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August 31, 2010

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PA TV to Kids: Israeli Cities Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Acre Are All "Occupied Cities" - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
  Official Palestinian Authority TV continues to teach children that all of Israel is "occupied Palestine." A repeating message on the children's show The Best Home, currently broadcast three times a week during the month of Ramadan, is that all Israeli cities are "occupied" Palestinian cities. The PA TV host refers to cities in Israel alternately as "1948 occupied cities," "occupied cities" or "occupied territories." See video.

Two Men on United Flight from Chicago Arrested on 'Preparation of a Terrorist Attack' in Amsterdam - Richard Esposito, Christine Brouwer and Brian Ross (ABC News)
  Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with "preparation of a terrorist attack," according to U.S. law enforcement officials.
  U.S. officials said the two appeared to be travelling with what were termed "mock bombs" in their luggage. "This was almost certainly a dry run, a test," said one senior law enforcement official.
  The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, and Hezem al Murisi from Yemen.

Israel Set to Build Wings for Some 800 F-35 Jets (ABC/Reuters)
  Israel is in talks to build the wings for about a quarter of the United States' new F-35 stealth fighter aircraft, an Israeli official said on Monday. Lockheed Martin currently plans to build some 3,200 F-35s costing about $96 million each. An Israeli official said state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries would build the wings.
    See also Israel Strikes a Deal on the F-35 - Alon Ben-David (Aviation Week)
The U.S. is not standing in the way of an Israeli requirement to install a 600-gal. detachable fuel tank to increase the F-35�s range. Although the deployment would undermine the Joint Stealth Fighter�s stealth benefit, �in some missions, you can fly nonstealthy part of the way and become stealthy as you enter the danger zone,� explains the air force official, hinting at a potential confrontation with Iran. However, the fielding timeline for the JSF means it does not feature in any possible near-term Israeli plans to attack Iran�s nuclear infrastructure. Israel is planning to develop for the JSF an air-to-air derivative of the Stunner missile. One threat it aims to neutralize is from �U.S.-made fighters equipped with advanced radars,� says the Israeli air force source, hinting at the pending sale to Saudi Arabia of F-15s.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Israel Braces for Difficult Month - Eli Lake
    The diplomatic calendar from an Israeli perspective for September is filled with political land mines. To start, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to release a report on the Memorial Day flotilla incident in which nine pro-Palestinian activists aboard a Turkish aid ship seeking to break a blockade of Gaza were killed in a battle with Israeli commandos. Then the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council is expected to issue a follow-up on a report issued in 2009 by Judge Richard Goldstone regarding the Gaza war in late 2008 and early 2009.
      Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said one Israeli goal in the talks is to make sure Israel is diplomatically protected from efforts he said would be aimed at delegitimizing Israel's defense of its territory. Mr. Gold also served as a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Netanyahu in his first term as prime minister from 1996 to 1999.
      "Israel must be certain that should it withdraw and then find the security situation deteriorating, requiring Israeli military action, that the U.N. does not bring Justice Goldstone out of retirement and launch a whole new series of investigations into how Israel defended itself," Mr. Gold said. "Hopefully, any new peace arrangements will include a parallel set of understandings to avert this situation."
      P.J. Crowley, State Department spokesman, said in an interview Monday that "it has been extremely difficult to get the parties for a variety of reasons to where we are this week. But now that we are entering direct negotiations, something that we want, the Israelis want, the Palestinians want and other countries in the region want, everyone assumes a responsibility to avoid any actions that can create obstacles to progress. The last thing we need right now is another Goldstone-like controversy." (Washington Times)
  • Israeli Envoy Heads Home after Tough Two Years - Edith Lederer
    Israel's outgoing UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, calls her job "an almost impossible mission," but she's still heading home on a note of hope. The impending resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks comes as a welcome change after nearly two years of having to contend with the fallout from Israel's deadly actions involving Gaza and a cooler relationship with the Obama administration.
      Shalev said in a farewell interview that despite near-constant criticism, she believes it's important for Israel to remain an active member of the world body. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Barak Meets Abbas in Amman on Eve of Peace Talks in U.S.
    On the eve of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's departure for Washington to relaunch peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Defense Minister Ehud Barak secretly met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Monday night after having met Jordanian King Abdullah at his palace on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Poll: Palestinians Back Negotiations with Israel
    Two-thirds of Palestinians are in favor of either direct or indirect negotiations with Israel, the results of a new poll released Monday finds. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion surveyed over 1,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem [sic] and Gaza earlier this month, ahead of the resumption of direct talks in Washington on 2 September.
      Around one-third (31.7 percent) of Palestinians were in favor of resuming direct negotiations, while 31.1 percent favored continuing indirect talks.
      Palestinians expressed pessimism about U.S. involvement, however. A clear majority (79.4 percent) believe the visit of the U.S. envoy George Mitchell will not lead to any progress in the peace process, while two-thirds do not think U.S. President Barack Obama was capable of establishing a Palestinian state. (Ma'an News Agency - Bethlehem)
  • Central Israel in Range of Hamas Rockets - Alex Fishman
    Hamas has completed a series of experiments on its advanced Fajar rocket, which has a range of almost 80 kilometers (50 miles) and can reach as far Kfar Saba, northeast of Tel Aviv, experts say. In a few months, Hamas will be able to begin manufacturing the rockets. The long-range rockets acquired by Hamas are of the Fajar-5 type, and it is believed that they arrived in the Strip via the Sinai peninsula. Israel believes that the rockets were developed by scientists working for the organization and for research institutes located in Arab countries in the region. (YnetNews)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Obama's Open Hand Is Slapped Away; America Will Never Agree to What the Arab World Wants - Richard Cohen
    When this spring the Pew Global Attitudes Project asked residents of Islamic countries what they thought about Obama, he got good marks when it came to such matters as climate change. But when the question was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the numbers not only declined in Indonesia and Turkey, they nearly went through the floor in the three Arab countries polled. In Jordan, 84 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Egypt, the figure was 88 percent and in Lebanon it was 90 percent.
      They strongly suggest that his attempt to woo the Arab world, to convince it that America can be an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians, has dismally failed. In fact, the extent of this failure is most stark in Lebanon. There, 100 percent of Shiite respondents -- in other words, Hizbullah and others -- have no faith in Obama and his good intentions. This may be a setback for Obama, but it is paradoxically a success for American values.
      What the Arab world seems to appreciate is that America will never agree to what the Arab world most wants -- an Islamic state where a Jewish one now exists. This entirely reasonable conclusion is based on what has long been American policy -- not what the State Department wanted but what the American people supported. America has always liked the idea of Israel. The Arab world, for totally understandable reasons, has always hated it. Nothing has changed.
      This week, Palestinians and Israelis will once again talk peace in Washington. But until both sides, particularly the Arab peoples, give up on what they really want, the clock will remain where it has been. (New York Daily News)
  • New Chance for Peace - Editorial
    Pessimism about these talks is understandable, given the depressing history of failed peace attempts, but it is no excuse for the leaders not to make a serious effort, and Mr. Obama is right to try to compel them to do that. (New York Times)
  • Obama's Year of Living Peacefully - Editorial
    The main sources of leverage on the parties are U.S. aid dollars, but Mr. Obama gains nothing from pressuring Israel, unless he wants to alienate more American Jewish voters, and he would never cut aid to the economically stricken Palestinians. There are few new peace approaches being discussed, and the ground has been trod so often, there is little U.S. diplomats can bring to the process other than a deadline that all sides can ignore. (Washington Times)
  • Observations:

    The Long History of Anti-Semitism in Muslim Lands - Robert Fulford (National Post - Canada)

  • One of the 2002 Bali bombers, Amrozi bin Nurhasin, on trial in an Indonesian courtroom and headed toward execution, shouted out the message he wanted his crime to convey: �Jews: Remember Khaibar. The army of Muhammad is coming back to defeat you.�
  • This was his explanation of the murder of 202 people eight years ago. Of those who died, 88 were Australians, 38 Indonesians, 24 British. None were Jews. So what was Amrozi, a Java-born Indonesian, raving about?
  • Martin Gilbert, the author of some 80 books, including the official biography of Winston Churchill, explains Amrozi�s meaning at the start of his alarming chronicle, In Ishmael�s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, published this week.
  • Amrozi was remembering an event 1,375 years in the past, when Muhammad attacked Jewish farmers living in the oasis community of Khaibar, in what is now Saudi Arabia. More than 600 Jews were killed and the survivors lost all their property and had to pledge half of their future crops to Muhammad.
  • In the 20th century, Arab hostility to Jews took an ugly turn. Some claim that the new state of Israel �caused� the trouble. But well before Israel�s creation in 1948, Arabs were identifying Jews as enemies.
  • In 1910, in the now-Iranian city of Shiraz, mobs robbed and destroyed 5,000 Jewish homes, with the encouragement of soldiers. In 1922, in Yemen, an old decree permitting the forcible conversion of Jewish orphans to Islam was reintroduced.
  • The number of Jews displaced by the Arabs in the 20th century roughly equals the number of Palestinians displaced by Israel. But the plight of the Palestinians has received several hundred times as much publicity. One reason is the constant propaganda from Muslim states and their admirers in the West. Another is that many Jews, unlike Palestinians, don�t want to be called refugees.

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