Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
March 12, 2014


In-Depth Issues:

Poll: 2/3 of Israeli Jews Do Not Trust Kerry's Framework to Protect Israel's Security (Israel Democracy Institute-Tel Aviv University)
    Two-thirds of the Jewish public does not trust U.S. Secretary of State Kerry's framework agreement to take account of Israel's security as a crucial factor, according to the monthly Peace Index poll published Tuesday.
    74% of the Jewish public is convinced that the Americans are exerting more pressure on Israel than on the Palestinians to accept Kerry's framework agreement. Only 5% think the Palestinians are being pressured more, while 12% think the two sides are being evenly pressured.




Palestinian Linked to Hamas Cut Gas Lines in Jerusalem Jewish Neighborhood - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Security Agency announced on Wednesday the arrest of Aziz Musa Uwisat, 48, from eastern Jerusalem, on suspicion of cutting gas lines in residential buildings in Jerusalem as part of a terror campaign.
    After hearing about a gas leak that led to a deadly building collapse in Jerusalem in January, he decided to sabotage gas pipes in residential buildings housing Israeli Jews in order to kill as many people as he could.
    According to Israel Channel 2 TV, he had been previously known to security forces as a Hamas operative.




Al-Qaeda Terror Cell in Egypt Was Targeting Embassies and Churches (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    A four-man al-Qaeda terror cell was arrested by Egyptian authorities this week. According to Egypt's Supreme State Security Prosecution Service, the terrorist cell was targeting Egyptian soldiers, policemen, American and French tourists in Cairo, and Christian places of worship.
    They also planned to attack the American and French embassies.
    The group's members - three Egyptian nationals and one foreign national - had received military training in Pakistan and had fought in Afghanistan.




The Threat of Libya's Partition - Khaled 'Omar bin Qaqqa (Al Ahram-Egypt-Mideast Mirror-11Mar2014)
    With the government of Barqa [Cyrenaica] Province making its first oil exports from Port Sidra outside the Libyan state's authority and by it celebrating the event with a live broadcast on Barqa Television, Libya has entered the phase of actual partition.
    The Libyan scene may lead to a long-term civil war, especially since there are certain states backed by domestic forces that want to take Libya back to its old days when it was a federal entity made up of three provinces - Tripolitania, Barqa and Fazzan.




Hamas Unveils Rocket Statue in Gaza City (AFP)
    Hamas unveiled a rocket-shaped statue Monday, a life-size model of a large M75 rocket, alluding to its range of 75 km.
    M75 rockets fired from Gaza in November 2012 struck areas near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.



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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • IRGC Commander: Iran's Finger on Trigger to Destroy Zionist Regime
    Lt. Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami said Tuesday that Iranian military commanders are prepared to attack and destroy the Zionist regime of Israel as soon as they receive such an order. "Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime's control with any volume of firepower (that we want) right from here," Salami said in Tehran. "Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400 km. away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place."
        He added that Iran is not the only country which enjoys such a capability, as the artilleries of a number of other (Muslim) countries can also target and attack the Zionist regime today. (Fars-Iran)
  • Syria's Secretive Rocket Industry Spotlighted by Israeli Weapons Seizure - Nicholas Blanford
    Israel's seizure last week of the Klos C ship and its weapons cargo that included 40 Syrian-manufactured M-302 rockets has drawn attention to Syria's secretive rocket industry. "The Syrian rocket industry is quite capable. They can make up their own design. You see already in the civil war that they know their stuff," says Uzi Rubin, an Israeli expert on missile defense.
        Since 2000, Syria has become a major supplier of mid-range rockets such as 220-mm Urugans and the M-302s to Hizbullah, the Iranian-equipped Shiite militant group in Lebanon. During its 2006 war with Israel, Hizbullah fired mostly Syrian-made rockets into Israel. Its deepest penetration was a M-302 strike on the Israeli city of Hadera, 50 miles south of the border with Lebanon.
        After the 2006 war, Syria stepped up production of longer-range missiles, including the M600 rocket, a Syrian version of Iran's Fateh-110. The M600, which reportedly was transferred to Hizbullah in 2009, can carry a 1,100-pound warhead for 150 miles and is fitted with a guidance system that is accurate within 500 yards at maximum range. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • After Israeli Passengers Rebuffed, Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels Tunisia Calls - Hannah Sampson
    Norwegian Cruise Line announced it was canceling all future calls to Tunisia on Tuesday, two days after the country refused entry to Israeli nationals who were passengers on the Norwegian Jade. "We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan said. (Miami Herald)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Palestinian Obstinacy Moving Us Further from Peace
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that in light of recent Palestinian statements, "we are farther away from an agreement, because of the Palestinians. They said this week that they will never recognize a Jewish state and will never give up on the right of return....For the State of Israel, these are fundamental conditions that are legitimate and essential....The Palestinians are not showing any signs of willingness to enter a practical and fair agreement."  (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S. Allocates $429 Million to Iron Dome Anti-Missile Program
    "The United States and the State of Israel concluded an agreement on March 5 to continue support of the production of the Iron Dome weapon system," the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced. The agreement involves the immediate transfer of $429 million for further production and procurement of Iron Dome short-range missile interceptor systems. "Israel will obtain valuable resources to contribute to its defense and U.S. industry will receive meaningful co-production opportunities for Iron Dome components," the Agency added. (Globes)
  • Defense Ministry: The Moment Iran Goes Nuclear, the Saudis Will Buy the Bomb from Pakistan - Yaakov Lappin
    As soon as Iran gets a nuclear bomb, Egypt will develop its own nuclear weapon, and Saudi Arabia will purchase one from Pakistan, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of political-military affairs at the Israel Defense Ministry, warned on Tuesday. "I'm disturbed that they [the international community] are going for an interim agreement mechanism. After six months, there will be another six months, and then there will be cracks in the wall of sanctions," he added. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Displays Israeli Skylark Drone that Crashed in Gaza - Elior Levy
    Hamas released photos of the Israeli Skylark drone that crashed Tuesday in Gaza due to a technical malfunction. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The World Has Come to Terms with Iran Becoming a Nuclear Threshold State - Nahum Barnea
    The main enemy today is Iran. Israel's claims against it are founded, but the world refuses to be impressed. The world is opportunistic, selfish and tired, and so are its leaders. In practice, the world has come to terms with Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state. That's the reality. Netanyahu warns and warns, and the world refuses to be impressed. I was reminded of Churchill, who warned his country and the world against Nazi Germany, and the world, complacent as always, refused to listen.
        The weapons containers on the Klos C ship were locked with lead seals of two types: Iranian seals and Chinese seals. The M-302 rockets are Chinese rockets, manufactured in Syria with Chinese approval. (Ynet News)
  • Iran Weapons Ship Not Changing Any Minds about Engaging Tehran - Lee Smith
    The Klos C affair wasn't just about moving arms to terrorists. Rather it's part of the strategic missile campaign that Iran embarked on after Hizbullah's 2006 war with Israel. In arming its clients on Israel's borders (Hamas, Hizbullah, the Assad regime), Tehran seeks to change the balance of regional power by deterring Israel from striking its nuclear weapons facilities.
        Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is right to think the seizure is a big deal. But clearly it had no effect on Brussels, or more importantly on the White House. Obama administration officials explained that they're not happy about the Iranian action, but it's not changing any minds about engaging Tehran.
        Netanyahu says the Iranians must never be allowed to have nuclear weapons capacity, and Obama says he wants to see Iran normalized and re-integrated into the international community. (Weekly Standard)
  • Muslims and Jews Once Prayed Together on the Temple Mount - Khaled Diab
    There is historic evidence that Muslims and Jews once prayed together on the Temple Mount. Following the surrender of Jerusalem to the Arab armies in the 7th century, Omar Ibn al-Khattab allowed Jews, who had been expelled by the Christian Byzantines, back into Jerusalem.
        "There is strong evidence to suggest that the Jews were not only permitted to return to Jerusalem, but that the Muslims allowed them to worship at their side on the Temple Mount," wrote Francis E. Peters, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. "We know that Omar welcomed the Jews back in Jerusalem, that he and the early caliphs allowed Jewish worship on the Temple Mount," Simon Sebag Montefiore noted.
        It is even possible that the caliph allowed the Jews to construct a synagogue on the mount and appointed a Jew as the first governor of Jerusalem, according to the 7th century Armenian historian Sebeos. For a century, Jews had full access to this holiest of sites, until the reign of the dogmatic Umar Ibn Abdel-Aziz.
        History can teach us that Jews and Muslims were, for many centuries, friends and allies and that they once stood side by side as brothers in faith on Jerusalem's most hallowed ground. The writer is a Jerusalem-based Egyptian-Belgian journalist. (Ha'aretz)
Observations:

At the Heart of the Jewish State Issue - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • Let's first dismiss the claim that the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state is an innovation on Netanyahu's part whose purpose is to derail the peace process. There's nothing new about it. The original 1947 UN partition resolution stated that the land was to be divided between an Arab state and one it designated as a "Jewish state." If the Palestinians are now reversing their adamant rejection of partition by saying they will be satisfied by an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, there should be no problem accepting this term.
  • But the Palestinians can't say the words "Jewish state" because to do so would force them to give up their historical narrative. The key principle of Palestinian nationalism is rejection of Zionism and the existence of Israel no matter where its borders are drawn. If Palestinians agree that a Jewish state has a right to exist, that means they are forever giving up their dreams of extinguishing it.
  • Palestinians claim that agreeing to Israel being a Jewish state would compromise the rights of Israel's Arab minority. Yet they know very well that Israel's basic laws hold that it is both a Jewish state and one in which ethnic and religious minorities have full rights. Israeli Arabs are equal before the law in Israel, and serve in its Knesset, government, and judiciary.
  • While some are mindlessly blaming Netanyahu for fighting a two-state solution he has already accepted, the Palestinians persist in laying down terms for peace that are unrealistic. Two little words would be enough to convince the world that the Palestinians are sincere about peace. The more the Palestinians explain why they cannot say them, the more obvious it becomes that peace is not their objective.

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