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January 21, 2010

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Israeli Field Hospital in Haiti Has Performed 140 Life-Saving Operations (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    As of Wednesday, 383 people had been treated in the Israel Defense Forces field hospital in Haiti, among them dozens of children; 140 life-saving operations had been performed; 60 patients are currently hospitalized; and 7 babies have been born in the hospital.

Israel to Send Police to Haiti - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
    Following a request from the U.S. and the UN, the Israel Police will send 100 armed officers to join the international peacekeeping force in Haiti, the Public Security Ministry announced on Wednesday.
    Last week, a delegation of Israel Police crime scene investigation specialists flew to Haiti to assist in the identification of earthquake casualties.

Israel Provides International Communications in Haiti - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Before the Israeli rescue teams were sent to Haiti, the IDF ensured that they would have wireless Internet and around-the-clock access to one of Israel's Amos communications satellites.
    The wireless Internet has attracted journalists from around the world who come to send their materials back to their editorial offices.
    The Israelis also set up video conference systems in surgery theaters to give field surgeons the ability to consult with experts back in Israeli hospitals.

Ex-Convicts from U.S. Said to Join Yemen Radicals - Scott Shane (New York Times)
    A new report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says that as many as 36 American Muslims who converted to Islam in prison have moved to Yemen and a few may have joined extremist groups there.
    The report warns that Americans recruited in Yemen or Somalia may pose a particular threat, since they can operate freely inside the U.S.
    Three American Muslims were convicted for a 2005 plot to attack Jewish institutions and military bases around Los Angeles that was said to have been concocted inside New Folsom Prison, near Sacramento.
    Michael Finton, who converted to Islam while imprisoned in Illinois from 1999 to 2005, was charged last year with trying to blow up the federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill.
    Four former New York state prisoners, at least two of whom converted to Islam in prison, were accused last year of plotting to attack synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes.

200 Percent Increase in Bedouin Enlistment in IDF (Israel Defense Forces)
    There has been a 200% increase in the number of Bedouins enlisting in the IDF within the last two years, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday.
    The soldiers are deployed in all IDF units, and especially tracker and reconnaissance units.
    The IDF has also recently began organizing employment fairs for discharged Bedouin soldiers in order to better integrate them into Israeli society after their military service.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Netanyahu: Israel Must Have Presence on Eastern Side of Palestinian State to Block Rockets - Steven Gutkin
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday in Jerusalem that Israel must have a presence in the West Bank to stop rockets from being imported even after a peace agreement is achieved. He said the experience of rocket attacks from the Lebanese and Gaza borders means Israel must be able to prevent such weapons from being brought into any future Palestinian state in the West Bank. "In the case of a future settlement with the Palestinians, this will require an Israeli presence on the eastern side of a prospective Palestinian state," he said. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also What Happened to the Jordan Valley? - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Post)
  • Netanyahu: Tell the Palestinians "Start Negotiating for Peace" - Alastair Macdonald
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticized Palestinian leader Abbas on Wednesday for rejecting U.S. calls for peace negotiations. "The Palestinians have climbed up a tree," Netanyahu said. "And they like it up there. People bring ladders to them. We bring ladders to them. The higher the ladder, the higher they climb." "The Palestinians are piling demand upon demand upon demand," said Netanyahu. "They should be told fair and square...'Start negotiating for peace.'...Let's get on with it...."I'm prepared for peace. Are the Palestinians ready for peace?"  (Reuters/Washington Post)
  • PA Wants U.S. to Negotiate with Israel in Its Place - Mohammed Daraghmeh
    Mahmoud Abbas has proposed that U.S. officials replace Palestinian negotiators in discussing the final borders of a Palestinian state with Israel, a Palestinian official said Wednesday. Abbas made the proposal in recent meetings with Egyptian officials, who passed the idea along to Washington. (AP/Boston Globe)
  • Gates "Concerned" over Iran Missile Test
    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is "clearly concerned" over Iran's test of a medium-range missile, his press secretary Geoff Morrell said on Wednesday. Iran Wednesday test-fired what it said was a faster version of its Sejil medium-range missile with a range that would allow it to reach targets inside Israel. The two-stage Sejil, powered by solid fuel, is capable of traveling 1,240 miles, which would put Israel, most Arab states and parts of Europe, including much of Turkey, within range. (AFP)
  • FBI Director: Al-Qaeda Spreading, Rebuilding
    FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate hearing Wednesday that al-Qaeda and its offshoots are spreading and rebuilding. He says the U.S. dismantled much of al-Qaeda's infrastructure in Afghanistan, but the terror network and its associated groups are rebuilding in Pakistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. (AP/CBS News)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Watchdog Group Sues EU over "Transparency" - Dan Izenberg
    NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog organization, announced on Wednesday it has filed suit against the EU, demanding that it meet its own transparency requirements and disclose documents revealing the decision-making process and criteria for funding Israeli and Palestinian nongovernment organizations. Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, said the EU has contributed at least NIS 177 million since June 2005 to about 150 Israeli and Palestinian NGOs. Of the roughly 70 Israeli NGOs that receive funding from the EU, three-quarters demonize and delegitimize Israel, he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Terrorists Alerted Police of Attack to Increase Casualties
    Two Palestinians called the Israel Police to alert them of an attack that they were about to carry out at the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem in order to increase the number of security officials at the site in hopes of causing harm to more people, according to an indictment issued against the two on Thursday. The two Fatah supporters, Hussam Tawashi of eastern Jerusalem and Muhannad Abu Garbiyeh of a-Ram, planned to carry out the attack with a knife and a firebomb to mark the anniversary of the founding of Fatah on Jan. 1. The terrorist attack was ultimately thwarted. (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Journalists Visit Knesset - Benjamin Joffe-Walt and Arieh O'Sullivan
    Prominent Palestinian reporters and editors joined a debate at Israel's Knesset on the nature of Israeli democracy Tuesday. Israeli Arab legislator Ahmed Tibi traded verbal spars with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, saying, "We are against Zionism." Ayalon responded that Israel was a merit-based democracy and challenged Tibi that his acceptance to attend a prestigious Israeli medical school, which Ayalon had not been accepted to, was proof.
        "Equal rights also prescribe equal obligations," Ayalon said. "It is a double standard that Arabs would not accept Israel as a Jewish state even as a minority. As Jewish minorities we paid allegiance to Islamic countries. We were loyal to the country whether it was Christian or Muslim."  (Media Line-Ynet News)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Bashing Israel for Saving Haitians - Bradley Burston
    I'd like to say a word of honor and thanks and, yes, pride for the Israelis, paramedics, physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical imaging technicians, who went to Haiti to save lives. They went there to save limbs from gangrene and amputation, stanch internal bleeding, relieve crushing pain. To deliver babies. To risk their lives, using jackhammers and hydraulics and their hands to make crawl spaces under tons of concrete and silt, going in themselves to pull children and adults to safety.
        For all the time that they've been working, however, people far away have been enraged by news reports of the Israeli rescue mission. The work of the Israeli medical team has become a kind of Rorschach for how people view Israel and Israelis. Most of the comment is supportive. But for a shocking number, the bottom line is simple: Israel, and Israelis, can do no right. The contention is that Israel sent aid to Haiti on purely cynical motives, harnessing public relations to divert attention from the Goldstone Report and other crises. The implication is that Israel, and Israelis, are constitutionally incapable of doing good for its own sake. It is nothing short of racism to maintain that Israelis can do no right. (Ha'aretz)
  • Syria's Financial Support for Jihad - Matthew Levitt
    The Syrian government is the longest-standing member of the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, having been so designated in 1979. In February 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department released a collection of documents known as the Sinjar records, which provide details of 700 foreign nationals who entered Iraq between August 2006 and August 2007. The records were found in October 2007 by U.S. troops at Sinjar on the Iraqi-Syrian border. The Sinjar documents identified four members of a key terrorist facilitation and finance network operating out of Syria in support of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
        U.S. intelligence officer Adam Boyd noted in November 2008 that for "every example of cooperation from Syria, there are an equal number of incidents that are not helpful." The writer is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near Policy. (Middle East Quarterly)
  • Palestinian Protests Provide an Entertaining Spectacle for International Tourists - Seth Freedman
    On any given Friday in Bil'in in the West Bank, local Palestinian protesters are joined by scores of Israeli and international activists, who march determinedly to the separation barrier. Every week without fail, rocks and other projectiles are hurled towards the Israeli soldiers by mask-clad youths, while not a finger is lifted by their fellow demonstrators to stop them. Despite billing the march as "nonviolent resistance," the organizers do nothing to ensure the event lives up to such criteria.
        Groups such as the International Solidarity Movement absolve themselves of any responsibility for the aggression emanating from the Palestinian side, declaring that they are not going to tell the locals what they can and can't do. At the same time, many of the internationals present are first-timers in the region, and simply wander into the West Bank war zone as though day-trippers taking in the sights of central London. For far too many observers, the conflict is merely an entertaining spectacle. (Guardian-UK)
  • Observations:

    Amnesia International: Forgetting the Real Culprits in Gaza - Justus Reid Weiner and Dimitri Teresh (Global Law Forum)

    • Amnesty International's new briefing paper titled "Suffocating: The Gaza Strip Under Israeli Blockade" forgets the actual cause for the clearly less-than-optimal circumstances in which Gazans live - the thousands of Hamas rocket, missile and mortar attacks that predated and prompted any economic sanctions put into effect by Israel.
    • Gaza's offshore gas deposits (confirmed by British Gas) are worth an estimated $2 billion. If the Hamas government can stabilize the political situation long enough to install platforms to bring the gas to the surface, Gazans can reap the benefits.
    • Amnesty might be better advised to redirect its efforts to entities that are genuinely in need of humanitarian assistance and that are not terrorizing their neighbors. Gazans receive the greatest amount of international aid per capita of any entity in the world.
    • The $900 million pledged to rebuild Gaza by Secretary of State Clinton would go a long way towards alleviating the suffering of the millions who live in desperate circumstances in Haiti. And the Haitians are not likely to divert the foreign aid to launch missiles, rockets, and mortars toward their neighbors.

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