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December 15, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

At Birthday Parade, Hamas Vows to Destroy Israel (RT-Russia)
    Hamas paraded 2,000 armed fighters and truck-mounted rockets through Gaza on Sunday, vowing to destroy Israel.
    In the parade, trucks carrying three long-range rockets and other vehicles with multiple rocket launchers drove by, while a drone with Hamas markings sat on a flatbed truck. Another Hamas drone and an Israeli aircraft flew simultaneously overhead.
    One of Hamas founding leaders, Khalil al-Hayya, reaffirmed, "This illusion called Israel will be removed. It will be removed at the hands of the Qassam Brigades [of Hamas]."
    See also Photos: Hamas Stages Massive Military Parade in Gaza - Elior Levy (Ynet News)

Major New Gas Find Off Israel's Mediterranean Coast - Eran Azran (Ha'aretz)
    A new natural gas field off Israel's Mediterranean coast - the Royee prospect - may hold 3.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, its two Israeli partners said Sunday after conducting a 3D seismic survey of the area.
    If the estimate is accurate, Royee, located 150 km. (93 miles) offshore, would be the third-largest discovery in Israeli waters, said Israel Opportunity, a partner in the group.
    See also Israel Finds More Gas - But Will It Be Extracted? - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
    Economists said the Royee gas field may not be developed in the near future because there is so much gas in the Leviathan (22 tcf) and Tamar (11 tcf) fields.
    Preparations to extract gas from those fields are already at an advanced stage. The Israel Electric Corporation has a long-term contract to buy gas from the Tamar field.
    Yet Israel Opportunity CEO Eyal Shuker is positive that gas from the Royee field will eventually be used in Israel or abroad.
    See also Israel's Gas Offers Lifeline for Peace - Stanley Reed and Clifford Krauss (New York Times)
    Half of Israel's electric power now comes from the natural gas that flows through the Tamar natural gas platform off the coast of Israel.

Arabs on Social Media: CIA Torture Pales in Comparison to Practices in Arab World (Ynet News)
    Amidst the outcry over the U.S. Senate report on CIA torture, some Arabs have taken to social media to point out that the methods described pale in comparison to torture that is taking place in the Arab world, in particular by the Assad regime in Syria, as well as in detention facilities run by the Islamic State.
    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, up to 12,000 people have died in more than 100 Syrian detention centers since the beginning of its civil war.

After Pipeline Leak, 90 Percent of Spilled Oil Removed - Ronit Zilberstein and Hezi Sternlicht (Israel Hayom)
    A week and a half after a major oil leak from the Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline, the Environmental Protection Ministry on Thursday announced that 90% of the spilled oil has been removed from the Evrona Nature Reserve in southern Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Netanyahu and Kerry Meet to Discuss Palestinian UN Bid - Daniela Deane
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome on Monday after the Palestinians announced they will put a resolution before the UN Security Council by Wednesday which sets a November 2016 deadline for an Israeli retreat from the West Bank. Kerry is due to meet senior Palestinian officials in London Tuesday.
        Both Israel and the U.S. have said Palestinian statehood should be negotiated, not forced through UN resolutions. (Washington Post)
        See also Israel Will Rebuff Any UN Moves to Set a Timeframe for West Bank Withdrawal - Jeffrey Heller
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told the cabinet Sunday that Israel will rebuff any moves at the UN to set a timeframe for withdrawal from the West Bank. He said Israel now faced a possible diplomatic offensive "to force upon us" such a withdrawal within two years. "This will bring the radical Islamic elements to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem. We will not allow this. We will rebuff this forcefully and responsibly. Let there be no doubt, this will be rejected."  (Reuters)
  • Little Headway in UN Push for Palestinian Resolution - Andre Viollaz
    Negotiations on a UN resolution to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects are making little headway, with Europeans waiting for a U.S. response to proposals. France stepped in last month to try to cobble together along with Britain and Germany a resolution that would win consensus at the council. The text would call for a return to negotiations with a view to achieving a two-state solution. France is also proposing to host an international conference to launch the new peace track. (AFP)
        See also Mideast Peace Push at UN Puts U.S. in Tough Spot
    France is drafting a UN resolution that speaks of the 1967 lines as the basis for dividing the land, but it doesn't include key Israeli - and U.S. - conditions such as Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The U.S. has long opposed the idea of the Security Council imposing a framework for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But for Washington, simply vetoing the plan would upset Palestinians and perhaps some Arab allies fighting against the Islamic State. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Portuguese Parliament Calls to Recognize Palestinian State
    Portugal's parliament on Friday adopted a resolution calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state. However, Portugal's Foreign Minister Rui Machete said after the vote the government "will choose the moment best suited" to recognize a Palestinian state. (AFP)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Palestinian Official: PA Can't Halt Security Coordination with Israel - We Rely on It - Amira Hass
    A senior Palestinian official told Ha'aretz that there had never been any intention by the Palestinians to carry out threats to suspend security cooperation with Israel. "A few of the people who spoke in the media in favor of suspending security coordination speak completely differently in closed meetings and are asking to act with restraint and caution," the official said. "The Israelis know that very well." "The Palestinian Authority cannot end the security coordination because of the many economic and personal interests - not only security ones - that rely on it."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Ya'alon: Israel Will Be Fine Without Security Coordination with Palestinians
    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon dismissed threats to discontinue the security coordination made by senior Palestinian officials on Friday. "The security coordination is more important for the [Palestinian] Authority than for us," Ya'alon told Channel 2. "We'll be fine without the security coordination. These are idle threats."  (Ha'aretz)
        See also Palestinian Leadership Decides to Continue Security Coordination with Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
  • "Hamas Will Liberate West Bank, Just Like Gaza" - Eli Leon, Shlomo Cesana, and Nitzi Yaakov
    Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said over the weekend: "Just as we liberated Gaza, just as we established a real national government there, just as we built a victorious army, just as we built a protective police force, and just as we have created security apparatuses with which to fight the enemy, we will repeat the same steps in the West Bank as preparation for our arrival in all of Palestine."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu Lauds Christians Serving in Israeli Army - Noa Shpigel
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Upper Nazareth on Sunday to attend an Israeli Christian Recruitment Forum event in honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday. The forum, headed by Father Gabriel Nadaf, encourages Christian Arabs to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. Netanyahu told the crowd how he had accompanied his son Avner to the enlistment office on Dec. 1. The very next day, Nadaf accompanied his own son, Jubran, to the enlistment office. "We are brothers, we are partners - Christians and Jews and Druze and Muslims who defend the State of Israel," he said.
        Netanyahu also discussed the recent wave of European parliaments that have passed resolutions calling on their governments to recognize a Palestinian state, saying he urged those parliaments "to listen to what Hamas is saying - that it will take over Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and set up another Hamastan there. We have not and will not let them do this."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Six Wounded in Terrorist Attack South of Jerusalem - Efrat Forsher, Yori Yalon, and Lilach Shoval
    Six Israelis were wounded Friday when a Palestinian terrorist threw an unidentified substance at them at a hitchhiking post south of Jerusalem. The liquid hit a man who was waiting for a ride and a woman and her four daughters who had stopped to pick up the hitchhiker. Border Police subdued the terrorist, Jamal Abu Riadah, 44, from Nahalin in the West Bank. Abu Riadah had been imprisoned from 2004 to 2007 for terrorist activity. (Israel Hayom)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Calls for Legitimizing Iran Weaken Moderate Forces - Hillel Newman
    Last week Iran convened an international conference termed "World Against Violence and Extremism" (WAVE), with 40 scholars and experts from around the globe. Among high-ranking officials who participated were the foreign ministers of Syria, Iraq, and Nicaragua, as well as former Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevick, former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari and former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin.
        At the conference, the same Iran that is designated as a global state sponsor of terrorism, that finances terrorist groups like Hizbullah, Hamas, and others, that tries to smuggle arms to terrorist groups in violation of Security Council resolutions (1701, 1747), and is deeply involved in regional subversive activity, preached to others about the cessation of support for terrorism and violence.
        It may be true that Iran and the Western world have a narrow meeting of interests in the fight against Islamic State. But there remains a vast clash of interests and ideology on a wide range of issues, from Iranian support of the Assad regime, to its support of global terrorism and deep meddling in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and other sensitive spots. Calls for legitimizing Iran weaken the moderate forces and embolden the radical ones. The writer serves in the Strategic Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Hamas Slanders the PA's Mahmoud Abbas - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Hamas has launched a slander campaign against PA President Mahmoud Abbas in response to Abbas' close cooperation with Egyptian President al-Sisi against Hamas. An article in the Hamas journal Al-Risala on Dec. 11 describes Abbas' many disputes with his political opponents. The slander campaign against Abbas reflects the great tension between Fatah and Hamas in the wake of the Gaza war. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

The Fears that Haunt Israelis in a Hostile World - Carol Hunt (Independent-Ireland)

  • Last Wednesday, the Dail [principal chamber of the Irish legislature] voted unanimously to call on the government to recognize the state of Palestine. Recently, I asked Israeli diplomat Dr. Einat Wilf, who was visiting Ireland, "Who could oppose self-determination for such a victimized people as the Palestinians?"
  • Wilf, a member of the Israeli Labor Party, a socialist Labor Zionist, responds: "There are a lot of people of goodwill who believe that - all they seek is peace, to ameliorate the plight of the Palestinians. But there's a kind of colonial attitude in what they say...because they fail to admit that the Palestinian people are making conscious choices, which have led them to where they are today."
  • "On November 29, 1947, the UN voted for partition between a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said 'yes,' even though they felt they were conceding a lot, the Arabs said 'no' because as far as they were concerned the Jewish people do not belong there and should have received nothing....And so, they continually refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist."
  • When people "say, 'I have solidarity with Palestine'...what they don't understand is that to most Palestinians, 'Solidarity with Palestine' means Greater Palestine, the entire area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, which will supersede the Israeli state. Many people of goodwill support the two-state solution but they don't realize that they are being roped into a project that is not peaceful and does not acknowledge the right of the Jewish state to exist."
  • "If Ireland really wants to promote peace, it will have to say that its support of Palestine is in addition to - and not opposed to - support of Israel. It will have to realize that people living in Palestine cannot be recognized as refugees from Palestine."
  • "The moment the Arabs accept that the Jews are an integral, indigenous, equal part of the region with the right to self-determination, then we can lay down our arms in the knowledge that no one will try to drive us away."

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