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January 13, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Spy Caught Sending Stolen U.S. Documents on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - Chris Dolmetsch (Bloomberg)
    Mozaffar Khazaee, 59, a native of Iran who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991, was arrested Friday as he attempted to fly to Tehran and was charged with trying to ship military documents to Iran, including materials related to the U.S. Air Force's F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and jet engines.
    In November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Homeland Security Department inspected a shipment Khazaee sent from Connecticut to Long Beach, California, bound for Hamadan, Iran, prosecutors said.
    The shipment contained boxes of documents, including technical manuals, specification sheets and other materials related to the Joint Strike Fighter program.
    As recently as August, Khazaee worked as an engineer for defense contractors, including companies that owned the documents and materials in his shipment.

Iran Sanctions Have Senate Majority, But Not Enough to Override Veto - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
    The number of senators cosponsoring a bill that would intensify sanctions against Iran reached 58 this week.
    Backers of the bill say it would strengthen the U.S. hand at the negotiations. But President Obama has said he would veto the bill because it could upend talks now underway.

Representatives from 20 Countries to Attend Sharon Funeral - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    Representatives of 20 countries were expected to attend Ariel Sharon's funeral and memorial service on Monday.

Sharon: You Have to Be Creative - Jeffrey Goldberg (Bloomberg)
    "Once, we captured a Lebanese fishing boat," Sharon told me.
    "We filled it with Lebanese food and newspapers and we put our soldiers in it, dressed as Arabs, who spoke Arabic. And they landed on the beach in Gaza, and the Palestinians hid them. They thought they were their people, fugitives. And we were pursuing them ourselves, making believe they were hunted terrorists."
    "The Palestinians took them to meet an important group of terrorists in the northern part of the Gaza district. And when they met them our soldiers killed them. Then they were evacuated out of Gaza. You have to think of things like that. You have to be creative."

The General: Six Years of Conversation with Ariel Sharon - Ari Shavit (New Yorker, Jan. 23, 2006)

The Vicious, Untrue Charge that I Instigated the Massacres in Sabra and Shatila - Ariel Sharon (New York Times, Dec. 16, 1984)
    See also Gains from the War in Lebanon - Ariel Sharon (New York Times, Aug. 29, 1982)
    See also Photos: Sharon, Through the Years (New York Times)
    See also Ariel Sharon Columns in the Journal (Wall Street Journal)
    See also Ariel Sharon - A Life in Pictures (Ynet News)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Ariel Sharon Dies at 85: Former Israeli Prime Minister Epitomized Country's Warrior Past - Glenn Frankel
    Ariel Sharon, a monumental figure in Israel's modern history who epitomized the country's warrior past, died Jan. 11, eight years after a massive stroke at the height of his political power. As a soldier, defense minister and prime minister, Sharon fought or commanded forces in every one of Israel's military conflicts for more than half a century, beginning with its 1948 independence war. Sharon chose the title Warrior for his autobiography. (Washington Post)
        See also Biden to Lead U.S. Delegation to Sharon's Memorial Service (Reuters)
        See also Biden: "Sharon Left Us Too Soon" - Haviv Rettig Gur
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden eulogized Ariel Sharon as "a complex man who lived in complex times in a complex neighborhood." Sharon was a part of "one of the most remarkable founding generations" in the world's history, and had "the land of Israel, the Negev, etched on his soul." In a country as small as Israel, Sharon's death "doesn't just feel like the loss of a leader, it feels like a death in the family. Many of my fellow Americans, some of whom are here, feel that same sense of loss."
        Biden praised Sharon's commitment to Israel's security. "Like all historic leaders, all real leaders, he had a north star that guided him. A north star from which he never, in my observation, never deviated. His north star was the survival of the state of Israel, and the Jewish people wherever they resided."  (Times of Israel)
  • Interim Iran Nuclear Deal to Take Effect Jan. 20 - Scott Stearns
    Iran and six world powers have agreed on how to implement an interim nuclear agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday: "As of that day, January 20, for the first time in almost a decade, Iran's nuclear program will not be able to advance. In fact, parts of it will be rolled back while we start negotiating a comprehensive agreement to address the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program." President Barack Obama said Washington will be ready to increase its sanctions if Iran fails to abide by the agreement. (VOA News)
  • Rebel Clashes in Syria Leave Almost 500 Dead
    At least 482 people have been killed in clashes between Syrian rebels and the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll comprised 85 civilians, 240 rebels and 157 ISIS fighters. ISIS had killed 42 prisoners in Aleppo, while 47 members of the jihadist group had been executed by rebels.
        The fighting has spread across four provinces in rebel-held parts of northern Syria over the past week. The latest clashes erupted when rebels led by the Islamic Front launched a series of co-ordinated strikes against ISIS in an offensive backed by the opposition National Coalition. (BBC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Ariel Sharon: Warrior and Commander
    At the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We take leave from Ariel Sharon, the 11th Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Arik was, first and foremost, a warrior and a commander, among the Jewish People's greatest generals in the current era and throughout its history. He was dedicated to the security of the state from his youth, as a young fighter in the War of Independence, and afterwards as a commander in the 1956 Sinai operation, in the Six-Day War, and in the decisive battle, during the Yom Kippur War, in leading the IDF across the Suez Canal."
        "He established [the commando] Unit 101 and set two primary foundations for Israel's struggle against terrorism: initiative and retaliation - which stand to this day. He also continued this action as Defense Minister, in distancing terrorism from our northern border."
        "He understood that above everything, our revival is our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves. I believe that he will be remembered in the heart of the Jewish People forever as one of our most outstanding leaders and most daring commanders."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Arab Stabs Jew near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate - Daniel K. Eisenbud
    An Arab stabbed a Jewish man from behind in the back of his neck near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate on Saturday. According to National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, "It is clear to us that it was a terrorist attack."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Ariel Sharon: 1928-2014 - Benny Morris
    From 1953 to 1955, as the leader of Unit 101 and then of Paratroop Battalion 890, Sharon fashioned the ethos and tactics of IDF commando operations. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Sharon, a division commander, brilliantly conquered the Umm Katef-Abu Agheila Egyptian fortification complex in the Sinai. In 1970 and 1971, as head of Southern Command, he successfully uprooted Palestinian terrorists from Gaza. In 1973, Sharon led the game-changing assault across the Suez Canal that forced Egypt, which had launched the Yom Kippur War together with Syria, to beg for a ceasefire. The writer is a professor of history at Ben-Gurion University. (Tablet)
        See also Sharon Left for Dead in 1948 Battle for Latrun - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
  • Sharon Put Israel First - Ron Ben-Yishai
    Sharon's legacy is firstly the survival of the Jewish nation, of the Jewish people in their own homeland. He believed that only Jews with their own two hands can secure their own survival in this very dangerous and precarious region.
        When a million Jews came from the Soviet Union in a very short time, Arik as housing minster built houses for them. (Ynet News)
        See also The Man Who Executed the Vision - Nahum Barnea
    Ariel Sharon was everything the State of Israel's forefathers dreamed of seeing in the generation of the sons, the born Israelis: handsome, strong, a farmer working his land, a soldier for life. The footsteps he leaves behind are huge. I'll remember him not in his uniform, but with the mischievous, sly smile of a person who ate people like me, and bigger than me, for breakfast. (Ynet News)
        See also How Will Sharon Be Remembered? - Sima Kadmon
    One has to mention the charisma, the capabilities, the magnetism, the ability to make fun of himself. A meeting with Sharon was pure joy. He was a man with unusual diagnoses, with a fantastic understanding of the human soul, its motives and impulses, who knew how to identify weak points and didn't hesitate to use them. (Ynet News)
  • Sharon: Myths, Facts, and Blood Libels - Tom Gross
    Time magazine was one of many publications to slander Sharon, falsely claiming he ordered the 1982 the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Muslims by Christians in Beirut. Sharon successfully sued Time.
        The BBC is already repeating lies on its website that Sharon caused the Second Intifada, failing to report what the Palestinians themselves say. For example, Marwan Barghouti, the de facto leader of the intifada, said: "The intifada did not start because of Sharon's visit to Al-Aqsa." PA communications minister Imad Al-Faluji added: "This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations."  (National Review)

Abbas Denies His Authority to Make Cardinal Decisions for a Lasting Peace Agreement - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Mahmoud Abbas is not a serious partner for negotiating with Israel because he does not have the authority to make decisions for the Palestinian people. His rejection of any authority to make historic decisions regarding a political compromise closes the door to any stable, lasting solution for two states living in peace next to each other.
  • Abbas outlined his positions on January 10, 2014, at a meeting in Ramallah, where he demanded full sovereignty in all the territory conquered by Israel from the Kingdom of Jordan and Egypt in the defensive war it fought in 1967 ("the '67 lands"), and especially in the area called "eastern Jerusalem," which includes the Old City, the Temple Mount, the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and other Jewish historical sites. Without an Israeli withdrawal from eastern Jerusalem and all the Jewish holy sites located there, in the eyes of Abbas, there is no Palestinian leader who has the authority to sign a political agreement with Israel.
  • Abbas has a similar attitude regarding what the Palestinians call "the right of return," which Abbas claims is the "personal right" of every refugee and his descendants for all generations, and that no Palestinian institutions have any authority to decide on this right in place of the individual.
  • With this claim, Abbas is undermining a basic assumption of Israel and the U.S. regarding the political negotiations, according to which he can represent the Palestinian people on the issues at the heart of the conflict and make historic decisions in their name.
  • Abbas' words express a clear message that the Palestinians see the negotiations simply as a tool to achieve Palestinian rights according to the Palestinian viewpoint, and they are not seeking a way to compromise with Israel on essential issues. The Palestinian approach is one of "a peace based on justice" as compared with the Israeli approach of "a peace based on compromise."
  • The Palestinian strategy has been revealed in full. The current political negotiations, or any future negotiations, cannot bring about a signed, stable, and lasting political agreement that will bring an end to the conflict and all claims. The first Palestinian objective in their order of priorities is to receive full sovereignty on the territory of 1967 - while leaving the conflict wide open.

    Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center.

        See also Abbas: Jerusalem Must Be Capital of Palestinian State - Jack Khoury
    PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday in Ramallah that "Al-Quds [the Arabic name for Jerusalem] and everything that was conquered in the 1967 war is part of the Palestinian state." He emphasized that foreign ministers from the Arab League will tell U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry this week that no peace agreement will be reached without eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state. Abbas added that "the right of return is a personal right that no leader can concede."  (Ha'aretz)

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