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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
August 3, 2011

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Egyptians Turn Against Liberal Protesters - Yaroslav Trofimov (Wall Street Journal)
    Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive the hard core of the pro-democracy protesters from Tahrir Square in Cairo on Monday.
    Hundreds of Egyptian army troops and central security police attacked the tent city on the square, shooting in the air and shouting "Allahu Akbar," God is Great.
    Protesters' belongings were dumped into garbage trucks. The soldiers beat the activists with truncheons and arrested dozens. The protesters who ran into surrounding streets encountered a hostile mob that included local shopkeepers and business owners.
    Squeezed between an assertive military and the country's resurgent Islamist movement, many pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt.
    "The liberal and leftist groups that were at the forefront of the revolution have lost touch with the Egyptian people," says Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center.

Maintaining Israel's Qualitative Military Edge - Joshua Teitelbaum (Hoover Institution-Stanford University)
    In July, Der Spiegel reported that Germany was set to sell 200 advanced main battle tanks, the Leopard Type 2A7+, to Saudi Arabia.
    From Israel's perspective, the golden mean on arms sales in the region has always been maintaining Jerusalem's qualitative military edge (QME).
    During talks with U.S. defense officials in 2006, Israel expressed its concerns about the loss of QME with respect to Saudi Arabia in a secret non-paper that stressed fears for Saudi stability and objected to the stalking by two Saudi F-15s of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's flight to the Sharm el-Sheikh summit on February 8, 2005.
    Israel and Germany have a long and largely secret military relationship, including a reported project code-named Bluebird, involving a long-range, high-resolution target-discrimination sensor that would help Israel distinguish incoming nuclear missiles.
    In May it was reported that Israel would purchase a sixth Dolphin class submarine from Germany.

Hamas, Hizbullah Threaten Israeli Ports and Undersea Drilling Rigs - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz)
    Brig.-Gen. Yaron Levi, the Israel Navy's intelligence chief, said Tuesday that terrorist groups close to Israel are in possession of missiles capable of hitting all Israeli ports and offshore infrastructure such as oil rigs.
    In addition, a large part of Israel's strategic infrastructure is concentrated in a narrow strip along the coast.
    He said Hizbullah has Iranian-made surface-to-sea missiles, and may also obtain Russian-made rockets from Syria.
    These missiles, he said, have a range that "covers all of Israel's ports, our economic waters and a large part of the shipping lanes to Israel."
    Hizbullah's model "is being copied today to Gaza. In the future, we will have to deal with missiles, torpedoes, mines, above-surface weapons and underwater ones, both in Gaza and Lebanon."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinian Authority Dismisses Israeli Peace Proposal - Phoebe Greenwood and Adrian Blomfield
    Israeli officials say they are prepared to accept a package to be proposed by the U.S. and its negotiating partners under which talks for the creation of a Palestinian state would be based on the 1967 ceasefire lines. Israel insists, however, that adjustments would have to be made to allow it to annex some of its larger settlements in the West Bank in exchange for land in Israel. The Palestinians have conducted negotiations on that basis in the past.
        Officials in Jerusalem have said that the offer only stands if the Palestinians are prepared to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and retract their application for recognition of an independent Palestinian state, which is to be submitted to the UN General Assembly next month.
        The Palestinian Authority has dismissed this potential Israeli concession on the future borders of a Palestinian state as a ploy, dealing a setback to hopes for a swift resumption of peace talks. "What I have read so far is a masterpiece of PR and linguistics," said Saeb Erekat, a leading Palestinian negotiator. (Telegraph-UK)
        See also 1967 Lines as International Baseline for Talks, But No Israeli Endorsement - Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger
    Jerusalem, while not endorsing the 1967 lines, would agree to language that would say that Israel recognizes that this is the position of the international community. The willingness to show this degree of flexibility, the official said, would be contingent on the Palestinians demonstrating flexibility of their own and endorsing language nodding at recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hosni Mubarak, Bedridden, Wheeled into Egyptian Courtroom - Ernesto Londono and Leila Fadel
    Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, bedridden and looking sickly, was wheeled into the cage of a Cairo courtroom Wednesday to be put on trial for allegedly ordering the killing of protesters earlier this year. Mubarak, 83, who ruled Egypt for three decades, had not been seen in public since he delivered a defiant speech on Feb. 10, vowing he would not resign. Mubarak is being tried alongside his sons Gamal and Alaa, who are charged with corruption. (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Seeks Pressure on Syria, But Options Are Few - Steven Lee Myers and Neil MacFarquhar
    The Obama administration is facing intensifying calls to punish Syria more forcefully for its bloody crackdown on protests, but officials say that without broader international support they have few options to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's government. (New York Times)
        See also Amb. Ford: New Congressional Syria Sanctions Probably Won't Have Impact - Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Recognizes Settlement Blocs, Prime Minister Says - Shlomo Cesana
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that he had reached a written agreement with the Obama administration according to which Israel would not be required to return to the 1967 borders in any future peace deal with the Palestinians. In addition, any future peace talks would take into account established "realities on the ground" - a term generally used in reference to Israel's large settlement blocs of Ariel, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion. Netanyahu's statements would mean an effective American ratification of a letter sent in 2004 by former U.S. President George W. Bush to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which guaranteed that the settlement blocs would remain a part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.
        The Prime Minister's Office views the agreement with the Obama administration as an achievement. Prime Minister's Office spokesman Gidi Shmerling clarified on Monday that the understanding with the U.S. does not include an Israeli agreement to return to the 1967 borders. Rather, the U.S. has acknowledged that any future talks would take into consideration the changes on the ground as well as Israel's security concerns. (Israel Hayom)
  • EU Trying to Get PA to Soften UN Resolution - Herb Keinon
    European diplomats are trying to convince the Palestinian Authority to significantly water down the statehood recognition resolution it's expected to bring to the UN in September to ensure consensus EU support, senior diplomatic officials told the Jerusalem Post Tuesday. According to the officials, the EU is not interested in seeing a resolution that would split the EU and highlight disunity when the EU is interested in projecting the perception of a body that has a single, unified foreign policy.
        In November 2009 the EU split at the General Assembly over whether to vote in favor of adopting the Goldstone Commission Report on Israel's Gaza operation earlier in the year, with five EU countries voting for the resolution, seven against, and 15 abstaining. In the intervening two years, Israel's relations with Cyprus and Malta have improved dramatically, largely as a result of the deterioration in ties with Turkey. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Terrorist Convicted in Fogel Family Murder - Chaim Levinson
    The Samaria Military Court on Tuesday convicted Hakim Awad, 18, of helping stab to death five members of the Fogel family in Itamar in the West Bank in March. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Syrian Army Shows Growing Signs of Strain - Jeffrey White
    The demonstrations in Syria are widespread, persistent, and growing in size, forcing the regime to conduct a "360 degree defense." No area of the country seems secure except perhaps the Alawi heartland in the northwest. With the important exception of Aleppo - Syria's second-largest city - disturbances have erupted in more than fifty localities. Even in Damascus, recurring demonstrations and security operations have been reported in neighborhoods and suburbs.
        So far, the Syrian regime has retained the allegiance of its large and formidable internal security apparatus. But the security forces have not been able to permanently secure any area and have had to shuttle personnel from one flashpoint to another, sometimes over considerable distances. The loyalty of the army is increasingly in doubt. As a conscript force in which largely Alawite officers lead largely Sunni soldiers, the army is ill suited for the internal security missions it is now being given.
        There are signs that army units are increasingly identifying with protestors, especially where security forces are employing violence against unarmed demonstrators. Repression alone is not working for the regime. Damascus does not have a viable political formula for swaying the protestors, much less ending the turmoil. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Turkey's Islamic Revolution - Benny Morris
    The Turkish Islamists, who took control of the country after democratic elections in 2002, are well on their way to completing a revolution. This weekend, they ticked another important "V" with the mass resignation of the country's top military brass and their immediate replacement by Islamist-friendly generals.
        The Turks may soon find an emulator in Egypt, where Islamists seem set to take over the state by democratic means. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties may be expected to follow the same Turkish paradigm, in which a state is gradually subordinated to Islam and removed from the West's orbit by a slow, incremental process which the West finds itself unable to counter. (National Interest)
  • Perennial Palestinian Pawns - Julia Pettengill
    As the Palestinian Authority (PA) begins to suffer from a shortfall in foreign aid, it seems increasingly clear that the PA's efforts to forge a more assertive diplomatic approach to Israel - namely, through entering into a reconciliation agreement with Hamas and its intention to pursue recognition of statehood at the UN this September - may well prove disastrous. In the case of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement, which has partially informed the U.S. Congress' recent threat to withdraw the $500 million in U.S. aid, the PA also stands to lose the international credibility it earned as a result of PM Salam Fayyad's state-building efforts.
        Israel has been the reliable straw man of most Middle Eastern autocrats for the past sixty years, who have deflected international attention and domestic anger at their own dysfunctional states onto the Zionist bogeyman. The Palestinians - best served by a peaceful settlement with the Israelis and the creation of a prosperous, secure Palestinian state - appear poised to be the losers in a very familiar regional game. The writer is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. (Standpoint-UK)

A Strategy for Israel in the Changed Middle East - Efraim Halevy (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The options for Israel and the Palestinians basically can be boiled down to these: a permanent agreement, an interim agreement, a de facto interim agreement, and a situation of no agreement. The best possible option - a permanent agreement - is not operable at this time and is the least probable.
  • Since the leaderships of Israel and the Palestinians are faced with the reality of a no-solution situation, one in which a permanent solution is not workable, both sides will have to do what people often do in life - they settle for less, settle for something which is less permanent, less perfect. There will have to be an interim solution.
  • In the year 2000 I paid a clandestine visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to what is called Solomon's Stables, where I saw beautiful, 2,000-year-old columns. They do not exist anymore because they were destroyed by the Muslims, believing that if they destroyed the remnants of the Temple area, they would destroy Jewish rights there.
  • There can only be an ultimate reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians if there is a mutual acceptance of rights. I believe we have a right to Jericho, and they believe they have a right to Jaffa. I would say that if they recognize my right, I will recognize their right, and now let's see how we can live together.
  • It is a mistake on our part to cringe every time the Palestinians say they are going to do something unilaterally. The end of all this might be a de facto dual unilateral process. After the UN vote in September, the PA will say that Israel is now an army of occupation in a sovereign state. Let them go to the International Court of Justice and, in the meantime, Israel will not cooperate. Israel needs a bit of stamina, strong nerves, and not to take them all that seriously. We should exercise more self-respect.

    Efraim Halevy, currently Head of the Shasha Center for Strategic Studies at the Hebrew University, served as National Security Advisor and Head of the National Security Council (2002-2003) and Head of the Mossad - the Israel Intelligence Service (1998-2002).

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