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,
November 27, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Celebrates Conquest of Jerusalem - Michael Petrou (Macleans-Canada)
    The walls of Cairo's Saladin Citadel are bathed in pink light. As an orchestra and a singer are belting out songs, young men dressed like medieval Muslim warriors, with flowing robes and wide swords on their hips, stand guard on rock platforms.
    Egypt's new government is commemorating Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem in 1187.
    On stage, video clips are projected onto a large screen, showing Saladin's army marching into Jerusalem, followed by footage of the October 1973 war with Israel. Clips of Egyptian troops crossing the Suez Canal are met with cheers and applause.
    A special guest takes the stage: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who says: "The time has come to overturn the negotiating table on those who wish to enslave us. Nothing will restore the homeland but jihad."

Spoiling the Gaza Cease-Fire - Aaron Zelin (Atlantic)
    In order for the cease-fire to be sustainable, it must address the role of non-Hamas-aligned militants from Gaza and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula who have been involved in the attacks as well.
    The jihadis of Majlis Shura Fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis (MSM) and Jama'at Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (JABM) have cells in both Gaza and Sinai. Five MSM rocket attacks originated from northern Sinai.
    Washington must use its economic leverage to compel the Egyptian government to take the problem in Sinai seriously.
    The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Hamas Victim Dragged Through the Streets Was Islamist, Not Collaborator - Matthew Kalman (New York Daily News)
    Palestinian gunmen riding a motorcycle dragged the corpse of Ribhi Badawi, 37, through the streets of Gaza City last week, saying he was suspected of working for Israel.
    But his widow, Kholoud Badawi, said he belonged to the Jaljalat Brigades, a strict religious Islamic group. His father, Ahmed, said his son hated the Israelis more than Hamas.
    He was accused of collaborating with Israel to pinpoint Hamas targets, but had spent the last four years in a Hamas prison under armed guard.
    "They burned (him) and broke his jaw and teeth....He was hanged for 45 days by his arms and legs to make him confess. He confessed because of the torture," she said.

Arafat's Remains Exhumed in Ramallah - Fadwa Hodali (Bloomberg)
    The remains of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were exhumed Tuesday as part of a probe into allegations he was poisoned, according to a senior Palestinian security official.
    Teams of experts from Switzerland, France and Russia conducted tests lasting a few hours.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians Submit Resolution on UN Status - Joe Lauria
    The Palestinian Authority submitted a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly that would recognize the Palestinians as a nonmember state of the UN. A vote is set for Thursday, the 65th anniversary of the Assembly's resolution that partitioned British-mandate Palestine into Israeli and Palestinian states. The Palestinians rejected the resolution and war with Israel ensued, leaving the Palestinians without a state.
        While a majority is all but certain, Israel and the U.S. argue it is a "unilateral" move and that statehood can only come through direct Israeli-Palestinian talks. The U.S. Congress has threatened to cut off funding to the authority and to any UN agency Palestinians might join as a result of their UN upgrade.
        "We've obviously been very clear that we do not think that this step is going to bring the Palestinian people any closer to a state, that we think it is a mistake, that we oppose it, that we will oppose it," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Britain Ready to Back Palestinian Statehood at UN - Ian Black (Guardian-UK)
        See also Canada's Harper Took Steps to Stifle Palestinian Statehood Bid - Campbell Clerk (Globe and Mail-Canada)
        See also Australia to Abstain on Palestinian UN Vote (AP-Calgary Herald-Canada)
  • Egypt's Morsi Limits Scope of Power Grab, Unrest Continues - Jeffrey Fleishman and Reem Abdellatif
    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi suggested Monday that he would scale back broad powers he assumed last week but failed to appease Egypt's judiciary. The Supreme Judicial Council on Saturday condemned Morsi's expanded powers as an "unprecedented attack" on the courts.
        Morsi contended that his intent was to prevent Mubarak-era judges from disrupting the country's political transition. But his unilateral decree echoed the strongman tactics of his predecessor. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Shame on Anyone Who Ever Thought Mohamed Morsi Was a Moderate - Eric Trager (New Republic)
        See also Morsi as Master - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Battle Lines Are Drawn in Egypt - Zvi Mazel (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S.: Stopping Arms Smuggling Is a "Critical Element" in Cairo Cease-Fire Talks - Herb Keinon
    A senior U.S. official said Monday that Washington understands that Israel's restrictions on Gaza are related to arms smuggling, and that a total relaxation of the restrictions would necessitate assurances that arms stop pouring into the Strip. He said that stopping the smuggling is a "critical element" of the cease-fire, and that the U.S. will make this a priority in its discussions with the Egyptians. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel, Palestinians Begin Indirect Talks on Truce Details
    Israel and Palestinian militants from Gaza began indirect talks Monday in Egypt to negotiate new border arrangements for the Strip.
        An Israeli official said his country is prepared to help Gaza's civilians but would be wary of strengthening Hamas. In particular, he said the issue of arms smuggling would be high on the agenda. "Our assessment is that successfully preventing the rearmament of Hamas and other groups is an integral element of maintaining long-term peace and quiet."  (AP-CBS News)
  • Woman Singlehandedly Drives Terrorist Away - Ilana Curiel
    Yael, 39, a resident of Sde Avraham in southern Israel, managed to chase out a Palestinian who broke into her home and threatened her with a knife and an iron rod. She struggled with him inside the house at 4 a.m., singlehandedly protecting her four children. Yael's father, Danny Matzpun, told Ynet: "She pushed him into the bathroom and blocked the door using one of the kids' beds. She hurt herself during the struggle; he leaned against her and stabbed her in the face and the shoulder." The assailant then climbed out a window and ran away, before he was caught by security forces two km. from the scene. (Ynet News)
        A military source said the suspect charged at the soldiers with his knife and shouted "Allahu Akbar" before he was shot and killed. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • America's Responsibility in the New Middle East - Dennis Ross
    There is a good chance the calm that has been restored in Gaza will last for at least the next several months and perhaps longer. Hamas knows that Israel means what it says about a red line and Egypt does as well. Having brokered the cease-fire deal, Egypt has a strong stake in it not breaking down any time soon.
        The bad news is that Hamas' arsenal in Gaza will be rebuilt. True, Prime Minister Netanyahu garnered a commitment from the Obama Administration to do what it can to stop the smuggling of arms, but Iran, Islamic Jihad and Hamas are likely to succeed over time in rebuilding the arsenal in Gaza. What's clear is that Hamas' interest in preserving calm with Israel does not equate to an interest in making peace. The writer previously served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director at the National Security Council. (New Republic)
  • Hamas' Victory: How Muslims See It - Harold Rhode
    Do Americans understand the Muslim view of war? Throughout the Muslim world, there were celebrations with people singing and dancing and giving each other sweets, celebrating Hamas' victory over the Israelis.
        The terms of the cease-fire agreement allow Hamas to live another day, re-arm and fight again. To the Muslims, this is a sign that Israel does not have either the ability or the will to make them surrender. Israel has thus proven to the Arabs, Iranians, and other Muslims that it is weak and incapable or unwilling to do what is necessary to subdue its enemies.
        Unless Israel destroys Hamas' leadership once and for all, it can expect many more years of terrorists showering death and destruction on its population. Islamic terrorists are consequently inspired to think that America and other Western allies are easier targets for more Islamic fundamentalist terror. The author served in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. (Gatestone Institute)
  • A Palestinian Flanking Maneuver - Robert P. Barnidge Jr.
    Mahmoud Abbas - president of the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank - will likely secure majority support in the UN General Assembly for "non-member state" status. But the Abbas maneuver probably won't lead to an independent state of Palestine, which would require the practical cooperation and support of Israel. And it might well prompt Israel to take proportionate countermeasures against the PA for abdicating its international legal obligation, under the 1993 Oslo Accords, to seek a permanent settlement with Israel through negotiation.
        The U.S. should make clear that it will oppose any action to grant Palestine the status of a non-member state unless the move takes place within the context of a permanent negotiated settlement with Israel. The writer, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is a lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Reading in Britain. (Wall Street Journal)

Israel, Gaza, and Double Standards - Col. Richard Kemp (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

  • While I know many British Jews serve with the Israeli military, I was nevertheless taken aback to hear the dulcet, north-London tones of a couple of English lads in IDF khaki at a service station south of Ashkelon. After 30 years in the infantry, I am a good judge of soldiers. Like every one of their Israeli brothers-in-arms that I met, these men were absolutely not the bloodthirsty killers so often portrayed in the international media.
  • Many politicians, diplomats and human-rights activists believe there is an equivalence between the military actions of a Western democratic nation seeking to lawfully defend its people and a jihadist terrorist group indiscriminately attacking civilians and using its population as human shields. I recall no such equivalence being drawn between Allied forces attacking under international law, and the rape, plunder and callous violence of Saddam's forces on the rampage in Kuwait.
  • Israel's choice is stark: put up with terrorist missiles aimed at its civilian population, or attack and risk civilian casualties in Gaza. What do other countries do? Turkey, faced with terrorist attacks by Kurdish separatists, has repeatedly and viciously bombed what it believes to be Kurd strongholds in the sovereign territory of Iraq.
  • Many have criticized Israel for the surgical strike that killed Hamas terrorist commander Ahmed Jabari. Few leveled similar criticism against the Americans for eliminating Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
  • Diplomats are horrified that Israel might launch a ground attack against Hamas. Yet dozens of Western nations have taken part in 11 years of high intensity ground and air warfare among the civilian population in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 terror attacks. The scale is different, the principle the same.
  • Were Israeli troops poised to go into Gaza? Everything I have seen shows that Jerusalem meant business. If the cease-fire does not result in Hamas ceasing its attacks on Israel's civilian population and its military, and an end to weapons smuggling, the IDF may have no choice.

    Col. Richard Kemp is the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.

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