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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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October 20, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Reconstructing Damaged Gaza Attack Tunnels - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    Hamas is reconstructing attack tunnels damaged by Israel during the Gaza war, the movement's newspaper Al-Resalah reported on Sunday.
    A spokesman for Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades said during a rally in Gaza on Oct. 9 that "the tunnels of Al-Qassam are fine, thank God."
    "Our men will begin the next battle with their feet on the ground of [the Israeli town of] Nahal Oz...and the other settlements on Gaza's periphery."

Half of Palestinians Killed in Gaza War Were Terrorists - Part 6 of Examination of Names (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    ITIC has now examined 1,017 names of Palestinian war fatalities in Gaza. Of the 874 dead who could be identified, terrorist operatives constitute 49.8% and non-involved civilians constitute 50.2%.

Germany Gives Israel $382 Million Discount on Missile Boat - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    Germany has agreed to slash 300 million euros (about $382 million) from the purchase price for three fast missile boats to protect Israel's gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea.
    Israel had asked for a 30% reduction on the price, as it had received in previous deals on German-made submarines.
    Israeli officials said the Germans understood that the missile boats were a vital security necessity for Israel in the face of a real threat from Hizbullah.
    Moreover, the deal was worth hundreds of millions of euros for the German economy and its shipyards.

Israel Intensifies Ebola Screening of Airline Passengers from Africa - Zohar Blumenkrantz (Ha'aretz)
    Israel expanded screening of airline passengers for Ebola on Sunday, testing everyone who arrives at Ben-Gurion International Airport from Africa.
    Some 70 passengers who arrived on a flight from Cairo on Sunday were checked for fever.
    Also Sunday, three isolation tents were erected at Rambam Hospital in Haifa in case Ebola is found.

Israeli NGO IsraAID Helps Refugees from Islamic State in Iraq (Ha'aretz)
    IsraAID and its Canadian partner ONEXONE on Thursday distributed 2,000 blankets and mattresses and powdered milk for more than 1,000 babies at the Khanke camp for displaced Christian and Yazidi families in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

Video: An Israeli Christian Arab Diplomat in Norway (YouTube)
    George Deek, Israel's deputy ambassador to Norway, Sep. 27, 2014: "The time has come to put an end to the culture of hatred and incitement."
    View transcript.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Drops Weapons, Aid to Kurds Fighting Islamic State in Kobane, Syria - Karen DeYoung
    U.S. aircraft dropped weapons and medical supplies on Sunday to besieged Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State in the Syrian border town of Kobane. The weapons and ammunition dropped were supplied by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. Iraq's Kurdish military force uses mostly Soviet-era Russian weapons, which the U.S. arranged last summer to be supplied by former Soviet-bloc countries now in NATO. (Washington Post)
  • Abbas Suggests Ban on Jews at Jerusalem Holy Site
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggested on Friday that Jews should be banned from the Temple Mount, a Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims. "This is our Noble Sanctuary...they have no right to enter and desecrate it," Abbas said. The site is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. (AP)
  • Hamas Leader's Daughter Receives Medical Treatment in Israel
    A daughter of Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was admitted to an Israeli hospital for emergency medical treatment this month after she suffered complications from a routine procedure, sources familiar with the case said. Her week-long admission to a hospital in Tel Aviv shows humanitarian coordination between the sides.
        During the Gaza war and since it ended in August, dozens of patients have been brought to hospitals in Israel for advanced treatment. Israeli media has reported that one of Haniyeh's granddaughters was treated in an Israeli hospital last November, while his mother-in-law sought treatment in a Jerusalem hospital in June. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Reduce Dependence on U.S.-Made Weapon Systems - Amir Rapaport
    Things that had been taken for granted in U.S.-Israeli defense relations, like the fact that Israel could always count on a U.S. airlift of ammunition in time of trouble, are no longer certain since the U.S. decision during the Gaza war not to enable the shipping of ammunition to Israel.
        About ten days into the war, Israel submitted a request for various types of munitions, including Hellfire missiles, to replenish dwindling inventories. Yet the U.S. completely stopped all connections with Israel's defense procurement delegation. For days, no item could be shipped. The order to stop the processing of all Israeli requests came from a senior echelon - probably the White House. The arms issue was resolved toward the end of the war, and strategic defense relations between the two countries continue, including extensive intelligence cooperation.
        Nevertheless, the Israeli defense establishment has decided to reduce the production of weapon systems in the U.S. and will rely more heavily on Israeli-made products. Israel will also intensify the manufacture of Israeli missiles that can substitute for U.S.-made munitions. (Israel Defense)
  • New Poll: 75 Percent of Israeli Jews Oppose a Palestinian State on the 1967 Lines, Israeli Withdrawal from the Jordan Valley, and the Division of Jerusalem
    According to a poll conducted on October 12-14, 2014, by Shivukim-Panorama for the Jerusalem Center, 75% of the Israeli Jewish public continue to oppose Israel's withdrawal from the Jordan Valley and the division of Jerusalem. Moreover, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East has made the Israeli public even less ready for territorial concessions in the West Bank. While 70% report that the rise of the Islamic State has not affected their position, 17% say it has made them less ready for concessions, while 5% say they are more ready for concessions.
        Some 75% of Israeli Jews oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state if it means an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. A similar percentage would oppose the replacement of the IDF with international forces in the Jordan Valley. Notably, 52% of Israelis who identify with "the left" oppose the replacement of the IDF with international forces in the Jordan Valley. Overall, 74% of Israeli Jews oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, while 76% oppose a Palestinian state if it means the division of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • What Is the Cause for ISIS Recruitment? - Christina Lin
    Secretary of State Kerry claimed on Thursday, "there wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of [ISIS] recruitment and of street anger and agitation." This is perplexing because ISIS is recruiting Asian jihadists in droves, and Asians do not care much about the Middle East peace talks.
        Moreover, it is likely that Secretary Kerry's good friends in Qatar and Saudi Arabia are causing the jump in ISIS recruitment in Asia and elsewhere in the world. Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew recognized the root cause of ISIS back in 2003, and pointed the finger at Saudi Arabia for the cause of terrorism in Asia.
        In the 40-odd years since petrodollars became a windfall in the Muslim world, Saudi extremists have been proselytizing, and building mosques and madrassas that preach Wahhabism. Lee warned in 2003, "In killing terrorists, you will only kill the worker bees. The queen bees are the preachers, who teach a deviant form of Islam in schools and Islamic centers, who capture and twist the minds of the young." Perhaps it may be more helpful for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition if Secretary Kerry would ask his Saudi and Qatari friends to stop feeding those queen bees. The writer is a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. (Times of Israel)
        See also No Link Between Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the War on ISIS - Dan Margalit
    Why are people linking the rise of the Islamic State with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Those two have absolutely nothing in common. For al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood there is no such thing as a two-state solution. Even if Israel were to agree to every one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas' dictates, this would have zero impact on the ongoing battle for Kobane or any other hot spot in Syria and Iraq. (Israel Hayom)
  • The Parliament of Palestine - Editorial
    In the vote this week by the British Parliament to recognize a Palestinian state, though the margin of 274 to 12 was lopsided in favor of recognition, more than half the 650-member Parliament either abstained or didn't show up. The nonbinding resolution will have no effect on Britain's longstanding policy of recognizing a Palestinian state only in the context of an agreed two-state solution.
        It also prompts the question of where these MPs get their news. Hamas began the Gaza war with indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, and the terror group continued it by routinely violating ceasefires agreed by Israel. If this elicited moral indignation by the pro-Palestinian MPs, we're unaware of it.
        Meanwhile, ISIS is at the gates of Baghdad and Bashar Assad continues to starve his enemies into submission - realities Palestinian statehood does nothing to fix. It's been a long time since Britain's voice counted in the Middle East. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Gaza Aid Conference Was a Charade - Laura Dean
    At the Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende announced that the nations of the world had raised $5.4 billion to rebuild the Strip. But a closer look at the numbers shows some creative accounting was used. For starters, much of the $5.4 billion was not actually earmarked for Gaza reconstruction. Many countries included in their contributions money they had already allotted to Palestine, including the West Bank, since the beginning of the year under normal aid programming. In other words, a good amount of the aid is not new money, but represented a re-announcement of money that's already been given. Moreover, it seems to be common practice for states to renege on their commitments. (GlobalPost)

Don't Make a Bad Deal with Iran - Yuval Steinitz (New York Times)

  • Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.
  • Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues, but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.
  • Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran's nuclear program. Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
  • Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years.
  • Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate.
  • Barring a surprising change in Iran's negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline. Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.

    The writer is Israel's minister of intelligence.

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