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PA Says Palestine Includes All of Israel - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
The PA internally in Arabic continues to deny Israel's existence and to present a world without Israel.
The PA transmits the message to its people that it does not recognize Israel's existence, describing all Israeli land, cities and regions as "Palestinian."
In recent programs on PA TV, the Israeli city of Tiberias was said to be "in northern Palestine," while the area of "Palestine" is said to be 27,000 sq. km., though the West Bank and Gaza together are only about 6,000 sq. km. The larger figure includes all of Israel.
Everyone Scared of Syria - Alex Fishman (Ynet News)
Since the early 1980s, the Syrian regime murdered, methodically, more than 30 Lebanese leaders and public figures. Anyone who threatened Syria's position in Lebanon was removed.
Leading figures in prominent families were assassinated, as were religious leaders, security officials, and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Hizbullah members murdered Hariri, yet they served as mercenaries on behalf of the Syrian regime. The Americans know this; European spy agencies know this.
Jordanians Play Active Role in al-Qaeda - Jamal Halaby (AP-Washington Post)
A prominent Jordanian-Palestinian militant recently killed in Afghanistan, Haitham Mohammed al-Khayat, 26, better known as Abu Kandahar al-Zarqawi, was an administrator of the online jihadi forum Al-Hesbah.
He was among eight Jordanians killed or arrested in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen over recent weeks, highlighting the active role Jordanian militants play in the al-Qaeda terror network.
Al-Khayat was an associate of the Jordanian-born doctor who blew himself up in a CIA outpost in eastern Afghanistan a year ago, killing seven CIA employees.
Israeli Companies Outsourcing to Palestinians - Daniel Estrin (AP-Washington Post)
In the past three years, a small but steady trickle of Israeli technology companies have been partnering with Palestinian engineers and programmers. They are cheaper, ambitious, and work in the same time zone.
Gai Anbar, chief executive of Comply, an Israeli start-up that develops software for global pharmaceutical companies, previously worked with engineers in India and eastern Europe, but found communication difficult. So in 2007 he turned to Palestinian engineers. Today, Comply employs four Palestinians.
About 10 Israeli start-ups and international companies with centers in Israel have been outsourcing to the West Bank in the past three years, said Tova Scherr of Mercy Corps, an international aid group working to encourage these ventures.
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- Iran Recruiting Nuclear Scientists for Weapons Program - Damien McElroy
Iran is operating a worldwide recruitment network for nuclear scientists to lure them to the country to work on its nuclear weapons program. The country is particularly reliant on North Korean scientists but also recruits people with expertise from African countries to work on developing missiles and nuclear production.
Mohamed Reza Heydari, a former Iranian consul in Oslo, told the Daily Telegraph that he had personally helped scores of North Koreans enter the country while working for the foreign ministry's office at Tehran airport. "We had the instructions to forego any visa and passport inspections for Palestinians belonging to Hamas and North Korean military and engineering staff who visit Iran on a regular basis." "The North Koreans were all technicians and military experts involved in two aspects of Iran's nuclear program. One to enable Iran to achieve nuclear bomb capability, and the other to help increase the range of Iran's ballistic missiles." "The facade of the nuclear program is that it is for peaceful purposes, but behind it they have a completely different agenda."
A Western official said there were indications that Iran was developing North Korea standard centrifuges - which are larger and better engineered - at secret sites not declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
- Israel Warns Gaza Missiles Could Provoke New Offensive Against Militants - Joshua Mitnick
On Monday and Tuesday, 15 mortars or rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. On Wednesday, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor warned in an interview with Israeli Army Radio that continued rocket fire could prompt Israel to launch a new operation to quell the fresh round of missile attacks.
(Christian Science Monitor)
See also UN Condemns Gaza Militants over Rocket Attacks - Douglas Hamilton
The UN on Wednesday sharply condemned a rise in cross-border attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza, a day after a rocket exploded close to an Israeli kindergarten.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said rocket strikes from Gaza at Israel were "in clear violation of international humanitarian law" and endangered civilians. The UN envoy commented on the Israeli air strikes launched in response, saying Israel had "a right to self-defense consistent with international humanitarian law." (Reuters)
- After Freeze, Settlement Building Booms in West Bank - Ethan Bronner
In the three months since Israel ended its settlement construction freeze in the West Bank, a building boom has begun.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, said the building is only in existing settlements and the government had not expropriated more land for settlements. The construction going on now, he said, "will not in any way change the final map of peace."
Elie Isaacson, a spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, said the municipality did not build for either Jews or Palestinians specifically, because that would be discriminatory. "We see it as our job to take care of all residents of Jerusalem, east and west, and dividing the building by race is both illegal and immoral." (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu Insists on Clear Understanding of Security Issues - Herb Keinon
U.S. National Security Council senior Middle East adviser Dan Shapiro and David Hale, a top adviser to U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, met Prime Minister Netanyahu's envoy Yitzhak Molcho in Jerusalem on Monday. One Israeli official explained that while Netanyahu is not opposed to discussing borders, he is unwilling to do so in a vacuum "without first having a clear understanding of security issues, and the character of a future Palestinian state."
Netanyahu wants to "first discuss the security map," the official said, adding that it is impossible to discuss the contours of a border without first knowing whether a future Palestinian state "will be demilitarized, and how that will be achieved." It is also necessary first to see whether this state will recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state and whether it will consider that an agreement with Israel will put an end to the conflict, "with no more demands," the official said. (Jerusalem Post)
- Israel to Allow Palestinians to Export from Gaza - Yaakov Katz
Despite the escalation in Palestinian attacks from Gaza, Israel's security cabinet has decided to ease restrictions to allow the export of goods from Gaza beginning next Sunday. The first export will be peppers, which will be transferred via the Kerem Shalom crossing to Ashdod Port where they will be shipped to Europe for sale. In addition to produce, Palestinians will be allowed to export furniture and textiles.
- No Fanciful Thinking in Mideast Negotiations - Elliot Bartky and Allon Friedman
For the U.S. to succeed in its efforts
to secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians, four fundamental misconceptions must be overcome.
The first is that the Palestinian leadership and society have, over time, genuinely moderated their views about Israel. Even a cursory review of Palestinian media, schools, and mosques reveals that hateful anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement continues unabated. Palestinian attempts to erase millennia-old Jewish links to the Land of Israel are incessant.
Misconception No. 2 is the "land for peace" fallacy, where Israel is expected to swap land for peace agreements. Israel has proven again and again a commitment to take enormous risks for peace, including giving up precious buffer territory captured in defensive wars, only to find its citizens being subject to terror and missile fire by Iranian-backed, jihadi groups Hizbullah and Hamas.
Misconception No. 3 involves the presumption that Abbas and his government can actually negotiate on behalf of all Palestinians, when Hamas and Fatah are currently at war with each other.
The fourth misconception involves acting as if the Arab-Israeli conflict is the number one priority in the region. It is only one of many conflicts in the Middle East and, as WikiLeaks documents reveal, even Arab leaders who curse Israel publicly are in private worried primarily about the threat of a nuclear Iran and its hegemonic ambitions. Bartky is president and Friedman a board member of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana.
- Should Jonathan Pollard Be Pardoned? - Jennifer Rubin
In Israel, there is widespread sentiment in favor of releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who has been imprisoned for 25 years. Israelis, while not enamored of Pollard, think he's been given a raw deal. A Democratic foreign policy hand tells me, "It has become clear in recent years that [former U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger and others blamed Pollard for heinous and treasonous acts of betrayal that far exceeded what he was actually guilty of, and what, we now know, were the acts of the traitors [Robert] Hanssen and [Aldrich] Aimes." His point isn't that Pollard shouldn't have been severely punished. Rather, he argues that Pollard has "served four times the length of time typical of someone who has spied for an ally." (Washington Post)
See also Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey Calls to Commute Pollard's Sentence to Time Served - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
- Mapping the Organizational Sources of the Global Delegitimization Campaign against Israel in the UK - Ehud Rosen
By taking advantage of Britain's political freedoms and legal system, Islamic and leftist groups have made Britain the leader of an international effort to deny Israel's right to exist. This campaign is rooted in a network that includes rather strange bedfellows: hard-line
Islamists, mainly led by Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters, along with far-left
socialists. For many years Britain has been a stronghold of the Brotherhood; its
main publications, as well as the main publications of its Palestinian branch, Hamas, have
been issued there, instead of in locales such as Cairo or Amman where doing so would be
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The UN and the Mideast - Daniel Mandel (New York Times)
- In "A UN Plan for Israel" (New York Times, Dec. 14), Robert Wright says, "The United Nations created a Jewish state six decades ago, and it can create a Palestinian state now." But it cannot and would be well advised not to try.
- First, the UN didn't "create" Israel - sovereignty was asserted by its provisional government at the termination of British authority in the territory - nor was the 1947 General Assembly partition resolution even legally binding. It would have been, had both Jews and Arabs accepted it, but Arabs did not. Had Arab arms prevailed over the Jewish forces, there would have been no Israel, regardless of UN resolutions.
- Second, despite the importance of that resolution in changing the conditions surrounding Israel's emergence, the UN came onto a scene that Britain, the governing power, was vacating. In short, it filled a vacuum. There is no such vacuum today.
- Third, this idea suffers from the flawed tendency to believe that creating a Palestinian state will produce peace. Yet no perusal of Palestinian sermons, statements or publications suggests that Palestinians accept the idea of a peaceful state alongside Israel. If a Palestinian state won't bring peace, why create it?
- A U.S. policy that devises carrots and sticks to induce Palestinians to relinquish their war on Israel's continued existence provides the best basis for future, fruitful negotiations.
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