Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
April 24, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Suspected Cyber Attack Hits Iran Oil Industry (Reuters)
    Iran is investigating a suspected cyber attack on its main oil export terminal and on the Oil Ministry itself, Iranian industry sources said on Monday.
    A virus was detected inside the control systems of Kharg Island - which handles the vast majority of Iran's crude oil exports - but the terminal remained operational, a source at the National Iranian Oil Co. said.

Israel Has Options to Overcome Loss of Egyptian Gas - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
    Israel's energy sector will be hurt in the short term by Egypt's decision to stop selling it natural gas, but the country has a number of contingency plans that will lessen the impact.
    Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau said, "Nearly two years now we have been preparing for a halt in supplies. So, while it causes great discomfort and will bring a rise in energy prices, Israel has been developing its energy market without depending on this gas."
    Gas from Egypt once accounted for 40% of Israel's natural gas, but with pipeline attacks stopping flows for most of 2012, Israel has looked elsewhere.
    Its own newly discovered offshore gas fields will come on line around April 2013.
    In the meantime, the government is rushing construction of an off-shore liquefied natural gas terminal to receive imports, and has told exploration firms to speed up drilling on smaller, more accessible fields.

Egypt Denies 8 U.S. Nonprofits License to Operate - Aya Batrawy (AP)
    Egyptian authorities have denied permission to eight American nonprofit groups to operate locally, including a center headed by former President Jimmy Carter that monitors elections, a Social Affairs Ministry official said Monday.

IDF Soldiers Save Palestinian Baby - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The Home Front Command's Kedem Battalion, which is currently stationed near Halamish in the West Bank, saved the life of a 10-day-old Palestinian baby from one of the adjacent villages, who was suffering from acute respiratory distress.
    The battalion's physician, Lt.-Col. Dr. Michael Findlar, noted that "this was the third such incident in two weeks," and that local Palestinians realize they are better off turning to IDF soldiers during a medical emergency.

Israeli Sharpshooter Wins World Cup Silver - Oren Aharoni (Ynet News)
    Israeli sharpshooter Sergey Richter, 23, won the silver medal in the 2012 Shooting World Cup held in London Saturday. Richter won 701.1 points and was a mere half a point from winning the gold.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Syria: Shelling, Executions Reported in Hama a Day after UN Monitors Visit - Charles Levinson
    Syrian regime forces unleashed an artillery barrage on a neighborhood of the city of Hama and executed residents who spoke with UN peace monitors, according to several residents. Monday's violence left 28 to 38 people dead in the city. The violence - perhaps the bloodiest day since a cease-fire was to have taken effect on April 12 - casts fresh doubt on the future of a monitoring mission proposed by the UN. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Obama: The Holocaust Was a Crime Unique in Human History
    After a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday, President Obama said: "We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history. The one and only Holocaust - six million innocent people - men, women, children, babies - sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish....We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen - because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts, and because so many others stood silent."  (White House)
  • Turkey Blocks Israel from NATO Summit - Serkan Demirtas
    Turkey has blocked the participation of Israel in a key NATO summit that will take place in Chicago on May 20 and 21, despite calls from influential allies including the U.S., Western diplomatic sources said. "There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology" for the Mavi Marmara incident, a senior Turkish official said. Turkey has vetoed a number of Israeli attempts to deepen its partnership with the NATO alliance. (Hurriyet-Turkey)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • 22,993 Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Terrorism Victims
    126 new names have been added to the list of Israel's fallen soldiers and terrorism victims who will be honored at this week's Remembrance Day events. Israel now has 10,524 bereaved families who have lost 22,993 loved ones. The families include 2,396 orphans and 4,992 widows. A 1-minute siren be will heard at 8 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a ceremony at the Western Wall. On Wednesday, a 2-minute siren will be heard as Israelis observe a second moment of silence, followed by numerous memorial services across the country.
        The placing of a flag with a black "Yizkor" (remembrance) ribbon on the grave of each and every fallen soldier or terror victim is an expression of the state's deeply held honor and respect for the fallen. It embodies the participation of the whole country in the shared grief of all the bereaved families, orphans and widows.
        The Ministry of Defense estimates that over one million Israelis will be paying their respects at the 44 military cemeteries and burial plots across the countries. (Israel Ministry of Defense-IMRA)
        See also Hall of Names for the Fallen of Israel's Wars to Be Established in Jerusalem
    The Israeli Cabinet on Sunday approved the establishment of a "Hall of Names" for the fallen of Israel's wars, in the military cemetery on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "We have no central hall to enshrine the memories of the fallen of Israel's wars....We are a people that overflows with memory. We are doing this out of deep recognition of the contribution of the fallen, and I hope that such places will no longer be necessary."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • PA Donors Warn Abbas Not to Replace Fayyad - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Donor countries have warned PA President Mahmoud Abbas against trying to replace Prime Minister Salam Fayyad or confiscate his control over the PA Finance Ministry, a Western diplomat based in Israel told the Jerusalem Post Monday. The diplomat said that the donors were aware of Abbas' repeated attempts to remove Fayyad from power and seize control over the ministry. "We have made it clear to President Abbas that international aid will be affected if he or Fatah remove Fayyad," the diplomat said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • PA Clamps Down on Websites that Criticize Abbas - George Hale
    The PA has instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials. As many as eight news outlets have been rendered unavailable to Internet users. The affected websites focus on internal Fatah issues. (Maan News-PA)
  • Hamas to Publicly Execute "Collaborators" - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas will soon start publicly executing Palestinians who are found guilty of "collaboration" with Israel, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad announced Monday. Hammad, who is in charge of Hamas security forces in Gaza, revealed that his government recently arrested 10 "veteran and experienced collaborators."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Elie Wiesel: Why Is Assad Still in Power? - Josh Rogin
    In a speech introducing President Obama at Washington's Holocaust museum Monday, Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel called on the world to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and prevent Syrian President Assad from committing atrocities against civilians. Wiesel compared Assad and Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the villains who perpetrated the murder of millions of innocent civilians during World War II and asked why America and the international community didn't do more to stop the bloodshed.
        "So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from it? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power? How is it that the No. 1 Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons to destroy the Jewish state."  (Foreign Policy)
  • The Charade in Syria - Richard Cohen
    The Europeans have imposed a ban on the sale of luxury goods to Syria - and yet the killing continues. Step by step this charade unfolds in a predictable fashion. Assad will agree to almost anything but do almost nothing.
        Just as the clumsy and ineffective measures that allowed things to get out of hand in Bosnia are being repeated, so should the solution - air power. This is part of the prescription advocated by John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman, senators all. They propose bombing Syrian command and control facilities as well as supplying the opposition with weapons. They also recommend establishing safe areas within Syria so that the insurgents can be properly trained and given medical help.
        One way to avoid a disastrous outcome is for the U.S. to help organize the opposition and show that America is on the side of the protesters. (Washington Post)
  • Palestinian Authority Radicalizing Palestinians, Dragging Them toward War - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The new order by the PA governor of Bethlehem, prohibiting Palestinians from making direct contact with Israeli authorities in the West Bank, is yet another sign of how the PA is radicalizing Palestinians and eventually dragging them toward another confrontation with Israel.
        Established under the Oslo Accords, the District Coordination Committee [DCO]'s main mission is to provide services to Palestinians, especially those who seek to enter Israel for medical treatment and work. Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of Palestinians have sought the services of the DCO to facilitate travel arrangements and overcome bureaucratic hurdles. The PA has also banned meetings between Israelis and Palestinians that allegedly promote "normalization."  (Gatestone Institute)

"60 Minutes" Does Hatchet Job on Israel - Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)

  • On Sunday, "60 Minutes" aired a report on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Was it on the Copts in Egypt? The destruction of Christian communities in Arab lands? Syrian Christians living in Bashar al-Assad's slaughterhouse? No. It was about Israel.
  • Christians United for Israel noted: "The Christians of the Middle East do face unprecedented threats. As Islamic terrorists have stepped up their attacks against Christians, we are witnessing the collapse of the ancient Christian communities of Iraq, Egypt and Syria. Yet you [CBS] chose to ignore these threats and focus instead on the security measures that Israel has taken to protect its citizens - Jewish, Christian and Muslim - from the very same Islamic terror."
    See also Bob Simon and CBS Throw the Jews to the Lions - Yisrael Medad (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel is the only Middle East nation where the Christian population has grown in the last half century (from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today), in large measure because of the freedom to practice their religion.
  • It was during Jordan's control of the Old City of Jerusalem from 1948 until 1967 when the Christian population declined by nearly half. Since then, the population has slowly been growing.

        See also Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society - Justus Reid Weiner (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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