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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
March 22, 2011

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Report: Turkey Discovers Weapons in Iran Plane - Aviel Magnezi (Ynet News)
    Weapons were found on an Iranian cargo plane forced to land in southeast Turkey on Saturday, Turkish media reported Tuesday.
    The arms plane left Tehran with military ammunition for Syria. Several crates containing weapons and ammunition were removed from the aircraft.
    The plane landed at a military airfield at the UN's request following information indicating it was carrying nuclear materials.
    Rocket launchers, mortars, rifles and explosive materials were found on the plane.

IDF to Establish Field Clinic in Japan - Jonatan Urich (Israel Defense Forces)
    50 IDF military doctors will set up a field clinic this week about 150 km. from the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan, to provide routine medical services to Japanese residents forced from their homes by recent disasters.

Gaza Escalation Shows IDF Deterrence Eroding - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The current cycle of violence is an indication that the deterrence Israel created following the 2009 Gaza operation has begun to erode.
    As a result, it is just a matter of time before the IDF is sent back into Gaza. This could take weeks, months - or even up to a year - but the sense is that such a conflict is inevitable.

The UN Human Rights Council: Hard at Work Condemning Israel - Anne Bayefsky (Jerusalem Post)
    At the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, a UN-accredited NGO distributed a publication containing a picture depicting a demonic octopus, wearing a star of David flag with a swastika, strangling freedom-loving innocents seeking to defy a legal Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.
    The Council is poised to adopt this week six resolutions condemning just Israel, the highest number of resolutions dedicated to the demonization of Israel at a single session of the Council since it began in 2006.

Haitian Double Amputee Returns from Israel with New Legs - Ken Ellingwood (Los Angeles Times)
    Sounlove Zamor, who lost both legs below the knee in Haiti's earthquake, can climb stairs and hike blocks to a bus stop.
    The young woman, who had been caught in a collapsed house, was fitted with prosthetic legs in Israel after benefactors read about her in The Times. Now she's back in Haiti and walking on new legs.
    At Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, Zamor learned to jump rope, practiced walking with a plastic basin perched on her head, got steadier on her limbs.
    Haiti is a brutal place for those who can't walk, with few services for the disabled and wheelchair access a remote afterthought. Zamor's life will be much different with legs, even prosthetic ones.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In Libya, New Rifts Open in International Coalition - Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung
    Coalition aircraft flew about 80 sorties over Libya on Monday, up from 60 sorties one day earlier. About half of those missions were flown by U.S. pilots. Meanwhile, NATO members bickered over whether what began as a relatively straightforward effort aimed at preventing Gaddafi from launching airstrikes against his people had turned into a more punitive action directed at his military forces, according to a European diplomat.
        The disputes appear to have delayed U.S. efforts to turn the command of the operation over to NATO. France, which has sought to portray itself as being in the vanguard of the operation, has raised concerns that Arab states will not participate in the operation if it is led by NATO. (Washington Post)
        See also A Libyan Fight for Democracy, or a Civil War? - David D. Kirkpatrick
    Is the battle for Libya the clash of a brutal dictator against a democratic opposition, or is it fundamentally a tribal civil war? The behavior of the fledgling rebel government in Benghazi so far offers few clues to the rebels' true nature. Like the Gaddafi government, the operation around the rebel council is rife with family ties. And the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories.
        In the neighborhoods of the capital that have staged major peaceful protests, many have volunteered that their demonstrations were nonviolent mainly because they could not obtain weapons fast enough. The eastern region around Benghazi had always been a hotbed of opposition to Gaddafi, in part because tribes there had enjoyed the favoritism of the former king, Idriss I, whom Gaddafi overthrew. (New York Times)
  • Arab Uprising Reaches Syria, Challenging Assad - Dominic Evans
    Four days of protests against corruption and stifling one-party rule have finally brought the Arab uprising to Syria. Analysts say disenchantment at Assad's rule and the exhilarating spirit of regional upheaval may fuel wider rebellion. "It is a semi-totalitarian state," said Hazem Saghieh, a columnist at the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper. "All the reasons are there to expect drastic change." If Libyan rebels, now backed by Western military power, make further gains in their fight against Gaddafi, Syrian protesters would be further emboldened, Saghieh said.
        "Popular sentiment has refocused around a host of domestic issues left unaddressed for too long," said Peter Harling, Damascus-based analyst with the International Crisis Group. (Reuters)
        See also The Shaky House of Assad - Editorial
    Syria was supposedly immune to Arab contagion, but every Arab country is unhappy in its own way, and it turns out Syria is no different. The demonstrations and the Assad regime's bloody crackdown ought to give the champions of engagement pause. Rather than waste effort wooing Assad, the U.S. should support his domestic opponents at every opportunity. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Air Force Attacks Hamas Terror Tunnel in Gaza - Yaakov Katz
    The Israel Air Force bombed a terror tunnel in northern Gaza on Monday that was being dug under the border so terrorists could infiltrate into Israel. A number of Hamas operatives were hit in the strike. According to IDF sources, each Hamas brigade commander is under orders to dig "terror tunnels" along the section of the border under his command. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Hamas Digging "Terror Tunnels" along Border with Israel - Yaakov Katz
    The IDF is concerned over increased efforts by Palestinian terrorist groups to dig tunnels under the border that could be used to infiltrate into Israel and perpetrate attacks. The terrorists who abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 crossed into Israel through a tunnel.
        Palestinian terror groups in Gaza have made major improvements to their military capabilities in the past two years, with the addition of new long-range rockets, like the Iranian-made Fajr-5 that can reach Tel Aviv. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have also obtained new guided anti-tank missiles like the Kornet, Fagot and Sagger, one of which was fired at an IDF patrol on Friday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Weapons on Victoria Arms Ship Made in Iran
    Some 50 tons of weapons destined for the terrorist organizations in Gaza were found on the Victoria, which was intercepted by the IDF navy on March 15. The weapons included 230 120 mm mortar shells manufactured in Iran, 2,270 M-61 60 mm mortar shells, 6 C-704 anti-ship missiles manufactured in Iran, and 66,960 7.62 caliber bullets for Kalashnikov assault rifles. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
  • Israel Slams UN Official over Accusation of "Ethnic Cleansing" - Shlomo Shamir
    Israel's UN envoy Aharon Leshno Yaar called UN investigator Richard Falk an "embarrassment to the United Nations," after he charged Israel with ethnic cleansing at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday. Leshno Yaar told Ha'aretz that Falk is the man who "claims that it is unclear who stands behind the terror attacks of 9/11 and calls IDF soldiers Nazis."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Realpolitik in Libya - Yehezkel Dror
    The weight of realpolitik interests in deciding on intervention in Libya will not escape the eyes of Arab-Islamic observers. Europe has self-serving interests to stabilize Libya, specifically to prevent undesired refugees from flooding their borders. Libya's vast oil reserves also play a role. The absence of Western action against rulers of other Arab countries who repress civic revolts, when the West is interested in them staying in power, will also be noticed by the Arab-Islamic world.
        Even graver is the expected lesson Arab rulers will take from the Libya episode, that they need weapons to deter Western action. Gaddafi surely regrets having abandoned his nuclear weapons program. If he had weapons of mass destruction, or at least the perception that he had them, the West would have backed off. The action against Gaddafi will harden the will of Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
        Meanwhile, the transformation of Libya into a tranquil democratic state is far from assured. Surely there is no room for sympathy for Gaddafi, but it is far from clear that those taking his place will be less hostile. (Ha'aretz)
  • So It Wasn't Israel - Rich Lowry
    In the great Middle East who dunit, the verdict is in: The Jews are innocent. They aren't responsible for the violence, extremism, backwardness, discontent or predatory government of their Arab neighbors. The last few months should have finally shattered the persistent illusion that the Israeli-Palestinian question determines all in the Middle East.
        Israelis can't be blamed for unemployment and repression in Arab countries. Monumental events in recent decades - the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait - were driven by internal Muslim confessional, ideological and geopolitical differences. Israel has nothing to do with the Sunnis hating the Shia, or the Saudis hating the Iranians, or everyone hating Moammar Gaddafi. (New York Post)
  • Protests in Syria: Arab Revolution Getting Closer - Aluf Benn
    The city of Dara'a in Syria's Bashan region, where protesters destroyed a statue of Hafez Assad and burned the Ba'ath Party building, is near the three-way border between Israel, Jordan and Syria. If Bashar Assad's regime falls, who will control Syria's Scud missiles with chemical warheads? Who will command the army on the Golan front? Will Assad's successors be more open to the West and Israel, or will they try to spark a conflict to gain domestic and regional legitimacy, as the current regime did?
        To Israel, the great advantage of Assad's regime is its lack of daring and its tendency to avoid risk and direct conflict. Assad's responses have been predictable, allowing Israel freedom of action. The height of this was the September 2007 bombing of the nuclear reactor that had been built secretly in northeast Syria. Assad did not respond. (Ha'aretz)

Are the Palestinians Ready for Peace? Palestinian Incitement as a Violation of International Legal Norms - Alan Baker (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Genuine peace between peoples requires far more than signed agreements. It requires bona fide mutual trust, respect, and a psyche of peace to prevail throughout all levels of society, and must emanate from the leadership.
  • Tragically, the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Semitic indoctrination that is so pervasive in all levels of Palestinian society has inevitably led to violence and terror, and serves to undermine any hope for peaceful relations between the two peoples.
  • Officially-sanctioned and encouraged incitement against Israel and against Jews has become a central theme in all spheres of Palestinian society, whether religious, cultural or in the education field. This inevitably results in violence and terror against Israel and its citizens.
  • The Palestinians are committed in the agreements with Israel to act to prevent incitement. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership continues to glorify terrorists as role models for Palestinian youth and encourage hostility and hatred toward Israel.
  • The Palestinian leadership cannot come with clean hands to the international community to ostensibly call for peace while at the same time undermining any hope for peace through incitement to terror.

    The writer is former Legal Adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador of Israel to Canada.

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