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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 11, 2013

In-Depth Issue:

Palestinians Come Clean: They Want All of Israel - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
  Jibril Rajoub, Member of Fatah Central Committee, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association and head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, said this week that all of Israel is "occupied" Palestine. In response to a question during an interview on an Arabic sports channel if Barcelona's football team would be visiting the "occupied lands," Rajoub responded:
  "They are coming to the occupied lands. All of Palestine - from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea - it's all occupied."
   The area mentioned by Rajoub includes all of Israel. Rajoub subsequently posted the interview on his Facebook page.

EU Keen to Tap into Israel's Gas Supply via Trans Adriatic Pipeline - Neal Sandler (Platts)
  The European Union, which is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia for gas and diversify its supply sources, is eyeing Israel as a likely alternative and has proposed linking it to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, Israeli industry sources said Monday.
  Valeria Termini, vice president of the Council of European Energy Regulators, has held talks with senior Israeli Energy and Water Ministry officials on the proposal, the sources added.
  The proposal would enable Israel to join the European pipeline network, eliminating the need to build a costly LNG facility. An LNG terminal is estimated to cost between $7 billion to $10 billion while a pipeline to the European network can be built for $2 billion-$3 billion.

The Waze-Google Deal: Introducing the Next Generation of Israeli Tech - Joshua Mitnick (Wall Street Journal)
  With Google's expected $1 billion plus acquisition of Israeli traffic navigation start-up Waze, venture capitalists and technology experts are hailing it as seminal endorsement by Silicon Valley of a new species of Israeli start-ups that have mass appeal.
  "Waze is huge news. Everyone accuses Israel of doing small start ups. [Waze] ain’t no small start- up. It’s a momma," said Jonathan Medved, an Israeli American venture capitalist. "In the past people said that Israel can do enabling technologies only… This is finally going to get people to realize that Israel is an emerging consumer power house."

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • New Study Exposes Hizbullah Role in Syria - Yossi Melman
    A new study by the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center estimates that at least one hundred Hizbullah fighters have been killed in the battles in Syria. The study draws its information from open sources, mainly the Arab media. It provides a list of 96 names of Hizbullah fighters who died in action in defense of the Bashar Assad regime and had their bodies transported for burial in their home villages and town in Lebanon.
      Hizbullah has rendered other important services as part of its combat efforts to defend the regime. They include the training of the shabiha, the armed militias and gangs of the Assad regime. Israel military intelligence estimates that the size of this "popular army" is 50,000 armed members. (The Tower)
  • Iran Takes Key Step in Nuclear Reactor Construction
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on hand Sunday as officials at a nuclear plant took a critical step toward completing a reactor, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.
      Workers installed two containers on the reactor at the Arak heavy water facility in central Iran, Fars said. It quoted the head of Iran's nuclear agency as saying he thought the reactor will be able to help produce medicine in 2014.
      "We are deeply troubled that Iran claims that the IR-40 heavy water reactor at Arak could be commissioned as soon as early 2014, but still refuses to provide the requisite design information for the reactor," Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said last week at a board of governors meeting for the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency. (CNN)
  • Bulgaria's Position on Bourgas Investigation Has Not Changed: Foreign Minister
    Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin has told the Israeli ambassador in Sofia, Shaul Kamisa-Raz, that Bulgaria’s position on the results of the investigation into the July 2012 terrorist bomb attack at Bourgas Airport has not changed. This follows Vigenin having been quoted on June 5 as saying that Bulgaria only had an “indication” that the Lebanese-based organization was involved in the terrorist attack, a statement that immediately was interpreted as a backing down by Bulgaria on its February 5 statement linking Hizbullah to the terrorist attack.
      In an interview with Bulgaria’s Standart, underlining that Sofia had not changed its position, Vigenin said: “Regarding the ongoing consultations whether the armed wing of Hizbullah should be put on the list of terrorist organizations, Bulgaria will share the stand reached by all EU members.... So, regardless of some speculations of the media, Bulgaria has not reconsidered its stand on Hizbullah.” (Sofia Globe - Bulgaria)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Assad Warns of 'Strategic' Response to IDF Strikes - Ariel Ben Solomon
    Syrian President Bashar Assad has issued a strong warning to Israel, saying that he is completely serious in opening up the Golan front against Israel, Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar reported on Monday.
      The resistance will not launch primitive rockets aimlessly from time to time, but will carry out a well-planned and continuous resistance, Assad reportedly said to a group of visiting Jordanians. He added that Israeli attacks will elicit a strategic, rather than a local response. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Saudi Arabia Condemns Hizbullah Syria Intervention
    Saudi Arabia condemned the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizbullah on Monday for its "flagrant" military intervention in the conflict in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad. The cabinet "condemned the flagrant intervention of Lebanon's Hizbullah" in Syria. Saudi Arabia is the largest of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which warned earlier this month that it would adopt measures against the Iran-backed group over its intervention in Syria. (AFP/Ahram - Egypt)
  • Iran Eyes 30 Nuclear Bombs a Year
    Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz
      charged on Monday.
      "The Iranians are getting very close now to the red line... They have close to 200 kilos -- 190 kilos (418 pounds) -- of 20 percent enriched uranium," Steinitz said. "Once they have 250 kilos, this is enough to make the final rush to 90 percent," the level of enrichment required for a nuclear warhead.
      "It is a matter of weeks or maybe two months to jump from 20 percent to 90 percent with so many centrifuges," he said. "What they are doing now -- instead of crossing the red line, they are widening and enlarging their capacity by putting in more centrifuges, faster centrifuges." (AFP/Beirut Daily Star)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran’s Apocalyptic Policy Makers - Saeed Ghasseminejad
    Ayatollah Khamenei’s closest advisors and followers are obsessed with the idea of Mahdi’s reappearance. The Mahdi is the “hidden Imam” prophesied to dominate the world and cleanse it of sin and sinners. Khamenei’s appointee at the Iranian Revolution Guard Corp, Ayatollah Ali Saeedi, regularly mentions this notion in his speeches to IRGC officers.
      While many experts tell us Iran is a rational, pragmatic regime like any other in the world, all the facts shout that it is not. A large number of Iranian officials and decision makers have deeply rooted apocalyptic beliefs. Underestimating this radical ideology even as the Iranian regime is on its way to building a nuclear bomb can lead to dangerously wrong conclusions. The suggestion taking hold of late that a nuclear armed Iran is not the end of the world may unfortunately be dead wrong. (Times of Israel)
  • How Standing Tough on Syria Helps Putin at Home - Simon Shuster
    Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have become the most powerful man in the world. Since the start of May, a parade of political giants have flown to Russia to reason with him on the issue of Syria and its civil war. All of them have failed to change his mind, or even his tone.
      Russia's state television channels have meanwhile cast Syria as the victim of a bullying Uncle Sam. On Sunday, June 2, Russia's leading news program broadcast a 12-minute segment about American meddling in Syria. It argued that Washington has formed an alliance with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in order to "spread chaos" across the Muslim world and then to Russia and China.
      Never has the leading national news, whose programming is tightly managed by the Kremlin, directly accused Washington of partnering with terrorists in order to conquer the world. Such exchanges play well for Putin at home. They help cast Russia as a bulwark against the conniving West, and that resonates with an electorate bred on the imagery of the Cold War.
      Russian firms have billions of dollars in contracts with the Syrian government, including deals to sell arms, drill oil and build infrastructure. Any outside intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state tends to infuriate Putin, who does not want to become the target of such an intervention himself. And on the geopolitical chessboard, the only military base Russia has left outside the former Soviet Union is in the Syrian port of Tartus, a crumbling toehold on the Mediterranean Sea that Moscow is keen to protect. (Time)
  • Iraqi Kurdistan Teaches that Military Intervention Can Work - John Slinger
    Back in the late 1980s when Saddam Hussein was terrorising Iraq's civilians, and his genocide against the Kurds was reaching its peak with the vicious Anfal campaign, the international community did nothing. It deliberately and shamefully ignored his numerous chemical weapons and other attacks in order to maintain trade and contain Iran. It was only after we removed Saddam from Kuwait and had encouraged the Shias and Kurds to rise up, that John Major took the brave decision in 1991 to impose a No Fly Zone. The Kurds still remember this with huge gratitude. Ultimately, we did what was morally right, irrespective of our immediate national or strategic interests.
      John Slinger is a strategic communications consultant and member of Labour Friends of Iraq. (The Spectator - UK)
  • Observations:

    Israel Accelerates Cybersecurity Know-How as Early as 10th Grade - Christa Case Bryant (Christian Science Monitor)

  • Amid a rapid rise in cyber attacks on Israel, the state is accelerating efforts to recruit and develop the cyber expertise it needs to keep pace with emerging threats in the Middle East and beyond.
  • With double the number of scientists and engineers per capita compared to the U.S. and 10 times more active-duty soldiers relative to its total population, Israel already has impressive human capital in scientific fields such as cybersecurity. But now it is also tapping everything from high school classrooms to venture capital firms to extract cream-of-the-crop cyber experts, hone their skills and ideas, and fund their development.
  • Israel’s model, though tailor-made for its unique size and capabilities, offers potential lessons for other countries looking to improve their cybersecurity game.
  • Some American experts say Israel may be zeroed in to an even greater degree than the U.S. on developing cyber Top Guns with the ability to write and modify computer code, spot software vulnerabilities, move clandestinely inside networks, and manipulate systems, rather than just develop cybersecurity policy.
  • “What Israel has done is focus much more heavily on technical skills and leave the political work to the politicians,” says Alan Paller of the SANS Institute, who examined Israeli cybersecurity strategy as part of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Task Force on CyberSkills last summer. “Their skill level [per capita] … outdoes everyone, even China,” he adds, despite China’s “massive program” for developing skilled cyber experts.
  • Israel achieved a top-3 ranking in preparedness for cyberattacks in a 2012 report (PDF) by security technology company McAfee, along with Finland and Sweden and ahead of the U.S., China, and Russia.
  • The IDF sends select soldiers to universities such as Ben Gurion for specialized training, especially in the sciences. But given the urgent need for talent, the IDF launched a special program three years ago to identify exceptionally qualified high school students and begin their cybersecurity training as early as 10th grade. Currently 200 students are enrolled in the program, but graduates have so outperformed their peers in the IDF that commanders are clamoring for more.

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