Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
October 30, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Fatah Facebook Shows Palestinian Mother Placing Suicide Belt on Her Child - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Facebook page for Fatah in Lebanon on Sep. 3 posted a picture of a mother dressing her young son with a suicide belt.
    The accompanying text reads: "My mother dressed me in a strange belt (i.e., a suicide belt)." I asked her: "What is this, mother?"
    She said: "I will put it on you and you will go to your death!...The homeland needs you, son. Go and blow up the sons of Zion."

The EU's Israel Problem - Daniel Hannan (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    Eurocrats are happier hectoring Israel than dealing with the euro. Almost every European Parliament session brings a condemnatory resolution, a proposal to restrict trade, or a demand for differential labeling for exports from "occupied Palestine."
    Yet the reason most Euro-enthusiasts resent Israel is that it is the supreme embodiment of the national principle - the desire of every people to form their own state.
    In doing so, they invalidated the intellectual basis of European integration.
    The EU is built on the idea that national loyalties are arbitrary and dangerous. If Israel's story is legitimate - if people really are better off living under their own laws within national groups - then everything Brussels has done since 1956 is wrong.
    No wonder that Israelis find it hard to get a fair hearing there.
    The writer is a Conservative MEP.

Peace Index: Palestinians Gave Israel No Opportunity to Restart Negotiations - Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann (Tel Aviv University and Israel Democracy Institute)
    While 65% of the Israeli public favors holding peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, 73% do not believe such negotiations will lead to peace, according to the Peace Index survey conducted on October 22-24.
    51% agreed that during Prime Minister Netanyahu's current term of office there were no opportunities to restart negotiations with the Palestinians.

240 Ethiopian Immigrants Flown to Israel - Naama Barak (Times of Israel)
    A planeload of 240 Ethiopian immigrants, half of them children, landed in Israel on Monday, in an inaugural flight commencing Israel's initiative to bring all remaining Falash Mura to the country, the Jewish Agency announced.
    The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity or abandoned Jewish customs in the 19th and 20th centuries.
    "Together we are writing the last page of the history of Ethiopian Jewry. We are now bringing all of our brothers from Africa to Israel," said Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Heaviest Air Strikes Yet Shake Syria after Failed Truce
    Damascus shook with loud explosions on Monday as Syrian warplanes reportedly launched their heaviest air strikes yet. The final day of the Eid al-Adha holiday saw the Syrian military launch 34 air strikes across the country including at least eight targets in Damascus. (AFP-Telegraph-UK)
        See also Syria Turning Neighborhoods to Rubble - John Pedro Schwartz
    You will not find the Damascus suburb of Harasta or Jobar. You will not find al-Hajar al-Aswad or Qaddam or Zamalka. What you will find in these villages, which the Syrian army reclaimed from the rebels in August and September, is the rubble of war, rows of four- and five- and six-story buildings razed to their foundations. (Foreign Policy)
        See also Syria Truce Collapse Shows Limits of Diplomacy - Zeina Karam (AP)
  • Jordan's Jihadists Drawn to Syria Conflict - Murad Batal al-Shishani
    Dozens of jihadists from Jordan have flocked into Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime. In less than a month, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Baqaa, has witnessed two funerals for jihadists killed in Syria. Jihadists call the funerals of individuals who have been killed in battle a "martyr's wedding" in which they do not exchange condolences but congratulations on a person becoming a martyr. (BBC News)
  • Christians Rally in Support of Israel, Jewish People - Abe Levy
    Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, delivered the keynote speech during "A Night to Honor Israel" on Sunday at Pastor John Hagee's 5,000-seat Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. With rabbis, Christian ministers and Israeli leaders in ample supply, the atmosphere highlighted the fervor of Christian Zionists whose cause has re-intensified through Hagee's initiatives in recent years. "We all know you have our back covered," said Meir Shlomo, consul general of Israel to the Southwest, prompting a prolonged standing ovation. (San Antonio Express-News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Exposes Hamas Command Center in West Bank - Yaakov Lappin and Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Some 30 Hamas activists have been arrested in recent months for establishing a branch of the Islamist organization in the Ramallah area, the Israel Security Agency announced Monday. Murad Muhammad Khaled Abu Baha was head of the cell, Maher Ayoub Abd Dalashiya was the money man, and Matzav Muhammad Ahmed Sarur was responsible for recruiting students. Student cells were established at West Bank universities and Hamas transferred large funds through student bodies. Two of the suspects took part in the October 2000 lynch of two IDF reservists in Ramallah. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Grows Bold in Gaza - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    On Monday, 20 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel. In Hamas' renewed fervor to stand up to Israel militarily, it shot itself in the foot when it distributed films showing rockets being launched from the heart of populated areas. Thus it uses civilians as shields, just as Israel has claimed all these years.
        Unlike previous rounds, the events of the past two weeks have clearly been initiated by Hamas. So far the Israeli response has been restrained - targeting crews that are launching rockets. But this could change if the rocket fire persists.
        Aerial photographs of the weapons plant in Sudan show precise hits on shipping containers, while buildings remained undamaged, strengthening the suspicion that the goal was to destroy equipment that had been smuggled recently to Sudan. The Iranians may have been bringing equipment into Sudan in parts and assembling it there. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video: Hamas Launches Rockets from Populated Area - Elior Levy (Ynet News)
  • Turkey Is Not Looking to Reconcile with Israel - Adar Primor
    During a recent conference of Israeli and Turkish journalists, it became clear that Turkey does not really want reconciliation with Israel. Turks who attended the conference told us that not only is Turkey pleased with the crisis in bilateral relations, but actually initiated it. The Mavi Marmara incident was planned, they said, and so was the seemingly spontaneous tongue-lashing Erdogan gave President Shimon Peres in Davos in 2009.
        Erdogan is here to stay. When his term as prime minister ends, he intends to move into the president's residence after granting that institution wide-ranging powers. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Economic Development as a Panacea for Middle East Problems Is a Myth - Barry Rubin
    It make sense to the Western mind that material conditions will determine the political beliefs and loyalties of Arabs and Iranians. They just want good jobs, nice housing, and higher living standards for themselves and their children. Yet the appeals of radical ideology overcome material considerations. There are lots of people who would like their children to grow up to be suicide bombers or prefer piety to prosperity.
        In a Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt, with Salafists engaging in anarchic violence, is U.S.-backed economic development going to make any difference? As for the Palestinian Authority, vast amounts of aid money have flowed in and despite some apparent successes - a lot of luxury apartments have been built and people kept employed in the government bureaucracy - no lasting progress has been made. A lot of the money has ended up in the political leaders' foreign bank accounts.
        The stories of the battle of corrupt leaders in the Palestinian Authority over awarding a mobile phone contract; how EU-financed public housing turned into luxury apartments to reward regime supporters; or the sabotage against building an improved sewer system in Gaza - even though foreign aid was paying for the whole project - are wonderful case studies in how economic development campaigns that look good in the West amount to a joke on the ground. (PJMedia)
  • A Problematic "Apartheid" Poll - Shany Mor
    Last week a news article in Ha'aretz carried the provocative headline: "A majority of Israelis support apartheid policies in Israel." The survey and its presentation have all the hallmarks of a serious failure of oversight. There were misleading translations, sloppily-worded questions producing meaningless "findings," dubious aggregations of the data that produced misrepresentations of opinion, and agenda-driven editorializing.
        The adjoining graphic in the English edition, unlike the one in Hebrew, inexplicably left out the following findings: A majority of Israeli Jews report that they would not be bothered having an Arab neighbor in their building; a majority of Israeli Jews report that they would not be bothered if their children studied in a class with an Arab pupil; and a majority of Israeli Jews reject the proposition that Arabs not be allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. The writer is Senior Research Associate at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). (Ha'aretz)
        See also Ha'aretz and the Israel Apartheid Canard - Ben-Dror Yemini (Times of Israel)

Why Iran Wants to Attack the United States - Matthew Levitt (Foreign Policy)

  • An Iranian-American used car salesman pleaded guilty this month to conspiring with Iranian agents to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the plot "shows that some Iranian officials - probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei - have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."
  • Iran's Quds Force partnered with Hizbullah and provided extensive logistical support for a large-scale bombing in Turkey in fall 2009. Turkish authorities disrupted a plot in which Hizbullah and Iranian agents intended to attack Israeli and possibly American and local Jewish targets. Turkish police arrested Hizbullah operatives who reportedly smuggled a car bomb into the country from Syria while Quds Force agents left the country posing as tourists.
  • According to Israeli intelligence, the foiled attack led to a blame game between Hizbullah and the Quds Force over the failed operations. Under Iran's instructions, Hizbullah's international terrorist wing, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), underwent a massive operational reorganization. As part of the shakeup, Iranian officials laid out Hizbullah's role in Iran's larger plan for a coordinated shadow war targeting Israeli, American, British, and Arab Gulf state interests.
  • It assigned the task of targeting Israeli tourists to Hizbullah, and gave the Quds Force responsibility for operations targeting Israeli, American, British, or Gulf states' interests. In the operational blitz that followed, Hizbullah operations included plots in Bulgaria, Thailand, South Africa, and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Quds Force operatives were at work in India, Georgia, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Kenya, and the U.S.

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