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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
March 4, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Fatah Infighting Jeopardizes Kerry's Peace Process - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Senior members of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah faction have stepped up their efforts to remove him from power.
    The internal squabbling in Fatah casts doubts on Abbas' ability or willingness to sign any peace agreement with Israel.
    These are not mere tensions or disagreements among politicians. Rather, they mark the beginning of an inevitable split that could result in the creation of a rival, anti-Abbas Fatah group, headed by some of his arch-enemies, including former PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan.

Who's Really Behind Ukraine's Synagogue Attacks? - Eli Lake (Daily Beast)
    Jewish leaders in Ukraine believe that pro-Russian provocateurs are behind the attacks on their synagogues.
    They say they are more worried about anti-Semitic attacks from Russian operatives and Yanukovych loyalists than the nationalists who gathered in Kiev to oust him.
    Speaking of the recent vandalism at the synagogue in Simferopol, Joseph Zissels, the president of the Ukrainian Jewish community, said, "This is a provocation and a way to discredit the authorities in Kiev."
    Zissels said he was aware that some elements of the Ukrainian Maidan movement that ousted Yanukovych were enthusiasts of the Nazis, "but they are small, not well organized and do not play a major role....There are more neo-Nazi groups in Russia than there are in Ukraine."

U.S. Provided Loan Guarantees to UAE Airline that Refuses to Fly Israelis (Washington Free Beacon)
    The U.S. Export-Import Bank has provided six loan guarantees worth nearly $1.3 billion to Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates since 2009, as well as $425,000 annually from the Department of Homeland Security.
    The New York Post reported that Etihad has refused to transport any Israelis.
    Moreover, Etihad has deleted any mention of Israel or its major cities from a map showing its travel routes.

Turkish Airlines Flight Lands in Iran with 20 Israelis Onboard - Attila Somfalvi (Ynet News)
    A Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Mumbai was forced to land in Tehran on Monday after one of the passengers fell ill.
    After a prolonged wait on the ground, the airplane returned to air with all 20 Israelis still onboard.

Report: Saudi Arabia Asked Pakistan for 30,000 Troops (MEMRI)
    Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to dispatch two divisions of its army (some 30,000 troops) to the kingdom as part of a bilateral defense agreement currently being formulated between the two countries, the Urdu-language daily Roznama Naya Akhbar reported on Feb. 8.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Obama Welcomes Netanyahu to the White House
    President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday: "We do not have a closer friend or ally than Israel and the bond between our two countries and our two peoples in unbreakable....We have the kind of military, intelligence and security cooperation that is unprecedented."
        "I want to commend publicly the efforts that Prime Minister Netanyahu had made in very lengthy and painstaking negotiations with my Secretary of State, John Kerry....Prime Minister Netanyahu has approached these negotiations with a level of seriousness and commitment that reflects his leadership and the desire of the Israeli people for peace."  (White House)
        See also Netanyahu: Israel Has Been Doing Its Part for Peace
    Prior to his talks with President Obama at the White House, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Monday: "The 20 years that have passed since Israel entered the peace process have been marked by unprecedented steps that Israel has taken to advance peace....We entirely left Gaza. We've not only frozen settlements, we've uprooted entire settlements. We've released hundreds of terrorist prisoners, including dozens in recent months. And when you look at what we got in return, it's been scores of suicide bombings, thousands of rockets on our cities fired from the areas we vacated, and incessant Palestinian incitement against Israel. So Israel has been doing its part, and I regret to say that the Palestinians haven't."
        "Now, I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it's the truth. And the people of Israel know that it's the truth because they've been living it. What they want is peace. What we all want fervently is peace. Not a piece a paper but a real peace; a peace that is anchored in mutual recognition of two nation states that recognize and respect one another, and solid security arrangements on the ground."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Kerry to AIPAC: "We Reject Unwarranted Boycotts of Israel" - Edward-Isaac Dovere
    Speaking in Washington on Monday to AIPAC, Secretary of State John Kerry urged support for the efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to get Iran to agree to abandon its nuclear program. Kerry also spoke of opposing boycotts against Israel and any Palestinian efforts to pursue statehood through the UN.
        "I believe we have to stand together with a single voice to reject any of the arbitrary, unwarranted boycotts of Israel," he said. Kerry also said the Palestinian concessions must be there in a more serious way than they've been, and every security concern must be answered. (Politico)
        See also Kerry: U.S. Will Not Allow the West Bank to Become Gaza - Rebecca Shimioni Stoil and Haviv Rettig Gur (Times of Israel)
  • Senior Russian Official: "We Expect All Sanctions on Iran to Be Lifted"
    Mikhail Margelov, head of the Russian Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, said Monday: "Favorable conditions have been created for a comprehensive agreement to be drafted, which would lift the sanctions against Iran completely." Talks between Iran and the six negotiating nations are due to resume on March 17. (Voice of Russia)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Abbas Conditions Extending Peace Talks on Settlement Freeze, Prisoner Release - Elhanan Miller
    The Palestinians will agree to extend the time frame for negotiations with Israel only if Israel freezes construction in the settlements and frees additional Palestinian prisoners, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Israeli Knesset member in Ramallah on Monday. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Strikes Terror Cell Attempting to Fire Rockets from Gaza - Yaakov Lappin
    Israel Air Force planes struck a Palestinian rocket-launching cell in Gaza that was about to fire rockets at Israel on Monday. Palestinian media said Islamic Jihad member Masab Musa Aza'anin was killed. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Gaza's Fragile Ceasefire - Nigel O'Connor
    Around 20 men, masked and wearing military fatigues, wait in the vegetation outside Gaza City where they reveal caches of Grad rockets. They are members of the Al Nasser Salah Al Din Brigades of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The Salah Al Din Brigades were reportedly responsible for firing two rockets into Israel on Feb. 14. More than 40 rockets have been fired from Gaza since the beginning of this year, according to the Israeli military. Israel claims the PRC has links with Iran and Hizbullah and is funded, trained and equipped by Hamas. (Al Jazeera)
  • Cairo Court Bans Hamas Activities in Egypt - El-Sayed Gamal El-Deen
    The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has banned all activities in Egypt by Hamas and ordered the seizure of its offices in Cairo. Egyptian officials have accused Hamas of providing support to Islamic militants who have attacked Egyptian security forces in Sinai. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Fundamental Facts Underlying the Peace Process - Alan Baker
    There is no such thing as the "Palestinian territories." The area of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) is not foreign, and has, from time immemorial, since at least 1500 BCE, been part of the indigenous Jewish presence in the area, which has been internationally acknowledged historically and recognized in international documents.
        Israel and the Jewish People have very well-based and long-standing inalienable, indigenous, historic, legal, and international rights in the area including in the West Bank. These rights are being denied and overlooked by the international community.
        The allegation that Israel's settlements are "illegitimate" is a misreading of international law. The prohibition of forced transfer of population into "occupied territory" in the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention was intended to prevent a repeat of the mass, forced population transfers carried out by the Nazis. It cannot be interpreted to apply to Israel's communities in the West Bank.
        Any attempt to prohibit or deny the presence of Jews in any area is anathema to all accepted civilized and humanitarian norms and should be totally and utterly rejected. The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Amnesty International Has Produced Anti-Israel Propaganda - Col. Richard Kemp
    In Northern Ireland in the '70s and '80s I admired Amnesty International even as they heaped criticism on the British security forces of which I was a member. They helped stop a number of real human rights abuses and were often commendably impartial. Amnesty's latest report is far from impartial. A piece of naked anti-Israel propaganda, it is a stark reminder of just how far they have lost their way.
        There is no attempt to place the actions of the Israeli security forces in context. It makes no mention of the willful orchestration by Palestinian extremists of violent demonstrations to provoke Israeli troops into a response intended to result in death and injury among their own people for propaganda purposes - or even to lure security forces into lethal terrorist attacks.
        There is, for example, the glib dismissal of petrol bombs as posing "little or no threat" to the lives of Israeli soldiers. I have seen first-hand how horrifically a petrol bomb can wound a soldier. The writer is the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

Why Israel No Longer Trusts Europe - Clemens Wergin (New York Times)

  • In February, the German politician Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, addressed the Israeli Knesset and implied that Israel is purposely depriving Palestinians of their basic needs. The EU recently adopted guidelines forbidding its agencies to send money to Israeli companies and organizations in the West Bank; this and other similar steps apply a double standard it doesn't use in other conflicts. Europe has lost the measure of how one-sided its approach has become.
  • It is striking that Europe always comes to the Israelis with demands for concessions when it has itself such a bad track record at helping resolve problems in the region. After the 2006 Lebanon war, European nations took over large parts of the UN mission to prevent weapons smuggling to Hizbullah. On their watch the terrorist group acquired tens of thousands of new and more sophisticated rockets.
  • Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon resulted not in the disarming of Hizbullah, as many European experts had predicted, but in a heavily armed Iranian proxy sitting directly at Israel's border. We've seen much the same in Gaza.
  • Despite these discouraging experiences, every Israeli military action against radicals in Gaza or Lebanon is met with protests in Europe. This doesn't inspire confidence in Israeli leaders that Europe would accept Israel's right to self-defense if a future Palestinian state in the West Bank became a similar hotbed of extremism and revisionist politics.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, only 41% of Israelis had a favorable view of the EU in 2013, down from 56% in 2009.
  • If all Europe has to offer Israel is criticism and disapproval, then it will be part of the problem, not the solution.

    The writer is the foreign editor of the German newspaper group Die Welt.

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