Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 6, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Israel: Hizbullah Trying to Open New Front on Golan - Lilach Shoval (Israel Hayom)
    Israeli defense officials believe Hizbullah has been trying to establish a strategic foothold in the Syrian Golan Heights to facilitate attacks on Israel from that area.

Radical Islam Arrives in Ramallah - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Hundreds of Muslim fundamentalist members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) marched through the streets of Ramallah on Tuesday to mark the 92nd anniversary of the fall of the Caliphate.
    The Palestinian Authority instructed its security forces not to intervene.
    Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a radical, Islamist political organization that calls on all Muslims to unify under an Islamic state ruled by Islamic law, Sharia, and a caliph.
    Baher Saleh, a senior Hizb-ut-Tahrir official, told the crowd that it was time for Muslim armies to "liberate the Aqsa Mosque from the hands of the filthy Jews."
    He condemned the PA leadership for failing to mobilize the Islamic world for war against Israel.
    Some Palestinians said the PA leadership is using the Muslim radicals to scare Western donors into continuing their financial aid to the Palestinian government in the West Bank.

Russia's Middle-East Gambit - Dmitri Trenin (Tablet)
    Moscow's attitude toward the Arab Spring has been cautious from the very start. Unlike Europeans and Americans, Russian officials did not expect Western-style democracy to follow secular authoritarianism: What they began to brace for, early on, was a great Islamist revolution engulfing the entire region.
    Russia is concerned that Syria will turn into a haven for al-Qaeda-style terrorists. Assad may be problematic, but his enemies constitute a real threat not just to Syria, but also to other countries, including Russia.
    At the same time, Russia's attitudes toward Israel are overwhelmingly positive. Many Russians admire the social and economic accomplishments of the Jewish state and its technological and military prowess.
    Intense human contacts under conditions of a visa-free regime and the lack of a language barrier with a significant portion of Israel's population help enormously.
    The writer is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Belgian Lawmaker Tramples Israeli Flag at Pro-Assad Rally (JTA)
    Laurent Louis, a member of Belgium's Federal Parliament, posed for pictures while standing on an Israeli flag at a June 2 demonstration in support of Syrian President Assad outside Israel's embassy in Brussels. The flag was later set on fire.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In Syrian Victory, Hizbullah Risks Broader Fight - Anne Barnard
    The rebel fighters in Qusayr, who had managed to repel the Syrian Army for months, could not withstand the additional attacks from Hizbullah. But Assad's military had not defeated the rebels. Rather, he owed the victory to Hizbullah, which provided crucial infantry power in recent weeks.
        While taking Qusayr could infuse Assad's forces with momentum and embolden him to push for more military advances, the intervention by Hizbullah could be problematic. An organization which historically has been revered for its opposition to Israel, Hizbullah now has turned its guns on fellow Muslims and taken on the form of an occupying force. (New York Times)
  • Anti-Government Protesters Shout "Death to the Dictator" in Iran - Robert Tait
    Chants of "death to the dictator" were heard on videos of a funeral procession attended by tens of thousands in Isfahan, Iran, following the death of Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri, who died on Sunday. Chants were also heard in support of two presidential candidates in the country's fraud-tainted 2009 election who have been under house arrest for more than two years.
        Taheri resigned as Isfahan's Friday prayer leader in 2002 in protest at what he saw as the betrayal of the revolution by Iran's rulers. In his resignation letter, he hit out at "life-long powers; mafia-type gangs...that act under the name of religion."  (Telegraph-UK)
  • Israel Leads Global Drone Exports as Demand Grows - Tia Goldenberg
    In an expansive hangar in central Israel, workers are fitting dozens of drones with advanced sensors, cameras and lasers before they are shipped to militaries worldwide to perform highly sensitive tasks. A report by the U.S. consulting firm Frost & Sullivan determined earlier this year that Israel is now the largest exporter of unmanned aerial systems, surmounting aerospace giants in the U.S.
        Analysts see demand for military UAVs quadrupling over the next decade, driven by their success in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones proved essential in Israel's last two wars in Gaza, providing its troops eyes over its enemies in congested urban areas, and are lauded for sparing dozens of soldiers' lives.
        "The Israeli companies are very good and very advanced and very smart at making systems that function in a tactical environment because they've been at war constantly," said Michael Blades, an industry analyst who authored the Frost & Sullivan report. "It came out of necessity but they got really good at it."  (AP-ABC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Calls on Abbas to "Give Peace a Chance" - Lahav Harkov
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table in a speech to the Knesset on Wednesday. "I call on Abbas to put preconditions aside and talk. Give peace a chance," Netanyahu said in English, quoting the John Lennon song. Foreign government officials visiting Israel "all know Israel is not the side avoiding negotiations," he said.
        "Don't have endless talks about starting talks," he said. "We will listen to any initiative and are willing to discuss any offer that is not a dictate."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ireland Leads Opposition to Blacklisting Hizbullah - Herb Keinon
    Government officials in Jerusalem accused Ireland on Wednesday of leading opposition inside the EU to placing the "military wing" of Hizbullah on the EU's terrorist blacklist.
        Meanwhile, the new socialist-led government in Bulgaria backed away from charges by its center-right predecessor that Hizbullah had carried out the terrorist attack in Burgas last summer that killed five Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Kidnapping Attempt of Female IDF Soldier Foiled - Raanan Ben-Zur
    Arabs tried to kidnap a female soldier on her way to an IDF base in central Israel on Tuesday. Three female soldiers were walking to a base when a car slowed down and began following them. One of the men in the car grabbed one of the soldiers and tried to push her into the car. She fought him and resisted, and her friends pulled her toward them until they managed to rescue her, while the car drove off. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Who Are the Palestinian Prisoners Abbas Wants Released?
    Mahmoud Abbas is insisting on the release of 118 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated before the Oslo Agreements as a precondition for resuming negotiations with Israel. While the Palestinians refer to these men as "political prisoners," in fact they were all involved in the murder or attempted murder of Israeli civilians or soldiers, tourists, or Palestinian civilians suspected of collaborating with Israel.
        CAMERA has translated into English the Ministry of Justice report on these pre-Oslo prisoners, which includes a summary of their crimes, the names of their victims, their sentence, and their organizational affiliation. (CAMERA)
  • Hizbullah Unmasked - Editorial
    When Syria is free, Hizbullah will be alone and isolated in its south Lebanon territory. Its murderous and malign influence in the country will be challenged by moderate Lebanese, who are fed up with its strutting thugs and the obstruction of its leaders in the country's delicate political process. The time is past when the Hizbullah leadership can pose as a champion of the Arab cause. Thanks to its slavish support for Iran and Syria, it has actually defined itself as an enemy of the Arab world.
        Hizbullah needs to be seen for the ruthless terrorist organization that it really is and the GCC's decision to call it such is surely a crucial nail in the terror group's coffin. (Saudi Gazette-Saudi Arabia)
  • Kerry's Improbable Peace Process Lacks Israeli and Palestinian Buy-In - Natan Sachs
    Many in Washington are wondering why Secretary of State John Kerry has chosen this of all times to engage in energetic, high-level diplomacy to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Clearly, the current situation does not favor achieving peace. Both Palestinian and Israeli leaders have scant trust in the other's intentions.
        The broader Middle East is now undergoing generational upheavals. If ever there was a time when Israel would be unlikely to take security risks, or when the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah would be hesitant to make tough, historic compromises with Israel, it would be now. The writer is a research fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington. (Ha'aretz)

Manipulating International Law as Part of Anti-Israeli "Lawfare" - Robbie Sabel (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Israel's record of compliance with international law is remarkably strong. In a long series of decisions, the Israeli High Court has ordered the Israeli government, army, and security services to change policies that, in the court's view, were in violation of customary international law. The court has even intervened in actual combat situations.
  • Perhaps because Israel's detractors are aware of this reality, they have undertaken a process of manipulating international law in a way that invents rules that are applied only to Israel and not to other states or in other situations.
  • Israel's detractors invented a new international legal concept called "illegal occupation." In an armed conflict, international law clearly permits military occupation. The UN Security Council has never declared Israeli occupation to be illegal. U.S. occupation of Iraq after the Second Gulf War was universally considered a legal act.
  • It is often presented manipulatively as a legal axiom that the Green Line already has the status of a legally binding border. By signing a peace agreement, Israel and Jordan have now mutually acknowledged the termination of the Armistice Agreement and its demarcation line. The validity of an armistice line expires with the expiration of the armistice. Therefore, formally, there is no longer any legal validity to the Green Line.
  • By any accepted legal standard, Gaza is not under Israeli occupation. International law requires that, for an area to be considered as under occupation, the territory must be "actually placed under the authority of the hostile army." Again, there appears to be a unique definition of "occupation" applicable only to Israel.
  • The essence of any legal system is that law applies equally to all. Devising tailor-made rules of international law for application only where Israel is concerned undermines international law and can have an insidious and corrosive effect on the rule of law in general.

    The writer is professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former legal adviser to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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