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November 5, 2009

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Amb. Dore Gold and Judge Richard Goldstone
will discuss the UN report on war crimes in Gaza
Thurs., Nov. 5,
5 p.m., EST

Brandeis U.
For live webcast, click here

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Wants Its Uranium Back from Syria - Erich Follath and Holger Stark (Der Spiegel-Germany)
    Western intelligence agencies report that the Iranian leadership is demanding that Syria return - in full and without compensation - substantial shipments of uranium, which it no longer needs now that its nuclear program has been destroyed.
    In September 2007, Israel destroyed Syria's Al Kibar nuclear reactor.

Iranian Missile and Outer Space Programs: Assessing Present and Future Capabilities - Uzi Rubin (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    An Israeli missile defense expert's Powerpoint presentation on Iran's growing missile arsenal.
    See also New Developments in Iran's Missile Capabilities - Uzi Rubin (ICA-Jerusalem Center)

Israel Accuses Chavez of Turning Venezuela into an Iranian Outpost (El Universal-Venezuela)
    Israeli Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Danny Ayalon accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of having turned Venezuela into an "Iranian outpost in the hemisphere."
    "The scope of the Iranian regime does not end in the Middle East. It is global, and also reaches Africa and Latin America," Ayalon said during a briefing to diplomats and journalists at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
    In Latin America, "most countries are not only aware" of the "threat posed by the infiltration of Iran" in the region but "they are also concerned" about it, he said.

Arab Satellite Companies Drop Iranian Arabic Channel (BBC News)
    Iran's Arabic language satellite television channel, al-Alam, has been taken off the air by Arab satellite operators Nilesat and Arabsat, Egypt's MENA news agency reported.

Turkish Students Pelt Israeli Ambassador with Eggs (AFP-Hurriyet-Turkey)
    Turkish police detained 20 students on Wednesday after they pelted Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy with eggs, forcing him to cancel a university visit in the Black Sea port of Trabzon.
    The Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in both Islamist and leftist circles in Turkey.

Israel One of Top Five Cleantech Countries - Shawn Lesser (Cleantech)
    Israel, the "Silicon Valley" of water technology, is fast becoming the cleantech incubator to the world.
    Israel recycles 75% of its wastewater, invented drip irrigation, and is home to the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination plant.
    Israel is one of the world's most important centers of cleantech innovation and R&D, with innovative companies such as CellEra, Aqwise, and Emefcy. Better Place is also making Israel the first test-market for a nationwide electric vehicle recharge network. Leading Israeli VCs include Israel Cleantech, Aqua Argo Fund and Terra Ventures.
    See also Video: Cleantech Industries in Israel (YouTube)

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • 3,000 Missiles Found on Seized Arms Ship - Aron Heller
    At least 3,000 missiles were on board the Francop, a vessel stopped by Israel off the coast of Cyprus and towed to the port of Ashdod. Containers with dark green missiles inside bore writing in English that said "I.R. Iranian Shipping Lines Group." Israel alleged that the shipment of hundreds of tons of rockets, missiles, mortars, grenades and anti-tank weapons - the largest it ever seized - was headed for Hizbullah in Lebanon. The ship had departed an Iranian port for Syria. Deputy Israeli navy commander Roni Ben-Yehuda said the ship carried ten times as many weapons as the Karine A, a weapons ship captured by Israeli forces in the Red Sea in January 2002. (AP)
        See also Massive Arms Shipment Intended for Hizbullah Intercepted by Israel Navy (Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson)
        See also Video: Weapons of Terror Ship Seized by Israel (BBC News)
  • Iranian Revolutionary Guards Training Yemen Rebels
    The Saudi daily Al-Watan reported on Oct. 31 that Yemen had captured an Iranian ship smuggling armor-piercing weapons to the Houthi rebels. The sixth war between the Yemen military and the Houthis broke out about ten weeks ago. Senior Yemen officials say Iran is finding more and more ways of supporting the Houthis - through funds, weapons, and media support.
        Al-Watan reported that the Yemen government has information that "there are Houthi training camps in Eritrea, and in them there are units of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC); it is assessed that they are training the rebels and equipping them with weapons via the Eritrean port of 'Asab. [These units] are facilitating rebel movements from 'Asab port to Maydi port in Yemen - a distance of only a few kilometers." One Houthi commander, Sheikh Abdallah Al-Mahdoun, said in a newspaper interview that "the Houthis had received unlimited help in arms and supplies, under the oversight of the IRGC and also of experts from Hizbullah."  (MEMRI)
  • Dissidents Mass in Tehran to Subvert Anti-U.S. Rally - Robert F. Worth
    Tens of thousands of Iranian opposition protesters braved police beatings and clouds of tear gas on the sidelines of a major, government-sponsored anti-American rally on Wednesday. The protests in Tehran and other cities were the opposition's largest street showing in two months and came on the 30th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Protesters declared their impatience with President Obama's policy of dialogue with the Iranian government. Many could be heard chanting, "Obama, Obama - either you're with them or you're with us," witnesses said. (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Iranian Revolutionary Guard Behind Seized Arms Shipment - Hanan Greenberg
    The IDF believes the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is behind the arms shipment intercepted by the Israel Navy. Military personnel are still unloading the thousands of rockets, shells and munitions stashed away in the Francop. Many of the crates contained rockets, some with markings distinctive to Iranian munitions and others bearing the markings of Chinese and Spanish manufacturers. Israel hoped the operation will deter shipping companies, European harbors and insurance companies from doing business with seemingly innocent Iranian vessels which can blow up at any time. (Ynet News)
        See also Netanyahu: Ship Proves Iran Supports Terror - Yaakov Katz and Tovah Lazaroff
    Prime Minister Netanyahu said Wednesday: "Iran is sending these weapons to terror organizations to harm Israeli cities and kill its citizens....The time has come for the international community to exert real pressure on Iran to stop this criminal activity and to support Israel when it defends itself against these terrorists and their patrons....Whoever still needed decisive proof that Iran continues to send weapons to terrorist organizations received it today in a very clear and unequivocal way."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • An Early Win in the Next War - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    Senior Israeli navy officers say the seized shipment - destined for the Syrian port of Latakia - contained enough armaments to last Hizbullah for a month of fighting against Israel. The amount of weapons captured suggests an army, not a terrorist organization. Israel's naval operation was not routine: The commandos boarded the vessel amid stormy seas and high winds - but they knew what they were looking for thanks to detailed intelligence. (Ha'aretz)
        See also International Pressure on Tehran Is Having an Impact - Yossi Melman
    The containers on the ship Francop were marked with the acronym IRISL, a state-controlled company listed by the UN Security Council in its sanctions resolutions against Iran due to its role in transporting equipment for Tehran's nuclear and missile programs. The fact that Iran is trying to ship arms under the guise of civilian cargo suggests that the pressure exerted by the international community is having an impact. (Ha'aretz)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • The Mideast Impasse - Editorial
    Mahmoud Abbas has participated in peace negotiations with five Israeli governments that refused to halt Jewish settlement construction. Yet Abbas has rejected an appeal from the Obama administration to start talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, putting one of the administration's primary foreign policy goals on indefinite hold. Has Abbas suddenly realized that settlements are the key obstacle to a Palestinian state? Hardly: In private, senior Palestinian officials readily concede that the issue is secondary.
        Neither Arab leaders nor Abbas seem to share Obama's notion that the time is ripe for a deal. Israelis note that Abbas already rejected a far-reaching peace offer by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. The Obama administration's working assumption has been that energetic diplomacy by the U.S. could induce both sides to move quickly toward peace. In fact, progress in the Middle East has always begun with initiatives by Israelis or Arabs themselves. (Washington Post)
        See also Administration Missteps Hamper Mideast Efforts - Glenn Kessler
    President Obama came into office insisting that his administration would press hard and fast to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But after nine months, as Secretary of State Clinton made clear during her Middle East trip, U.S. officials are now promoting new tactics - what they called the "baby steps" of lower-level talks - to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders together for direct talks. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinian Youth Grow Weary of Political Stalemate - Majeda El Batsh
    As the rift between the two main Palestinian factions widens, many West Bank youths, for decades the shock troops of their national movement, are growing increasingly disenchanted with their feuding leaders. Emad Ghiyada, a professor at Birzeit University, said: "There has been a drop in youth membership in the political groups....The parties have failed to realize any of their goals, whether by armed struggle, or popular uprisings, or by peaceful means." Earlier this month Birzeit hosted an event to protest perceived Israeli threats to the Al-Aqsa mosque. While organizers expected around 9,000 students to come to express their outrage, only 60 showed up, Ghiyada said. (AFP)
  • Iran's Revolution at 30 - Ramin Ahmadi
    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, a depressed opium addict whose poor health has made daily rumors of his death the most popular national sport after soccer, is clinging to the hope that whatever doesn't kill his regime will make it stronger. Contrary to the predictions of Western analysts, street protests have continued. Since foreign correspondents are not free to report on the protests, the pictures of thousands of university protesters all across the country last week were not seen on any major television news network, but the Facebook faithful could still get a glimpse of widespread unrest. The writer is the co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. (Forbes)
  • Observations:

    Israel to UN: Gaza Report "Was Conceived in Hate and Executed in Sin"  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    During a discussion of the Goldstone report, Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday:

    • Terrorism deprives people of their most basic human right - the right to life. States have not only the right, but indeed the duty, to pursue those who engage in the barbaric tactics of terrorism. Yet rather than discuss how to better stop terrorist groups who deliberately target civilians, the General Assembly chose again to launch another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of Israel.
    • The report before you was conceived in hate and executed in sin. From its inception in a one-sided mandate, the Gaza fact-finding mission was a politicized body with predetermined conclusions. It is the product of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a body whose obsession with Israel has led it to pass more resolutions against Israel than on all other UN Member States put together.
    • This same Human Rights Council rejected any investigation regarding the constant firing of 12,000 rockets and mortars by Hamas, over eight years, on towns and villages in Israel. The basic human rights of nearly one million Israeli citizens did not matter then. Are we now to believe that the Council's latest incarnation is honest, objective and fair?
    • The report ignores overwhelming evidence that Hamas intentionally operated from densely populated areas and from within hospitals and mosques, and booby-trapped civilian structures. The report makes no reference to the exploitation of civilians by Hamas and its use of human shields. It undermines every democracy defending itself against terrorist attacks.
    • Israel is committed to acting in accordance with international law. The rules of armed conflict are part of the training of every Israeli soldier. Israel is committed to investigating every allegation of misconduct by its forces.
    • Israel believes in the vision established by the UN of two states for two peoples. But the Goldstone report and this debate do not promote peace. They damage any effort to revitalize negotiations in our region. They deny Israel's right of self-defense. If Israel is asked to make concessions for peace, we must be assured of the right to defend ourselves.

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