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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
September 14, 2011

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Turkey's Tricky Drone Diplomacy - Owen Mathews (Daily Beast)
    The Turkish military relies on 10 Israeli-made Heron drones, purchased from Israel in 2004 for $183 million, as its eyes in the sky.
    But at least five of them are currently undergoing maintenance in Israel - leaving the Turkish military reliant on American Predator drones to spy on Kurdish separatists.
    Crucial to all Turkish anti-PKK operations is intelligence gathered by U.S.-operated Predators currently stationed inside Iraqi Kurdistan. Those drones are due to be withdrawn along with the rest of U.S. forces by Dec. 31.
    Last week Ankara renewed a 2009 request to have six MQ-1 and MQ-6 Predator drones moved to Turkish soil in order to continue the fight against the PKK.
    Turkey's original request was squashed after concern from U.S. lawmakers about Erdogan's friendship with Iran and hostility toward Israel. Since then those concerns have only intensified.

No Arab Longing for Return to Ottoman Turkish Rule - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan told the foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo: "The Turks and the Arabs are linked by brotherhood for hundreds of years. We share the same culture and the same faith."
    Collective memory in Arab countries has not forgotten Ottoman rule, which is blamed for the backwardness of the Arab world.
    An Ottoman sultanate or modern Turkey is not quite what the protesters in Tahrir Square longed for.
    See also Turkey Seeks to Play a Leadership Role at the Expense of the Arabs and Iran - Tariq Alhomayed (Al Arabiya)

Turkish Parliament Suspends Friendship with Israel - Goksel Bozkurt (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Members of the Turkish Parliament's Israel Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group resigned en masse following Israel's 2009 Gaza offensive, followed soon thereafter by the abolition of the group entirely.
    The name of the Israeli friendship group has also been removed from the Parliament's registries and its website.

Poll: No Israeli Apology to Turkey (IMRA)
    A poll carried out Monday by Dialogue asked Israelis: Did Israel make a mistake not apologizing to Turkey? No 64%, Yes 21%, Don't know 15%.

Turkish Charter Flights from Israel Suspended Due to Lack of Passengers - Zohar Blumenkrantz (Ha'aretz)
    Turkish charter airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel due to economic considerations.
    "There's no demand," said Shai Pardo, CEO of KTA International, which represents the major Turkish charter airlines in Israel. "There are simply no takers for the flights."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians Face Mounting Pressure to Drop UN Statehood Bid - Harriet Sherwood
    Efforts to persuade the Palestinians to change tack ahead of next week's UN meeting on the creation of a state of Palestine accelerated this week with a series of high-level delegations sweeping through Jerusalem and Ramallah aiming to avert a diplomatic collision in New York. U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross, European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair were all due to meet Palestinian and Israeli leaders. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Clinton: Road to Palestine Does Not Run Through UN
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday: "We need an environment that is conducive to direct negotiations. We all know that no matter what happens or doesn't happen at the UN, the next day is not going to result in the kind of changes that the United States wishes to see that will move us toward the two-state solution that we strongly support. The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties, and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York."
        "So instead we are redoubling our efforts with not only both sides, but with a broad cross-section of the international community, to create a sustainable platform for negotiations that can produce the two-state outcome that we seek....The issue is not simply that action in New York will not bring peace and stability, but it will create more distractions toward achieving that goal."  (State Department)
        See also Report: Quartet to Submit Peace Proposal
    Fatah Central Committee member Mohammad Shtayeh said Tuesday that the international Quartet informed the Palestinian side of its intention to submit a statement this week that would allow resumption of negotiations with Israel and avert conflict over the Palestinian bid to ask for UN membership. Shtayeh said this statement would not stop the Palestinians from going to the UN, but would allow resumption of negotiations after returning from the UN. (WAFA-PA)
  • PLO Ambassador Says Palestinian State Should Be Free of Jews - Oren Dorell
    The Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to the U.S., Maen Areikat, said Tuesday that any future Palestinian state should be free of Jews. Such a state would be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was "judenrein," or cleansed of Jews, said Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. National Security Council official. Israel has 1.3 million Muslims who are Israeli citizens. Jews have lived in "Judea and Samaria," the Biblical name for the West Bank, for thousands of years.
        Palestinian media frequently publish and broadcast anti-Semitic sermons by Islamic religious leaders, while Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV shows programming for preschoolers that extols hatred of Jews and suicide bombings, according to a 2009 State Department human rights report. (USA Today)
  • Facebook Page Calls for Action Against Israeli Embassy in Jordan - Jeremy A. Kaplan
    A Facebook page calls for a march Thursday targeting Israel's embassy in Amman, Jordan, just days after a similar protest in Cairo, Egypt, resulted in a 13-hour rampage that trashed the Israeli diplomatic compound there. "Our motto: No Zionist embassy on Jordanian territory," the Facebook page reads, with nearly 2,500 people pledging to attend the protest. Jordan's security forces have boosted security around the embassy compound. (Fox News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinians Trying to Dodge Pre-UN Vote Face-Off with Obama - Avi Issacharoff
    Intense negotiations are underway between the EU, the PA and the American government regarding the specific formula of the request for Palestinian statehood recognition at the UN. Senior PA officials are trying to wrest last-minute promises from the U.S. government.
        The PA's status, impaired by a budgetary crisis which has made it difficult to pay officials' salaries, is not what it was in the not-so-distant past. PA officials therefore need to stabilize their regime's image in the eyes of the Palestinian public, partly by taking tough steps vis-a-vis Israel and the U.S. The Hamas regime in Gaza also faces a fiscal crisis, apparently due to a reduction in the assistance proffered by Iran to Gaza. Hamas has not paid wages to its bureaucrats for the past two months. (Ha'aretz)
  • Hamas Calls for Overthrow of Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords -
    The Islamist Hamas movement called Tuesday for the overthrow of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo interim peace accords, in a statement released on the 18th anniversary of the signature of the accords. Hamas, which has administered Gaza since 2007, consistently refuses to recognize Israel, and calls for it to be destroyed and replaced by an Islamic state covering all of historic Palestine. (DPA-Ha'aretz)
        See also Expert: Hamas Policy Crux of Dispute with Ankara - Oren Kessler
    Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that there "is a fundamental disagreement between Turkey and Israel over how to deal with Hamas....Israel refuses to deal with Hamas, which is present in Gaza, while Turkey, under the AKP, sees it as a legitimate partner in the Palestinian theater."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Anti-Israeli Sentiment in Egypt Has Nothing to Do with Palestine - Eric Trager
    To assume that the Egyptian protesters who attacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last Friday were motivated by pro-Palestinian concerns is to completely ignore the sad truth that Egyptians overwhelmingly hate Israel for wholly Egyptian reasons.
        Every day millions of Egyptians drive over the 6th of October Bridge, one of Cairo's busiest thoroughfares that was named for the date on which Egypt attacked Israel to launch the 1973 war. 500,000 Egyptians live in October 6th City southwest of Cairo, which is home to October 6th University. An additional 140,000 Egyptians live in 10th of Ramadan City, which is named for the equivalent date on the Islamic calendar and houses the 10th of Ramadan University. Cairene schoolchildren visit the October War Panorama, where they are taught that Egyptian forces defeated the "enemy" in the 1973 war, without any mention of the Israeli tanks that were rolling towards Cairo as the war ended. Egyptians commemorate April 25, when Israel completed its withdrawal from Sinai in 1982, and October 6 as national holidays.
        The success of Egypt's January revolt in forcing Hosni Mubarak's ouster unleashed an unprecedented wave of Nasserist-infused nationalism, inspiring calls from across the Egyptian political spectrum for the reconsideration of the Camp David Accords. Egyptians bristled, in particular, at the clauses limiting the number of Egyptian troops in Sinai, and they viewed amending these clauses as the next step towards restoring national dignity. (New Republic)
  • Israel's Relations with Turkey and Egypt - Interview with Dore Gold
    Former Israeli UN ambassador Dore Gold, an advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told NPR's "Talk of the Nation" on Tuesday: "There's a tendency to put together Turkey, Egypt and what's going to happen at the United Nations....[But] the whole phenomenon of Turkey's policy is something that's been developing for a number of years. You know, in 2006, after the Palestinian elections, Prime Minister Erdogan surprised the world and invited Khalid Meshal, the political head of the Hamas from Damascus, to come to Ankara....In fact, Erdogan's government warmed up to the entire network of the Muslim Brotherhood so that what you had from 2006 until the famous Turkish flotilla were repeated conferences of the Muslim Brotherhood from all over the Middle East in Turkey....So there's something going on that's much more fundamental than the whole issue of the Turkish flotilla."
        "With respect to Egypt...the Egyptians are disturbed by the attack on the Israeli embassy. The Egyptian government is disturbed by the rise of al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells in Sinai and have a joint interest with Israel in stabilizing the situation there. So it's very different from Turkey, and hopefully we can build, quietly, in our contacts with the Egyptians, cooperative relations to help deal with this problem."  (NPR)

Egypt Crisis Fortifies U.S., Israel Ties - Ben Smith (Politico)

  • Officials in both countries credit the U.S. government's all-hands-on-deck response with saving the lives of six Israeli guards trapped in their Cairo embassy's safe room. The incident also proved something of a reality check for the U.S.-Israel alliance. The U.S. alliance with Israel was, in a moment of crisis, both reflexive and effective. Netanyahu's thanks after the incident was unstinting. And the incident seemed to bind the countries closer together.
  • Netanyahu aide Ron Dermer told Politico: "We've enjoyed a period over the last four months of very close coordination with the administration, probably the best coordination that we've had over the last two-and-a-half years over the range of issues....I think that we're definitely in a good place, with the U.S. administration and us seeing a lot of things eye to eye."
  • The incident also underscored the increasingly complex challenges facing both countries amid Arab turmoil, and the dangers springing from it that seem to have pushed the U.S. and Israel back into alignment. "Arab spring and its breathlessness has turned into Arab winter and sober assessment. Israel's fears become America's and the desire and ability to pressure Bibi [Netanyahu] goes way down," said Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. peace negotiator now at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.
  • "I think the incident is bad news on many levels, but not the least for the Egyptian military that is proud of its decades of growing close cooperation with the Pentagon," said David Makovsky, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "If Egypt keeps going down this course and ultimately abrogates the peace treaty with Israel, U.S.-Egyptian relations will not be exempt but will be dealt a crippling blow."

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