Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone


July 19, 2010

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Mubarak Is Terminally Ill - Eli Lake (Washington Times)
    U.S. and Western intelligence agencies assess that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 82, is terminally ill from cancer affecting his stomach and pancreas.
    An intelligence officer from a Central European service said his service estimates that the Egyptian president will be dead within a year, before Cairo's scheduled presidential elections in September 2011.
    Steven Cook, a senior fellow and Egyptian-affairs specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said: "When I was in Cairo in May... everyone understood the end was near; the estimates were 12 to 18 months."

Photo Essay: New Shopping Mall Opens in Gaza - Tom Gross (Mideast Dispatch Archive)
    If there are no building materials allowed into Gaza, how did they build this shopping center which opened on July 17?
    See also photos of Gaza's hotels, beauty spas, fancy restaurants, Olympic-size swimming pool, beaches and street markets.
    Of course there is poverty in parts of Gaza. There is poverty in parts of Israel too.
    As a correspondent for one of Japan's biggest newspapers noted, "Gaza and the West Bank are the only places in the world where I have seen refugees drive Mercedes."

Israeli Doctors in Congo to Aid Burn Victims Welcomed by Africans But Rejected by "Doctors Without Borders" for "Occupation" - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli burn specialist Dr. Eyal Winkler arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week with a delegation of five medical specialists to treat 50 people who were severely burned in a fire.
    President Joseph Kabila telephoned the delegation to thank them, but the volunteers of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) Netherlands, who arrived the previous week, did not want to be around the Israeli team.
    "This is the reality today: Doctors from international aid organizations treat a delegation of volunteer Israeli doctors to Congo as though we were occupiers," Winkler said.
    "Unfortunately, it's true. International aid organizations here are very pro-Palestinian and not too friendly to Israelis," said Gila Garaway, an American aid specialist.

British Jews Call for Investigation of Judge Who Acquitted Gaza Activists - Jessica Elgot (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    The Board of Deputies of British Jews has asked the Office of Judicial Complaints of the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate the conduct of a Brighton judge who inferred an anti-Israel activist should win a medal for bravery.
    Last month a jury acquitted seven activists of causing £200,000 worth of damage in January 2009 to an arms factory with a contract with Israel.
    Judge George Bathurst-Norman, referring to group leader Christopher Osmond, told the jury: "The jury may feel his efforts investigating the company merit the George Cross."
    Board president Vivian Wineman said: "We are asking the OJC to examine the judge's comments and the context in which they were made, to determine if he exceeded his judicial powers."
    See also Transcript of Judge's Remarks - Joshua Rozenberg (Standpoint-UK)

Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • U.S. Official: Israel Faces Growing Threat as Foes Improve Rockets
    "Advances in rocket technology require new levels of U.S.-Israel cooperation," Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told the Brookings Institution in Washington Friday. "Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, radar range and more destructive power are spreading across the region." Shapiro cited the "tens of thousands" of short- and medium-range rockets amassed on Israel's northern border by Hizbullah. These and other threats to Israel's security are "real, growing and must be addressed," he said. "We are fully committed to Israel's security because it enhances our own national security and because it helps Israel to take the steps necessary for peace," Shapiro said. (Bloomberg)
        See also The Obama Administration's Approach to U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation: Preserving Israel's Qualitative Military Edge - Andrew Shapiro (U.S. State Department)
        See also Interview with Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro - Natasha Mozgovaya (Ha'aretz)
  • Abbas Says Israel Must Accept Foreign Border Force - Mohammed Daraghmeh
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he'll resume direct peace talks if Israel accepts its 1967 frontier as a baseline for the borders of a Palestinian state and agrees to the deployment of an international force to guard them. The Palestinian leader did not mention a comprehensive Israeli settlement freeze as a condition for negotiations - something he has underlined as crucial in the past. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Abbas Sees an International Force in the Jordan Valley in a Permanent Status Agreement - Gal Berger
    The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, insists on the deployment of an international force in the Jordan Valley in a permanent status agreement and rejects the emplacement of Israeli early warning stations in the West Bank. According to a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, Abbas wrote this in a position paper which he delivered to President Obama in their meeting at the White House two months ago. He explained in that paper that he prefers the international force be made up of African or Asian troops and not from Arab Muslim states or NATO forces. (Israel Radio-Reshet Bet-Hebrew)
        See also The Risks of Foreign Peacekeeping Forces in the West Bank - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Iran Blames West, Israel for Bombings - Farhad Pouladi
    Iran blamed the West and Israel on Saturday for twin suicide bombings which killed at least 27 people, despite condemnation of the attack by the EU, UN and U.S. (AFP)
  • Lebanon Complains to UN about Israeli Buoys Marking Sea Border - Ferry Biedermann
    Israel has unilaterally placed a line of buoys extending two miles into the sea off the two countries' land border for what it describes as "security reasons." Lebanon's government has raised this with the UN, fearing that the floating line of Israeli-placed markers may encroach on its maritime territory. A study published in March by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas may lie off the Mediterranean coastlines of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Gaza. (Financial Times-UK)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Netanyahu, Mubarak Meet in Cairo - Roee Nahmias
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Sunday in Cairo to discuss the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. The meeting lasted over two hours, with the intermittent participation of Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Netanyahu aides Uzi Arad and Yitzhak Molcho. "President Mubarak represents the aspiration to expand the circle of peace and maintain stability and security for all of the region's people. Once again, I find in him a partner for the achievement of these important goals," Netanyahu said after the meeting. But Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the conditions for moving to direct peace talks were still "lacking."  (Ynet News)
  • Hamas Cell Behind Murder of Israeli Policeman - Anshel Pfeffer
    The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said Monday that it has apprehended several members of Hamas believed to be behind the murder of an Israeli police officer last month. Sergeant Major Yehoshua Sofer, 39, was shot dead on June 14 when his vehicle was ambushed in the southern Hebron Hills; two other police officers were wounded. Several members of a Hamas terror cell in the village of Deir Samet were detained. The suspects re-enacted the attack and also handed over the rifles they used at the time. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Planning to Improve Gaza's Water and Electricity Infrastructure
    Israel is working on a plan to build a power station, desalination plants and infrastructure for wastewater purification in Gaza, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday after a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Israel "is looking for serious partners" to improve the economic situation in Gaza, he added. Ashton said the EU is "examining the options" in order to help Palestinians and Israel, but rejected the idea of sending "forces" to accomplish these aims. (DPA-Ha'aretz)
        See also Press Conference: Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman and EU Foreign Policy Chief Ashton (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Israel and the Flotilla - Eliot Engel
    To the Editor: I disagree with your assertion (editorial, July 10) that an "international investigation" of the flotilla incident involving Israel is the "best chance of finding out what really happened." The last time the United Nations conducted a so-called impartial investigation, it produced the severely biased, one-sided Goldstone Commission report. A more desirable choice is to allow Israel, a fellow democracy with an internationally respected judicial system, to proceed with its independent investigation commission. Comprising highly respected jurists and with the presence of well-regarded international observers, Israel's own investigation commission meets the highest standards and deserves the opportunity to look into the flotilla incident without interference.
        Also, Turkey's involvement in this incident must not be swept under the rug. Today, the Turkish Islamic leadership has seemingly decided to look eastward to Iran and change Turkey's historic secular character. Israel begged Turkey not to let the flotilla leave Turkey, and if it did, to have it dock at Ashdod, Israel, where any humanitarian aid could have been delivered. Turkey refused, and bears responsibility for what happened. U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and of its Subcommittee on the Middle East. (New York Times)
  • French Judge: I Knew Turkish Group Behind Gaza Flotilla Had Terror Ties in 1996 - Yossi Melman
    Jean-Louis Bruguiere was appointed by the European Union to "dry out" the financial sources that feed the world's terror organizations. Prior to his present role he served as an investigating magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs   in France. During a visit to Israel, Bruguiere said that - already in 1996 - he came to the conclusion that the Turkish IHH "is a terror organization and not a charity group." He was asked to investigate the Turkish group after French intelligence discovered that Canadian couriers were sending forged Moroccan passports to France for use by Islamic militants intent on carrying out attacks in France and other European countries.
        "My investigation revealed a broad and global terror network that reached Bosnia and Afghanistan, whose center was at the Turkish IHH headquarters," says Bruguiere. "We had recordings of telephone conversations and documents from people who explicitly testified that this is a terror group. Turkish authorities raided the group's headquarters for good reason and discovered weapons, explosive materials and forged documents."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Observations:

    The Legal Basis of Israel's Naval Blockade of Gaza - Ruth Lapidoth (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • The relations between Israel and Hamas are in the nature of armed conflict. Nowadays no formal declaration of war is needed. Hence the rules of the laws of armed conflict apply. This means that Israel may control shipping headed for Gaza - even when the vessels are still on the high seas.
    • The rules of naval warfare have not been fully codified in a treaty and are in the nature of binding customary rules. They can be found in the relevant manuals of Western armies (in particular the U.S. and Britain) and in the San Remo Manual prepared by a group of experts.
    • In order to be legal, a blockade has to be declared and announced, effective, non-discriminatory, and has to permit the passage of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population. In addition, the San Remo Manual of 1994 includes two conditions: first, the state which applies the blockade may decide where and when and through which port the assistance should reach the coast. In addition, the state may require that a neutral organization on the coast should verify who is the recipient of the assistance. In Gaza, for instance, does it reach the civilians or Hamas?
    • A ship that clearly intends to breach the blockade may be stopped already when it is still on the high seas. Stopping the flotilla heading for Gaza in international waters 100 kilometers from Israel was not illegal; in time of armed conflict, ships intending to breach the blockade may be searched even on the high seas.
    • Israel is within its rights and is in full compliance with international law because it has fulfilled all of the above-mentioned conditions for a lawful blockade. E.g., in January 2009 Israel notified the relevant authorities of its intention to establish a blockade of the Gaza coast.

      The writer is Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

    Unsubscribe from Daily Alert