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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
October 16, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas: Revealed Tunnel Was for Kidnapping Another Israeli - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
    The tunnel from Gaza to the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha was meant to facilitate the capture of an Israeli and holding him or her as a bargaining chip, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk confirmed on Tuesday.
    "The tunnel which was revealed was extremely costly in terms of money, effort and blood," he wrote on his Facebook page. "All of this is meaningless when it comes to freeing our heroic prisoners."
    He went on to detail the lucrative nature of the Gilad Shalit deal, in which 1,027 prisoners were released.
    See also IDF Destroys Second Tunnel under Gaza Border (Israel Hayom)
    The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday blew up a previously undiscovered segment of a tunnel containing barrels of explosives under the Gaza-Israel border near Kissufim, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
    The tunnel was a segment of a tunnel uncovered last November.
    Last week, the IDF uncovered a 2.5 km. tunnel from Gaza near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

Jihadists See Syria Insurgency as the Road to Jerusalem - Loveday Morris, Joby Warrick and Souad Mekhennet (Washington Post)
    According to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, "Syria has become the most important destination for aspiring jihadists ever, because it is the heart of the Muslim world on the border of Palestine."
    "For jihadis, it is the road to Jerusalem at last."

First Visit to Israel by a Prime Minister from Malta (Malta Star)
    Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated that he was proud to be the first Maltese Prime Minister visiting Israel.

Russian Official: Arafat Did Not Die from Polonium Poisoning (DPA-Ha'aretz)
    Vladimir Uiba, the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency, told Interfax news agency on Tuesday that forensic tests by Russian experts found no indications of polonium poisoning in the body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Facebook Buys Israeli Maker of Data Compression Software - Vindu Goel (New York Times)
    Facebook announced Monday that it had acquired Onavo, a three-year-old Israeli start-up that makes data compression software for smartphones.
    The purchase of Onavo, with 40 employees in Tel Aviv, for $120 million gives Facebook its first office in Israel.

IDF Chief of Staff Helps Car Accident Victim - Spencer Ho (Times of Israel)
    IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz was traveling north of Ashdod Saturday night when he passed a car that had collided with the guard rail.
    He and his security aide stopped to evacuate the driver and began giving him medical assistance until paramedics arrived.
    A paramedic said that only afterwards did he realize that the person who helped lift the injured man into the stretcher was the chief of staff, who was not in uniform.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Presents Nuclear Plan to Big Powers - Michael R. Gordon and Thomas Erdbrink
    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif outlined a proposal to representatives of the big powers in Geneva on Tuesday that would constrain his country's nuclear program in return for a right to enrich uranium and an easing of the sanctions. After the discussions, Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, and his team met for an hour at UN headquarters with the American delegation, led by Wendy Sherman. The substance was not disclosed, but the meeting itself was unusual. "For the first time, we had very detailed technical discussions," said a senior State Department official. (New York Times)
        See also In Nuclear Talks, Technological Gains by Iran Pose Challenges to the West - Michael R. Gordon and Thomas Erdbrink
    Iran is expected to offer to scale back its effort to enrich uranium, a move that a year ago would have been a significant concession to the West. But Iran's nuclear abilities have advanced so far since then that experts say it will take far more than that to assure the West that Tehran does not have the capacity to quickly produce a nuclear weapon.
        Today, Iran has at least 19,000 centrifuges, 1,000 of which are highly advanced. That is more than enough, experts say, to transform low-enriched uranium to weapons grade in a few months. That would provide Iran with a breakout capability that is unacceptable to the West and Israel, even if Iran proposes a moratorium on enrichment to 20%. (New York Times)
  • U.S. Concerned as Turkey Selects Sanctioned Chinese Firm for Missile Defense System - Mahir Zeynalov
    Turkey has selected a Chinese firm under U.S. sanctions to build its long-range air and missile defense system. Both NATO and Washington expressed deep concerns and warned that the system will not be interoperable with the alliance's missile defense umbrella. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki publicly expressed her country's concerns to Turkey. Turkey's Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Saturday the reasons that motivated Turkey to select the Chinese firm were technology transfer, co-production, quick delivery and low cost.
        The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy profile of Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan on Oct. 10, citing senior Western and Middle East officials who accused him of passing classified U.S. intelligence to Iran and tolerating and arming radical groups in Syria. (Al Arabiya)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Bush: I Won't Believe Iran's Peaceful Intentions Until It Actually Proves Them - Chemi Shalev
    In a rare public appearance and even rarer comment on current affairs, former U.S. President George Bush said Tuesday that he "won't believe in Iran's peaceful intentions until they actually prove them." Bush said he doubts whether Iran's "intentions" toward Israel will change until there is a "change of government in Tehran." Bush was a surprise guest at a dinner marking the 50th anniversary of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. (Ha'aretz)
  • Netanyahu: Lessons of the Yom Kippur War
    Addressing a special Knesset session Tuesday marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: The first lesson [of the Yom Kippur War] is to never underestimate the threats and never underestimate the enemy. Never ignore the warning signs. The second lesson is that the option of a preemptive strike cannot be automatically dismissed. The major difference between the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War...[is that] in the Yom Kippur War, despite the warning signs, the government chose to absorb the full force of the enemy's attack.
        The third lesson is the strategic importance of buffer zones. Our presence in the Golan and the Sinai enabled us to prevent infiltration deep into the territory of Israel....It was clear that in the peace negotiations with Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula would have to be demilitarized. There is a fourth lesson as well. Peace is achieved through strength....Our neighbors learned that they could not defeat us by force. Peace can only be achieved if the hostile countries around us understand that Israel is powerful enough and that it will not disappear and will not be uprooted. (Prime Minister's Office)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Obama's Top WMD Ex-Official on the Iran Nuclear Talks - Michael Crowley
    Gary Samore served until January as the Obama White House's coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction - making him the Administration's point man on the Iran nuclear issue. On the eve of the Iran talks, Samore said in an interview:
        "The single most important issue is whether Iran offers to accept limits on its overall enrichment capacity: limits as defined by the number of centrifuges, the type of centrifuges, the number of enrichment locations and the stockpile of enriched material they have on hand. The goal of these limits is to prevent Iran from enriching large amounts of uranium quickly....Without offering some kind of limits on capacity, any proposal Iran makes is not going to be taken seriously."
        "There's a fundamental conflict of national interest between the U.S. and Iran. They want to have a nuclear-weapons capability. We're not going to be able to persuade them that having a nuclear-weapons option is a bad idea. They're deeply committed to that and have been for decades."
        "We also need to realize that, down the road, the agreement could fall apart....So people shouldn't view any deal as a comprehensive agreement that ends this once and for all. They should view it as a way to buy time, in the hopes that the next Iranian government has a different calculation of their national interest."  (TIME)
  • Possible Deals with Iran - Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov
    If the West is considering striking a deal in which Iran would agree not to continue to enrich to 20% or agree not to install new centrifuges, maintaining current economic sanctions on Iran is critical. Sanctions are the very leverage that could be used to elicit a reasonable or even good deal at the end of the process. Only after Iran proves its resolve to abandon all the key elements in its military nuclear program should sanctions be lifted, and not a moment before.
        According to several reports, the basic outline of the Iranian proposal has Tehran offering to limit enrichment in exchange for the West easing up on sanctions. So far, it sounds like the worst kind of reciprocal agreement - one in which the West would be forced to give up on its key leverage. A bad deal or even a phased agreement would be a defeat. In dealing with Iran, this is the hour of truth for Western diplomacy. Gen. Yadlin is a former chief of Israeli defense intelligence and director of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies, where Mr. Golov is a researcher. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Testing Iran's Nuclear Charm Offensive - Irwin Cotler
    There are a series of specific undertakings that Iran must be called upon to do, and be verified as doing. Iran must abide by, and fully implement, its obligations under Security Council resolutions and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian compliance should not be seen as a "concession" for which the West must necessarily reward Iran.
        Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment program and transfer its stockpile of enriched uranium to the custody of another country. Iran must suspend its heavy water production facilities at Arak. Iran must verifiably close and dismantle its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordow, embedded in a mountain near Qom. Iran must allow IAEA inspectors immediate and unfettered access to any suspected nuclear sites. Only Iran's verifiable abandonment of its nuclear weapons pursuits should result in the easing of international sanctions. The writer is a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Next Steps with Egypt - Adel El Adawy and David Pollock
    The Obama administration is either underestimating or miscalculating the response of the Egyptian government and people to the suspension of a large portion of U.S. military aid to Egypt. The reality, as most Egyptians and outside observers alike will attest, is that the U.S. is now viewed as an unreliable or even hostile interloper. Many ordinary Egyptians will see this move as further evidence that the U.S. still supports the Muslim Brotherhood, which today is widely reviled in Egypt except among the small minority of its own hardcore adherents. Government-guided media are awash with anti-Obama headlines and images.
        If the U.S. proceeds with an inflexible and impractical interpretation of its latest well-intentioned effort to spread the blessings of democracy abroad, the results are likely to be very bad for Egypt, for the region, and especially for American interests therein. The writers are fellows at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (The Hill)

How Palestinian Hate Prevents Peace - Yuval Steinitz (New York Times)

  • Just after returning from his UN speech, PA President Mahmoud Abbas hosted the celebrated Egyptian poet Hisham al-Gakh, author of a famous hit proclaiming that "our enemy is the fork-tailed Zionist devil." Al-Gakh had an opportunity to recite his "lovely" song upon receiving an award from the Palestinian minister of culture.
  • There are thousands of examples of Palestinian incitement against the Jewish state and the Jewish people. Such messages, propagated daily in PA media and classrooms, are internalized by the population at large - and children in particular.
  • Two decades ago, I was an unabashed supporter of the peace process. Since then, I - and many Israelis like me - have become deeply skeptical about Palestinians' real intentions, not only because of the terrorist attacks from areas handed over to Palestinian control, but also because of the repeated Palestinian calls for Israel's destruction.
  • PA media are being used to drive home four core messages: First, that the existence of a Jewish state (regardless of its borders) is illegitimate because there is no Jewish people and no Jewish history in this piece of land. Second, that Jews and Zionists are horrible creatures that corrupt those in their vicinity. Third, that Palestinians must continue to struggle until the inevitable replacement of Israel by an Arab-Palestinian state. And fourth, that all forms of resistance are honorable and valid, even if some forms of violence are not always expedient.
  • The fact that this anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic indoctrination persists constitutes a huge obstacle on the road to peace. It should have disappeared 20 years ago after the Oslo Accords. Until it ends, the current round of talks cannot hope to reach a successful outcome.

    The writer is Israel's minister of intelligence and international affairs.

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