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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
April 29, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

U.S.-Set Middle East Peace Deadline Expires (BBC News)
    A U.S. deadline for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ended on April 29 without an agreement being reached.

Egyptian Court Sentences Top Muslim Brotherhood Leader to Death - Yasmine Saleh (Reuters)
    An Egyptian court sentenced the leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and 682 supporters to death on Monday, intensifying a crackdown on the movement.
    The White House said it was "deeply troubled" by the ruling.
    The Brotherhood, believed to have about 1 million supporters in the nation of 85 million, has vowed to topple the government through protests.

Iran Cancels $2.5 Billion Contract with Chinese Oil Company - Benoit Faucon (Wall Street Journal)
    Tehran said Tuesday it was canceling a $2.5 billion deal with China National Petroleum Corp. for the development of a giant Iranian oil field.
    China had stepped in after Western oil companies pulled out of Iran following a European ban on investing in the Islamic Republic.

Yair Lapid: How My Father Survived the Holocaust - Maor Buchnik (Ynet News)
    At the closing ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot (Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz) on Monday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid described how his father and grandmother managed to survive:
    "It was the winter of 1945 and Budapest was under attack with the Russians nearing. My father lived in a ghetto basement with 600 other people. At this point they were surviving off of dead horses they would find in the streets."
    "The Germans began taking the Jews in a procession of death, taking them straight to the Danube, and the Danube was red that winter."
    "My grandmother and father were near a green shed that was a public bathroom...and my grandmother pushed my father inside and they hid inside the shed as the procession continued without them. Ten minutes later 598 of the 600 people in the procession were dead."

Israel Opening Trade Offices in Asia and Africa - Yuval Azulai (Globes)
    "Six years ago...we had just two economic attaches in China and India, in Beijing and New Delhi. Today we have five offices in China, three in India, and we have added an attache in Vietnam and an office in Manila," said Israel Foreign Trade Administration director Ohad Cohen.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel: U.S. Pledged to Support Israeli Position on Talks with Palestinian Unity Government - Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren
    Israel has said it will not resume negotiations with any Palestinian government that is supported by Hamas, even if that government is made up of political independents and apolitical technocratic figures who meet international conditions for acceptance. An Israeli official said on Monday that Israel had in the past received "a specific commitment from the American administration" backing that position. The Israeli official said the commitment had been given to Israel during President Obama's first term and had been restated since his re-election.
        He insisted that the Obama administration had backed Israel's position against negotiating or dealing with such a government unless Hamas accepted the principles laid down by world powers in 2006: to recognize Israel's right to exist, to renounce all violence, and to accept all previous signed agreements. Hamas continues to refuse those conditions.
        "We are not overwhelmed by a group of gentlemen wearing suits while in the back room the real control is with Fatah and Hamas," Dore Gold, a senior adviser to Mr. Netanyahu and a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said in an interview. "The technocrats will be under the clear direction of the two movements."  (New York Times)
  • Kerry Apologizes for Apartheid Comments - Ben Jacobs
    Secretary of State John Kerry apologized Monday for warning last week that the lack of a two-state solution in the Middle East could lead to Israel becoming an "apartheid state." He said if he "could rewind the tape," he wouldn't have used the word "apartheid."  (Daily Beast)
        See also Secretary of State Kerry's Statement on Support for Israel (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Plans Bid for Greater Power - Avi Issacharoff
    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri announced Sunday that the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and his government are prepared to resign as soon as a new Palestinian unity government is established. After serving as prime minister for eight years, Haniyeh and Hamas are ready to give up the government in the short term for the sake of ruling the West Bank and Gaza in the long run.
        In the last few days, Hamas' motives have become clearer. It is a sophisticated strategic move designed to win over Palestinian public opinion in order to eventually win the parliamentary and presidential elections and gain overall Palestinian primacy. In the background, the harsh reality in Gaza, and especially Hamas' faltering relations with Egypt, have raised grave fears that if it does not give in willingly now, it might collapse financially or be ousted by its public. (Times of Israel)
  • Freedom of Worship at Holy Sites in Jerusalem - Ron Prosor
    Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor wrote to the UN Secretary-General on April 24 regarding "the recent campaign accusing Israel of impeding freedom of worship and denying access to religious sites....Israel respects and protects religious freedoms and grants full religious rights to people of all faiths, not a common practice in our region. After reuniting Jerusalem in 1967, Israel abolished discriminatory laws that denied Jews any access to holy places."
        Regarding the riots on the Temple Mount, "the unrest was a deliberate provocation on the part of Hamas and the Islamic Movement. In a premeditated effort, extremists stockpiled rocks and explosives in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and proclaimed their intention of clashing with police and preventing visits to the Temple Mount."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Abbas Did Not Shift His Position on the Holocaust - Yair Rosenberg
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' 1982 PhD dissertation, published as "The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism," famously argues that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to spur more Jewish immigration to Palestine. It also claims that the figure of six million dead has been exaggerated for political gain, and suggests one million as a more reasonable estimate.
        According to the New York Times, on Sunday Abbas called the Holocaust "the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era." But he said pretty much the exact same thing to Ha'aretz in 2003: "The Holocaust was a terrible thing and nobody can claim I denied it." In fact, Abbas has acknowledged the reality of the Holocaust for decades. He just thinks that the Jews helped perpetrate it, and he has never repudiated this stance. (Tablet)
        See also The Times' Goof on Abbas' "Shift" - Eric Fettmann
    Abbas' statement served as a handy distraction from his just-announced reconciliation with Hamas. All in all, his statement is little more than a cynical repackaging of past statements that was spoon-fed to credulous reporters and would-be peacemakers. (New York Post)
  • A Palestinian Student Defends Her Visit to Auschwitz - Zeina M. Barakat
    In March, I was one of 27 Palestinian students who visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death campswith Professor Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi. When we returned from Poland, the condemnation of our trip was deafening. Extreme Palestinian nationalists accused Professor Dajani of "selling out" to the Jews.
        It is impossible for me to make believe that there was no human tragedy perpetrated against millions of Jews and non-Jews during the Second World War. The Holocaust is a fact, and we all have a sacred responsibility to ensure that it never happens again to Jews or any other group.
        Many Palestinians link what happened to the Jews during World War II with the Nakba, the term Palestinians use to describe the events of 1948. Those who argue that the injustice Palestinians currently face is of the same magnitude as what happened to Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe are wrong. It pales in comparison to the dehumanizing horror, depravity, and evil conceived and implemented by Nazis and their collaborators. The writer is a doctoral candidate at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. (Atlantic)
        See also The Palestinian Auschwitz Trip - Abdullah H. Erakat (Media Line-Ynet News)
  • Egypt's President-in-Waiting - Eric Trager
    Despite the ubiquity of posters supporting former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's presidential campaign, "Sisi-mania" is a myth. Instead, Egyptian politics are dominated by a sense of resignation - a feeling that there is simply nobody else.
        Make no mistake: Many Muslim Brothers want Sisi dead. According to retired Gen. Sameh Seif Elyazal, who has been among Sisi's most outspoken supporters in the Egyptian media, at least "2 to 3 million" Egyptians actively "hate" the former defense minister. "Everybody knows that he is a target." As a result, Sisi now sleeps in an undisclosed location. He will also send emissaries into the countryside to stump on his behalf, rather than making campaign appearances.
        Washington's well-intentioned push for greater political inclusiveness has no shot of success right now. The current regime views efforts to encourage democracy as an underhanded conspiracy to hasten Sisi's demise. The writer is a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Policy)

Hamas Must Repudiate the Anti-Semitism in Its Charter - Richard Cohen (Washington Post)

  • Hamas is indeed the terrorist organization Israel and the U.S. say it is. Its opposition to the mere existence of Israel is stated not just in the usual terms of Palestinian grievance or nationalism, but also by a remarkable and stupendously stupid anti-Semitism.
  • According to the Hamas charter, the Jews "took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others....They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about." The Jews had help, of course - and the Hamas charter names their allies: "Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others."
  • The Jews, it says, "were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state." In other words, the Holocaust - not that it happened, mind you - was a clever Jewish ruse to win the world's sympathy and thereby establish the state of Israel.
  • In its tone, in its detail, in its sheer monumental idiocy, the Hamas charter is nothing but warmed-over Hitlerism.
  • Palestinians have legitimate grievances. But they are not children and they should not be patronized. Europeans and others who find such unalloyed virtue and victimhood in Hamas and the Gaza it rules ought to demand a repudiation of the charter.

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