Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
June 26, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

60 Percent of Palestinians Say Goal Is Reclaiming All of Historic Palestine - David Pollock (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    A new West Bank-Gaza public opinion survey conducted on June 15-17, 2014, shows that fewer than 30% of Palestinians now support a "two-state solution": a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state in lasting peace with Israel.
    Moreover, 60% say that the five-year goal "should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea."
    Nearly two-thirds said "resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated," while only a third said that "it might be necessary to give up some of our claims so that our people and our children can have a better life."
    Moreover, almost two-thirds said a two-state solution would be "part of a 'program of stages,' to liberate all of historic Palestine later." 

Iraqi Prime Minister: "I Am Indebted to Iran" (Al-Hayat-Mideast Mirror, 23June2014)
    Salim Nassar, writing in the pan-Arab al-Hayat, recalled that at the time the U.S. was negotiating (unsuccessfully) the Status of Forces agreement with Iraq in 2011, American negotiators asked [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki's permission to leave a token force to protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the largest American diplomatic mission in the world.
    Maliki refused, saying that he could not break Iran's order, which was that all American troops must leave Iraq.
    Asked by the American negotiators about his personal opinion on the matter, Maliki said, "I am indebted to Iran, which hosted our Da'wa Party for many years. For this reason, among others, I simply have to carry out Iran's policies."

    See also Tribes Once Loyal to Baghdad Give Fealty to Militants - Matt Bradley and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall Street Journal)
    As the stunning blitz by the Islamist State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, enters its third week, throughout western and northern Iraq, tribal leaders who once fought for the government are succumbing to ISIS rule, after being surrounded and blockaded.
    Iraq's military, despite repeated promises, had never sent reinforcements to rescue them.

Hamas Arrests Terror Cell Responsible for Rocket Fire on Israel - Avi Issacharoff (Times of Israel)
    Palestinian sources in Gaza said Hamas internal security forces arrested the terror cell responsible for firing rockets at southern Israel Monday and Tuesday.
    Military officials say 20 to 30 rockets have been fired at Israel in the last two weeks, with at least five launched on Tuesday.
    Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar warned Tuesday that Hamas rockets have the capability of striking any city in Israel, and that it is working day and night to dig new tunnels and upgrade its resistance capabilities.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Secretly Sending Drones and Supplies into Iraq - Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
    Iran is directing surveillance drones over Iraq from an airfield in Baghdad and is supplying Iraqi forces with tons of military equipment and other supplies, according to American officials. Iranian transport planes have been making twice-daily flights to Baghdad with military equipment and supplies, 70 tons per flight, for the Iraqi forces.
        "Iran is likely to be playing somewhat of an overarching command role within the central Iraqi military apparatus, with an emphasis on maintaining cohesiveness in Baghdad and the Shia south and managing the reconstitution of Shia militias," said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar.
        As many as 10 divisions of Iranian and Quds Force troops are massed on the Iran-Iraq border, ready to come to Iraq's aid if Baghdad is imperiled or Shiite shrines in cities like Samarra are seriously threatened, American officials said. (New York Times)
  • Issue of Pay for Two Sets of Workers Tugs at Palestinian Unity Pact - Fares Akram and Jodi Rudoren
    The 70,000 people employed by the Palestinian Authority in Gaza before Hamas wrested control of it in 2007 do not go to work but continue to be paid by the PA. To replace them, Hamas hired 42,000 new workers, who were not paid in April and May. The Palestinian prime minister insists he does not have enough money to pay both sets of workers and cannot risk the wrath of donor countries by funneling donated funds to anyone affiliated with Hamas.
        On Thursday, the union representing the Hamas workers called for a general strike to protest the pay situation. The inability to pay salaries was a prime reason Hamas agreed to reconciliation terms it had repeatedly rejected before. (New York Times)
  • Shimon Peres, Israel's Outgoing President, Is Saying Farewell to His American Partners - William Booth
    Israeli President Shimon Peres, who leaves office after his seven-year term ends this month, is 90 and has worked with 10 U.S. presidents. He says he has also worked - for four decades - for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
        Peres agreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu that Iran and its nuclear program present an existential threat to Israel. "I do not know anybody that is threatening Iran," Peres said. "Maybe if they did not threaten to destroy us, then we would not say much."  (Washington Post)
        See also Q & A with Israel President Shimon Peres (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel: World Powers Softening on Iran's Nuke Program - Barak Ravid
    "A month ago, the powers presented a very hard line on the matter of uranium enrichment and agreed to leave only a symbolic enrichment capacity of 300 to 500 centrifuges, to give the Iranians an honorable out," said one senior Israeli official who deals with the Iranian nuclear program. "But after the last round, we became concerned that the powers hinted to the Iranians that they'd be willing to talk about a much larger number of centrifuges remaining in Iran's hands."
        According to Israel's information, the powers' new stance is that Iran can retain 2,000 to 4,000 centrifuges. "In that case, Iran would remain a nuclear threshold state," he said. "It would retain an enrichment capability that would enable it, within a short time, to break out to a nuclear bomb the moment it decided to do so."
        Israel's message to the powers is that any agreement with Iran must be based on prevention, meaning the dismantling its nuclear program, rather than solely on enhanced inspections aimed at detecting cheating. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel May Ban PA Payments to Convicted Terrorists - Barak Ravid
    Israel's security cabinet decided Wednesday to examine options for preventing the Palestinian Authority from transferring funds to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement. (Ha'aretz)
        See also How the Palestinian Authority Funds Terrorists: PA Grants and Salaries for Palestinian Terrorists (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Palestinian Prisoner Hunger Strike Fails - Avi Issacharoff
    Dozens of Palestinian prisoners struck a deal to end their hunger strike because it was clear that it had failed, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday. While the prisoners were able to negotiate for some improvement in their conditions, the official said they were primarily motivated by a realization that the issue had faded from the public agenda. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel's New Eastern Front - Ari Shavit
    In the past few months, dramatic changes have taken place to the east of Israel. The limited comeback by the pro-Iranian regime in Damascus, the growing Iranian influence in Baghdad and the military strengthening of Hizbullah have created a fairly strong radical Shi'ite axis. Moreover, the sudden emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant brought onto the stage savagely extremist Sunni forces.
        Today, Israel faces a new eastern front of instability and uncertainty. The combination of high-tech weapons with the armies of Islam is liable to create regional shock waves that will gradually approach our borders. In these strategic circumstances, it will be hard to withdraw from the Jordan Valley and impossible to withdraw from the Golan Heights. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel's Critical Requirements for Defensible Borders: The Foundation for a Secure Peace (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Coming Soon: The U.S.-Iran Blame Game - Emily B. Landau
    A month ahead of the deadline for the current negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 over a comprehensive nuclear deal, the stated positions of the two sides could not be further apart. This negotiation is fundamentally not about achieving some middle ground on the nuclear issues. Rather, the onus is on Iran to adhere to international demands after it violated its NPT commitments, cheated and deceived, and lost the trust of the international community.
        The Obama administration has been bending over backwards since October 2013 so as not to upset Iran, with the aim of preempting any Iranian attempt to blame it of acting in bad faith. Yet despite the U.S. administration's best efforts, Iran is poised to blame it anyway.
        For Iran, beyond a P5+1-Iran deal which enables it to maintain the critical components of its nuclear program while still gaining sanctions relief, an impasse in the talks would be the next best outcome. Iran would emphatically claim to have negotiated in good faith, and been blocked by an uncompromising U.S. The writer is Head of the Arms Control program at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. (Times of Israel)
  • Presbyterian Church Vote to Divest from Israel a Wicked Act - Editorial
    There are some 200 nations in the world. Many of them are very bad actors: dictatorships, terror states. And it is tiny, democratic Israel that is the focus of the world's hostility. If Israel did not exist, the UN might not have much to do. Last year the General Assembly adopted 25 resolutions against particular countries - 21 were against Israel.
        Anti-Israel boycotts perpetuate two myths. The first is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is Israel's fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to coexist. The second is that the Arabs' lamentable condition is Israel's fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to reform, liberalize, or democratize.
        One opponent of anti-Israel boycotts is PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe he could have a word with the Presbyterians? These boycotts undermine a country whose very existence is threatened every day. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has now joined a nasty and growing mob. (National Review)

A Message for Democracies: The Perils of Giving Antidemocratic Groups Access to Elections - Tzipi Livni (Wall Street Journal)

  • Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by Hamas operatives over a week ago. Hamas is a designated terrorist organization, ideologically committed to an extremist anti-Semitic, anti-Western agenda that sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an endless religious war. Hamas is not pursuing a Palestinian state alongside Israel and offers no hope for peace.
  • Hamas agreed to the recent "reconciliation" with Fatah in order to reconstitute its terrorist capabilities in the West Bank. Its desire to participate in elections while remaining a terrorist organization is meant primarily to abuse the Palestinian elections in order to gain legitimacy for its extremist objectives.
  • Israel is not opposed to Palestinian unity for peace, or Palestinian unity for democracy. What we, and the world, should not support is Palestinian unity for terrorism. If the Fatah-Hamas agreement produces elections in which an unreformed Hamas can participate, the result will legitimize Palestinian terrorism.
  • In 2006, an unrepentant Hamas was allowed to participate in elections and surprised many by its victory. Then, as now, Hamas sought to use the democratic process to advance a radically anti-democratic agenda. By now we all should be wiser.
  • The price of entry in elections must include a commitment to key democratic principles such as state monopoly over the use of force, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the renunciation of terrorist doctrines. In the absence of that, the result is to offer an unreformed Hamas the opportunity to repeat its 2006 victory.

    The writer is Israel's minister of justice and chief Israeli negotiator in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

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