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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 20, 2011

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In-Depth Issues:

Israel's Rights as a Nation-State in International Diplomacy
    Eleven world-renowned experts explain why the Jewish people deserve a state of their own and refute the claims against Israel's rights.
    Download the Full Report (pdf, 12.6Mb, 238 pp.)

Israel Reopens Embassy in Cairo - David D. Kirkpatrick and Isabel Kershner (New York Times)
    Dozens of heavily armed Egyptian soldiers and police officers stood guard outside the Israeli Embassy building in Cairo on Monday and lights were on inside the offices.
    A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said four diplomats, not including the ambassador, had returned to Cairo.

Poll: Iran Seen as Top Threat to U.S. (Secure America Now)
    A new bipartisan poll of 1,000 Americans found that 63% identified Iran as the top U.S. threat, with China next at 50%, followed by North Korea at 47%.
    The survey was conducted in August by Democrat Pat Caddell and Republican John McLaughlin.

Opening Israeli NATO Office Still Possible Despite Turkish Claims - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The possibility of opening an Israeli mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels is still "on the table," Israeli officials said Monday, despite Turkish claims that Ankara had vetoed the initiative.
    "We do not know of any veto or of the possibility that one country can veto an offer that was made by NATO," one Israeli official said.
    In recent years, Israel has significantly boosted its cooperation with NATO and regularly participates in workshops and seminars organized by the Western military alliance and member countries.
    See also IDF Oversees NATO Emergency Drill - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    Representatives of the IDF Home Front Command, Magen David Adom emergency services, the Israel police and the Health Ministry have completed a one-week training exercise for over 1,000 soldiers and rescue delegations from dozens of countries including Turkey, Holland, Greece, Italy, and Britain in a NATO emergency drill held in Moldova.
    The main scenario in this year's drill simulated a strong earthquake resulting in heavy damage and thousands of injuries. Other scenarios included floods, leakage of hazardous substances and a civilian plane crash.
    "One of the reasons Israel was chosen to train the drill commanders is the field hospital it set up after the earthquake in Haiti, which gained global resonance," one official noted.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Parrying Palestinian Statehood Bid, Netanyahu Invites Abbas to Talk - Joel Greenberg
    Preparing to travel to New York to respond to a Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to meet there and begin negotiations. "I call on the chairman of the Palestinian Authority to begin direct negotiations in New York that will continue in Jerusalem and Ramallah," Netanyahu said. "I propose to President Abbas to start peace negotiations instead of wasting time on futile unilateral steps." "The way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations, and not by declarations at the UN."  (Washington Post)
        See also PA Foreign Minister: Talks Can't Resume Until Israel Accepts PA's Terms (Jerusalem Post)
  • Senators Urge Obama to Support Israel at UN
    14 key American senators have written to President Obama urging him to issue a "strongly worded defense of Israel" when he addresses the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. "We are deeply disappointed that President Mahmoud Abbas appears determined to scorn your persistent efforts to persuade him to return to the negotiating table with Israel and instead seek unilateral diplomatic action in New York that will only set back the prospects for peace," the senators said. (MSN News)
        See also Text of Letter (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand)
  • Canada's Harper Rejects Palestinian Statehood Bid - Mike Blanchfield
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday was drawn into the brewing showdown over the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the UN. He said, "No unilateral actions like this are helpful in terms of establishing a long-run peace in the Middle East. Canada views the action as very regrettable and we will be opposing it at the United Nations."  (Toronto Star-Canada)
  • U.S. Urges Turkey to Repair Ties with Israel - Arshad Mohammed
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in New York where they discussed Cyprus, Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A senior U.S. official said, "She encouraged Turkey to keep the door open" regarding Turkey's relationship with Israel. "We want to see them repair their relationship, so she encouraged them to avoid any steps that would close that door and, on the contrary, to actively seek ways that they can repair (their) important relationship with Israel."
        Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has kept up a stream of harsh rhetoric on Israel, using a tour of Arab states last week to support a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN and dismissing Israel as a client of the West. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Officials: Palestinian Recognition of Israel as Jewish State Seen as Critical - Herb Keinon
    Israel has no intention of compromising on its demand that any future parameters for negotiations include Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, senior Israeli officials said Monday. Mideast Quartet envoys are meeting in New York to try and hammer out a formula for a return to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israeli officials said Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people was critical not only because it would signal that descendants of Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel, but also because it would rule out any possible future irredentist claims by Israeli Arabs to link up with a future Palestinian state.
        Quartet envoy Tony Blair related to this issue in an ABC interview on Sunday: "What the Israelis want to know is - if there is an agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis - that's it: That's the end of all claims and the essential character of the State of Israel is preserved."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Will Rallies to Support Palestinian Statehood Turn Violent? - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    The common feeling among Palestinians is that chances for a Third Intifada are very slim. During the Second Intifada, M. and S. were part of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. "We paid our dues. We are not going to take part in a Third Intifada. We are now in the family business - raising our children and educating them. We are not in the fighting business anymore," M. said. "Who should we fight for? The PA who neglected us?" S. added.
        Life in the West Bank has dramatically improved in the past few years under Prime Minister Fayyad's leadership. The economy has flourished, the IDF keeps a fairly low profile, there are fewer checkpoints, and the roads are open. If there is a violent escalation with Israel, people are afraid all of this would be lost. Amos Harel is the defense analyst and Avi Issacharoff is Arab affairs correspondent for Ha'aretz. (Tablet)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Abbas' UN Fantasy - Ron Prosor
    Every state recognized by the UN has the obligation to be willing and able to exert its authority over its own territory. But Abbas has not set foot in Gaza since the Hamas terrorist organization carried out a bloody coup and took control of the area in 2007. It's like New York City electing a mayor who is unable to travel to Brooklyn.
        A yes vote by the General Assembly would feed the fantasy that compromises reached in negotiations can be bypassed. John F. Kennedy once described the impossibility of working with those who say "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable." The basic premise of the Palestinians' UN bid is: Give us everything without negotiation, and then we will negotiate about the rest. True friends of the Palestinians in the international community should urge them to return immediately to direct talks with Israel. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Coming UN Debacle - Yossi Klein Halevi
    A UN vote that seeks to bypass negotiations and impose a fait accompli on Israel will only undermine a two-state solution. By deepening Israel's isolation, the vote will reinforce the sense among Israelis that this is not a time for concessions but for resolve. A majority of Israelis supports a two-state solution. But that same majority also perceives a Palestinian state as a potential existential threat. Even primitive missiles launched from the West Bank hills against greater Tel Aviv would end normal life there.
        In endorsing an imposed solution, the General Assembly would be telling Israelis that their security concerns are irrelevant. It is, in other words, far more important to the UN to create Arab state No. 22 than it is to ensure the safety of the lone Jewish state. With its disdain for Israel, the UN has invalidated itself as a forum in which to try to heal the Arab-Israeli conflict. The UN condemns Israel more often than all other countries combined. That is not mere hostility but pathological obsession. When the international community treats the Jewish state with contempt, Israelis tend to reciprocate. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Is Israel Truly Isolated? - Dore Gold
    There is a mistaken conventional wisdom that it is within Israel's power to alter fundamental political trends across the Middle East. Unfortunately, there are many tectonic shifts that are occurring in the region that Israel cannot influence. Resuming a dialogue with the Palestinians has a value in its own right, but any new peace talks will not stop Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan or stabilize Egypt.
        Israel, which welcomed visits by a third of the U.S. House of Representatives and most of Europe's top leaders, cannot be called isolated. Regardless of how they vote at the UN, many states also seek out intimate bilateral relations with Israel based on security and intelligence ties. India will inevitably vote against Israel at the UN, but India views Israel as an important strategic ally.
        During the last 18 years, while Israeli governments negotiated with the Palestinians, the PLO observer mission at the UN kept initiating anti-Israel resolutions every year with the backing of the Arab group and the states of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Palestinians are not about to change. When Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords on Sept. 13, 1993, it took three months and one day until the anti-Israel resolutions were resumed on Dec. 14. Mahmoud Abbas does not want to let go of his diplomatic hammer at the UN, just like Arafat. (Israel Hayom)

The Legal Case Against Palestinian Statehood - David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey (Wall Street Journal)

  • Putting the UN - and particularly the General Assembly - in the business of state recognition is inconsistent with international law and the UN Charter. The UN - General Assembly or Security Council - has no power to create states or to grant formal "recognition" to state aspirants.
  • Those who cite as precedent the General Assembly's 1947 resolution providing for the partition of Palestine misread that instrument and its legal significance. Resolution 181 did not create or recognize the proposed Jewish and Arab states, nor were they granted automatic admission to the United Nations.
  • The Palestinian Authority does not meet the basic characteristics of a state as authoritatively articulated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. To be a state, an entity must have (1) a permanent population, (2) a defined territory, (3) a government, and (4) the capacity to enter into relations with other states.
  • The PA has neither a permanent population nor defined territory, nor does it have a government with the capacity to enter into relations with other states and keep international accords. The PA does not control any part of the West Bank to the exclusion of Israeli authority, and it exercises no control at all in the Gaza Strip.
  • The PA does not, therefore, qualify for recognition as a state and, concomitantly, it does not qualify for UN membership, which is open only to states.

    Messrs. Rivkin and Casey served in the Justice Department during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

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