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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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July 8, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Muslim Brotherhood Claims Egypt's Interim President Is Jewish - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
    The Muslim Brotherhood's official website said that Ahmed Mansour, an Egyptian television presenter who hosts a talk show on Al Jazeera, said the interim president of Egypt, Adly Mansour, is considered to be a Seventh Day Adventist and is therefore of Jewish descent.
    Mansour has denied the quotes attributed to him by the Brotherhood's website.
    See also Egyptians Perceive "Zionist" Meddling - Eldad Beck (Ynet News)
    Nearly all of Egypt's newpapers on Friday quoted a headline in the Israeli paper Ha'aretz that read, "Israel Regrets Morsi's Ouster." The article was quoted as proof of Israel's secret pact with Morsi and the Brotherhood.
    According to the El Dostor daily, affiliated with the liberal Wafd party, the Zionists, Americans, and Muslim Brotherhood were plotting to allow radicals to take over Sinai and use such a situation to justify an Israeli reoccupation of the peninsula, where an alternative Palestinian homeland would be formed.
    A number of the Egyptians I spoke with believed the Brotherhood allowed Hamas free access to Sinai so it could take over the Egyptian territory.

Top Muslim Cleric Qaradawi: Morsi Ouster "Invalid" (AFP)
    Influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Saturday issued a religious decree, or fatwa, urging Egyptians to support overthrown Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
    He urged "all parties and political groups in Egypt to support correctness and restore President Morsi to his legitimate post."

Report: Blasts Heard near Assad Arms Depot; Islamists Claim Rocket Attack on Israeli City of Eilat - Amos Harel and Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    Several powerful blasts were heard at a Syrian military weapons depot near Latakia late Thursday. Several troops were reported killed and wounded in the explosions.
    On Friday the radical Islamist group Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for rockets fired from Sinai toward the Israeli city of Eilat on Thursday. No rockets were found, but the sound of the blast echoed in Eilat.

Turkish Police Disperse Istanbul Protests - Humeyra Pamuk and Ece Toksabay, (NBC News-Reuters)
    Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in Istanbul on Saturday.
    Riot police chased protesters in what appeared to be the biggest police intervention in weeks.

Is the PA Ready for Peace with the Jews? - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    On July 3, 2013, official Palestinian Authority TV broadcast two little girls reciting a poem:
    "You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship, oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations, oh barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs."
    "Jerusalem opposes your throngs, Jerusalem vomits from within it your impurity."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Dozens of Morsi Backers Killed in Cairo on Monday - David Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim
    Egyptian security officials said 43 civilians and one security officer were killed in clashes with supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi early Monday. They had been holding a sit-in outside a military officers' club where they believe Morsi is being held, demanding his release. More than 300 people had been wounded. The killings came a day after the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies vowed to broaden their protests against the president's ouster.
        American diplomats contacted Brotherhood leaders to try to persuade them to re-enter the political process, an Islamist briefed on one of the conversations said on Sunday. "They are asking us to legitimize the coup," the Islamist said.
        Brotherhood officials pledged that their growing protests would force the military to release Morsi. "I think the military has to yield; they won't have any choice," said Gehad el-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman. "We are stepping it up every few days, with protests around the country....We are logistically capable of carrying this on for months."  (New York Times)
        See also 30 Dead in Egypt Friday as Morsi's Supporters Push Back - Matt Bradley
    Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters turned out on Friday to protest the military-led ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. At least 30 people died in violence across the country, with another 1,076 injured. "We will protect our president Morsi with our necks. We are all willing to sacrifice our necks and souls for him," Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badie told demonstrators at Cairo's Rabaa Mosque.
        Meanwhile, interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential declaration dissolving the Shura Council, the Islamist-dominated legislative body that has managed most legislative duties since courts dissolved the parliament's lower house last summer. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Cairo Is Burning
    Cairo was burning over the weekend. Every city center saw street clashes between supporters and opponents of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. The death toll reached 37 by Saturday night. Only the presence of the military is preventing thousands of people from clashing with one another. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Video Shows Anti-Morsi Protesters Thrown Off Building in Alexandria (Al Arabiya)
  • Islamists Attack Egyptian Soldiers in Northern Sinai
    Armed men in pickup trucks launched a series of attacks on Sunday on Egyptian military checkpoints in the northern Sinai towns of Sheikh Zuweid and El Arish, part of a spike in violence since Wednesday's overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. One soldier was killed.
        On Friday, five Egyptian security officers were killed in El Arish. On Saturday, a priest was killed there, four checkpoints were fired upon, and an explosion hit an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Jordan. (Reuters)
  • Egypt's Opposition Nominates New Prime Minister - Charles Levinson
    Leaders of Egypt's Salafist Nour Party and secular party leaders agreed on Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, a London-trained economist, as a candidate for prime minister, officials from Bahaa-Eldin's Social Democratic Party said. Mohamed ElBaradei will be nominated for a vice-president post. On Saturday, Egypt's state news agency reported that ElBaradei would be prime minister, a decision that was canceled at the last minute after the Nour Party raised objections. With the Muslim Brotherhood continuing to agitate for the reinstatement of Morsi, the support of the Islamist Nour Party is important for the opposition. (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Islamist Party Suspends Participation in Effort to Form Interim Government - David Kirkpatrick
    A spokesman for the Al Nour Party said on Monday that it was suspending its participation in efforts to form an interim government in reaction to a "massacre" at an officers' club in which more than 40 people were killed. The Al Nour Party was the only Islamist party to support removing Morsi. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel: No Agreement to Palestinian Preconditions for Talks - Shlomo Cesana
    The London-based Al-Hayat reported Saturday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's plan to renew negotiations includes a quiet Israeli construction freeze in the West Bank outside the large settlement blocs and a phased release of 103 Palestinian security prisoners who have been in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords were signed.
        The report was denied by Israeli officials, who said Prime Minister Netanyahu has no intention of releasing Palestinian prisoners as a good-will gesture or a response to preconditions set by Abbas. A senior Israeli official said Netanyahu wants to avoid a situation whereby Abbas steps away from the negotiating table after a few meetings and turn to the UN in September under the premise that Israel is to blame for the failure of the talks. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF and Egyptian Army Cooperate on Fighting Jihad Elements - Yaakov Lappin
    As Egypt grapples with political upheaval, security cooperation between the IDF and the Egyptian military - on a tactical level - remains very good. Not only does the Egyptian army seek to tackle radical jihadi terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, it has also cracked down on Gazan smuggling tunnels, flooding 40 tunnels with sewer water in recent days. The Egyptian army faces a common threat with Israel in the form of radical armed Islamic elements - based in Gaza and Sinai - who would like to launch attacks on targets in Egypt. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Arabs Rally in Support of Egyptian President Morsi - Hassan Shaalan
    Some 250 people rallied Saturday in the Galilee Arab towns of Sakhnin and Kafr Kanna against the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • John Kerry Pursues a Narrow Peace - Editorial
    The intense focus of Secretary of State John Kerry on the long-moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process when neighboring Egypt is collapsing into chaos and Syria's civil war rages unabated provokes more than a little head-scratching among diplomats from the Middle East. Though neither side has yet agreed to the resumption of negotiations, it would not be surprising if they did, eventually, if only to avoid being blamed for a failure. But what happens when and if negotiations start?
        In 2008 Abbas rejected an offer from Netanyahu's predecessor, including the incorporation of half of Jerusalem into a Palestinian state and the "return" of some Palestinian refugees to Israel. Like previous failed U.S. initiatives, Kerry's diplomacy ignores the powerful Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, opposes a peace deal and is capable of disrupting negotiations at any time by resuming missile attacks against Israel. Kerry banks on the support of Arab states, but two of Israel's Arab neighbors have no functioning government.
        We'd like to believe that Kerry recognizes that a peace deal is not feasible now and is aiming at useful interim steps. Those would be achievements worth an investment of time. (Washington Post)
  • Iran's New President: What His Memoirs Tell Us - Ray Takeyh
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's 2011 memoir, available only in Persian, reveals much about the man who was the country's chief negotiator on nuclear policy from 2003 to 2005. Rouhani describes a determined effort to secure nuclear technologies from abroad and complete the fuel cycle. Those efforts were redoubled during Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's presidency in the early 1990s and were sustained by the reformist president Mohammad Khatami.
        Rouhani has spent the past decade suggesting that Iran used the suspension of the nuclear program in 2004 to establish the technological foundation that enabled its subsequent progress. The writer, a former Department of State official, is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Washington Post)

Egyptian Army Had No Choice But to Topple Morsi - Tony Blair (Guardian-UK)

  • The events that led to the Egyptian army's removal of President Mohamed Morsi confronted the military with a simple choice: intervention or chaos.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood was unable to shift from being an opposition movement to being a government. The economy is tanking. Ordinary law and order has virtually disappeared.
  • What is happening in Egypt is the latest example of the interplay, visible the world over, between democracy, protest and government efficacy. Democratic government doesn't on its own mean effective government. Today, efficacy is the challenge. When governments don't deliver, people protest. They don't want to wait for an election.
  • In Egypt, the government's problems were compounded by resentment at the ideology and intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood. People felt that the Brotherhood was steadily imposing its own doctrines on everyday life.
  • Across the Middle East, for the first time, there is open debate about the role of religion in politics. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood's superior organization, there is probably a majority for an intrinsically secular approach to government in the region.
  • People are starting to realize that democracy only works as a pluralistic concept where faiths are respected and where religion has a voice, not a veto.

    The writer is the Special Envoy for the Middle East Quartet.

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