Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
May 17, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

U.S. Gas Giant Works to Avoid Israel Electric Shortage (AFP)
    Noble Energy is to hook up two small natural gas fields to Israel's central gas supply to avoid electricity shortages over the summer due to the cutoff in Egyptian supplies.
    Binyamin Zomer, director of corporate affairs at Noble Energy, said on Wednesday the firm had drilled the Noa and Pinnacle gas fields off the southern Israeli coast, and planned to connect the two by pipeline to the nearby Mari-B platform, which is connected to a 30-inch pipeline that brings the gas to shore. "It will add significant supplies," he said.

Parliamentarian Denounces PA Corruption - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    The deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Hasan Khreishah, says, "Corruption in the Palestinian Authority is more widespread than in the past."
    Western donors, specifically the U.S. and EU, are continuing to pour billions of dollars on the Palestinian Authority without holding its leaders fully accountable.
    He revealed that the chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund was receiving a salary of $35,000 a month, or $420,000 a year, while the average salary of a PA civil servant ranges from $500 to $1,000 a month.
    "Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, we have had 228 ministers, in addition to advisers," Khreishah told Al-Quds Al-Arabi. "All receive high salaries and luxurious vehicles."

Toronto Islamic School Suspended after Row over Anti-Jewish Curriculum - Stewart Bell (National Post-Canada)
    The Toronto District School Board suspended a permit issued to the Islamic Shia Study Center, which operated the East End Madrassah out of a Toronto high school, after the center was found to be using teaching materials that disparaged Jews and encouraged boys to keep fit for jihad.
    The school's curriculum, which was posted on its website, referred to "crafty," "treacherous" Jews and contrasted Islam with "the Jews and the Nazis."
    The anti-Semitic passages on its website were excerpts from two books published by the Al Balagh Foundation in Tehran and the Mostazafan Foundation of New York, which the FBI alleges was a front organization controlled by the Iranian regime.

Israeli Company Wins Finnish Mini UAV Bid - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
    Finland's Ministry of Defense has selected Israeli company Aeronautics for a 20-year program to equip, train and support tactical ground forces in the use of the company's Orbiter II mini UAV.
    Under the estimated $31 million contract, the Yavne, Israel-based company will provide up to 45 Orbiter systems, including up to 180 unmanned aircraft.
    The decision follows a nearly three-year international competition involving 10 companies, four of them from Israel.
    Danny Eshchar, Aeronautics vice president for marketing and sales, said the company's Orbiter has been tapped by 14 customer nations and is operational in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Nuclear Output Seen Steady before Baghdad Talks - Fredrik Dahl
    Getting Iran to stop higher-level uranium enrichment is expected to be a priority for world powers when they meet with Iran in Baghdad next week. Western diplomats say Iran's production of uranium refined to a fissile concentration of 20%, which it started two years ago, seems to have remained steady in recent months after a major escalation of the work in late 2011 and early this year. "It is still going strong. I hear it is unchanged," said one diplomat accredited to the UN nuclear watchdog which regularly inspects Iran's declared atomic sites. "With installation work going on, at some point there will be an increase."  (Reuters)
  • Iran Flouts UN Sanctions, Sends Arms to Syria - Louis Charbonneau
    Syria remains the top destination for Iranian arms shipments in violation of a UN Security Council ban on weapons exports by Iran, according to a confidential report by a panel of sanctions-monitoring experts to the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee. The panel investigated three large illegal shipments of Iranian weapons over the past year.
        "Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments," said the report. "Two of these cases involved (Syria), as were the majority of cases inspected by the panel during its previous mandate, underscoring that Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers." The third shipment involved rockets that Britain said last year were headed for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. (Reuters)
  • Report: Hizbullah Fighters Carrying Out Raids in Syria - Nadia al-Turki and Yousef Diab
    Free Syrian Army (FSA) sources said Tuesday that 20 Hizbullah kill-squads, numbering around 200 fighters, had raided several villages in the al-Qasir region, including Al-Safsafah, Al-Masriyah, Al-Sawadiyah, Mutribah, and Zaytah. FSA Homs commander Col. Qasim Saad al-Din stressed that "these forces arrested 37 Syrians, including women, and also erected roadblocks at the entry point of each of these villages." "We have received information from the villages and from the FSA confirming that they identified them [the Hizbullah fighters] from their accents and clothes, while they were also accompanied by elements speaking Farsi."
        FSA spokesman Col. Khalid al-Hammoud said, "there are also Iranian specialists present in the northern areas close to the Turkish borders who have set up operation order to intercept the telephone calls of activists and FSA members." He added that "the Hizbullah elements' role is confined to sniper operations, while the Iranian specialists' tasks include training, communication operations and uncovering activists."  (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • "Khamenei Told Me that Israel Must Be Burned to the Ground" - Shlomo Cesana
    Israel has, for years, cautioned against Iran's intentions and the dangers of its nuclear ambitions, but on Wednesday former Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar gave the world yet another reason to heed those warnings. Aznar told the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: "In a private discussion we held in Tehran in October of 2000, Ali Khamenei told me that Israel must be burned to the ground and made to disappear from the face of the Earth."
        Dr. Dore Gold asked him, "When Khamenei was talking about wiping Israel off the map, was he referring to a gradual historical process involving the collapse of the Zionist state, or rather its physical-military termination?" Aznar answered, "He meant physical termination through military force." Khamenei described Israel as "an historical cancer, an anomaly," and said that he was "working toward Iran defeating the United States and Israel in an inevitable war against them."  (Israel Hayom)
        See also Former Spanish President Aznar: Ayatollah Khamenei Told Me "War Against the U.S. and Israel Was Inevitable" - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
        See also Putin Said Israel Would Take Care of Iran - Herb Keinon
    Don't worry about Iran, Israel will take care of it, former Spanish president Jose Maria Aznar quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as telling him a number of years ago. After he entreated the Russian president not to sell S300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran, Aznar quoted Putin as saying: "Don't worry - we can sell them everything, even if we are worried by an Iranian nuclear bomb, because at the end of the day, Israel will take care of it."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Arab Spring No Guarantee of Middle East Democracy - Shlomo Avineri
    For the first time in modern Arab history, authoritarian regimes and rulers were toppled or seriously challenged by popular demonstrations, not through military coups. However, while dictators associated with military juntas were challenged overnight, the Arab Spring never came to the region's conservative monarchies such as Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states (exception for Bahrain). It appears that these monarchies enjoy a form of traditional authority that the secular nationalist rulers never had.
        In Egypt, the transition to a functioning democracy will be a lengthy process. The great majority of Egyptians were not in Tahrir Square, and many of them lack not only access to online social networks, but also electricity and safe drinking water. Democracy and free speech are not at the top of their agenda. Egypt's silent majority also identifies with the authenticity represented by various Islamic groups, while principles of democracy and civil rights seem to them to be imported Western abstractions. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs under prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. (The Australian)
  • Pro-Palestine Groups Reject a Two-State Solution - Alan M. Dershowitz
    Several years ago I spoke at the University of California at Irvine, the very same campus where radical Islamic students tried to prevent Israel's ambassador, Professor Michael Oren, from speaking. I first asked for students to raise their hands if they generally support Israel. All the students to my left raised their hands. I then asked how many students supported the Palestinian side. All the students to my right raised their hands. I then asked the pro-Israel group: "How many of you would support a Palestinian state living in peace and without terrorism next to Israel?" Every single pro-Israel hand immediately went up.
        I then asked how many on the pro-Palestine side would accept a Jewish state within the 1967 borders, with no settlements on territory claimed by the Palestinians. Not a single hand was raised. The debate was essentially over, as everyone recognized that this was not a conflict between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups, but rather a conflict between those who would accept a two-state solution and those who would reject any Jewish state anywhere in the Middle East. (Ynet News)
  • Some Lebanese Shiites Aren't Eager to Serve as Human Shields Again - Lee Smith
    Is the culture of resistance Hizbullah has cultivated on the wane? Anti-Hizbullah Shiite activist Lokman Slim told me, "The shelf-life of the resistance has reached its expiration date." Last week in Beirut I found that many Shiites, even those not actively opposed to Hizbullah, are becoming increasingly anxious about the role that the party has designed for them - as cannon fodder in the next round of warfare with Israel. Recently there have been a number of signs - including books like a recently published volume of dissident Shiite cleric Sheikh Hassan Mchaymech, once a part of Hizbullah's leadership, as well as newspaper articles from Shiite journalists explicitly attacking Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
        Nasrallah has openly sided with the regime in Damascus and perhaps even sent fighters to assist Assad. Now many of Lebanon's Shiites are asking themselves: Why is a resistance movement that is supposed to champion justice taking the side of a regime that slaughters other Muslims? (Tablet)

Ehud Barak: An International Agreement with the Iranians that Allows Them to Continue a Military Nuclear Program Is Delusional - Piers Morgan (CNN)

In an interview Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said:

  • We are now facing - I don't like the use of words like catastrophe that you have mentioned. It's not about catastrophe. It's about a real challenge to the whole world, not just to Israel. I think that a nuclear Iran will change the whole landscape of the Middle East. We have to do something to block it from happening, be it these sanctions or the negotiations or something else.
  • The real challenge now is these negotiations. And what should be done about the negotiations? We strongly believe and we rely upon the United States and the other members of the P5+1 and expect them to set the bar at the place where it becomes clear that at least once agreed and however long it takes to reach there, it will block Iran from turning militarily nuclear, which means that there is a need to stop enriching uranium to 20% or even to 3.5%, to take all the enriched uranium out of the country....And basically, there is a need to destroy the installation near Qom. So if all these elements are set - and the IAEA has the tightest protocols...that's it.
  • But if the world community will set the threshold in a way that even if fully the still allows them to keep moving toward a military nuclear program, that's ridiculous; it's delusional.
  • We say, and the leaders of the world are saying, including the American president, no option should be removed from the table. And we basically mean it....But at the same time, we cannot afford delegating the responsibility for the future security of Israel even into the hands of our best and most trusted and trustworthy allies.

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