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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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April 22, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Doctor Treats Boston Terrorist and Victims - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    The surviving suspect in the terror attack at the Boston Marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and 24 of those injured - 16 in serious condition, are being treated by an Israeli.
    Prof. Kevin (Ilan) Tabb, 49, is the director of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
    "Unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with these types of injuries after years of treating people injured in terror attacks in Israel," said Tabb, a member of the board of Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem, where he studied medicine and completed his residency.
    See also Israeli Doctors in Boston Treated Injured and Suspect Alike - Yoni Hirsch (Israel Hayom)

Report: Israeli Drones Allowed to Fly over Jordan into Syria - Aaron Kalman (Times of Israel)
    Jordan has allowed Israel to fly military drones over the country en route to Syria in order to monitor the situation there and, should the need arise, target chemical weapons caches, the French daily Le Figaro reported Monday.
    King Abdullah II made the decision during President Obama's visit to the region in March, the report said.
    The Israeli drones fly at night and are able to evade detection by the Russian air-defense systems used by the Syrian army.

Nepal Police Arrest Iranian Outside Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu (Himalayan Times-Nepal)
    On April 13, security personnel at the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu noticed an Iranian national, Mohsin Khosravian, engaged in suspicious activities outside the facility, and handed him over to the police, the Annapurna Post reported Sunday.
    The security officials were concerned that the suspect was scouting the facility with a harmful intent.
    The Nepal Police's Central Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into possible terrorist links in the wake of his "frequent and suspicious visits" to the Israeli Embassy area.
    Moreover, the suspect hid his Iranian passport and used a fake Israeli passport to get a visa "on arrival" at the Tribhuvan International Airport on April 3.

Iranian with Canadian Passport Arrested in Bulgaria - Benjamin Weinthal (Jerusalem Post)
    Bulgarian police last summer arrested a Canadian linked to the Iranian government who engaged in surveillance of the local Chabad center in the capital of Sofia, a well-placed and reliable local source told the Jerusalem Post last week.
    The Iranian female agent in her 50s, holding a Canadian passport, traveled from Istanbul to Sofia several weeks after the Burgas bombing in July 2012.
    She was arrested on her first day in Sofia after the Bulgarian police, on high alert, noticed she was monitoring the Chabad center.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel Vows Solidarity with Israel at Start of Mideast Trip - Shashank Bengali
    Making his first visit to the region as Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Israel on Sunday, seeking to demonstrate solidarity between the U.S. and Israel. "Israel and the United States see the threat of Iran exactly the same - as do many other countries, not just in the Middle East - so I don't think there's any daylight there," Hagel said en route to Israel. As defense secretary, Hagel has echoed the Obama administration's line that "all options are on the table" with regard to Iran, and he has supported Israel's right to defend itself.
        "I'm going to Israel first because it is a nation that has had a very special relationship with the United States. And it is a nation today in a very dangerous, combustible region of the world, that in many ways finds itself isolated," Hagel said. "And it's very important for the people of Israel to know that the United States is committed to their security and that special relationship."  (Los Angeles Times)
        See also U.S., Israel Agree on Iran While Differing on Timing, Hagel Says - Gopal Ratnam (Bloomberg)
  • Kerry Presses Turks on Rapprochement with Israel
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Turkey to speed up and cement an American-brokered rapprochement with Israel, during a visit to Istanbul. Kerry said he had a "prolonged and constructive" discussion with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu about "the importance of completing the task with respect to the renewal of relations between Turkey and Israel." U.S. officials are keen to see substantive process by the time Erdogan comes to Washington on May 16.
        Kerry also said he had made it clear to the Turks that a planned trip to Hamas-controlled Gaza by Prime Minister Erdogan after his visit to the White House "would be better delayed and that it shouldn't take place at this point in time." Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority oppose the Gaza visit.
        Kerry said he understood the anger and frustration of those Turks who lost friends and family in the 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. He said last week's Boston Marathon bombings made him acutely aware of the emotions involved. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Report: "Iran Willing to Send Hundreds of Thousands of Men to Syria to Defend Assad"
    Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah recently "secretly" met with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Quds Forces commander Qassem Suleimani in Tehran to discuss Syria, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported Sunday. "Iran is willing to send hundreds of thousands of its men to Syria to defend Assad's government," an Iranian source said. (Al Arabiya)
        See also Report: Hundreds Found Killed in Damascus Suburb
    The bodies of at least 566 people who were killed over a six-day period across Syria were found Sunday, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC). At least 450 bodies were found in the Damascus suburb of Jadidat al-Fadel after security forces had stormed the area, including at least 300 civilians and 150 members of the rebel Free Syrian Army, LCC activist Abu Aasy said Sunday. (CNN)
  • U.S. Warns of Extremists in Syrian Opposition, Praises Moderates
    At a special briefing in Istanbul on Sunday, a senior U.S. State Department official said: "We firmly believe that extremism within the ranks of those trying to bring down Assad, that extremism is very unhelpful in terms of finding a sustainable political solution in Syria, which is why we put them on our terrorism list, and it's why we argue now that the opposition coalition needs to clearly reject and demarcate itself from extremists in the Syrian opposition."
        "We have to help the moderates, people like [Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army] Salim Idris, who very clearly in the meeting last night said: We accept the importance of finding a political solution. We accept the importance of providing safety to all the minorities that are afraid of what would happen post-Assad. We accept that we must be held to the standards of universal human rights."  (State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Morsi Says He Won't Visit or Warm Ties with Israel - Elhanan Miller
    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told Al-Jazeera on Saturday in an interview that he wouldn't visit Israel, nor would he host an Israeli leader in Egypt, before peace is achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. Morsi also stressed Egypt's commitment to the peace accords signed with Israel in 1979 as an expression of "the free will of the Egyptians."
        Morsi dismissed recent comments by Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz that security coordination with Egypt was much better today than it was in the past. "The security coordination has been going on for 30 years, it's not new. Even enemy states coordinate on security matters to achieve stability along the border."  (Times of Israel)
  • IDF: Don't Let the Quiet Fool You - Amos Harel
    "Don't let the quiet fool you," Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz warned on the eve of Memorial Day last week. Two days later, members of the General Staff noted that, on the one hand, things are extraordinarily quiet as compared with the past 13 years, and the number of Israelis killed in terrorist activity is, relatively, very low. On the other hand, the instability along Israel's borders makes it difficult for intelligence analysts to predict where or when the next conflict might arise.
        Palestinian Prisoners Day, which was marked on the day after Israel's Independence Day, went by without any serious violence and with limited participation in rallies and demonstrations, in striking contrast to the numerous confrontations in the West Bank two weeks ago. There was a reason for the quiet: Just as the Palestinian Authority leadership encouraged demonstrations earlier in the month, this time it held them back. Detailed directives to this effect were transmitted to the security units and were strictly enforced at the grass-roots level. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Berkeley Chancellor: Student Senate Divestment Vote Will Not Change University Policy - Robert J. Birgeneau
    To the members of the UC Berkeley community - in the wake of the ASUC [student] Senate's passage of SB 160, "A Bill In Support of Human Rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip" [calling to divest from companies affiliated with Israel's military]:
        The ASUC is an independent student organization, and its vote in this matter will not change investment policy established by the Regents of the University of California. In addition, it is my personal opinion that targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence.
        This, of course, is not the first time that the Israeli divestment issue has arisen on this campus and I sincerely hope that we can avoid the rancor and divisiveness that arose in the wake of a previous ASUC vote in 2010, even as we support every student's right to freedom of expression and acknowledge the diversity of views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
        All of our students must feel that the campus is a safe and inclusive environment for them, one in which they have the freedom to express their views without fear of intimidation. The writer is chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. (Daily Californian)
  • The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy - Jonathan Schanzer
    PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad's reform agenda had been a constant irritant to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The two Palestinian leaders have barely been on speaking terms for more than a year. Fayyad opposed Abbas' push at the UN last year for non-member observer state status, insisting that Palestinians would be better served by continuing to build viable institutions.
        With Fayyad's departure, Abbas seems to have overcome any institutional restraints on his power. He is now four years past the end of his term as president, with no new elections in sight. There is little political freedom in the West Bank these days. The Palestinian president has no political challengers. He has no vice president. He has no heir apparent. And he does not allow for a healthy exchange of political ideas in the public space. The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Foreign Policy)

Why Europe Can't Bring Peace to the Middle East - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)

  • A group of former "European Eminent Persons" on the Middle East peace process has written a remarkable letter to Catherine Ashton, the EU's top foreign policy official, stating: "We have watched with increasing disappointment over the past five years the failure of the parties to start any kind of productive discussion."
  • Five years ago, in the spring of 2008, the parties were negotiating, apparently seriously, as part of what was then called "the Annapolis process." That failed when Mahmoud Abbas refused an extremely generous offer from Israeli Prime Minister Olmert.
  • Equally inaccurate is their line about the "failure of the parties," a phrase which refuses to acknowledge that only the Palestinians have refused to negotiate in the last four years, not "the parties."
  • The letter also notes that human rights conditions in the West Bank are deteriorating due to the Israeli occupation. One can make a good argument that they are deteriorating, in Gaza due to Hamas and in the West Bank due to the growing pressure from the PA against journalists. The letter does not appear to consider the possibility that any problem in Palestinian areas might possibly be the fault of Palestinians.
  • The letter's greatest sins are those quite familiar in letters from Europe: the sin of blaming everything on Israel and blaming nothing on the Palestinians, demanding nothing of the Palestinians, and treating the Palestinians like objects rather than people.
  • Nowhere does the letter mention the issue of anti-Semitic broadcasting and hate speech in Palestinian official media, nor the matter of the glorification of terrorism and terrorists by the PA, and the impact such conduct has on prospects for peace.

    The writer is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR.

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