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November 12, 2009

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In-Depth Issues:

The Meaning of the U.S.-Israel Juniper Cobra Military Exercise - Fikret Ertan (Today's Zaman-Turkey)
    It is widely assumed by military circles that in the event of air strikes by either the U.S. or Israel or both against Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities, Iran will respond by firing its medium-range ballistic missiles. In fact, over the years many Iranian officials have threatened to do just that.
    The U.S. and Israel have been preparing against this eventuality. They have just completed a two-week anti-missile exercise called Juniper Cobra. Israeli public radio called the exercise preparations for a face-off with Iran.
    While U.S. officials were extremely careful not to mention Iran with regard to the exercise, no Israeli military official has shied away from mentioning that scenarios involving Iran form a substantial portion of the exercise.
    The exercise was the third and largest joint exercise ever held by the two countries, with 17 U.S. ships and 1,000 U.S. personnel, matched by the same number of Israeli personnel.
    They tested all the components of the joint anti-missile systems, namely the U.S.'s THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), which incorporates Patriot-3 missiles, ship-based Aegis interceptors, X-band radars, and the Israeli Arrow anti-missile system.
    According to one expert, with the X-band system at work and connected to the U.S. system, a missile intercept would take place over Iran or a neighboring state and not over Israel, which would give Israel a significant strategic advantage over potential Iranian missiles.

Useful Reference:

Video: Watch Amb. Dore Gold's Presentation at Brandeis on the UN Report (Jerusalem Center)

Brazil to Buy Israeli Drones from Israel - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Israel Aerospace Industries on Wednesday signed a $350 million contract to supply drones to Brazil police.
    Brazil intends to use the drones to oversee its borders and to prevent arms smuggling.

Israel Records First Trade Surplus in Years - Alisa Odenheimer (Bloomberg-Jerusalem Post)
    Israel in October posted its first monthly trade surplus in years as exports rose 5.4%, while imports fell 25%.

Egyptian Cleric: "The Muslims Will Kill the Jews - Be Patient" (MEMRI)
    Egyptian cleric Amin Al-Ansari told Al-Rahma TV on Oct. 12: "God has filled people's hearts with loathing for these [Jews]....The Prophet Muhammad said that when Judgment Day draws near, the final war between the Muslims and the Jews will take place. The Prophet said that the Muslims would kill the Jews....Be patient."
    On Jan. 27, Amin Al-Ansari appeared on Al-Rahma TV to show footage of torture and killing of Jews in Nazi concentration camps, stating, "This is what we hope will happen, but, Allah willing, at the hand of the Muslims."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Keeps Pressure on Abbas After Netanyahu Visit - Jeffrey Heller
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's low-profile White House visit on Monday, widely portrayed as frosty, in fact broke the ice in his relations with President Obama, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday. And since the meeting, Washington has been keeping the pressure on Palestinians to resume peace talks without an Israeli settlement freeze first. The low-key nature of the Oval Office visit, Israeli officials said, was partly aimed at not upsetting the Palestinians or undermining Mahmoud Abbas.
        Uzi Arad, Netanyahu's national security adviser, spoke of the change in Washington's tone toward settlements, saying on Wednesday that the U.S. was a "pragmatic nation" that understood and respected Israel's red lines on the issue. Netanyahu's position on settlements is supported by a majority of Israelis and the U.S. recognizes that, Arad told Israel Radio. (Reuters)
  • Netanyahu Meets Sarkozy in Paris - Steven Erlanger
    After meeting for 90 minutes, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and French President Sarkozy announced Wednesday that they had agreed to work toward "immediately reviving the peace process" in the Middle East and discussed international efforts to stop Iran from enriching uranium. (New York Times)
  • Blair Hails Economic Steps in West Bank - Ethan Bronner
    A second Palestinian cellphone company opened on Tuesday, with a planned investment of hundreds of millions of dollars; and a long-closed crossing point between Israel and Jenin in the West Bank opened to limited motor traffic. International envoy Tony Blair said at the ceremony marking the arrival of the Qatari-controlled telephone company Wataniya, "This is a sign of sovereignty and statehood, and it is vital to build on it." Prime Minister Netanyahu had vowed to create the conditions for West Bank economic improvement, and Mr. Blair said Tuesday that the growth had been significant, probably in double digits. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu Asked Obama to Help Restart Talks with PA - Aluf Benn
    Most of Prime Minister Netanyahu's White House meeting with President Obama on Monday centered on the Palestinian issue, according to people Netanyahu briefed after the meeting. Netanyahu asked Obama to convince PA leader Abbas to begin negotiations with him. "The absence of a political process would be deadly for the Palestinians and also for us because that would strengthen Hamas, which in turn would be a victory for Iran," Netanyahu warned.
        Netanyahu told Obama that any final-status deal with the Palestinians will have to include a solution to the danger posed by the introduction of advanced weaponry into the territories. "It can't be that Israel will be left with a piece of paper while arms smuggling goes on," he said. "We must create security arrangements that will prevent the introduction of weapons across the border." "We suffered rockets twice, from Lebanon and from Gaza, and we do not want to suffer them a third time, in much larger doses."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Hizbullah: All of Israel Is Within Rocket Range
    Senior Hizbullah official Mahmoud Kamati boasted to Al-Jazeera on Wednesday that "all the cities and all Israeli military and industrial centers are within Hizbullah's fire range." He warned that if Israel bombed Beirut, Hizbullah would retaliate by bombing Tel Aviv. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • How to Get the Peace Process Going Again - Walter Russell Mead
    The U.S. needs to try getting "out of the box" on Middle East peace. West Bankers might be willing to settle for the two-state solution. But for refugees huddled in miserable camps in Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria, the right of return to an overpopulated, violent, and poor homeland is not very attractive. Nor do Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank look forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of "foreign" Palestinians into their camps.
        Israeli leaders know that even if some Palestinians sign a peace treaty with Israel, violent resistance will continue. Eighty years after partition in Ireland, bombs still sometimes go off in Belfast. Israeli leaders aren't enthusiastic about making territorial concessions that, in the end, won't bring them the kind of security they crave. Many Israelis believe that a two-state solution is desirable in theory, but won't work in practice because there isn't a partner - a Palestinian government that can not only sign the peace but enforce it against the inevitable radicals and extremists that are sure to pop up on the Palestinian side.
        Washington needs to figure out how to make the deal work better for Palestinians. This can't be about land or the right of return. There isn't any more land to divide, and there isn't any room in pre-1967 Israel for the descendants of the Palestinians who fled more than 60 years ago. That ship has sailed. Working with our friends and allies, the U.S. needs to take the lead in developing workable and dignified solutions to the concrete problems Palestinians face as a way to energize the negotiating process and make both sides more willing and able to make the tough choices they both know lie ahead. The writer is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Daily Beast)
  • Israeli Despair for Peace - Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman
    It may not be fashionable, but just for a moment look through the eyes of ordinary Israelis to understand their deep skepticism over demands they make sweeping new concessions for "peace" - on top of those they have already made. After 3,300 rockets were fired from Hamas into Israeli communities during 2008 alone, the IDF belatedly responded with a military operation last winter targeting Hamas' terrorist infrastructure.
        Yet what has been the reaction to Israel's defense against Hamas, whose founding Charter is a blueprint for wiping the Jewish state from the map? The Goldstone Commission Report whose precooked conclusions condemn the Jewish state. Israelis listen carefully to their designated "peace partner" Mahmoud Abbas as he bids up Palestinian extremists to see who can scream loudest demanding Israel's leaders be tried as "war criminals" by the International Criminal Court in the Hague - and this after a military operation that freed Fatah prisoners from probable execution in Hamas' torture chambers. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Center. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Silent in the Face of UN Israel-Bashers - Editorial
    The U.S. stood disgracefully silent last week as the UN General Assembly debated a resolution endorsing the stacked investigation that accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity in the Gaza conflict. No exercise of American moral authority took place during the debate. The Goldstone report was not merely "deeply flawed" or "excessively negative" or filled with "overreaching recommendations," as the U.S. said.
        The report, commissioned by the anti-Semitic Human Rights Council, a body populated by the world's worst human rights abusers, was illegitimate at its root, filled with specious assertions of fact and based on constructions of international law never before seen and never to be seen again. In other words, it was a monumental frame-up. The sponsors wanted to find Israel guilty for pursuing Hamas in Gaza after Hamas had fired more than 7,000 rockets into Israel with hardly a peep from the international community. (New York Daily News)
  • Observations:

    The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False Charge of Apartheid - Robbie Sabel (Global Law Forum-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • If Israel's detractors can associate the Jewish movement for self-determination with the Apartheid South African regime, they will have done lasting and maybe irreparable damage. Yet the comparison of Israel to South Africa under white supremist rule has been utterly rejected by those with intimate understanding of the old Apartheid system.
    • Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process. There are Arab parliamentarians, Arab judges including on the Supreme Court, Arab cabinet ministers, Arab heads of hospital departments, Arab university professors, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Service, and very senior Arab police and army officers. Incitement to racism in Israel is a criminal offence, as is discrimination on the basis of race or religion.
    • The accusation is made that the very fact that Israel is considered a Jewish state proves an "Apartheid-like" situation. Yet the accusers have not a word of criticism against the tens of liberal democratic states that have Christian crosses incorporated in their flags, nor against the Muslim states with the half crescent symbol of Islam. For various Arab states to denote themselves as Arab Republics is not objectionable.
    • Zionism is perhaps the only national movement that has received explicit support and endorsement both from the League of Nations and from the United Nations. It was the League of Nations that approved the mandate for Palestine with its ringing endorsement of "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."
    • The real goal behind the Apartheid campaign is the denial of the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the determination that the only status the Jewish population in Israel can hope for is that of a "protected" ethnic minority in an Arab Palestinian state.

      The writer served as Legal Adviser to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1993, and is a visiting Professor of International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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