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January 20, 2010

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More Videos of Israel's Rescue Mission in Haiti:
    Israeli Field Hospital a Model for Crisis Care - Nancy Snyderman (NBC News)
    Within 48 hours of last week's earthquake, two 747s arrived from Israel, one loaded with medical supplies and the other with personnel, to create the best field medicine available.
    What the Israelis have brought is a model for medical disaster response.
    Israel's Makeshift ICU Saving Lives in Haiti - Geraldo Rivera (FOX News)

    See also Israel Earns Media Accolades for Disaster Efforts - Judy Siegel and Greer Fay Cashman (Jerusalem Post)
    Dr. Jennifer Furin of Harvard Medical School told CNN: "I've been here since Thursday; no one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients....It's like another world here compared to the other hospitals. They have God, they have [scanning] machines here, operating theaters, ventilators, monitoring. It's just amazing."
    Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who was in Haiti, praised the Israeli efforts in an interview broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 television: "I'm profoundly grateful to the Israelis, they're doing a great job."

Gaza Flowers Sold in Europe as Israel Eases Closures - Adel Zaanoun (AFP)
    This season, Israel began allowing flower exports from Gaza in December, and since then more than a million flowers, mostly roses and carnations, have been exported to The Netherlands, where many are then sent on to markets in Russia and Europe.
    "So far it has been working well....There is a regular export taking place," said a Dutch official involved in the export project, adding that roughly three shipments of 150,000 flowers were passing through the crossings each week.
    Said al-Rai, the Palestinian coordinator of the project, said they expect to export 35 million flowers this season.
    Gaza's strawberry growers also resumed exports in January with Agrexco, an Israeli firm that has marketed and distributed Gaza produce to Europe since the 1980s under its "Coral" brand.

UK Students Twin with Hamas' University in Gaza (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    The students' union of the London School of Economics passed a motion to twin with the Islamic University in Gaza, a Hamas political and military-terrorist stronghold attacked by the IDF in the Gaza operation. The decision was initiated by the LSE Students Union Palestine Society.
    The Israeli Air Force attacked the Islamic University's center for weapons research and development where rockets were produced by Hamas to attack Israeli residents.

Useful Reference:

Trends in Palestinian Terrorism 2009 (Israel Security Agency)
    2009 saw a significant decline in attacks from the Palestinian territories. No suicide attacks were executed in 2009.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Rejects Western Nuclear Proposal - George Jahn
    Iran has told the head of the UN nuclear agency that it does not accept an international proposal committing it to quickly export most of the material it would need to make a nuclear warhead, diplomats said Tuesday. Iran has now told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it wants an alternative plan, effectively rejecting the key demand that it agree to a tight timetable in shipping out most of its enriched uranium. "I'm not sure that they've delivered a formal response, but it is clearly an inadequate response," U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • An Israeli Army Trauma Surgeon in Haiti - Catherine Bremer
    Dr. Ofer Merin, an Israeli army trauma surgeon heading a fully equipped hospital brought to Haiti by the Israeli military, said the hardest job was triage - deciding which casualties were most likely to live with quick treatment or most benefit from intensive care without blocking up beds. As Merin takes a break from his around-the-clock schedule to show off the facilities, a skinny 6-year-old girl called Jessica is carried in. Six days after the quake, she has just been dug out of the rubble.
        Set up in green army tents on a soccer field near the airport but equipped to treat even complex injuries, the Israeli military hospital is strangely quiet and scrupulously clean. Patients are identified with bar codes and their progress is tracked on a computer network. Within hours of the surgeons, paramedics, nurses and soldiers landing on Friday, people on makeshift stretchers with crushed, gangrenous limbs were lined up outside for beds in the intensive care, pediatric, orthopedic and other wards. More than 300 patients have been treated and discharged. (Reuters)
  • Israel Likely to Join OECD in 2010 - Gavin Rabinowitz
    Israel is on track to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development this year, OECD secretary general Angel Gurria said Tuesday in Jerusalem after signing a key agreement to push the process forward. "We are probably going to complete (the membership process) in 2010, that's when it was scheduled for," he said. OECD membership represents 60% of global wealth. (AFP)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • PA Pushing for Israeli Building Freeze in Eastern Jerusalem - Herb Keinon
    The Palestinian Authority is pushing Israel to agree to a total construction freeze in both the settlements and eastern Jerusalem of 3-6 months to enable Mahmoud Abbas to return to negotiations without "losing face." This is one idea that U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected to raise during talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday. Netanyahu, who has already declared a 10-month housing-start moratorium in the West Bank, has said he will not agree to any limitations on construction in eastern Jerusalem. "This is not going to happen; it goes against everything Netanyahu says and believes in," one source in the Prime Minister's Office said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Military Intelligence: "Turkey No Longer Needs a Close Relationship with Israel" - Jonathan Lis
    The rift in Israeli-Turkish relations is the result of Ankara turning away from secularism and toward more radical Islam, Israel's military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday. "Turkey no longer needs a close relationship with Israel," he said. "They are currently in the midst of a fundamental process of moving further away from the secular Ataturk approach, closer to a radical approach."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Hundreds of Falashmura from Ethiopia Expected to Arrive in Israel - Yael Branovsky
    82 Falashmura arrived in Israel on Tuesday and 61 more are expected on Wednesday. Some 600 Falashmura are expected during the next few months. The Falashmura community converted to Christianity under pressure in the 19th century. Some 8,000 still in Ethiopia want to emigrate to Israel. (Ynet News/BBC News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Process Will Resume, But Why? - Yossi Alpher
    Israeli-Palestinian final status talks will be renewed because the international community wants this to happen. Mahmoud Abbas, currently the reluctant partner, will bow to American and Arab will once he has extracted maximum preliminary concessions from Israel and the U.S. The real question should be why the U.S. wants negotiations to resume when they are doomed to failure, rather than face up to the strategic realities.
        The first is the three-state reality. There is little near-term prospect that Abbas will succeed in bringing Gaza and Hamas back into the fold of a single Palestinian partner for Israel. Hence he can negotiate only on behalf of the West Bank. The second reality is that, when he does negotiate, Abbas is certain to table a set of demands on issues like refugees, Jerusalem and borders that Netanyahu cannot and will not meet. The third reality is that the Palestinians are currently embarked on a largely unilateral state-building process and that negotiations - particularly frustrating and fruitless negotiations - are not necessary to sustain that process. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. (
  • Israel Is Not Responsible for the "Siege" on Gaza - Avi Tarengo
    According to Amnesty, Gaza has no opening to the world other than the border with Israel. The word "Egypt" is missing. When two weeks ago a "supply convoy" by activists making its way to Gaza was blocked in Egypt, it did not lead to angry articles in the world press. This is in contrast to nonstop worldwide protest about how Israel is supposedly imposing a "siege."
        Whenever Hamas' policy is not to Egypt's liking, Egyptian police tighten the screws, conduct operations to seize goods and the Gaza economy is pressured. The pressure is only removed when Hamas understands the message and aligns itself to Egyptian policy. Thousands of Gazans pass through the Rafah crossing every month when Egypt coordinates this with Hamas. The crossing opens and closes at Egypt's will. How does Amnesty call this phenomenon: "The Israeli Siege on Gaza"? (ShalomLife-Toronto)
  • The UNDP Arab Knowledge Report 2009 - Nimrod Raphaeli
    The UN Development Program's Regional Bureau of Arab States recently published the 2009 Arab Knowledge Report, written by "a select group of thinkers and scholars from all parts of the Arab region." According to the report, talk about political reform is abundant, but not necessarily real. In the Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters without Borders, not a single Arab country receives a "good" rating. In the Democracy Index published by the London Economist, most Arab countries, with the exception of Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories, were ranked low. In the 2009 report of Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, 17 of the 22 Arab countries scored less than 5 (on a scale of 0 to 10). In the Economic Freedom Index issued by the Heritage Foundation, not one Arab country was ranked among the "free" countries. (MEMRI)
  • Observations:

    Curbing the Manipulation of Universal Jurisdiction - Diane Morrison and Justus Reid Weiner (Global Law Forum-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The principle of universal jurisdiction has been, and continues to be, an important tool in the legal practitioner's tool box and an essential means for achieving justice for international crimes. Unfortunately, the principle has also become a political device employed for far more cynical means and far less noble purposes.
    • In the early 1960s, Israel was one of the first states to invoke the principle of universal jurisdiction in its groundbreaking trial against Adolf Eichmann, the "architect of the Holocaust."
    • The abuse of the principle is not limited to attempts to delegitimize Israel. It has also been misused against U.S. officials, including former U.S. President George W. Bush. It was misused in both Germany and France against former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and in Spain against former White House staffers. Similarly, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has been the subject of a record number of petitions against him in the International Criminal Court.
    • These universal jurisdiction claims interfere broadly with international diplomatic affairs and international business, constitute a publicity coup for those instituting the claims (regardless of the outcome), drain legal resources, and mire truly lofty principles in political opportunism.
    • Henry Kissinger wrote in Foreign Affairs in 2001: "Any universal system should contain procedures not only to punish the wicked but also to constrain the righteous. It must not allow legal principles to be used as weapons to settle political scores."

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