Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 23, 2011

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Cyber Spies Invade the Shadowy World of Would-Be Terrorists - Jason Koutsoukis (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    Israeli intelligence consultant Gadi Aviran's company Terrogence employs a small army of cyber spies who infiltrate the password-protected Internet chat rooms and online forums frequented by would-be bombers who want to plot, plan and discuss potential attacks.
    ''In the operations room here we have people who are fluent in Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese and English,'' Aviran says.
    ''We knock on the front door of these websites and chat rooms, we build trust, then we enter and start listening. As far as anyone else is concerned, we are them.''
    ''We are present in some fairly dark corners of the Internet, monitoring, gathering information, watching discussions unfold in real time about how to plan attacks on mostly Western targets,'' he says.

Lebanon's Hizbullah May Fight Israel to Relieve Syria - Mariam Karouny (Reuters)
    Lebanon's Hizbullah is preparing for a possible war with Israel to relieve perceived Western pressure to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, its guardian ally, sources close to the movement say.
    "The storm is building up now and after it everything will change," said Hilal Khashan, a political analyst at the American University in Beirut.
    "In all cases, no matter what happens in Syria, developments there will not be in favor for Hizbullah."

Apple Removes Intifada App - Nick Bilton (New York Times)
    Apple removed "The Third Intifada" application from its App Store on Wednesday after a Jewish human rights group and a top Israeli official said it contained anti-Semitic content and promoted violence against Israel.
    "We removed this app from the App Store because it violates the developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," an Apple spokesman said Wednesday.

Israel Readies LNG Terminal to Cover Gas Supply Gap - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
    Facing a short-term shortage of natural gas due to a halt in imports from Egypt after the pipeline in Sinai was twice attacked by saboteurs in recent months, Israel is accelerating plans to build an off-shore receiving terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Warns Americans Against Participating in Gaza Flotilla
    The State Department is warning Americans against participating in an international flotilla to Gaza. The U.S. says those participating may face arrest, prosecution and deportation. Israeli authorities say they will seek to ban anyone attempting to break the blockade from traveling to Israel for 10 years. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also State Department Travel Warning (U.S. State Department)
        See also European Ship Delivers Aid to Gaza via Egypt - Yaakov Katz
    Israel has long argued that the Gaza flotilla is an unnecessary provocation and that all humanitarian aid can be transferred via land crossings to Gaza. Earlier this week, a ship from Europe arrived at El-Arish in Egypt with 30 tons of medicine, wheelchairs, baby food and 12 ambulances which made their way overland to Gaza. Israeli defense officials said the shipment was proof that the flotilla is nothing more than a provocation. "There is no need to try and break the sea blockade over Gaza to get supplies to the Palestinians there - if that is what they really want," defense officials said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Assad's Syria Slowly, and Surely, Unraveling
    There is no widespread revolution in Syria like there is in Libya. Instead, the country has disintegrated into a surreal patchwork of places where it is tense but quiet, and combat zones in which the regime's most loyal units are killing people indiscriminately. What began in mid-March in the country's far south as a revolt of local tribes against the government's arrest and torture of young people has gradually spread to almost every city in the country.
        Since early June, when residents of Jisr al-Shughour on the Turkish border began shooting at advancing army units, parts of the north have descended into civil war. The old mechanism of revolts and repression doesn't work anymore. Violence no longer leads to subjugation, but rather to rage and resistance.
        Two weeks ago, the regime announced that "armed groups" had killed 120 soldiers in Jisr al-Shughour. In fact, there were no 120 dead soldiers. Instead, 20 to 30 people, some of them soldiers, had been shot dead by local residents defending their city. (Der Spiegel-Germany)
  • CAIR Loses Tax-Exempt Status - Steven Emerson
    Donations to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) no longer are tax deductible after the organization was among 275,000 tax-exempt organizations purged earlier this month by the Internal Revenue Service. The groups failed to file required annual reports for three consecutive years. In 2007, the Washington Times reported that CAIR's membership plummeted from 29,000 people in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Former Israeli Intelligence Chief: Arab Spring Is Good for Israel
    Former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem Wednesday that he believes the unrest in the Arab world would ultimately benefit Israel. Yadlin said that "the long-term changes in the Arab world are a great opportunity for Israel....The values that they fought over in Tahrir Square are our values. The fact that Arabs are attacking their own regimes and not Israel is historic."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: Abbas Knows Our Phone Number
    At a meeting of the World Jewish Congress Tuesday commemorating its 75th anniversary, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: "Enough stalling, enough excuses. Abu Mazen [PA leader Mahmoud Abbas] knows our phone number and our address. He could be here in 10 minutes. We have been waiting for him for two years. Unfortunately we are left staring at an empty chair."
        He added that the Palestinian plan to unilaterally push for recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly is the same old strategy using different tactics. "Their goal remains the same - to continue the struggle against Israel."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Fame, Not Freedom, Is the Goal of the Latest Flotilla Bound for Gaza - Rowan Dean
    Three frustrated Australian ''peace'' activists - all clearly suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome - are heading off to take their berths on a flotilla of fools in search of an utterly futile confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces. This protest is designed solely for the purpose of attempting to recreate the outrage that occurred when last year's flotilla was intercepted by the Israelis and a firefight was provoked that resulted in the tragic, awful and pointless death of nine activists. So, hey, let's do it again and see what happens!
        Thanks to the Arab Spring, the Egyptian border with Gaza is now wide open. The objective of this exercise is fame for those on board, not freedom for the Palestinians. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
  • International Activists Should Take the Road to Damascus, Not Gaza - Steven King
    As the Irish-owned ship MV Saoirse sails to join the international flotilla to Gaza, why is it not heading for the Syrian coast? Surely, if anyone could use some solidarity right now, it is the Syrian opposition forces who are being murdered on a daily basis. Yes, Israel is maintaining a sea blockade to prevent the smuggling of Iranian weaponry into Gaza. But can we really blame them? Ireland has special reason to understand the need to prevent the entry of weapons by sea for terrorist purposes, having had the experience of the IRA’s attempts to import arms and explosives on ships from Libya in 1973 and 1987.
        So why not divert a couple of hundred miles north to Latakia where President Assad is mowing down his own people because they dare to demand dignity and democracy? Surely, there is no contest in terms of suffering. Or do you just have a problem with a Jewish state in the Middle East? (Irish Examiner)
  • New UN Human Rights Body Even More Devoted to Israel-Bashing - Anne Bayefsky
    The old Human Rights Commission spent 40 years adopting country-specific criticisms, a third of which condemned Israel. Now 50% of the new "reformed" UN Human Rights Council's country-specific resolutions and decisions are devoted to Israel-bashing. There have been 12 special sessions in the last five years, half of them on Israel. There have been more human rights reports commissioned on Israel than on any other state. And only one country is not allowed even to attend the lobbying and information-sharing regional meetings associated with the Council sessions - Israel - while "Palestine" is invited to all of them.
        Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice on March 31, 2009, explained: "The scheduled to undergo a formal review of its structure and procedures in 2011, which will offer a significant opportunity for Council reform." That review ended Friday, with every major reform recommendation made by American negotiators rejected. U.S. membership has made no difference to the outcomes on Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

Aiding Friends and Foes in Palestine - Douglas N. Greenburg and Derek D. Smith (Foreign Affairs)

  • The reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises a number of difficult issues for the U.S., including whether Washington can lawfully continue to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority if it includes Hamas as an equal partner.
  • U.S. law has long prohibited citizens from providing support to or doing business with Hamas, with violations punishable by up to 15 years in prison, or life in prison if the support results in the death of any person.
  • The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also enforces sanctions against Hamas and its affiliates, forbidding U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), and further requiring that U.S. financial institutions block any transactions involving assets of FTOs.
  • Should the Obama administration want to continue funding a Hamas-affiliated PA, current law gives him little leeway to do so.

    Douglas N. Greenburg served as a staff member of the September 11 Commission. Derek D. Smith is the author of Deterring America: Rogue States and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

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