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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 1, 2011

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In-Depth Issues:

Turkey, Israel Face New Crisis over Turkish Spy Satellite Project - Emre Soncan (Zaman-Turkey)
    Turkey's Gokturk electro-optical satellite project will enable Turkey to acquire high-resolution images for military intelligence in Europe, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
    Concerned that the satellite will gather images of its territory, Israel has pressured France, which is working on the construction of the satellite in cooperation with the Italian-based Telespazio, to stop the project.
    Once the satellite is launched in 2012, Turkey will be able to sell the images it obtains to other countries as well.
    Turkish officials have stated clearly: "We will decide how to use the images taken by our satellite."

Israel Sends Two More Planes Carrying Aid to Turkey (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Two more Israeli planes carrying five housing containers each landed in Erzurum Saturday.
    "We are working in full coordination with our Turkish colleagues and will keep on extending any help needed. Now, our concern is to see to it that the aid will get into Turkish hands as soon as possible," said Nizar Amer, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy.
    Upon Turkey's call on the international community for assistance for quake-hit Van province, Israel sent a plane last week carrying containers to respond to housing necessities of earthquake victims.
    Israel was the first country to respond to Turkey's call, immediately sending a civilian Boeing 747 carrying seven prefabricated housing units.

73 Egyptians Get Suspended Terms for Israel Embassy Attack (AFP)
    An Egyptian military court on Monday handed down six-month suspended jail sentences to 73 people accused of involvement in an attack on the Israeli embassy in September.

Israel Signs Deal for Off-Shore LNG Terminal - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
    Israel said Monday it signed a $140 million deal with Italian marine contractor Micoperi to build an off-shore liquefied natural gas terminal in the Mediterranean some 10 km. from Hadera.
    Construction is due to begin in the second half of 2012 and be completed by the end of the year.
    Though natural gas production in Israel is set to soar in coming decades after the discovery of huge off-shore deposits, the country faces a short-term gas shortage until the new production goes online.

Tunisia Issues Arrest Warrant for Suha Arafat - Lior Yacoby (Israel Hayom)
    Tunisian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Suha Arafat, wife of Yasser Arafat, on grounds of corruption.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • UNESCO Accepts Palestinians as Full Members - Steven Erlanger and Scott Sayare
    Palestine became the 195th full member of UNESCO on Monday, as the UN organization defied a mandated cutoff of American funds under federal legislation. The step will cost UNESCO one-quarter of its yearly budget - the 22% contributed by the U.S. (about $70 million) plus another 3% contributed by Israel. The American ambassador, David T. Killion, repeatedly called the vote "premature." He said "there are no shortcuts" to a Palestinian state and that "we believe efforts such as the one we have witnessed today are counterproductive."  (New York Times)
        See also Dutch Government Unhappy about UNESCO Decision
    The Netherlands is disappointed with the granting of full UNESCO membership to the Palestinians, says Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal. The Netherlands voted against, as did Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania and Lithuania. Rosenthal said membership should have been a result of the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel in line with the timetable drawn up by the Middle East Quartet. "[The parties] must refrain from steps which anticipate the results of the negotiations," he said, calling on all parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. (Radio Netherlands)
        See also Canada Reconsidering Role in UNESCO Following PA Admittance - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
  • UN Investigators Probe Possible Syrian Uranium Enrichment Plant - Desmond Butler
    UN investigators have identified a previously unknown complex in the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah that bolsters suspicions that the Syrian government worked with A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to acquire technology that could make nuclear arms. The buildings closely match the design of a uranium enrichment plant provided to Libya.
        IAEA investigators homed in on the Al-Hasakah facility after an intensive analysis of satellite imagery, sparked by a belief that Khan had an additional government customer. They identified the site, the largest industrial complex in Al-Hasakah, after a 2006 report in a Kuwaiti newspaper claimed Syria had a secret nuclear program in the city. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Warns West: Window of Opportunity to Thwart Iran Nuclear Program Is Closing - Barak Ravid
    Israeli ambassadors in Western countries have been instructed to inform high-ranking politicians that the window of opportunity for imposing effective sanctions on Iran is closing, as part of a renewed diplomatic offensive aimed at using new sanctions to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
        "The significant progress that has taken place on all the components of the Iranian nuclear program should be emphasized, especially uranium enrichment," said a classified cable. "The Iranian program is military, and in light of International Atomic Energy Agency reports, there is an increased fear that the Iranians are developing a nuclear warhead for ballistic missiles."
        Foreign Ministry officials were concerned that the reduced attention Iran was receiving made its pursuit of a nuclear program seem less urgent. "There's a feeling that even though the sanctions are harming Iran, the technological timetable is faster than the diplomatic timetable," said another Foreign Ministry official. (Ha'aretz)
  • Rocket Fire on Israel from Gaza Continues - Yanir Yagna
    Palestinians in Gaza launched seven rockets at Beersheba and Sderot on Monday. Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the others exploded in open areas. Schools remained closed Tuesday in Beersheba, Ashdod, and Ashkelon. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Egypt Seeking Cease-Fire in Gaza
    An Egyptian official said Tuesday that Israel has agreed to briefly delay expanding its military operations in Gaza to give Egypt time to persuade Palestinian factions to halt rocket fire on Israel. (AP-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel and the Apartheid Slander - Richard J. Goldstone
    It is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it. One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues "apartheid" policies. The use of "apartheid" is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.
        In Israel, there is no apartheid. Equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court. Those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace. (New York Times)
  • Back to UNESCO's Future - Editorial
    The Palestinian Authority on Monday took its statehood road show to the Paris-based UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and shock, surprise, it found a receptive audience. UNESCO became the first UN agency to accept the PA as a full member. The vote, adopted by 107 to 14 with 52 abstentions, carries unfortunate consequences for the U.S., the UN and the Palestinians. What it won't do is hasten the day that Palestine becomes a state.
        Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a fateful decision this year to grandstand in UN halls. In September, the PA applied to the Security Council for full UN membership. The Palestinians know the U.S. will block any Security Council bid, yet they continue to devote their diplomatic energy to winning the nine votes needed to force Washington to wield a veto. On latest count, they're one short. Failing that, the PA will try to get the General Assembly to grant it UN "observer status."
        Mr. Abbas has thus ensured that Israel won't have any faith in the PA as a negotiating partner anytime soon, and he has expressly tried to embarrass the U.S. Yet Mr. Abbas needs both Israel and the U.S. to gain independence. Readers can draw their own conclusions about what all of this says about Mr. Abbas' willingness to do the hard work necessary to bring about a durable peace with Israel, which is the only way to achieve a Palestinian state. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Palestinians May Lose from UNESCO Vote - Flavia Krause-Jackson and David Lerman
    Acceptance into UNESCO hasn't brought the Palestinians any closer to full membership in the UN itself. If anything, the victory has come at a price. Swing votes the Palestinians need to bolster their support on the Security Council for full UN membership have evaporated.
        The Palestinian admission to UNESCO "is more than anything a complication to the goal they set for themselves: a two-state solution," said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. The number of abstentions - 52 - was more than expected, said Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine. They included three critical Security Council members - Portugal, Colombia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
        "This will further strain relations between the U.S. and the Palestinians and harden positions," said Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations. "The vote to grant Palestinian membership in UNESCO is no substitute for direct negotiations, but it is deeply damaging for UNESCO," said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. (Bloomberg)
        See also Bosnia Stalemate May Signify End to Palestine Vote in Security Council - Aida Cerkez (AP)
  • Rockets Still Flying from the Real Palestinian State - Jonathan S. Tobin
    While UNESCO has voted to admit Palestine as a member state, the actual Palestinian state in Gaza gave the world another reminder of what such statehood actually means when it showered southern Israel with a barrage of missiles, murdering one Israeli, Moshe Ami, 56, of Ashkelon. Palestinian independence in Gaza has only meant one thing: the right of terrorists to shoot at Jews with impunity.
        The Hamas state in Gaza is a heavily armed terrorist regime that has never hesitated to project force against Israeli targets. Further empowering the PA does nothing to silence the rockets. (Commentary)

Israel: A True Ally in the Middle East - Robert D. Blackwill and Walter B. Slocombe (Los Angeles Times)

  • Israeli contributions to U.S. national interests cover a broad spectrum. Through joint training, exercises and exchanges on military doctrine, the U.S. has benefited in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence and experience in urban warfare. Increasingly, U.S. homeland security and military agencies are turning to Israeli technology to solve some of their most vexing technical and strategic problems.
  • This support includes advice and expertise on behavioral screening techniques for airport security and acquisition of an Israeli-produced tactical radar system to enhance force protection. Israel has been a world leader in the development of unmanned aerial systems, both for intelligence collection and combat, and it has shared with the U.S. military the technology, the doctrine and its experience regarding these systems. Israel is also a global pacesetter in armored vehicle protection, defense against short-range rockets, and the techniques and procedures of robotics, all of which it has shared with the U.S.
  • Israeli-developed defense equipment, some of which benefited from generous U.S. aid, is now used by the U.S. military including short-range unmanned aircraft systems that have seen service in Iraq and Afghanistan; targeting pods on hundreds of Air Force, Navy and Marine strike aircraft; a revolutionary helmet-mounted sight that is standard in nearly all frontline Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft; lifesaving armor installed in thousands of MRAP armored vehicles used in Iraq and Afghanistan; and a gun system for close-in defense of naval vessels against terrorist dinghies and small-boat swarms. Moreover, U.S. and Israeli companies are working together to produce Israel's Iron Dome - the world's first combat-proven counter-rocket system.
  • Counter-terrorism and intelligence cooperation is deep and extensive, with the United States and Israel working to advance their common interest in defeating the terrorism of Hamas, Hizbullah and al-Qaeda and its affiliate groups, and preventing nuclear proliferation in the region. There are joint Special Forces training and exercises and collaboration on shared targets.
  • In sum, we believe that Israel's substantial contributions to U.S. interests are an underappreciated aspect of this relationship and deserve equal billing to shared values and historical responsibility as rationales for American support of Israel.

    Robert D. Blackwill, deputy national security advisor for strategic planning in the George W. Bush administration, and Walter B. Slocombe, undersecretary of defense for policy in the Clinton administration, are authors of the new report Israel: A Strategic Asset for the United States (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).

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