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Israeli Navy Stops French Flotilla Yacht - Hanan Greenberg (Ynet News)
The Israeli Navy on Tuesday stopped the French yacht Dignite al Karama as it sought to break the Gaza blockade. The Israeli force met no resistance.
See also Video: Israel Navy Makes Contact with French Yacht (Israel Defense Forces)
Report: Istanbul Bombing Targeted Israeli Diplomat - Amos Harel and Saviona Mane (Ha'aretz)
The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Monday that a bomb that exploded near an Istanbul market in May, injuring six, may have been an attempt by Hizbullah and Iran to assassinate Israel's consul general to Istanbul, Moshe Kimchi.
The attempt failed because of the security measures protecting the Israeli diplomat.
"It appears that the mission was carried out by three Lebanese members of Hizbullah," the report states.
The agents went to Turkey from Beirut using Iranian passports and had the Israeli consul under surveillance for some time.
On the day of the attack, Kimchi's car drove slower than usual and he was uninjured.
Al-Qaeda Seen Aiming at Targets Outside U.S. - Siobhan Gorman, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Entous (Wall Street Journal)
Al-Qaeda is expected to shift strategy under new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, placing a higher priority on attacking the U.S. and Western targets overseas, where plots are easier to execute than on the U.S. homeland, say U.S. officials.
"I would not be surprised to see potentially 1990s-style attacks at the U.S. embassies and consulates overseas," said Seth Jones, a political scientist at Rand Corp.
Communications obtained from flash drives recovered at the residence of Osama bin Laden show Zawahiri's desire to attack U.S. interests in places like Iraq and East Africa, according to U.S. officials.
60,000 Palestinians to Visit Israel as Tourists - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
More than 60,000 Palestinians are expected to visit Israel as tourists by the end of 2011, at least twice as many as last year, an Israeli defense official said.
The permits are issued mainly to schools and summer camps wishing to take children to visit beaches and mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. In 2010, 28,000 Palestinians were given permits to visit Israel.
"We want Palestinians, especially young ones, to see another kind of Israeli, not only soldiers and settlers....Perhaps instead of demonstrating in September they'll go to the beach," the source said.
Another popular destination is to see the wild animals at the Ramat Gan Safari Park, which has Arab-language tours.
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- Deaths in Syria Tied to Alawite-Sunni Rift - Nada Bakri
The Syrian government has been enlisting thousands of plainclothes security men, known as shabiha, to help quell dissent. Most are Alawites, and resentment against them runs high: many accuse them of killing thousands of unarmed civilians. On Sunday, residents of Homs, Syria's second-largest city, discovered the mutilated bodies of three Alawites who were armed government loyalists.
News of the deaths enraged other Alawites, who went on a rampage. Three people were killed, including a mother of three, and scores of shops owned by Sunnis were burned and vandalized.
(New York Times)
See also At Least 30 Killed in Intercommunal Clashes in Homs (Reuters)
- House Bill to Limit Aid to Palestinians - Donna Cassata
The House Foreign Affairs Committee unveiled a bill Monday that would block U.S. aid to Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority unless the Obama administration reassures Congress that they are cooperating in the worldwide fight against terrorism. Aid to the Palestinian Authority would be contingent on the secretary of state certifying that no member of Hamas or any other terrorist organization was serving in a policy position in a ministry, agency or other entity. The Obama administration has requested $550 million in aid for the PA.
- Support for Palestinian UN Bid Seen Waning - Daniel Estrin
International support for a planned Palestinian declaration of independence at the UN in September is waning, in large part because of intense Israeli lobbying against the initiative, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon claimed Monday. Ayalon said he does not expect to prevent a pro-Palestinian resolution from passing in the UN General Assembly, where it would have little more than symbolic value. But he believes a "moral majority" of Western countries will not support the Palestinians, further limiting the impact of any resolution. "What seemed to be a landslide for the Palestinians has stopped,"
- U.S. Recognizes Libyan Rebels as Legitimate Government - William Wan and William Booth
The U.S. granted Libyan rebel leaders full diplomatic recognition as the governing authority of Libya on Friday, a move that could give the rebels access to more than $30 billion in frozen assets. The U.S. announcement was accompanied by an agreement among all of the countries taking part in a meeting in Istanbul of 30 Western and Arab nations to similarly recognize the rebel council.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- European Foreign Ministers Call on Israel, Palestinians to Restart Talks - Herb Keinon
In what could be interpreted as a signal to the PA that the EU was not enamored with its UN bid, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels issued a statement Monday saying: "The EU reiterates its concern at the continuing stalemate in the Peace Process and calls on the parties to show the highest sense of responsibility and to resume direct and substantive talks." (Jerusalem Post)
- Turkish Demands Delaying Diplomatic Reconciliation with Israel - Herb Keinon
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's demand last week that in addition to apologizing for the Mavi Marmara incident and paying compensation, Israel must also lift the blockade of Gaza as a precondition to a normalization of ties, is complicating efforts to find a resolution to the issue, Israeli officials said Monday. Erdogan's new demand has left a feeling among some in Jerusalem that he is not interested in bringing this issue to closure. (Jerusalem Post)
- Deputy Foreign Minister Launches Campaign to Tell "Truth about the West Bank" - Ben Hartman
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stars in a video released by his ministry which asks key questions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Israel's presence in the West Bank is the result of a war of self-defense and should not be seen as occupied territory; because there was no sovereign body there before, it should be called disputed." "Please, let's stop using the terms 'occupied territories' and '67 borders,' they're simply not politically correct." (Jerusalem Post)
Video: The Truth About the West Bank - Danny Ayalon (YouTube)
- Syria's Struggle - Editorial
We are in awe at the courage of the Syrian people and disgusted by the brutality of President Bashar al-Assad and his henchmen. Mr. Assad has lost all legitimacy. The question now is what can the international community do to support the opposition and its demands for freedom?
European ministers sent Mr. Assad another implicit lifeline on Monday, urging him to implement promised reforms.
Washington and Europe have talked for weeks about expanding existing sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes for certain regime members. They need to act. So long as Washington and Europe send mixed messages, Moscow and the Arab League will feel no pressure to change - and Mr. Assad will believe he can hang on.
(New York Times)
- Erdogan's New "Ottoman Region" - Harold Rhode
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's recent electoral victory speech puts his true intentions regarding Turkey's foreign policy goals in perspective. He said that this victory is as important in Ankara as it is in Sarajevo, which was an important Ottoman city; as important in Izmir as it is in Damascus, and as important in Istanbul as it is in Jerusalem.
The speech signals a wish for Ottoman cultural colonialism and imperialism. The places Erdogan named were all part of the pre-World War I Ottoman Empire.
Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu, in the depths of their souls, are fundamentalist Sunni Muslims. The Turkish-Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian alliance, which Erdogan worked so hard to build, has failed.
A Shi'ite Iran, an Alawi-ruled Syria, and a Shiite-dominated Iraq are not natural allies for the Sunni Turks.
It is in this context that we should understand Turkey's renewed interest in the U.S. and Israel. Erdogan's Turkey does not see long-term interests with either. Given economic developments in Iran, Alawite oppression in Syria, and Shiite dominance in Iraq, Erdogan understands that he must take a temporary hiatus from his goal of reasserting what appears to be his real goal - the Turkish Sunni domination of the entire Middle East.
The writer joined the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense in 1982 as an
advisor on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. From 1994 until 2010 he served in the Pentagon's Office of Net
Assessment. (Hudson Institute-New York)
How Not to Have a Palestinian State - Jose Maria Aznar (Ynet News)
- The unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, and its international recognition, would be a huge mistake. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is essential, but it can only be achieved through honest negotiations - not by any party imposing a unilateral decision.
- A Palestinian government in which Hamas is a member will make negotiations, much less a peace agreement, impossible: no negotiation or agreement is possible when one side is committed to the other's destruction.
There is no historical, institutional or legal basis on which to recognize a Palestinian state today, except as a kind of "virtual state," which exists in some fashion in the imaginations of various parties but which has no tether to reality. In the West Bank, Palestinians crucially depend on Israeli cooperation to function.
- There cannot be two states, living in peace side by side, unless Palestinians accept that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people and the Israelis accept that the Palestinian state will be the state for the Palestinian people. Absent that basis, no genuine progress will be made.
- It is time for the international community, starting with the UN, to say that the time for game-playing and wishful thinking is past. We urge the Palestinians to see that the only way they can have their own state is through an agreement with the Israelis. No other options should be supported by the international community.
The writer is former prime minister of Spain.
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