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August 25, 2011

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UN Statehood Bid 'Threatens Palestinian Rights' (Ma'an News Agency)
  The Palestinian team responsible for preparing the UN initiative in September has been given an independent legal opinion that warns of risks involved with its plan to join the UN.
  An initiative to transfer the Palestinians' representation from the PLO to a state will terminate the legal status held by the PLO in the UN since 1975 that it is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, according to the document.
  A change in status would severely disenfranchise the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were displaced.
  The seven-page opinion, obtained by Ma'an, was submitted to the Palestinian side by Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of public international law at Oxford University and a member of the team that won the 2004 non-binding judgment by the International Court of Justice that the route of Israel's wall was illegal.
  The Palestinian team, headed by Saeb Erekat, has been preparing an initiative to replace the PLO at the UN, substituting it with the State of Palestine as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Whose Brilliant Idea Was That UN Vote? - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
  Right now the PLO has an office in Washington DC, but why should it be permitted to remain open after the UN vote? Every six months a presidential waiver is required to allow it to remain here, due to the long involvement of the PLO under Arafat in terrorism. Would that waiver henceforth be permitted, or be exercised? But if the PLO office is closed, would the United States accredit an embassy for the State of Palestine? Obviously not, as it would be the American position that there is no State of Palestine, not yet anyway. So how about a Palestinian Authority office? Well, but if the PA is dissolved when �Palestine� is recognized by the UN....

Libya's Oil Industry Should Be Able to Recover Quickly - Jim Michaels (USA Today)
  Libya's oil industry should be able to recover fairly quickly after fighting ends, but it might take a year or two to reach pre-rebellion production levels, analysts say.
  If the country can establish political stability, Libya could begin producing 250,000 to 300,000 barrels a day within several months. Reaching pre-war levels of 1.6 million barrels a day will take a year or more, one analyst said. Before Gaddafi took power, Libya was producing about 3 million barrels a day, nearly twice what it produced during his regime.

Raytheon-Rafael Get Boost for Iron Dome System (Space War/UPI)
  Raytheon's partnership with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to market the Israeli company's Iron Dome anti-rocket system got a major boost in recent clashes in southern Israel when two batteries downed at least 15 rockets aimed at populated areas.
  Each battery consists of three launchers equipped with 20 Tamirs and is reported to be able to protect an area of around 60 square miles.

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Gaza Militants Fire 20 Rockets, Israel Hits Back
    Palestinian militants fired rocket barrages that wounded an Israeli baby Wednesday, and Israel retaliated with airstrikes that killed four Gaza fighters. See Israel stories below (AP/CBS News)
  • Israel Beefs Up Security at Egypt Border
    Israel bolstered its security along the Egyptian border on intelligence reports indicating terrorists planned to attack Israelis, officials said. Israel's Chief of Staff ordered the army to bolster security along the border and gather intelligence using electronic and visual means to track down the terrorists.
      An initial inquiry by the army into last week's terror attack near Eilat was submitted to Egyptian officials. The report showed Israeli soldiers did their utmost to prevent Egyptian soldiers and border guards from being hurt during gun battles that erupted between Israeli soldiers and terrorists who fled to the Egyptian side of the border.
      Videos taken from aircraft showed Israeli soldiers intentionally diverted fire from the Egyptian all-terrain vehicles and soldiers towards open areas near the border base. The investigation also found Egyptian army troops spotted the terrorists but did nothing to detain them. (UPI)
  • Europe Accuses Iranian Force of Aiding Syrian Crackdown - Nada Bakri
    The European Union announced on Wednesday that it was leveling sanctions against Iran�s Al Quds military force, saying it had given technical and material support to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in his efforts to crush the five-month-old uprising against his rule.
      The list of sanctions also names five Syrian generals, as well as Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister and special Assad envoy; Munir Adnuf, the deputy chief of the Syrian Army; Samir Hassan, a businessman that it identifies as one of the government�s financiers, and Mr. Assad�s younger brother, Maher, who commands the army�s Fourth Division and is believed to be responsible for much of the bloodshed. (New York Times)
  • Syria Protests Travel by U.S. Ambassador without Government Permission - Jill Dougherty
    The State Department says the Syrian government has delivered a diplomatic note of protest to the United States, expressing concern over U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford's visit Tuesday to the city of Jassem, 70 kilometers south of Damascus, without permission from the Syrian government.
      Ford decided to go to Jassem, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, because the Syrian government repeatedly had denied him permission to travel. "So it was on that basis, the fact that he had been denied again and again and again permission to travel under their own system that they set up, that he made the decision ... to go." (CNN)
  • SAS, British Special Forces Leads Hunt for Gaddafi - Thomas Harding
    For the first time, British defense sources have confirmed that the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in coordinating the fall of Tripoli. With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothing and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi, who has been on the run since his fortified headquarters was captured on Tuesday.
      With pro-Gaddafi forces putting up stubborn resistance in Tripoli and in loyalist towns including Sirte, the National Transitional Council and its NATO allies made urgent appeals for the swift capture of the former leader and his family. NATO has ordered all available surveillance aircraft, including British spy planes, to focus on tracking Gaddafi. (Telegraph -- UK)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Rocket Fire on Southern Israel Continues. Iron Dome Activated Again
    More than 20 rockets were fired on southern Israel from Gaza during the night with strikes on Beersheva, Ashkelon, Sderot, Ofakim, Netivot and villages in the region. An 11-month old baby was lightly injured by the blast on one of the kibbutzim in the area. Damage was reported to a house in Sderot this morning.
      The Iron Dome defense system successfully intercepted rockets that were fired on Beersheva and Ashkelon. In response to the ongoing attacks, the IDF bombed a band of Palestinians in Gaza firing kassam rockets. Reports say that six Palestinians were killed. (Globes)
  • Egyptian Police Remove Israeli Flag from Cairo Embassy - Daniel Siryoti
    Egyptian police guarding the Israeli Embassy in Cairo turned a blind eye this past weekend when a demonstrator climbed up 15 flights to remove Israel�s flag from the building. On Tuesday, as crowds continued to demand that Israel�s ambassador be expelled from the country, the police took it upon themselves to remove the flag.
      One of the terrorist leaders in Sinai, formerly Osama bin Laden�s doctor, Dr. Ramzi Muwafi, was recently captured by the Egyptian military. Muwafi commanded a terrorist training camp near El Arish, the capital of Northern Sinai. (Israel Hayom)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • After Arab Revolts, Reigns of Uncertainty - Anthony Shadid
    No uprising is alike, but Libya�s complexities echo in the revolts in Bahrain, Syria and, most of all, Yemen, suggesting that the prolonged transition of Arab countries to a new order may prove as tumultuous to the region as Egypt�s moment was stirring. Unlike at the start of the year, when the revolutionary momentum seemed unstoppable, uncertainty is far more pronounced today, as several countries face the prospect of stalemate, sustained conflict or power vacuums that may render them ungovernable.
      Iran�s revolution a generation ago was followed by a grinding war with Iraq, the birth of Hizbullah in Lebanon and the politicization of Shiite Muslims across the Persian Gulf. The Arab world is now embroiled in three revolutions (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya) and three full-fledged revolts (Syria, Yemen, Bahrain). (New York Times)
  • Israel Must Adjust to a Changing Middle East - Moshe Arens
    We must realize that the facts on the ground around us are changing, and that there may yet be more changes in the wind. It is time for a reappraisal of pre-conceived ideas.
      This is not a time to throw caution to the wind. This is not a time to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines. It is not a time for "daring political initiatives." It is a time for watching and waiting to see how things are going to turn out. It is a time to think how we are going to assure the security of Israel's citizens in the southern part of the country from daily rocket attacks, and make sure that those living in the north and the center of the country do not share their fate. (Ha'aretz)
  • Why Golda Meir Was Right - Burak Bekdil
    It has been more than two and a half years since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Israel's President Shimon Peres, �You (Jews) know well how to kill.� In this holy month of Ramadan full of blood on Muslim territories, let�s try to identify who are the ones who know well how to kill.
      As the Syrian death count clicks every day to come close to 2,000, the Turkish-Kurdish death count does not stop, already over 40,000 since 1984. Only during this Ramadan, the Kurdistan Workers� Party, or PKK�s, death toll has reached 50 in this Muslim Kurds vs. Muslim Turks war. This excludes the PKK casualties in Turkey and in northern Iraq due to Turkish military retaliation since they are seldom accurately reported.
      But a simple, strictly Middle East research will reveal one million deaths in the all-Muslim Iran-Iraq war; 300,000 Muslim minorities killed by Saddam Hussein; 80,000 Iranians killed during the Islamic revolution; 25,000 deaths in 1970-71, the days of Black September, by the Jordanian government in its fight against the Palestinians; and 20,000 Islamists killed in 1982 by the elder al-Assad in Hama.
      Muslim Arab deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict are estimated at 46,000 including 11,000 during Israel�s war of independence. That makes 0.05 percent of all deaths in all conflicts, or 0.4 percent of all Arab deaths in the Middle East conflicts.
      Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, had a perfectly realistic point when she said that peace in the Middle East would only be possible �when Arabs love their children more than they hate us.� (Hurriyet - Turkey)
  • Observations:

    Palestinian-Style Silence of the Lambs - Avi Dichter (Washington Times)

  • Amid preparations for statehood, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad remain inexplicably silent regarding the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas' militia against Israel on Aug. 18, which claimed eight lives.
  • This tongue-biting from the PA's top guns should concern world leaders, specifically United Nations members set to vote on the resolution for a Palestinian state next month.
  • While the PA-Hamas schism exonerates Mr. Abbas of culpability in executing terrorism, it sheds further light on the PA's power void in Gaza, casting tremendous doubts on the possibility of a united Palestinian state. If Palestinians expect the U.N. to vote in favor of a new state, how can that state be divided, with moderates leading in the West Bank and terrorists ruling in Gaza?
  • Egypt also must be held accountable for the attack on Aug. 18. Though Egyptians turning a blind eye toward securing the Sinai Peninsula is nothing new, terrorists' ability to smuggle arms and terrorists in that region has tremendously increased since former President Mubarak's ouster. Officials in Egypt must completely crack down on smuggling in the Sinai. Avi Dichter is a member of the Israeli Knesset and a former Shin Bet director.

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