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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
November 5, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Killed in Syria - Ramin Mostaghim and Patrick J. McDonnell (Los Angeles Times)
    Mohammad Jamali Paghalleh, a commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been killed in Syria, Iran's Mehr news service reported Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Meets with Senior Chinese Official (Prime Minister's Office)
    Meng Jianzhu, chief of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met Monday in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

31 Percent of Palestinians Say They Would Participate in New Intifada (AWRAD)
    According to a Palestinian opinion poll conducted Oct. 20-22, 2013, by Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD):
    54% support and 42% oppose the current round of Israel-PA negotiations.
    However, only 34% are optimistic that the current negotiations will produce positive results, while 54% are not optimistic.
    While 60% believe there is a possibility of a third Intifada in the near future, only 31% say they would participate in it.

Peace Index Poll: 73% of Israeli Jews Do Not Believe Negotiations with PA Will Lead to Peace - Ephraim Yaar and Tamar Hermann (Tel Aviv University-Israel Democracy Institute)
    According to the monthly Peace Index poll released on Monday, 89% of the Jewish public are sure or moderately sure that the IDF is capable of meeting the security threats confronting Israel.
    When asked if Israeli-PA negotiations will lead to peace, 25% of Jewish Israelis and 50% of Arab Israelis said yes, while 73% of Jews and 45% of Arabs said no.
    Asked if American intelligence services listen in on conversations of Israelis, 90% of Israeli Jews said yes.

With Israeli Help, India Can Feed the World - Brett Jonathan Miller (Times of India)
    With proper water usage and agricultural management, India can feed the world in the future with lessons from Israel, Brett Jonathan Miller, consul-general of Israel in Mumbai, said Wednesday at Goa University.
    Miller noted that while more than 50% of water in areas like Mumbai is wasted even before it reaches homes due to poor pipelines, Israel recycles 70% of its water for use.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hagel: Israel Pushed Iran to the Table - Jeffrey Goldberg
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in an interview last week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threats of military action against Iranian nuclear sites, combined with the pressure of sanctions, may have actually encouraged Iran to take negotiations seriously. "I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat."
        Hagel has worked assiduously to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over its foes, and he has developed close working ties with Israel's defense minister and its top generals. (Bloomberg)
  • Iran Quintuples Number of Advanced Centrifuges - Rick Gladstone
    Iran's ability to refine uranium, the fuel for peaceful nuclear energy and weapons, has grown significantly, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Since last February, Iran has roughly quintupled, to more than 1,000, the advanced centrifuges at its main nuclear facility in Natanz. Iran has also equipped its subterranean Fordo facility with 3,000 older-model centrifuges.
        The Institute for Science and International Security has said Iran could produce enough bomb-grade uranium to achieve breakout capacity - the ability to quickly construct a nuclear weapon - by the middle of 2014. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: World Should See the True Face of the Iranian Regime
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told visiting Polish President Komorowski on Monday: "While we are meeting here in Jerusalem, tens of thousands of people are chanting 'Death to America' in the streets of Tehran. They're commemorating, even celebrating the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy. If you want to see the true face of this regime, see it there - chants of 'Death to America.'"
        "There's a debate in the West today. People are saying: what is the true face of the Iranian regime, because they have obviously changed their style. They speak now in English and they smile....But that regime, which is controlled by Khamenei, has tens of thousands of people on the streets of Tehran today chanting 'Death to America.'"
        "Khamenei, who is the real ruler of Iran, yesterday says: America is the most hated country in the world....And he fuels that hatred. That's the real Iran....This country that sends terrorists around the world, including to Washington, D.C.. to kill the Saudi ambassador; this country that participates in the mass murder of tens of thousands of men, women and children in Damascus; this country that continuously defies UN Security Council resolutions telling it to stop developing nuclear weapons."
        "Do we want this country to have nuclear weapons? And the answer is: absolutely not and they shouldn't be given a free pass. They shouldn't be given a partial deal that allows them to keep most or all of their nuclear weapons capability in exchange for reducing sanctions."
        "The tyrants of Tehran should not have centrifuges or plutonium to build nuclear weapons. This is the interest of Israel and the Arab world and Europe and America and Russia and China - anybody in the world who wants to see peace has that same interest."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Syrian Woman Gives Birth in Israeli Hospital - Danny Brenner
    A Syrian woman gave birth to a healthy boy at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed over the weekend after arriving at the border on Saturday afternoon while in labor. The woman said, "I am a professional nurse and I knew that injured Syrians have been treated in Israel. So when I went into labor, I asked to be taken quickly to the border in the hope that the Israeli army would allow me to receive medical assistance for the birth."
        "I was afraid to come to Israel, but I feared more for my baby's health if there were complications with the birth at home. The team of Israeli midwives and doctors treated me with respect and sensitivity, and the birth went well. I do not feel like I am in an enemy state. Everyone is helping me and caring for me."  (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • New Sanctions Needed If No Progress in Iran Talks - David Harris
    The Obama administration wants Congress to hold off on additional sanctions, at least for a few months, while testing Iranian intentions. But for Israel, such an approach sends the wrong signal to Tehran. Jerusalem sees no change from Iran on the litmus-test issues: spinning centrifuges, plutonium reprocessing, ballistic missile development, complicity in war crimes in Syria, and massive human rights violations at home. On Nov. 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called Israel an "illegitimate, bastard regime."
        In the U.S. Senate, some leading Democrats and Republicans think that since sanctions brought Iran to the table in the first place, more sanctions will keep it at the table and make compromise on the big issues more likely. It would send a clear signal that, while the U.S. is prepared to negotiate earnestly, as long as there is no clear evidence of Iran's change of behavior, the sanctions will continue to be tightened. There needs to be a reminder that things will get still worse for Tehran if nothing changes soon on the ground, and that elaborate efforts on Iran's part to buy time just won't wash. The writer is the executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (Ha'aretz)
  • Ryan Crocker, Diplomacy, and the Iranian Elephant - Michael Rubin
    Former U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker argued in the New York Times on Monday that talking with Iran works, based on his experience in Afghanistan. Yet it is important to consider what Crocker leaves out.
        While Crocker was holding talks with the Iranians in Kabul, President Bush received intelligence that Iran was creating a secret enrichment facility at Natanz. At the same time, Iran was busy seeking to smuggle in 50 tons of weaponry into Gaza. In effect, Crocker is like the blind man describing the elephant, willing to amplify the description of one aspect of Iranian behavior into wide-ranging conclusions, seemingly unaware that honest description of other parts of the beast suggested the opposite. The writer, a former Pentagon official, is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentary)
  • Egypt's Newest Jihadists: The Jamal Network - Jamie Dettmer
    A growing jihadist insurgency is spreading from the Sinai Peninsula. It includes al-Qaeda-linked jihadist groups such as al-Furqan Brigades, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the Jamal Network. Several hundred fighters from Yemen, Somalia, Algeria and Libya are estimated by U.S. intelligence sources to have joined jihadi groups in the Sinai.
        Of all the groups active in Egypt, the network set up by Mohamed Jamal al-Kashef, who was captured by Egyptian security forces a year ago, is of the greatest interest to America. Members of the network have been linked to the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi a year ago that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead. Al-Khasef told his Egyptian interrogators: "We consider Sinai the next frontier of conflict with the Zionists and the Americans."
        In October, the U.S. State Department said Jamal had set up terrorist training camps in both Egypt and Libya and received funding from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (Daily Beast)

The Syrian Regime's Willing Executioners - Jeffrey White (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • While the Syrian government has destroyed the equipment it used to produce its chemical arsenal, the regime still has the means and will to continue killing on a grand scale. A dominant feature of the war has been the steady escalation of regime firepower.
  • From beatings, mass arrests, and small arms, Assad's forces quickly progressed to using tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, antiaircraft guns, heavy mortars, field artillery, artillery rockets, combat helicopters with barrel bombs, fixed-wing combat aircraft with incendiary and fragmentation weapons, and surface-to-surface missiles. Much of Syria has effectively become a free-fire zone for regime forces.
  • A broad range of organizations and forces are heavily involved in killing civilians on a routine basis - not just a few key units close to the regime's core, but numerous regular units of the army, air force, and air defense forces, a broad range of irregular forces, the intelligence and police apparatus, and allied foreign forces such as Hizbullah and Iraqi Shiite militants.

    The writer is a former senior defense intelligence officer.

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