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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 15, 2011

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In-Depth Issues:

The Dead Sea Scrolls in New York - Edward Rothstein (New York Times)
    "The Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times" is a provocative new exhibition at Discovery Times Square in New York.
    The scroll fragments, the earliest known texts of the Hebrew Bible, were written in the first century BCE.
    See also Erasing Our History in the Name of "Heritage" - Max L. Kleinman (New Jersey Jewish News)
    See also Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Website (Discovery Times Square)

Son of Former IRGC Commander Murdered in Dubai - Kenneth R. Timmerman (Foundation for Democracy in Iran)
    Ahmed Rezai was found dead in Dubai on Nov. 13. He is the son of former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezai, secretary-general of Iran's influential Expediency Council, which advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    While some claim that his death was a suicide, the Iranian regime had good cause to murder the younger Rezai, who initially fled to the U.S. in 1998 and denounced the regime and its ongoing assassination campaign against Iranian dissidents.
    An American citizen, Ahmad Rezai has tried repeatedly to travel to Iran to visit his family, but has been turned back several times and threatened with arrest.
    According to an unconfirmed report, he was escorted back to Dubai by two Revolutionary Guards Quds force officers, shortly before he was murdered.

Poll: 73 Percent of Americans View Israel as Loyal Ally (Anti-Defamation League)
    73% of Americans say Israel can be counted on as a strong, loyal U.S. ally, while 18% disagree, according to a survey conducted in October by Marttila Strategies on behalf of the ADL.
    63% view Israel as serious about wanting to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, while 44% see Palestinian leaders as serious about wanting a peace agreement with Israel.
    64% agree that it is up to the Palestinians and the Israelis to solve their own problems and that any lasting peace agreement between them must be reached with minimal involvement from the U.S.
    58% say a Palestinian state must not be established until Palestinians demonstrate a commitment to end violence and accept Israel's legitimacy.

Women Ignored in Egypt's Political Transition - Joseph Mayton (Media Line-Jerusalem Post)
    "We were at the front of the protests, getting beaten and supporting the future of Egypt," recalls Heba, 23. But now, she says, "Women are not being heard from."
    The role of women in Egypt's transitional government has been very limited, and no women were included on the committee that drafted Egypt's transitional constitutional declaration.
    The new elections law does away with the Mubarak-era quota, which allocated 64 seats in parliament for women.
    See also Gloves Off as Egypt's Election Race Heats Up - Tom Pfeiffer (Reuters)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Fighting in Syria Kills 40 near Jordan Border - Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Suleiman al-Khalidi
    At least 40 Syrians were killed in fighting on Monday between forces loyal to President Assad and insurgents in Khirbet Ghazaleh, a town near the border with Jordan. After army defectors attacked a security police bus near the town, "members of the (defectors') brigade fought back when the army attacked and Bedouin from nearby villages also rushed to help Khirbet Ghazaleh," an activist said. (Reuters)
        See also Syria's Assad Should Step Aside, Says Jordan's King Abdullah - Lyse Doucet (BBC News)
        See also Jordanian Embassy in Damascus Attacked after King's Remarks (AP-Washington Post)
  • Syria's Economy Is Key to Assad's Future - Liz Sly
    The decision by Arab states to turn against President Bashar al-Assad represents an important psychological blow to a regime that has long prided itself as a champion of Arab nationalist causes. On Monday, the EU announced expanded sanctions to include 18 more individuals associated with the Assad regime and denial of access to the European Investment Bank.
        Syrian Economy Minister Mohammad Nidal al-Shaar said last month that the economy is in a "state of emergency." Tourism has skidded to a halt, representing a loss of $2 billion a month, said Adib Mayalah, governor of the Central Bank of Syria. The most serious measure, a European embargo on oil purchases imposed in August, goes into effect on Tuesday. (Washington Post)
  • Iran Activists Join Anti-Nuclear Push - Farnaz Fassihi
    A group of Iranian dissidents for the first time openly called on their government to suspend uranium enrichment, in an open letter published Monday that adds to the momentum of the international effort to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. "The current deadlock over Iran's nuclear ambitions and empty power play will set the stage for war and the people of Iran will have to pay the price," said the letter signed by 175 expatriate dissidents and publicized by a student activist website inside Iran. (Wall Street Journal)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Maintains Freeze on Transfer of Funds to PA - Tovah Lazaroff and Lahav Harkov
    Israel's security cabinet has decided to continue to freeze the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. Israel suspended the transfer of funds earlier this month to protest the continued Palestinian pursuit of unilateral statehood at the UN. The Palestinian effort to unilaterally achieve statehood without ending the conflict and without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state "is no less dangerous to Israel than the terror that occurred under the reign of former PA chairman Yasser Arafat," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday. "We're talking about the complete betrayal and elimination of the idea of peace."
        Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said it was obvious relations with the PA could not continue as normal. "For the last couple of years, the PA is saying loudly and clearly that they do not want peace, they do not want negotiations. They are doing everything in their power to delegitimize Israel. I think that Israel cannot just pretend that nothing is happening."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Largest UAV to Become Operational - Yoav Zitun
    The Eitan UAV, the Israel Air Force's largest unmanned aircraft and considered the most advanced UAV in the world, is scheduled to begin operations within several months after eight years in development. It has been reported that the Eitan was developed to reach Iran and Sudan. It is able to fly for 20 hours and can carry up to one ton. (Ynet News)
  • Kenya Asks Israel for Help Fighting Terrorists
    Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga is seeking Israel's support in stopping terror attacks by an al-Qaeda-linked militant group Kenyan troops are pursuing in Somalia. A government statement Monday said Prime Minister Odinga asked Israeli President Shimon Peres for assistance in building the capacity of the Kenyan police to deal with attacks by al-Shabab militants. Odinga also met on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. (AP-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Obama, Erdogan Find Shared Interests - Soner Cagaptay
    Turkish media outlets reported that after Prime Minister Erdogan's mother died last month, President Obama called him and the two "spoke for 45 minutes about their feelings." This personal rapport is the foundation of a new U.S.-Turkish relationship. In June 2010, for example, Turkey voted at the UN Security Council against a proposal for U.S.-sponsored sanctions on Iran. Obama told Erdogan how upsetting Turkey's UN vote had been to him, and Ankara stopped defending Tehran.
        Turkey has also emerged as the region's key opponent of the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on demonstrators, with Ankara supporting and hosting members of the opposition. The writer is director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Washington Post)
  • The November 2011 IAEA Report - Ephraim Asculai
    The basic message of the November 2011 IAEA report is that Iran is actively engaged in the development of nuclear weapons. The report details activities in eleven areas, nine concerning procurement and weaponization, one on underground testing, and one on the integration of the explosive mechanism into a missile delivery system.
        It describes a steady pattern of deceit, clandestine operations, foreign procurement networks, foreign supply of essential design information, and denial of information to the IAEA. The extent of the nuclear weapons development program confirms that the fears concerning Iran's intentions were well founded. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Reading IAEA in Tehran - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    Last week, the Iranian press regurgitated in detail Western reporting on the IAEA's revelations about Iran's nuclear weaponization. The regime wants the Iranian people to know about its progress with nuclear triggers, explosive computer-modeling, and ballistic-missile warheads. The regime is proud of these achievements. Tehran may well think that its public defiance of the IAEA is a crowd pleaser at home, and it probably is with the government's revolutionary base (perhaps 20% of the population). The writer is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Weekly Standard)

The Empirical Case for Defensible Borders - Uri Resnick (Jerusalem Post)

  • Former Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon was one of the clearest and most authoritative exponents of the case for Israel's need for defensible borders. In an October 1976 article in Foreign Affairs, Allon noted that whereas Israel's rivals seek to "isolate, strangle and erase Israel from the world's map," Israel's strategic aims have been focused on its "imperative to survive." Thus, even if peace agreements are reached, border and security arrangements must ensure Israel's ability to defend itself in the event that such agreements are breached. As the recent upheavals in the Middle East have clearly demonstrated, this guiding principle has not lost its salience.
  • Israel has considerable grounds to expect security threats to persist, even subsequent to an agreement, as long as substantial Palestinian territorial claims to pre-1967 Israel persist. Territorial claims to pre-1967 Israel and tolerance for violence can be expected to persist in Palestinian society at least partly because they have been, and continue to be, deliberately cultivated by Palestinian elites, as has been extensively documented by organizations that monitor Palestinian society and media.
  • Access to an international border would provide Palestinian militants with the opportunity to continue - and expand - violent activities against Israel. Thus, forcing Israel into indefensible borders, such as those of June 4, 1967, is unlikely to lead to a stable regional order. Insofar as comparative, empirical research can serve as a guide, relinquishing an Israeli presence along some of the borders of a Palestinian state will severely diminish the chances of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will probably exacerbate it.
  • Thus, to prevent the emergence of a heavily armed, hostile Palestinian state dominating Israel's 15-kilometer-wide heartland - precisely as has transpired pursuant to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and relinquishing of control over Gaza's southern boundary - Israel will have to maintain a perimeter presence along the borders of a Palestinian state. This implies a continuing Israeli presence - along the Jordan Valley.
  • Maintaining an Israeli presence along the Jordan Valley is entirely compatible with the establishment of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. The area lies exclusively to the east of the main Palestinian population centers, such that its omission would not interfere with contiguity. Excluding the Jordan Valley from the territory of a Palestinian state would also have negligible demographic implications since, according to Palestinian statistics, approximately 10,000 Palestinians reside in those parts of the Jordan Valley that were not already passed over to Palestinian civilian control under the Oslo Accords - less than .05% of the Palestinian population.

    The writer serves as policy adviser to the minister of foreign affairs and lectures on game theory and territorial conflict at the IDC Herzliya.

        See also Israel's Critical Security Requirements for Defensible Borders: The Foundation for a Viable Peace - Authors include five senior Israeli generals (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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