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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
September 1, 2011

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In-Depth Issues:

Report: Increasing Nuclear Cooperation between Iran and North Korea - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    The German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported that North Korea has supplied Iran with a highly precise computer to help simulate a nuclear explosion.
    The computer transfer is part of a larger $100 million deal between Tehran and Pyongyang that also includes teaching and training Iranian experts in nuclear weapons and missiles.

Sarkozy: Iranian Nuclear Bid Could Provoke Attack (AFP/Defense News)
    France's President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Wednesday that Iran's attempts to build long-range missiles and nuclear weapons could lead unnamed countries to launch a pre-emptive attack.
    "Its military nuclear and ballistic ambitions constitute a growing threat that may lead to a preventive attack against Iranian sites that would provoke a major crisis that France wants to avoid at all costs," he said.

The Devastating Truth about Water and Palestinian Statehood - Yochanan Visser and Sharon Shaked (Jerusalem Post)
    The Palestinian Authority has been sabotaging the two-state solution by preventing the development of an independent water infrastructure for the future Palestinian state.
    44 joint Israeli-Palestinian Water Commission-approved projects, like the construction of a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) in Jenin that received approval in 2008, have not been implemented.
    The German government even withdrew a plan to build a WWTP in Tulkarm when it concluded that the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) could not handle the project.
    The PWA did not implement projects in the Eastern aquifer that would have solved much of the Palestinian water crisis. More than half of the wells approved for exploitation of the Eastern aquifer have still not been drilled.
    The Palestinian Authority neglects the basic needs of its citizens and cynically uses water as a weapon in a PR campaign against Israel.
    The stubborn refusal to work with Israel on mutual interests like improvement of the water infrastructure, and the way the PA subsequently uses that lack of improvement to demonize Israel, prove that the PA is not interested in the two-state solution, or peace.

Video: Preview "Jerusalem," Filmed in Imax 3D (Jerusalem Giant Screen)
    After a year of research and preparation, the giant screen film Jerusalem advanced into production with an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank.
    Scheduled for worldwide release in 2013, the film will take audiences on a spectacular tour of the Holy Land and the city once believed to lie at the center of the world.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • New Egypt Troop Presence in Sinai a Gamble for Israel - Edmund Sanders
    The aftermath of the "Arab Spring" is forcing Israel to gamble with what had long been one of the foundations of its security: a demilitarized Sinai peninsula. This week, as many as 1,500 more Egyptian troops poured into the region with armored vehicles and a limited number of tanks amid a crackdown on Islamist radical groups after a cross-border attack this month left eight Israelis dead. But allowing an increased Egyptian military presence along the border carries significant risk for Israel. The military-led council that replaced Mubarak is facing strong public pressure to take a harder stance against Israel, which remains deeply unpopular in Egypt.
        A senior Israeli Defense Ministry official said Israel has agreed since January to permit Egypt to deploy "several thousand" soldiers along the border. However, he said, Israel so far has been unimpressed with the Egyptian army's results. "They can't or won't clamp down to stop the weapons flow," he said, and in recent months Libyan-made shoulder-launched missiles and anti-tank missiles have been smuggled through Sinai into Gaza. He said Egypt has the manpower to accomplish the job, if it has the will.
        The risk for Israel, analysts say, is in opening a door that will be difficult to close again. Once Egyptian soldiers are deployed in the Sinai in large numbers, can Israel be assured that they will leave after the threat is controlled? (Los Angeles Times)
  • Proposed Legislation Would Cut Off Funds to UN Groups Elevating Status of Palestinian Mission
    The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is asking Congress to block U.S. funds for any UN entity that supports giving Palestine an elevated status at the UN. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), in legislation unveiled Tuesday with 57 cosponsors, also would ban U.S. contributions to the UN Human Rights Council and to the Durban conference against racism scheduled for next month which is seen as a platform for anti-Israel rhetoric.
        Ros-Lehtinen said her bill follows the example of George H.W. Bush, who in 1989 succeeded in stopping the UN from recognizing a Palestinian state by threatening to cut off U.S. financial support. The U.S. State Department opposes the legislation. (AP-Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel: Acceptance of PA's UN Bid Will Push Back Talks for Years - Herb Keinon
    A UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a nonmember state would create "unbridgeable gaps" and push back negotiations for years, a senior Israeli official warned Wednesday. He said that once such a resolution was passed, the Palestinians would never be willing to negotiate on the basis of anything less, and no Israeli leader would ever be able to agree to such terms. He said that this was well understood by the U.S. He added that Israel had no intention of negotiating with the Palestinians - or anyone else - over the language of the UN resolution.
        The official also said it was an "illusion" to think that a Palestinian state could "go it alone," adding that the Palestinians need Israeli assistance in everything from tax collection to combating Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Deploys Third Iron Dome Anti-Rocket Battery - Yanir Yagna
    The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday deployed a third Iron Dome anti-rocket battery outside the city of Ashdod. During the recent round of Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza, two other Iron Dome batteries in the Beersheba and Ashkelon areas successfully intercepted more than 20 Grad missiles. On Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that nine Iron Dome batteries would be deployed within the next two years. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel to Double Iron Dome Production - Yuval Azoulai
    Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. will open a second production line for the Iron Dome's Tamir missiles, which intercept rockets fired at Israel from Gaza. Israel's two operational Iron Dome batteries intercepted over 90% of the rockets that would have hit populated areas in recent days. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Assad, Going Down - Rami G. Khouri
    The signs are not good for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the tightly knit network of relatives, security agencies, Baath Party members and business associates that dominates the country. When Syria's two closest allies - Iran and Hizbullah - publicly acknowledge that the problems in Syria are deep and cannot be resolved by current hard security measures, this is a signal that Syria is in deep trouble. Turkey also continued to pressure the Assad government, saying that if it is forced to choose between supporting the leaders or the people of Syria, it would support the people.
        The Syrian regime still has decisive leaders, many security services, a core political/demographic base of support at home, plenty of tanks and ammunition, billions of dollars of money, and tens of thousands of foot soldiers. All these assets, however, are bunched into an increasingly smaller and smaller space, and are confronting mass popular rallies that steadily grow in frequency, size, bravado and political intensity. Using tanks to kill your own civilians is not a sign of strength, but of savagery born of desperation. The writer is Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. (New York Times)
        See also Syria's Gamble on Gaddafi Fails - Osman Mirghani (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Still Far from Ready for Statehood - Efraim Inbar
    Unfortunately, General Assembly resolutions cannot fix a Palestinian national movement that is hopelessly fractured and dysfunctional. Can the UN bring Gaza and the West Bank together to present reasonable interlocutors for Israeli negotiators? Can it mellow Hamas' lust to kill Jews and to eradicate Israel? Can it eradicate the "shaheed" death culture?
        The Palestinians insist on the invented "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, which most of the world sees as an unrealistic demand and an obstacle to peace. The Palestinians are trying to deny Jewish history in Jerusalem. They are still not ready to concede that they lost the struggle over Jerusalem, a united capital city that the Jews will adamantly defend. The Palestinians remain unwilling to make a pragmatic deal in order to achieve statehood. And can the PA survive without begging for international support every few months? The writer is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. ( Australian)
  • The Republic of Anti-Israel - David Warren
    On Sept. 20, as the next UN session opens, Mahmoud Abbas will present a declaration of statehood to the General Assembly, on behalf of the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians, so far as they are a people, have now a long history of being able to do things without consequences. Under the direction of a succession of "reformed" or unreformed terrorist leaders, from the Mufti of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat to Hamas, they have "evolved" a polity which may itself be defined as "the Anti-Israel."
        Israel is consistently held to account, both internally and externally, as an old-fashioned, formal nation state. When the Israelis respond to rocket attacks from Gaza, they are compelled to justify their action. But the people who sent the rockets are not.
        The Western position has been: settle a boundary, let Israel live in peace within it, let Palestinians live in peace on the other side. Let all past claims be resolved by direct negotiations, under international supervision. This is called "the two-state solution." It sounds plausible, but only so long as we avert our eyes from the reality. The UN will be granting Palestinian statehood without a resolution of anything. It will be a reward for consistent Palestinian refusal to negotiate in good faith, or to deliver on any significant undertakings made under the various Madrid, Oslo, and other "peace agreements" reached in the past. (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)

Support Peace: Oppose Palestinian UN Gambit - David Harris (Huffington Post)

  • For those interested in a two-state outcome, the Palestinian UN gambit should be opposed. First, it does an end-run around face-to-face talks. Responsible political leaders should be encouraging the Palestinians to return to the table with Israel, not undermining the prospect of direct negotiations.
  • Second, if a Palestinian state is recognized along the 1967 lines (nothing more than the 1949 armistice lines), this undermines UN Security Council Resolution 242 and 338 and the Camp David Accords, which call for a negotiated outcome and do not predetermine final boundaries. Indeed, once the UN General Assembly (GA) endorses a Palestinian state's borders, how will the Palestinians ever accept the territorial adjustments diplomats know will be required to address the minimum needs of both sides to reach a deal?
  • Third, countries that support the Palestinian strategy may well contribute to a resurgence of violence. Why feed false expectations?
  • Countries should consider carefully if "Palestine" today has the necessary elements of statehood. If every secessionist, insurgent, or so-called independence group felt it might get validation from the UN General Assembly, regardless of actual conditions on the ground, all hell could break loose.
  • Finally, a GA vote would say to Israel: we are prepared to hand over, among other land, Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter and sacred Western Wall to Palestinian control.
  • We'll know soon enough what democratic nations have the courage to embrace principle in the pursuit of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and what countries are ready to throw it to the wind.

    The writer is the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee.

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