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November 29, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

Islamic Jihad: If Israel Withdraws to the '67 Borders, We Will Operate from the West Bank to Liberate the Rest of Palestine (MEMRI)
    Abu Ahmad, spokesman of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said that the resistance groups in Gaza have formed a joint headquarters to fully coordinate their military activity.
    He explained that, if another war breaks out, the resistance will not restrain itself and its rockets will reach targets beyond Ashdod and Beersheba.
    He added that the resistance is making serious efforts to transfer its expertise to the West Bank, and that if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, the resistance will operate from the West Bank to free the rest of Palestine.

Bomb Kills Iranian Nuclear Scientist (AP-Washington Post)
    Iran's state TV says separate bomb attacks have killed a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran. Attackers riding on motorcycles attached bombs to the car windows of the scientists as they were driving to their workplaces on Monday.
    One bomb killed Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Tehran University, and wounded his wife. The second blast seriously wounded nuclear physicist Fereidoun Abbasi.

Kidnapped Iranian: We're Making Nukes - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Amir Hoseyn Shirani, an Iranian who worked at a secret nuclear reactor southeast of Isfahan for three years, said in a video aired Saturday on Al-Arabiya that the true goal of the Iranian nuclear program is to develop nuclear weapons.
    "During my time at the facility, I understood that there is a workshop working on enriching uranium for the production of nuclear weapons," Shirani said.
    Shirani was kidnapped a month and a half ago by the Jundullah Sunni separatist group.

Former Ambassador: U.S. Spied on Israel's Washington Embassy - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. broke an Israeli code and tapped the secure phone line in the Israeli Embassy in Washington without Jerusalem's knowledge, former Israeli ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich said in a radio interview Sunday.
    The tap started after his 1993-1996 tenure and was discovered only years later.

Tuesday, Nov. 30 Declared "Buy Israel Day" (JTA)
    Pro-Israel groups are asking supporters to buy Israeli goods on Nov. 30 to counter a boycott on the same day.
    In response to the planned boycott against Ricky's, a New York store that carries West Bank-made Ahava products, StandWithUs and the America-Israel Chambers of Commerce have declared Nov. 30 to be Buy Israeli Goods day, urging members to request Israeli-made products, particularly those targeted by boycotters.

Where's the Gaza Siege? - Roni Shaked (Ynet News)
    "Is this the Gaza we have been hearing about?" asked a Sudanese official who arrived about a month ago on the "Viva Palestina" aid convoy and was quoted by Palestinian news agency Maan.
    "Where is the siege? I don't see it in Gaza. I wish Sudan's residents could live under the conditions of the Gaza siege," he added.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:


  • Iran Has Missiles that Can Reach Western Europe - William J. Broad, James Glanz and David E. Sanger
    Iran obtained 19 advanced missiles from North Korea, according to a cable dated Feb. 24, 2010. The cable is a detailed, highly classified account of a meeting between top Russian officials and an American delegation led by Vann H. Van Diepen, an official with the State Department's nonproliferation division who, as a national intelligence officer several years ago, played a crucial role in the 2007 assessment of Iran's nuclear capacity. The missiles could for the first time give Iran the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or at Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran's development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. (New York Times)
  • Saudi Arabia Urges U.S. Attack on Iran to Stop Nuclear Program - Ian Black and Simon Tisdall
    King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the U.S. to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran. "He told you [Americans] to cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to a report on Abdullah's meeting with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus in April 2008. The leaked U.S. cables also reveal that officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran's nuclear program to be stopped by any means, including military. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Arab States Scorn "Evil" Iran - Ian Black
    Leaked U.S. State Department cables catalogue a litany of complaints from the Saudis and smaller Gulf states, as well as Egypt, Jordan and others, on issues from Tehran's nuclear ambitions, to its involvement in Iraq and support for Hizbullah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas. "You as Persians have no business meddling in Arab matters," Saudi King Abdullah was quoted as telling Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister. Abdullah declared: "May God prevent us from falling victim to their evil. We have had correct relations over the years, but the bottom line is that they cannot be trusted."
        Abu Dhabi's crown prince and deputy commander of the UAE armed forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, referred to Iran as an "existential threat" and even suggested that the U.S. should send in ground forces if air strikes were not enough to "take out" Iranian nuclear targets. The UAE foreign minister is described as viewing "Iran as a huge problem that goes far beyond nuclear capabilities....Iranian support for terrorism is broader than just Hamas and Hizbullah. Iran has influence in Afghanistan, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and Africa."  (Guardian-UK)
  • Saudis Remain Chief Financiers of Al-Qaeda; Qatar "Worst in Region" in Counterterrorism - Scott Shane and Andrew W. Lehren
    Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al-Qaeda, and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the U.S. military, was the "worst in the region" in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable from December 2009. Qatar's security service was "hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the United States and provoking reprisals," the cable said. (New York Times)
  • Iranian Red Crescent Used to Smuggle Spies and Weapons into Lebanon, Other Countries - Ewen MacAskill
    Iran abused the neutrality of the Iranian Red Crescent (IRC) society to smuggle intelligence agents and weapons into other countries, including Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel, according to a well-placed Iranian source who spoke to U.S. diplomats. Among those sent in were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's al-Quds force, a covert group of intelligence officers and special forces chosen to export the Iranian revolution. The source added: "Shipments of medical supplies served also to facilitate weapons shipments." The source said IRC staff in Iran had seen missiles on a plane destined for Lebanon while delivering medical supplies to the airport. The plane was already half full of weapons before the medical supplies arrived. (Guardian-UK)
  • Diplomatic Cables Reveal U.S. Doubts about Turkey's Government
    The leaked diplomatic cables reveal that U.S. diplomats are skeptical about Turkey's dependability as a partner. The leadership in Ankara is depicted as divided and permeated by Islamists. Erdogan's advisers, as well as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, are portrayed as having little understanding of politics beyond Ankara. The Americans are also worried about Davutoglu's alleged neo-Ottoman visions. U.S. diplomats write that Erdogan gets his information almost exclusively from newspapers with close links to Islamists, and has surrounded himself with an "iron ring of sycophantic (but contemptuous) advisors."  (Der Spiegel-Germany)
        See also U.S., Israel Fear "Fundamentalist" Erdogan - Barak Ravid
    A secret cable published Monday details a conversation between U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey and Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy. Both share an assessment of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as a religious "fundamentalist" and a demagogue whose policies are fueled by "hatred." In his cable to the State Department, Jeffrey wrote, "Our discussions with contacts both inside and outside of the Turkish government on Turkey's deteriorating relations with Israel tend to confirm Levy's thesis that Erdogan simply hates Israel."  (Ha'aretz)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:


  • Russia Asked for Israeli Drone Technology in Exchange for Annulment of Missile Deal with Iran
    Moscow asked Israel for advanced drone technology in exchange for canceling a deal to supply Iran with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, in addition to offering Israel $1 billion, according to an official cable published Sunday via WikiLeaks. The cable was sent by U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher after meeting Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Israel Defense Ministry Amos Gilad. Gilad, the document says, emphasized that Israel would not supply Russia with its most advanced technologies because it would quickly end up in China's hands. (Ynet News)
  • Israel Tried to Coordinate Gaza War with Abbas - Barak Ravid
    Israel tried to coordinate the 2009 Gaza war with the Palestinian Authority, classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks said on Sunday, but both the PA and Egypt refused to take over Gaza in case of a Hamas defeat. (Ha'aretz)

    Other News

  • Turkish Foreign Minister: Israel to Disappear as an Independent State - Eli Bardenstein
    "Israel cannot remain an independent state in the long run and a binational state will arise in its place," says Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. His vision is that Turkey will become the dominant force in the region and will also be the sponsor of that binational state. Davutoglu is considered the top ideologist of the ruling AKP party.
        The main idea raised repeatedly by Davutoglu, which he promotes through the media and within the Turkish government, is that an independent Israel in the region is illegitimate and therefore must disappear. This conclusion is based on a deeper belief that Turkey must restore its historical position from the days of the Ottoman empire, which ruled the Middle East for nearly 400 years. Only under these conditions will peace return to the Middle East. (Maariv-Hebrew, 28Nov10)
        See also Erdogan: Turkey "Will Not Be Silent" If Israel Attacks Lebanon or Gaza (Ynet News)
        See also Turkey's Erdogan Wins Libyan Human Rights Prize
    Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan will travel to Libya to receive the Moamer Kadhafi International Prize for Human Rights on Wednesday. (AFP)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • WikiLeaks Doesn't Embarrass Israel - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. government dispatches revealed Sunday by WikiLeaks revealed almost no new details regarding the exchange of messages between Jerusalem and Washington. There is no significant discrepancy between messages delivered to the Israeli press and those delivered to American diplomats. Thus Israel has no reason to be embarrassed by the leak. Israeli officials are portrayed in the U.S. diplomatic cables as trying to convince the Americans that Iran is dangerous and that it does not behoove Washington to supply weapons to Arab states. (Ha'aretz)
  • The World Thinks Like Us about Iran - Sever Plocker
    Iran's nuclearization is not Israeli paranoia. The whole world, and not only Israel, is terrified by the Iranian nuclear threat. It makes all world leaders, from Riyadh to Moscow, lose sleep, and the world expects Israel and the U.S., in this order, to do something to stop "Hitler from Tehran." The main message of two U.S. administrations turned out to be incredibly similar to the main message conveyed by Israeli governments: Iran constitutes the greatest threat to the world's stability. (Ynet News)
  • WikiLeaks Vindicate Israel - Yaakov Katz
    WikiLeaks may have done Israel a service, presenting Arab leaders as more extreme in their remarks than Israeli leaders regarding the danger involved in allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear program. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    Fatah Declares Refusal to Recognize Israel as Jewish State, Opposes Land Swap Formula - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)

    • The Fatah Revolutionary Council concluded its fifth convention in Ramallah over the weekend by declaring its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "The council affirms its rejection of the so-called Jewish state or any other formula that could achieve this goal," said a statement issued by the council.
    • The statement said that the Fatah council was categorically opposed to proposals for a land swap between Israel and the Palestinians.
    • "The council salutes President Mahmoud Abbas for adhering to the basic rights, first and foremost the right of return for Palestinian refugees," the statement said. "Also, the council salutes President Abbas for standing up against pressure aimed at resuming the peace talks without achieving the demands of the Palestinians."
    • Abbas told the Fatah leaders that he ruled out the possibility of returning to the negotiating table without a full cessation of construction in settlements and east Jerusalem.
        See also Press Ignores Fatah's Hard-Line Declarations - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)
    • The vast majority of news outlets have so far refrained from reporting at all on Fatah's hard-line declarations. While news media usually respond quickly and amply to steps taken by Israel that are perceived as potentially detrimental to the peace process, the silent treatment of the Fatah decisions reflects a media norm, in which Palestinian incitement and intransigence is often downplayed or completely ignored.
    • When news reporters and editors fail to give the proper space to revelations of Palestinian extremism and intransigence, they help perpetuate prejudices against Israel. In this case it hurts the peace process by untenably misrepresenting the imperative for compromise by the Palestinian leadership and their public, thereby dooming hopes for negotiated progress.

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