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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 26, 2011

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Tunisia's Ghannouchi on the End of Israel - Martin Kramer (Facebook)
    Rashid Ghannouchi's "moderate" Nahda party is raking in the voters in the Tunisian elections.
    In May he said: "I bring glad tidings that the Arab region will get rid of the germ of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Hamas movement, once said that Israel would disappear before 2027. That date may be too far off; Israel may disappear before that."
    The writer is Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and a Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Poll: Syria's Assad Losing Support in Arab World (Arab American Institute)
    Three years ago the Arab American Institute asked respondents in 11 Arab countries to name a leader they most respected. In five countries, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad ranked among the top three mentioned.
    However, a new 2011 poll reveals that today support for Assad has virtually dried up. The overwhelming majority of Arabs in the six nations covered in the survey side with those Syrians demonstrating against the government (from 83% in Morocco to 100% in Jordan).
    When asked whether Assad can continue to govern, the highest affirmative ratings he receives are 15% in Morocco and 14% in Egypt.
    See also Poll: Arab Attitudes toward Syria: 2011 - James Zogby (AAI)

Saudi Cleric: Kidnap Israeli Soldier - Get $100,000 - Roee Nahmias (Ynet News)
    Top Saudi cleric Dr. Awad al-Qarni is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who kidnaps Israeli soldiers. "I declare to the world that any Palestinian who will jail an Israeli soldier and exchange him for prisoners will be rewarded with a $100,000 prize," he wrote on his Facebook page.
    The post has already received more than 1,000 likes and extensive coverage in Hamas-affiliated newspapers in Gaza.
    Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas Minister Fathi Hamad told the Lebanese daily as-Safir that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza had enabled Hamas to hide kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for five years.

Israeli Technology at China's Largest Desalination Plant - Michael Wines (New York Times)
    On the outskirts of Tianjin, China, the Beijiang Power and Desalination Plant is a 26-billion-renminbi technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollution controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water.
    The desalination complex was almost wholly made in Israel, shipped to Tianjin and bolted together.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Mideast Quartet Tries New Approach with Israel, Palestinians - Edmund Sanders
    The Mideast Quartet is pushing both sides to submit detailed proposals for borders of a Palestinian state and measures to ensure Israel's long-term security, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday. "We want to get agreement where detailed proposals on borders and security would be put forward within the 90-day period that the Quartet statement stipulated. This is a preliminary meeting to see if it's possible to get that to happen. Once we see where the detailed proposals are on an issue like borders, then we can see how big the division is," Blair said. "You can't impose something on the parties that they are not prepared to do. We can try to create a framework from which they can move forward."  (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Israel Envoy: Outlook for Peace Talks Not "Particularly Bright" - Ben Birnbaum
    The outlook for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks does not look "particularly bright," Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said Tuesday, as international mediators descended on Jerusalem in search of a formula to jump-start negotiations between the parties. "Our policy remains direct negotiations to achieve a two-state try to get [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table."
        Oren blasted the heroes' welcome given to the freed Palestinian prisoners who had been convicted of terrorism, released last week as part of Israel's deal with Hamas to free captured Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit. "I think it underscores the great difference between Israeli society and the society on the other side," he said. "We celebrate life, they revel in death."
        "Mahmoud Abbas comes out and says, 'Not only are these people heroes, but we're going to work for the release of the terrorist who killed 39 people at a Passover Seder in Netanya, that's a hero.'" "What kind of message does that send to Palestinian children?"  (Washington Times)
  • Syrian Army Deserters Kill 7 Troops in Revolt - Khaled Yacoub Oweis
    Syrian army deserters killed seven soldiers in an attack on an armored convoy at a roadblock near the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numaan on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. In addition, in Talbiseh near the city of Homs, residents said Syrian tanks fired machineguns and anti-aircraft guns at neighborhoods where deserters had taken refuge. Eight people were killed in Homs on Monday when troops and militiamen fired at majority Sunni Muslim districts that have been a bastion of protests and, lately, a refuge for military defectors leading armed resistance, residents said. (Reuters)
  • Israel Police Close Hamas, PFLP Offices in Eastern Jerusalem - Marco Longari
    Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Tuesday the police had closed down two offices in eastern Jerusalem which were being used by Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Turkey Asks Israel for Aid after Earthquake - Ronen Medzini
    Two days after a devastating earthquake hit eastern Turkey, on Tuesday the Turkish Foreign Ministry submitted an official request with Jerusalem for the transfer of mobile housing units. Turkey has requested prefabricated housing and tents from more than 30 countries. (Ynet News)
        See also Prompt Israeli Aid Follows Turkish Call for Assistance (Hurriyet-Turkey)
  • Jerusalem Vows to Demolish Temporary Mughrabi Gate Bridge - Melanie Lidman
    For the second time in six months, Jerusalem's city engineer has threatened to destroy the temporary bridge connecting the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount in an effort to force the Western Wall Heritage Fund to replace the aging structure. City Engineer Shlomo Eshkol said the bridge, used by non-Muslims, was in danger of collapse and gave the Western Wall Heritage Fund 30 days to work on a replacement plan. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Mughrabi Gate to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: The Urgent Need for a Permanent Access Bridge - Nadav Shragai (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Ilan Grapel Incident Meant to Distract Egyptians from Real Problems - Oren Kessler
    The Ilan Grapel affair, involving an American-Israeli arrested in Cairo, was designed to satisfy the Egyptian masses, and was a stage-managed incident meant to use "the traditional rival - Israel - to distract Egyptians from their real problems," Boaz Ganor, executive director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at IDC Herzliya, said Tuesday. Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at ICT, added that Cairo has a record of arresting innocent Israelis such as Azzam Azzam and Ouda Tarabin and framing them as spies to prove to its anti-Israel public it is looking after state security. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Syria's Resilient Revolt - Amir Taheri
    Of all regimes challenged by the "Arab Spring," that of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the most brutal and most capable of retaining power. However, since March the current revolt has spread to virtually every town across the country. The balance of power is clearly shifting against the Assad clan. All of the 18 ethnic and religious communities are taking an active part in the uprising. Unlike 1982, the uprising is not confined to the majority Sunni Muslims, some 70% of the population. It is equally supported by Christians, some 12% of the population, and Muslims including Ismailis, Yazidis, Druze and even Assad's own Nusairi (Alawite) sect. Ethnic communities such as Kurds, Turkmen and Circassians have also joined the revolt.
        The 190-member Syrian National Council, created earlier this month, is a coalition of seven parties and more than two dozen associations which represents all of Syria's ethnic and religious communities. It has brought together the Muslim Brotherhood, democratic and liberal groups, dissidents of the ruling Baath Party, and even Kurdish parties seeking independence, under one umbrella. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Palestinian "Right of Return" Law Leaves No Room for Political Flexibility - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi
    Some argue that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will ultimately relinquish its demand for the "right of return" of five million Palestinian refugees and their descendents to the sovereign territory of the State of Israel. Others believe that the Palestinian consensus is intransigent on the issue. They predict that after an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines, a future Palestinian state will pursue its struggle for full implementation of the "right of return," which means in fact bringing about the destruction of the State of Israel.
        In 2008, the Palestinian "right of return" was anchored in legislation passed by the Palestinian Parliament. The law's provisions block any possibilities of compromise and political flexibility for Palestinian negotiators. Understanding the Palestinian political stance is highly important for shaping future Israeli policy. The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Leader: The Day We Expel the Jews Is Drawing Near - Frank Crimi
    According to Hamas Leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, "Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don't recognize the State of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims."
        "We are no weaker or less honorable than the peoples that expelled and annihilated the Jews. The day we expel them is drawing near....We have learned the lesson - there is no place for you [Jews] among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation."
        During the Second Intifada from 2000-2004, Hamas and its allies launched 138 suicide attacks against Israelis, killing 319 Israeli soldiers and 745 civilians, and wounding 2,430 soldiers and 5,032 civilians. (Front Page Magazine)

Jordan's King Abdullah: Syrian Regime Won't Reform - Lally Weymouth (Washington Post)

Jordan's King Abdullah said in an interview last weekend:

  • General Tantawi, head of Egypt's military ruling council, "thinks there is too much pressure on him...from the West....I think everybody is wary of dealing with the West....Looking at how quickly people turned their backs on Mubarak, I would say that most people are going to try and go their own way. I think there is going to be less coordination with the West and therefore a chance of more misunderstandings."
  • "I spoke to Bashar al-Assad twice in the springtime....Basically, they were not interested in listening to our advice....I think he does have reform in his soul but I don't think that type of regime allows for any potential reformist."
  • Q: The Israelis are worried the Egyptians will break the [peace] treaty.
    Abdullah: "That is a very, very strong possibility."
  • Q: Do you intend to support Jordan's treaty with Israel?
    Abdullah: "We have a peace treaty with Israel and will continue to do so because it helps both parties." 

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