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November 9, 2009

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Did Fort Hood Shooter See a War on Islam? - Bob Drogin and Faye Fiore (Los Angeles Times)
    In 2007, Nidal Malik Hasan went to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., for a disaster and military psychiatry fellowship, part of a master of public health degree. "He told students, 'I'm a Muslim first and an American second,'" said classmate Lt. Col. Dr. Val Finnell.
    In an environmental health class, while other students focused on topics such as mold and water contamination, Hasan's project asked "whether the war on terror is a war against Islam," Finnell said.
    "It was very off-topic," Finnell said. "I raised my hand and said, 'What does this have to do with environmental health?'"
    See also Hasan on Probation for Proselytizing - Kevin Whitelaw (National Public Radio)
    A source who worked with Hasan at the time told NPR that he was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues.
    See also Texas Army Killer Linked to 9/11 Terrorists - Philip Sherwell and Alex Spillius (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
    Hasan attended the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia, in 2001 at the same time as September 11 terrorists Nawaf al-Hamzi and Hani Hanjour. His mother's funeral was held there in May that year.
    The preacher at the time was Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni scholar who was banned from addressing a meeting in London by video link in August because he is accused of supporting attacks on British troops and backing terrorist organizations.
    Hasan's eyes "lit up" when he mentioned his deep respect for al-Awlaki's teachings, according to a fellow Muslim officer at Fort Hood.
    See also Fort Hood Gunman: Infidels Should Have Their Throats Cut - Nick Allen (Telegraph-UK)
    Hasan once gave a lecture to other doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats.
    Colleagues had expected a discussion on a medical issue but were instead given an extremist interpretation of the Koran, which Hasan appeared to believe.
    One Army doctor who knew him said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim soldier had stopped fellow officers from filing formal complaints.

Israel Intercepts Iranian Arms Shipment to Hizbullah (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    The large quantity of rockets (about 2,800) equaled about 70% of those fired during the second Lebanon war in July 2006.
    See also Yemen Seizes Iranian Arms En Route to Shi'ite Rebels (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

Norway Drops Israel War Crimes Investigation (AFP)
    Norwegian prosecutors announced on Friday they would not pursue war crimes charges against Israeli officials over the Gaza offensive.
    Six Norwegian lawyers brought a case against Prime Minister Olmert and nine others in April for alleged offenses since the country's courts were recently given universal jurisdiction in human rights matters.
    But the Norwegian prosecutors' office said: "No one involved in this case has any connection whatsoever to Norway. The Norwegian prosecutor should show restraint before opening a case in which the alleged crime was committed overseas, unless the accused lives in Norway or has some connection with this country."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Report: Iran Will Not Ship Uranium Out of the Country
    Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chief of Iran's Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Saturday the proposed deal to send uranium out of the country is "called off," Iran's semiofficial news agency ISNA reported. (CNN)
  • Obama Hosts Netanyahu - Charles Levinson and Jay Solomon
    The White House waited several days to confirm that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could meet with President Obama Monday, and sought conditions first. One official said the U.S. wanted Mr. Netanyahu to express stronger support for negotiations on an independent Palestinian state at his speech Monday before the Jewish Federations of North America in Washington. "We're in the part of the process where you can't expect something for nothing," the official said.
        The brinksmanship over a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders represents a rare display of pique by the White House toward Israel. Netanyahu had long been scheduled to visit Washington to speak at the assembly of Jewish groups, and it would be rare, but not unprecedented, for an Israeli prime minister to visit Washington without meeting the U.S. president. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hizbullah Gears Up for New War - Mitchell Prothero and Peter Beamont
    Hizbullah is rapidly rearming in preparation for a new conflict with Israel. "Sure, we are rearming, we have even said that we have far more rockets and missiles than we did in 2006," said a Hizbullah commander. Hizbullah has been forced to abandon the line of deeply entrenched static positions on the border with Israel and withdraw most of its men and weaponry to clusters of Shia villages. Hizbullah fighters have been busy reinforcing fixed defense positions north of the Litani river. (Observer-Guardian-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • U.S.: Nuclear Iran Is Existential Threat to Israel - Amir Oren
    The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said last week in Washington that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel. "It's very clear to me that a nuclear weapon in Iran is an existential threat to Israel," he told a conference at the National Press Club. Mullen said Iran's nuclear program appears "to be the No. 1 priority for Israel, and certainly it's a very high priority for us." He added that he supports President Obama's view that "the goal is to make sure that they don't get a nuclear weapon. At the same time, a strike on Iran, getting into a conflict with Iran, I think would also be incredibly destabilizing."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Expected to Stay, Despite Retirement Announcement - Avi Issacharoff
    Three days after Mahmoud Abbas stated that he does not intend to run in the next Palestinian presidential election, more analysts are saying he is likely to keep his current post for a long time to come. Palestinian analysts as well as senior PA and Fatah officials believe that as long as Fatah and Hamas do not reconcile, the elections Abbas called for in January 2010 will be postponed indefinitely. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Abbas Has Not Resigned - Daoud Kuttab
    PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has not resigned. Any such resignation will mean that the Hamas-supported speaker of the Palestinian legislative council will become president for 60 days until new elections take place. The announcement that he will not seek another term becomes crucial only if elections indeed take place as announced in January 2010. It is highly unlikely that he will go ahead with such elections without Gaza's participation. (New York Times)
        See also Palestinian Poll: 76 Percent Expect Abbas to Reverse His Decision (Maan News-PA)
  • No Secret U.S.-PA Deal for Recognizing Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
    A senior PA official said PA leader Abbas was surprised to hear on Sunday from the Israeli media about secret understandings between Prime Minister Fayad and President Obama over U.S. recognition of Fayad's plan for an independent Palestinian state. A source close to Fayad said that no such secret deal had been reached with the Americans. While portions of Fayad's plan for statehood have been welcomed by the Israeli government because of its emphasis on building infrastructure and bolstering the Palestinian security forces as well as its economy, Israel has opposed any move by the Palestinians to unilaterally declare a state. "The emergence of a Palestinian state will only be the result of consensus and successful negotiations," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said last week at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
        Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval said a unilateral declaration of statehood "would make null and void" all past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, including those regarding security. "It should be a major effort of Israeli foreign policy to...make it clear that Palestinian statehood must be based on mutual agreements," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA Would Breach Oslo If It Declared a State Unilaterally - Dan Izenberg
    The Palestinian Authority would be perpetrating a material breach of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement by declaring an independent state. According to Article 23 of the internationally recognized accord, "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations." According to former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry Allen Baker, on the basis of that breach, Israel could declare the entire agreement void. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • At Brandeis, Israel's Guilt and Innocence on Display - Jeff Jacoby
    South African jurist Richard Goldstone and Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the UN, were at Brandeis to discuss Goldstone's highly controversial UN report on Israel's Gaza operation last winter. Gold brought facts and figures, maps and photographs, and audio and video in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. The encounter marked the first time that Goldstone publicly debated the report's merits with a leading Israeli figure. It would not surprise me to learn that he is in no hurry for a second.
        Gold played video of Israelis under Hamas rocket attack, and noted that such attacks had increased 500 percent after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. He displayed aerial photographs of Hamas military installations located amid schools and mosques. He described Israel's extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and showed Palestinian TV broadcasts confirming those efforts. He presented images of weapons caches inside Palestinian mosques and homes. It was a powerful presentation - so powerful, in fact, that Goldstone regretted not having seen it earlier. "The sort of information shown to us by Ambassador Gold," he said, "should have been shown to us during the [UN] investigation."
        What was most striking of all was Goldstone's inability to give a clear answer to an essential question: What should a law-abiding country do to defend itself against relentless terrorist attacks? "What would you do if your population was facing repeated attacks for eight years?" asked Gold, after describing the thousands of rockets launched by Hamas at Israeli communities. The judge, astonishingly, had no answer. He responded that that was a decision for the Israelis to make.
        Where the UN is involved, the guilt of the Jewish state is always taken for granted. The Goldstone Commission was a sham, and its bottom line was foreordained. (Boston Globe)
  • Take Down the "Peace-Processing" Sign - Thomas L. Friedman
    The only thing driving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process today is inertia and diplomatic habit. It is now more of a calisthenic, something diplomats do to stay in shape, but not because they believe anything is going to happen. It is time for a radically new approach: Take down our "Peace-Processing-Is-Us" sign and just go home. Right now we want it more than the parties. They all have other priorities today. Let's just get out of the picture. Let all these leaders stand in front of their own people and tell them the truth: "My fellow citizens: Nothing is happening; nothing is going to happen. It's just you and me and the problem we own."  (New York Times)
        See also "Nobody Wants Peace as Much as Israelis"
    "Nobody wants peace more than the people of Israel, the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Nir Hefetz, Netanyahu's media adviser, told Israel Radio Monday in response to a column by Thomas Friedman. "Netanyahu is calling on the Palestinians to talk peace night and day," Hefetz said, while "the Palestinian setting preconditions that have been unheard of in 16 years."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Observations:

    "The Goldstone Report Distorts the Very Essence of What Israel Stands For" - Amb. Dore Gold at Brandeis

    Ambassador Dore Gold and Judge Richard Goldstone discussed the UN Report on war crimes in Gaza on Nov. 5, 2009, in an event sponsored by the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University.

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