Israel Aided Victims of Hurricane Sandy - Karen Levy
(Israel News Agency)
Israel Flying Aid, an Israeli global humanitarian organization, distributed supplies of gas, food, batteries and generators to Hurricane Sandy victims.
"Food was distributed to hurricane victims on the south shore of Long Island, the Nassau County Police, the Freeport Fire Department and the Red Cross shelter at Nassau Community College," said Joel Leyden, an Israel Flying Aid operations specialist.
North American operations manager Moti Kahana said, "We are proud to help the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut communities, people who have provided assistance to Israel throughout the years."
Israel was the only foreign nation to provide humanitarian assistance to the U.S. during this disaster.
Riots Erupt Across Jordan Over Gas Prices - Jodi Rudoren (New York Times)
Violent protests broke out across Jordan on Tuesday after the government announced an increase in fuel prices, inciting an unparalleled show of anger directed at the king.
In Amman, thousands of demonstrators outside the Interior Ministry chanted: "The people want the fall of the regime."
See also Jordan Raises Gas, Fuel Prices, Sparking Protests (AP-Washington Post)
Fuel used in public transport will rise by 14%, while kerosene used for household heating went up by 28%.
Cooking gas jumped 54%. Many Jordanians use cooking gas for heating.
Disruptions in cheap Egyptian gas shipments pushed Jordan's budget deficit to nearly $3 billion this year.
The pipeline that carried Egyptian natural gas to Israel and Jordan was blown up more than a dozen times over the past year by militants in Egypt's Sinai, halting shipments.
Saudis' Proxy War Against Iran - Joseph Braude (Tablet)
Several countries surrounding Iran are beginning to back the country's ethnic dissidents as a way of waging a proxy war against the mullahs.
In Saudi Arabia, media and clerical elites recently mobilized to raise public awareness about the situation of Ahwazi Arabs, frame their cause as a national liberation struggle, and urge Arabs and Muslims to support them.
Saudi donors are providing money and technological support to Ahwazi dissidents.
Ahwaz as defined by Arabs is a territory the size of Belarus that borders Iraq to the west and faces Saudi Arabia across the Persian Gulf. Some estimates say it is home to 3 million Arabic speakers.
The area contains 80% of Iran's oil reserves and nearly all of its gas reserves, as well as a nuclear reactor near the city of Bushehr.
Saudis are also launching new Persian broadcasts to make their case against the regime to the Iranian population.
In addition, they are providing more modest funding to non-Arab ethnics in Iran, as are two other neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government now provides Iranian Kurdish opposition groups with a safe haven and the freedom to organize, train, and access Iran across its porous eastern border.
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- Palestinian UN Vote Could Challenge Israeli Control of Airspace and Territorial Waters - Joe Lauria
The vote in the UN General Assembly this month to make the Palestinian Authority an observer state could give the PA the right over its airspace and territorial waters, which are now under Israeli control, and to press charges against Israelis before the International Criminal Court.
Observer state status would allow the authority to accede to treaties and join specialized UN agencies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Law of the Sea Treaty, and the International Criminal Court. Denis Changnon, an ICAO spokesman, said the treaty gives members full sovereign rights over airspace. The Law of the Sea Treaty would give the PA control of its national waters off Gaza, now under an Israeli naval blockade.
The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut off $500 million in security and economic aid to the authority if it becomes an observer state. In 1989, the Palestinians made a previous attempt to become a non-member state in the General Assembly but withdrew under U.S. pressure.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also Control of Territorial Airspace over the West Bank - Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
See also Palestinian Authority Unable to Pay Salaries, Even as It Pursues Statehood - Ben Lynfield
While Palestinians prepare for an upgrade in status at the UN, the PA has been failing to pay on time its 170,000 employees, whose salaries directly support about a quarter of the West Bank and Gaza population. Foreign donations have dropped from $1.978 billion in 2008 to $983 million in 2011, with Arab, EU and U.S. contributions all falling.
In retaliation for the UN move, Israel is considering suspending transfers of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
''If they breach blatantly the whole framework of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, then there is no way back and Israel will do whatever it sees fit. He who burns bridges should not complain about not being able to get to the other side."
(Christian Science Monitor)
- Israel: Syrian Rebels Using Borders to Limit Government's Ability to Respond - Sheera Frenkel
Syrian rebels are using their country's borders as strategic fighting positions, forcing the Syrian military to limit its response to avoid triggering a confrontation with neighboring countries, an Israeli military officer said Tuesday.
In the last three weeks there has been a sharp increase in fighting between the Syrian military and rebel forces just a few miles from the Israeli border.
"They know that near the Israeli border the Syrian army is limited in how they can hit them," said the officer.
He said the incidents earlier this week in which Syrian mortar rounds fell inside Israel were accidents. On Syrian's northern border with Turkey, the Turkish government has retaliated by opening fire on Syrian military positions every time a Syrian shell lands in Turkey.
The rebels had formed a strategic position around the Syrian village of Quneitra on the Golan Heights. "They are all Islamists and one group, the Eagles of the Golan, are Salafists," the officer said. "We find this worrying because we have heard them say that after their first priority of dealing with the Syrian regime, the second thing will be to deal with Israel." (McClatchy)
- Experts: "Robust" EU Sanctions No Match for Tehran's Tricks - Cnaan Liphshiz
The EU's net of sanctions around Iran has large holes that allow Tehran to penetrate Europe through Turkey, China and even Lebanon-based Hizbullah, among other entities. In the EU process, companies suspected of being Iranian fronts can be blacklisted only after review and based on hard evidence, which requires much time and effort by intelligence agencies.
"By the time one such company is blacklisted, the Iranians have set up 10 new ones," said Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington.
A simple Iranian trick is trading with Europe through Turkey, Ukraine, Taiwan and Japan. In addition, "by sanctioning Iran and not Hizbullah, the European Union is virtually inviting Iran to do business through hundreds, if not thousands, of Hizbullah-affiliated proxies all over the continent," said Wim Kortenoeven, a former Dutch lawmaker.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Will Consider Canceling Oslo Accords If Palestinians Gain Upgraded UN Status - Barak Ravid
Israel will consider partial or full cancellation of the Oslo Accords if the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of a non-member observer state on Nov. 29.
The head of the Israel Foreign Ministry division for international organizations, Amb. Roni Leshno-Yaar, told Israeli embassies around the world: "The Palestinian resolution is a clear violation of the fundamental principle of negotiation and is a violation of the agreements between Israel and the PLO. The adoption of the resolution will give Israel the right to re-evaluate previous agreements with the PLO and consider canceling them partially or completely, and would make progress in the peace process more difficult in the future." (Ha'aretz)
- Egypt to Hamas: We Will Not Intervene If Violence Continues - Shlomo Cesana
Egypt has told Hamas it will not intervene on its behalf if the current wave of violence on the Gaza-Israel border continues, a senior Egyptian official told Israel Hayom on Monday. Only one rocket was fired at Israel on Tuesday, bringing the total rocket count since Saturday to 150.
See also Egypt's Brotherhood Slams Israel over Gaza Airstrikes - Aya Batrawy (AP)
See also Israel's UN Envoy Slams Gaza Rocket Fire - Philip Podolsky (Times of Israel)
- Syria's Internal War Turns Against the Regime - Jeffrey White
Since early October, rebel forces have been on the offensive in key theaters, while regime forces are stretched thin, increasingly on the defensive, and giving ground.
The cumulative effects of rebel operations are significant and mounting. Furthermore, they hold the military initiative in key areas of the country.
Based on daily casualty reporting from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, regime forces averaged nearly 50 personnel killed per day in October, up from 35 in September. And in the first eleven days of November, the average rose to 53.
The fighting in Idlib and Aleppo is accelerating and moving more and more against the regime.
Clashes have also increased in the countryside around Damascus and even within the capital itself.
The war in Syria may be approaching a decisive stage, and in favor of the rebels. The writer is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute and a former senior defense intelligence officer.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Bashar al-Assad: The Survivor - Randa Slim
The Assad regime has proved stubbornly resilient. While the rebels have succeeded in liberating territories in Syria's northern provinces, they are still not in control of one major Syrian city.
The attrition rate in the Syrian army is at best around 5 to 10% - not enough to seriously erode its fighting capacities. Moreover, when given the option, many military defectors are returning home rather than joining the Free Syrian Army.
Moreover, Assad's losses in military personnel have been made up by the increase in the ranks of the paramilitary shabiha. These mainly Alawite fighters are increasingly becoming a skilled fighting force thanks to training by Hizbullah operatives.
Syria's Alawite community remains hostile to the uprising. Any hope for regime implosion rests on Alawites' delinking their physical survival from Assad's political survival, but there are no signs that this process has even started.
Finally, the Syrian opposition remains fractured. Syrian opposition groups signed a tentative agreement on Nov. 11 to unite all anti-Assad factions under one umbrella coalition. But the diverse funding streams available to the opposition have exacerbated competition, not collaboration. The writer is a research fellow at the New America Foundation and a scholar at the Middle East Institute.
"Palestine" Does Not Qualify as a "State" - Rick Richman (Commentary)
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demands recognition of a Palestinian state while refusing to recognize a Jewish one; and he now seeks admission to the UN as a non-member state even though "Palestine" meets none of the four requirements under international law for a state.
- Under the Montevideo Convention (1933), a state "should possess the following qualifications": (1) a defined territory; (2) a government; (3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and (4) a permanent population.
- "Palestine" lacks a "defined territory." To have a defined territory, "Palestine" has to negotiate it with Israel; until then, its self-definition of territory is not a "defined territory" under the law; it is simply a negotiating position.
- "Palestine" lacks a "government." It is ruled half by a terrorist group and half by an unelected administrative entity whose last election occurred nearly seven years ago. The government of each half considers the government of the other half illegitimate, and both are correct.
- "Palestine" lacks the "capacity to enter into relations with the other states." Abbas has no capacity to bind the rulers of Gaza, nor even to implement his own commitments in the area in which he rules, with no capacity to bind "Palestine" to anything.
- "Palestine" lacks a "permanent population." Most of the population considers themselves perennial "refugees" who seek to "return" to a different state, not to be permanent residents where they currently live.
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