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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 4, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Denies Report of Secret Iran Contacts - Mark Felsenthal (Reuters)
    The White House on Monday denied an Israeli newspaper report that accused Washington of secretly negotiating with Tehran to keep the U.S. out of a future Israel-Iran war.
    Yediot Ahronot said the U.S. told Iran it should refrain from retaliating against U.S. interests if Israel carried out threats to attack Iran.
    In Jerusalem, an Israeli official said of the report: "It doesn't make sense. There would be no need to make such a promise to the Iranians because they realize the last thing they need is to attack U.S. targets and draw massive U.S. bombing raids."

Photo Fraud: CNN Resurrects the Rachel Corrie Libel - Shraga Simmons (Times of Israel)
    In describing the verdict in the Rachel Corrie case, a CNN video report depicted Corrie standing in plain view of an Israeli bulldozer, with a megaphone in hand, as CNN reporter Frederik Pleitgen intoned: "These photos show the moments before she was killed."
    The CNN report is a lie. The photo was actually taken hours before the fatal incident, in front of a different bulldozer.
    The latest CNN report also featured a different photo of Rachel Corrie standing in extremely close proximity to an Israeli bulldozer.
    Yet this photo is a total fraud - a crude Photoshop job. Corrie's shadow is much longer than that of the bulldozer, while the man standing close to her in the photo casts no shadow at all.

Iraq's Oil Exports Hit Highest Level in 30 Years (AP)
    Iraq's Oil Ministry says crude oil exports have averaged 2.565 million barrels a day in August, the highest level in more than three decades.

IDF Hosts International Conference on Emergency Planning - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF Home Front Command is hosting a five-day international seminar in Tel Aviv this week on how to manage civilian populations during times of crisis.
    Delegates from 19 countries and the UN are attending.

Record Number of Israeli Teens Volunteer for Community Service - Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad (Ynet News)
    Some 4,300 Israeli high school graduates have chosen to defer their three years of military service by one year in order to volunteer in the community, schools, youth movements, and with at-risk youth.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • More than 103,400 Refugees Flee Syria in Month as Humanitarian Crisis Worsens - Holly Yan
    More than 103,400 Syrians fled to neighboring countries in August - almost doubling the total number of refugees from the previous 17 months combined, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday. In all, more than 235,300 refugees are registered or awaiting registration, with more streaming across borders every day. (CNN)
        There are now more than 80,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Jordan has more than 77,000 Syrian refugees; Lebanon has more than 59,000; and Iraq nearly 18,700. (AP)
  • Syrian Children Offer Glimpse of a Future of Reprisals - David D. Kirkpatrick
    Sunni Muslim children from Syria in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, asked about what drove them from their homes, describe their hatred of the Alawites and a thirst for revenge. Parroting older relatives, the youngsters offered a disturbing premonition of the road ahead for Syria. Their unvarnished hatred helps explain why so many Alawites have stood by Mr. Assad even as the world has written him off. They see him as their best protection against sectarian annihilation.
        Joshua Landis, a Syria scholar at the University of Oklahoma, explained that the French colonists brought the Alawites into the military to help control the Sunnis. After Syria's independence, the military eventually took control of the country, putting Alawites in top government positions. "Now the Alawites believe - possibly correctly - that the Sunnis are going to try to kill them, and that is why the Alawite Army now is killing Sunnis in this beastly way," Prof. Landis said. "I don't see any way out of that."  (New York Times)
  • Egypt and U.S. Near Deal on Debt Relief - Michael Birnbaum
    The U.S. is nearing an agreement with Egypt's new government to eliminate a significant portion of the $3.2 billion it owes the U.S., American officials said Monday. U.S. officials have been in Cairo since last week hammering out the details of the debt relief package, which could approach $1 billion. Much of the money for the U.S. debt-relief package would come from funds that had previously been allocated for aid to Egypt and Afghanistan but were not spent.
        Much of the U.S. non-military aid destined for Egypt was put on hold after the January 2011 protests that toppled Mubarak, especially after the cabinet minister responsible for international aid pushed for the prosecution of employees of several non-governmental organizations funded by the U.S. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Vice Prime Minister: Iran Timing Is Only Point of Contention between Israel and U.S. - Ron Friedman
    The only issue on which Israel and the U.S. do not see eye to eye when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is the timetable, Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday. "There is absolutely no disagreement about the need." "The U.S. has operated all across the world in order to thwart a nuclear Iran," said Shalom in an interview with Army Radio, noting U.S. efforts alongside other countries to toughen sanctions. "We believe in sanctions too, but think they can be even more crippling than they are now."  (Times of Israel)
  • PA Paying Millions to Jailed Terrorists, Families of Suicide Bombers - Ilan Ben Zion
    As of May 2011, the Palestinian Authority spent $4.5 million per month on compensating Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons and a further $6.5 million on payments to families of suicide bombers, Israel's Channel 2 TV reported on Monday. Last year Prime Minister Salam Fayyad tripled their monthly pay. The PA-funded salaries equally benefit members of Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, as well as Israeli Arabs jailed for security offenses.
        Hamas terrorist Abbas al-Sayyeed, convicted of planning the 2002 Park Hotel massacre in which 30 Israeli civilians were killed, is paid $3,000 per month by the PA. (Times of Israel)
        See also Materials on PA Payments to Convicted Palestinian Terrorists Come from Israel Channel 2 and Jerusalem Center (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)
  • Seven Countries Want to Buy Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System - Yoav Zitun
    The U.S. and six other countries have expressed interest in purchasing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, Yossi Druker, the head of the air defense directorate at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, told Ynet. Iron Dome boasts an 80% success rate in defending against Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Throws Bag of Bombs at Checkpoint - Itamar Fleishman
    A Palestinian man arrived at the Hashmonaim checkpoint near Modiin Illit on Monday afternoon and sought entry into Israel. He failed to present the necessary documentation and was turned away. The Palestinian left the scene, but returned shortly with a large bag. When security forces wished to search him, he hurled the bag at them and fled toward nearby villages. Security forces found four pipe bombs in the bag, which were safely detonated. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • ISM Used Activists as Terrorists' Human Shields - Robbie Sabel
    In a detailed, 65-page judgment, the Haifa court found that the bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie was engaged at the time in a military operation to clear the land and not, incidentally, in demolishing houses. The area concerned was the "Philadelphia Corridor," separating Gaza from Egypt, which was under continuous sniper fire from Palestinian terrorists. The sniper fire forced the bulldozer crews to operate with closed hatches, and the court concluded that because of the limited field of vision from the operator's seat, the operator of the bulldozer was not aware of Corrie's presence.
        Corrie was an activist in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The court concluded that the ISM was far from being an innocuous, benign humanitarian body and in fact had been engaged in sabotaging the IDF's operations, stationing activists to serve as "human shields" for terrorists wanted by Israeli security forces, and providing assistance to Palestinian terrorists and their families. The court also found that Corrie was aware that she was illegally entering a war zone and deliberately risked her life. The writer is a professor of international law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
  • Is the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty Dead? - Maikel Nabil Sanad
    President Anwar Sadat wanted a real peace, but since his assassination in 1981, the Egyptian authorities have related to the 1979 treaty as a ceasefire deal and not as a true peace treaty. They are still dreaming of revenge for their successive losses in previous wars against Israel. 33 years after the peace treaty, Israel still doesn't exist on official Egyptian maps. When young Egyptian students study geography, they find only Palestine on their state-printed books. Egypt has not canceled a law which criminalizes Zionism.
        The Egyptian authorities are still training young army officers to believe that Israel is their only enemy, and force young recruits to say every day that "Jews are enemies of Allah." The state-owned media still run anti-Israel propaganda. Egyptians have to get permission from Egyptian Military Intelligence if they want to visit Israel, and the same agencies target Egyptian peace activists and call them Israeli spies, which is exactly what they did to me. The writer, an Egyptian activist, was imprisoned for 10 months in Egypt in 2011 for his human rights work. (Ha'aretz)

What Happened to Egypt's War against Sinai Jihadists? - Avi Issacharoff (Ha'aretz)

  • The Egyptian soldiers we encountered last week near the Kerem Shalom border crossing wore helmets and protective vests and held their Kalashnikov rifles at the ready. They bore no resemblance to the border police who were there at the time of the August 5 attack on a nearby Egyptian outpost.
  • News reports say Egyptian President Morsi's emissaries reached an agreement with Islamist groups in Sinai. The jihadists promised to stop the attacks against Egypt, and both sides agreed to take action against foreign militants. Morsi, grasping the limits of his army's ability to act against the armed groups in central Sinai, apparently preferred to stop the fighting and arrive at understandings.
  • Egyptian bulldozers continue to demolish tunnels running from Egyptian Rafah into Gaza, concentrating on "illegal tunnels" - those not under Hamas supervision on the Palestinian side. This has led immediately to an increase in the amount of goods entering the Strip from Israel via the Kerem Shalom terminal.
  • Impressive commercial activity is taking place through the Kerem Shalom crossing. On the eve of the famous Gaza flotilla, 60-70 truckloads a day entered Gaza. At present, about 250 trucks a day bring in goods. The crossing is now capable of handling 450 trucks a day if the demand requires it, according to Kamil Abu Rukun, the Israeli Defense Ministry official who oversees the border crossing.
  • The unhindered movement of goods into Gaza through both the Kerem Shalom crossing and the tunnels has made large-scale construction possible in Gaza - so much so that there is now a serious shortage of construction workers there. Young men are being sent to Turkey in organized groups to learn the trade.

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