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January 10, 2011

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EU Officials Propose Help for Palestinians in Jerusalem - Donald Macintyre (Independent-UK)
    A document prepared for internal circulation by the 25 EU Consuls General to the Palestinian Authority proposes strengthening the EU's support for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
    They suggest that in addition to being present when houses are demolished, they should attend court hearings dealing with demolitions or evictions and "ensure EU intervention when Palestinians are arrested or intimidated by Israeli authorities for peaceful cultural, social or political activities in East Jerusalem."
    "If current trends are not stopped as a matter of urgency, the prospect of East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state becomes increasingly unlikely and unworkable."
    See also EU Diplomats Say East Jerusalem Should Be Treated as Palestinian Capital - Nir Hasson (Ha'aretz)

Iran Says It Can Create Its Own Nuclear Fuel (CNN)
    Iran's atomic chief and acting foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the semiofficial Fars News Agency, "We set up an advanced facility in Isfahan to manufacture fuel plates....There was a massive development in the field of (nuclear) fuel rods and plates. With the completion of this facility in Isfahan we are now among the few countries that manufacture both the (nuclear) fuel rod and plate."
    Salehi told state media in December that Iran was able to produce everything it needs for the nuclear fuel cycle, making its nuclear program self-sufficient.
    But it was not clear that Tehran actually had the technology to turn enriched uranium into fuel rods to run a nuclear reactor.

Report: West Germany Knew Where Eichmann Was in 1952 - Raphael Ahren (Ha'aretz)
    The West German secret service knew about Adolf Eichmann's hiding place in Argentina nearly a decade before Israeli agents captured the Nazi criminal in 1960, the German daily Bild reported Saturday.
    According to documents just released last week, "SS Colonel Eichmann is not to be found in Egypt but is residing in Argentina under the fake name Clemens. E.'s address is known to the editor-in-chief of the German newspaper in Argentina Der Weg [The Way]," an index card from 1952 stated.
    Eichmann, considered one of the key architects of the genocide of the Jews in Europe, was captured by Mossad agents in 1960, brought to Israel, convicted in court, and hanged in 1962.

Three Foreign Workers Wounded in Palestinian Mortar Attack near Gaza - Yanir Yagna and Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    Three foreign workers were injured on Saturday when a mortar fired by Palestinians in Gaza struck a populated area in a kibbutz near the border.
    Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Troops Kill Palestinian Who Attacked Them at West Bank Checkpoint (Jerusalem Post)
    A Palestinian man carrying a pipe bomb was shot and killed at the Bekaot checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, Army Radio reported on Saturday.
    According to eyewitnesses, the Palestinian got out of a taxi and approached the checkpoint while yelling "Allahu Akbar." In response, the soldiers opened fire.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Sanctions Slow Iran's Warhead Capability - Jay Solomon and Charles Levinson
    There is a growing consensus among the U.S. and its allies that Tehran's effort to obtain a nuclear warhead has been significantly slowed and they credit, in part, an international campaign that they say has restricted Iran's ability to procure the needed raw materials. In particular, they say, Iran has had difficulty acquiring carbon fiber and a particular high-strength steel, two critical inputs for making advanced centrifuge machines used in producing enriched uranium.
        Officials in the U.S. and Israel stress they still believe Iran is actively seeking nuclear weapons, and that its program is still advancing. The U.S. and allies stress that despite Iran's setbacks, efforts to pressure Tehran financially need to be continued and intensified. Officials say Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium stockpiled to create as many as four atomic weapons if it decided to further process the fuel. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Clinton: Arab World Must Confront Iran - Matthew Lee
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that sanctions have slowed Iran's efforts to develop atomic weapons and accused the country of trying to foment new conflict in the Middle East to distract attention from its nuclear ambitions. In Abu Dhabi Clinton said the Arab world in particular should act to sharpen enforcement of the sanctions and reject attempts to stoke Mideast tensions. She also said Arab states had a special role to play in helping restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks by promoting a broader Arab-Israeli settlement. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Clinton: UN Not the Place to Resolve Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded Sunday to a question regarding Palestinian moves to seek UN backing for statehood or action against Israel: "We continue to believe strongly that New York is not the place to resolve the long-standing conflict and outstanding issues between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We do not think that that is a productive path for the Palestinians or anyone to pursue....We also believe that a concerted effort to enable the parties to return to negotiations that will permit them to make progress together is in everyone's interests."  (State Department)
        See also PA: U.S. May Veto UN Resolution on Settlements - Khaled Abu Toameh and Tovah Lazaroff
    The U.S. has threatened to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, PA President Mahmoud Abbas' political adviser, Nimer Hammad, said on Saturday. The PA is working on the final text of such a resolution, which it hopes the Security Council will approve at its Jan. 19 meeting. "The Americans don't want us to take the issue to the Security Council," said Hammad. "They say that discussing this issue in the Security Council would prompt the U.S. to veto it."
        Karean Peretz, spokeswoman for Israel's UN mission, stressed Thursday that "the only road to peace" is through direct negotiations. "Israel has demonstrated time and time again its commitment to peace, and we hope that the international community won't allow these moves to divert both sides from reaching the real goal - peace and stability in our region." Israeli officials added that past one-sided UN resolutions had done nothing to assist the Palestinians. Its leadership has to decide if it is interested in empty declarations or meaningful progress, an Israeli official said. (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Palestinian Woman Didn't Die from Tear Gas - Yaakov Katz
    Jawaher Abu Rahma, the woman who Palestinians claimed was killed on Dec. 31 by IDF-fired tear gas during a demonstration, died as a result of the medical treatment she received at a Ramallah hospital, Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of the IDF's Judea and Samaria Division, said Friday. Alon said new medical documents from the West Bank hospital where she was treated indicated that the woman received doses of different types of medication completely unrelated to tear gas inhalation. Furthermore, she did not actively participate in the demonstration, but was inside a house about 500 meters away. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Abu Rahma’s Death Not Caused by Tear Gas - Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon
    "Given her distance from the demonstration, there is no chance that her death was caused by the gas." "Abu Rahma did not take part in the demonstration, she was far away from it. Remains of tear gas may have reached her but she did not die from this, rather as a result of complications related to other diseases."  (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Shepherd Hotel Demolished - Melanie Lidman and Khaled Abu Toameh
    Demolition of the Shepherd Hotel, in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, began Sunday, prior to the construction of 20 apartments. City Councilor Elisha Peleg said, "It's a very simple thing, people are just trying to make a provocation....Jews building in Jerusalem is routine. Arabs are building all the time in east Jerusalem, and no one comes to photograph them."  (Jerusalem Post)
        Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, said the development was a private initiative in which the government had no role. "Is it logical to expect the Jewish state to prevent Jews from buying property legally in Jerusalem?," he asked. (Washington Post)
        See also Clinton Criticizes Demolition of Jerusalem Hotel (State Department)
        See also The Shepherd Hotel in Jerusalem - Lenny Ben-David
    When the British attempted to arrest the pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in 1937, he fled Palestine, and the British made do with confiscating his property. The Husseini clan owned several well-known buildings in Jerusalem, among them the Palace Hotel on Mamilla Street (later Israel's Ministry of Trade), Orient House (the site of Palestinian Authority attempts to establish its rule in east Jerusalem), and the Shepherd Hotel.
        The acquisition of the Shepherd Hotel site was carried out according to the letter of the law. The land, first confiscated by the British, was administered by the Jordanian government after it illegally annexed the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1950. Under international law, the Israeli government became custodians after the 1967 war. For the last 15 years the building stood abandoned. (I*Consult)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Buying Time with Iran - David Ignatius
    The Obama administration has concluded that Iran's nuclear program has been slowed by a combination of sanctions, sabotage and Iran's own technical troubles. Because of the delay, U.S. officials see what one describes as "a little bit of space" before any military showdown with Iran. What's increasingly clear is that low-key weapons - covert sabotage and economic sanctions - are accomplishing many of the benefits of military action, without the costs. The most direct confirmation that sabotage has paid off came from Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who said in November that the Stuxnet computer virus had damaged the Natanz operation.
        A fascinating (and remarkably detailed) account of the Stuxnet attack was published Dec. 22 by the Institute for Science and International Security. The study described how the virus was targeted to attack a key electronic control in the centrifuges, known as a "frequency converter," so that the spin of the rotors was increased and slowed in a way that would cause a malfunction. The virus may have been introduced in early or mid-2009. By late 2009 or early 2010, the study said, Iran decommissioned and replaced about 1,000 centrifuges - far more than normal breakage.
        The delays in the Iranian program are important because they add strategic warning time for the West to respond to any Iranian push for a bomb. U.S. officials estimate that if Iran were to try a "break out" by enriching uranium at Natanz to the 90% level needed for a bomb, that move would be detectable - and it would take Iran one to two more years to make a bomb. (Washington Post)
        See also Did Stuxnet Take Out 1,000 Centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant? - David Albright, Paul Brannan, and Christina Walrond (Institute for Science and International Security)
  • The Real Danger of Delegitimizing Israel on Campus - David Bernstein
    Anti-Israel spectacles on campus range from "apartheid walls" to mock security checkpoints, from boycotts and divestment initiatives to hostile anti-Israel protests. Yet such inflammatory acts do not resonate with the vast majority on campus. In recent focus groups conducted by The Israel Project, a diverse set of students was nearly unified in its opposition to boycotts and other such tactics, regardless of the students' feelings about the Jewish state.
        The struggle on campus, then, is to assure that the next generation of American political leadership is as supportive of Israel as the last one. In a world turning ever more unfriendly to Israel, it is more important than ever that we do all that we can now to ensure that American support, at least, remains strong into the future. The writer is executive director of The David Project. (JTA)

The Economist's Indecent Proposal - Dore Gold (Jerusalem Post)

  • Israel was the focus of a recent cover story in The Economist, the prestigious British newsweekly. The magazine's main editorial puts forward the thesis that unless Obama takes bold diplomatic moves in the peace process, there is a real risk of war. The Economist then concludes that Obama, along with the rest of the world, must impose a solution on the parties.
  • Most fundamentally, it confuses the main source of potential escalation and war, Iran, with the diplomatic target of the peace initiative it recommends, the Palestinians. Historically, relations with the Palestinians and tensions with Iran's proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas, have been on two completely separate tracks.
  • In April 1996, while Prime Minister Shimon Peres was negotiating with the Palestinians, the Israeli-Lebanese border deteriorated and Israel was forced to launch Operation Grapes of Wrath against Hizbullah. Again in 2008, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in advanced negotiations with both Abbas and the Syrians (through the Turks), there was a massive escalation of rocket fire by Hamas that resulted in Operation Cast Lead.
  • There was simply no correlation between Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and the military escalation with organizations supported by Iran.

    The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a former ambassador to the UN.

        See also The Economist Magazine Sullies Reputation for Independent Thought with Anti-Israeli Rant - Robin Shepherd (Robin Shepherd-UK)
    See also The Economist Strikes Again - Elliot Jager (Jewish Ideas Daily)
  • According to The Economist, war could break out at any point this year over Iran's "apparent" desire to build atomic bombs, the arms race "between" Israel and Hizbullah (presumably, the two share an equal thirst for aggression), or "miscalculations" on the Gaza border. The solution to these frightening scenarios? The Obama administration must exert "tough love" on Israel by imposing a settlement that will establish a Fatah-led Palestine in the West Bank. For, the article reasons, once this is done, Iran, Hizbullah, and Hamas in Gaza will all find it "much harder" to attack Israel.

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