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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
December 7, 2010

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In-Depth Issues:

The Myth of Jewish-Only Roads - Michael J. Totten (Commentary)
    "I can call a president of the United States anything in the book," Helen Thomas said at an anti-Arab-bias workshop in Detroit, "but I can't touch Israel, which has Jewish-only roads in the West Bank. No American would tolerate that - white-only roads."
    She's right that no American would tolerate white-only roads. Israelis, likewise, would never tolerate roads for Jews only. That's why such roads don't exist.
    The roads she's referring to in the West Bank are Israeli, and they're not just for Jews. Israeli Arabs can drive on them, and so can non-Jewish foreigners, including Arab and Muslim foreigners.
    Palestinians were once able to drive on them but have not been allowed to do so since the second intifada, when suicide bombers used them to penetrate Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in order to massacre people.
    There are also, by the way, Palestinian roads in the West Bank that Israelis can't use.

Poll: Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hizbullah (Pew Global Attitudes Project)
    In surveys of opinion among Muslim publics, opinions of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are consistently negative, except in Nigeria.
    In Lebanon, 94% of Shia support Hizbullah, while 84% of Sunnis view it unfavorably.
    In Turkey, 74% of Muslims have an unfavorable view of Hizbullah, while just 5% see it favorably.
    Support for suicide bombing has declined considerably over the years, with double-digit declines recorded in Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Indonesia.

Princeton Students Reject Pro-Palestinian Hummus Initiative (AP-Washington Post)
    Princeton University students voted 1,014 to 699 to reject a referendum initiative by a pro-Palestinian student group calling for the university to expand its hummus offerings to compete with the Sabra brand, owned by PepsiCo and the Israeli food conglomerate Strauss, the school's student government said Friday.

For Israeli Arab Teens, a Way to Serve the Country - Joshua Mitnick (Christian Science Monitor)
    Six years ago, Rabah Rizik, a Christian Arab, founded the Association for Civic Equality, a civil service program akin to AmeriCorps in the U.S. that gives Israeli Arab high school graduates the opportunity to contribute to the state, just as most of their Jewish counterparts do through military service.
    In return for one to two years of community work, Arabs get the same benefits as noncombat conscripts, including college stipends.
    In April, dozens of Arab opponents demonstrated outside Rizik's home, calling him a traitor and an Israeli collaborator.
    Participation has doubled to 1,256 since its launch in 2008, sending recruits to work in Arab schools and hospitals. 90% of the volunteers are women.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Argentina, Uruguay Recognize Palestinian State
    Argentina and Uruguay said Monday they were joining Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state. Some 104 countries now recognize a Palestinian state, and 150 countries have some form of diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. (AFP)
        See also Israel: Meaningless Declarations - Ali Waked
    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: "This is a very disappointing step which contributes nothing to furthering the peace process." He described the announcement as "a verbal gesture which goes against the Oslo Accords whereby a permanent solution can only be the result of negotiations." Palmor stressed that the gesture "encourages the Palestinians at the very time when they insist on avoiding negotiations."  (Ynet News)
  • WikiLeaks: U.S. Pressured Arab States to Block Iranian and Syrian Weapons from Reaching Israel's Enemies - Ian Black
    State Department cables released by WikiLeaks show that the U.S. has worked discreetly to block the supply of Iranian and Syrian weapons to Hamas and Hizbullah, pressuring Arab governments not to cooperate. In many cases the requests were based on secret intelligence provided by Israel. In January 2009, around the time of Israel's offensive in Gaza, U.S. diplomats were instructed to express "exceptional concern" to Sudanese authorities. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Chad were also informed of the Iranian plans and warned that any weapons deliveries would be in breach of UN resolutions banning Iranian arms exports.
        In March 2009, Jordan and Egypt were informed by the U.S. of new Iranian plans to ship a cargo of "lethal military equipment" to Syria with onward transfer to Sudan and then to Hamas. Host nations were requested to require that the flights land for inspection or deny them overflight rights. (Guardian-UK)
        See also WikiLeaks: U.S. Strains to Stop Arms Flow - Michael R. Gordon and Andrew W. Lehren
    "Syria's determined support of Hizbullah's military build-up, particularly the steady supply of longer-range rockets and the introduction of guided missiles, could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive than the July-August 2006 war," said a November 2009 cable from the American charge d'affaires in Damascus. According to cables, Syrian leaders appeared to believe that the weapons shipments increased their political leverage with the Israelis. A February 2010 cable noted that the Americans received intelligence reports that the Syrians were about to provide Hizbullah with Scud-D missiles, which are based on North Korean technology. (New York Times)
  • WikiLeaks: Iran Built Secret Communications Network in Lebanon -
    Lebanon's Western-backed government warned that "Iran telecom" was taking over the country when it uncovered a secret fiber optics communications network financed by Iran and used by Hizbullah, according to a U.S. State Department cable in April 2008.
        Marwan Hamadeh, the Lebanese minister of communications, highlighted the system as "a strategic victory for Iran since it creates an important Iranian outpost in Lebanon." "Hizbullah now has an army and weapons; a television station; an education system; hospitals; social services; a financial system; and a telecommunications system."  (Guardian-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Leader: Allah Is Scourging Israelis with Fire
    The fires ravaging northern Israel are God's expression of anger towards Israelis, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told Reuters on Sunday. "These are plagues from God," said Haniyeh. "Allah is punishing them."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Arabs Rejoiced over Israeli Forest Fire - Khaled Abu Toameh
    It is sad and abhorrent to see how many Arabs rejoiced over the big forest fire in northern Israel, calling it a "divine punishment" for Israelis and wishing that the blaze would spread to destroy all Jews. The messages of hate are the result of decades of incitement against Israel and Jews in the Arab media and mosques throughout the Arab and Islamic world. The comments serve as a reminder that many people in the Arab and Islamic countries still have not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.
        What is troubling is that these repugnant comments were posted on Web sites of major Arab media outlets that are not necessarily associated with radical Islam. Al-Arabiya and Asharq Al-Awsat are owned by members of the Saudi royal family which has been frequently targeted by Muslim fundamentalist groups like al-Qaeda. (Hudson Institute-New York)
  • Egyptian Expert Shoots Down Conspiracy Theory Blaming Israel for Shark Attacks - Yasmine Fathi
    Mahmoud Hanafy, a professor of marine biology at the Suez Canal University, said it is "sad" that Egyptian national TV helped perpetuate the theory that last week's shark attacks at Sharm el-Sheikh were part of an Israeli conspiracy. On Sunday, Gen. Abdel-Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, phoned a TV program to say that it is possible that Israeli intelligence was behind the incidents.
        Hanafy said the Oceanic White Tip shark, blamed for the attacks, does indeed exist in Egypt's waters. He added, "It is sad that they made a person whose only knowledge of sharks comes from the movie "Jaws" go on national TV to propagate this mumbo-jumbo."  (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Back to the Table: New P5+1 Talks with Iran - Simon Henderson
    American and European officials believe that Iran's willingness to reopen talks in Geneva demonstrates the effectiveness of escalating sanctions. So far, no one is predicting that the parties will reach an agreement, and few believe that much progress will be made at all. In fact, given the potential for an acrimonious end to the meetings, agreeing on a date for the next round of talks may be the most the negotiators can hope to achieve. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Palestinian Proletariat - Michael S. Bernstam
    Gaza is a totalitarian paramilitary camp at war with its neighbors and other Palestinians. The Gaza district features eight separate Palestinian refugee camps, plus dozens of surrounding ghettos. These camps were established in 1949 and have been financed ever since by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Yet far from seeking to help residents build a new and better life either in Gaza or elsewhere, UNRWA is paying millions of refugees to perpetuate their refugee status, generation after generation, as they await their forcible return to the land inside the State of Israel. The writer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. (Commentary)
        See also The Palestinian Refugees on the Day After "Independence" - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Presbyterians Against Israel - Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper
    In 2009, a group of Christian Palestinians issued the Kairos Palestine Document, which was immediately published on the World Council of Churches website. The document calls for a general boycott of Israel and argues that Christians' faith requires them to side with the "oppressed," meaning the Palestinians. The Kairos document quickly won accolades from religious groups including from the Presbyterian Church (USA), which has 2.3 million American members and in 2004 was the first mainline American Protestant group to call for divestment from Israel. Rabbi Hier is founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Cooper is the center's associate dean. (Wall Street Journal)

How Reuters, AP and AFP/Getty Misuse Photos to Distort Coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (HonestReporting)

  • In a three-month, in-depth study of how Israel is portrayed in images distributed by the major international wire services, David Katz, a professional photographer with 25 years experience, reviewed some 13,500 photos from Israel and the Palestinian territories from May 31-Aug. 31, 2010.
  • The study revealed a pattern of double standards and bias that produced distorted images due to deliberate staging, use of wide-angle lenses and photographer positions to make photos appear more dramatic than the reality, photographers choosing positions that effect the events they are shooting, and editorializing in photo captions.

        See also How the Wire Services Abuse Sport for Propaganda (HonestReporting)
  • Wire service photographs deliberately set out to portray Israel in a negative light during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with editorialized captions such as the AFP caption: "Football fans escape the Gaza Strip's dreary confinement to follow the WC2010 matches which are often interrupted by power cuts."
  • Numerous images of Palestinians playing soccer next to the West Bank security barrier were also popular.

        See also Distorted Imagery in the Gaza Flotilla Incident (HonestReporting)

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