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January 25, 2010

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Female Suicide Bombers from Yemen May Be Heading to U.S. - Richard Esposito, Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross (ABC News)
    American law enforcement officials have been told to be on the lookout for female suicide bombers who may attempt to enter the U.S.
    One official said at least two of them are believed to be connected to al-Qaeda in Yemen, and may have a non-Arab appearance and be traveling on Western passports.

Britain Ups Terror Threat Level to "Severe" - John F. Burns (New York Times)
    Britain's intelligence services raised the threat level of a terrorist attack from "substantial" to "severe" on Friday.
    The rating, the fourth highest of five levels, means an attack is considered to be highly likely.
    See also Islamist Hijack Plot Caused New UK Terror Alert - David Leppard (Times-UK)
    Fears that Islamist terrorists plan to hijack an Indian passenger jet and crash it into a British city helped to prompt this weekend's heightened terror alert.
    MI5 was told by the Indian authorities last week about a suspected plot by militants linked to al-Qaeda in Pakistan to hijack an Air India or Indian Airlines flight from Mumbai or Delhi.

Anti-Semitic Incidents in Western Europe Reach New Peak (AP/Washington Post)
    An Israeli report released Sunday says 2009 saw the most anti-Semitic incidents in Western Europe since World War II.
    It said the number of incidents in the first three months of 2009 in Western Europe, following Israel's invasion of Gaza, surpassed that of all of 2008.
    Read the Report (The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism)

The Dahiya Doctrine vs. the Goldstone Report - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF does not plan on significantly changing the way it fights in future conflicts. On the contrary, it will continue to target civilian infrastructure that is used by terrorists.
    This is known in the IDF as the "Dahiya Doctrine," in reference to the neighborhood in Beirut used as Hizbullah's command-and-control center that was bombed during the 2006 war.
    "Hizbullah is the one that is turning these areas into a battleground," IDF Northern Command head Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said Sunday. "We need to explain to ourselves and to others that this is something Hizbullah has brought upon itself."

Mount of Olives Cemetery Finds a New Home - on the Internet - Abe Selig (Jerusalem Post)
    The world's oldest Jewish cemetery just went online. Tens of thousands of graves on the Mount of Olives have been mapped by the City of David archeological park.
    The Web site tells stories of the people buried in the cemetery and, through a search window, one can locate the documented graves by name.
    See also The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem: Why Continued Israeli Control Is Vital - Nadav Shragai (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Envoy Fails to Lure Abbas Back to Mideast Talks - Dalia Nammari
    President Obama's Mideast envoy George Mitchell failed Friday to lure Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas back to peace talks with Israel after a three-hour meeting in Ramallah in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says he is willing to resume talks immediately and contends the Palestinians have set unreasonable preconditions. (AP/Washington Post)
        See also PA: Peace Talks Cannot Be Revived - Ali Waked
    President Obama's Mideast envoy George Mitchell has left Israel after a series of meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and sources in the Palestinian Authority said Sunday that the Palestinians were deeply disappointed with the lack of American pressure on Israel. A senior Palestinian official said that "resuming the negotiations will only be possible with a clear American letter of guarantees referring to a state within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and to a solution of all other issues."  (Ynet News)
        See also Netanyahu: I Hope Palestinians Will Be Interested in Mitchell's Ideas - Roni Sofer
    After meeting with U.S. special envoy Mitchell on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the cabinet that Mitchell mentioned "a number of ideas on how to jumpstart the peace process, and I expressed hope that these ideas will in fact lead to negotiations."  (Ynet News)
  • Hizbullah's Relocation of Rocket Sites to Lebanon's Interior Poses Wider Threat - Howard Schneider
    Hizbullah has dispersed its long-range-rocket sites deep into northern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley, a move that analysts say threatens to broaden any future conflict with Israel into a war between the two countries. More than 10,000 UN troops now patrol traditional Hizbullah territory in southern Lebanon along the Israeli border, but analysts say the UN mission is almost beside the point.
        Brig.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the IDF head of operations, said some Hizbullah rockets now have a range of more than 150 miles - making Tel Aviv reachable from as far away as Beirut. The group "has been fortifying lots of different areas," said Judith Palmer Harik, a Hizbullah scholar in Beirut. With UN and Lebanese forces "packed along the border," she said, "we are looking at a much more expanded battle in all senses of the word."  (Washington Post)
  • Israel Poised to Challenge UN Report on Gaza - Ethan Bronner
    The Israeli military is completing a rebuttal to a UN report accusing it of grave violations of international and humanitarian law in Gaza a year ago. Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the Israeli military advocate general, said in an interview that the assertions of the Goldstone report went beyond anything of which others had accused Israel. "I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League," he said. "We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It's a vicious lie."  (New York Times)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israeli Ex-Negotiator: No Agreement with Palestinians on Core Issues in Foreseeable Future - Aluf Benn and Barak Ravid
    "I do not believe that in the foreseeable future there is a possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians on all the issues, especially on the problematic core issues," Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, who headed the negotiations task force in the Olmert government, said Thursday. According to Dekel, the Palestinians refused to show any flexibility during the talks, preferring to remain stalemated rather than lower their aspirations. "The Palestinian approach was in principle the demand of 100 percent....They are not willing to discuss any further compromise," he said. "We tried to build scenarios, some of them were imaginary, about specific compromises, but we found the Palestinians taking an approach of 'all or nothing.'"
        He said that American involvement encumbered the negotiations. "So long as the two sides negotiated, there was some progress. The minute (Secretary of State) Rice's teams went into the details the two sides barricaded themselves behind their basic positions, and instead of the negotiations progressing, they regressed," Dekel said. "The Palestinians understood that the Americans were closer to their position on the issues of Jerusalem, borders and security, and opted to wait it out."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Netanyahu: Settlement Blocs Inseparable Part of Israel - Efrat Weiss
    At a tree-planting ceremony on Sunday in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion ahead of the Tu B'Shvat holiday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "This is an inseparable part of the State of Israel. The vast majority of Israel's citizens accept this, and it is gradually being instilled in the international psyche." He also took part in similar ceremonies in Maale Adumim and Ariel. (Ynet News)
  • PA Warns EU Against Legitimizing Hamas - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority over the weekend expressed concern over Hamas' growing attempts to gain recognition from the international community and warned the EU against engaging in dialogue with the extreme Islamist movement. A senior PA official in Ramallah condemned initiatives by some EU citizens and officials to talk to Hamas, accusing them of "ignoring the fact that Hamas had staged a coup in Gaza." The official warned that meetings between Hamas and Westerners were undermining efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. "Those who are trying to legitimize Hamas are harming the Palestinian Authority and any chance of achieving peace with Israel," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Regime Change Is the Only Way to Stop Iran - Richard N. Haass
    The nuclear talks are going nowhere. The Iranians appear intent on developing the means to produce a nuclear weapon; there is no other explanation for the secret uranium-enrichment facility discovered near Qom. The U.S., European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights. Iran's opposition should be supported by Western governments, not led.
        Critics will say promoting regime change will encourage Iranian authorities to tar the opposition as pawns of the West. But the regime is already doing so. Outsiders should act to strengthen the opposition and to deepen rifts among the rulers. This process promises the first good chance in decades to bring about an Iran that would act considerably better at home and abroad. The writer is president of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Newsweek)
  • Hamas Responsible for Hardship in Gaza - Yom-Tov Samia
    The main culprit responsible for the Gazans' condition is Hamas, which maliciously sacrifices the population's welfare because of its war on Israel. The Israel Defense Forces gave Gazans the option to be treated at a field hospital near the Erez crossing (both during the Gaza operation and afterward). Hamas prevented this. The IDF transferred hundreds of thousands of tons of food and medical aid to Gaza even while Kassam rockets and Grad missiles were falling on schools and the hospital in Ashkelon. Hamas intercepted these deliveries. Hamas prefers to invest in rearmament rather than civilian infrastructure. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Yom-Tov Samia is the former head of the IDF Southern Command. (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    Israel to the Rescue - David Horovitz (Jerusalem Post)

    • While other countries dithered, countries both nearer and far better resourced, Israel utilized the experience born of its previous earthquake rescue missions - to Turkey, Greece, Armenia and Mexico - and got down to business in Haiti. Our "light unto the nations" Haitian relief effort encapsulated much of what is best about our country. It demonstrated our heartfelt desire to come to the assistance of others in the time of their greatest need, with no desire or expectation of reward.
    • The Israeli mission to Haiti also underlined our capacity to think and act fast and effectively - to pull together and surmount obstacles at a time of crisis. While relief teams from more than two dozen countries were running into all kinds of logistical difficulties, the Israeli teams, quietly, efficiently, and with a minimum of fuss, somehow circumvented or cleared all the obstacles, and went to work.
    • There is one thing that our Haiti rescue outreach made emphatically clear, and that the Palestinians might want to ponder: If you're in trouble and you're not trying to kill us, there's no one like the Israelis to help you out.

      The writer is Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post.

        See also A Medical Mission of Pride and Promise - Dr. Jonathan Halevy (Jerusalem Post)
    • From CBS to CNN to MSNBC, wide-eyed medical reporters have been witnessing the Israeli operation in Haiti with an underlying tone of combined admiration and jealousy. With relief delegations of all shapes and sizes, it's the Israelis who travel halfway around the world and within hours have a fully operational hospital in place. Journalists ask outright why anyone else can't be doing this.
    • Admittedly, our adeptness in launching these types of operations stems from a history of confronting hostilities. Those of us involved in emergency management and disaster response know all too well that Israel has a unique advantage over most, if not all, nations in this discipline. Our protocols and emergency departments have become models for hospitals all around the world. The IDF Home Front Command has made it a principal training objective to remain ever-ready for all types of disasters.
    • The world has quickly learned that the "successes" we are achieving in Haiti have come because we appreciated the continuous need for this type of training. Even more so, it is recognizing that we have a role in contributing to the greater welfare of the international community.

      The writer is director-general of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

        See also Video: The "Legendary" Israeli Medical Unit in Haiti - Diane Sawyer (ABC News)

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