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July 13, 2009

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In-Depth Issues:

Fatah Official: PA Will Resume Violence Against Israel When Fatah Is "Capable"  (Palestinian Media Watch/IMRA)
    Fatah official Kifah Radaydeh told PA TV on July 7:
    "We perceive peace as one of the strategies, but...we do not rule out the possibility of the armed struggle or any other struggle. The struggle exists in all its forms, on the basis of what we are capable of at a given time."
    "What exactly do we want? It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; and the goal is Palestine."

UK Cancels Some Arms Sales to Israel - Dan Williams (Reuters)
    Britain has cancelled the planned sale of some military components to Israel following an export review prompted by the December-January war in Gaza, an Israeli official said on Monday.
    London cancelled five out of 182 licensed British arms exports to Israel, the official said, all involving equipment for the Saar 4.5 class Corvette naval vessel.
    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman brushed off the report, telling Israel Radio: "Israel has known many cases of embargo in the past. We always knew how to get by, and there is no need to get excited about this."

Revolving Door at PA Prisons - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The U.S. and EU are building a Prisons Service for the PA and have drawn up plans to build seven prisons in the West Bank.
    The PA currently has a shortage of prison cells and therefore has created a shift system under which it releases prisoners for short periods, replaces them with others, and then switches them back again.

Israeli Drafted by NBA Team - Chris Tomasson (USA Today)
    Omri Casspi, 21, after playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, became the first player from Israel taken in the first round of the NBA draft, at No. 23. The 6-9 Sacramento Kings forward could become the first Israeli to play in the NBA this fall.
    He isn't the first player an NBA club has drafted from Israel. Doron Sheffer, a former Connecticut star, was picked in the second round of the 1996 draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, but elected to sign with Maccabi.

    See also Israel Sweeps to Semis in Davis Cup - Pritha Sarkar (Reuters)
    Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich twice beat former champions Russia to guide Israel into the Davis Cup tennis semi-finals for the first time on Saturday.

    See also Israeli High Jumper Wins Gold at World Youth Championships - Rami Hipsh (Ha'aretz)
    Dima Kroyter, 16, cleared 2.20 meters en route to winning Israel's first ever World Youth gold medal by taking the under-17 high jump title in Italy.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel's Netanyahu Invites Abbas to Talk Peace - Aron Heller
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday invited the Palestinians to sit down immediately to talk peace. Netanyahu recently endorsed the goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a final peace agreement. "There is no reason Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and I should not meet, anywhere in this country, to advance the political process," Netanyahu told the weekly meeting of his Cabinet.
        Netanyahu said he already has made a series of gestures, such as the removal of several military checkpoints in the West Bank, meant to improve the Palestinian economy. "In recent weeks, we have made many efforts to ease their lives, especially regarding freedom of movement for Palestinians," he said. "But I would like to make it clear that all of these efforts are unilateral on Israel's part. All these efforts can only go so far, and the results will multiply many times if only there is cooperation from the other side....Let us make peace, diplomatic peace and economic peace. Let us cooperate on these projects," he said. Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, spent more than a year negotiating with Abbas, but the peace talks yielded no major breakthroughs. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Abbas Says He Won't Meet Netanyahu - Khaled Abu Toameh and Haviv Rettig Gur
    PA leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Sunday his refusal to resume peace talks with Israel unless Netanyahu's government agreed to freeze all construction in the West Bank. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Reject Any Israel-U.S. Settlement Deal - Ali Sawafta
    Palestinians reject any deal between Israel and the U.S. that would allow even limited Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday. (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • Senior Cleric Says Leaders of Iran Are Unfit to Rule - Robert F. Worth
    Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a dissident who has often criticized Iran's ruling clerics, issued an unusual decree on Saturday calling the country's rulers "usurpers and transgressors" for their treatment of opposition protesters in recent weeks. Montazeri, 87, was a leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and was once designated the successor to Ayatollah Khomeini. But he fell out with Khomeini in 1989 over the execution of a large group of prisoners and other policies he deemed unjust. (New York Times)
        See also Senior Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Iranian Regime
    On July 11, 2009, an Iranian website published a fatwa by senor Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri regarding the legitimacy of the current Iranian government: "A regime that uses clubs, oppression, aggression against [the people's] rights, injustice, rigged elections, murder, arrests, and medieval or Stalin-era torture, gags and censors the press, obstructs the media, imprisons intellectuals and elected leaders on false allegations or forced despicable and has no religious merit." (MEMRI)
  • Nazi Guard Demjanjuk Charged as Accessory to 27,900 Murders - Karin Matussek and Hellmuth Tromm
    John Demjanjuk, 89, a suspected Nazi death-camp guard, was charged by Munich prosecutors Monday with aiding the murder of 27,900 people in the Sobibor concentration camp during World War II. The indictment follows his deportation to Germany from the U.S. in May. (Bloomberg)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu: Palestinian Recognition of Jewish State Is "Key to Peace"
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday that recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state was key to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I look forward to the day when the moderate leaders of the Palestinians will stand in front of their people and clearly state: 'We've had enough of this conflict, we recognize the right of the Jewish People to a state of its own' - and we will live alongside them in real peace the moment these words are spoken."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Blasts EU Call for Deadline on Palestinian State - Barak Ravid and Assaf Uni
    The Israel Foreign Ministry on Sunday dismissed a call by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana for the UN to set a deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state. "Resolutions 242 and 338 of the UN, the Roadmap, and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians all cautiously determine that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be reached through negotiations by the sides," the ministry said in a statement.
        "Israel has called more than once for the immediate renewal of the talks without preconditions. Another demand setting an artificial deadline endangers and harms the chances of actually reaching a bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinians."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Syria: No Peace Summit Until Israel Cedes Golan Heights - Roee Nahmias
    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said Sunday that his country will not attend any regional summit unless Israel concedes to the principle of going back to the 1967 lines in return for peace. Mouallem spoke during a Damascus press conference with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. (Ynet News)
  • Egyptian Official Sees No Chance for Hamas, Fatah Reconciliation - Ali Waked
    A senior Egyptian source said Sunday that there was no chance for a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, after months of Egyptian mediation efforts. He added that the chances for new elections in January 2010 are low. (Ynet News)
        See also Egypt Calls Off Hamas-Fatah Mediation - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Hamas Tightens Its Grip in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas is gradually turning Gaza into a Taliban-style Islamic entity that poses a threat not only to Israel, but also to the Americans, Europeans and moderate Arabs and Muslims. Young women in Gaza are being harassed and arrested by Hamas' "morality police" for laughing in public or leaving their homes without hijabs. Palestinian women are banned from swimming unless they are covered from top to bottom, and are being banned from entering coffee shops, restaurants and other public places unless they are escorted by male relatives. Young men are banned from swimming in the sea topless. A Palestinian journalist in Gaza remarked: "The Americans and Europeans are fighting against Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan while Hamas is building a new fundamentalist entity here."
        PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad insist on boycotting peace talks with Israel in protest against the ongoing construction in the settlements. But the two did not stay away from the talks when former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni were also building in the settlements. Abbas and Fayyad are waiting for the U.S. administration to deliver, hoping that Obama will force Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, and expel all the Jewish settlers from the West Bank. Palestinian officials in Ramallah explain, why return to the negotiating table with Israel when the U.S. has actually endorsed the Palestinian position and is negotiating with the Netanyahu government on behalf of the Palestinian Authority? (Hudson Institute New York)
  • Numbering the Days of Dictators - Caroline Glick
    By securing the unconditional support of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his power grab, Iranian President Ahmadinejad is free to maintain and escalate his policy of international brinksmanship on all levels. From Iran's race toward nuclear capabilities, to its efforts to destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, to its support for Hizbullah and Hamas, to its support for anti-American regimes in Latin America and its cultivation of terror networks in the Western hemisphere, to its strategic proliferation alliance with North Korea, Ahmadinejad's continued reign means that the world can expect expanded Iranian activity on all these fronts.
        Despite Ahmadinejad's success in maintaining his grip on power, it is an indisputable fact that regime opponents succeeded these past few weeks as never before in destabilizing the regime and in demonstrating its hollow core. The June 12 elections were not supposed to pose a challenge to the regime. All they were supposed to do was pit one regime loyalist against three other regime loyalists. The fact that the public could view Ahmadinejad's decision to steal the election as an opportunity to bring down the regime demonstrates clearly the magnitude of the public's rejection of the Islamic Revolution. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    An Historic Opportunity for Justice - Ben-Dror Yemini (Maariv-Hebrew)

    To the members of the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:

    • It is doubtful whether any of you would recommend the restraint that Israel practiced for years if a certain group, three kilometers away, were to adopt a strange custom of launching 30 missiles a day at your city. For many years, Hamas has been methodically murdering innocent Jews. It is a regime whose spokesmen preach the annihilation of Jews in schools and in mosques.
    • European countries sent many troops to remote Afghanistan because it is home to a radical Islamic group, the Taliban. Many in Afghanistan, perhaps the majority, support that group. The Taliban are not launching missiles at Europe or threatening to destroy it. Nevertheless, countries in the West saw fit to go there to stop the danger of radical Islam and, in that struggle, thousands of innocents have been killed.
    • Why didn't anyone open an investigation on the civilian casualties or the war crimes that have been committed in Afghanistan? Because most of the free world thinks that it's a justified fight. Then why is the struggle against Hamas less justified than the fight against the Taliban?
    • Is what Israel did in Gaza different from what Europe did in Serbia or what NATO did in Afghanistan or what Pakistan is doing in its own territory? Is there a different justice for Israel than for the rest of the world? Just a few weeks ago, the Human Rights Council lauded Sri Lanka following its fight against the Tamil rebels. Twenty thousand innocent people were killed in just a few weeks of war. Three hundred thousand people became refugees.
    • Now, will you establish a different law for Israel? Innocent people were, indeed, hurt in Gaza, but fewer innocent people were hurt by Israel than in any similar conflict in the world.

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