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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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August 10, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Courtesy of the Nuclear Deal: Iranians Visiting a Nuclear Plant Near You? - Claudia Rosett (PJ Media)
    Annex III, Section D, item 8 of the Iran deal proposes to endow Iran with training in running a modern, "exclusively peaceful" nuclear infrastructure.
    As part of this plan, America will "facilitate exchanges and visits to nuclear power plants outside of Iran."
    Think about that for a moment. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Now, in the name of a benevolent international community, Iranian officials are to be hosted at nuclear power plants abroad.
    Let's spell this out: If you happen to live downwind of a nuclear power plant, do you really want officials from Iran - the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism - casing the joint?
    The writer is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Report: Turkey Bows to U.S. Pressure, Expels Top Hamas Operative (Jerusalem Post)
    The Turkish government has bowed to American pressure and ordered senior Hamas official Salah Aruri, who is in charge of rebuilding the Hamas infrastructure and organizing terrorist attacks in the West Bank, to leave the country, Israel Channel 10 TV reported Friday.
    Aruri admitted last year that Hamas was behind the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah in the West Bank.

UN Chief Condemns Rocket-Firing from Gaza towards Israel (Xinhua-China)
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the numerous rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel over the last few days.
    Gaza militants loyal to the Islamic State fired three rockets from Gaza into Israel Thursday night.

Hamas Attack Tunnels Are Meant to Target Israeli Civilians - Yoav Limor (Israel Hayom)
    Brig. Gen. Mickey Edelstein, who commanded the Israel Defense Forces' Gaza Division during the 2014 Gaza war, says Hamas is lying when it says that the attack tunnels were meant to be used only to attack soldiers.
    One of the tunnel openings was 1 1/2 km. inside Israel, far beyond the military line. "The tunnels were meant to target civilians," he said.
    A year after the war, the area in Israel opposite Gaza is booming. Many of the communities are building new homes, families are joining, some of them for ideological reasons.
    Edelstein talks about an affluent friend who recently relocated to a community near the Gaza border because he felt it was "the right thing to do. These are people who live in central Israel but feel that this is where they need to be. And they're right."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: "We Can in No Way Tolerate an Iran with Nuclear Weapons" - Ronen Bergman and Holger Stark interview Moshe Ya'alon
    Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in an interview: "The way the negotiations had been managed by the [P5+1]...was a historic mistake. Now we have a deal which is going to allow Iran to become a military nuclear threshold state....Iran will have access to $100 billion (in frozen funds)....They are going to intensify their activities and improve their terror infrastructure. And what about the missiles that can reach all of Israel and parts of Europe? They're not part of the deal."
        "One way or another, the Iranian military nuclear ambitions should be stopped. We can in no way tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons. We prefer for this to be done through a deal or sanctions, but in the end, Israel should be able to defend itself."  (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • U.S. Says Israel Rebuffed Talks on Security Cooperation - Jonathan S. Landay and Lesley Clark
    Israel has repeatedly rebuffed offers by the U.S. to discuss boosting security cooperation in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, Obama administration officials said Thursday. A senior Israeli official responded Friday: "If this deal with Iran is going to make everything better and safer, why is there a need to offer Israel and other American allies in the region compensation? If there's a desire to offer compensation, there's an implicit recognition that this deal makes things less secure, not more secure."  (McClatchy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Swede Accused of Spying for Hizbullah in Israel - Gili Cohen
    Hassan Halil Hizran, 55, a Swede of Lebanese descent who worked for Hizbullah, was arrested in Israel on July 21. During his interrogation, he admitted to working for Hizbullah since 2009, seeking to enlist Palestinians who could provide intelligence. He was asked to gather information on military deployments, arms and bases, as well as security protocol at Ben-Gurion Airport. After visiting Israel in 2013, he passed on information and images of army bases to Hizbullah. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Stabbed at Highway Gas Station - Judah Ari Gross
    An Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian while fueling his car at a gas station on Highway 443 near Modiin on Sunday night. The IDF shot and killed one attacker at the scene while three others fled. (Times of Israel-Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Authority Seeks to Strengthen Ties with Iran - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Senior PLO official Ahmed Majdalani met Sunday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in Tehran and delivered a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Is the Nuclear Deal Likely to Transform Revolutionary Iran? - Ray Takeyh
    In the end, the viability of the nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran rests not so much on technical formulations but on hope: the hope that in a decade, the theocratic state will shed its revolutionary attire and be transformed into a responsible member of the international community. President Obama is seemingly convinced that once Iran's interests are taken into account by the world and its coffers filled, it will find the temptations of pragmatism difficult to resist. But this view displays little understanding of the clerical state and the unique role that religion plays in its self-image.
        The Islamic republic's ideology is a radicalized variation of Shiite Islam. The regime's loss of popular appeal is immaterial to those that perceive their legitimacy as deriving from the will of God. They see the U.S. as a sinister source of cultural pollution seeking to delude young Muslims in the name of modernity. Indeed, the clerical rulers appreciate that their revolution can survive only if Iran remains isolated from subversive Western influences. To them, Obama's promise of global integration is not an invitation but a threat.
        Thus, the legacy of the nuclear agreement will not be a transformed Iran but a revolutionary regime possessing an elaborate nuclear infrastructure and seeking to dominate the Middle East. In the end, the shadow of this deal is likely to haunt U.S. interests in the region for years to come. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)
  • Crossing a Line to Sell a Deal - Editorial
    Some of us support the Iran deal because - like a majority of American Jews - we support the president. Some of us oppose the deal because we believe it falls very short of the criteria the Administration itself repeatedly promised. Some of us are less concerned with the specifics of the deal than with the prospect of an American alliance with the theocratic Iranian regime, which the deal appears to be designed to cement. But accusing Senator Chuck Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple.
        Accusing senators and congressmen, whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate, of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the U.S., is a naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice. Murmuring about "money" and "lobbying" and "foreign interests" who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. (Tablet)
  • Syria's Chemical Weapon Obfuscations - Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham
    While nearly all of the chemical weapons (CW) capabilities declared by Syria have been destroyed, it has become increasingly clear that the declared quantities, components, and facilities constitute but part of the full picture. The CIA initially accepted and trusted the Syrian declarations, whereas the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency doubted their reliability. Recently, however, a shift has occurred, and the CIA is now fully convinced that the list of assets disclosed by the Syrian regime was incomplete.
        The reluctance of the international community to act forcibly regarding undeclared Syrian chemical weapon capabilities is a very bad sign. It raises doubts about full implementation of intelligence-gathering operations and effective monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program. The writer, an expert on chemical and biological warfare, is a former senior IDF intelligence analyst. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Don't Trust Iran's Words - Look at Its Actions - Silvan Shalom (Guardian-UK)

  • We in Israel have been at the receiving end of gun and missile fire for decades. In that time we have learned, the hard way, that it is only our actions that ensure our survival, not written promises. Our neighborhood does not play by Western rules, and as the only democracy in the region we know all too well what it is to fight an enemy that abuses our values.
  • In our region, one regime stands out above all others in its destructive role. The ayatollahs in Tehran would have us believe that they are a peace-loving regime, and that the Vienna nuclear deal is proof of their benign intentions. But reality is telling us a different story, one that totally contradicts this narrative.
  • If we are to understand the Iranian regime, we must look at what it is doing, not just saying, and ask ourselves whether its actions are compatible with Western interests and values. Iran is the world's leading state-sponsor of terrorism, arming and supporting Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Syrian regime, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. It employs the Revolutionary Guards to perpetrate acts of terrorism throughout the world.
  • Tehran's military nuclear record is well documented: the regime has been working clandestinely for decades to develop a nuclear weapon. Rouhani himself boasted of how in previous rounds of negotiations he took advantage of talks in European capitals to secretly advance the nuclear military project.
  • The West must look beyond its economic interests, and ask itself what values it has in common with the ayatollahs in Tehran. Iran has not signed up for peace. Iran is merely utilizing the tools given to it by Western democracies in order to stave off international pressure.
  • We must be clear eyed when it comes to Tehran's intentions. If the past teaches us anything about the current regime, it is this: the terror will continue, as will Tehran's destructive regional role, and the military nuclear project will be close on its heels.

    The writer is Israel's vice prime minister and interior minister.

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