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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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November 23, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt Brotherhood Leader Blasts Peace with Israel (AP-USA Today)
    The top leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood denounced peace efforts with Israel and urged holy war to liberate Palestinian territories on Thursday.
    "The enemy knows nothing but the language of force," said Mohammed Badei. "Be aware of the game of grand deception with which they depict peace accords."
    His statement was a sharp deviation from the role played by President Mohammed Morsi in the last week. Egypt's role in brokering the deal has been hailed by U.S. officials.
    Badei declared that "jihad is obligatory" for Muslims. But he also said that taking up arms would be the "last stage," only after Muslims achieved unity.
    The Hamas-Israel fighting was the first major international test for Morsi, who was caught between either supporting Hamas, one of the Egyptian Brotherhood's sister movements, and Cairo's regional and international commitments.

Palestinians Fired at Israel from Next to Hospital - Kim Sengupta (Independent-UK)
    At the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, officials and the media gathered for a visit of foreign ministers from Arab League countries and Turkey.
    At 2:08 p.m. on Tuesday, a long-range rocket of the type Israel has accused Iran of supplying to Hamas was fired from within 500 yards of the hospital. It hit southeast of Jerusalem.
    Hamas officials at the hospital were asked how firing rockets from such a built-up area could be justified as it is likely to provoke Israeli action.
    One said it was probably the work of the Islamic Jihad militia.

Israel and Hamas: The Diplomatic Dance Behind the Deal - Mark Gollom (CBC News)
    Michael Bell, a former Canadian ambassador to Egypt, Israel and Jordan, said the Israeli-Hamas negotiations this time probably benefited by being spearheaded by Egypt's new intelligence chief Mohammed Shehata, a longtime intelligence bureaucrat from the Mubarak regime.
    He is known to both sides for his role in mediating talks between Hamas and Israel regarding captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
    Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said: "What is missing here is the Israelis don't have a direct contact with the president of Egypt."
    "They used to talk to Mubarak but they don't talk to Morsi. The only party that appeared to be talking to everybody is Egyptian intelligence."

IDF Hijacks Gaza Airwaves - David Shamah (Israel Hayom)
    During its operation in Gaza, the IDF took over Hamas television and radio broadcasts, replacing the regular broadcasts with special bulletins aimed at Gaza residents.
    Messages included information on the success of the Iron Dome system in preventing Hamas missiles from striking Israeli cities and the importance of staying away from Hamas operatives who may be targeted by the IDF.
    Other broadcasts showed clips of the IDF's successes in killing Gaza terrorists, accompanied by a voiceover urging Gazans to rise up against Hamas, which has only brought them death and destruction.
    There are also cartoons, such as one that shows a telephone ringing, unanswered, with accompanying text telling Gazans that "Hamas has run away and is leaving you hanging on the line," Channel 10 reported.

Gazan Killed by Celebratory Gunfire (Maan News-PA)
    A Palestinian man was killed and three others wounded by stray gunfire as gunmen in Gaza fired in the air to celebrate the ceasefire deal on Wednesday, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

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Human Rights Hypocrisy in Gaza - Gerald M. Steinberg (National Post-Canada)
    Whenever Israel acts to defend its citizens, a cacophony of "human rights" groups automatically condemns the use of force as a "war crime."
    These claims are often copied in the media without thought or verification, fueling the campaigns that demonize Israel.
    In contrast, their silence is deafening in the face of rocket attacks that terrorized millions of Israeli civilians.
    Amnesty International immediately asserted that "Israel's assassination of Ahmad al-Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing, has placed civilians in Gaza and southern Israel at grave risk," ignoring that Jabari was responsible for the rockets.
    The writer, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is president of NGO Monitor.

Lebanon War Victims Alter Game of Terror Financing - Yonah Jeremy Bob (Jerusalem Post)
    The New York Court of Appeals issued a ruling on Tuesday in favor of victims of Hizbullah rocket attacks from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 who are citizens of the U.S., Canada and Israel.
    The court ruled that correspondent banks will now be held liable for civil damages under anti-terror financing laws if it is found that they facilitated transactions that can be traced back to terrorist groups.
    The lawsuit was filed in 2008 against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, USA which had used American Express Bank as its correspondent bank in the U.S.
    The bank made and received transfers from an organization that was a front for Hizbullah, which is defined by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.
    "From now on the lives of terrorist organizations will be much more difficult," said attorney Nitzana Darshan Leitner, head of Shurat Hadin.

Iranian Blogger Who Told Supreme Leader Khamenei "Your Judicial System...Is Nothing But a Slaughterhouse" Tortured to Death in Prison (MEMRI)
    After posting on his blog an open letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accusing him of operating a murder industry against the Iranian people in the name of Islam, Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti, 35, was arrested, and 10 days later, on Nov. 6, 2012, it was reported that he had died in prison under torture.
    See also Iran Escalates Executions and Amputations - Hugh Tomlinson (Times-UK)
    Iran has increased the number of public executions and amputations it carries out, taking advantage of the international focus on Gaza to reduce prison overcrowding.
    At least 81 people have been hanged in the past ten days.
    "Every time the international community's attention is elsewhere we see a spike in executions across Iran," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam from Iran Human Rights.

Turkey Accuses Israel of "Ethnic Cleansing" in Gaza (AFP)
    Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Tuesday accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" in Gaza, saying the Jewish state's air raids could not be considered self-defense.
    In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "Some of the extremely harsh rhetoric coming from Turkey we do not consider helpful at all....And we've made those views clear to the Turks."
    See also Baby-Killers vs. Innocent Baby-Killers - Burak Bekdil (Hurriyet-Turkey)
    It must be a bitter irony that thousands of Israelis who had to run into shelters must have read news stories quoting Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan saying that nearly 1,000 rockets fired into their cities, homes and schools only this year (and over 12,000 in the last decade) are just "reasons Israelis fabricated to attack innocent people in Gaza."
    It must be even sadder that the leader of an EU-candidate country publicly allies with Hamas, a terrorist organization according to the U.S. and the club that Turkey hopes to join one day.
    How bizarre, Mr. Erdogan sees nothing wrong in supporting a violent troupe whose charter explicitly calls for the annihilation of Israel and the genocide of Jews.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation - David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker
    There was a second, strategic agenda unfolding in the conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, according to American and Israeli officials. The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new anti-missile systems to counter them.
        It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
        One key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran's ability to slip next-generation missiles into Gaza or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran's surrogates, Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis.
        Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a military historian, noted Wednesday: "In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union." In the Gaza operation, "Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran."  (New York Times)
        See also Iranian Missiles in Gaza Fight Give Tehran Government a Lift - Thomas Erdbrink
    Above the bustling Niayesh highway in Tehran, a huge billboard hangs on an overpass to remind drivers of Iran's missile abilities. Cars zip underneath the image of a green missile on a launcher and text in Persian saying "Destination Tel Aviv." Iran's missiles and weapons technology are getting plenty of attention hundreds of miles away in Gaza.
        Iranian-supplied missiles have brought Israel's major cities within range of Gaza for the first time. Iranian-designed missiles, the Fajr-3 and the Fajr-5, allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to hit Israel's heartland.
        "The arms of the resistance, including those of Hamas, are Iranian, from the bullet to the missile," Ziad al-Nakhla, deputy leader of Islamic Jihad, told Al Manar TV on Tuesday, lauding the "great sacrifices" Iran had made by "shipping" these weapons to Gaza.
        In the end, Iran's leaders believe that military power is the only measure of success, and they have little faith that cease-fires and diplomacy will accomplish anything lasting. (New York Times)
  • Closing Arms Tunnels Crucial to Ending Israel-Hamas War - Nicole Gaouette
    The cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is unlikely to end their conflict unless smuggling routes the militant group uses to re-arm itself are closed. So long as militants can restock their arsenals with goods from Sudan, Libya and Iran smuggled through Gaza's tunnels, any Israeli success against Hamas will be short-term, said Adam Hug, policy director at the Foreign Policy Centre in London.
        Egypt's new government is "too stressed out on other issues" to deal effectively with the tunnels, said Paul Sullivan, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington. "The fact that the Egyptian military could not stop the murder of their own in North Sinai in July says a lot."  (Bloomberg)
  • Israel's Iron Dome Shield Against Gaza Rockets Cost $25-30 Million
    Israel's Iron Dome interceptions of rockets fired from Gaza during eight days of fighting cost $25-30 million, Civil Defense Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio on Thursday, arguing the U.S.-backed system was well worth the money. Israel's five Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 rockets launched from Gaza. The military put Iron Dome's success rate at 90%. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas. Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide defense. (Reuters-NBC News)
  • Gaza Counts the Cost of Another Bloody War - Phoebe Greenwood
    The devastation of the past eight days has shaken every corner of Gaza. The heavy aerial and naval assault left the Hamas civil and security infrastructure in smoldering ruins. The city's main police department, only recently rebuilt after the 2009 fighting, had been hit, folding in on itself. The offices of key ministries were flattened. The Ministry of Interior was destroyed. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Arrests Hamas, Islamic Jihad Cell Behind Tel Aviv Bus Bomb - Gili Cohen
    Israeli security forces apprehended the perpetrators of a bombing attack on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday that wounded at least 30 people. Operatives linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad admitted in their interrogation to preparing the bomb used in the attack, as well as purchasing the cell phone used to remotely detonate the device. (Ha'aretz)
  • IDF Officer Injured by Rocket Fire Dies - Philip Podolsky
    Boris Yarmolnik, 28, an IDF reserve officer critically wounded by rocket fire on Wednesday, died of his wounds on Thursday. He is the second soldier to be killed from rocket fire and his death brought the Israeli death toll in the recent Gaza fighting to six. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas "Victory" Sparks Fighting Spirit in the West Bank - Elhanan Miller
    The IDF reported a steep rise in violent activities in the West Bank during the week of fighting in Gaza. Rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at civilian cars and a bus was shot at from a passing car near Gush Etzion junction, south of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem's Old City, a young woman stabbed a soldier on Thursday.
        The Palestinian street is quickly slipping into combat mode, inspired by the fighting words emanating from Gaza. Yet as demonstrators flocked to the main squares of Ramallah and Hebron to celebrate Hamas' victory Thursday, Fatah official Bassam Zakarneh wrote on his Facebook page: "My brothers, if the death of 163 martyrs including the leader Ahmad Jabari, with thousands of wounded and all [government] institutions destroyed is considered a victory, then by God what is defeat?"  (Times of Israel)
  • After UN Statehood Recognition, Will Israel Take the PA to the International Criminal Court? - Herb Keinon
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas intends to bring a resolution for statehood recognition to the UN General Assembly, possibly as early as Nov. 29, the anniversary of the 1947 UN partition vote. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has come out publicly against the move, as have a number of key EU countries, such as Britain and Germany.
        Even during the height of the Gaza crisis, Netanyahu, during numerous talks he held with various world leaders, asked his interlocutors why they were not calling on Abbas to stop the rockets from Gaza. "They would tell him to 'get serious,' and that Abbas has no control, to which Netanyahu would reply, 'So what is all the talk about statehood recognition at the UN,'" one government source said. The idea was to demonstrate how divorced from reality the whole UN proposal was.
        The source asked, "If the Palestinians go to the UN and get recognition, next time there is a rocket attack from Gaza, why can't we attack Ramallah, and why can't we take them to the International Criminal Court and accuse them of war crimes?"  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Why Was There War in Gaza? - Charles Krauthammer
    Why was there an Israel-Gaza war in the first place? Resistance to the occupation, say Hamas and many in the international media. What occupation? Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, and evacuated every Jew. In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever. Israel wanted nothing more than to live in peace with this independent Palestinian entity.
        It gave the land. It got no peace. The Gaza Palestinians voted in Hamas, who turned the newly freed Palestine into an armed camp from which to war against Israel. For Hamas a truce is simply a tactic for building strength for the next round. It is never meant to be enduring, never meant to offer peace.
        Hamas' raison d'etre is to "liberate" - i.e., destroy - Tel Aviv and the rest of pre-1967 Israel. Israel has once again succeeded in defending itself. But only until the next round, which will come. Hamas will see to that. (Washington Post)
  • Hamas' Gaza Victory - Editorial
    Regarding America's war in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger once noted that "the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win." Regarding Israel's latest war against Hamas in Gaza, the same considerations apply.
        The leaders of Hamas understand that they have emerged politically intact and strategically stronger after eight days of inconclusive fighting. The terrorist group fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel - forcing millions of Israelis into bunkers and bomb shelters - but suffered no decisive military defeat.
        The Egyptian government has been accorded a special role in maintaining the cease-fire, but that will mean little unless it halts the flood of arms coming from Iran into Gaza from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Israel received a similar guarantee after its last cease-fire with Hamas in 2009, but the rockets multiplied and with longer ranges.
        Israel lives in a bad neighborhood that has become more dangerous since the Arab Spring. Israel has at least degraded Hamas' ability to attack if there is a war with Iran next year. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Hamas' Escalation Calculation - Tony Badran
    Hamas' war with Israel was, in fact, a failed attempt to reconfigure its power relationship with Cairo. Gaza's gateway to the world is Egypt. Hamas saw the fall of Mubarak, and the ascent to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, as its opportunity to lift the stifling constraints that existed under the Mubarak regime.
        From Hamas' perspective, the dawn of unlimited populist support for the "resistance" by Muslim Brotherhood governments was here, and Hamas was to be the vanguard of this new regional order. However, the new Egyptian government was even stricter in enforcing control over the smuggling tunnels in Sinai.
        Hamas moved to rewrite the rules and impose them not only on Israel, but also on Egypt. The steady escalation of rocket attacks on southern Israel was the new normal that Hamas sought to establish. Hamas, however, misread both the Israelis and the Egyptians.
        At the end of the day, Hamas ended up with the status quo ante, with net losses. Most importantly, Hamas angered the new Egyptian president. Gaza does not set the terms for Egypt. Ultimately, Morsi acted like the president of Egypt, not the leader of an ideological movement. Hamas now finds itself further under Egypt's thumb. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Now Lebanon)
  • Restored Israeli Deterrence?: Only Time Will Tell - Ron Ben-Yishai
    The question of whether Israel's Gaza operation restored its deterrence against Hamas will only be answered in a few months or years time. We'll have to wait for the effect of the destruction and losses brought about by the IDF to sink into the mind of the Palestinian population.
        After the Second Lebanon War, we saw Hizbullah chief Nasrallah worshipped by the Arab world while sitting in a bunker. Nasrallah celebrated, but we have had six years of calm so far. (Ynet News)
  • Gaza Crisis: The Legal Position of Israel and Hamas - Guglielmo Verdirame
    Israel argues that its Gaza operation is justified under the right of self-defense. This position has in principle been supported by various countries, including the U.S. and EU member states. Enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter, the right of self-defense is accepted as a fundamental principle of international law. It is universally agreed that a state can defend itself against an armed attack. Most international lawyers would agree that rockets launched against civilians that disrupt the social life of part of a country constitute an armed attack for the purposes of Article 51.
        Critics of the Israeli position argue that the right of self-defense should be invoked only against another state, but not against a non-state entity like Gaza. State practice, especially since the attacks of 11 September 2001, militates against this interpretation of self-defense. The writer is professor of International Law at King's College London. (BBC News)
  • Why Israel's Action in Gaza Is Not "Disproportionate" - Alan Johnson
    One of the most common complaints against Israel is that its response to rocket attacks from Hamas is "disproportionate." Yet in comparison to Israel's Gaza operation in 2008-9, what is striking about the recent military action is how limited the civilian casualties have been. The writer is Professor of Democratic Theory and Practice at Edge Hill University in England. (New Statesman-UK)
  • Col. Richard Kemp: Israel Did Everything It Could to Avoid Civilian Casualties - Arsen Ostrovsky
    Col. Richard Kemp CBE, a former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, has been in Israel to "get a first hand feel" of events. Kemp believes Israel has continued to take "unprecedented steps" to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza, concluding, "I don't think anybody can do more in these circumstances." He said Israel is taking some "extraordinary steps in a time of war," such as providing fuel, water and electricity, while also dropping leaflets and sending text messages, warning residents of impending strikes.
        "It's an indication of the humanitarian concerns that Israel has for the civilian population among the enemy it is fighting." He added that some of the steps Israel has put in place for safeguarding civilian life in war have been adopted by NATO forces and applied in Afghanistan, where U.S. and British troops continue to serve.
        Kemp believes Israel was fully justified in commencing this operation, saying, "I don't believe Israel had any choice" after Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza stepped up their missile attacks over the last few months. The Israeli government "showed enormous restraint over a long period of time in the face of repeated missile attacks," but "no government in the world could sit back and allow these kinds of attacks to continue on its civilian population."
        Although he believes Hamas will undoubtedly portray the cease-fire as a victory, ultimately, Kemp says Netanyahu achieved his key objective of "re-establishing deterrence" and causing "sufficient damage to Hamas' weapons stocks and leadership." "I see what I see. And I see Israel, a Western democratic state fighting a terrorist organization."  (Huffington Post)
  • Hamas Bears Lion's Share of Blame for Israel-Gaza Tensions - Leslie H. Gelb
    Whichever terrorist group actually started the shooting, Hamas had to know full well that if rocket fire against Israel continued, the Israelis would not put up with it and would fire back in spades. Knowing that puts the responsibility for Gazan civilian deaths on Hamas. Hamas pledges to destroy the State of Israel. Hamas-lovers lose all credibility when they ignore that fact. The writer is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Daily Beast)

  • Iran

  • Iran Must Be President Obama's Immediate Priority - Henry A. Kissinger
    The most urgent decision facing President Obama is how to stop Iran from pursuing a military nuclear program. Presidents of both parties have long declared that "no option is off the table" in securing this goal. The U.S. and Iran are apparently conducting bilateral negotiations through official or semiofficial emissaries - a departure from the previous procedure of multilateral talks. Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program do not have an encouraging record.
        To the extent that Iran shows willingness to conduct itself as a nation-state, rather than a revolutionary religious cause, and accepts enforceable verification, elements of Iranian security concerns should be taken seriously, including gradual easing of sanctions as strict limits on enrichment are implemented and enforced.
        But time will be urgent. Tehran must be made to understand that the alternative to an agreement is not simply a further period of negotiation and that using negotiations to gain time will have grave consequences. A creative diplomacy, allied to a determined strategy, may still be able to prevent a crisis provided the U.S. plays a decisive role in defining permissible outcomes. (Washington Post)
  • If Iran Gets the Bomb - Paul Bracken
    You don't have to fire a nuclear weapon to gain a strategic advantage from it. War games featuring an Iran that possesses a small, crude nuclear arsenal project their effect on regional players. Everyone notices caution, even hesitation, in the Israel team. Escalation in a nuclear context isn't like escalation in earlier conflicts without the bomb. An unwanted spiral of escalation might drive the game in a very bad direction. The writer is a professor of management and political science at Yale. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Is Israel's Gaza Campaign Laying the Groundwork for an Attack on Iran? - Moran Stern
    In October a mysterious blast occurred at the Yarmouk military base on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Yarmouk was a base camp to receive arms shipments from Iran that were smuggled to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Satellite images indicate that the bombing of Yarmouk was executed from the air. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only one in the region with the capabilities to execute such a strike.
        The operation in Sudan sent two clear messages to Tehran: First, that Israeli intelligence follows Iran's whereabouts in the region. Second, if the IAF can safely reach and destroy a target some 1,120 miles from Israel, it can make the 1,000-mile journey to Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel's Gaza operation was not aimed at destroying the Hamas regime in Gaza, but rather at paralyzing it militarily. Aside from the immediate respite it would provide Israel from rocket fire, this would also ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad stay out of the conflict in case Israel strikes Iran.
        Furthermore, the heavy exchange of fire with Gaza is an excellent opportunity for the Israeli authorities to examine the preparedness of its home front, emergency infrastructure, and defensive military capabilities. A responsive public, who closely follows the instructions of the home front authorities, is an important element in minimizing the number of potential victims in case of an Iranian strike. While it is difficult to imagine that Israel launched its current offensive primarily to gauge these factors, it certainly provides important ancillary benefits toward that end.
        Israel's actions also send a strong message: it is ready to act against its enemies and to bear the consequences. (Atlantic)

  • Other Issues

  • Rafael Works 24/7 to Meet Demand for Iron Dome Missiles - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. initiated emergency, round-the-clock operations last week to meet intensifying demand for Iron Dome intercepting missiles. A company executive credited a special U.S. appropriation of $205 million for enabling the accelerated push to deploy additional interceptors. "Without a doubt, if it wasn't for the U.S. $205 million, we would be facing a serious operational deficiency in our inventories," he said. (Defense News)
        See also Iron Dome: A Missile Shield that Works - Mark Thompson
    A senior Israeli official said the Iron Dome interceptors cost up to $100,000 each. "Think if these rockets actually hit a neighborhood, in terms of the human costs, the wounded, the destruction of infrastructure would be much greater. So $100,000 is not that much to pay for a house that's full of kids."  (TIME)
        See also Israel's Iron Dome: A Breakout Performance for Missile Defense - Editorial
    Israeli interceptors have eviscerated the Iranian-supplied Hamas missiles heading for population centers. Chalk up an important strategic and technological win for missile defense. The hit rate of Israel's Iron Dome system approaches 90%, saving countless lives. The Israelis are showing the importance of being protected in an era of rogue missiles. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also How Israel's "Iron Dome" Knocks Almost Every Incoming Missile Out of the Sky - Clay Dillow (Popular Science)
  • Turkish-Israeli Relations: Time for Urgent Reassessment - Ehud R. Toledano
    Prime Minister Erdogan has been seeking to reposition Turkey as a regional power. However, as the current Gaza crisis erupted, Turkey found itself marginalized. Over the past two years, Turkey has damaged its relations with Israel and identified itself with Hamas to the extent that it has lost any credibility as a fair mediator. Beyond statements of harsh condemnation against Israel and enthusiastic support for Hamas, Erdogan can do practically nothing.
        Without the diplomatic capability to talk to Jerusalem, and having lost all trust within Israeli political circles, the Turkish prime minister can only sit in Cairo and watch how President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt mediates a cease-fire and negotiates a long-term arrangement between Israel and Hamas, with Egyptian guarantees. You need to talk to both sides if you want to be able to do that - Morsi, a president from the Muslim Brotherhood no less, can; Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, cannot.
        It was Erdogan's choice to bring about a virtual collapse of the relationship with Israel. What is clearly being put in jeopardy here is the Turkish national interest. In the absence of any serious cooperation with Israel, potential dangers for Turkey lie also in the area of knowing about terror threats and effectively fighting them. It is, therefore, time for Erdogan to reassess his policy toward Israel in light of recent events. He does not have to love Israel; but for Turkey's sake, he must be able to work with the Israeli government. The writer is professor of Ottoman and Turkish Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Hurriyet-Turkey)

  • Weekend Feature

  • Pastrami - Etgar Keret
    The air-raid siren catches us on the highway. My wife, Shira, pulls over to the side of the road and we get out of the car. Lev holds my hand; he's seven. Following Home Front Command instructions, Shira lies down on the side of the road. I tell Lev that he has to lie down, too. But he keeps standing there.
        "Lie down already," Shira says, raising her voice to be heard over the blaring siren. "How'd you like to play a game of Pastrami Sandwich?" I ask Lev. "What's that?" he asks, not letting go of my hand. "Mommy and I are slices of bread," I explain, "and you're a slice of pastrami, and we have to make a pastrami sandwich as fast as we can."  The author is a well-known Israeli writer. (New Yorker)

How Wars End - Dore Gold (Israel Hayom)

  • It became extremely difficult to reach a decisive outcome in the war in Gaza and defeat Hamas as long as it has a link to external sources of supply, like Iran. In comparison, the IDF was able to defeat Hamas and other organizations in the West Bank in 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield, partly because their forces had no external source of supply.
  • Israel continues to seal off the outer perimeter of the West Bank - the Jordan Valley - and did not pull out from this strategic area, as it had withdrawn from the Philadelphi Route along the Gaza-Egypt border. As a result, the war in Gaza has continued since Israel's 2005 disengagement until today, while no such armed conflict on a similar scale erupted in the West Bank.
  • In the present Gaza conflict, the stated goal of military operations was to bring to an end the constant rocket fire on Israel by Hamas and other organizations which received sanctuary in the territory it controlled. If the cease-fire stabilizes in the weeks ahead, then the IDF will have achieved its stated goal.
  • But to preserve what it has accomplished, Israel and the U.S. will have to put in place arrangements for the Philadelphi Route in order to prevent Iran from replacing all the weaponry that Israel destroyed. Closing the outer perimeter to a territory where an insurgency war is being waged has been proven time and again to be a prerequisite for assuring stability in the long-term.
  • Israel demonstrated that nothing would deter it from exercising its right of self-defense, even in the era of the "Arab Spring." Hamas had miscalculated. Essentially, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt felt strongly that now is the time for it to consolidate its control on power and not get drawn into the military adventurism of Hamas, despite its full ideological identification with the latter.
  • Thus Egypt played a constructive role at the end of this round of conflict, but it remains to be seen whether this shift becomes permanent or is only temporary. For the ideological hostility of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt against Israel remains stronger than ever. In any case, Israel will continue to have to rely on itself for its security, backed by the national fortitude that the Israeli people convincingly demonstrated all throughout the Gaza crisis.

    The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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