Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at
Via Smartphone
October 24, 2011

Daily Alert Needs Your Support

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Egyptians Support Peace Treaty with Israel - Abdel Monem Said (Al-Ahram-Egypt-Al Arabiya)
    Whenever there were Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, observers would inevitably ask whether a peace agreement would survive a change in Arab leadership.
    There have always been Arab political forces opposed to the very idea of peace with Israel and that saw the conflict with that state not as a territorial-border dispute but as an existential clash.
    However, history has proven that peace agreements with Israel can withstand changes in Arab leaderships.
    A recent opinion poll conducted by the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies is instructive.
    Only 4% of Egyptians favor recourse to war for various reasons while 7% are for abolishing the peace treaty with Israel, 12% for expelling the Israeli ambassador from Cairo, and 11% for recalling the Egyptian ambassador from Israel.
    62% would like to see the peace agreement to continue, but with amendments intended to enhance Egyptian security. Another 23% wants the peace treaty to remain exactly as it is.

Egypt-Israel Gas Flow Resumes (AFP)
    The flow of natural gas from Egypt to Israel has resumed after a cut of several months due to repeated militant attacks, Israel's National Infrastructure Ministry said on Sunday.
    Egypt's Sinai desert pipeline has been attacked by militants six times this year.
    Egypt supplies 43% of Israel's natural gas, which generates 40% of Israeli electricity.
    Egypt's Oil Minister Abdullah Ghurab said in early October that there would be "a large increase in the price" of its gas exports to Israel.

Gaddafi's Final Hours - Ben Farmer (Telegraph-UK)
    In Nevada, more than 6,000 miles away from Libya, American specialists spotted Gaddafi's convoy leaving Sirte on their computer screens.
    They directed their unmanned Predator drones to zoom in on the convoy and a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator destroyed the first vehicle.
    See also Gaddafi's Final Legacy: A Middle East Awash with Weapons - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)

Freed Palestinian Female Prisoner Calls Turkish Exile "Heaven" - Nursel Gurdilek (Zaman-Turkey)
    The family of Amina Muna, a former Palestinian prisoner, plans to visit their daughter in Turkey, where she was exiled by Israel.
    Muna's mother told the Anatolia news agency of a telephone conversation with her daughter who said: "I'm in heaven now: I'm in Turkey....They are treating me so kindly here. They will assist me with anything I need."

New York Mayor Dedicates First Aid Station in Jerusalem (AP-Washington Post)
    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dedicated a first aid station in Jerusalem on Sunday that was built with the help of donations from him and other Americans and named for his father.

Daily Alert Blog 
Key Links 
Media Contacts 
Back Issues 
Fair Use/Privacy 

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinian Bid for Full UNESCO Membership Imperils American Financing - Steven Erlanger
    The Palestinian bid for full membership in UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - has put both Washington and the organization into an urgent bind. U.S. legislation mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any UN agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. The laws, which date from 1990 and 1994, provide no possibility of a presidential waiver. (New York Times)
        See also Tony Blair: Arab Spring May Endanger Mideast Peace - Tom Pfeiffer (Reuters)
  • Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Dies, Heir to the Saudi Throne - Jamie Crawford and Mohammed Jamjoom
    The heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, died in a New York hospital on Saturday. Sultan, the half-brother of King Abdullah, was in his 80s and had been battling cancer for some time. He had served for decades as the Saudi defense minister. His death leaves his brother Nayef, the interior minister, as the likely successor to the king. (CNN)
        See also After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Turkey Declines Israeli Aid Offer after Earthquake - Maayan Lubell
    Turkey declined an offer of aid from Israel and all other nations Sunday after a powerful earthquake struck southeast Turkey. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was willing to provide "anything from food, medicine, medical staff and equipment to search-and-rescue teams." In 1999, an Israeli military rescue team rescued 12 people and set up a field hospital after earthquakes in Turkey. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Youth in Serious Condition after Jerusalem Stabbing - Jonathan Lis and Oz Rosenberg
    Yehuda Ne'emad, 17, was stabbed in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem on Saturday by a Palestinian attacker who fled. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Girl Describes Stabbing Attack: "I Thought I Was Going to Die" - Yair Altman
    A 12-year-old Jerusalem girl saw the assailant who stabbed an Israeli teen multiple times. When the assailant began running in the girl's direction, "I just grabbed my [six-year-old] brother's hand and we ran," she said. "I thought I won't be able to escape because he was so close to me. I was sure I was going to die." At that point, onlookers came out on the street, scaring the assailant away. (Ynet News)
        See also Israeli Security Officials Deny New Terror Wave - Ben Hartman, Yaakov Lappin, and Melanie Lidman
    Another attempted stabbing attack occurred near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on Sunday, the third such incident in five days. A Palestinian armed with a knife was arrested by Border Police. A defense source said the security establishment was not viewing the recent stabbing attempts as a coordinated wave of attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Arson Suspected as 40 Fires Blaze in Northern Israel - Jack Khoury and Eli Ashkenazi
    Fire-fighting crews battled more than 40 separate fires across the Western Galilee Friday and Saturday. Investigators said they suspect arson in some of the forest fires, citing the multiple ignition sources. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • This Is No Time to Consider Cutting Aid to Israel - Rep. Howard L. Berman
    Our support for Israel is both moral and strategic. Assistance to Israel demonstrates to its enemies that the U.S. commitment to the Jewish state is unwavering; cutting that assistance would send the opposite message. This is especially important during a time of tremendous turmoil in the Middle East, and when Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas conspire daily to undermine U.S. and Israeli interests. A strong and secure Israel serves U.S. national security interests in the Middle East. U.S. aid to Israel has helped deter major conflict in the region - conflict that would be very costly for us in many ways - by making it clear to potential enemies that they cannot defeat Israel.
        Our assistance also gives Israel the confidence it needs to take risks for peace, as it has done repeatedly over the years. This confidence is reflected in the Israeli government's unconditional commitment to negotiate if and when the Palestinians return to the table.
        Finally, we benefit from close defense cooperation. Israel's use of U.S. defense materials on the battlefield helps our military improve its equipment. Our soldiers also benefit from Israeli technological advances, including life-saving armor used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan.
        The aid we provide to Israel to help ensure its existence, to combat our enemies and to promote American interests is only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget. In my opinion, this is money well spent. The writer is the ranking minority member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Washington Post)
  • Abbas to Pay Released Murderers' Pensions with U.S. Aid Money - Jonathan S. Tobin
    In the wake of the announcement that Hamas will be paying each of the released Palestinian killers, almost all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for the murders of Jews, a bonus of $2,000, the Palestinian Authority has also decreed that it will be paying every one of the murderers a separate honorarium. Hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer funds are transferred to the Palestinian Authority every year. That means Uncle Sam is paying a subsidy to mass murderers.
        Indeed, the PA has been paying pensions to every Palestinian serving time for terrorism in Israeli jails for years. And its official media and other government organs continue to lionize these killers. (Commentary)
  • What Gilad Shalit Tells Us about the Respect for Life in Europe, Israel and Palestine - Richard Landes
    It is a standard trope of European contempt for the USA that it still has a death penalty, a sign of its cowboy nature and its retardation in the moral progress of nations. And yet when that same Europe turns its gaze on the Middle East, the country they have the most contempt for - Israel - is the only country in the entire region to reject capital punishment, and they have the most admiration for a country that among a widespread political culture that extensively uses torture and execution for the maintenance of public order, shows perhaps the most contempt for the lives of its own peoples and its enemies.
        Palestine is a place in which killing daughters and wives and homosexuals for shaming the family with (even suspected and loosely interpreted) inappropriate sexual behavior is a regular feature of society, where "collaborators" are summarily executed. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Never Have So Few Been Blamed for So Much by So Many - Spengler
    The notion that the problems of three hundred million Arabs revolve around the governance of a few million Palestinians has the same order of credibility as Adolf Hitler's claim that a Jewish "stab in the back" lost World War I for Germany. Egypt is burning its cash reserves. On Oct. 5, the Financial Times reported that Egypt's foreign exchange reserves had fallen from $35 billion in January to only $19.4 billion, enough to cover less than five months' worth of imports. Syria is in civil war, which may turn into a proxy war between the Sunni powers and Iran.
        Turkey is about to get its come-uppance in the form of a nasty economic downturn as the credit bubble engineered by the ruling party explodes. The lira fell by a quarter between November 2010 and September 2011, while the stock market has fallen in dollar terms by 40%. In short, there is not a patch of ground in Israel's proximity that is not roiling with political and economic turmoil. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)

The Mughrabi Gate to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: The Urgent Need for a Permanent Access Bridge - Nadav Shragai (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • During the winter of 2004, the sand embankment in Jerusalem's Old City known as the Mughrabi Ascent - which provides access to the Mughrabi Gate of the Temple Mount from the area of the Western Wall - collapsed due to rainstorms, snow, and a minor earthquake. Since the Mughrabi Gate is the only entranceway for non-Muslim visitors to the mount, and it also provides access for Israeli security forces in time of emergency, a temporary wooden bridge was erected.
  • The Jerusalem District Court has determined that the temporary bridge is no longer a suitable solution and has upheld the legality of the plan to replace it with a permanent bridge. The plan to establish a permanent bridge, and the archaeological excavations performed prior to constructing the new bridge, did not endanger and do not endanger the mosques on the Temple Mount which are located hundreds of meters from it.
  • Israel has acted with total transparency, allowing international supervision over the excavations at the location (by UNESCO and Turkey), and even positioned cameras that provided live transmission of the archaeological activities there. A UNESCO delegation report on 12 March 2007 determined that "no work is being conducted inside the Haram es-Sharif [Temple Mount], nor is there anything in the nature of the works being performed at this stage that could constitute a threat to the stability of the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
  • When the Mughrabi Ascent collapsed, Israel established almost immediate contact with Jordan and throughout the years the Jordanians have been partners in the planning of the new Mughrabi Bridge. After negotiations lasting years, an understanding was signed on 21 June 2011 between Israel and Jordan concerning the new bridge, but a surprise reversal in the Jordanian position led to a governmental order to freeze the project.
  • On 22 May 2011, Jerusalem Municipal Engineer Shlomo Eshkol demanded that the temporary bridge be dismantled quickly and the permanent bridge be built as soon as possible. Concerns include the potential collapse of the wooden bridge (currently supported by iron scaffolding) while it is being used by security forces or tourists, resulting in scores of fatalities if it fell into the women's prayer area at the Western Wall below.
  • The erection of a new bridge is legal from the perspective of both Israeli law and international law. It is time to put an end to the Mughrabi Gate affair, which has been blown up beyond all proportion, and to speedily replace the temporary bridge with a permanent one.

Unsubscribe from Daily Alert