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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
April 18, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Report: Israeli Diplomats Meet with Syrian Opposition - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    A Syrian opposition source told Jordan's independent Mouab website on Wednesday that Israeli diplomats met in Amman with members of the Syrian opposition.

Arab League Condemns Display of Balfour Declaration in Tel Aviv (AFP-Egypt Independent)
    The Arab League has condemned the British National Library's approval for Israel to display the original document of the Balfour Declaration in Tel Aviv's Independence Hall.
    The declaration was made on Nov. 2, 1917, by then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, pledging to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Canadian Student Union Bans Israel Apartheid Week - Rhonda Spivak (Winnipeg Jewish Review-Canada)
    The University of Manitoba Students Union has voted 19-15 to ban Israel Apartheid Week on campus and strip the group Students Against Israel Apartheid of official status.
    Student Josh Morry argued that official university policy includes a commitment "to an inclusive and respectful work and learning environment free from discrimination or harassment as prohibited in the Manitoba Human Rights Code."

Israel Is Top Choice for Tech by Multinationals - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    Over 250 multinational companies (MNC) have research and development centers in Israel, 80 of them Fortune 500 companies, with 66% being U.S. companies.
    During 2011, international tech companies bought out 83 Israeli start-ups, with the buyouts amounting to $5 billion.
    During the first half of 2012, there were 50 buyouts, at a total value of $3.5 billion (not including the purchase of NDS by Cisco).
    Between 2002 and 2009, productivity by MNC units in Israeli grew by 121%, an average of 12% annually. This accounted for 15% of all business activity in Israel.

Women-Only Border Police Unit Helps Defend Jerusalem - Tal Ariel Amir (Jerusalem Post)
    Since July 2012, the Border Police has had an independent women-only unit.
    They patrol the streets of Jerusalem, take part in searches and arrests and assist in catching criminals on the run, but their primary mission is to prevent illegal entry into Israel.
    Every month, company commander Linor Levi presents arrest rates 30% higher than those of units made up solely of their male counterparts.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Sending Additional Troops to Jordan - Karen DeYoung
    Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the Obama administration has ordered a headquarters element of the U.S. 1st Armored Division to Jordan for possible chemical weapons control, humanitarian response or "stability operations" in Syria. About 150 troops were sent last year to help train Jordanian military and Syrian opposition forces. (Washington Post)
  • Iran Ups Nuke Technology - George Jahn
    Technicians upgrading Iran's main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz have tripled their installations of high-tech IR-2m centrifuges that could be used in a nuclear weapons program to more than 600 in the last three months, diplomats said Wednesday. The new IR-2ms are believed to be able to enrich two to five times faster than the old machines.
        However, the machines are not yet producing enriched uranium and some may be only partially installed. Still, the move is the latest sign that ten years of diplomatic efforts have failed to persuade Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment. Instead, Iran continues to increase its capacities. (AP)
  • Europeans to Ease Syrian Oil Embargo in Opposition-Held Areas - James Kanter and Rick Gladstone
    The EU reached a preliminary agreement on Wednesday to ease an embargo on oil exports from opposition-held areas in Syria, diplomats said, part of an effort to provide these areas with an economic base and some self-sufficiency. The move represents a Western effort to create economic incentives for residents in insurgent-held areas, largely in the north and east, where many of Syria's oil field facilities are located. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Al-Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorists Targeted Eilat - Yaakov Lappin
    Wednesday's rocket attack on Eilat was the seventh rocket strike on the city since 2010. The Mujahadeen Shura Council, a Salafi jihadi group, claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing a triumphant video of its members launching the rockets. Israel is highly reluctant to embark on any kind of counterterrorism operation on Egyptian territory. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Video: Hizbullah Fighters in Syria - Daniel Siryoti
    The Saudi-based Al Arabiya network on Tuesday carried footage documenting Hizbullah fighters operating in Syria. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Navy Operates Unmanned Patrol Vessel - Inbal Orpaz
    The Israel Navy's Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle started operational use a year ago. The Protector, developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is capable of real-time surveillance day and night and is equipped with a weapons system. It is operated remotely from a control room and can carry out security operations at sea without endangering human lives. "The Protector...can get relatively close to the coastline and to dangerous weapons - it is nearly invisible," said Capt. M, commander of a naval unit responsible for operating the Protector. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Requiem for Fayyadism - Nathan J. Brown
    Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's international boosters built their expectations for his state-building program on contradictions that went well past the point of absurdity. Fayyadism was supposed to constitute Palestinian self-reliance, but it was sustained only because foreign countries bankrolled it. Unsurprisingly, it decayed as international attention began to wander.
        Fayyadism was said to promise political reform, but it was based on the denial of democracy and the continuation of authoritarian rule. In the absence of elections or even a viable electoral framework, he ruled by decree. The writer is professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (Foreign Policy)
  • Fayyad's Resignation: A New Challenge for Palestinians - Aaron David Miller
    The resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has the potential to inject clarity and honesty into the discussion. Hamas said that Fayyad was a major obstacle to the formation of a unity government in the territories. Fayyad's departure will help reveal that Palestinian unity is an illusion, that what divides the Palestinians are fundamental differences over what Palestine is and even where it should be.
        Fayyad's resignation highlights the leadership crisis in the Palestinian national movement. If PA President Mahmoud Abbas were to leave the scene, Fatah itself might split. There is no obvious, nationally recognized figure who could hold the Palestinian Authority together. The name usually mentioned as a possibility, Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, is currently serving several life sentences in an Israeli prison. The writer is a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Los Angeles Times)
  • A Third Way to Address the Iranian Threat - Michael Ledeen
    The example of the Arab Spring shows that seemingly secure despots can be toppled by popular will. Like the Soviet Union in its latter days, Iran's regime is hollow and detested by most of its people. The Iranian government is widely viewed within the country as corrupt and illegitimate, having stolen the 2009 elections. Most Iran watchers believe that the opposition has been crushed, but they held the same view before June 2009, when millions of Iranians took to the streets and fought for months.
        The opposition persists, routinely striking the regime's most valuable assets. Gas pipelines, ports and oil refineries have been sabotaged and Revolutionary Guards attacked. A source within the opposition tells me that seven Revolutionary Guard officers were ambushed and killed last month on a highway north of Tehran.
        Opposition leaders have told me that antiregime forces include the Greens, the trade unions and the major tribes, including Kurds, Baluch and Azeris. Supporting the Iranian opposition and overturning the Islamic regime wouldn't just be a way for the West to avoid a nuclear confrontation. It would also cut off the lifeblood for terrorist groups around the world. The writer is a scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. (Wall Street Journal)

Conspiracy Theories, Paranoia about Israel Hold Back Peace Process - Ido Aharoni (Fox News)

  • The Palestinians are our neighbors, and how they view Israelis is as important, if not more important, as any peace treaty. A culture of paranoia and conspiracy theories about Israel is one of the biggest obstacles to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. If Israel is always at fault, if there is always some dark, sinister, ulterior motive, the Palestinian people will never accept living peacefully next to the Jewish state.
  • The Palestinian people, aided and egged on by irresponsible leadership, never show an ounce of trust when it comes to viewing their Israeli neighbor. Nothing Israel does, no investigation, no study, however objective, will change their minds. Nothing Israel says or does can escape the prism of propaganda and malevolence. If the distrust is so deep, there is no bridge for peace.
  • The general feeling among Israeli citizens is that everything that comes out of Israel is cast aside by Palestinians purely on the basis of its origin. Facts become an inconvenient truth that must then be molded into propaganda so as not to clash with their deep-rooted assumptions about Israel.
  • A political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved if there is real societal and cultural change on the ground. A two-state solution, which is now endorsed by a majority of Israelis, will only be possible if there is trust.
  • The fact that there is a dedicated section on Wikipedia called "Conspiracy theories involving Israel," the fact that these theories are mainstream, everyday facts among the next generation of Palestinian leaders, is a terrifying omen to the future of possible reconciliation.

    The writer is the Consul General of Israel in New York.

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