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January 19, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

Videos of Israel's Rescue Mission in Haiti:
    "No One Except the Israeli Hospital Has Taken Any of Our Patients" (CNN)
    Israeli IDF Hospital: The "Rolls Royce" of Medicine in Haiti (CBS News)
    Israelis Save Trapped Earthquake Victim (BBC News/YouTube)
    A Day with the Israeli Search Team (Sky News-UK)

    See also Israel's Disproportionate Response - Peggy Shapiro (American Thinker)
    Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to Haiti.
    Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive.
    See also Aid to Haiti: Arabs Opt Out - Tom Gross (Mideast Dispatch Archive)
    A CBS/AP report lists countries providing aid to Haiti. Conspicuous by its absence is the entire Muslim world, including the rich oil-producing nations.
    However, Arab countries do not discriminate against non-Muslim countries. Their help was missing after the earthquakes in Turkey and Iran and during war and famine in Muslim Africa too.

Poll: Overwhelming Majority in Saudi Arabia, Egypt Oppose Accepting Israel as a Jewish State - David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    According to a credible private poll of Saudi citizens taken in November 2009, a mere 9% of urban Saudis said they would accept Israel "as a Jewish state," even "under the right conditions." In Jeddah, hypothetical acceptance of a Jewish state was 17%, compared to 4% in Riyadh.
    When asked whether "financially supporting armed mujahedin fighting in various places around the world is an Islamic duty," 32% in Jeddah said yes, compared to 36% in Riyadh and 42% in Dammam/al-Khobar.
    After thirty years of formal Egyptian-Israeli peace, 26% of Egyptians said they could accept Israel as a Jewish state, a distinctly minority opinion.
    The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute.

Abu Dhabi Hosts Israel at Renewable Energy Meeting - Nour Malas (Wall Street Journal)
    Israel participated Sunday in the first meeting in Abu Dhabi of the newly-formed International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA.
    Israel's minister for infrastructure Uzi Landau led a delegation to the third meeting of the preparatory commission.
    Israel and the United Arab Emirates have no diplomatic relations. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the presence in the sheikdom of officials from the Jewish state is considered politically sensitive.

Islamic Solidarity Games Cancelled after Iran Insists Gulf Is "Persian" (BBC News)
    The Islamic Solidarity Games, due to be held in Iran in April, have been called off because of a dispute with Arab countries over what to call the Gulf.
    The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said the Iranian organizers had planned to use a logo and medals that bear the words "Persian Gulf," but Arab countries, who call it the "Arabian Gulf," reject the term.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Israel: Sending Soldiers of Peace to Haiti - Batsheva Sobelman
    When devastation struck Haiti, Israel quickly dispatched its professional military relief team including evacuation and recovery experts aided by dogs from the canine unit and an extensive medical delegation that quickly deployed its fully operational field hospital in the soccer field of Port-au-Prince - complete with surgeons and all, and a technical division that set up a communications and Internet network for coordination and video-conferencing with medical colleagues back home. The international press is also using the IDF network, as most other communications are down. The doctors' main problem is fatigue; they're working around the clock. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Israeli Field Hospital Only Facility Able to Perform Complex Surgery - Yitzhak Benhorin
    On Monday, U.S. media praised the assistance in Haiti provided by Israel, and one reporter even sent a letter of thanks to Israeli representatives in New York. CNN reported that Israel's field hospital is the one facility equipped with all that is required for surgical operations. Doctors from various aid missions are sending patients requiring surgery to Israel's hospital, particularly those whose condition is critical. Other field hospitals contain no more than stretcher beds and medical teams who administer first aid, and they are not prepared for complex surgery. ABC reported that the U.S. had sent staff for a field hospital, but they had still not received the instruments required for surgery. (Ynet News)
        See also IDF Sends More Hospital Staff and Medicine to Haiti - Yaakov Katz and Judy Siegel
    A second IDF delegation left Israel on Monday to assist the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti. Since opening on Saturday, the IDF Medical Corps field hospital has treated 200 wounded, performed 25 life-saving surgeries and facilitated three births. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel Crews Rescue University Student from Haiti Rubble
    An Israeli team on Monday rescued a woman who has been trapped for six days under the wreckage of Port-au-Prince's university in Haiti, Channel 10 reported. The international teams asked the Israeli team for aid with pulling out a female student trapped in the wreckage. The Israeli team used special equipment to begin lifting parts of the rubble and carefully but quickly managed to create an opening, preventing the whole structure from collapsing. The team was able to see the woman through the opening and successfully rescue her. She was transferred to the IDF field hospital for further treatment. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israeli Aid to Haiti (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Israeli Cabinet Convenes in Berlin - Aron Heller
    Israel's Cabinet convened Monday for the first time in Berlin, the former heart of the Nazi regime, for a special joint session with the German government highlighting the two nations' strong bond six decades after the Holocaust. After the session, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and German Chancellor Merkel warned that Iran will face new sanctions if it doesn't change course on its nuclear program. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also Israel Seeks German Arms-Aid Deal - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Germany and Israel are intensifying negotiations over a $1.45 billion naval procurement package, a considerable portion of which Israel hopes to fund from a combination of German and U.S. aid. The Israeli-proposed arms-aid deal - discussed in Berlin at a special joint meeting of the German and Israeli cabinets - involves an additional Dolphin diesel-electric submarine, torpedoes and two German-built warships. (Defense News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Jordan: Iran Ordered Attack on Israeli Convoy - Amir Mizroch and Yaakov Katz
    Last week's failed attempt on the lives of Israeli diplomats in Jordan was apparently carried out on instructions from Tehran, sources close to Jordan's General Intelligence Department revealed on Monday. The attack was apparently carried out by local al-Qaeda supporters who received money and explosives from Iran, the sources said. "We can see Iran's fingerprints on the roadside bombing," the sources said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Egypt: Israeli Mossad Delayed Iranian Nuclear Program
    Without Mossad director Meir Dagan, the Iranian nuclear program would have been successfully completed years ago, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram claimed in an op-ed on Saturday. "Over the past seven years, he has worked in silence, away from the media....He has dealt painful blows to the Iranian nuclear program." The op-ed stressed that while the Mossad under Dagan's leadership achieved many bold victories against Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it never took responsibility for its operations, but wisely chose to wait for the other side to declare that they had taken place. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Opposition in Iran Is Gaining Strength - Iason Athanasiadis
    "The current regime has broken the social bonds that tie it to the public and thus is eventually due to fall," said Bill Beeman, a Persian-speaking professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota. "Iran is a hierarchical society. Folks in the superior position must care for those in the inferior position or they will be toppled. The folks in the lower position will cease to support them - in fact will work to undermine them."
        There is a Persian concept that translates as the "party of the wind." It refers to the tendency of Iranians to bend politically whichever way the ideological winds blow. One of the reasons that Iran's 1979 revolution was relatively bloodless was the smooth, almost instant shift in the loyalties of thousands of bureaucrats and military men from Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to the opposition.
        On the last Sunday of 2009, anti-government demonstrators turned on the security forces and discovered that Iran's demoralized riot police no longer had much fight left in them. They often turned tail and ran. Videos emerging from Iran showed angry crowds surrounding trapped, often bloodied, police and plainclothes religious loyalists. In the shocked silence that followed, there was a feeling that the center of gravity had shifted. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Simmering Opposition in Iran - Sabina Amidi
    Bitterness and anger are simmering just below the surface in Tehran. Ahmadinejad's plans to drastically cut subsidies on gasoline, electricity, milk, wheat and other basics can only fuel further widespread public dissatisfaction. "There is no unity among us [in the security forces], no trust and no respect," said a police officer in Mashad. "We are united only in that we get paid to protect the government." Among the regime's opponents it is stressed that they are not campaigning for defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi but, rather, against the regime for its ostensible betrayal of Islam. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Turkey's Slide toward Syria and Iran - Itamar Rabinovich
    A decade ago, Turkey was an ally of the U.S. and maintained extensive relations with Israel. In recent years, it has been sliding toward Syria and Iran and away from America, and has become a venomous critic of Israel. Turkey's foreign policy has undergone a transformation in the wake of developments upon which outside forces, including Israel, have no influence. The end of the Cold War eliminated Ankara's dependence on Washington as a shield against the Soviet Union, and the EU's de facto refusal to take Turkey in has weakened the part of the country that advocates a secular, modernist and pro-Western orientation. Most importantly, the Islamist party, which has gradually shed the moderate cloak it started out with, has been taking over the country's power centers.
        There is not much Israel can do under these circumstances. The main assets Israel still wields are mutual economic and security interests, the need of the Turkish ruling party to take into account the opinion of the army and pro-Israeli elements, and the country's goal of playing a central role in regional politics. The Turkish leadership realizes that to mediate between Syria and Israel, or to help the Palestinians, it must maintain a dialogue with Israel. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    International Consensus: Iran Must Stop Trying to Build Bombs - David Frost (Al Jazeera-English-IMRA)

    Israeli Spokesperson Mark Regev was interviewed by Al Jazeera on Jan. 8, 2010:

    • Q: The Gazan situation is still horrible....When will their lot improve?
      Regev: Every day over a hundred trucks enter Gaza with foodstuffs and medicines and so forth. We are ensuring that there are no shortages in Gaza of vital humanitarian supplies that the people there need. Are there sanctions on Gaza? There are, and those sanctions will remain as long as the regime in Gaza is, first of all, holding one of our young servicemen hostage, and he has been held now for more than three and a half years, and also as long as the regime there is committed to destroying Israel and killing Israelis.
    • Ultimately the people of Gaza are under the thumb of a very brutal authoritarian regime that puts its own extremist political agenda ahead of the well-being of the people of Gaza. If the regime there stopped being so hostile, we wouldn't have to respond.
    • Q: What is the fear about Iran and Iran's nuclear capacity?
      Regev: There's a consensus today, a consensus from Moscow to Berlin to Washington to Ottawa to Tokyo to Canberra, a consensus internationally, I would also say, among the Arab world, that sees the Iranian nuclear program as not being benign at all. I think there's an acceptance, a consensus in the international community, that the Iranians are after a bomb. And we say now is the time for international pressure on that regime. It's time to upgrade.
    • Iran today without nuclear weapons is a force for instability and violence in the region. Now, imagine that Iran armed with nuclear weapons, with Iranian proxies armed with a nuclear umbrella behind them. I mean, this would be the end of the Middle East situation as we know it. This would be a threat to our Arab neighbors; it would be a threat to the West; it would be a threat, of course, to my country, Israel.
    • And that's why I think you've seen a whole series of UN Security Council resolutions. All members of the United Nations Security Council have passed a whole series of resolutions, many of them unanimously, calling on the Iranians to cease nuclear enrichment, to stop trying to build bombs. It's not an Israeli position. This is an international consensus.

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