Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 20, 2012

In-Depth Issue:

Hamas Rockets and their Ranges (IDF Spokesman)
  Hamas’ weapons arsenal is growing with the new and advanced Iranian made Fajr-3, Katyushas/Grads, anti-tank missiles, and heavy mortars.
  Over the past 6 years, Hamas rocket fire has killed 44 innocent Israeli civilians and injured a staggering 1,687.

Is the Palestinian Authority Losing Control in the West Bank? - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
  In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority security forces have been launching a massive crackdown on anarchy and lawlessness in various parts of the West Bank.
  The crackdown was ordered by Abbas after he discovered what many Palestinians have known for a long time: that his security forces and Fatah loyalists are responsible for the chaos and anarchy.
  Dozens of Palestinian security officers, some of them holding very high ranks, have thus far been rounded up and transferred to a Palestinian prison in Jericho.
  The officers, who were trained and armed by U.S. and EU security experts over the past years, are suspected of involvement in various types of crime, including extortion, armed robbery, kidnappings, physical assaults and fraud. The ongoing security crackdown has also resulted in the arrest of scores of Fatah gunmen who were part of the faction's armed wing, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Israel and China - A Marriage Made in Heaven, Except for Energy Issues - John Daly (Oil Price)
  China and Israel are the most pragmatic of partners. For China, Israel’s prime attraction is as a source of cutting-edge high technology, for Israel, its gaining a foothold in the world’s largest market.
  Military cooperation between the two nations is deepening – according to Xinhau. During a May 21 meeting in Beijing China and Israel pledged to boost ties between their armed forces as their chiefs of staff held talks. China's People's Liberation Army General Staff chief Chen Bingde told the IDF's chief of staff Benny Gantz, "Military-to-military ties between the two nations have also grown along with the overall bilateral relationship." Underlining the importance of his visit, Gantz also met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.
  China is now Israel's third-largest trade partner, after the European Union and United States. In 2011 Israeli-Chinese bilateral trade exceeded $8 billion, roughly 20 percent higher than in 2010.
  What could cloud this otherwise sunny picture? Iran.
  China relies on Iran for roughly 10 percent of its oil supply and has repeatedly rejected intensifying UN sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Setback in Talks on Iran's Nuclear Program in a "Gulf of Mistrust" - Ellen Barry and Rick Gladstone
    Talks on Iran’s disputed nuclear program descended into mistrust and frustration in Moscow on Tuesday, casting doubt on whether the two sides can negotiate a way out of the escalating crisis.
      After five draining sessions, the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the differences between Iran and the group of six world powers involved in the talks here remained so significant that negotiators did not commit to another high-level meeting. Instead, technical experts from both sides will convene early next month to determine whether there are grounds for further high-level contact. (New York Times)
        See also Iran Nuclear Stand-Off: Traveling Circus of Talks Continues - James Reynolds
    Iran's parliament called on Iran's lead negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to stick to his positions. Mr. Jalili is seen as a possible candidate in next year's presidential election. The tougher he came across in Moscow, the better he looked to conservatives in Tehran. (BBC)
  • U.S., Israel Developed Computer Virus to Slow Iranian Nuclear Efforts, Officials Say - Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Julie Tate,
    The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected critical intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage attacks aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.
      The massive piece of malware was designed to secretly map Iran’s computer networks and monitor the computers of Iranian officials, sending back a steady stream of intelligence used to enable an ongoing cyberwarfare campaign, according to the officials. Flame was developed at least five years ago as part of a classified effort code-named Olympic Games, according to officials familiar with U.S. cyber operations and experts who have scrutinized its code. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Plans Significant Military Presence in Kuwait - Donna Cassata
    The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region as Iraq adjusts to the withdrawal of American combat forces and the world nervously eyes Iran, according to a congressional report.
      As it recalibrates its national security strategy, the United States is drawing down forces in Europe while focusing on other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he envisions about 40,000 troops stationed in the Middle East region after the withdrawal from Iraq. (AP)
  • Egypt's Mubarak on Life Support amid Crisis - Hamza Hendawi and Sarah el Deeb
    Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was on life support after suffering a stroke in prison Tuesday, deepening the country's uncertainty just as a potentially explosive fight opened over who will succeed him. The 84-year-old Mubarak suffered a "fast deterioration of his health" and his heart stopped beating, the state news agency MENA and security officials said. He was revived by defibrillation but then had a stroke. (AP)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Gaza Rockets Continue; Grad Hits Near Beersheba - Yaakov Katz and Yaakov Lappin
    Palestinian terror groups fired a Grad rocket into Israeli territory that exploded in an open area near Beersheba Wednesday morning. The rocket fire continued early Wednesday morning, with at least 12 rockets falling in the Ashkelon Coast and Eshkol Regional Council areas.
      Late Tuesday night, four border policemen in the Ashkelon coast area were injured by shrapnel, one moderately, when a Kassam rocket directly struck a building, after nearly 50 rockets and mortar shells pounded southern Israel.
      IAF aircraft struck seven terror targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday in response to the continued rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Air Force Kills Gazan who Planned Sinai Border Attack - Yaakov Katz and Yaakov Lappin
    The Israeli Air Force attacked and killed a Global Jihad terrorist in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Wednesday. The IDF said the man was one of the planners of the terrorist attack that emanated from the Sinai Peninsula on Monday.
      The defense establishment is particularly concerned with the development and growing presence of Global Jihad and al-Qaida-affiliated organizations in the Gaza Strip, some of which are made up of former Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas members. Others, it said, come from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Hamas said the man was Ghalib Rmelat, a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades. (Jerusalem Post)
  • India-Israel Trade Can Go Up to $15 Billion, Says Envoy
    Bilateral trade between India and Israel can go up to $15 billion after the two countries are expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) by the year end, an Israeli envoy has said. "In 1992, the volume of trade between Israel and India was $180 million. Now, in 2011, it is about $5 billion. We are expecting the free trade agreement to be signed by the end of 2012 and then the volume of trade can go up to $10-15 billion," Israel's Ambassador Alon Ushpiz told reporters in India on Tuesday. (Hindustan Times - India)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Against Iran, an Iron Wall and Iron Will - Dan Margalit
    One option suggested was to offer to supply Iran with one last offer, stressing that it accept this unconditionally: The West will take care of all of the Shiite empire's civilian nuclear needs if Iran agrees to halt uranium enrichment under international supervision. Sounds logical, but such an American offer has already been accepted by North Korea, but the moment the West fulfilled its part of the bargain, Pyongyang reverted back to its evil ways.
      There is no reason to believe the ayatollahs any more than we believe the North Koreans. Dictatorships have no respect for countries that strike compromise agreements with them. Harsher, speedier sanctions are in order, and only when they are implemented can the West approach the evil Shiite regime with offers of compromise. The current pressure is ineffective. (Israel Hayom)
  • A Nuclear Impasse with Iran - Editorial
    The Obama administration must be prepared to take an Iranian “no” for an answer. It should resist any effort by Russia or other members of the international coalition to weaken the steps that Iran must take, or to grant Tehran major sanctions relief for partial concessions. It should continue to reject recognition of an Iranian “right” to enrich uranium.
      The United States and its allies also should have a strategy for quickly and significantly increasing the pressure on the Khamenei regime if the negotiations break down. (Washington Post)
  • Observations:

    Sinai Terrorism May also Reflect the Interests of Bedouin Smuggling Cartels - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)

  • There is apparently no connection between the terror attack on the Israel-Egypt border Monday morning and the Islamic Brotherhood’s claim of victory in Egypt’s elections. According to assessments, the border clash was initiated by Bedouin smugglers in the northern Sinai who are interested in slowing down the pace of Israel’s fence construction.
  • The rapid pace of the work at this time is eliminating the breaches in the old fence used to easily bring into Israel African migrants, as well as drugs and weapons for terrorists. As result of this, the huge sums earned by the northern Sinai Bedouins (possibly millions of dollars) have plummeted as of late.
  • The Bedouins are getting training from Palestinian terrorists from Gaza as well as from Global Jihad members. Israel had a tragic opportunity to witness these capabilities first-hand in the attack on Highway 12 last August that claimed the lives of eight Israelis.
  • The Bedouins are not short on weapons; they possess huge depots of Libyan heavy machineguns, RPG rockets and launchers of all types, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as advanced Grad rockets and worse.
  • The Bedouins’ cheekiness is reinforced by the realization that the IDF will avoid as much as is possible operating in the Sinai, as not to hurt Egypt’s honor and sovereignty at this sensitive period.
  • As long as the fence is not completed, the latest attack, as well as the rockets fired into the Negev over the weekend, will serve as a harbinger of a restive summer in the south.

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