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Revolutionary Guards Website Envisions the Day after Iran's First Nuclear Test (MEMRI)
An article posted April 24 on Gerdab, the website of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), envisions the day after Iran's first nuclear test:
"The day after Iran's first nuclear test will be an ordinary day for us Iranians, but many of us will have a new gleam in our eyes - a gleam of national pride and might."
"[Koran 8:60:] 'And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy.'"
UN Report: Iran Accelerating Development of Long-Range Missiles - Amos Harel
A report by a UN panel of experts reveals that over the past year Iran has stepped up the pace of its efforts to develop long-range missiles.
Pressure from China delayed the official release of the report, which apparently indicates that North Korea transferred prohibited missile technology to Iran via China.
The report says the trials on the Shahab-3 missile demonstrated a range of 900 kilometers, while the Sejil-1 had a 2,000-kilometer reach.
The report notes: "In the area of ballistic missiles, [Iran] continues to test missiles and engage in prohibited procurement."
In a period of less than six months, the Iranians launched Sejil and Shahab 3 missiles on three occasions.
One of Israel's leading missile experts, Uzi Rubin, who has obtained a copy of the report, called the pace of Iranian testing "amazing in scope."
Iran Caught Ten Times Sending Arms to Terrorists - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
Iran has been caught red-handed in ten different attempts in recent years to transfer weaponry to terrorists throughout the Middle East, including a recent case, in April, when a shipment of advanced missiles was caught en-route to Taliban forces in Afghanistan, according to a UN report on Iran that was leaked to the Internet.
Canada OKs Extradition of Paris Synagogue Bomber - Josh Dehaas (Macleans-Canada)
Ontario has agreed to extradite the Ottawa professor who is accused of murder and attempted murder related to the bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980 - a crime that killed four people and injured 40 others.
Hassan Diab, 57, a Lebanon-born Canadian, has taught sociology at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. France says Diab was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who were responsible for the bombing.
Turkey-Israel Concert for Religious Tolerance Canceled Due to IHH Pressure (Ha'aretz)
A Turkish concert meant to bridge the religious divide between Jews, Christians and Muslims was canceled at the last minute Thursday due to pressure from the Turkish Humanitarian Relief foundation (IHH) which organized the Gaza flotilla last May, according to an Israel TV Channel 10 report.
The IHH and other Islamic organizations claimed that Israeli participation in the event was "unacceptable."
Bin Laden Documents Sharpen U.S. Aim - Kimberly Dozier (AP)
The U.S. is tracking possible new terror targets and stepping up surveillance of al-Qaeda operatives after digging through the mountain of correspondence seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout on May 2, officials say.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday that the trove shows that al-Qaeda remains committed to attacking the U.S.
Yale Downgrades Anti-Semitism Scholarship - Ben Cohen
The Yale Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) has closed just five years after it opened its doors.
YIISA produced some important scholarly work, including outstanding papers by David Hirsh (on anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism), Bassam Tibi (on the Islamization of anti-Semitism), and Yaakov Kirschen, a.k.a the cartoonist "Dry Bones" (on anti-Semitism and coded images).
YIISA's 2010 conference extensively examined anti-Semitic manifestations in Iran and in the wider Arab/Muslim world.
Israeli Cows Outperform their Foreign Counterparts - Nadav Shemer (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli dairy cows produce more milk than their counterparts in other countries, data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Monday show.
Israeli cows produced an average of 10,208 kg. of milk in 2009, outperforming cows in the U.S. (9,331 kg. per cow), Japan (7,497), the EU (6,139) and Australia (5,601).
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- Senators Oppose Israel Return to 1967 Lines: Reaffirm Defensible Borders
U.S. senators proposed a resolution Thursday opposing any Israeli withdrawal to 1967 lines.
"It is contrary to United States policy and national security to have the borders of Israel return to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967," read the text introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.-I).
The resolution, which enjoys the support of some 30 other senators, says U.S. policy aims to "support and facilitate Israel in maintaining defensible borders."
"Boundaries that existed on June 4, 1967, placed Israel in a precarious military situation that threatened regional stability," Hatch said in a statement.
See also Text of Resolution: "It Is the Policy of the United States to Support and Facilitate Israel in Maintaining Defensible Borders" (U.S. Senate)
- U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards - Suzanne Presto
On Thursday, the U.S. imposed sanctions against Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force, Iran's national police and its chief, Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, for their responsibility for the sustained and severe violation of human rights in Iran. State Department Acting Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said these sanctions send "a clear message that we won't abide by Iran's continued human rights abuses."
- Syrian Reports Suggest Divisions in Security Forces - Roula Hajjar and Borzou Daragahi
Gunmen in "military uniform and government cars" were responsible for the recent killings of as many as 120 Syrian security forces in Jisr Shughur, the official Syrian Arab News Agency said Wednesday. The statement could lend credence to opposition claims of clashes between forces loyal to President Assad and those refusing to take part in a violent crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators. "There is a battle between those who are obeying orders to shoot peaceful demonstrators and those who aren't," said Ahmad, a college student in Jisr Shughur reached by telephone.
(Los Angeles Times)
See also Syrian Forces Begin Push Against Dissidents on Turkish Border - Sebnem Arsu and Liam Stack (New York Times)
- UN Nuclear Watchdog Refers Syria to Security Council
At the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna Thursday, 17 countries voted to rebuke Syria on claims of an undeclared nuclear reactor, while six voted against, including Russia and China. The motion was proposed by the U.S. and its Western allies, who had asked the IAEA's governing body to find Syria in "non-compliance" with its international obligations.
"Syria's apparent attempt at constructing a covert, undeclared plutonium production reactor, a reactor with no credible peaceful purpose, represents one of the most serious safeguards violations possible," said U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies.
"The reactor there was built for the express purpose of producing plutonium for possible use in nuclear weapons." (BBC News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- U.S. Tells PA It Will Block Palestine Statehood Bid at UN - Khaled Abu Toameh
The Obama administration has told the Palestinian Authority it will oppose PA plans to seek unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday at the end of a visit to Washington. "The Americans consider it a non-option, and they said that they will oppose it," Erekat said. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Abbas Looking for Way Out of UN Bid - Elior Levy
Top Palestinian officials said that while Abbas remains committed to his plan to seek UN recognition of Palestinian statehood in 1967 borders, he would like to have an option to "climb down from the tree" and find a mutually acceptable formula for restarting negotiations with Israel, preferably based on ideas presented by President Barack Obama recently.
Some Palestinian sources said that there is a widespread sense that Abbas, having advertised his intentions so prominently, has left himself with little room to maneuver and may proceed with the UN gambit simply to avoid a loss of credibility.
"We are trapped with September," said one official. "We donít know what to do after that." (Ynet News)
See also A Ladder for the PA, Please? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Hudson Institute-New York)
- Fatah Offers Hamas Key Ministries for Fayyad Reappointment as Prime Minister - Saleh Naami
An informed Palestinian official said that Fatah and Hamas are discussing a deal that would reappoint Salam Fayyad as prime minister of the new unity government. In return, Hamas would take the Finance, Education and Endowment ministries.
He added that President Abbas is afraid Israel could mobilize the U.S. and EU against any government not headed by Fayyad.
The official also revealed that Abbas has the support of Egypt on reappointing Fayyad.
- Hamas to Participate in Any Future Palestinian Government
Hamas will participate in any future Palestinian government, Salah al-Bardaweel, a high-ranking Hamas leader in Gaza, told the German Press Agency DPA on Thursday, refuting press reports that it might opt not to take part in a future administration to avoid international isolation. (DPA-Ha'aretz)
- PA Says:
"If I Forget Thee, Oh Jerusalem" Was Crusader Expression Usurped by Zionists - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
As part of the continuing Palestinian denial of Jewish history in Jerusalem, Palestinian researcher Dr. Hayel Sanduqa claimed on PA TV on June 2 that the well-known verse of the Hebrew psalm, "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill," is not from a Jewish source at all. He said the words were uttered by a Christian Crusader, and have only recently been "borrowed" by Jews and "falsified in the name of Zionism."
The verse is in fact from Psalm 137 of the Hebrew Bible, mourning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE. It has appeared in Jewish sources for thousands of years.
(Palestinian Media Watch)
- September Is Here - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
The protesters across the Syrian border last Sunday had raised the flag of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Escalating clashes like those that occurred this week on the Golan are warm-ups for the main event in September. Unlike what happened on May 15, the IDF Northern Command was well prepared and prevented a mass infiltration of the border. The international media hardly devoted a day to the events, despite the fact that 22 people were killed on Sunday. Compared with the 300 people who were killed in Syria itself last week alone, the number does not seem as dramatic.
On the Syrian side of the border, residents of the Yarmouk refugee camp have accused Palestinian faction heads of leading their sons to slaughter at the hands of the IDF in order to serve Assad's interests. When Ahmad Jibril, the leader of the PFLP-GC, arrived at the camp, he was attacked by an angry mob, and his bodyguards immediately opened fire. 14 Palestinians were thus killed by Palestinian gunfire, as part of a disagreement about a clash with Israel.
- Who Said There Are No Alternatives to Oslo? - Raphael Israeli
A new set of principles must be formulated for future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
The first recommendation is to desist from the current view which cuts the Palestinian people into six slices: Palestinians in Israel are called Israelis; those in Jordan are Jordanians; Palestinians in Gaza are known as Gazans; those in the West Bank are Palestinian Authority "subjects"; Palestinians in refugee camp are known as refugees; and finally, Palestinians dispersed in various Arab and Western countries are Diaspora Palestinians.
Palestinians should not only be considered as one people which cries for a solution, but the Land of Palestine (or the Land of Israel in Biblical parlance) - including the State of Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza - should be considered one unit of territory upon which the statehood aspirations of both peoples must be played out.
It should be made clear from the outset that Palestinians and Israelis recognize each state's right to self-determination. While the Palestinian right to self-determination has been recognized by Israel, the reverse has not been the case. Back in 1993 at Oslo, Israel should have stipulated that recognition of the PLO was conditional on the parallel recognition of Zionism by the Palestinians.
Negotiations, as protracted and difficult as they may be, must end in an agreement between the parties to divide this vast territory in order to accommodate the majority of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs (including refugees). The writer is a professor of Islamic, Middle Eastern and Chinese history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- A Syrian Diversionary Tactic - Lee Smith
Syria instigated violence on its border with Israel last weekend when it dispatched Palestinians to the Golan Heights to commemorate the anniversary of the 1967 war. Israelis say ten people were killed when they triggered land mines on the Syrian side of the border. There are reports that the Palestinians were paid to march, with additional bonuses going to the families of any protester martyred. The State Department said the incident "appears to be an effort by the Syrian government to incite events and draw attention away from its own internal issues." (Weekly Standard)
- A Foreign Policy of Instability Cannot Save Syria at Home - Michael Young
After having allowed foreign jihadists to cross over into Iraq for years to conduct attacks and suicide bombings, Assad lately asked Baghdad to close its border and avoid arms transfers to Syria. The Iraqis responded, as the Syrians once did, that it was a lengthy border to seal, and set as a condition that Damascus returns Iraqi Baathists operating in Syrian territory. On the Palestinian front, there has been a cooling of relations between Syria and Hamas, in part because Hamas has failed to endorse the Assad regime's crackdown.
Even Hizbullah leader Nasrallah was careful not to push for demonstrations last Sunday along the Lebanese frontier with Israel to commemorate the Arab defeat during the war of June 1967. Hizbullah quietly consented when the Lebanese army sealed off the border area. Once the Syrian regime's regional leverage disappears, a harsh lens will reveal just how debilitated are its capacities at home. The writer is opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut.
- Turkey's Shift on Syria Gives West Room to Get Tougher on Assad - David Schenker
Fearing another government-perpetrated massacre, hundreds of Syrian civilians are streaming into Turkey, a development that will push Ankara to take a harder line on Damascus. For the Sunni Islamists in Ankara, the notion that an infidel Alawite regime in Damascus could kill a thousand Sunnis is probably beyond the pale. On the other hand, the killing of thousands of Sunni Libyans earlier this year was perpetrated by a Sunni, and hence did not provoke the same outrage in Ankara. The same is true of the atrocities in Iran, where, according to some Sunni Islamists, the deaths of Shiites at the hands of their co-religionists is little cause for concern.
Without Turkey, Assad is today less insulated and more susceptible to external pressures and the regime is less secure. Indeed, Turkey is not only moving away from the Assad regime, itís looking to help organize its successor. Last week, Turkey hosted a conference for the Syrian opposition on its territory in a clear statement that it has assessed that Assad is irredeemable.
The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(Christian Science Monitor)
See also Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan: Syrian Troops Barbaric, "Don't Behave Like Humans" (Jerusalem Post)
- What Accounts for Israel's Popularity in Congress? - Jeffrey Goldberg
How can you explain the reception Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu received in Congress? The most powerful lobbies, over time, are those that lobby for causes that are already popular among the American people. Walter Russell Mead explains: "What Netanyahu demonstrated in Congress was not that he has the backing of the Israel Lobby. It was something much more important...he has the backing of the American people." (Atlantic Monthly)
- The Continuing War Against the Jews - Ed Koch
The New York Times has reported on the newest flotilla that will once again seek to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The new effort will apparently include a boat carrying Americans, who compared themselves to the Freedom Riders who 50 years ago rode buses to the South to challenge racial segregation then maintained by Southern states.
Yet I believe the situation is more analogous to World War II, where the U.S. and our allies declared and enforced a boycott against Nazi Germany. Would those same American passengers have sought to break such a boycott, saying they supported the German people, not the Nazi government, knowing the German people had voted for Hitler in a democratic election before he took office as German Chancellor in January 1933?
Why aren't these same protesters leading a flotilla to Syria's shores, where the Syrian government has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Syrian citizens who were non-violently protesting the despotic acts of their own government? It's possible the flotilla protesters don't go to Syria because they know the Syrian government is capable of killing them all in cold blood, while they know Israel will do everything possible to avoid bloodshed.
- Why History Matters: The 1967 Six-Day War - David Harris
43 years ago this week, the Six-Day War broke out. In June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn't exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside.
The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem and destroyed many of those sites.
The Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza, but they didn't. There wasn't even discussion about it.
In the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. Just 22 years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews.
Egypt's President Nasser demanded that UN peacekeeping forces in the area, in place for the previous decade to prevent conflict, be removed. Shamefully, the UN complied. Egypt blocked Israeli shipping lanes in the Red Sea. The U.S. spoke about joining with other countries to break the blockade, but did not act.
After winning the war of self-defense, Israel hoped that its newly-acquired territories would be the basis of a land-for-peace accord. Feelers were sent out. The formal response came on September 1, 1967, when the Arab Summit Conference declared in Khartoum: "No peace, no recognition, no negotiations" with Israel. The 1967 war was an act of self-defense in the face of blood-curdling threats to vanquish the Jewish state. All wars have consequences, but the Arab aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated.
The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee.
- Israel's Future - Editorial
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu's bottom line for peace talks with the Palestinians is: No return to Israel's pre-1967 borders.
U.S. President Barack Obama's suggestion that Israel return to those 44-year-old borders is utter folly and would simply ramp up Israel's vulnerability to attack.
The militarization of a Palestinian state would, for instance, immediately put airplane traffic at Tel Aviv's airport in constant danger of being easily shot down.
Peace between Israel and the Palestinians will have to wait until corruption and terrorism are no longer factors in the Palestinian leadership, and moderate parties, intent on bringing democracy and prosperity to the Palestinian people, are at last in charge.
Reclaiming a Historical Truth: Arab Villagers Were Ordered Out by Local Leaders - Efraim Karsh (Ha'aretz)
The tragedy befalling the Palestinian Arabs in 1948 was exclusively of their own making.
Large numbers of them were driven from their homes by their own leaders and/or the "Arab Liberation Army" that had entered Palestine prior to the end of the Mandate.
- Of this there is an overwhelming and incontrovertible body of contemporary evidence - intelligence briefs, captured Arab documents, press reports, personal testimonies and memoirs.
- In the largest and best-known example of Arab-instigated exodus, tens of thousands of Arabs were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa (on April 21-22) on the instructions of the Arab Higher Committee, the effective "government" of the Palestinian Arabs. Only days earlier, Tiberias' 6,000-strong Arab community had been similarly forced out by its own leaders.
- In Jaffa, Palestine's largest Arab city, the municipality organized the transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea; in Jerusalem, the AHC ordered the transfer of women and children, and local gang leaders pushed out residents of several neighborhoods.
- In the words of a British intelligence report: "Many would not have responded to the call for a complete evacuation but for the rumors and propaganda spread by the [Arab] National Committee."
- The deliberate depopulation of Arab villages and their transformation into military strongholds was a hallmark of the Arab campaign from the onset of hostilities.
The writer is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London, and director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia).
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