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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
July 3, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Poll: Palestinians Oppose Mutual Recognition of Israeli and Palestinian National Identity (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research-PA)
    57% of the Israeli public supports mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian national identity, while 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step, according to a recent poll conducted jointly by the Truman Institute at Hebrew University and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.
    62% of Israelis support a two-state solution while 33% oppose it; among Palestinians, 53% support and 46% oppose a two-state solution.
    The majority of Israelis (68%) and Palestinians (69%) view the chances for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state next to Israel in the next five years as low or non-existent.

The Shadow War Against Syria's Christians - Nina Shea (National Review)
    On June 23, Catholic Syrian priest Fr. Francois Murad was murdered in Idlib by rebel militias, the latest victim of the shadow war against Christians that is being fought by jihadists alongside the larger Syrian conflict.
    Syria's two-million-strong Christian community is being devastated, even though the churches have not allied with the Assad regime.
    The Christians are not simply suffering collateral damage. They are being deliberately targeted in a religious purification campaign.
    The writer is director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.

Demonstration in Paris Against Palestinian Suicide Bombers Exhibition (European Jewish Press)
    Some 400 people protested in Paris on Sunday in front of the Jeu de Paume museum to demonstrate against a photo exhibition which highlights Palestinian suicide bombers who characterize themselves as "freedom fighters."
    The exhibition of photos by Palestinian photographer Ahlam Shibli, which is displayed at the museum until September, has provoked outrage from Jewish organizations.
    Shimon Samuels, director of international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said on visiting the exhibition:
    "The summary of the exhibition in the museum's official catalogue describes Palestinian terrorists convicted in Israel as 'failed martyrs who have yet to achieve their unfulfilled suicide missions.'"
    "The glorification of suicide bombing on display at the Jeu de Paume museum can only serve to promote violence."

Al-Qaeda-Inspired Bomb Plot Targeted Canadian Provincial Legislature (CBC News-Canada)
    A man and a woman have been charged in an alleged al-Qaeda-inspired plot to place pressure cooker bombs at the provincial legislature in Victoria, British Columbia, during crowded Canada Day celebrations.
    Police said the two Canadian-born citizens were "inspired by al-Qaeda ideology."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Morsi and Egyptian Generals Edge Closer to Conflict - David Kirkpatrick and Ben Hubbard
    President Mohamed Morsi insisted Tuesday he was the legitimate leader of the country, hinted that any effort to remove him by force could plunge the nation into chaos, and seemed to disregard the record numbers of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding he resign. "The people empowered me, the people chose me, through a free and fair election," he said. "If the price of protecting legitimacy is my blood, I'm willing to pay it."
        In a sign of how fast the ground was shifting, the Interior Ministry, enforcer of the old police state and a prime target of public outrage, removed the walls of concrete blocks erected to protect it from repeated assaults by protesters since the original revolt began. A state newspaper said the barriers were no longer needed because the police had joined "the people" in the new uprising against Morsi. The more conservative Islamist Al Nour party also broke with the Muslim Brotherhood to call for early presidential elections. In addition, six government ministers have announced their resignations including Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.
        The opposition umbrella group coordinating the protests, the June 30 Front, said Tuesday that it had named Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader, to represent it in "any possible upcoming talks with the armed forces." The group said its demands included Morsi's departure and the formation of a technocratic cabinet to run the country. (New York Times)
  • Egypt Army Plan Would Scrap Constitution, Parliament - Yasmine Saleh and Asma Alsharif
    Egypt's armed forces would suspend the constitution and dissolve an Islamist-dominated parliament under a draft political roadmap to be pursued if Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and his opponents fail to reach a power-sharing agreement by Wednesday, military sources said. The sources said the military intended to install an interim council, composed mainly of civilians from different political groups and experienced technocrats, to run the country until an amended constitution was drafted. (Reuters)
        See also Egypt Opinion Poll Reveals Dissatisfaction with Morsi
    The Arab American institute last week published the results of an opinion poll of over 5,000 Egyptians titled "After Tahrir: Egyptian Attitudes Toward Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood." More than 70% believe the economic and security situations have worsened. Among those who support the Muslim Brotherhood, 98% say their lives have improved. Among the rest of the population, over 80% say their lives have worsened. 92% of Muslim Brotherhood supporters reject the contention that the Brotherhood intends to control the state and Islamize it. On the other hand, 93% of the rest of the country said that is precisely what the Brotherhood is doing. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
  • Turkish Deputy PM Says Jewish Diaspora Behind Gezi Protests
    Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said Monday that external powers and the Jewish diaspora triggered the recent protests in Turkey. "There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey's growth. They are all uniting, and on one side is the Jewish diaspora."  (Zaman-Turkey)
        See also Turkish Jews Express Fears after Deputy PM Links Diaspora Jews to Protests - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • EU Boycott Threat Is Overstated - Herb Keinon
    A senior European diplomatic official on Tuesday downplayed warnings that Europe could boycott Israeli goods if progress was not made on the peace process. He said a boycott of Israeli goods was highly unlikely, pointing out that businessmen in a number of European countries are keen on partnering with Israeli companies to use their technology and innovation in opening up markets in third countries, often in the Far East.
        The official said that even a European boycott just on products from settlements would run into a great deal of difficulty in the EU, with a number of countries - such as Germany, the Netherlands and others - likely to oppose it. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Untreated Palestinian Sewage Contaminating Israel's Groundwater - Zafrir Rinat
    Almost 90% of sewage from Palestinian towns in the West Bank flows into the environment untreated, contaminating the groundwater and 162 km. of streams, according to a report prepared by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. Israel has tried to cope with the problem by building treatment plants near the Green Line separating Israel from the West Bank and treating the contaminated water once it enters Israel.
        A lack of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation has impeded solutions to this problem. For example, the Palestinian Authority refuses to cooperate to connect Palestinian towns in the northern West Bank to an Israeli sewage line because the line also serves several settlements. It also nixed a proposed treatment plant that would serve both Palestinian towns and the city of Ariel. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why Egypt's Generals Will Tread Carefully This Time - Jeff Martini
    The Egyptian military is still licking its wounds from the year and a half in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces directed Egypt's transition to democracy. The military leadership hasn't forgotten that many of the same anti-Morsi demonstrators were shouting "down with military rule" during the SCAF's stint in power.
        The military would likely seek some acquiescence from the Islamists in its next move. An intervention absent Islamist support would risk an Algeria-like scenario, in which the military's overturning of an Islamist electoral victory led to a civil war.
        To mitigate against the possibility of a violent response, the military could try to coax the Muslim Brotherhood to the bargaining table with the opposition. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has no interest in sharing power with the opposition, which it continues to see as a small minority trying to overthrow an elected leader. The writer is a Middle East analyst at RAND. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Egypt on the Brink - With No Clear Way Back - Fouad Ajami
    There is no deliverance within sight for the untold numbers out in Egypt's public squares. The "street" shall not deliver order, adjudicate fundamental struggles between Egyptians keen to live in a secular state and those who have been biding their time to impose an Islamic order.
        Coups, assassinations and the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak robbed the country of the political vitality and parliamentary practice it had known for 30 years beginning in 1922. In 1952 Egyptians had looked to the army for redemption and got dictatorship in return that was to rule for six decades. The writer is a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Forced to Acknowledge the Limits of Its Power - Avi Issacharoff
    Two and a half years after Islamist parties conquered one Arab state parliament after another, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is having to acknowledge the limits of power. The movement's continued rule in Egypt now depends on the good will of the military and security establishment. Even if President Morsi doesn't capitulate and opts to remain in office, he will be a weak president, bereft of real authorities or freedom to act, and he will eventually have to give up his seat.
        Either way, the Muslim Brotherhood's success story from a year ago, transformed into today's resounding failure, will likely mark the path of sister movements across the Middle East. (Times of Israel)
  • What If Israelis and Palestinians Get to the Table? - Elliott Abrams
    What remains mysterious to me is why Secretary of State Kerry thinks progress will be made on final status issues if and when he manages to get Israeli-Palestinian talks started. What's new here that would lead to optimism? All that is new in the region suggests that making peace will be harder, not easier, than in the past when all attempts failed.
        There is a viewpoint that the two sides are "an inch apart" and just a bit of serious negotiating will bridge the gap, but that has always seemed nonsense to me. An inch apart on the many Israeli security demands, such as control of the Palestinian air space and electro-magnetic spectrum and of the Jordan Valley? An inch apart on Jerusalem itself, which great numbers of Israelis do not wish to see divided ever again? An inch apart on the "refugee" issue? To the extent that "everyone knows what an agreement would look like," both Israeli and Palestinian leaders and populations have for decades rejected those terms.
        One can be an optimist about whether Kerry will be able to get talks started and a pessimist about whether those talks will go anywhere. (Council on Foreign Relations)

"Israel Is Not the Problem in the Mideast, Nor Is It the Solution" - Dror Eydar Interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Israel Hayom)

Somali-born Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, said during a recent visit to Israel:

  • "Why is this [peace] process so prolonged? Because for the Israelis this issue is a territorial problem. For the Palestinian negotiators, on the other hand, it is not a territorial problem but a religious and ethnic one. It is not only about Palestinians but about all Arabs. Most of all, it is a religious problem. From the perspective of the Arab leaders, reaching a two-state solution is to betray God, the Koran, the hadith and the tradition of Islam."
  • "Reaching a settlement that brings about two states is a religious betrayal - not only for the leadership but for most Muslims today. The West does not understand this." "Islam has a goal. So if you are a true Muslim, you must fight for that goal. You can achieve a temporary peace or truce, but it is not ultimate, not everlasting....So for a Palestinian leader - even if he is secular, even an atheist - to leave the negotiating room with the announcement of a two-state solution would mean that he would be killed the minute he walks out."
  • "Europeans and Americans...when they have a problem, they think there must be some kind of compromise on the table. What they cannot accept is that one party would say 'the only rational outcome is our complete victory.'...You see components of this culture in the events in Syria, in Lebanon. You've seen it with Mubarak. There is a winner and there is a loser. But there cannot be two winners."
  • "93,000 people have died in Syria because the fighting forces could not, cannot, and will not compromise. This toll is higher than all the fatalities on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....One can also mention the number of people who died in Libya because Gaddafi and the opposition would not find the way to the negotiating table."
  • "In a culture dictated by honor and shame - in addition to the religious issue - defeat of any kind, accepting a compromise, is to leave the room empty-handed. Compromise is loss in this culture. It is very hard to explain this to contemporary Westerners."
  • "An Arab leader who genuinely wants peace has to convince the Arab people first, must get their endorsement and then go and get peace. That is why the first thing that needs to be worked out is not so much the relationship with Israel but changing the culture, Islamic and Arab. This process does not depend on you...on America or the rest of the world."
  • "Israel is not the problem nor is it the solution. Even if you give up all the land, it...won't bring peace to anyone. Even if Israel does not give up an inch of land - the result will be the same....If you want real, lasting peace, then things have to change first within the Arab Muslim individual, family, school, streets, education, and politics. It is not an Israeli problem."

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