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June 10, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Russia to Freeze Iran Missile Deal (Reuters)
    Russia will freeze a contract to sell S-300 missile systems to Iran after the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Interfax news agency reported.
    "Naturally, the contract to deliver S-300 missile systems will be frozen," said a source in Russia's arms industry.

Why Didn't Israel Know the Intentions of the Flotilla Attackers? - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    Why didn't Israel know of the passengers' identity, organizational affiliations, and intentions on the Mavi Marmara?
    "Turkey has never been included in [our] intelligence coverage," says Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilad, former head of the research arm of Military Intelligence.
    Israel's intelligence community does not operate against friendly nations with whose intelligence organizations it cooperates and exchanges information.
    But even cooperation has its limits. The Turkish MIT intelligence service may supply information about terrorists or radical groups operating within that country's borders, but it's doubtful that it will supply detailed information about activists who are its own citizens.

Poll: 78% of Israelis View Turkey as Enemy State (AFP)
    78% of Jewish Israelis now view Turkey as an enemy nation, according to a poll published Thursday by the Yisrael Hayom daily.
    Only 13% favor an international inquiry into the flotilla raid, while 71% prefer an internal Israeli inquiry.
    91% believe Israel should stop future flotillas trying to breach the Gaza blockade.

Hamas Cash Flow Crisis in Gaza Ends (World Tribune)
    Hamas paid its 30,000 civil servants their full salaries for May, on time, for the first time in more than three months.
    "Money was smuggled to the Gaza Strip, probably through visitors," a source said.

OAS Rejects Israel Condemnation (JTA)
    The Organization of American States rejected a resolution criticizing Israel for the Gaza flotilla raid.
    The resolution at the annual OAS general assembly in Lima, Peru, was proposed Monday by Ecuador. Only 10 of the 33 OAS foreign ministers voted in favor.

Egypt Bars Israeli Professor from Academic Convention - Ahiya Raved (Ynet News)
    The rector of the University of Haifa, Professor Yossi Ben-Artzi, was denied a visa by Egypt to attend a convention in Alexandria of the Euro-Mediterranean University, which brings together 120 academic institutions.
    Professor Ben-Artzi is among the founders of the Peace Now movement.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • UN Adopts New Sanctions on Iran - Neil MacFarquhar
    The UN Security Council leveled its fourth round of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program on Wednesday, but the measures did little to overcome widespread doubts that they - or even the additional steps pledged by American and European officials - would halt Iran's production of nuclear fuel. Twelve nations voted for the measure, Turkey and Brazil voted against it, and Lebanon abstained. The main thrust of the sanctions is against military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program. (New York Times)
        See also Text of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 (United Nations)
  • Obama Meets Abbas, Pledges More Aid
    After a meeting at the White House on Wednesday with Mahmoud Abbas, President Obama said: "There is a lot of work that remains to be done so that we can create a two-state solution in the Middle East in which we have an Israel that is secure and fully accepted by its neighbors, and a Palestinian people that have their own state, self-determination, and the ability to chart their own destiny."
        "We agree that Israelis have the right to prevent arms from entering into Gaza that can be used to launch attacks into Israeli territory. But we also think that it is important for us to explore new mechanisms so that we can have goods and services, and economic development...within Gaza....In the meantime, the United States - which is already the biggest humanitarian aid donor in Gaza - is going to be announcing an additional $400 million in assistance."  (White House)
  • U.S.: Hamas Responsible for Gaza Situation
    State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said Wednesday: "We have offered Hamas a spot at the table many, many times if Hamas will agree to very straightforward conditions - recognize Israel, recognize existing agreements, and give up violence against Israel. Those are not complex demands."
        "There are two stories here. There's a compelling and urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza. And there is a growing economy and a relatively stable situation that is improving every day in the West Bank. What is the difference between those two? It's not the difference of Palestinians who live in the West Bank Gaza. It is the nature of the government that is currently ruling in the West Bank and was part of a unified government until Hamas changed the situation on the ground in Gaza. So let's put the responsibility where it clearly lies. It is Hamas' unwillingness to come to the table, to be a constructive force, to meet the international community or the Quartet's clear, straightforward conditions and play a constructive role in the region. That opportunity is available to Hamas. But because Hamas chooses, rather than serving the needs of its people, to fire rockets at Israel, that's the reason why you have the current situation in Gaza."  (State Department)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu: Flotilla Inquiry Will Probe Activists as Well as IDF - Barak Ravid
    Israel's inquiry into the flotilla raid will examine how "extremists" were able to board the convoy, as well as Israel's actions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. "We have to establish who stood behind this extremist group, who financed its members, and how knives, axes and other weapons were brought aboard," Netanyahu said. "We also need to ask what large sums of money found aboard the boats were doing there, and for whom they were intended," he added. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Pardons More Fatah Terrorists - Ali Waked
    Palestinian sources reported Tuesday that Israel has pardoned 73 wanted members of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. 13 were given full amnesty and the other 60 were given conditional amnesty. The most prominent is Kamel Ghanam, a senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander in the Ramallah area, who had been wanted by Israel since 2003 and hid in Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. The new list of pardoned men was seen as an Israeli gesture to the PA. (Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Iran Sanction Vote: A U.S. Diplomatic Triumph? - Jackson Diehl
    The sanctions don't touch Iran's gasoline or its domestic energy sector. They will allow China to continue developing three large oil fields as well as oil refineries that will eliminate Iran's need for gasoline imports. They will permit Russia to switch on the Busheir nuclear plant this summer. The sanctions came six months later than the U.S. wanted. During that time Iran's centrifuges have enriched more than 2,000 pounds of uranium.
        Ahmadinejad is getting stronger at home, as well. A few months ago he and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei were fighting with the opposition Green movement for control of the streets of Tehran and other major cities. Now, with the anniversary of the fraudulent election that touched off that rebellion approaching this Saturday, the streets are quiet. For now, at least, the Green movement has been quelled. (Washington Post)
        See also New Sanctions Fail to Impose Serious Costs on Iran - Paul Koring
    "These are not the crippling sanctions that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had promised about a year ago," said James Lindsay, senior vice-president of the Council on Foreign Relations. "China and Russia insisted that the resolution contain nothing that would impose broad costs on the Iranian economy - or damage Chinese and Russian commercial interests." The sanctions leave untouched the $100 billion in annual oil exports that underpin Iran's Islamic regime and pay for its nuclear program, which Washington says is an ill-disguised effort to acquire nuclear weapons. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also What U.S. Paid for Iran Sanctions - Benny Avni (New York Post)
  • Erdogan and the Israel Card - Steven J. Rosen
    Last year, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan defended Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for killing half a million Sudanese Christians and non-Arab Muslims. In March 2010, he denied that Turks ever killed Armenian civilians. He said the Turkish military garrison stationed in Cyprus since 1974 is "not an occupier" but "[ensures] the peace." On tens of thousands of Kurds killed by Turkish security forces from 1984 to 1999, he says nothing.
        Could it be that there is something more to Erdogan's rage against Israel? Turkish elections, 13 months away, hold the answer. Backing for Erdogan's party has fallen to 29%, the lowest level since it won power in 2002 and far below the 47% it scored in July 2007. So Erdogan decided to play the Israel card.
        In the 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey, 73% of Turks rated their opinions of Jews as "negative." Meanwhile, 68% of Turks rated their opinions of Christians as "negative." A 2010 BBC poll found negative views of the U.S. among 70% of Turks. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Change in Tehran's Propaganda War Against Israel - Amir Taheri
    Over the past three years, Iran's Khomeinist regime has portrayed Israel as a waning power, a small and vulnerable enclave that, having lost the support of its powerful protector, the U.S., is facing the might of a resurgent Muslim world under Tehran's leadership. This message is pumped out through Iranian satellite television stations, and in scores of magazines and books that are freely distributed throughout the Muslim world. Muslim opinion-formers are regularly invited to Iran for seminars on the pan-Islamic campaign to accelerate "the inevitable end of Israel," a phrase repeatedly used by Iran's official media.
        To underline this new image of Israel, the Tehran propaganda machine has replaced footage of poor Palestinians crushed by "Zionists" with that of the growing arsenal of rockets that Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza have built up for what President Ahmadinejad calls "the final assault on the Zionist state." The Jew, previously depicted as aggressive and domineering, is presented as cowardly. (Times-UK)
  • Observations:

    Why Israel Ignores Criticism of Gaza Flotilla Raid - Joshua Mitnick (Christian Science Monitor)

    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's complaint of an "international offensive of hypocrisy" against Israel has been echoed by political rivals and many ordinary Israelis. "When the world confuses a jihadist lynch mob for peace activists, Israelis nod their head and say, 'We recognize this as a Jewish moment,'" says Yossi Klein Halevi, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
    • "Almost every Israeli, regardless of the way they feel about the operation, knows that this [flotilla raid] is not a moral failing of Israel," he says. "And yet Israelis see the world entering a spasm of moral outrage that we don't see being expressed over Darfur."
    • "The more Israelis sense they are being unfairly judged, and being held to a standard no country is being held to, the more Israelis freeze up."
    • In a poll of Israeli Jews after the flotilla raid, 61% said Israel should not adjust its tactics to curry favor with the international community. 85% said Israel either did not use enough force or used the right amount of force.
    • Israeli resentment is most acute toward the United Nations. "There has been a structural problem in the UN for many years which leads to situations where Israel is put in the chair of the accused for alleged crimes which it never committed, while countries which are involved in massive human rights abuses are never cited," says Dore Gold, a former Israeli UN Ambassador. "I don't think one has to be exasperated about what the international community says. Israel has to make its case," he says.

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