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October 11, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Fifth Hizbullah Suspect Indicted in 2005 Killing of Ex-Lebanese Premier - Marlise Simons (New York Times)
    An international court has indicted a fifth member of Hizbullah in the 2005 killing of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanon prime minister.
    In a new indictment issued in July and made public on Thursday, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon based in The Hague charged Hassan Habib Merhi with terrorism and intentional homicide over his role in preparing the car bomb that killed Hariri, 8 members of his convoy and 13 bystanders in Beirut.
    None of those indicted have been arrested.

Israeli Air Force Holds Long-Distance Exercise (AP-Washington Post)
    In an apparent message to Iran, the Israeli military said Thursday it had carried out a "special long-range flight exercise" over Greece, and posted rare footage of the drill online.
    Releasing the footage appears aimed at sending a message to Iran that a viable military option remains.
    See also Video: Israel Air Force Aerial Refueling Training Exercise (Israel Defense Forces)
    This past week, fighter squadrons from the Israel Air Force conducted a special long-range flight exercise. The squadrons practiced refueling planes in midair and tested the ability of IAF aircraft to fly exceptionally long distances.

Iran Cancels Israel-Baiting Anti-Zionism Conference - Damien McElroy (Telegraph-UK)
    Iran has cancelled its annual anti-Zionism conference that former president Ahmadinejad used to promote inflammatory views and make Israel-baiting remarks.

The Struggle for Control over Egypt's Mosques - Nour Youssef (Arabist)
    The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) resolved to tighten its grip on mosques by passing a number of laws to substitute the much-criticized Muslim Brotherhood monopoly over religion with its own.
    Now there is a noticeable change in the Friday sermon. For the most part, it is shorter and no longer connected to politics, not even by way of metaphors or anecdotes.
    A considerable number of imams have been contacted by the ministry and told specifically to stay off politics or else they might be considered a national security threat, inciting violence and possessing illegal weapons.
    Many imams sense danger and have begun self-censoring.

Netanyahu and the End of Days - Victor Davis Hanson (Washington Times)
    The idea of a preemptory war to disarm Iran seems to us apocalyptic.
    But then, we are a nation of 314 million, not 8 million; the winner of World War II, not nearly wiped out by it; surrounded by two wide oceans, not 300 million hostile neighbors; and out of Iranian missile range, not well within it.
    We can be wrong about Mr. Rouhani without lethal consequences. Mr. Netanyahu reviews history and concludes that he has no such margin of error.
    The writer is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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The Rise and Fall of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood - David Schenker (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    A year ago, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood's power was surging at a time of burgeoning demonstrations against King Abdullah II's government. But by the end of last year, protesters stopped coming out.
    In January, the Brotherhood boycotted parliamentary elections and the moderate Islamist Wasat (Center) party stepped in and won 16 of 150 seats.
    As a result, the Brotherhood lost its claim to the mantle of Islamist leadership in the kingdom.
    Moreover, the emergence of al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Syria's civil war has drained popular enthusiasm for the Brotherhood in Jordan.
    Yet part of the Islamist population in Jordan is growing disenchanted with the Brotherhood because it is not extreme enough.
    The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute.

Plans to Develop Gaza's Offshore Natural Gas - Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    Palestinian and Israeli officials are believed to have agreed in principle on plans to exploit a gas field 20 miles off the coast of Gaza.
    Currently, Israel supplies 95% of the West Bank's electricity, with Jordan providing the remainder.
    Some have proposed using the offshore gas to generate electricity in new West Bank power stations while also replacing an old fuel-oil-burning plant in Gaza.
    Despite its location, the field belongs to the PA rather than the Hamas regime in Gaza. The gas lies in an area patrolled by the Israeli navy. Yet former prime minister Ehud Barak conceded ownership of the field to the Palestinians in 2001 as a goodwill gesture.
    The most commercially viable way forward requires substantial cooperation with the Israelis; this includes allowing them to buy some of the gas.
    The most obvious way to bring the gas ashore is by linking the field with Israel's nearby seabed pipeline structure.
    The Financial Times reported that the project would need capital investment of $1 billion and could be on-stream by 2017.
    The writer is director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute.

Israel's Military Medical Studies Track - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    64 new medical students will on Sunday become the fifth class of Tzameret, the joint medical track of Hebrew University and the IDF.
    After six years of studies and a year of internship, they will serve as military physicians for at least 5-6 years.
    Tzameret, which is conducted from the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine in Jerusalem, now has 290 students.
    In addition to the regular medical curriculum, Tzameret students also take courses in aviation medicine, battlefield wounds, and operational military medicine.

Apple Pays $40M for Israeli 21-Year-Old's App - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    Apple has purchased Cue, a personal assistant app co-founded by Israeli entrepreneur Daniel Gross, for an estimated $40 million.
    Cue allows users to check social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter without having to sign in and check each one individually.

Infographic - Asset Test: How the U.S. Benefits from Its Alliance with Israel - Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Israel Trains U.S. Law-Enforcement Personnel in Counter-Terrorism - Spencer Ho (Times of Israel)
    A delegation of law-enforcement executives from California and Washington state has come to Israel to receive training in counter-terrorism methods from Israeli experts.
    Members of the delegation, most of them employed in sheriffs' offices, met with security experts, intelligence analysts and commanders in the Israel National Police and Israel Defense Forces.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Relocating Nuclear Research Site to Avoid Detection
    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which exposed Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak, said on Thursday it had information about a center for nuclear weaponization research in Tehran that the government was moving to avoid detection ahead of negotiations with world powers.
        NCRI said the SPND research and planning center was being moved to a large, secure site in a defense ministry complex in Tehran about a mile away from its former location to avoid the risk of visits by UN nuclear inspectors. It said the center employed about 100 researchers, engineers and experts to conduct experiments with radioactive material and research into the weaponization of nuclear weapons. (Reuters)
  • Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels Killed 190 Syrian Civilians in August Attack - Oliver Holmes
    Syrian rebels killed at least 190 civilians and took more than 200 hostage during an offensive in Latakia province in August, Human Rights Watch said on Friday. Many of the dead were executed by militant groups, some linked to al-Qaeda, which moved into 10 Alawite villages on Aug. 4. In some cases, entire families were executed or gunned down as they fled. The attacking groups included al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and another unit of foreign jihadi fighters. (Reuters)
        See also Report: "You Can Still See Their Blood"
    A report on executions, indiscriminate shootings, and hostage-taking by opposition forces in the Latakia countryside. (Human Rights Watch)
        See also Video of "Hizbullah Killing" Sparks Outrage
    A YouTube video purporting to show Hizbullah fighters shooting to death several wounded Syrians has sparked outrage on social media sites. The video shows several men dressed in camouflage fatigues and sporting yellow ribbons on their shoulders. After they pull several severely wounded men out of a van, they shoot them to death at point blank range. Some of the fighters use foul language as they execute the men, who are dressed in civilian clothing.
        Speaking with a Lebanese accent, their commander then scolds his fighters for their comments, reminding them that their actions are religiously sanctioned and that they are killing the men "for the sake of God."  (Daily Star-Lebanon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Murdered Outside His Home in West Bank - Itamar Fleishman and Maor Buchnik
    Col. (res.) Sharia Ofer was bludgeoned to death early Friday morning in the northern Jordan Valley by two Palestinians wielding iron bars and axes. (Ynet News)
  • Netanyahu Tries to Convince Europe Not to Ease Iran Sanctions - Barak Ravid
    On Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave interviews to several leading media outlets in France, Britain and Germany to urge European countries to stop Iran's race for a nuclear bomb while it's still possible. His message was: The Iranian regime is currently smiling and saying, "Let me continue enriching uranium, let me keep my plutonium plants, and I'll give you tactical concessions, cosmetic concessions, and you'll ease the sanctions."
        But if the sanctions are eased, the sanctions will collapse, Netanyahu continued. They'll get everything they want. It's important to stress that this isn't just an Israeli issue; this issue also affects you. Just about every country in the Arab world agrees with our position. (Ha'aretz)
  • Egyptian Analysts Say U.S. Aid Halt Will Have Limited Impact - Ahmed Eleiba
    Washington announced Wednesday that it has halted deliveries of large-scale military systems and $260 million in cash aid to the Egyptian military. Alaa Ezz El-Din, head of the Military Studies Center, said the halt will have a negative impact; however, the impact will be "limited," as "there are more important U.S. funds still available." He added that Egypt had been expecting a much worse reaction from the U.S.
        Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo, said he believed the U.S. and Egypt will attempt to avoid "further deterioration" in their relationship. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):


  • Saudis Brace for "Nightmare" of U.S.-Iran Rapprochement - Angus McDowall
    Engaged in what they see as a life-and-death struggle for the future of the Middle East with arch-rival Iran, Saudi rulers are furious that the UN has taken no action over Syria, where they and Tehran back opposing sides. The U.S.-Saudi alliance is not about to break, but Riyadh is willing to defy Washington in defense of its regional interests.
        The real focus of Saudi anger is the Shi'ite Muslim clerics who have preached Islamic revolution since coming to power in Tehran, and whose hands Riyadh sees orchestrating political foes in half a dozen Arab countries. Saudi princes were horrified to see Washington reaching out to Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian president. "The Saudis' worst nightmare would be the administration striking a grand bargain with Iran," said former U.S. ambassador to Riyadh Robert Jordan.
        In a rare appearance, King Abdullah, who is about 90, was shown on state television on Monday meeting Egypt's visiting military-backed interim head of state, Adly Mansour. His words, carried prominently in Saudi media on Tuesday, were a forceful condemnation of the "terrorism, delusion and sedition" of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. aid to Egypt may be cut, but since July, Saudi Arabia has given Egypt $5 billion, three times as much as Washington's annual contribution. (Reuters)
  • Israel's Final Warning on Iran - Yaakov Lappin
    The coming weeks probably represent the last opportunity for Iran and the international community to reach an enforceable deal that will dismantle Tehran's nuclear weapons program, before Israel concludes that time has run out, and that Iran has gotten too close to creating its first atomic bombs. Despite Iranian President Rouhani's charm offensive, so far not a single uranium-enriching centrifuge has stopped spinning. Iran has already amassed enough low-enriched uranium for the production of seven to nine atomic bombs.
        Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned at the UN that Israel would act alone against Iran if it needed to, reintroducing a credible military threat. This notice is important as deterrence against Iran has waned significantly since August, when President Obama climbed down from his commitment to carry out a military strike on Iran's ally, the Syrian regime, over its use of chemical weapons to massacre civilians. A diminished threat of military force leaves diplomatic efforts with Iran almost no chance of success.
        The second purpose of Netanyahu's speech was to put the international community on notice regarding the urgency of the situation. Should the international community continue to allow Iran to buy more time for its nuclear program, after Netanyahu's warning, it will not be able to respond with surprise when Israel attacks Iran's nuclear sites. Once Israeli intelligence agencies and senior military command levels conclude that the clock has struck one minute to midnight, no amount of pressure from allies will succeed in dissuading Israel from acting in self-preservation. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The U.S. Knows the Truth about Iran - Nadav Shragai
    According to a recent report on international terrorism released by the U.S. State Department, Iran's terrorist activities worldwide have reached levels not seen since the 1990s. It executes these plans mainly by way of the Quds (Jerusalem) Force, a division of the Revolutionary Guards headed by Qassem Suleimani. Suleimani's organization reportedly activated Iranian spy Ali Mansouri in Israel, and played a role in the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington two years ago.
        The emerging dialogue between the Obama administration and the ayatollah regime in Iran, which continues to openly declare its desire for Israel's eradication, is currently focused on the nuclear issue. Nonetheless, Israeli officials intend on pressing the Americans to address the matter of Iran's global terrorist activities. The writer is a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran's "Charm Offensive" Not to Be Trusted - Vivian Bercovici
    Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, successive mullahs have adhered unwaveringly to the belief that the West is evil and bent on destroying the current regime. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic since 1989, is the master puppeteer; President Rouhani is merely the hapless marionette. And to Khamenei, the Western world - and America in particular - is decadent, in decline and beholden to a global Zionist conspiracy.
        The Iranian regime is a brutal theocracy. Political, cultural and any flavor of dissent is crushed - by imprisonment, torture, death and, if lucky, exile. The country supports extremist groups throughout the Middle East. I wouldn't buy snake oil from these guys, much less trust them, on a smile, when they assure that they enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The writer is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law. (Toronto Star)

  • Syria

  • Why Obama, UN Can't Fully Trust Assad on Chemical Weapons in Syria - Daniel DePetris
    Recent history suggests that the Assad regime will not live up to any agreements with the UN unless there are repercussions for stonewalling or obstruction. The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons depends upon the full cooperation and transparency of the Assad regime - a government that has flouted every single agreement that it has signed with regional mediators throughout the two-and-a-half-year conflict. During that time, Assad has shown a willingness to violate agreements almost as soon as his regime signs them.
        Unless the UN Security Council or the U.S. itself is willing to enforce the Kerry-Lavrov deal with accountability and the threat of repercussions if and when Syria drags its heels or fails to fully uphold its obligations, the chances that Assad will act like a responsible statesman are low. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Al-Qaeda's Syrian Strategy - Barak Barfi and Aaron Y. Zelin
    Al-Qaeda is storming across northern Syria. Last month, the al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured the city of al-Bab - one of the largest in the region - from a rival rebel militia in the northern province of Aleppo. ISIS also took the towns of Azaz and Jarablus, which straddle Syria's border with Turkey. The first thing ISIS did in these places was hang its black flag from the top of the highest building. After that, it began to gradually impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
        ISIS is thought to number 5-6,000 fighters, but many of its members have previously fought in other jihads, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. Syrian society merely wants to survive a war - not adhere to al-Qaeda's severe strictures. Some Syrians have taken to the street to protest against ISIS. In the northern province of Raqqa, protesters have gathered in front of ISIS headquarters in the capital since mid-June, calling for the group to leave the city. Barak Barfi is a research fellow at the New America Foundation. Aaron Y. Zelin is a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Policy)
  • Can Anyone Stop the Radicalization of Syrian Rebels? - James Traub
    The foreign jihadi group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has 8,000 soldiers in Syria. But the group's medieval ideology, as well as its pathological obsession with enforcing Islamist rectitude, has made it a source of terror. ISIS has deflected attention away from the war between the regime and the rebels and has vindicated as nothing else could Assad's claim that he is confronting "terrorists."
        The rise of ISIS has made the situation much worse for the rebels, much worse for the West, and much better for the regime. Radicalization is likely to increase, not diminish, as foreign extremists keep streaming into Syria. The writer is a fellow of the Center on International Cooperation. (Foreign Policy)
        See also All Against All in Syria - Michael Young
    The strategy of ISIS and another al-Qaeda-affiliated group, Jabhat al-Nusra, has been far less about fighting the Assad regime than about tightening control over a swathe of territory stretching from western Iraq to northern Syria. Clashes between rebels of the Free Syrian Army and the al-Qaeda groups have escalated, a situation that the Assad regime has welcomed and indirectly encouraged.
        The Syrian regime has generally avoided attacking the al-Qaeda groups, and has even collaborated with them in certain districts. This has allowed the jihadists to gain ground and in that way confirm the regime's narrative that it is the last line of defense against extremism. Assad is effectively using the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups against the Free Syrian Army in places where his army does not have the ability to fight. (NOW-Lebanon)

  • Egypt

  • Is Reducing Egypt's Aid a Mistake? - Jeffrey Goldberg
    Cutting off a significant amount of U.S. aid to the Egyptian military may be a moral necessity, but curtailing aid raises some difficult questions. American allies in the region - notably Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain - all share the same adversaries as the Egyptian leadership: Shia radicalism (in the form of the Iranian regime and Hizbullah); the Muslim Brotherhood; and Sunni extremism (in the form of al-Qaeda and like-minded groups).
        Another cause for concern is the effect this move would have on peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Egypt is pressing hard against Hamas in Gaza, cutting off the flow of weapons and sealing smuggling tunnels. A weak Hamas is in the best interests of the U.S., Israel, and the rival Palestinian Authority. (Bloomberg)
  • Egypt's Capital Scarred by Years of Turmoil - Hamza Hendawi
    The spirit of Cairo, a metropolis of 18 million, has been deeply scarred by 32 months of turmoil and bloodshed from two "revolutions," constant protests and crackdowns, and a military coup. Residents talk of an unfamiliar edginess. People are more suspicious of each other, whether because of increased crime or constant media warnings of conspiracies and terrorism.
        The mood goes beyond ideology. With police rarely enforcing regulations, many people flout laws - whether it's the cafes that take over sidewalks or thugs who seize plots of land. A curfew in place for nearly two months has been eased to start at midnight. Political violence has killed more than 2,000 people in the city and wounded many others since the Jan. 25, 2011, revolution that ousted Mubarak. Now the mood is defined by a media blitz demonizing the Islamists, idolizing military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, and intimidating critics. (AP-Business Week)

  • Other Issues

  • The Excitement of Being a Martyr for Allah - Anat Berko
    For 20 years I studied and interviewed Islamist jihad fighters imprisoned in Israeli jails, examining their inner worlds and discovering the obsessive thoughts leading them to carry out terrorist attacks. They were addicted to fantasizing about an alternative reality, describing their compulsions in metaphors similar to those used by obsessive gamblers and drug addicts. They felt completely controlled and manipulated by the concept of jihad.
        The overwhelming desire of many Muslim adolescent boys, even those educated in the West or who are converts to Islam, is excitement. To that end they stream into confrontation zones like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Libya, Iraq, Africa, and Syria to experience the excitement and promise of being a martyr for the sake of Allah as the ultimate in self-realization. IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Anat Berko conducts research for Israel's National Security Council and is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel. (Investigative Project on Terrorism)
        See also IDF Lt. Colonel Discusses Motivations of Women and Children Suicide Bombers - Joseph Hawthorne
    "There is [an] omnipotent feeling bombers have that they can decide who lives and who dies," Anat Berko said. "But this causes severe damage to the Muslim world, not the West."  (Pipe Dream-Binghamton [NY] University)
  • UNRWA: An Obstacle to Peace? - Einat Wilf
    One of the greatest obstacles to peace, and certainly the least acknowledged, is the perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem and the inflation of its scale by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). For Palestinians, uniquely, refugeeness is an hereditary trait. Whereas the actual number of Arabs who could still claim to be refugees as a result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-1949 is today no more than several tens of thousands, the number of those registered as refugees is reaching 5 million.
        If the descendants of the Arab refugees from the Arab-Israeli war were treated like all other refugees, including the Jewish ones, they would not quality for refugee status because almost all of them (upward of 80%) are either citizens of a third country, such as Jordan, or they live in the places where they were born and expect to have a future such as Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians born in the West Bank and Gaza are not fleeing war and are not seeking refuge. They are considered citizens of Palestine by the Palestinian Authority itself.
        No other people in the world are registered as refugees while being citizens of another country or territory. When some EU countries already recognize Palestine as a state, it makes no sense to argue that people who were born and are living in Palestine are refugees from Palestine. The writer, a former member of the Israeli Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, is a Senior Fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute. (Fathom)

  • Weekend Features

  • IDF Soldier Confronts Demonization of Israel - Hen Mazzig
    As a young Israeli who had just completed five years of service in the IDF, I looked forward to my new job educating people in the Pacific Northwest about Israel. From January through May, I went to college campuses, high schools, and churches to tell people about my military service as an officer in an IDF unit that attends to the needs of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the conflict and promotes Palestinian civil society.
        However, nothing prepared me for the misinformation, demonization of Israel, and the gut-wrenching, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hostility expressed by many students, professors, and church members in the greater Seattle area, Oregon, and Berkeley.
        The new anti-Semitism is packaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS). At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university said that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, "Where do you want them to go?" she calmly answered, "I don't care. I don't care if they don't have any place else to go. They should not be there."
        During a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60's stood up and yelled at me, "You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!" My experiences in America have changed me. I never expected to encounter such hatred and lies. I never believed that such anti-Semitism still existed, especially in the U.S. (Times of Israel)
  • An Independent Christian Voice in Israel - Dror Eydar
    The vast majority of the Middle East region was conquered in the seventh century by tribes hailing from the Arabian Peninsula. They imposed their religion, their culture and their language on the indigenous population and claimed ownership of the land. At the "Israeli Christians: Breaking Free?" conference in Jerusalem, Rev. Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest in Nazareth and spiritual leader of the Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum, said, "The Christian public wants to integrate into Israeli society, against the wishes of its old leadership. There are those who keep pushing us to the margins, keeping us the victims of a nationalism that is not our own, and of a conflict that has nothing to do with us."
        Naddaf spoke of the Christian roots planted deep in this land since the dawn of Christianity. The Christian faith, he said, came out of the Jewish faith and its biblical roots. As far as Naddaf is concerned, the Christians also suffered from the seventh century Arab invasion. He said the realization that Israel is the only country in the region that protects its Christian minority has prompted many Arabic-speaking Israeli Christians to develop a desire to contribute to the State of Israel.
        Maj. Ihab Shlayan, the founder of the Forum, said: "The Christians will not be made into hostages, or allow themselves to be controlled by those who wish to impose their nationality, religion and way of life upon us....We want to live in Israel - brothers in arms and brothers in peace. We want to stand guard and serve as the first line of defense in this Holy Land, the Land of Israel."
        Lt. (ret.) Shaadi Khalloul spoke of his Aramaic Christian identity, adding, "The typical Christian student thinks that he belongs to the Arab people and the Islamic nation, instead of speaking to the people with whom he truly shares his roots - the Jewish people, whose origins are in the Land of Israel." Rev. Naddaf added, "It is unthinkable that our children will be raised on the history of the nakba and on the hatred of Jews, and not be taught their history."
        The Christian communities' march toward the heart of the Israeli consensus is important to Israel's efforts to prove our rights to the world. When Israeli Christians stand by the State of Israel and declare that this is the Land of Israel and not Palestine, and that Jews did not steal this land but rather returned home as the Bible prophesied, it has immeasurable significance. (Israel Hayom)

Netanyahu and Iran's Leaders: A Look at the Record - Robert G. Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein (New York Times)

      Re: "Bibi's Tired Iranian Lines" (New York Times, Oct. 4):

  • Roger Cohen, in his unjustified diatribe directed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, chooses to ignore that the supreme leader of Iran, not President Hassan Rouhani, makes the decisions on Iran's nuclear program, and the supreme leader has given no real indication of any change in policy. Indeed, even Mr. Rouhani declared on his return from the United Nations that the right to nuclear technology and enrichment is "not negotiable."
  • President Rouhani has a bad track record. As Mr. Netanyahu noted in his speech, Mr. Rouhani published a book about the period when he was Iran's chief negotiator and described how he misled and deceived the world as Iran surreptitiously continued to develop its nuclear program.
  • Iran does not need to enrich uranium to have the civilian nuclear program it claims to want. Seventeen countries, including Canada and Spain, have such programs and do not enrich uranium.
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his Bar-Ilan speech in 2009, publicly embraced the two-state solution and has repeatedly said he is prepared to meet at any time and any place without preconditions in pursuit of that goal. He has embraced Secretary of State John Kerry's initiative and, to ensure that it would go forward, made the painful decision to release many Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands.
  • Iran's quest for nuclear weapons poses a severe threat to the national security interests of the United States as it does to the Mideast region. We would welcome a true diplomatic solution that removes the threat of Iran's capacity to develop a nuclear weapon.

    The writers are, respectively, chairman and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
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