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Poll: Palestinians Oppose Compromise on Core Issues (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
A joint survey conducted by the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah found that a majority of Palestinians oppose compromise on key core issues.
57% of Palestinians oppose a settlement in which Palestinian refugees would be given choices for permanent residency including inside a Palestinian state.
63% of the Palestinian public oppose a compromise in which east Jerusalem would become the capital of the Palestinian state with Arab neighborhoods coming under Palestinian sovereignty and Jewish neighborhoods coming under Israeli sovereignty.
74% of Palestinians oppose the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state.
61% of the Palestinian public oppose a compromise regarding security arrangements whereby Israel would have the right to use Palestinian airspace and would maintain two early warning stations in the West Bank for 15 years.
Making Aliyah: Over 19,000 New Immigrants Move to Israel in 2010 - Yael Branovsky (Ynet News)
2010 witnessed a 16% rise in the number of people that made aliyah to Israel, with the Jewish Agency reporting that the number would reach 19,130 by the end of the year. This is the second year in a row in which there is a rise, compared with 16,465 in 2009 and 15,452 in 2008.
7,300 came from the former Soviet republics, compared with 6,820 in 2009, with more than 1,000 coming from Moscow.
3,980 arrived from the U.S. and Canada, and 1,470 from Latin America.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that "the figures are encouraging, particularly in light of the war of delegitimization being waged against Israel all over the world. Many of the new immigrants are young, from free countries who feel that they belong in Israel and choose to build their future and their children's futures here."
See also Immigration Figures for 2010 (Jewish Agency for Israel)
France's Spy Service Builds Up Amid Terror Threats - Jamey Keaten (AP-Washington Post)
France's international spy agency, the DGSE, is recruiting hundreds of people and getting a budget boost, despite frugal times, to better fend off threats like terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
The move follows hostage-takings abroad and bomb scares at the Eiffel Tower. France is also set to ban face-covering Islamic veils, which has roiled Muslim extremists around the world and drawn threats from al-Qaeda.
U.S. Muslims: a New Consumer Niche - Rachel Zoll (AP-BusinessWeek)
At the American Muslim Consumer Conference, American Muslims seeking more acknowledgment in the marketplace argued that businesses have more to gain than lose by reaching out to the community.
The worldwide market for Islamically permitted goods, called halal, has grown to more than half a billion dollars annually.
In the U.S., American companies such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart have entered the halal arena.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Palestinians Reject Interim Peace Deal - Mark Weiss and Richard Spencer
Palestinian leaders have rejected suggestions by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that an "interim peace agreement" might be reached after the failure of direct talks between the two sides. Nabil Abu Rudeina, an aide to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, made it clear that an interim agreement was not an option.
Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 10 television that he was ready to "go all the way" if the Palestinians were serious, but
"there could be a situation in which talks with the Palestinians hit a brick wall over the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return [for refugees], and in that case the result would be an interim agreement." (Telegraph-UK)
- Israel Says London Home to Hamas Hub
Israel's Defense Ministry accused the London-based Palestinian Return Center on Tuesday of "terror-affiliated activities" and being the organizational arm of the militant Islamic Hamas movement in Europe.
Hamas is designated by the European Union as a terrorist organization.
An Israeli Defense Ministry statement said that the PRC organizes conferences in Europe for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood activists at which it plays taped speeches by Hamas leaders who are banned from entering the EU.
"The center is involved in initiating and organizing radical and violent activity against Israel in Europe, while delegitimizing Israel's status as a nation among the European community." It is "part of the broader Hamas activism and support network within Europe, which is especially strong in England." (AFP)
See also European Hamas Affiliate Deemed Illegal by Israel Minister of Defense (Israel Defense Forces)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Report: 250 Eritrean Refugees Held Captive and Tortured by Hamas in Sinai - Menachem Gantz
The Italian-based human rights organization EveryOne sent an urgent plea to the Egyptian government last Thursday claiming that
250 Eritrean refugees have been held captive and tortured for the past month by Hamas in northern Sinai. The group reported that the refugees encountered Hamas operatives who promised to smuggle them into Israel for a payment of $2,000. Instead, they were placed in a detention facility on the outskirts of Rafah in Egypt on the Gaza border, demanding their families in Eritrea pay a $10,000 ransom for their release. Eight of the refugees were reported killed, and four have gone missing - allegedly the subject of human organ harvesting and trafficking.
- Two Synagogues on Target List of British Terror Cell - Jonny Paul
Two synagogues and their rabbis were among a wide range of potential targets for
nine men arrested in counterterror raids in Britain on Dec. 20. The Community Security Trust, which provides security for the British Jewish community, said it had been briefed by police.
For legal and security reasons, CST said it would not disclose the identities of the synagogues and rabbis. (Jerusalem Post)
- IDF Thwarts Terror Attack on Gaza Border
On Tuesday an IDF force identified a number of suspects planting explosives along the security fence in southern Gaza. Israel Air Force aircraft and an armored force fired at the suspects, hitting one.
On Sunday, several suspects were identified planting explosives in the same location.
The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from Gaza.
(Israel Defense Forces)
- Accelerate Iran Sanctions Now - Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz
Few in the administration now believe that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will compromise unless sanctions endanger his regime.
Can we put enough pressure on Khamenei and his praetorians to either crack the regime or make the supreme leader believe that the nuclear program actually threatens his rule? The near-miraculous attack of the centrifuge-destroying Stuxnet virus has bought the administration time and further strengthened those who want to use sticks to stop Khamenei’s nuclear aspirations.
The trick for Washington now is how to ratchet up significantly the pain in Tehran while encouraging our allies to continue to do more than they’d originally thought possible. Thinking always of Khamenei’s Achilles’ heel, Washington should aim its efforts at cutting foreign Iranian crude oil purchases. The Europeans have already cut tech transfers to and future investments in Iranian oil and natural gas, severely damaging Tehran’s ability to sustain current production.
The Chinese are sharply reducing their purchases of Iranian crude and Japan, too, is cutting back.
The issue for the Obama administration is whether it will have the foresight to accelerate sanctions that are probably coming in any case.
Gerecht is a senior fellow and Dubowitz is executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Will Iran Deny the U.S. Its Persian Gulf Bases? - J. E. Dyer
Iran has been working hard over the last six months to undermine America’s ability to conduct military strikes on the Iranian nuclear program by denying us our use of regional military bases for the attack. Of the bases we use in the Persian Gulf region, the most significant to an attack campaign are in Bahrain and Qatar, which host, respectively, our fleet headquarters and a very large facility at Al-Udeid Air Base. For security operations in the Strait of Hormuz, we also rely on airfields and ports in Oman. These are the nations Iran has been concentrating on.
In Bahrain, where a majority of the Arab population is Shia, the foreign minister announced in August that Bahrain would not allow its territory to be used as a base for offensive operations. Last week, Qatar hosted a visit by three Iranian warships and a military delegation. In August, Oman signed a defense-cooperation agreement with Iran and is now more likely to deny the use of its airfields and port refueling facilities to American forces. The writer is a retired U.S. Naval intelligence officer.
- The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict - Jamie Glazov
Jonathan Spyer, a researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, is the author of the new book, The Transforming Fire - The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict.
Spyer: "The old Arab-Israeli conflict has been in a long process of winding down since the mid-1970s, as the Arab states that once led it gradually leave the field of engagement. However, the combination of popular Islamist movements in Arab countries and the state interest of the Islamic Republic of Iran is producing a new alliance which is committed to the destruction of Jewish sovereignty. The book describes the emergence of this alliance, the basis of its strategic optimism and its belief system, the response of the Israeli society and state to the challenge posed by this new alliance, and the main engagements between the two sides so far, with a particular focus on the 2006 Second Lebanon War."
"The alliance committed to Israel’s destruction contains within it many forces, with quite disparate ideological and belief systems. There are Iranian or pro-Iranian Shia Islamists, of course, but there are also fanatically anti-Shia Sunni salafis within the ranks of Hamas. There are also ostensibly secular nationalists, exemplified by the Syrian regime and by the less important remnants of secular Arab nationalism who place themselves under this banner....All are anti-American and anti-Western." "All believe that...they represent the rising force in the region, and that the U.S. and its allies are demonstrably in decline."
"The Iranian/Islamist side is currently making gains, not only or primarily in its fight with Israel, but across the region....It effectively dominates Lebanon through Hizbullah, and it has succeeded in planting what looks more and more like a permanent split in the Palestinian national movement, giving itself a veto on any diplomatic progress between Israelis and Palestinians." (Frontpage Magazine)
What Israel Learned by Taking Risks for Peace - Jeremy Sharon (The Australian)
Two years ago this week, Israel launched a military incursion into Gaza in an operation that marked the breaking point of its patience after having absorbed more than 6,000 rocket and mortar attacks on its towns and cities since withdrawing from Gaza in August 2005.
- More importantly, the conflict marked for many Israelis the point at which they lost faith in the notion of land for peace. For them, ceding land had led not to peace but simply to more war. At a time when the international community is trying to revive the moribund peace process, primarily by pressuring Israel, it is important this sentiment is taken into account.
- When considering the manner in which Hizbullah filled the power-vacuum left by Israel in the wake of its withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, the calculation for Israelis became clear. Two territorial withdrawals in five years had significantly and irrevocably damaged their security, and another pull-back, this time from the West Bank, might well be suicidal.
- The current Israeli insistence on the deployment of Israeli troops on both the western and eastern borders of any future Palestinian state is regarded as of critical importance to Israel's long-term security. This is seen as one of the inviolable lessons of the Gaza withdrawal and the 2008 Gaza conflict.
- The other lesson Israel learned from the Gaza operation is that the country can in no way rely on the international community to support its right to self-defense.
The torrent of condemnations, denunciations, diplomatic attacks and media outrage that was directed at Israel for having the temerity to defend its own citizens culminated with the publication of the Goldstone report that, were it to be enforced, would essentially prevent the Israeli armed forces from protecting its citizens in the future.
- World leaders such as French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel talked of the necessity of stopping Hamas from smuggling arms into Gaza. But these and other international actors have failed to prevent Hamas from comprehensively rearming and today this guerilla proxy of Iran possesses more advanced weapons and rockets than it did before the Gaza operation.
- The lesson for Israel is obvious; it can rely on no one to protect its citizens and stand up for its right to self-defense other than itself. Those who wish to see a Palestinian state established must contend with this accumulated sentiment, because Israelis cannot be expected to trust external forces with their security.
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