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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
June 29, 2011

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Poll: Most Egyptians Would Keep Peace with Israel - Dina Zayed and Peter Graff (Reuters)
    67% of Egyptians think their country should keep a peace treaty with Israel, a poll by the government's Information and Decision Support Center indicated on Tuesday.
    11% want the peace deal scrapped, 2% want some clauses revised and 20% declined to respond.

Poll: Palestinians Oppose Demilitarized State (Palestinian Survey Research Unit)
    66% of Palestinians oppose President Obama's proposal that the Palestinian state will be demilitarized, according to a poll conducted jointly by the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
    61% of Palestinians think they should not accept Obama's call to return to negotiations with Israel.
    53% of Israelis and 62% of Palestinians rate the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state next to Israel in the next five years as non-existent or low.

Syrian Embassy Accused of Threatening Protesters in UK - Matthew Taylor (Guardian-UK)
    Syrians who have been involved in anti-government protests in the UK say they have been threatened and intimidated by agents of the Assad regime, receiving phone calls and visits to their homes, while members of their families in Syria have been threatened.

U.S. Welfare for Dictators - Aram Roston (Newsweek)
    To fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while staring down the mullahs in Iran, over the last decade the Pentagon has come to rely on bases across the Middle East.
    A Newsweek investigation of Pentagon contracting practices in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Bahrain has uncovered more than $14 billion paid mostly in sole-source contracts to companies controlled by the ruling families.

Gaza Rights Group Urges Hamas to Investigate Detainee's Death (Xinhua-China)
    The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) based in Gaza on Monday called on Hamas to investigate the death of a Palestinian inside a Hamas police station.
    Relatives of Ibrahim al-Araj said there were signs of torture on his body.
    In May and June, three people died of torture in Hamas detention facilities and a fourth man was sent to hospital in critical condition, according to the PCHR.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinian PM Skeptical of UN Bid - Karin Laub
    UN recognition of a Palestinian state would largely be a symbolic victory, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Tuesday. Fayyad, a political independent who has focused on trying to build a state from the ground up, warned against raising the expectations of ordinary Palestinians. "It is not going to be a dramatic result," said Fayyad. Asked if anything would change on the ground after UN recognition, he said: "My answer to you is no. Unless Israel is part of that consensus, it won't."  (AP)
  • Two Months On, Palestinian Unity Proves Elusive - Nidal al-Mughrabi
    Two months after announcing a surprise reconciliation deal to end years of feuding, rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah remain unable to implement their accord. "I did not believe that this reconciliation would go anywhere," said political analyst Hani Habib. "The problem is that there is no willingness on the side of Hamas or Fatah to bring about reconciliation on the ground." Forging Palestinian unity was regarded as crucial to giving credibility to the push for independence, and to prepare for long-delayed elections.
        Although well over 100 countries are expected to back the Palestinians at the UN in September, the U.S. has made clear it intends to veto any resolution brought before the UN Security Council - a move likely to doom efforts to secure full UN membership. (Reuters)
  • Israeli Advocacy Group Helps Delay Departure of Gaza-Bound Flotilla - Scott Sayare
    The departure of a pro-Palestinian flotilla planning to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza has been delayed, largely because of the efforts of an Israeli advocacy group, both sides said Tuesday. Greek authorities have detained two of the ships docked in Athens, including an American vessel, after the Israeli advocacy group Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center submitted a complaint to the Greek Coast Guard suggesting that seven of the ships might be lacking insurance or were improperly registered.
        Shurat HaDin has also contacted about 30 maritime insurance providers to warn that insuring the vessels may leave the companies open to prosecution for aiding a terrorist organization, said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the group. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Quartet to Present Mideast Peace Plan - Barak Ravid
    In a last-minute effort to stop the Palestinians from seeking unilateral recognition at the UN in September, the Mideast Quartet is planning to present a new international peace plan based on President Obama's Mideast speech on May 19, at a summit in Washington on July 11, senior Israeli and European officials said Tuesday.
        The Quartet summit will convene following pressure on the U.S. by Germany, France, and Britain to present an international peace plan. U.S. envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale conducted two rounds of talks in recent weeks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to draw up a formula for a compromise which will be used to invite both sides to engage in direct negotiations in the U.S. (Ha'aretz)
  • Flotilla Faces Serious Delays - Yaakov Katz
    Withdrawn insurance, alleged sabotage and Greek bureaucracy have dealt a setback to organizers of Freedom Flotilla 2, who said on Tuesday that departure to Gaza might be postponed until next week. In addition, only 350 people are expected to participate, compared with an estimated 700 people on board last year's flotilla. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel on Flotilla: We Won't Be Surprised This Time - Herb Keinon
    Israel has invested significant intelligence assets into assessing who and what is on the vessels expected to sail soon for Gaza so that "this time Israel won't be surprised," Israeli diplomatic officials said on Tuesday. Government officials said it was easier to obtain information about the ships and the passengers this time because the Greek authorities, who have come out strongly against the flotilla, have been much more cooperative than the Turkish authorities were last year. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel's Public Diplomacy Ministry Holds Exercise Ahead of Gaza Flotilla (Public Diplomacy Ministry-IMRA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Are U.S. Taxpayers Funding Palestinians' Dangerous Unilateralism? - Jonathan Schanzer
    In the coming weeks, "Palestinian delegations will make the rounds of nearly a dozen countries to try to drum up more support for their bid to have the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state," AP reports. Later this summer, Palestinian ambassadors will all fly to Madrid to discuss their European strategy. Here's a question for Congress: where is the travel money coming from? Diplomatic junkets don't grow on trees. The U.S. forks over an estimated $600 million to the Palestinians each year. It is reasonable to assume that Congress has been paying for the Palestinians' diplomatic end run around Washington. The writer is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (The Hill)
  • The Implications of Raised Expectations in Palestine - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Even if the UN votes in favor of a Palestinian state in September, Hamas, which represents many Palestinians, has made it clear that it would never recognize Israel's right to exist or accept the two-state solution. Hamas wants all the land, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. That is why any resolution adopted by the UN would not bring peace to the Middle East.
        Abbas has raised the expectations of many Palestinians to a dangerous level, as many are now expecting to wake up in September to see a new state. But when that does not happen, and the Palestinians realize they have been once again sold false promises, they could turn to violence not only against Israel, but also against their leaders in the West Bank. (Hudson Institute-New York)
  • Prospects and Implications of UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood - Tal Becker
    Whether or not Palestine is recognized at the UN, the downward spiral away from peacemaking seems to be intensifying at an alarming pace. In this study, former Israeli peace negotiator Tal Becker examines the scenarios most likely to unfold at the UN, the regional and domestic factors that have led the Palestinian leadership to pursue this course, and, looking ahead, the conditions necessary to foster Palestinian elections that empower more pragmatic forces. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

There Is an Israeli Consensus on the Basic Framework of Peace - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors on Tuesday:

  • We are fast approaching the time when the majority of Jews will live in the Jewish state. We [in Israel] already have the largest number of Jews in the world, but in a few years, we will do something that has defied the Jewish people for over two millennia, that is that the majority of the Jews will live in the Jewish state in the Jewish land.
  • The overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel and outside Israel, Israelis in Israel and friends of Israel outside Israel, agree on the basic framework of peace, assuming we had a peace partner who wanted to make peace with Israel.
  • We seek to achieve a peace and mutual recognition between two states, two nation-states for two peoples....This is the core of the conflict. This conflict is about the Jewish state. It's about the persistent refusal to accept that the Jews have a right for a nation-state of their own....It precedes the question of boundaries; it precedes the question of territorial dispute.
  • I said numerous times that I will accept a Palestinian state. Now President Abbas must stand before his people and he has to say these six words: "I will accept the Jewish state."...And the only way that it's going to happen is by the external pressure that says to the Palestinian leadership: "Just say it."
  • We don't want a repeat of what happened when we withdrew from Gaza or from South Lebanon. I believe that this will require for Israel to maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. There will be arguments about sovereignty, about territory, but I think that the question of demilitarization and a long-term military presence along the Jordan River are essential to guaranteeing any peace. A peace you cannot defend will not hold. A peace you can defend will.
  • What we have to achieve is an end to conflict - not to create a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel to continue the conflict and try to dissolve Israel by flooding it with refugees or by inducing irredentist pressures on the Arabs of the Galilee or the Negev.

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