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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
April 7, 2011

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NATO Says Gaddafi Forces Are Using Human Shields - Joby Warrick and Edward Cody (Washington Post)
    Libyan military commanders loyal to Gaddafi are blunting the impact of NATO's air campaign by hiding tanks and artillery in densely populated areas, U.S. and European diplomats said Wednesday.

Libyan Rebels Donít Really Add Up to an Army - C.J. Chivers (New York Times)
    Libya's rebel military is not really a military at all. It is less an organized force than the martial manifestation of a popular uprising.
    With throaty cries and weapons they have looted and scrounged, the rebels gather along Libya's main coastal highway each day, ready to fight.
    But they have almost no communication equipment. There is no visible officer or noncommissioned officer corps. Their weapons are a mishmash of hastily acquired arms, which few of them know how to use.
    It seems unlikely that such a force can carry the war westward, through dug-in Gaddafi units, and a sustained war of attrition could quickly bleed their ranks dry.

MI5 Believed Libyan Defector Involved in Assassinations in Britain - Duncan Gardham (Telegraph-UK)
    MI5 security service files reveal "conclusive evidence" that the Libyan embassy, where Moussa Koussa, the Libyan defector, was the ambassador, was involved in directing assassinations against Libyan dissidents in Britain.

Israelis Become More Skeptical About Peace - Elizabeth Mendes (Gallup)
    Israelis have become more pessimistic over the past several years that peace with the Palestinians will ever be achieved, more pessimistic about the direction that Israeli-Palestinian relations are headed, and less supportive of the peace process, according to Gallup surveys.
    Still, despite years of conflict, a solid majority of Israelis continue to support the peace process.
    See also Poll: A Third of Palestinians Support Stabbing Attack on Jewish Family (AP-Washington Post)
    Palestinian pollsters say a third of Palestinians surveyed supported an attack last month that saw five members of an Israeli family stabbed to death in their home in a West Bank settlement.

Three Hamas Terrorists in West Bank Charged with Plotting to Abduct IDF Soldier - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli security forces have charged three members of a Hamas cell based in Ramallah with plotting to abduct an Israel Defense Forces soldier, according to an indictment filed at an Israeli military court on Wednesday.
    Israeli security sources said Hamas plans to kill Israeli hostages, hide their bodies, and then negotiate for their return to Israel.
    See also Israel Security Nabs Hamas Terror Cell in East Jerusalem - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The Israel Security Agency has captured a Hamas terror cell that was operating in east Jerusalem and planning attacks against Israeli targets.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Arab Unrest Makes Israeli-Palestinian Peace Harder, Netanyahu Says - Janine Zacharia
    The democratic uprisings that have swept through the Middle East will make it harder for Israel to reach a peace deal with Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week in an interview. "Any potential deal with the Palestinians has to account for the tremendous instability in the region," he said. Netanyahu has long insisted on the need for strong security guarantees, such as maintaining an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley.
        From the start of the Egyptian revolution in January, Netanyahu has expressed skepticism that the uprising would transform Egypt into a democracy. He has worried that Egyptís peace treaty with Israel could be jeopardized. Rather than inking a peace deal with Palestinians, "Let's cement the peace that we already have with Egypt and Jordan," a senior Israeli official said. "I donít think there will be an American attempt to go around the negotiators," he said. "They may present their ideas, but they will stress that an agreement must be negotiated between the parties."  (Washington Post)
  • Israel to Germany: Drop Palestinian Statehood Plan - Josef Federman
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask Germany's leader in a meeting this week to drop a proposal to endorse a Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem as the end point of Mideast negotiations, Israeli officials said Wednesday. Germany, Britain and France are expected to bring up that position at a meeting of Mideast mediators next week. Netanyahu argues that endorsing Palestinian positions on borders would remove a key incentive for them to restart talks. Netanyahu has said he would not give up east Jerusalem, and that Israel needs to keep West Bank areas with large Jewish settlements or those close to major Israeli population centers. (AP)
  • Iran Makes Latin American Inroads beyond Venezuela - Donna Cassata
    Gen. Douglas Fraser, the head of the U.S. Southern Command, said Tuesday that Iran has nearly doubled the number of its embassies in Latin America, from 6 in 2005 to 10 in 2010, while also building cultural centers in 17 countries. Last year, Iran also hosted heads of state from Bolivia, Guyana and Venezuela.
        "Iran continues expanding regional ties to support its own diplomatic goal of reducing the impact of international sanctions connected with its nuclear program," Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "There are flights between Iran and Venezuela on a weekly basis, and visas are not required for entrance into Venezuela or Bolivia or Nicaragua. So we don't have a lot of visibility in who's visiting," he said. (AP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Sudan Blames Israel for Air Strike on Arms Supplier - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
    Sudan accused Israel Wednesday of launching a missile strike on Tuesday near Khartoum airport that demolished a car and killed its two passengers. Al-Arabiya reported that an Islamist responsible for supplying weapons to Hamas was one of those killed.
        The conduct of the Sudanese authorities and their decision to keep the media away from the attack site may indicate that Khartoum has much to hide in the affair. Israeli defense officials have accused Sudan of enabling Iran to smuggle arms through its territory and then via Egypt to Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
        See also "Hamas Weapons Man" Target of Sudan Attack
    Palestinian security officials said the target in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Sudan was Abdul-Latif Ashkar, who took over the role of weapons gathering formerly carried out by Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh, who was assassinated in Dubai last year. Ashkar was a founder of Hamas' "aid and logistics department," which coordinated weapons smuggling to Gaza. (Maan News-PA)
        See also Sudan Attack Carried Out on Lead from Captured Rocket Engineer
    Captured Palestinian rocket engineer Dirar Abu Sisi gave Israeli intelligence "valuable information" that led to the attack on arms smugglers in Sudan, the Kuwait newspaper Al Jarida reported Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Abduction of Rocket Engineer Sends Signal to Hamas - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The indictment against Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi makes it clear that the accused cooperated with his interrogators, enabling Israel to learn much about Hamas' methods of operation and strategic aims. Abu Sisi was at the top of Hamas' terror wing, initiating and leading the group's military academy and involved in developing new, improved strategic capabilities vis-a-vis Israel.
        The indictment confirmed that targeted interceptions are a highly effective means for thwarting terror attack plans, revealing that the assassination of top Hamas figure Adnan al-Ghoul in 2004 delayed the development of long-range Kassam rockets by a year and a half. Israel made sure to allow Abu Sisi to call his wife after he was safely in Israeli territory, thereby signaling to Hamas and its leaders that what happened to him may one day happen to them. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel and the UN - Editorial
    Israeli leaders have complained for years that the UN is biased against the Jewish state, that it judges almost every action of Israel through a Palestinian prism. † And now, evidence that the entire enterprise was skewed against Israel from the start. "Skewed" is not our word. It's Goldstone's. He writes that he "insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel." He writes of "the UN Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted."
        Israel didn't target civilians. Hamas did. It sent hundreds of rockets into Israeli towns. The report called on Israel and Hamas to investigate their soldiers' actions. Israel did. Hamas didn't. The UN should formally retract the Goldstone report. But it can't stop there. The UN needs to acknowledge that it has not been an honest broker in the Middle East. It needs to acknowledge that its human rights panel continues to be an embarrassment that greatly undermines the standing of the world body.
        The New York Times reported Sunday that the UN may vote this fall to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. The UN does not have the moral authority for such a declaration. It has not been an honest broker. Not even close. (Chicago Tribune)
        See also Lies about Israel Must Be Condemned - Editorial
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging the UN to nullify the Goldstone Report. The Obama administration should back this effort in the strongest terms. As we have learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pursuing terrorists means going after them where they live - among civilian populations. The Goldstone Report is nothing less than an attack on civilization's right of self-defense against barbarians. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Judge Goldstone's Turnabout - What Next? - Alan Baker
    Is it possible to have the Goldstone Report revoked, and thereby place the genie back in the bottle? While the infamous "Zionism=racism" resolution adopted by the General Assembly in November 1975 was, in fact, never revoked, because there is no mechanism for revoking UN resolutions, its content was emptied of all substance by a further resolution in 1991. This should be the way to proceed to revoke the dangerous content of the Goldstone Report.
        If Goldstone sincerely regrets his report and the damage it has caused, the only way to minimize such damage would be to formally address his message to the secretary-general and to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This would involve an appearance before the Human Rights Council which commissioned and mandated his report, and before the General Assembly, which endorsed it. Both bodies would then have to adopt resolutions revoking the content of their earlier resolutions, made on the strength of Goldstone's conclusions. The writer, a former legal adviser to the Israel Foreign Ministry and Israeli ambassador to Canada, is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Goldstone Won't Seek Gaza Report Nullification - Steven R. Hurst (AP)

Setting the Record Straight on Gaza Clash - Moshe Ya'alon (Washington Times)

  • The public renunciation of the Goldstone Report by its primary author represents an important victory for intellectual honesty. Having invested his personal credibility in a process that has since become synonymous with his name, Justice Goldstone now must be commended for his willingness to acknowledge the significant shortcomings of his UN assignment.
  • Yet it is absolutely unconscionable that his report could have ascribed malice to an ethical and law-abiding state such as Israel. The Israel Defense Forces does not wantonly target unarmed noncombatants. Israel's traditional Jewish values mandate that it always retains the moral high ground. Nor has the IDF ever hesitated to investigate suspected wrongdoing and to prosecute and punish offenders.
  • Israel was, is and always will be a liberal democracy seeking to live in peace with its neighbors. No amount of misinformation can change this reality. There must not be one set of rules for Israel and another for the rest of the world.
  • The international system has been infected by a dangerous virus. Good is called evil and evil is repackaged as good. In this corrupt state of affairs, it is more vital than ever that the principled voice of the United States be heard. America must lead the charge to have the Goldstone Report withdrawn from the global stage. Its legacy - which handicaps all democratic nations in their struggle against non-state actors that scorn international law - must not stand.

    The writer, a former IDF chief of staff, is Israel's Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs.

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