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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 5, 2011

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PA Ambassador in Brazil: "Israel Must Disappear" - Reinaldo Azevedo (Veja-Brazil [in Portuguese])
    Imagine the scandal if an Israeli diplomat said: "The Palestinian Authority should disappear." On Friday, Alzeben Ibrahim, the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil, told a group of university students that "Israel should disappear."
    "And this is not the ambassador of Iran or President Ahmadinejad who is speaking."
    Thus it was evident that he did not mean Israel must disappear from the West Bank, but wiped off the map as Ahmadinejad preached.
    Hamas also believes that Israel must disappear.
    The writer is a widely-read columnist for the largest magazine in Brazil.

U.S. Diplomats Harangued by Palestinians in Ramallah (AFP)
    Several dozen demonstrators harangued a group of American diplomats in Ramallah Tuesday in protest over U.S. policies towards the Palestinians.
    The protesters held up placards reading: "We don't want U.S. money," in reference to a decision by Congress to freeze $200 million in aid in response to the Palestinian bid to secure UN membership.
    The U.S. says a Palestinian state can only emerge through direct negotiations with Israel.

Facing Backlash, Syria Revokes Week-Old Ban on Import of Consumer Goods - Nada Bakri (New York Times)
    The Syrian government on Tuesday revoked a recent decision to ban imports of most consumer goods, a move that had sent prices soaring and provoked outrage among a business elite that has until now backed the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.

Egypt Re-arrests Hizbullah Spy - Khaled Desouki (AFP)
    Egyptian security authorities on Monday detained a man suspected of spying for Hizbullah after he escaped detention during the January uprising, the official MENA agency said.
    Hassan al-Manakhly, one of the 22-member Hizbullah cell, was arrested after making an appearance on a live talk show Sunday in Cairo.
    Manakhly had been serving a 10-year jail sentence for spying and "planning terrorist attacks inside Egypt."

The Saudization of Egypt - Ali Alyami (Hudson Institute-New York)
    According to Al Arabiya, 120 new Saudi companies have been established in Egypt since the Egyptian Revolution.
    The major problem with this is that wherever Saudi money goes, Wahhabism "follows and swallows."
    The writer is Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.

West Bank Palestinians See Housing Boom (WAFA-PA)
    The number of housing units in the Palestinian territory in 2011 is expected to reach 884,385, an increase of about 26% compared to 2007, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Sunday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Assad: If NATO Attacks Syria, We'll Strike Tel Aviv - and Iran Will Attack U.S. Navy
    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu threatened the Western countries that if Syria comes under a NATO attack, it would set fire to the Middle East, especially Israel. "If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv," Assad said. He also said that Damascus will call on Hizbullah in Lebanon to launch an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel.
        "All these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the U.S. and European interests will be targeted simultaneously."  (Fars-Iran)
  • Russia, China Veto UN Condemnation of Syria - Colum Lynch
    Russia and China cast a veto at the UN Security Council on Tuesday to block a resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown on protesters. Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, thanked the "voices of the wise" who had confronted what he characterized as colonial and military aspirations of Western powers that are "doomed to failure." The vote triggered an angry reaction from Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, who walked out of the Security Council meeting in protest during the Syrian envoy's statement, in which he accused the U.S. of being a "party to genocide" through its support of Israel. (Washington Post)
  • Israeli Scientist Wins 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry - Patrick Lannin and Simon Johnson
    Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman, 70, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, whose work was once ridiculed for being out of line with received thinking, won the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry on Wednesday for discovering different ways in which atoms could be packed together in solid materials. "His discovery was extremely controversial. In the course of defending his findings, he was asked to leave his research group," said the Nobel Committee for Chemistry at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which made the award. "However, his battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter."  (Reuters)
  • Iran Thought Behind Clashes in Saudi Shiite District - Michael Peel
    The Saudi Arabian government blamed an unnamed foreign power - normally a code word for Iran - for trying to stoke trouble in the heavily Shia-populated area around al-Qatif after 14 people were injured in clashes on Monday.
        The Interior Ministry claimed on Tuesday that 11 security personnel were wounded when they clashed with protesters in the oil-rich eastern province. The rioters "need to clearly decide if their loyalty is to their homeland or to that state and its religious authorities," the ministry said. (Financial Times-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Says Israel, PA Support New Quartet Approach to Talks - Herb Keinon
    The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv circulated a statement on Tuesday giving the impression both Israel and the Palestinians have equally accepted a Quartet framework for returning to direct talks, though the Palestinians have not yet formally endorsed the idea. Under the proposal, Israel and the Palestinians are supposed to sit down for a preparatory meeting by Oct. 23. Diplomatic officials said there were currently intensive efforts behind the scenes, including during U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit to the region on Tuesday, to prod the sides back to the table. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jerusalem Mayor Defends Housing Construction Plan - Tani Goldstein
    Last week the Jerusalem Planning Committee approved the construction of 1,100 apartments in the Gilo neighborhood, a move that drew widespread criticism from abroad. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Tuesday stressed the importance of ongoing construction in the city "as the only solution to the housing crisis." "The Gilo construction critics expect that we will discriminate against Jews and only allow Arabs to build....When I talk to U.S. government officials, it appears they are not aware that we approve construction both for Arabs and Jews."
        "We build for Arabs in east Jerusalem, including legalization of unregulated housing. In the neighborhood of Arnona, we recently authorized 1,000 apartments for Jews and 1,500 for Arabs. So what do they want? That we freeze construction for everyone? For Arabs too? And leave the natural growth issue unanswered? Or only ban Jewish construction, in violation of Israeli and international law?"  (Ynet News)
  • Palestinian Mastermind in Fogel Family Murder Pleads Guilty - Ahiya Raved
    Amjad Awad, 19, the mastermind behind the murder of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar last March, has admitted to the crimes in Samaria Military Court. Together with his cousin, Hakim, he brutally murdered Ehud Fogel, 36, Ruth Fogel, 35, 11-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad and 2-month-old Hadas. His cousin helped him by holding down the children and shooting Ruth after Amjad stabbed her. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why Israel Is "Isolated" - Editorial
    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was quite right to observe this week that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Mideast. What's unnerving, though, is to suggest, as he did, that Jerusalem is at fault for this situation. Yes, Israel finds itself isolated in the region. That's because Turkey has cast its fate with Iran rather than the West and has been looking for fights to pick with Jerusalem to bolster its status. It's because Egypt, without Mubarak, has made it clear that it wants to pull back the relationship. Yet Jerusalem is somehow perceived as causing rather than enduring increasing hostility and snubs from its neighbors.
        Are the West Bank settlements really to blame here rather than decades of virulent Arab anti-Semitism and refusal to accept the reality of a Jewish presence in the region? The U.S. knows better. (New York Jewish Week)
  • Obama and Israel: Hot or Cold? - Michael Singh
    U.S.-Israel military and security ties have never been stronger. That the strength of this relationship attests to the good health of the U.S.-Israel alliance, however, is questionable. The U.S. provides military assistance to Israel not out of charity, but because it is in our interest to do so. Israel is a powerful, competent, and cooperative partner in a region that is vital to American security and prosperity. Our assistance not only protects Israel, but also provides for our common defense against threats such as Iran's nuclear and missile program and transnational terrorist groups. These threats are not merely hypothetical, as demonstrated by the Israeli strike on Syria's clandestine nuclear program in 2007. We seek to safeguard Israel's security in order to advance our own.
        Many observers have suggested that our military support for Israel should be traded for Israeli concessions in the peace process, but this sort of zero-sum thinking does not stand up to the rigors of the real world. An Israel both consumed with external threats and worried about the reliability of U.S. backing is one which will hunker down, not take risks for peace. (Foreign Policy)
  • UN Speeches Highlight Depths of Israeli-Palestinian Divide - Shlomo Avineri
    In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas once again made a common Palestinian mistake: a Palestinian leader does not have to persuade the nations of the world, but rather the Israelis. A Palestinian state will arise only if the Palestinians convince the Israelis that they are indeed ready to live in peace and mutual recognition. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was able to do so with his historic speech to the Knesset, which turned him in the blink of an eye from a bitter enemy to the most popular figure in Israel. Abbas' slanderous statements only deepened Israeli suspicions of Palestinian aims.
        The Quartet's call to renew talks with no preconditions is a diplomatic achievement for Israel, since it rejects the Palestinian approach, which, in presenting preconditions (stopping construction in the settlements and an Israeli pledge to return to 1967 borders) led to a failure of the very renewal of negotiations. The Israeli government welcomed the Quartet's call, while its rejection by the Palestinians shows them to be the recalcitrant party. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry. (Ha'aretz)

Even the Most Moderate Palestinian Won't Accept a Jewish State - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)

  • Anyone looking for reasons to despair about the prospects of peace in the Middle East need only pay attention to what Palestinian moderates like Sari Nusseibeh are saying against the idea of a Jewish state. His essay last week on the Al Jazeera website not only disparages Jewish rights to share the land but also Jewish history.
  • Palestinians tend to forget the 1947 partition resolution explicitly demanded the creation of a Jewish state alongside an Arab one. Unless and until the Palestinians specifically accept that the part of the country they do not control is forever Jewish, the conflict will not be over.
  • Nusseibeh knows very well that accepting Israel as a Jewish state does not mean it is a theocracy. Nor will it invalidate the citizenship of the country's Arab minority. The idea that recognizing a Jewish state would mean, as he claims, Palestinians will be legitimizing their own destruction is simply an absurdity that has no place in a reasonable discussion.
  • Why then is it so hard for even a member of that small majority of Palestinians who actually believe in living in peace with the Jews to say the phrase "Jewish state?" Perhaps because to do so invokes finality to the conflict that gives even moderates like Nusseibeh pause.
  • If even someone like him is moved to this level of invective by those words, then it is hard to imagine when the rest of Palestinian society will accept them and the permanence of their Jewish neighbors' hold on even part of the land.

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