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July 13, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

IDF: Flotilla Passengers Had Guns - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF investigation of the Gaza flotilla operation found that shots were initially fired at the boarding commandos from weapons that the passengers had brought with them.
    A bullet dislodged from the knee of one of the soldiers was of a different caliber than that used by the soldiers.
    In a briefing, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland also described how three commandos were thrown from the upper to the lower deck and were only recovered 40 minutes later, after they were spotted standing wounded on the ship's bow surrounded by activists.
    Other commandos opened fire from above and scared off the passengers, enabling two of the wounded to jump into the water. The third, who was severely wounded, was then rescued.

Israel Sends Burn Specialists to Treat Victims of Congo Oil Blast - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)
    On Monday, the Agency for International Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV, sent four doctors and a nurse from Sheba Medical Center to the eastern Congo to treat dozens of burn victims after an oil tanker explosion killed more than 200 people.

Hizbullah Rocket Victims Sue Al-Jazeera - Bruce Golding (New York Post)
    Dozens of people injured by Hizbullah rocket attacks on Israel sued Al-Jazeera Monday in Manhattan federal court for helping the terrorists aim their deadly missiles.
    The suit says Al-Jazeera journalists "repeatedly and intentionally" transmitted "real-time audiovisual footage" of rocket strikes in Israel during July and August of 2006.
    Broadcasts of the "precise impact locations" allowed Hizbullah to adjust the direction and trajectory of the rockets.

Israeli Border Police Save Palestinian Snake Bite Victim - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Rami Hariziat Hassan, 20, from Rantis in the West Bank, was saved by Israeli Border Police officers after being bitten by a viper on Sunday.
    His friend Raja Talam Va'ada said: "We rushed to a local checkpoint and asked the soldiers for help. They really helped us....He nearly died. He wasn't breathing."
    Border policemen quickly brought in a medic to administer first aid, and an ambulance rushed Hassan to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
    They also ensured that the snake, which had been killed, arrived at the hospital so that doctors would know which anti-venom to use.

Gaza's Smuggling-Tunnel Millionaire - Jon Donnison (BBC News)
    I was sitting on Abu Nafez's lush sprinkler-assisted lawn outside his palatial home in southern Gaza. Set back from the road behind an intricate wrought-iron gate, its mirrored, tinted windows bounced back the setting sun and its style included an alpine-chalet pine-roof.
    He had over 100 employees and was smuggling millions of pounds worth of goods into Gaza. But in just a matter of weeks, he says, 80% of the tunnels have already stopped operating, unable to compete with cheaper, better quality goods now coming in from Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Russia Says Iran Close to Nuclear Weapons
    "Iran is moving closer to possessing the potential which in principle could be used for the creation of nuclear weapons," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting of ambassadors in Moscow on Monday. It is one of the first times Moscow has publicly recognized that Iran might be moving towards a nuclear weapon. (BBC News)
        See also Iran Claims to Have Produced 20 Kg of 20 Percent Enriched Uranium
    "We have produced around 20 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium and we are working to produce the (fuel) plates" which power the reactor, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi told ISNA news agency Sunday. However, Western analysts say Iran does not possess the technology required to convert the enriched uranium into fuel plates. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Israeli Military Finds Flotilla Killings Justified - Ethan Bronner
    An Israeli military investigation led by Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland into the naval takeover of a Gaza-bound flotilla six weeks ago found that it was plagued by errors of planning, intelligence and coordination, but that the killings of nine Turks on board were justified, according to an official summary of the findings released Monday. Investigators faulted the military for not knowing that at least 65 Turkish Islamic militants were on board one of the ships. "The anticipated level of violence used against the [IDF] forces was underestimated," the report's official summary said.
        However, the investigators praised the commandos who rappelled onto the main ship from helicopters, saying that they "operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness." They called the use of live fire justified. (New York Times)
        See also Conclusions of the IDF Investigation (IDF Spokesperson)
  • Germany Bans Turkish Charity for Aiding Hamas - Daniel Schafer
    Germany's interior ministry on Monday banned a Frankfurt-based organization that it accuses of funneling money to Hamas. German authorities raided 29 sites of the International Humanitarian Relief Organization, which is accused of having collected and sent €6.6m to groups close to Hamas. "Under the cover of humanitarian aid, the IHH has been supporting for a long time and with considerable financial resources so-called social groups which have to be seen as connected to Hamas," said Thomas de Maiziere, Germany's interior minister.
        A separate Turkish organization with the acronym IHH led the Gaza flotilla. IHH Turkey and IHH Germany share the same roots, as they were founded as a single group in Freiburg, Germany, in 1992. But the group split in two five years later. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Hizbullah May Be Tunneling Under Israel's Northern Border - Yaakov Katz
    Concerns are mounting that Hizbullah may be digging tunnels from Lebanon to Israel to attack a border community or IDF outpost. In addition, there is concern that Hizbullah will use these tunnels to plant explosives underneath and next to IDF posts. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Mining for Trouble in Lebanon. Is Hizbullah Building Tunnels into Israel? - Lenny Ben-David (Jerusalem Post)
  • New International Investigations Target Israel - Barak Ravid
    Israel is facing what some officials described as a "barrage" of international investigations. An inquiry into the credibility of the Israeli court system was decided on at a March meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as part of its continuing effort to monitor Israel's response to the Goldstone report. Two other international probes are soon set to begin over the Gaza flotilla incident - one appointed by the UN secretary general and the other by the Human Rights Council. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Lawyers File Case Against Israel in Morocco
    A group of lawyers launched a legal bid Monday to have senior Israeli figures arrested if they ever set foot in Morocco over Israel's 2009 Gaza operation. The complaint targets ex-premier Ehud Olmert, ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. (AFP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • U.S. Should Better Define Radical Islamist Threat - Lolita C. Baldor
    The Obama administration's recent move to drop rhetorical references to Islamic radicalism is drawing fire in a new report by counter-terror experts at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The experts argue that the U.S. could clearly articulate the threat from radical Islamic extremists "without denigrating the Islamic religion in any way."
        The critics argue the need for an ideological counterattack, with policies and programs that empower moderate Islamic voices and contest extremist narratives. "There is an ideology that is driving al-Qaeda and its affiliates," said Matt Levitt, one of the authors of the study. (AP)
        See also Fighting the Ideological Battle: The Missing Link in U.S. Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism - J. Scott Carpenter, Matthew Levitt, Steven Simon, and Juan Zarate (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • German Trade with Iran Has Life of Its Own - Borzou Daragahi
    Chancellor Angela Merkel can warn companies all she wants to stop doing business with Iran. Yet commerce between German firms and Iran keeps expanding. In the first four months of 2010, trade between Iran and Germany totaled nearly $1.8 billion, up 20% from the same period last year, according to the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg.
        Germany sold $4.5 billion worth of goods to Iran last year while importing only $600 million. As major firms such as Siemens or Daimler buckle under political pressure and wind down business ties with Iran, their subcontractors and suppliers are making side deals with Iranian companies, experts say. (Los Angeles Times)
  • When Will the Palestinians Prove They're Serious about Peace? - Abby Wisse Schachter
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is still the guy who has to "prove" he's serious about peace. Netanyahu's the one who is asking for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yet it is the Palestinians who, instead of having to explain their reasons for refusing to meet with Israel, continue with their demands.
        Whereas the list of actual concessions delivered by Israel to the Palestinians is long, the evidence that Palestinians are serious about peace with Israel is sparse to non-existent. Israel has ceded territory, Israel has ceded authority, Israel has trained and armed the Palestinians, Israel has allowed rejectionist terrorists to take control of territory that threatens Israel's security. And what have the Palestinians done? Palestinians refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, Palestinians refuse to change their education curriculum to reflect an acceptance of Israel's right to exist, Palestinians create children's television programs that praise the holy war against the Jewish state. (New York Post)
  • Observations:

    The Turkish Ruling Party Indoctrinates a Generation to Hate Israel - Soner Cagaptay (Hurriyet Daily News-Turkey)

    • The Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has promoted the Islamist mindset of "us Muslims" in conflict with "the bad others" through the media and also by spreading Hamas' views throughout Turkey.
    • Recent changes in media ownership in Turkey under the AKP are closely related to the spread of anti-Western sentiments in the country, and media independence in Turkey is increasingly under threat. In December 2005 the AKP took over the Sabah-ATV conglomerate, which represents around 20% of the Turkish media market, selling this conglomerate to a media company of which Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak is the CEO.
    • Turkey's publicly-funded TRT network recently broadcast "Ayrilik," a series with an anti-Israeli stance, including one episode which depicts an imagined situation in the Palestinian territories where a newborn baby is intentionally killed by Israeli soldiers. Younger Turks hate Israel because of images depicted in such shows that they have been seeing for the last seven years and what they'll continue seeing.
    • In addition, in the last three years there have been seven Hamas conferences and fundraisers in Istanbul, organized by NGOs close to the AKP government. The meetings are held in city halls of Istanbul or convention centers under the control of the AKP city government.

      The writer directs the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

          See also Turkey Lost Turkey - Soner Cagaptay
      The ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn't share the dream of a liberal, Western Turkey. It is time to admit that the reason Turkey will not join the EU any time soon is not because of European reservations toward a Muslim country, but because of the Turkish government's reservations toward European values. (Wall Street Journal Europe)

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