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October 28, 2009

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In-Depth Issues:

The Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey: A Surfacing Submarine - Soner Cagaptay (bitterlemons-international)
    Why is Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) so upset with Israel?
    The AKP, rooted in Turkey's own Muslim Brotherhood movement, has always hated Israel, and now that the AKP is comfortably in charge in Turkey, it will oppose Israel with any means available as well as promote other aspects of the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood's agenda.
    We are witnessing the Muslim's Brotherhood take on foreign policy, highlighted by its approach to Turkish-Israeli ties. After seven years of vehement anti-Israeli rhetoric, the Turkish public has now embraced the AKP's position against Israel and the party is comfortably chipping away at the foundations of Turkish-Israeli ties, something it has always wanted to do.
    Today, it is Israel; tomorrow it is EU accession and cooperation with the U.S.
    Turkey's Muslim Brothers have played a smart game indeed, changing the color of their vessel, then sailing deep and surfacing only when the waters were calm and clear.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    See also Iran's Ahmadinejad Praises Turk PM on Israel Stance - Reza Derakhshi (Reuters)
    See also Turkey Embraces Its Islamic Friends - Daniel Pipes (The Australian)

Pakistan Releases 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards After Cross-Border Incursion - Huma Yusuf (Christian Science Monitor)
    Pakistani authorities on Tuesday released 11 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard who had been arrested on Monday near the Iran-Pakistan border eight days after a suicide bomber in Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province killed 42 people, including Revolutionary Guard commanders.
    Iran alleged those responsible were based in Pakistan.

Bahrain Parliament Votes to Ban Dealings with Israel (Reuters)
    Bahrain's parliament on Tuesday approved legislation penalizing contacts with Israel.
    "Whoever holds any communication or official talks with Israeli officials or travels to Israel will face a fine...and/or a jail sentence of three to five years," said member of parliament Jalal Fairooz from the Shi'ite Al-Wefaq bloc, an opposition group that was the driving force behind the move.
    Diplomats and analysts say Arab governments have been pressured by the U.S. to take steps towards normalizing ties with Israel, but popular sentiment has been opposed to such moves.

Jordanians Call for Annulling Peace Treaty with Israel (Xinhua-China)
    Dozens of Jordanians took part in a sit-in Monday, calling for abolishing the peace treaty with Israel. Protestors also burned the Israeli flag.
    Participants included members of Jordan's professional associations and the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    "Fifteen years have passed since the treaty was signed and it did not bring any good. The treaty was signed against the will of the public," said Islamist MP Hamzah Mansour, head of the Higher Executive Committee for Defending the Homeland and Confronting Normalization.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Hints at Uranium Plan Changes - Robert F. Worth
    On Tuesday, Alaeddin Borujerdi, the head of the Iranian Parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, said that if Iran agreed to ship its uranium abroad to be further enriched, "this must not happen in one go," and that the fuel must be shipped in installments, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency. That position could undermine the entire UN-sponsored plan discussed in Vienna. The French government has made it clear that the uranium must be shipped all at once before the end of the year. Borujerdi also said "our basic opinion" was that Iran preferred to purchase processed nuclear fuel rather than send its uranium abroad for processing.
        If Iran formally proposes to ship its uranium in installments, Western powers that brokered the proposed deal are likely to balk, said Valerie Lincy, a senior researcher with the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. "One of the problems would be that a part of the stockpile would remain in Iran, so the risk of breakout capacity would still be there," Lincy said. She also noted that Iran was continuing to produce low-enriched uranium, and could continue to do so rapidly even as it shipped almost equal amounts of fuel out in installments, making the deal largely meaningless. (New York Times)
        See also France Seeks Answers from Iran on Nuclear Program - Raf Casert
    France said Tuesday it is increasingly exasperated with Iran's strategy in international negotiations on its nuclear program, and pressed for a quick answer as to whether Tehran will accept a UN proposal aimed at defusing tension. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, "We have been waiting for almost three years for the light at the end of the tunnel. And we still wait....One day it will be too late."  (AP)
        See also U.S. Making Plans for Iran Nuke Strategy - Robert Burns
    The Obama administration is quietly laying the groundwork for long-range strategy that could be used to contain a nuclear-equipped Iran and deter its leaders from using atomic weapons. U.S. officials insist they are not resigned to a nuclear Iran and are pressing negotiations to prevent it from joining the world's nuclear club. But at the same time, the administration has set in place the building blocks of policies to contend with an Iran armed with atomic weapons. (AP)
  • Espionage Suspect Was Under Investigation for Stealing Government Funds - Del Quentin Wilber and Maria Glod
    Stewart D. Nozette, accused of giving sensitive government information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer, is an astronomer who once sketched a key part of a lunar mission on the back of a cocktail napkin and daydreamed of colonizing the moon. And, according to recently unsealed court documents, he stole lots of government money to finance personal credit cards, mortgages, car loans and maintenance on his swimming pool. Federal prosecutors said in court papers unsealed Friday that Nozette's aerospace consulting firm ACT over-billed the government by $265,000 from 2000 through 2006. His wife, Wendy McColough, is identified as "co-conspirator 1" in court papers.
        In January, Nozette pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion. But the case was sealed by a federal judge because the scientist was providing information about unrelated investigations of government corruption, prosecutors said. Nozette told a colleague that he would flee to India or Israel if the U.S. government "tried to put him in jail," according to law enforcement officials and court records. (Washington Post)
  • Two Charged in U.S. with Providing Support to Hizbullah - Al Baker
    Two men have been indicted on charges that they tried to provide Hizbullah in Lebanon with weapons, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday. Patrick Nayyar and Conrad Mulholland agreed to sell guns, ammunition, vehicles, bullet-resistant vests and night vision goggles to a man who represented himself as a member of Hizbullah but was an FBI informant, officials said. Nayyar, an Indian citizen living illegally in the U.S., is in custody, while Mulholland is believed to be in Britain. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Katyusha Rocket from Lebanon Strikes Northern Israel - Anshel Pfeffer and Eli Ashkenazi
    A Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon exploded near Kiryat Shmona in the Upper Galilee on Tuesday. Nine Katyushas have struck northern Israel since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. A Lebanese security official said the rocket was fired from Houla in southern Lebanon. Lebanese troops on Wednesday found and dismantled four more rockets ready for launching from the same site. Last month, two Katyushas fired from Lebanon struck the Western Galilee. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Files Complaint with UN over Rocket - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
  • Clinton to Try to Persuade Abbas to Reopen Peace Negotiations with Israel - Avi Issacharoff
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive on Sunday for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during which she will attempt to persuade PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to reopen negotiations with Israel on a final peace agreement. Clinton will ask Abbas to restart the negotiations with Israel without a complete freeze of construction in the settlements. (Ha'aretz)
  • Response to Amnesty Report on Israeli-Palestinian Water Issues
    According to the Oslo agreement, 23.6 million cubic meters of water will be allocated to the Palestinians annually. In actual effect, the Palestinians have access to twice as much water. Israel has extensively surpassed the obligatory quantity of water. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have significantly violated their commitments regarding important issues such as illegal drilling (they have drilled over 250 wells without authorization of the Joint Water Commission) and handling of sewage. (The Palestinians are not constructing sewage treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so and the important foreign funding earmarked for this purpose.)
        Israel has offered to supply Palestinians with desalinated water, but this has been systematically rejected due to political motivations. Israel has significantly reduced its use of fresh natural water from 508 (m3/person/year) in 1967 to 149 in 2008. During the same period, Palestinian consumption rose from 86 to 105. It remains unclear how Amnesty's claims of "discriminatory policies" towards Palestinians can sustain the trial of reality. The authors of the report chose to ignore Israeli data, although they contain verifiable facts presented with total transparency. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
        See also Water Issues between Israel and the Palestinians (Israel Water Authority)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Deadlock on Restarting Israeli-Palestinian Talks - Barry Rubin
    The PA forcefully insists that it won't meet formally with Israel until all construction in all Jewish settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem stops completely. However, U.S.-Israel discussions have moved past that point. The administration isn't pushing for a total halt and it isn't pushing all that urgently on the issue. Therefore, while Israel has succeeded in conciliating the U.S., the PA is defying Washington.
        What both the U.S. and Europe fail to see is that the Palestinians don't need or want rapid progress on negotiations or even a state except on what would be completely their own terms. They believe, and this is what they have been shown, that intransigence on their part actually brings more criticism of Israel. If you believe that the world is about to condemn Israel as a pariah, war criminal state, why make compromises with it? The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Time to Deal Separately with Gaza - Yossi Alpher
    A Hamas-Fatah unity agreement is bad for the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, at least in the near term. Mahmoud Abbas will have to show deference to Hamas sensitivities and toughen his stand on issues like the right of return. Assuming new Palestinian elections are the first order of business of a unity agreement, Fatah and Hamas will compete in displaying a hard line and peace negotiations will have to be postponed.
        Under present circumstances, a successful Palestinian-Israeli peace process means an agreement with the West Bank alone. There currently is no prospect that Gaza will be pried loose of Hamas' grip. If there is to be any viability to the notion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace process mediated by the U.S., it's time for all parties concerned to recognize that, for the time being at least, Gaza is a separate entity. Some argue that a state in the West Bank alone won't be "viable," as if the addition of the overpopulated and impoverished Gaza Strip makes a state more viable. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. (
  • Observations:

    Why Are the Laws of War Applied Only to Israel? - Amir Mizroch (Jerusalem Post)

    • Former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler believes that the current laws of war are sufficient, but what really needs to be changed is their selective application to Israel alone. Instead of trying to change the laws of war, Israel and its friends should work to change the principles and procedures of the UN itself, which displays a constant country-specific indictment of Israel.
    • "You can't have a situation where you have special sessions targeting Israel and the rest of the world has immunity. You can't have a situation where Israel alone is excluded from the regional deliberative groups and therefore cannot participate in the drafting of resolutions....The source of the problem [is] the singling out of one member state for differential and discriminatory treatment," Cotler told the Post last week.
    • "During the Gaza operation and before it, Hamas committed several war crimes and crimes against humanity. You don't need to create a whole new law of war to be able to hold Hamas responsible. Goldstone did not address most of the existing laws of war with respect to Hamas, like the Genocide Convention, probably the most important of the treaties, which expressly prohibits, under article 3, incitement to genocide. Hamas' charter serves as an example of incitement to genocide and a standing violation of the Genocide Convention. Did Goldstone deal with that? No. Did he mention the charter? No. Does he talk about the violation? No."
    • Cotler believes that even if Israel managed to amend the laws of war, very little would change if selective prosecution and selective singling out of Israel continued. "The military people talk a lot about asymmetric warfare, but it's all there in terms of the laws of war. The laws of war are very expansive and comprehensive. The basic thing is [that] what you need is equality before the law. Israel, like any other state, is responsible for any violation of humanitarian law, but that's the point: like any other state. It's not the issue that Israel shouldn't be held responsible; it's that other states aren't being held accountable. It's not that standards shouldn't be applied to Israel. They should be applied to Israel, but they're not being applied to anybody else. It's not that there aren't any rules for international monitoring - there are, but they're only applied to Israel."
    • "In international law, Israel has emerged as a Jew among the nations. It's treated in the international arena [the same way] anti-Jewishness would stereotype the Jews as a minority in any diaspora country."

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