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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
September 25, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Mortars from Syria Civil War Land in Golan Heights - Maor Buchnik (Ynet News)
    Several mortar shells landed near the Israel-Syria border in the northern Golan Heights on Tuesday.
    The IDF stressed that the fire was not intentionally directed at Israel and was believed to be from clashes between rebel forces and Syrian President Assad's army.

Egypt Seeks to Amend Trade Agreement with U.S., Israel (Al-Masry Al-Youm-Egypt)
    Egypt has entered negotiations with the U.S. and Israel to amend the Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ) trade agreement, said Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Hatem Saleh on Monday.
    The QIZ agreement exempts Egyptian exports to the U.S. from quotas, provided the exports contain an Israeli component of 11.7%, an amount that was reduced to 10.5% in 2007.
    Egypt seeks to further reduce that amount to 8%.

Christian Copt to Face Trial in Egypt Over Anti-Islam Video (Reuters)
    Computer science graduate Alber Saber, 27, an Egyptian Copt, was arrested in Cairo on September 13 on suspicion of posting an anti-Islam video online that ignited Muslim protests around the world.
    He will stand trial on charges of insulting religions, the state news agency MENA said on Monday. He is accused of uploading sections of the film "Innocence of Muslims" and making another movie mocking all religions.
    Human rights lawyers say Saber was arrested without a prosecutor's warrant and that he was beaten during interrogation.

Egypt's Accusations Have Canadian Coptic Christian Fearing for His Life - Rick Westhead (Toronto Star-Canada)
    Nader Fawzy, 52, who lives in Toronto, learned last week that the Egyptian government holds him partly responsible for the video lampooning Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
    Fawzy said the government in Cairo has targeted him to settle political scores because he is a Coptic Christian activist who has spent years fighting to promote the rights of Egypt's eight million Coptic Christians.
    Prominent imams in Egypt have issued fatwas against him and other Copts, urging Muslims anywhere in the world to behead them.
    "I'm not surprised that they want me arrested, but I'm shocked they say I had anything to do with this video," Fawzy said.

The Terrorists' Veto - Michael J. Totten (City Journal)
    Using riots, mayhem, and murder to "protest" an asinine trailer for an anti-Mohammad video on the Internet, the Middle East's mobs, assassins, and hostile regimes have vetoed freedom of speech in the U.S.
    A week after region-wide riots started in Cairo, Hizbullah sent half a million supporters into the streets of Beirut, where Hizbullah's secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said something new.
    "The U.S. should understand that if it broadcasts the film in full it will face very dangerous repercussions around the world."
    He's not threatening the U.S. in the abstract. He's threatening you. If you insult Hassan Nasrallah's religion on the Internet, terrorists may come after you.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran's President Spreads the Outrage in New York - Rick Gladstone and Neil MacFarquhar
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran stoked the anger of Israel, the U.S., and Syrian insurgents on Monday during his visit to the UN. Ahmadinejad said the Israelis had been around the region for only 60 or 70 years, in contrast to the Iranians, whose civilization has existed for thousands of years. "They have no roots there in history," Ahmadinejad said of the Israelis.
        Regarding Syria, Ahmadinejad denied accusations that his country is helping the military of President Assad. Syrian insurgents and their backers, including the U.S., have said the Iranians are arming and training Syria's military. (New York Times)
        See also Israeli Envoy Walks Out of Ahmadinejad's UN Speech - Herb Keinon
    Israel's UN envoy, Ron Prosor, demonstratively walked out of a UN session Monday on the rule of law when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the podium to speak. "The leader of an outlaw country that is a serial violator of the fundamental principles of the rule of law has no place in this hall," Prosor said. Letting Ahmadinejad address the UN on the issue was like "appointing an arsonist as fire chief."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Iranian President's UN Appearance Memorable for the Wrong Reasons - Paul Koring
    Iran's outspoken President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened his eighth foray to New York City for the UN General Assembly. The Iranian threatened Israel - again - with elimination, but opined that he wished al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been given a fair trial. "President Ahmadinejad says foolish, offensive and sometimes unintelligible things with great regularity," remarked President Barack Obama's spokesman Jay Carney. (Globe and Mail-Canada)
  • Abbas Set for Scaled-Down Bid at UN - Joel Greenberg
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas heads this week to the UN to ask for an upgrade of the Palestinians' status there to a non-member state. Facing stalled peace efforts with the Israelis, an impasse in attempts to heal the rift between his Fatah movement and the Islamist group Hamas, and economic unrest in the West Bank, Abbas returns to the UN after a year in which the Palestinian issue has been sidelined by concerns about the Iranian nuclear program and the unfolding Arab Spring.
        Israel and the U.S. oppose the move to change the Palestinians' status, calling it a unilateral step to decide an issue that should be resolved through negotiations. If a resolution on PA status is submitted, Abbas could risk losing promised financial aid from Washington as well as tax and customs transfers from the Israelis, funds the PA desperately needs.
        Palestinian officials acknowledge that any such resolution is unlikely to be presented in the weeks leading up to the U.S. election, so as not to antagonize President Obama. Nathan Thrall, a Middle East analyst for the International Crisis Group, said that the Palestinian leadership's UN bid had become "a problem for them, because they want to preserve their relations with the United States, which has communicated to them very clearly that it doesn't want them to do it."  (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Egypt's Request to Change the Peace Treaty - Yaakov Lappin
    Sinai has become a base for jihadi elements, including homegrown al-Qaeda-inspired Salafi groups made up of radicalized Bedouin, and Palestinian terror operatives who enter Sinai from Gaza. The radical terror groups target Egyptian military forces as well as the IDF, meaning that Cairo and Jerusalem have a common interest in seeing Egypt reestablish sovereignty over Sinai.
        Egypt is requesting to alter sections of the 1979 Camp David peace accord that limit its military presence in Sinai, to allow more Egyptian forces in to push back the jihadis and reestablish security for both Egypt and Israel.
        Unfortunately, things aren't so simple. The Muslim Brotherhood that has ascended to power has a radical, worrisome ideology, and it is far too soon to know the impact on Egypt's policies toward Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Meridor Slams PA Plan for UN Recognition - Raphael Ahren
    Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor on Monday slammed the PA's plan to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian state, saying that a genuine solution to the conflict can only derive from a mutually agreed upon final-status agreement. "A statement at the UN might give them some advantage in the world's public opinion, but this is it. Nothing will change on the ground."
        Meridor said a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to be sought within a peace deal that would establish final borders and end all Palestinian claims against Israel. "There is no way we'll take our army out of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] without an agreement," Meridor said. "We did it once in Gaza, we saw the results."  (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Hizbullah Threatens to Strike Strategic Israeli Targets - Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
    According to the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalali, visited Lebanon in August and gave a green light for the immediate use of Hizbullah's military force against Israel in response to an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
        On August 17, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared: "The Israeli attack will give Iran an opportunity to destroy Israel as it has already dreamed of doing for thirty-two years," adding that "our missiles are prepared and aimed...we will not wait for anyone's approval."
        The avowal that Nasrallah has received a green light to respond immediately against quality targets in Israel contradicts his previous ambiguous statements that Hizbullah makes independent decisions and does not automatically act according to Tehran's orders. The writer is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Time for the EU to Proscribe Hizbullah in Full - Toby Greene
    The Terrorism Act 2000 came into force in the UK in February 2001, making possible the proscription of foreign terror groups. When the list was drawn up under then-Home Secretary Jack Straw, only the military arms of Hamas and Hizbullah were named, as opposed to the organizations in full.
        Correspondence leaked to journalist Martin Bright between Home Office and Foreign Office officials from 2005 indicated that this was a policy decision made by ministers, and that the intelligence services did not support making a distinction between political and military wings of either organization. Both Hamas and Hizbullah had appeared in their entirety on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations since the mid-1990s.
        Year by year the case for proscribing Hizbullah has only grown. Hizbullah fired 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians in 2006, turned its weapons on fellow Lebanese in 2008, had four of its operatives indicted for murdering former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in 2011, and in the past year has been helping Syria's Bashar al-Assad butcher his own people. The writer is Director of Research for BICOM-Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre. (Huffington Post-UK)
        See also 76 U.S. Senators Urge EU to Include Hizbullah on Terror List - Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post)

Historian Benny Morris: The Palestinians Are Not Interested in a Two-State Solution - Coby Ben-Simhon (Ha'aretz)

  • Benny Morris, a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University and one of the most prominent Israeli historians of his generation, declared: "The decades of studying the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, which led to nine books, left me with a feeling of deep despair....I've written enough about a conflict that has no solution, mainly due to the Palestinians' consistent rejection of a solution of two states for two peoples."
  • Regarding his book One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict, he says, "The objective is to expose the goals of the Palestinian national movement to extinguish the Jewish national project and to inherit all of Palestine for the Arabs and Islam."
  • He asserts that unlike the Zionists, who consented to dividing the land between the two peoples living in it, since its inception the Palestinian national movement has never retreated from its demand to establish a single state in the disputed territory. "In the end, both sides of the Palestinian movement - the fundamentalists led by Hamas and the secular bloc led by Fatah - are interested in Muslim rule over all of Palestine, with no Jewish state and no partition."
  • "Abbas currently refuses to hold negotiations with the Israelis because negotiations could lead to a resolution to the conflict. He has no desire or intention of reaching a solution of two states for two peoples."
  • "In the Israeli education system, in general, there is no demonization of the Arab. He might not be described positively, but he's not the Devil. There [in the PA], the Jews are completely demonized. The Palestinian authorities are busy deeply implanting the demonization. The Palestinian people think we can be made extinct. We don't think that about the Palestinians."
  • "What I am doing is describing the history; I'm not demonizing. The book describes the Palestinian position. If there's demonization in it, it simply derives from the things that they themselves say and do. I'm only letting them express themselves. What they say is what has adhered to their image."

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