Palestinians: "No Jews Allowed" - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
If you request a meeting with any senior Palestinian Authority official in the West Bank these days, you are likely to hear, "We will approve the meeting on condition there are no Jews."
Palestinian journalists who try to arrange meetings with PA representatives for Western colleagues have become used to hearing such things almost on a daily basis.
In one recent incident, a PA ministry instructed its guards to "prevent Jewish reporters" from attending an event in Ramallah.
The only people with whom PA representatives want to meet are those who support the Palestinians and do not ask difficult questions.
Eastern Jerusalem Resident Convicted of Conspiring with Hizbullah - Aaron Kalman and Gabe Fisher (Times of Israel)
Jerusalem's District Court on Tuesday found Issam Hashem Mashahara, 38, guilty of contacting a foreign agent and conspiring to transfer information to the enemy. The Israeli-Arab bus driver is a resident of Jabel Mukaber, an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem.
According to the indictment, last June Mashahara traveled to Lebanon where he initiated contact with Hizbullah. Mashahara gave Hizbullah information on the location of possible targets in Jerusalem, including the residence of the prime minister.
Mashahara then received encryption software in order to keep in contact with Hizbullah upon his return to Israel, and $1,500 in cash.
Back in Israel, he set up a special Facebook account to continue his activities with Hizbullah.
He was arrested on October 24 and has confessed to his work with Hizbullah.
Survey: Israeli Arab Leaders Should Focus Less on Palestinian Issue - Sammy Smooha (Israel Democracy Institute)
The Index of Arab-Jewish Relations in Israel 2012 survey sponsored by the University of Haifa and the Israel Democracy Institute found:
56% of Arabs reconciled themselves to Israel as a
state with a Jewish majority, though 70% think it
is not justified that Israel maintains a Jewish majority.
73% of Arabs want Arab political parties joining the government, 58% say they do not trust
Arab leaders in Israel, and 76% maintain that Arab leaders should deal
more with settling daily problems and less with Israel's dispute
with the Palestinians.
The proportion of Arabs denying Israel's
right to exist was 21% in 1976, 7% in 1995, 11% in 2003, and 25% in 2012.
See also Survey: Israel's Arabs Harden to Jews; Jews Soften to Arabs - Amir Mizroch (Israel Hayom)
Almost Half of Belgian, French, Hungarian Jews Mull Emigration - Amir Mizroch (Israel Hayom)
Two new studies show that almost half the Jews in Belgium, France and Hungary are considering emigrating, some to Israel, others to North America.
Anti-Semitic incidents in Europe increased by more than 30% in 2012. In France, anti-Semitic incidents increased by 58%, with 96 violent attacks.
50,000 French Jews have moved to Israel since 1990, 10% of French Jewry.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Jordan, Israel Weigh Gas Deal - Joshua Mitnick, Summer Said, and Sara Toth Stub
Jordan has been holding talks to become the first country to buy natural gas from Israel. A deal would offer Jordan a cheap energy source and relieve a painful energy crisis. Two years of supply shortages from Egypt's pipeline to Jordan have spurred a 50% rise in the cost of cooking gas and higher electricity rates, prompting anti-government demonstrations in October.
"Jordan is in the most immediate need and would be the first client" for Israel, said Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and now a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. "Stability in Jordan is of strategic significance to Israel." Eran said a link to Jordan could be established "relatively quickly" by extending a pipeline several miles across the Dead Sea from an Israel Chemicals plant powered by gas. Officials are also discussing a separate pipeline to run from the Mediterranean through the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel to Beit Shean and then into Jordan.
"The cheapest option is for Jordan to obtain natural gas from Israel," said Amit Mor, president of Eco Energy Ltd., an Israeli energy consultancy, "but Jordan has yet to make a geopolitical decision to buy gas from Israel." "A direct bilateral deal is very scary for many people," said Daoud Kuttab, an Amman-based political analyst.
(Wall Street Journal)
- French, German Police Target Jihadists - Marine Pennetier and Alexandria Sage
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday that police had arrested three suspected jihadists who were part of a group sending Islamist fighters to Syria. France is concerned that some 100 to 200 French citizens who have left for Syria to fight against Assad could return and plot attacks against French interests.
Valls said at least 30 such fighters have returned and suggested the three arrested were part of such a group. French authorities have carried out 21 terrorism-related operations so far in 2013 and arrested 48 people. Seventeen have been jailed.
Also on Tuesday, police in Germany raided several flats of suspected Islamists around Stuttgart, Bavaria and Saxony. The federal prosecutors' office said the suspects may have been planning attacks using remote-controlled model airplanes.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Report: Kerry Sees Abbas as Impeding U.S. Peace Efforts - Barak Ravid
An Israeli source familiar with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry's efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations said that in recent weeks American pressure on PA President Abbas has increased substantially. Kerry has explained to Abbas that he does not intend to cooperate with his preconditions. Furthermore, Kerry asserted that as of now it is Abbas who is considered by the Obama administration to be the recalcitrant party that is impeding American efforts. Kerry made it clear that if his efforts fail, he won't hesitate to hold Abbas responsible.
Last week Abbas told U.S. visitors that he is willing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu without preconditions in order to discuss ways to renew negotiations.
Yet it would be a mistake to think that Abbas has given up his preconditions and is ready to resume negotiations tomorrow. Ultimately, this is a tactical maneuver that is designed to improve his position ahead of Kerry's arrival on Wednesday. All Abbas has done is to humor Kerry and shift some of the pressure onto Netanyahu.
Netanyahu believes that Abbas is interested in meeting with him or resuming negotiations only in order to foment a crisis that will enable him to shift responsibility to Israel and to resume his statehood bid at the UN. That is why Netanyahu is emphasizing that his goal is not simply to restart peace negotiations, but to truly attempt to resolve the issues at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu has mapped out 21 issues to be discussed and wants negotiations led by professional teams, with weekly meetings.
See also Another Abbas Trick? - Dan Margalit
After endless refusals and precondition after precondition, Abbas has started telling visitors that he wants to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once, without yielding on his preconditions.
Israeli officials say Abbas doesn't have the desire to conduct real negotiations and won't appoint work teams to discuss details. In the end, Israeli officials believe, Abbas wants to be able to claim that while he indeed met with Netanyahu, Israel isn't interested in negotiations. Abbas will then turn to the UN and seek condemnations of Israel. Kerry has made it clear to Abbas that the U.S. suspects the Palestinians are planning to engage in a game of guilt rather than in true negotiations.
- Christian Priest under Fire for Touting Arab National Service - Jeremy Sharon
Father Gabriel Nadaf of Nazareth, who has been active in promoting Arab enlistment in national service programs, has come under heavy fire from the Arab press and Arab members of Knesset, who have called on him to halt his activities or face dismissal from his position. Nadaf took part last week in a conference on the issue of Arab enlistment.
Sar-Shalom Jerbi - director of the National Civilian Service program, an alternative to military service - called on Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, not to act against Nadaf. "As someone who works towards coexistence between the different communities and religions in the State of Israel, I expect the patriarch to stand by his word and allow Christians who are so interested to be part of the national service program and to feel like citizens with equal rights in the State of Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
- Talk to Iran's New President - Warily - Dennis B. Ross
The election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran's new president has created a sense that there are new possibilities of progress on the nuclear issue; we need to respond, but warily. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, allowed Rowhani to win the election. Even if he were given the power to negotiate, Rowhani would have to produce a deal the supreme leader would accept. So it is far too early to consider backing off sanctions as a gesture to Rowhani.
We should, instead, keep in mind that the outside world's pressure on Iran to change course on its nuclear program may well have produced his election. So it would be foolish to think that lifting the pressure now would improve the chances that he would be allowed to offer us what we need: an agreement, or credible Iranian steps toward one, under which Iran would comply with its international obligations on the nuclear issue. Our bottom line here is that Iran must be prepared to change its program so that it does not have a breakout capability to develop nuclear weapons.
While our side negotiated with Iran on and off for the last several years with no results, the Iranians were dramatically expanding the numbers of centrifuges they had installed to enrich uranium. They now have roughly 17,000 and have succeeded in upgrading to a new generation of far more efficient centrifuges.
Those developments have shrunk the time we have available to ensure that the Iranians cannot break out and present the world with the fait accompli of a nuclear weapons capability. The writer, a counselor to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was special assistant to the president for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011.
(New York Times)
- The Fall of Hizbullah's Leader - Ronen Bergman
The political demise of Hizbullah's secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, will be gradual, but it is already clear that his historic role has ended. His principal goal - to become a pan-Arab and Lebanese leader - is now unattainable. For a number of years, Nasrallah was considered, according to polls, the most popular of all Arab leaders.
The eruption of the war in Syria made things clearer - Nasrallah is, after all, more of an Iranian representative in Lebanon than a Lebanese statesman. The fighting has not only weakened the Syrian army and significantly eroded Hizbullah's operational power. It has also completely shattered Nasrallah's image. He used to justify the Hizbullah militia's existence by saying its role was to battle Israel. Now he is sending it to assist in the massacre of Sunnis. The writer is a senior correspondent for military and intelligence affairs at Yediot Ahronot. (Bloomberg)
- Sectarian Violence Triggers Sunni-Alawi Segregation in Syria - Gabriela Keller
The violence in Syria has triggered an increasing internal migration in the areas affected by the conflict. A string of sectarian massacres has accelerated the segregation, driving Sunnis and Alawis apart.
At least 4.25 million people are internally displaced within the country.
But not all migration follows sectarian fault lines. Many Sunnis have fled to Alawi-dominated cities that have been less affected by the violence, like Latakia or even Qadmous, deep in the Alawi mountains, introducing a new heterogeneity in some parts of the Alawi heartland as Alawis rent apartments to displaced Sunnis.
(UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
Escalating Anti-Shi'ite Rhetoric from Sunni Clerics (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
- The Sunni-Shi'ite schism is emerging as one of the most influential factors shaping the Middle East.
A major force driving the schism is the escalating anti-Shi'ite rhetoric from Sunni clerics who belong to different schools of thought.
- Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered by many the current spiritual leader of the Sunni world, said that Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics were right to consider Shi'ites as infidels, and adopted their terminology when talking about the Shi'a ("Hizbullah is the Party of Satan").
- The meaning of this escalation is that, ideologically speaking, the fight against the Shi'a (and its representatives, Iran and Hizbullah) takes precedence over the fight against the West and Israel.
- The fatwa issued by the Wahhabi Saudi cleric Abdullah ibn Jibreen in the first week of the Second Lebanon war cannot be separated from Saudi Arabia's stance towards Hizbullah and the deep-rooted historical animosity between the Wahhabis and the Shi'ites. In his fatwa, Ibn Jibreen called on the Sunnis to denounce the Shi'ites, saying that helping "that infidel [min al-rafidhin] party [Hizbullah]" was forbidden.
- It appears that al-Qaradawi's recent misgivings about the idea of rapprochement and his admission that Sheik Jibreen had the right idea have closed the door - at least for the next several years - on a dialogue that was far from being representative of the Sunni "hard core" to begin with.
- The fervent anti-Shi'ite polemics in recent years have been primarily fueled by fear of losing Sunni hegemony. The polemics are concerned with three issues: theology (recriminations in which each side accuses the other of distorting the Quran), religious law (for instance, the Shi'ite legalization of mut'ah, temporary pleasure marriage), and history (for instance, portraying the Shi'a as a manifestation of paganism and of Persian animosity towards Arabs).
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert