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July 9, 2010

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Top Hamas Prisoner Outlines Plan for Future War on Israel - Ronen Bergman (Ynet News)
    A secret 200-page document titled Resistance-A View from the Inside, drafted by Mohammed Arman, a senior Hamas man jailed in Israel, was smuggled out of prison and distributed among senior Hamas leaders in order to prepare the ground for the "next phase" of Hamas' war against Israel.
    Arman was among Hamas' most active West Bank commanders until his 2002 arrest and his book is written as a practical guide for field activists.
    The plan calls for rocket fire from the West Bank. "Our enemy fears death more than anyone else...this prompts it to constantly consider abandoning the areas where rockets land."
    It devotes great attention to the role of Arab Israelis in the Palestinian struggle, with an emphasis on Jerusalem Arabs.
    It notes that securing the release of Palestinian prisoners via abductions is at the top of Hamas' agenda and stresses that Gilad Shalit is an "insufficient" bargaining chip for the Palestinians: "One abduction operation isn't enough."
    Arman, who refers to himself as "the engineer behind the Hebrew University operation," has been sentenced to 36 life terms over his role in the university terror attack, among others.
    His first book, Death Engineers, which was also smuggled out of prison, was used by Hamas as a technical guide for carrying out murderous terror attacks.

    See also Has Hamas Weathered the Storm? - Tom Perry (Reuters)
    Hamas is starting to see cracks in Israeli and Western policies after the storm unleashed by its rise to government in Gaza over the last four years, first through the ballot box and then by force of arms.
    Israel's decision to ease its Gaza embargo is expected to offer at least some economic respite, to the benefit of Hamas.
    The group has declared the Israeli decision a victory and a result of its uncompromising approach. "Hamas has proved that it cannot be uprooted and its will is iron," said Ayman Taha, a Hamas official in Gaza.
    Emboldened by recent moral support from states such as NATO member Turkey, Hamas' confidence appears only to be growing. It shows no sign of budging on the principles that have caused its international isolation.
    It will not recognize Israel, renounce violence or support peace agreements concluded by its Palestinian rivals.
    It will only agree to a "long-term truce," refusing to give up what it believes is the Palestinians' right to the land where Israel was established in 1948.

A Tale of Two Passports - Editorial (Wall Street Journal)
    Remember Britain's outrage at Israel over the forged UK documents allegedly used in the Dubai assassination of Hamas big shot Mahmoud Mabhouh?
    Compare that uproar with the remarkable silence over the forged British passport that the FBI says was used by at least one of the Russian spies recently arrested in the U.S.
    It's hard to escape the conclusion that what really infuriated the British was not so much the alleged offense but the identity of its perpetrators.

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The Kurds of Syria: An Oppressed, Forgotten Minority - Jonathan Spyer (Jerusalem Post)
    On March 21, 2010, Syrian security forces opened fire on a crowd of 5,000 in the northern Syrian town of al-Raqqah who had gathered to celebrate the Kurdish festival of Nowruz. Three people were killed and over 50 were injured.
    Kurds constitute 9-10% of the population of Syria - around 1.75 million.
    Since the rise of militant Arab nationalism to power in Damascus, they have faced an ongoing campaign for their dissolution as a community.

Israeli Arab Scientist Seeks Breath Test for Cancer - Guy Grimland (Ha'aretz)
    Dr. Hossam Haick, 35, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, oversees dozens of scientists from his office at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
  Haick is working on an "electronic nose" to detect several types of cancer in their early stages. His seven labs employ 27 researchers and 14 technology developers, and his team has registered 17 patents so far.
    "Our diagnosis rates are very good. We have reached 89% in early detection of breast cancer. With lung cancer we have achieved an early detection capability of 100%, but the samples in the clinical trials are still too small....We have succeeded in diagnosing five types of cancer by means of breath tests."
    After completing a postdoc at Caltech, he returned to the Technion. "I was born here. I am tied to Israel. I also want to prove to others from the Arab community that nothing is impossible... that if you are talented enough, you get to wherever you want."

The Demjanjuk Trial - Johannes Houwink ten Cate (Institute for Global Jewish Affairs)
    In Munich, in one of the last trials dealing with Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, the trial of Ivan (John) Demjanjuk, 90, is now halfway through.
    A sentence is not expected before the beginning of 2011. It is practically inconceivable that the judges will opt for much more than the minimum sentence of three years because of Demjanjuk's age and his prison term in Israel.
    The trial is worthwhile because the world must learn about Sobibor; mass murder has to be dealt with; and it must be known that the world - and postwar German justice - have looked the other way for far too long.
    The writer is professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at the University of Amsterdam.

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Video: Jerusalem Symphony Playing 1812 Overture with Light Show (judyinjerusalem)
    See and hear the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra playing the 1812 overture accompanied by a light show and fireworks outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem at the 2nd Annual Festival of Light on June 9, 2010.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Obama: Israel Lives "in a Very Tough Neighborhood"
    President Obama said in an interview with Israel Channel 2 television on Wednesday: Israelis "see the enmity of neighbors that surround them in a very tough neighborhood. They see a track record of attempts at peace where, even when concessions were made, a deal could not be consummated. They see rockets fired from Gaza or from areas in Lebanon."  (White House)
        See also Finally, Presidential Empathy - David Horovitz
    In his first Israeli TV interview since he won the presidency, Obama ticked all the right boxes - stressing his "sympathy and identity" with the Jewish experience; disarmingly acknowledging that his middle name "Hussein" might prompt suspicion, then offsetting that by naming his senior Jewish advisers; and noting that thwarting Iran's nuclear drive had been his "No. 1 foreign policy priority." Perhaps most importantly, the president, when urging a more flexible attitude to peacemaking from the Israeli public, did so with a commendable effort at empathy: "The Israeli people are going to have to overcome legitimate skepticism, more than legitimate fears, in order to get a change that I think will secure Israel for another 60 years."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Netanyahu: Settlement Freeze Has Not Borne Fruit - Steve Weizman
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank had so far failed in its objective of spurring Palestinians to enter direct peace talks. "I decided, unlike any previous government, to freeze the construction in new settlements for a 10-month period to encourage the Palestinians to enter peace talks," he told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "So far seven months have passed and they haven't come in." "You can't go on a trapeze, hold out your hand and have no partner on the other side," he said. (AFP)
        See also Video: Israeli Prime Minister on Peace with Palestinians (ABC News); Video: Interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu - Katie Couric (CBS News)
  • Iran Relies on Turkey and China for Fuel Supplies - Simon Webb
    Iran is buying around half of its July gasoline imports from Turkey and the rest from Chinese sellers, oil traders said on Thursday, as most other suppliers have stopped selling due to the U.S. sanctions. Turkish refiner Tupras began supplying gasoline to Iran in June. Unipec, the trading arm of Chinese refiner Sinopec, and state-run Chinaoil restarted direct sales of gasoline to Iran earlier this year, stepping into a void left by fuel suppliers who halted trade.
        The limited pool of suppliers was driving up the cost of gasoline for Iran and making it harder for the Islamic Republic to buy the quantities it needs, traders said. "These restrictive measures mean it is getting very serious for Iran," said Mehdi Varzi, a London-based energy consultant. "The oil market is a big market, and they will always find suppliers, but it is getting more difficult and it is costing more."  (Reuters)
        See also Smugglers in Iraq Blunt Sanctions Against Iran - Sam Dagher
    Even as the U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, hundreds of millions of dollars in crude oil and refined products are smuggled in from Iraqi Kurdistan every year. The scale of the trade has raised concerns among American officials. (New York Times)
  • Three British Muslims Convicted in Airliner Bomb Plot
    Three Britons were convicted on Thursday of plotting to murder hundreds of people in suicide bombings after being recruited by an al-Qaeda-inspired cell bent on blowing up transatlantic airliners bound for North America. Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan and Waheed Zaman recorded martyrdom videos threatening waves of attacks against Britain and the U.S., and worked with the gang that planned to bring down planes with home-made liquid bombs. Prosecutors said the plot could have been on the same scale as the 9/11 attacks. The plot's ringleader, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, identified seven flights to San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Washington, New York and Chicago that left London within 2 1/2 hours of each other. Ali was jailed for life last September. (Reuters)
  • Saudis Agree on Nuclear Energy Pact with France
    The Saudi cabinet agreed on Monday to sign a nuclear cooperation accord with France "for the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy." The pact was first proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. In December, neighboring United Arab Emirates awarded a South Korean-led consortium a $20 billion contract for four nuclear power plants. (AFP)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Egypt, Jordan Worried about Iran Nukes - Yaakov Katz
    Egypt and Jordan are growingly concerned with Iran's nuclear program, a senior Israeli defense official said this week, noting an increase in anti-Iranian rhetoric in both Arab countries. Israeli delegations recently traveled to Jordan and Egypt for high-level talks with the political and security echelons on a wide range of issues including the Iranian nuclear threat. One official said that in both countries there was a sense of "urgency" regarding the need to stop Iran's nuclear progress. "While there is not much that Jordan and Egypt can do to stop Iran, it is important for the United States and countries in Europe to hear that they, too, are concerned with Iran's nuclear program," the official said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Arrests "Unrepentant Collaborators" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas has started arresting dozens of Palestinian "collaborators" with Israel as part of its "National Campaign to Combat Collaborators with the Enemy." Two months ago, Hamas issued an ultimatum to suspected collaborators in Gaza: Surrender by July 10, or face the death penalty. In April, Hamas executed two Palestinian men on the pretext that they had passed on information to Israel that was later used to kill gunmen in Gaza. Human rights activists expressed fear that Hamas was planning to use the campaign to settle scores against its political enemies. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting

  • The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Assessment and Implications - Robert Satloff
    President Obama did his best to provide a dramatically improved backdrop for U.S.-Israeli relations during Prime Minister Netanyahu's July 6 visit to the White House, compared to the climate of the strained April visit. This included strikingly specific commitments on key issues important to Israeli security. Obama seems to have recognized that the punitive spirit ran counter to the deep well of popular support for strong U.S.-Israeli relations in the American heartland, in key parts of the Democratic Party, and on Capitol Hill, garnering him little political advantage in the process.
        No less important was repairing the strategic implications of public discord. For Israel, the appearance of distance from Washington is a blow to Israeli deterrence and welcome news for its adversaries. For America, shabby treatment of one ally is a signal for others to take cover.
        In his post-meeting statement, President Obama articulated in stunning clarity the U.S. acceptance of Israel's policy of nuclear opacity (neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons) and what is effectively the "Israeli exemption" to membership in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The writer is executive director of the Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Behind the Smiles - Aluf Benn
    Last summer, President Obama tried to be conciliatory with Iran and pressure Israel. Now he is imposing sanctions on the Iranians and embracing Prime Minister Netanyahu. Obama and his aides realize that they have to work with Netanyahu. They also know that any political agreement Netanyahu signs will get the sweeping support of 70 to 80% of the Israeli public. That recognition helped bring about Washington's transition from bashing to caressing.
        Netanyahu did his bit to change the American approach. He accepted the two-state principle, froze construction in the settlements, quietly blocked building for Jews and demolition of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem, and eased the Gaza blockade. (Ha'aretz)
  • When Obama Met Bibi - Rafael Bardaji
    The current Israeli government is usually depicted in Washington as a radical, far-right demon, not ready to accept sacrifices in order to achieve the two-state solution, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The Netanyahu government has made abundantly clear that it accepts the two-state solution and it has done the unthinkable - the announcement of a moratorium on further settlements. The real problem here has not been Netanyahu, but actually the Palestinian Authority - always dissatisfied and always asking for more. The Americans should actually be twisting Abbas' arm. (Strategic Studies Group-Spain)
  • Obama's New Approach - Eytan Gilboa
    In their latest meeting, Obama lauded Netanyahu and his policy, treated him with respect, and stressed areas of agreement. Obama's previous strategy of exerting brutal pressure on the prime minister and creating a crisis in U.S.-Israel relations did not produce the hoped-for results, did not improve America's status in the Arab and Muslim world, did not promote talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and did not prompt strategic shifts in Netanyahu's policy. The opposite was true: The Palestinians reached the conclusion that they need not do a thing - the U.S. will do the job for them and elicit all the concessions they demanded from Israel. Professor Eytan Gilboa is a political science and communication lecturer at Bar-Ilan University. (Ynet News)


  • Constructive Clarity in Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations - Benny Begin
    The PLO platform, as reaffirmed in the Fatah Congress in August 2009, states that their struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated. As a logical corollary, they refuse to accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This explains why, when Mahmoud Abbas was asked in a Washington Post interview in May 2009 why he had declined Olmert's far-reaching offer, he answered that "the gaps were wide."
        The Palestinian leadership insists that negotiations now start at the point they had reached with Olmert at the end of 2008. That means they are not satisfied with what was put on the table a year ago. They want more than that. One cannot expect a plausible, peaceful solution in the foreseeable future unless the PLO leadership changes its mind, heart, and writings. MK Benny Begin is a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu's forum of seven senior ministers. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Trust the Palestinian Authority? - Daniel Pipes
    Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, announced in English in Aspen, Colorado, a year ago that Jews are welcome to live in a future state of Palestine where they "will enjoy [full] rights and certainly will not enjoy any less rights than Israeli Arabs enjoy now in the State of Israel." Just days earlier, however, Saeb Erekat, head of the PA's negotiations department, said just the opposite in Arabic: "Nobody should agree to Israeli settlers remaining in the Palestinian [state]....Some say that we will grant the settlers citizenship. We reject [this idea] out of hand."
        Fayyad spoke in English to Americans and Israelis, Erekat spoke in Arabic to Palestinians. Palestinians play this double game because it works. Israelis, Americans and others too often accept the dulcet tones they hear directly and dismiss reports of harsh words they only learn about second-hand. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Legitimate Israeli Concerns - Walter Reich
    Israelis have grown used to being attacked in media controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, media that glorify suicide bombers and deny the Holocaust. Israelis know that Palestinian students study textbooks in which Israel does not exist. Meanwhile, Gaza is led by Hamas, which officially declares it will fight until Israel is gone.
        More Israelis today believe the Palestinians will keep demanding concessions until there is no Israel. The 1993 Oslo peace accords failed when Yasser Arafat rejected concessions under which nearly all of the West Bank and Gaza would have become a Palestinian state. Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, refused concessions that were even more generous. Even if a two-state solution is attempted, what would happen the day after it begins? Would not rockets soon be flying over its borders? The writer is the Yitzhak Rabin Professor at George Washington University and former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (Financial Times-UK)

    Other Issues

  • Outside the Box, or Out of Their Minds? - Michael Young
    An exchange is now taking place in some American policy circles over whether to engage Middle Eastern militant Islamist groups, particularly Hizbullah and Hamas. Last week, Mark Perry, author of a book advocating talking to Islamists, noted a recent report by senior officers in U.S. Central Command that proposed a new approach to Hizbullah and Hamas.
        Hizbullah, at least its leadership and security cadre, is an extension of Iran. The party is there primarily to defend and advance Iranian regional interests. That means that Hizbullah will never defy Iranian directives when it comes to matters as fundamental as the U.S. or Israel. As for Hamas, its ultimate ambition is to seize control of the Palestinian national movement, supplant Fatah, and redefine the conflict with Israel in terms the movement prefers. When these groups see Americans contorting themselves to justify flexibility toward militant Islamists, they assume, rightly, that their political strategy is working.
        Hizbullah has no desire to integrate into the Lebanese mainstream and never did. Rather, it seeks to neutralize the ability of the Lebanese state to challenge the party's military autonomy. Similarly, Hamas will only integrate into the Palestinian security forces once it is sure that it won't be obliged to surrender its freedom of military action.
        The "talk to Islamists" scheme is entirely America-centric, built on an assumption that the obstacles come from Washington and have nothing to do with the ideology and convictions of the Islamist groups themselves. It also rests on a Yankee notion that everyone secretly yearns to talk and that dialogue can resolve most issues. That's not innovative thinking; it's a case of transposing America to the minds of others, which is either naive or astonishingly smug. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
  • Iran and Hizbullah's Spiritual Leader - Lee Smith
    Sayyid Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died Sunday in Beirut at the age of 75. While he was not exactly Hizbullah's spiritual guide, as was often alleged, he was one of the most influential shapers of modern Shiite political thought in both its peaceful and more violent incarnations. Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution energized Shiites throughout the Muslim world, an epochal event that Fadlallah welcomed. The revolution's most successful export was Hizbullah - the Party of God - an Arab Shiite organization created by Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops in the Bekaa Valley.
        During the '90s, Fadlallah had a falling out with Hizbullah and Iran. The sticking point was the concept which held that the supreme religious and political authority for Hizbullah was Iran's Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While Fadlallah railed against the Iranians, Hizbullah started buying off Fadlallah's Lebanese followers and instructed them to follow Khamenei.
        American researchers and policy-makers have long anticipated Hizbullah's shift toward becoming a regular Lebanese political party, free of Iranian influence. Most recently, President Obama's counterterrorism czar, John Brennan, has discussed the possibility of engaging with Hizbullah's so-called moderate elements and giving them a larger stake in Lebanese politics. But the fact is that the Party of God ultimately gets its marching orders, on war and peace, from the Supreme Leader of Iran. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Precision-Guided or Indiscriminate? NGO Reporting on Compliance with the Laws of Armed Conflict - Asher Fredman
    This monograph analyzes the factual and legal claims of two of the most powerful NGOs, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, regarding the 2009 conflict in Gaza, particularly relating to Israel's use of white phosphorus and UAVs. The analysis demonstrates that many of the factual claims made by the NGOs are contradicted by military sources, weapons experts, and media reports, and their presentation of key aspects of international law is inaccurate or incomplete. Policy- and opinion-makers should carefully examine NGO reports before allowing them to influence their positions. (NGO Monitor)
        Read the Full Report (NGO Monitor-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Israel and the Flotilla - Qanta Ahmed
    An innate, reflexive and Pavlovian reaction exists between much of the Muslim experience and any manifestation of Judaism. This has been classically exhibited in the events surrounding the recent flotilla incident. However, at no point have I heard a sane discussion on the complex reasons why a blockade was in place or why Egypt had for years cooperated in maintaining the blockade. I was in Riyadh during the first days of Israel's 2009 Gaza operation and watched as Muslim-majority Egypt refused to allow Saudi Arabia to deliver medical aid and supplies to Gaza. The border remained closed because, simply put, Egypt doesn't want to face a mass migration of Gazans.
        At one stage, a spokesperson for Hamas appeared on the BBC citing that Gazans have no need for aid, revealing the prime goal of the flotilla's mission: to run the gauntlet against the blockade, not to alleviate material needs. The flotilla was a bald and blatant political move designed to humiliate and provoke. (Huffington Post)
  • Taking Aim at Jews in Venezuela, Officially - Andrew Rosenkranz
    An article on a Venezuelan website asserts that today's Zionists are "Christ killers.'' Another states that Zionists control the planet, government, media, banks and weapons. On official TV or radio in Caracas, the anchor rants about boycotting companies allegedly owned by Zionists, such as Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson. On another program a pundit raves that the Mossad may be planning an attack on Jewish institutions or even to kill El Presidente.
        These are either Venezuelan government employees or sympathizers of President Hugo Chavez. Their motivation is to promote unapologetic hatred towards Jews consistent with Chavez's antipathy toward the State of Israel. The writer is the Florida regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. (Miami Herald)
  • Observations:

    Israel: A Normal Country - Jose Maria Aznar et al. (Wall Street Journal)

    • Israel is a Western democracy and a normal country. Nonetheless, Israel has faced abnormal circumstances since its inception. In fact, Israel is the only Western democracy whose existence has been questioned by force, and whose legitimacy is still being questioned independently of its actions.
    • Attempts to question Israel's basic legitimacy as a Jewish state in the Middle East are unacceptable to people who support liberal democratic values. The State of Israel was founded in the wake of UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947. It also arose out of an unbroken Jewish connection to the land that stretches back thousands of years. Israel does not derive its legitimacy, as some claim, from sympathy over the Holocaust. Instead, it derives legitimacy from international law and from the same right to self-determination claimed by all nations.
    • We must never forget that Israel is on our side in the battle against Islamism and terror. Israel stands on the front line of that fight as a bulwark of Judeo-Christian values. The belief that the democratic world can sacrifice Israel in order to placate Islamism is profoundly wrong and dangerous. Appeasement failed in the 1930s and it will fail today.

      This statement was signed by Jose Maria Aznar, former prime minister of Spain; David Trimble, former first minister of Northern Ireland; John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN; Alejandro Toledo, former president of Peru; Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate; Andrew Roberts, a British historian; Fiamma Nirenstein, vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies; George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; Robert F. Agostinelli, managing director of the Rhone Group, and Carlo Bustelo, former minister of industry in Spain, as part of the Friends of Israel Initiative.

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