242 and in repeated letters of assurance by U.S. secretaries of state from Henry Kissinger to Warren Christopher. These new demands of Israel are being proposed at a time when the entire Middle East is engulfed in flames. Just as Israel faces complete strategic uncertainty with regard to the future of the Middle East, it is being asked to acquiesce to unprecedented concessions that could put its very future at risk. How can Israel be expected to sign agreements, predicated on it withdrawing from strategic territories, like the Jordan Valley, when it cannot be certain if the governments it negotiated with will even be there in the future? The present wave of anti-regime rebellions is loosening control of the central governments over large parts of several Arab states. This has created a vacuum in many areas, which is being filled by regional terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The biggest question is the future orientation of Iraq, where the Iranians have been supporting a number of key Shiite parties. Iraq is roughly 210 miles from the Jordan River. Israel cannot rule out Iraq, under Iranian influence, re-engaging in the Arab-Israel conflict. The pressures Israel faces at this time to agree to a full withdrawal from the West Bank and to acquiesce to the loss of defensible borders pose unacceptable risks for the Jewish state. They also stand in contradiction to international commitments that were given to Israel in the past. The 1993 Oslo Agreements envisioned a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with borders to be decided by the parties themselves and not imposed by international coalitions or by unilateral acts (DAILY ALERT - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


RICHARD GOLDSTONE RECANTS. Richard Goldstone has now admitted that his infamous report was wrong. What self-serving rubbish. There was ample evidence at the time from numerous sources that Hamas was telling lies about the number of civilians who were killed by Israeli fire. There was ample evidence that Hamas was deliberately putting civilians in harm's way. There was ample evidence that Hamas does not operate under the rule of law or uphold human rights. There was ample evidence that Israeli rules of engagement required the IDF to avoid hitting civilians wherever possible. There was ample evidence that Israel always investigates allegations of misconduct made against its soldiers and holds them to account under the rule of law. All those who have used Goldstone's report as a basis for their own delegitimization of Israel now also stand revealed as having endorsed one of the worst officially sanctioned international falsehoods in history. (DAILY ALERT - Spectator-UK)


RECONSIDERING THE GOLDSTONE REPORT ON ISRAEL AND WAR CRIMES. We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document. The final report by the UN committee that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that "Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza" while "the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel." The investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the UN committee's report indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The UN Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms. The writer, a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, chaired the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. (DAILY ALERT - Washington Post)


ISRAEL’S MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM IN TIMES OF TERROR. Israel and the world must fight terrorism without any reservations and without any concessions, since terrorism endangers everyone. On the other hand, Israel has an obligation to guard the basic rights of the local population in the West Bank and Gaza. Why should Israel keep the rules of engagement and follow international law while fighting terrorists when the terrorists do not adhere to the rules of engagement? Because Israel is a civilized state and the Israeli soldier is not the same as the Palestinian terrorist. We do not shoot at civilians or kill women and children, and we do not put bombs in buses. Every inhabitant of the West Bank has the right to petition Israel's Supreme Court. This is unique and unprecedented in the rules of international law - that a resident of an administered area can turn to the High Court of the administering state to ask for a remedy based on justice. In many cases the Court has accepted these petitions. The writer is a former IDF Military Advocate General. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


WHAT AMERICA CAN LEARN FROM ISRAEL’S EXPERIENCE. From its founding in 1948 to the present day, Israel has been at war with one or more nations, has faced mortal threats to its national survival, and has been the target of countless acts of terrorism against its civilian population, with devastating losses of life. Even in the midst of hostilities and warfare, under Israeli law, all detainees, regardless of nationality or the circumstances or location of their seizure, have a right of access to counsel and to independent courts empowered to review the basis for their detention and, when warranted, to order their release. This is true even when judicial review takes place amid continuing terrorist attacks or large-scale Israeli military operations. I was - and remain - convinced that Israel's robust judicial review is both necessary to maintain the rule of law and makes for effective counterterrorism policy. As a former military commander, I know that a robust and independent court review process helps to ensure that we are properly detaining the right people, and not those wrongly picked up in sweeps, or who are otherwise innocent. IDF Lt.-Col. (ret.) Amos N. Guiora, a former commander of the IDF School of Military Law, is a professor of law at the University of Utah. (McClatchy)


WHY PALESTINIANS SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST. We - a Muslim-Palestinian social scientist, and a Jewish-American historian - believe there are many reasons why it's important, even essential, that Arabs learn about the Holocaust. Entire chapters of history have been expunged from the curricula that Arab governments teach their students. This is particularly true of the Holocaust. So methodical, so vicious and so exhaustive was the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jewish people that a new word was coined to describe it - "genocide." All genocides before and since are judged against the Holocaust. Without discussing the Holocaust, discussing genocide is meaningless. But what little Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, know about the Holocaust is often skewed by the perverted prism of Arab popular culture. If Arabs knew more about the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, perhaps Arab voices would be more forceful in trying to stop similar atrocities. We urge Palestinians to learn about the Holocaust so they can be armed with knowledge to reject the comparison between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba. With all the suffering Palestinians have endured, their struggle with Israel is still, at its core, a political conflict, one that can end through diplomacy and agreements. The Holocaust was not a political conflict: the very idea of a "Nazi-Jewish peace process" is absurd. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi is the founder of the Wasatia movement, which promotes moderation in Islam, and the director of the American Studies department at Al-Quds University. Robert Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (DAILY ALERT - International Herald Tribune)


NETANYAHU CALLS FOR MARCHALL PLAN FOR EGYPT AND JORDAN. Prime Minister Netanyahu told a Jewish National Fund (JNF) conference on Tuesday: "We're going through a period of turmoil that can only be called historic....Is it going to be 1989, the great revolution that unleashed the forces of liberalism and freedom in Central and Eastern Europe? Or will it be 1979, the revolution that brought the night of Iranian militant Islamic darkness over the people of Tehran?" "The two pivotal countries that I think are important are those that have created the anchor of peace in the heart of the Middle East, and that's Egypt and Jordan. I think what is required is a Marshall Plan by the concerned international powers, and also the public sector, to assist in the concrete development of these two economies." We have "to put maximum pressure on the main engine that drives Islamic militancy in this region, and that is pressure on Iran, and above all, to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. That should be a main goal for all civilized society." "You cannot have peace without security at any time in this neighborhood, but especially in these times....Under any arrangement for peace, Israel must retain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. There are other security arrangements that we need...we need them to protect the peace and we need them to protect Israel if peace unravels." (Prime Minister's Office)


UNREST IN SYRIA AND JORDAN POSES NEW TEST FOR U.S. POLICIY. U.S. officials said the uprising in Syria appeared to be widespread, involving different religious groups in the southern and coastal regions, including Sunni Muslims usually loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The new American ambassador in Damascus, Robert Ford, has been quietly reaching out to Assad to urge him to stop firing on his people. With 61 people confirmed killed by security forces, the country's status as an island of stability amid the Middle East storm seemed irretrievably lost. For two years, the U.S. has tried to coax Damascus into negotiating a peace deal with Israel and to moving away from Iran - a fruitless effort that has left President Obama open to criticism on Capitol Hill that he is bolstering one of the most repressive regimes in the Arab world. Indeed, the crackdown calls into question the entire American engagement with Syria. Administration officials concede that Assad has been an endless source of frustration - deepening ties with Iran and Hizbullah; undermining the government of Saad Hariri in Lebanon; pursuing a nuclear program; and failing to deliver on promises of reform. (DAILY ALERT - New York Times)


IN OBAMA’S PUSH FOR MIDEAST PEACE, WHOSE SIDE IS HE ON? • So far what some are calling the Arab Spring has brought Israel the first terrorist bombing in Jerusalem in seven years and the first significant missile attacks from Gaza in two years. But the Obama administration's renewed calls for "bold action" to revive negotiations on Palestinian statehood may be for Netanyahu the biggest short-term challenge emerging from the Middle East's upheaval. • A reasonable person might conclude from the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria et al., that the Middle East's deepest problems have nothing to do with Israel and that the Obama administration's almost obsessive focus on trying to broker an Israeli-Palestinian settlement in its first two years was misplaced. But Obama seems to have concluded that the ideal segue from the latest Arab crisis is a new attempt to pressure Israel into accepting a quick march to Palestinian statehood. • Netanyahu's problem is twofold. First, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has no interest in negotiating with him, and never has. Abbas, 76, has repeatedly shrunk from committing himself to the painful concessions he knows would be needed for Palestinian statehood. Rather than bargain with Israel, Abbas seeks a UN declaration of Palestinian statehood at the next General Assembly in September. • At the same time, Obama continues to believe that Israel's government, and not the Palestinians, is the primary obstacle to peace. In a meeting with American Jewish leaders at the White House this month, Obama insisted that Abbas was ready to establish a Palestinian state. The problem was that Israel had not made a serious territorial offer (Washington Post).


DEMOCRACY: DANGEROUS IF NOT PRECEDED BY THE TRANSFORMATION OF MAN – 2. part ( by Jan Willem van der Hoeven, International Christian Zionist Centre). Why is it then that, according to most Western observers and leaders, democracy is such a desirable obsession? The answer is that, in most of the Western world, democracy came about as a result of the transformation of men and women who, while with differing degrees of intensity, at least gave heed to the moral dictates of a Judeo-Christian foundation. It was these men and women, enlightened by a law higher than their own wisdom, desires, and aspirations, who became the initiators of benevolent democracies solidly founded on something above the opinion and will of the masses. Stating this today would likely trigger a fierce and negative reaction, even from modern Western intellectuals, politicians and journalists. For although the glories of the past shone bright in relation to Britain - upon whose empire the sun never set, or the Netherlands - in their 'golden age' with Rembrandt, or on more recently-blessed America - based on the principles laid down by her pioneering puritan-bred statesmen - it is a very different story today. These very nations, founded upon the dictates of Someone higher than their own desires and wisdom, now generally scorn these principles and foundations, each having become increasingly hedonistic, ruled by men and women who reject any authority other than themselves to govern! This is why democracy itself has today become a grave danger - not only in fanatic, religion-ruled Middle Eastern nations, but also in the West, where untransformed men and women are unable to set the right course for themselves and their nations, especially where the final authority for all moral and political questions lies within the confines of their own limited, self-centered-and-ruled, appetites and lives. What is needed, then, is an old fashion movement of change and transformation like the classic revivals of old; that God and the fear for Him would re-enter our leaders and societies, transforming the lives of men and women who will then under God - as the American nation once desired to be - get pleasure from, and have the real benefit of, their democracies!! But is it not already too late for such a change??


DEMOCRACY: DANGEROUS IF NOT PRECEDED BY THE TRANSFORMATION OF MAN – 1 part ( by Jan Willem van der Hoeven, International Christian Zionist Centre). "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11:3.” Worldwide, democracy is touted as the ultimate system for the governance of mankind, divided as it is in a myriad nations, many until now without true democracy. And yet we know from history that even mass movements for change, and so-called democratic elections, have been employed to bring the most vicious of rulers and dictators to power. We think of the Russian revolution, which began as a movement to end the corruption of the Czar, but resulted in the rise of Lenin and Stalin, monsters to their own people, millions of whom they slaughtered in the name of Communism. Mao Zedong, swept in on a wave of popular support of and for the masses, only to become China's despotic leader, and butchering an even greater number of his own people in the name of "democracy." We can think of Adolf Hitler. He used the democratic process to reach the office of Reich's Chancellor, then burned the Reichstag - symbol of German democracy - to the ground, embraced the unconstitutional title of Führer und Reichskanzler, and facilitated the slaughter of more than 50 million people - of which more than six million were Jews. Genocide by a "democratically elected" leader! Not to speak of the more recent example of the so-called democratic mass movement against the corruptions of the Shah, the former emperor of Persia. Led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, that "revolution" birthed the terrifying rule of the mullahs: first Khomeini, and now Khamanei and his man Ahmadinejad - the modern-day-Hitler - who threatens, and prepares to inflict, a holocaust on the Israeli Jewish nation. With the predominance of Islamic radicalism and ascendant Shi'ite influence, we may well see the recent movements "for change and freedom" across the Middle East exploited by these fanatical forces to engineer Khomeini-like takeovers of most of these unsuspecting crowds and nations by Muslim Brotherhood- or Al-Qaida-affiliated leaders, all to the detriment of true freedom and democracy.


THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN GOING TO WAR IS NOT WINNING A WAR. As I took a peek at Sky News before perusing the headlines in the British newspapers on the war in Libya, I felt as if I were watching Israeli Television's Channel 2 during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009. The British reporters proclaimed that "our pilots" had gone to battle, Gaddafi's air defenses had been "neutralized," and the enemy had resorted to using civilians as "human shields." For an Israeli listening to these statements, it's easy to get angry over the West's attitude toward the war, particularly British hypocrisy. While the British mount legal battles against Israeli leaders and IDF commanders over the bombardments of Gaza, they boast about their own bombings of Tripoli. The justness of a war is in the eye of the beholder, and it depends on its final outcome. (Ha'aretz)


ISRAEL FACES A CULTURE OF HATRED AND VIOLENCE. Professor Bernard Lewis, the great academic authority on Islam, has said that if the West knew what was being said in Arabic, people would be horrified. How else to explain why Arab maps of Israel show no such country? How else to explain why a Palestinian father would celebrate his toddler's first birthday by dressing him up with a fake suicide bomb? By the second grade, students are taught the concept of jihad, or holy struggle, and by the sixth grade, their school lessons encourage them to become a shahid, or martyr. Palestinian apologists say that murders such as that of the Fogel family in Itamar are "a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank." Is it natural to slit the throats of children in their beds? Only if you assume an absence of expectations from the Palestinians and a willingness to whitewash everything they may do instead of holding them to some level of moral accountability. The Western media's portrayal of the murdered innocent as somehow the cause of their deaths is paralleled by suggestions that rape victims "asked for it." Nothing justifies these murders. A massacre is a massacre is a massacre. There are no circumstances to explain it and no words that can put it into proportion. As Israeli President Shimon Peres remarked: "It indicates a loss of humanity. There is no religion in the world or any faith that allows these kinds of horrible acts." (Daily Alert - U.S. News)


ARE THE PALESTINIANS READY FOR PEACE? PALESTINIAN INCITEMENT AS A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL NORMS. Genuine peace between peoples requires far more than signed agreements. It requires bona fide mutual trust, respect, and a psyche of peace to prevail throughout all levels of society, and must emanate from the leadership. Tragically, the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic indoctrination that is so pervasive in all levels of Palestinian society has inevitably led to violence and terror, and serves to undermine any hope for peaceful relations between the two peoples. Officially-sanctioned and encouraged incitement against Israel and against Jews has become a central theme in all spheres of Palestinian society, whether religious, cultural or in the education field. This inevitably results in violence and terror against Israel and its citizens. The Palestinians are committed in the agreements with Israel to act to prevent incitement. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership continues to glorify terrorists as role models for Palestinian youth and encourage hostility and hatred toward Israel. The Palestinian leadership cannot come with clean hands to the international community to ostensibly call for peace while at the same time undermining any hope for peace through incitement to terror. The writer, Alan Baker, is former Legal Adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


WHAT IF ARABS HAD RECOGNIZED THE STATE OF ISRAEL IN 1948? What If Arabs Had Recognized the State of Israel in 1948? If Israel was recognized in 1948, then the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of some Arab dictators who kept telling them that the refugees would be back in their homes and all Arab lands will be liberated and Israel will be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians for their own agenda to suppress their own people and to stay in power. Since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be the hero and the leader of the Arab world, then he has a very easy way to do it. He just shouts as loud as he can about the intention to destroy Israel, without mobilizing one soldier. Now, the Palestinians are on their own. Each Arab country is busy with its own crisis. For now, the Arab countries have put the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on hold. The writer is a commodore (ret.) in the Royal Saudi Navy (DAILY ALERT - Arab News-Saudi Arabia)


ARMS SMUGGLING THREATENS MIDEAST BALANCE OF POWER. Iran and Syria are trying to boost the capabilities of non-state actors and give them a "quantitative and qualitative" edge over the moderate regimes in the region, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Wednesday. "The arms are not trickling drip by drip, as in the past, but are literally flooding into the hands of dangerous terrorist groups by air, sea and land, threatening to upset the military balance and undermine regional stability in the Middle East and the southern Mediterranean rim of Europe." The flood of arms "is creating a tipping point which could soon result in the balance of power shifting dramatically and permanently in favor of Iran and its allies, with all that entails for our neighbors in Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Gulf." In the case of the Victoria arms ship, Israel acted in self-defense because the smuggling of arms into Gaza poses a direct and imminent threat to the safety of Israelis, who continue to find themselves under rocket and mortar fire originating from the Strip. According to the Foreign Ministry, transferring weaponry to terrorist organizations in Gaza is a blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009), which calls to "prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition" to Gaza. Likewise, it also violates UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001), which calls upon states to refrain from providing any form of support to terrorist organizations and to eliminate the supply of weapons to such groups. (Jerusalem Post)


2011: THE YEAR OF THE (BAD) INITIATIVE. This is going to be a great year for Middle East peace initiatives, but likely a very bad one for Middle East peace. Driven by all kinds of motives to reach an agreement (except the right one), Israelis, Palestinians and Americans are considering various peace plans and proposals. None look terribly promising. There's a good chance that in coming months we'll see a lot of process but not much peace. The transformative changes now sweeping the Arab world have knocked everybody off balance, made bold decision-making more difficult, and sharpened divisions within the Arab, Palestinian and Israeli worlds over how to pursue serious peace-making. As far as President Obama is concerned, his failure to get serious negotiations launched between Israelis and Palestinians still rankles. Too much rhetoric early in the administration, an unwise call for a comprehensive settlement freeze, and too much faith in his own transformative power, have collided with reality. But he hasn't given up. Now, with big changes in the Arab world, there will be pressure to use peace-making to pre-empt radicalization, counter Iran (there's that linkage thing again), and to make good on his belief that Arab-Israeli peace is vital to American interests. The writer is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. (DAILY ALERT - International Herald Tribune)


ISRAEL SAYS SEIZED ARMS JUSTIFYL GAZA BLOKADE. Israel displayed on Wednesday advanced arms that it found aboard a cargo ship seized in the Mediterranean Sea, and pointed to the haul as proof of the need to blockade Gaza. "To all those who questioned and attacked and criticized Israel for stopping Gaza-bound ships in order to check them, here is the answer," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Ashdod port, where the guided missiles, artillery rounds and assault-rifle ammunition were laid out. "Their origin is in Iran; they passed through Syria and were en route to terror elements in Gaza. But their ultimate target was Israeli civilians," Netanyahu said. "It is our duty, not just our right, to stop these ships and remove their weaponry." (Reuters)


PALESTINIAN INCITEMENT: THE REAL ‘DEAL BREAKER’ (by Joel Fishman). Incitement to hatred and violence is a weapon of political warfare. It is not the result of a misunderstanding, nor does it happen randomly. States and insurgent movements that are waging war openly or engaging in low-intensity conflict use it to advance their ends. Persistent reports based primarily on information from Palestine Media Watch describe the pervasiveness and intensity of Palestinian incitement against Israel. The public discourse and the media of popular culture convey a message of hatred. The destructive effects of incitement are not immediately apparent because they are cumulative. At present, the continuation of incitement indicates that fundamentally there is no real prospect of reaching a stable, long-term arrangement through the political process. The PA, which after the Oslo Accords many hoped would be committed to democracy and become a good neighbour, has turned into a corrupt, authoritarian Middle Eastern regime that plunged its own population into war and has taken a high toll of innocent Israeli civilians. The Palestinians discovered that they could derive considerable advantage by pursuing a policy of fomenting incitement, domestically and abroad, making capital from a festering sore. Using this method, they have driven their maximalist demands to the top of the world's agenda. At Durban, they hijacked the agenda of a conference ostensibly devoted to human rights and prevented other groups with grievances from being heard. Likewise, by going through the motions of negotiating, creating crises and impasses, and at the same time refusing to agree too much, they have succeeded in pocketing valuable unreciprocated concessions. Those who foment incitement hope that the Palestinian problem will assume larger proportions. What will happen, for example, when Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Hisbollah decide to support such grievances with military force while America and Europe choose to look the other way? - Dr. Joel Fishman is a historian and a fellow of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs).


ARE ISRAELI SETTLERS HUMAN? (by Bret Stephens) As one who has long entertained doubts about the wisdom and viability of much of the settlement enterprise, I find myself cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for announcing, in the wake of the Fogel family massacre, the construction of hundreds of additional homes in the settlements. Israel's consistent mistake since the peace process began nearly 18 years ago was to suppose that conspicuous displays of reasonableness and moderation would beget likewise on the other side. The reality has been closer to the opposite. For 60 years, no nation has been held to such stringent moral account, or such ceaseless international hectoring, as Israel. And no people has been held to so slight an account as the Palestinians. Palestinians have grown accustomed to the waiver the rest of the world has consistently granted them over the years no matter what they do. (Wall Street Journal)


UN FETES ANTI-ISRAEL MOVIE. The UN General Assembly is hosting a premier showing of Julian Schnabel's "Miral," a tale of the Middle East's travails through the eyes of a young Palestinian Arab girl, which has already received advanced notices as a film heavy on message but short on artistic merit. The event tomorrow is being held over the protest of Jewish organizations and Israeli officials, who had asked the General Assembly's president, Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, to cancel it. Offering one Arab tale of Israeli-committed horror after another, it ignores Arab violence against Jews. Deiss decided on his own, as president, to screen the movie at the General Assembly hall. Miral "has a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light," said the president of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris. Using the General Assembly hall to screen it "will only serve to reinforce the already widespread view that Israel simply cannot expect fair treatment in the UN." (DAILY ALERT - New York Sun)


WHERE IS THE OUTCRY AGAINST ARAB APARTHEID? Mohammed Nabil Taha, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, died this week at the entrance to a Lebanese hospital after doctors refused to help him because his family could not afford to pay for medical treatment. This tragic case highlights the plight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in Lebanon and who are the victims of an apartheid system that denies them access to work, education and medical care. Ironically, the boy's death coincided with Israel Apartheid Week, a festival of hatred and incitement organized by anti-Israel activists on university campuses in the U.S., Canada and other countries. And this is happening at a time when tens of thousands of Palestinian patients continue to benefit from treatment in Israeli hospitals. Last year alone, some 180,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza entered Israel to receive medical treatment. Many were treated despite the fact that they did not have enough money to cover the bill. In Israel, even a suicide bomber who is - only - wounded while trying to kill Jews is entitled to the finest medical treatment (DAILY ALERT - Hudson Institute-New York).


HOW ISRAEL COULD REVOLUTIONIZE THE GLOBAL ENERGY SECTOR. New developments in the energy sector could alter Israel's standing in the world, especially with respect to Europe. Gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean, which began to produce commercial quantities of natural gas in 2004, include the Tamar field which should begin production in 2013. It is expected to supply all of Israel's domestic requirements for at least 20 years. The Economist suggested in November 2010 that the recently discovered Leviathan field, which has twice the gas of Tamar, could be completely devoted to exports. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the whole Levant Basin, most of which is within Israel's jurisdiction. Even more dramatic is the work being done on Israel's oil shale. A new assessment by Dr. Yuval Bartov, chief geologist for Israel Energy Initiatives, says Israel's oil shale reserves are actually the equivalent of 250 billion barrels (that compares with 260 billion barrels in the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia). Israel could emerge as having the third largest deposit of oil shale, after the U.S. and China. New technologies being developed for Israeli shale seek to separate the oil from the shale rock 300 meters underground, using a method that has none of the negative ecological side-effects of earlier oil shale efforts. When will the West begin to treat Israel as a powerful energy giant and not as a weak client state that must be pressured? In the case of the Saudis, it was when the U.S. realized the true extent of their oil reserves. In the case of Israel, updated international reports verifying the true dimensions of both its undersea gas and oil shale should be forthcoming in the next year. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and served as ambassador to the UN. (Jerusalem Post)


JERUSALEM POST REPORTS: "A prominent member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood this week became the first member of the Islamist group to visit Iran, where he praised Tehran's leadership and denounced Israel. The New York Post reported that Kamal El Helbawy - a London-based Islamic scholar and Brotherhood representative widely known as the movement's face in the West - told his hosts he wished to see Egypt become, like Iran, "a true Islamic state." "Egypt and the world of Islam as a whole need leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," he said, and "should join a new world order with Iran and Venezuela, plus Hezbollah and Hamas to chase away the Americans. "Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel is wiped off the map," the Brotherhood leader reportedly said." By Oren Kessler In Iran, Egyptian Islamist wishes to 'see Israel wiped off the map' "Arab League secretary-general for the last decade, [Amr] Moussa, 74, is the most prominent figure yet to declare his candidacy for the position from which Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11 after three decades in power. A poll on the website of Al-Ahram newspaper last week showed him with a big lead over Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel prize-winning former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As foreign minister, Moussa was an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights as Cairo played a leading role in the Middle East peace process. His popularity was widely assumed to be the reason Mubarak removed him from the foreign ministry in 2001. To some, the final straw for Mubarak seemed to be the release of the 2001 Egyptian pop hit, 'I hate Israel, I love Amr Moussa'." By Tom Perry Moussa hits campaign trail in race for Egyptian presidency "The Palestinian Authority is working toward removing Hamas from the US and EU list of terror organizations so as to pave the way for the Islamist movement to join a Palestinian unity government, PA negotiator Nabil Sha'ath revealed on Monday. Sha'ath, who was speaking to reporters after meeting in Cairo with Arab League Secretary- General Amr Moussa, said he raised the issue with a number of governments during a recent tour of EU capitals. "We are seeking to have Hamas removed from the list of terror organizations," he said. "We want EU countries to recognize a Palestinian unity government that would include Hamas and other factions." By Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon PA seeking to have Hamas removed from US, EU terror lists


The next Daily Journal will be posted on Friday, 11.03.


A TROPHY TO BE PROUD OF. On Tuesday near the security fence in southern Gaza, the miniature Trophy system, fixed onto all IDF tanks in the Gaza sector, recognized that a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) had been launched at one of the tanks. Trophy intercepted the RPG with a neutralizer and blew up the incoming projectile in mid-air. This was the first time that anti-tank fire had been successfully intercepted under real combat zone conditions, and the implications cannot be overestimated. The proven effectiveness of the Israeli breakthrough is a game-changer. In the Second Lebanon War in 2006, dozens of Israeli tanks were struck and 19 crewmen were killed by Hizbullah anti-tank rockets. The newest Israeli contribution to the modern battlefield will eventually not only save more Israeli lives, but the lives of many Americans too. (Jerusalem Post)


IRAN OBJECTS TO LONDON 2010 OLYMPIC LOGO Iran objects to the logo for the 2012 London Olympics, contending the numbers "2012" in four jagged figures resemble the word "Zion." The official IRNA news agency Monday reported that the secretary general of Iran's National Olympic Committee, Bahram Afsharzadeh, sent a complaint to the International Olympic Committee and urged other Muslim states to oppose the "racist logo." The IOC responded: "The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else." The design was launched in 2007 (DAILY ALERT – AP)


ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAID IN AN INTERVIEW (2.PART): People accuse Israel of taking advantage of the situation by stalling the peace process and avoiding a clear line. Mr. Netanyahu sharply reminds me of his own position. Israel, he says, recognizes the need for a nation-state for Palestinians, but unless they recognize Israel's right to be the Jewish state, there is no basis for a discussion of borders. The Palestinians provide no "education for peace." Their school textbooks preach hatred and the public squares under the Palestinian Authority are named after the murderers of Israelis. The "international ganging-up on Israel" over the settlements is a classic example of changing the terms of the argument - what he calls "the reversal of causality." There were no Jewish settlements in the West Bank before Israel was attacked in the Six-Day War of 1967, "So what was all that about?" Israel proper remains disputed by her enemies. "Even moderates don't say that, if the settlements end, we'll make peace with Israel." He does hasten to add, however, that a deal can be done. "It is not impossible to resolve it, to make the necessary compromises. The settlement issue has to be resolved." "Britain was a colonial power, and colonialism has been spurned." Britain therefore tends to look at the Israeli question through its "colonial prism," which makes the British "see us as neo-colonialists." But this is wrong. "We are not Belgians in the Congo! We are not Brits in India!" He agrees that Western loss of support for Israel is "a huge issue" and "tragic because, in many ways, we are you and you are us." (DAILY ALERT - Telegraph-UK)


ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAID IN AN INTERVIEW (1.PART): Iran is "seeking to exploit" current events. Its decision to send two naval vessels through the Suez Canal is "the first time we've seen elements of a Persian fleet in the Mediterranean since Alexandrine times." This proves Iran has "aggressive intentions." Iran was working as hard as it could to destabilize societies - Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon - before all this, and now it is trying to take advantage of the new situation. Iran with nuclear weapons would create new threats. "Look at Bahrain. A nuclear Iran would make it a Persian Gulf on both sides." It would control the oil supplies of the world and "spawn a nuclear arms race in the Middle East." Iranian conventional ballistic missiles already have a range which includes western Europe: "It is extraordinarily dangerous for my country, but also for your country." He sees Israel as "merely a forward position of Western values." The Western powers agree about the Iranian nuclear threat, he says, citing Britain's Defence Secretary, Dr. Liam Fox, as a strong exponent of this view. But he adds: "I think we should do more. I think we can do more." The present sanctions "don't have sufficient bite," and we "need a credible military option if sanctions fail." (DAILY ALERT - Telegraph-UK)


MIDEAST UNREST A CHANGE THE WORLD SHOULD BELIEVE IN. Middle East scholar Prof. Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University said in an interview: "I think Israel should not be afraid of Arab democracy. I've been very friendly to Israel and the prospects of reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world, so take this as advice from a friend. I can remind you of what Natan Sharansky pointed out when he said that democrats who hate you are less dangerous than dictators who love you. There is a certain level of security that comes from autocracies, and Israel is not alone in this. The United States went to many lands and preferred dealing with autocrats because there is stability there. But the bargain with an autocrat is never a good bargain." "Israel had made peace with pharaohs, but the peace between Israel and the Arab people has not yet come....Dictators that made peace with Israel and an accommodation with the U.S. - they always played from the bottom of the deck and always resorted to anti-Americanism, anti-modernism and anti-Semitism....But in the long run, if you want a long-lasting peace, you have to be willing to bet on this democratic experiment." The Egyptians, Ajami is convinced, will maintain the peace agreement. "Not because they love Israel, but because they know the history of what happened in the Arab-Israeli wars of the past. I think the military will keep this peace. It was Sadat who made the peace and Mubarak kept it. The military is going to be very important in Egypt, come what may." (DAILY ALERT - Ha'aretz)


NATIONS UNITED AGAINST ISRAEL. In Libya, Gaddafi is using mercenaries to slaughter protestors. Hizbullah is staging a slow-motion coup in Lebanon. Iran's rulers are executing dissidents daily, developing nuclear weapons, and sending warships through Suez. The response of the UN to these many threats to global peace and security? Condemn Israel. In other words, the issue that the UN considers most critical in the world at this hinge moment in history is that Israelis have been building homes on land the Palestinians want. In the end and to its credit, the Obama administration did veto the UN resolution. But Ambassador Susan Rice did not even attempt to suggest how deranged it is for the UN to ignore the crimes being committed by Islamist terrorists and Arab despots while demanding that Israelis surrender territory - taken in a defensive war - to those who remain committed to their extermination. Were Arab and Muslim nations willing to tolerate Israel's existence - not love Israelis, just tolerate them - negotiating borders would be a piece of cake. In the absence of such tolerance, it would be a mistake for Israel to surrender another square inch of soil - as its earlier withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza have demonstrated to all. The writer is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (DAILY ALERT - National Review)


LOSING THE MIDDLE EAST. When the dust settles in the Middle East in a few months, my guess is that one will see that Western - and Israeli - interests will have been substantially undermined and anti-Western - and anti-Israeli - interests substantially bolstered. In the Gulf states with large Shi'ite populations - such as in Bahrain, where the Shi'ites constitute the overwhelming majority - Iran's influence will vastly increase. In Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen, help to the American "War on Terror" will be considerably reduced, or will vanish altogether. Similarly, a greater frostiness will enter into attitudes across the Middle East towards Israel. In Egypt, opposition elements are already calling for revocation of the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state or, at the least, "reconsidering it" and a permanent end to the multi-billion dollar gas exports to Israel. Furthermore, it is unclear whether the Egyptians will attempt to control the flow of arms and ammunition to Gaza as they did during the Mubarak years. (DAILY ALERT - National Interest)


EGYPT IN DANGER OF BECOMING AMERICA’S GREATEST MIDDLE EAST ENEMY. The Obama administration and the media talk about Egypt as if it is on the verge of democracy, but former British Prime Minister Tony Blair put his finger on the fallacy: "You don't just have a government and a movement for democracy. You also have others, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, who would take this in a different direction." His concern is that democracy in Egypt may well be an interim phase en route to a new dictatorship predicated on extremist Islam. The Brotherhood opposes a secular state as well as Western civilization, but supports taqiyya, which means lying is allowed if it helps to ultimately defeat the infidels. As for the Brotherhood mellowing, this notion mostly reflects the organization's recruitment of media-savvy spokesmen, who can espouse the virtues of a pro-democracy platform as a smokescreen for the group's real views and intentions. (DAILY ALERT - U.S. News)


THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN JORDAN. A small but growing group of anti-regime Jordanian activists is openly seeking to end the monarchy. Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Islamic Action Front (IAF), may be best poised to stir up popular unrest. The king, seeking to stave off a crisis, met with the IAF earlier this month for the first time in nearly a decade. The IAF seeks to amend Jordan's election laws, which could enable the IAF to regain significant parliamentary power, and possibly even a majority. The IAF could then challenge secular Jordanian laws, the king's economic ties with the U.S., and Jordan's unpopular peace with Israel. The writer is vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (Wall Street Journal).


MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ROLE RISING IN EGYPT. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is playing an increasingly important role in preparing for post-Mubarak elections promised within six months. The Brotherhood has a member on the committee redrafting the constitution, is on a council set up by activists to protect the revolution, and has said it will set up as a political party as soon as laws are changed to let it do so. The Brotherhood's spokesman appeared on state television a few days ago, a first for a movement banned in the Mubarak era. Having been timid in the early days of the revolt, it clearly thinks it is safe to come out. In another sign of the transformation of Egyptian politics, al-Gama'a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), which took up arms against Mubarak's administration in the 1990s and was crushed by security forces, held its first public meeting in 15 years. "Our position is to turn a new page with the new regime," said Assem Abdel-Maged, a group member who spent years in jail for his role in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat. (DAILY ALERT - Reuters)


REPORT: SYRIAN EMBASSY IN CAIRO AIDED HIZBULLAH PRISONER’S ESCAPE. The Syrian embassy in Cairo aided Hizbullah terrorist Mohammed Yousef Mansour, known as Sami Chehab, in leaving Egypt by issuing him a false passport, a Syrian source told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyasseh Wednesday. Chehab, exploiting the chaos that had erupted in Egypt, escaped the prison where he was serving a 15-year sentence for planning terrorist activities on Egyptian soil. Chehab used the new passport to travel to Khartoum, from where he flew to Syria, and crossed over into Lebanon. Chehab appeared in a Beirut rally Wednesday, waving Hizbullah flags and raising his hands in a V-victory sign. (Jerusalem Post)


NETANYAHU: ISRAEL MUST BE PREPARED IN CASE PEACE UNRAVELS. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Wednesday: "Security in this part of the world is the foundation of peace, not merely because we have to protect the peace, but also because we have to protect ourselves in case peace unravels. A peace treaty, in itself, does not guarantee the peace. We had peaceful relations with one country and that country changed overnight. It's called Iran. We had formal, excellent peace relations with another country: meetings of leaders, robust trade, joint military maneuvers, and 400,000 tourists a year: Turkey. But that too changed one day." "We may hope for the best of all outcomes. But if our people's history has shown us anything and has taught us anything, it is not to dismiss the threats we face. We must recognize those threats in time. And we must be always ready to defend ourselves." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


THE EGYPTIAN SUPREME COUNCIL OF THE ARMED FORCES UNDER FIELD MARCHAL TANTAWI: A RECIPE FOR REVOLUTION OR MORE OF THE SAME? Same? Egypt is ruled today by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, under the leadership of Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi. The country is now ruled under military law, something which the masses did not expect and which does not fit in with the idea of democratic reform. WikiLeaks documents describe the Egyptian military as a parallel economy, a kind of "Military Inc." Military-owned companies, often run by retired generals, are active in water, olive oil, cement, construction (building roads and airports), hotel and gasoline industries. The military produces televisions and milk and bread. Egypt has become a firm ally of the U.S. since the end of the 1970s, assisting it in many facets of its anti-terrorist policy. Tantawi himself and his troops fought alongside American troops in Operation Desert Shield in Iraq in 1990. At 76, Tantawi is no revolutionary. He and his colleagues have a lot to lose if they accede to actual demands for change. A transformation of the regime into a civilian democratic regime will not be viable for the military, and he will likely try his best to maintain the advantages his class has always enjoyed. In the strategic field, it seems that Tantawi will remain loyal to Egypt's American ally, even though he may have to rethink the totality of the country's commitment in view of the behavior of the U.S. administration toward Mubarak (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs).


ISRAEL LOVES EGYPT. Israelis' love of Egypt has always been a one-way affair, but in the post-Mubarak era, it will be more difficult to sustain the illusion that one day Egypt might smile back. After engaging in a fierce war along the Suez Canal in 1973, Israelis wasted little time when a peace treaty was signed before chucking their uniforms and invading the Nile Valley as tourists. The Israelis fell in love with the unspoiled beaches of the Sinai Peninsula and with the Egyptians themselves, whom they found to be a pleasant people with a wonderful sense of humor. On a national level, though, Egyptians didn't like Israel. President Hosni Mubarak was frequently consulted by Israeli leaders, but they traveled to Cairo. He never came to Israel except for the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin. Israelis do not expect the new regime to sever the peace treaty in the near future. But in the absence of Mubarak, relations are expected to grow steadily colder, with war somewhere down the line a scenario that cannot be dismissed. (Washington Times)


IN POST-MUBARAK EGYPT, THE REBIRTH OF THE ARAB WORLD. The Arab world is dead. Egypt's revolution is trying to revive it. Other than to wait and see what others might do, Arab regimes have no clear and effective approach toward any of the issues vital to their collective future. Long before Tahrir Square, Egypt forfeited any claim to Arab leadership. Al-Jazeera has emerged as a full-fledged political actor because it reflects and articulates popular sentiment. It has become the new Nasser. The leader of the Arab world is a television network. Injecting economic assistance into faltering regimes will not work. The grievance Arab peoples feel is not principally material, and one of its main targets is over-reliance on the outside. U.S. calls for reform will likewise fall flat. A messenger who has backed the status quo for decades is a poor voice for change. Some policymakers in Western capitals have convinced themselves that seizing the moment to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will placate public opinion. This is to engage in both denial and wishful thinking. It ignores that Arabs have become estranged from current peace efforts; they believe that such endeavors reflect a foreign rather than a national agenda. And it presumes that a peace agreement acceptable to the West and to Arab leaders will be acceptable to the Arab public, when in truth, it is more likely to be seen as an unjust imposition and denounced as the liquidation of a cherished cause. (Washington Post)


THE CLAIM FOR RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE: A REASSESSMENT. The term "Jewish state" is sometimes misconceived as implying an aspiration for a Jewish theocracy. Properly understood, however, the claim seeks no more and no less than public recognition of the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in a state of their own. The demand for recognition is no different from the self-determination claims advanced by many other peoples under international law. The claim should also not be seen as an attempt to negate the corresponding Palestinian right to self-determination. Indeed, it is Israel's acceptance of a Palestinian nation-state that justifies parallel Palestinian acknowledgment of the Jewish nation-state. True resolution of the conflict can only come when the legitimacy of Jewish and Palestinian collective rights is acknowledged. An agreement without such recognition betrays a Palestinian unwillingness to ever genuinely bring the conflict to an end. The writer served as senior policy advisor to Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009 (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).


ISRAEL SEEKS REAL, LASTING PEACE. The very fact that Israelis have to spend their nights worrying about what comes tomorrow in a country with which they signed a peace treaty more than 30 years ago shows the danger of relying on unelected dictators in the quest for peace. Israelis had complained about the "cold peace'' they had with Egypt, worried about the poisonous anti-Israel sentiment that President Hosni Mubarak did little to stop in his country. The standard reply was that "cold peace" is better than "hot war." No question about that. But the anti-Israel conspiracy theories that wafted in the winding alleys of Arab bazaars came with the encouragement of dictators throughout the Middle East, who needed, as every dictator knows, an external enemy to keep them in power. The dark sentiment raised the danger that any relationship Israel developed with an Arab country could collapse the day the hated dictator fell. And everyone knew that sooner or later the people would say "Enough!" to the despots ruling over them. Israel needs to build a new relationship on more solid ground; not peace with one man or one regime, but real, lasting, peace with an Arab country and with its people. (DAILY ALERT - Miami Herald)


WHY DOES THE DEVIL LIKE SO MUCH WHAT IS GOING ON IN EGYPT? (part 5) By Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Centre. I Prof. Mark Gabriel, former lecturer of Islamic history, in his book "Islam and the Jews" pages 141 and 142: The Muslim Brotherhood told the people: "Arabs/Muslims, you cannot win this battle between you and the Jews without Islam. Islam must rule your battle against Israel. Your military forces were defeated because they were secular. You were just fighting for land; it is a fight between Islam and Judaism." Let me explain three key points they were making. The Muslim Brotherhood said: The leadership and government of Muslim countries were secular because they were not based on Islamic principles alone. The governments had Western influences, such as European legal practices and non-Islamic ways of education. The print media were also not submitted to Islam. They were publishing articles about sex and Hollywood movies and on Islamic issues. The Brotherhood believed these things damaged the new Muslim generation, taking them far from Islam. Because of the secular leadership, the Muslim countries were losing their fight against Israel. It was not a fight for land. It was a fight to defend the religion of Islam against the religion of Judaism. One hardly hears an outcry from those so busy causing the downfall of a cancer-ridden president who, however dictatorial in his ways, at least had the courage to do what few of his Muslim colleagues in the Middle East were willing to do: to show friendship to the unloved state of Israel and stand with the West against the ever-encroaching danger of a fanatical Islamic takeover of the entire Middle East! Small wonder the Evil One is happy! (Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Centre, Jerusalem).


WHY DOES THE DEVIL LIKE SO MUCH WHAT IS GOING ON IN EGYPT? (part 4) By Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Centre. I Prof. Phyllis Chesler states: According to a June 2010 Pew opinion survey, here are some of the views from the Cairo Arab Street: Fifty nine percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics....Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves...84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion...When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version. Then in answer to an article by Michael Lerner, a fellow Jew she continues: Brother: How can you write this without also writing about Hamas' stated intention to genocidally exterminate Jews and Israel or Hamas' tyrannical uber-Pharaoh-like reign of tyranny over their own people? How can you blame Israel for Mubarak's consistent "jailing and torturing of its opponents" (which I also certainly condemn) without blaming Hamas for exactly the same kinds of torture and murder of its opponents? How can you remain silent about the female genital mutilation which is practiced on 96 percent of Egyptian women or on the honor murders, forced veiling, arranged marriage, polygamy, etc. that characterizes Islamic gender apartheid in the disputed territories and in Egypt-as practiced by the very people you are busy idealizing, when in fact it was Mubarak who, unsuccessfully, banned and actually tried to eliminate some of these barbaric practices. How can you still retain your illusions/delusions about who Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood really are, namely, totalitarian theocratic fundamentalists, practitioners of both religious and gender apartheid, and barbaric misogynists who wish to rule the world in a new Caliphate? Really, how can you overlook and not even mention the mistreatment of women in Egypt, Gaza, and on the West Bank, not to mention in Iran-which is the state entity calling many of the shots in the Arab world? (Arutz Sheva, 03.02.2011)


WHY DOES THE DEVIL LIKE SO MUCH WHAT IS GOING ON IN EGYPT? (part 2) By Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Centre. I So, when a dictator is a leftist-Marxist or an Islamic radical, then there is understanding and even a willingness to consider him a partner for dialogue! Not so when a dictator is friendly to Israel and the West. Such must be unseated, and quickly, as long as his replacement will be a worse dictator! Thus did Adolf Hitler enter the stage on the hurt feelings of the German masses, initially through democratic ways. Likewise did the Ayatollah Khomeini (and now Ahmadinejad) come in on the waves of widespread anti-Shah sentiment and demonstrations. And thus did he become a far worse and more cruel dictator than the Shah, who was pro-West and a friend of the Jewish State. Is this what the Evil One is so happy about? Finally - in Egypt of all places - he will have an Islam-inspired despot who will unite radicalized Muslims from Erdogan's Turkey to Ahmadinejad's Iran, from Hizbollah-run Lebanon to Hamas-run Gaza and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Egypt. These, together with Syria eagerly joining the throng in the next devastating war against Israel, leaving poor Jordan and powerless Abu Mazen with no choice but to sever all relations with little Israel to the detriment of all hopes for peace at this present time? We have seen it before: The terrifying Hitler coming to power on the wave of anti-Semitic and anti-allied forces sentiments of his own people, who felt humiliated by their defeat at the hands of French and British forces. The evil regimes of Lenin, Stalin and Mao, responsible for tens of millions of murders of their own people, coming to power on the popular wave of anti-Tsar and anti-Chinese Emperor revolts, together costing the lives of more than 90 million people. This can be explained by the lefist elite that runs the show in the West, even the hypocrisy of the Hitler-like tyrant Ahmadinejad, who is actively preparing to do away with those Jewish people now living in Israel, who survived his predecessor.


WHY DOES THE DEVIL LIKE SO MUCH WHAT IS GOING ON IN EGYPT? (part 1) By Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of the International Christian Zionist Centre. I know. I know. For many this will be an unacceptable heading for an article on the - widely considered 'spontaneous' - explosion of hatred or anger against their own dictatorial leader, Hosni Mubarak, by so many in Egypt. And yet I am compelled to make it in order to get those who have too quickly gone along with the worldwide acclaim and sympathy for these Egyptian protestors to think twice before they finally make up their mind and determine their response. Among the many of those who in their countries openly supported these mass demonstrations in Egypt were those of the kind who in times past demonstrated no repugnance for dictators like Mao, Che Guevara, Lenin or even Khomeini; as long as they were anti-America and anti-Israel. Yet these people suddenly became enchanted with democracy when it expressed disgust at pro-Western and pro-Israel governments. To read, for instance, that the Hitler-like arch dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad voiced his sympathy for the Egyptian masses' democratic explosion against their own president is to bear witness to the height of hypocrisy. Certainly it makes one wary. If Ahmadinejad is so supportive of these demonstrations we should be hearing alarm bells going off! Where - where was the comparable international outcry in support of the greatly courageous mass protesters in Teheran and other Iranian cities, when after June 2009 they sought to be liberated from their horrible, West and Israel-hating dictator? Where were the Marxist and Islamic organizations then - those now in the forefront of the battle against Mubarak?


ISRAEL’S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH. Until a decade ago, every Israeli government was committed to a security doctrine that precluded the establishment of potential bases of terrorism on Israel's borders. That doctrine has since unraveled. In May 2000, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon led to the formation of a Hizbullah-dominated region on Israel's northern border. Then, in August 2005, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza led to the rise of Hamas on Israel's southern border. As a result, two enclaves controlled by Islamist movements now possess the ability to launch missile attacks against any population centre in Israel. And Iran, through its proxies, is now effectively pressing against Israel's borders. For Israel's policymakers, the nightmare scenario of the recent Egyptian upheaval is that Islamists will eventually assume control as the clerics did in Iran. Such a turn of events would bring to power an anti-Semitic movement that is committed to ending Egypt's peace treaty with the Jewish state. "This could be the beginning of a 1948 moment," a senior Israeli official told me, meaning that Israel could eventually face a multifront war against overwhelming odds. Even a relatively more benign outcome - such as the Turkish model - would mean the end of Israel's sense of security along its long southern border. And this will certainly adversely affect the Israeli public's willingness to relinquish the West Bank anytime soon. With peace with Egypt suddenly in doubt, Israelis are wondering about the wisdom of risking further withdrawals for agreements that could be abrogated with a change of regime. (Foreign Affairs)


IT’S NEVER BEEN ABOUT PALESTINE. Recent events in the Middle East reveal a truth that can no longer be denied: Israel is a sideshow, not the root cause of the region's tempestuousness. The problem for the overwhelming majority of countries in the Middle East has been an excess of stability - the result of sclerotic regimes of preposterously long duration. Mubarak has been in power since 1981, as part of a movement in charge of Egypt for nearly 60 years. The al-Saud family has run Saudi Arabia since 1903; the al-Sabahs have been Kuwait's poohbahs since 1913. The Jordanian royal family has held sway for eight decades; the Assads, father and son, have bossed Syria since 1970. There's little reason to feel optimistic that the new regimes will be friendlier toward Israel and good reason to fear their ideological predilections may pose a renewed threat (DAILY ALERT - New York Post)


ISRAEL ON SHIFTING SANDS. As the world watches the unpredictable turmoil in Egypt, no country is paying closer attention than Israel. The peace treaty between the two states is the most important result of 40 years of negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is still the cornerstone of any lasting settlement to this dispute. Is Israel going to be once again isolated and friendless in a hostile Middle East? If a radical regime emerges in Egypt that repudiates the peace treaty, supports violence by Hamas or in other ways threatens Israel's security, the Obama administration will likely draw closer to Israel in response to majority sentiment and the political winds. The consolidation of a reasonably moderate and democratic government in Egypt, the cultural capital of the Arab world, could put the region, and the world, on the road to a more durable peace. A radical victory could drive a wedge not only between Israel and the Arab world, but deepen the divide between the West and the whole Islamic world. (DAILY ALERT - Politico)


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Updated: 30. december 2011 08:04:18.