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,
March 5, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Obama Not Supportive Enough of Israel - Lara Seligman (The Hill)
    Three times as many voters believe the Obama administration is not supportive enough of Israel as believe it is too supportive, according to a new poll for The Hill.
    Just 13% of respondents say the president's policy toward Israel is too supportive, while 39% said Obama is not supportive enough.

Dozens of Syrian Troops Killed in Iraq after Seeking Refuge (AP-Washington Post)
    48 Syrian soldiers who had crossed into Iraq for refuge were ambushed and killed Monday in an attack blamed on al-Qaeda's Iraq arm.

Turkish Foreign Minister Refused to Shake Hands with Israeli Defense Minister - Abdullah Bilici (Zaman-Turkey)
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu refused to shake hands with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Munich Security Conference in February.
    Seeing Davutoglu not responding to his attempt to shake his hand during a formal dinner, Barak said, "As the distance between the two sides of the table is wide, we could not reach each other's hand."
    Davutoglu replied: "No, the problem is not the size of the table. There will always be a distance between us unless you meet our demands" (regarding the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident).

Trade between Iran, China Dives 18 Percent after Sanctions (AFP)
    Trade between Iran and China dropped by 18% in 2012 to $37 billion after a raft of banking sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic, the Iranian newspaper Donya-e Eqtesad reported on Monday.

Hamas Terror Cell Uncovered in Hebron - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Security Agency announced on Monday that security forces had broken up a Hamas terror cell in Hebron planning attacks on Israeli targets.
    In particular, they plotted to carry out a combined explosives and shooting attack on an IDF position.
    The cell was led by a Hamas member in Gaza who had been released under the prisoner exchange deal to free captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

UN Cancels Gaza Marathon over Hamas Ban on Women (AP-Times of Israel)
    UNRWA, the UN aid agency which assists Palestinian refugees, announced on Tuesday that it has canceled plans for a marathon in Gaza in April, following a ban on women runners imposed by Hamas.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Biden: U.S. Policy "Is to Prevent Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon" - Josh Gerstein
    Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said President Barack Obama's policy "is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Period.... Prevent. Not contain - prevent."
        "Big nations can't bluff and presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff and President Barack Obama is not bluffing," Biden declared. "We are not looking for war [but] all options, including military force, are on the table."  (Politico)
        Text: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's Speech to AIPAC (Ha'aretz)
  • Kerry: Iran Talks "Cannot Go on Forever"
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday there was a limited period of time available for talks with Iran about its nuclear program. Speaking during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Kerry said: "We can't be like philosophers who keep talking....Negotiations cannot go on forever."  (Reuters)
  • Israel on Alert as Locusts Cross In from Egypt - Tia Goldenberg
    A swarm of locusts crossed into Israel from neighboring Egypt Monday. Israel sent out planes to spray pesticides over agricultural fields to prevent damage by the small swarm, which numbers about 2,000 locusts, said Dafna Yurista, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Ministry. The ministry also set up an emergency hotline and asked Israelis to be vigilant in reporting locust sightings. (AP)
        See also The Locust Plague of 1915 in the Land of Israel - of Biblical Proportions - Lenny Ben-David (Israel Daily Picture)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Ex-IDF Military Intelligence Chief: Iran Strike "Is Not a War, This Is a One-Night Operation" - Haviv Rettig Gur
    "We all share the same data, the same intelligence. We are also on the same page on the strategic goal to prevent Iran from being nuclear," the former head of IDF Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin told the AIPAC policy conference on Monday. Yadlin, who today heads the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said "time is running out in 2013."
        "We, the Israelis, come [to the issue] with the Holocaust. We are six million Israeli Jews listening to Ahmadinejad calling for Israel's destruction. You come with a different trauma, Iraq. You don't want another war, understandably." But, Yadlin added, "This is not a war, this is a one-night operation, and we should speak about it."  (Times of Israel)
  • West Bank Arabs Voice Approval of New "Palestinian-Only" Bus Lines
    Israel's decision to launch "Palestinian-only" bus lines in the West Bank on Monday, presented by the government as a goodwill gesture and assailed by critics as racism, was welcomed by Palestinian riders. Israel decided to launch the new bus lines to help make life easier for the nearly 40,000 Palestinians permitted to work in Israel.
        While no one was forced to use the new lines, Israeli officials stressed that the buses would ease the burden on Palestinian laborers, who often take circuitous routes on Israeli public transportation or rely on pricey taxis to enter Israel. Haroun Hamdan, 44, from the Palestinian village of Salem, said the buses were a cheaper alternative to the previously used private minivans. (AP-Times of Israel)
  • Hamas Attempting to Take Control of Gaza Border Crossing - Or Heller
    Hamas is attempting to take over the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Gaza and Israel. The Palestinian contractor appointed by the PA government in the West Bank, who is in charge of the operation of the Kerem Shalom crossing, has refused to report for work and enable the transfer of commodities from the Israeli side to Gaza. According to assessments, Hamas wants to replace the contractor and take over the operation of the crossing. This decision by Hamas violates the status-quo and threatens the continued proper operation of the crossing. (Israel Defense)
        See also Hamas Halts Flow of Goods from Israel into Gaza - Tovah Lazaroff (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Is Iran Out-Negotiating the Obama Administration? - Michael Singh
    At the latest round of P5+1 negotiations in Almaty, Washington offered more relief from sanctions in exchange for fewer concessions by Iran. In particular, the previous demand that Iran shutter its second enrichment facility at Fordow was dropped. The P5+1 appears to be negotiating with itself - Iran did not respond to the P5+1's last offer and by all accounts made no formal response to the new offer.
        It is possible that no "zone of possible agreement" will ever be opened in the Iran nuclear negotiations because the Iranian regime cannot brook the idea of any compromise with the U.S. If this is the case, Tehran will simply pocket the concessions offered by the P5+1. The writer is managing director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Policy)
  • Palestinians Will Never Be Satisfied with Small Independent State - Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland
    Why hasn't the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict been implemented until now? Because for both sides the cost of adopting the solution is much greater than the benefit.
        According to the American assumption, the Palestinians want to free themselves of the "occupation" and establish a small independent state in the West Bank and Gaza. But this is not true. The Palestinians were never willing to make do with a small state of their own. They want "justice," revenge, recognition as victims and above all - the "right of return."
        The Palestinians do not really want a small and divided state, and therefore are not willing to pay the price for it: A commitment to declare an end to the conflict, promising not to make any other demands in the future, and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. The writer is former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Ynet News)
  • U.S.-Israel Security Ties as Close as Ever - Dore Gold
    On the eve of Obama's upcoming visit to Israel, it is useful to take stock of the nature of the security ties between the U.S. and Israel.
        According to a New York Times report from Jan. 8, 2013, several months earlier senior IDF officers had received satellite intelligence that showed Syrian forces mixing chemical weapons at two sites and filling 500-pound bombs. The chemical munitions were loaded onto vehicles near Syrian air bases and, according to assessments, could be deployed within two hours of an order by Syrian President Assad.
        Israel reportedly handed the intelligence to the Pentagon. After U.S. President Barack Obama was informed, he assembled an international coalition to prevent Assad from employing his chemical weapons. The U.S. reached out to Russia, China, Turkey and several Arab states on the basis of the intelligence originally received from Israel.
        The former head of the research division of Israeli Military Intelligence, Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, wrote a paper for the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution in 2007 on how Israel was implementing intelligence reforms. According to Kuperwasser, Israeli military intelligence was not only focusing on Israel's intelligence needs; it also was collecting and analyzing intelligence "whose main beneficiary is the U.S."  The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel Hayom)

Netanyahu: Iran Is Running Out the Clock in Negotiations with the West - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on March 4:

  • Time after time, the world's leading powers have tabled diplomatic proposals to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully. But diplomacy has not worked. Iran ignores all these offers. It is running out the clock.
  • We have to stop its nuclear enrichment program before it's too late. Words alone will not stop Iran; sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.
  • Syria has chemical weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and many other of the world's most deadly and sophisticated arms. As the Syrian regime collapses, the danger of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction is very real. This is why we have a common interest in preventing them from obtaining these deadly weapons.
  • Israel seeks a peace with our Palestinian neighbors - a peace that will end our conflict once and for all. That peace must be grounded in reality; and it must be grounded in security. Israel withdrew from Lebanon; we withdrew from Gaza; we gave up territory. We got terror. We cannot allow that to happen a third time.
  • A realistic path forward has to be a measured, step-by-step process in which we work to advance to a verifiable, durable and defensible peace. It has to be defensible because, in the Middle East, a peace you cannot defend will not hold for five minutes. And we have to make sure that our neighbors are actually telling their people and educating their children to live in peace.

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