Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
April 18, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Released Palestinian Terrorist Plotted to Kidnap IDF Soldier (Israel Defense Forces)
    The Israel Security Agency (ISA) has unveiled an attempt by a Hamas terrorist who was transferred to Gaza as part of the deal to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, to recruit terrorists in the West Bank to abduct more IDF soldiers.
    Omar Abu-Snina sent his family in Hebron a memory card for terror activists with detailed instructions of how to execute an abduction of an IDF soldier. The ISA captured the memory card.
    Among the instructions was: "Avoid hiding (the kidnapped) in desolate places, tunnels or forests, unless the aforementioned is a corpse or a severed head. If the aforementioned is a live human, that must be visited at least once a week and provided with food and drink, it is best to hide him in a house, an agricultural farm, a workplace, etc."
    Abu-Snina, a former Fatah terrorist, was in prison for murder and other terror activities. While in prison, he joined Hamas. He was released in October 2011.

Video: Iranians Rush Ahmadinejad's Car to Protest Poverty - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
    In a YouTube clip, Iranians in Bandar-Abbas are seen rushing into the path of the car carrying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to directly confront him about their economic plight.
    (See Iranian woman climb on the hood of Ahmadinejad's vehicle to speak with him.)

Israeli Flights to Scandinavia Banned over Security - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) announced a ban on Israeli airlines flying to Scandinavia because of a disagreement with local security authorities over security procedures, Israel Channel 2 TV reported on Tuesday.
    Local security forces refused to allow Israeli security officers to conduct pre-flight interrogations of travelers who look suspicious.

Egyptian Women Have Lost in the Revolution - Zvi Bar'el (Ha'aretz)
    In 2009 President Hosni Mubarak established a quota of 64 women in the Egyptian parliament.
    In the new parliament there are only 9 women, less than 2% compared to 12% in Mubarak's time.
    Even in Sudan women hold 36% of the seats in parliament and in Tunisia, 28%.

Israel to Receive Chemical Decontamination System from Germany (Israel Defense)
    In the coming weeks, Israel will receive the first TEP 90 decontamination system that quickly and efficiently sanitizes chemically infected areas and vehicles.
    Germany is offering Israel eight TEP 90 systems as a gift, but only after the first one is tested will Israel decide whether to accept the others.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Syrian Forces Resume Attack on Homs, World Reluctant to Declare Cease-Fire Dead
    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Syrian regime on Wednesday resumed its attack on the city of Homs, battered by artillery for weeks. Syrian forces have continued attacks after a brief lull on the first day of a cease-fire. A small UN observer team is in Syria, but UN chief Ban Ki-moon wants a larger mission of at least 250 members backed up by planes and helicopters. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Egypt Panel Definitively Bars Top Three Presidential Candidates
    Egypt's election commission rejected the appeals of three main contenders for president Tuesday, Mubarak-era strongman Omar Suleiman, Muslim Brotherhood chief strategist Khairat el-Shater and ultraconservative Islamist Hazem Abu Ismail. With the three out, the top contenders in the race are seen to be former foreign minister Amr Moussa, moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh and the Brotherhood's backup candidate, Mohammed Morsi. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Israel Boosts Budget for Holocaust Survivors
    The Israel Cabinet on Tuesday boosted the basket of services for Holocaust survivors to $60 million for 2012, a 13% increase. An additional $13 million will be directed toward increasing monthly stipends of particularly needy survivors. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was "urgent" to help survivors.
        The move comes a day before the country marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day for the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis in World War II. Less than 200,000 aging survivors remain in Israel. (AP)
        See also Central Theme of Holocaust Day 2012: My Brother's Keeper - Nir Hasson
    Holocaust Remembrance Day begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, in the presence of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The central theme of this year's commemoration is "My Brother's Keeper - Jewish Solidarity During the Holocaust." Six survivors will light the torches representing the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. (Ha'aretz)
        See also The Six Torchlighters: Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yad Vashem)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Says Israel Fully Briefed on Iran Talks - Barak Ravid
    A senior American official told Ha'aretz that the U.S. understands Prime Minister Netanyahu's desire for the international community to take as tough a stance as possible with Iran but does not accept the criticism that the Istanbul talks gave Iran a "freebie." The official said the six powers represented in the talks, including Russia and China, took a tough, unified stance that Iran must take the first steps to carry out confidence-building measures to prove its seriousness. He emphasized that even if Iran suspends uranium enrichment to 20%, it will not receive anything in return, and that there would be no suspension of U.S. or EU sanctions or the European oil embargo. (Ha'aretz)
  • Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad Pulls Out of Meeting with Netanyahu - Barak Ravid
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Tuesday in Jerusalem with senior Palestinian officials who gave him a letter from PA President Mahmoud Abbas. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who was expected to participate, did not appear. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Netanyahu Promises Quick Response to Abbas Letter on New Talks - Raphael Ahren and Yoel Goldman
    Netanyahu and Yitzhak Molcho, his envoy to negotiations with the Palestinians, met with Saeb Erekat, the senior Palestinian negotiator, and Majid Faraj, the PA's head of General Intelligence, the Prime Minister's Office said. The Palestinians gave Netanyahu the letter from Abbas setting out terms for a resumption of negotiations. Netanyahu will respond in writing within two weeks, his office said. Sources in Jerusalem said there was "nothing new" in the Abbas letter. (Times of Israel)
        See also Text of Abbas Letter to Netanyahu (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Does the Obama Administration Support More Sanctions on Iran? - Josh Rogin
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Tuesday that he intends to move as soon as possible to pass the Johnson-Shelby Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act of 2012, that would pile on more punitive measures against Iran's energy, shipping, and mining sectors, while punishing a broader range of Iranian government officials for their involvement in human rights violations.
        The Obama administration hasn't said anything about the legislation, even though it has been vocal about other Iran sanctions bills being debated in Congress. If the administration supports the new sanctions, it risks upsetting the new negotiations with Iran just as they are beginning. If the administration doesn't support the new sanctions, it leaves them open to allegations of weakness towards Iran in the midst of the presidential election season. (Foreign Policy)
  • Why Is Jordan Keeping Out Palestinian Refugees from Syria? - Khaled Abu Toameh
    More than 1,000 Palestinians who fled from the violence in Syria have been stranded along the border between Syria and Jordan for the past few weeks, living in tents, with poor sanitary conditions. The Jordanian authorities have been refusing to allow them into the kingdom. Lebanon and Egypt have also refused to grant asylum to the fleeing Palestinians. Meanwhile, 100,000 Syrians, who have fled their country in the past year, have been permitted to enter Jordan.
        The Jordanians are worried that if they allow a few hundred Palestinians to settle in the kingdom, that would pave the way for 500,000 Palestinians living in Syria to run away to Jordan. As Jordan's King Abdullah already has an 80% Palestinian majority in his kingdom, the Palestinians pose a demographic threat to the Jordanians. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Are Egypt's Islamists Headed for a Collision with the Military? - Jacques Neriah
    The Islamists have hijacked the Egyptian revolution. They created the illusion that they would share power with the non-Islamic forces, but then went on to win 70% of the seats in parliament. Egypt is entering a period of political instability with dire consequences for its neighbors, first and foremost for Israel. The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty could become a "scapegoat" to divert attention from unsolvable domestic economic problems, seeking to blame outside factors for Egypt's deteriorating situation. The writer was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Palestinian Obstructionism - David M. Weinberg (Israel Hayom)

  • The letter that the Palestinians handed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday is a prime example of everything wrong with the current Palestinian leadership. The letter (according to drafts leaked to the press) mixes fact with fiction, is maximalist and threatening, and indicates no real desire to negotiate, only to place Israel in the international dock of criminality.
  • As they have done for the past three years, the Palestinians set impossible and outrageous preconditions for entering real peace talks with Israel. Basically, they want Israel to concede every point of contention such as borders and settlements in advance of the talks. Otherwise, no talks.
  • Furthermore, the letter expresses Palestinian maximalism. This includes a state on all of the pre-1967 territories, with only "possible minor and mutually agreed upon land swaps of equal size and value." Note the new phraseology "possible" and "minor." And of course, the "right" of return to Israel for refugees.
  • The bottom line is that the current Palestinian leadership (never mind the Hamas leadership) has no intention of truly entering realistic peace talks that involve compromise with Israel, or ever signing a piece of paper that recognizes the legitimacy of a Jewish state and therefore end the conflict for all time.
  • Instead, Palestinian leaders know how to threaten: That unless Israel bows to their demands, the Palestinian Authority "will seek the full and complete implementation of international law" to criminalize and penalize Israel's presence "as an occupying power in all of the occupied Palestinian territory." To seek to further isolate Israel internationally.
  • In truth, this is what the Palestinian national movement has always been about: the delegitimization of the Jewish state.

    The writer is Director of Public Affairs at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

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