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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
January 1, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Six Palestinian Factions Reject Palestinian UN Resolution (Xinhua-China)
    Six Palestinian factions in Gaza rejected on Tuesday the Palestinian draft resolution presented to the UN Security Council on establishing a Palestinian state.
    The Hamas movement, Islamic Jihad, and four left-wing PLO groups said "the draft resolution opens the road again for the absurd bilateral talks."
    See also Why Palestinians Opposed Abbas' Statehood Bid - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    The fierce Palestinian opposition to the UN resolution shows that Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to embark on such a move.
    The widespread opposition is a clear sign that many Palestinians continue to believe that violence, and not diplomacy, will bring them closer to achieving their goals.

U.S. Concerned about Turkey Hosting Hamas Leader (Zaman-Turkey)
    U.S. officials have expressed concern to senior Turkish officials about Hamas leader Khaled Mashal's visit to Turkey over the weekend.
    On Tuesday, U.S. Department of State Press Office Director Jeff Rathke said:
    "Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization. Hamas continues to engage in terrorist activity and demonstrated its intentions, among other times, during this summer's conflict with Israel. And we continue to raise our concerns about the relationship between Hamas and Turkey with senior Turkish officials, particularly after learning about Khaled Mashal's recent visit there."

Palestinian ICC Move Follows Intense Campaign by European Government-Funded Groups (NGO Monitor)
    The decision by the PA to sign the Rome Statute, a step towards joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), follows more than a decade of intense lobbying and propaganda campaigns by NGOs that promote legal warfare against Israel.
    "Attempting to litigate the highly charged Arab-Israeli conflict in the ICC could spell the end of the court, and the NGOs and their European funders will be responsible," said Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor legal advisor.

PA Glorifies Synagogue Killers as Islamic Martyrs - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Posting a picture of the graves of the two terrorists who murdered 5 Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue last month, Abbas' Fatah movement glorified them as "martyrs."
    "This is the place of eternal rest of martyrs Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal of Jabel Mukaber in occupied Jerusalem, who ascended [to heaven] a month and a half ago during an operation at an occupation synagogue in occupied Jerusalem."
    On Nov. 18, 2014, the two Arab terrorists attacked worshippers with guns, knives and axes, killing 4 worshippers and a police officer, and injuring 7 more.
    The Palestinian Authority's official news agency WAFA on Dec. 26 likewise honored the murderers as "martyrs."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Palestinians Sign Up to Join International Criminal Court after UN Rejection - Ruth Eglash and Carol Morello
    A day after a failed bid at the UN, PA President Mahmoud Abbas moved Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court, setting the stage for potential war-crimes complaints against Israel.
        The move could end up backfiring, opening some Palestinians to prosecution over the actions of Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel have designated a terrorist group. ICC prosecutors have made clear that they will investigate all allegations of misdeeds in a dispute, not just those of one side. That means Palestinians could be called to answer for Hamas' rocket attacks on Israeli population centers and the group's use of civilians as human shields.
        Congress also could take action in response. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said funding for Palestinians would be cut if they initiate an investigation of Israel. (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Condemns Palestinian ICC Bid - Kendall Breitman
    The State Department on Wednesday condemned the Palestinian Authority for signing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. "We are deeply troubled by today's Palestinian action regarding the ICC," the department said in a statement, calling it a "counterproductive" move that "badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace."  (Politico)
        See also Netanyahu: The Palestinians Have More to Fear from the ICC than Israel - Herb Keinon
    Responding to the Palestinian decision to join the International Criminal Court and file complaints against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the PA, which is in a unity government with Hamas, should be more concerned about the ICC than Israel. Calling the soldiers of the IDF "the most moral soldiers in the world," Netanyahu said Hamas was an avowed terrorist organization that - like Islamic State - commits war crimes. "We will rebuff this additional effort to impose a diktat on us," he said.
        Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Palestinians are responsible for the "indiscriminate murder of men, women, children and babies for the last 100 years," and that "the only ones committing war crimes in this conflict are the Palestinians themselves."  (Jerusalem Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • How the Palestinian UN Bid Was Defeated - Itamar Eichner
    A high-ranking Israeli diplomat said the U.S. played a crucial role in blocking the UN resolution for a future Palestinian state. "Not only were they willing to veto, they also worked side-by-side with Israeli diplomats in order to prevent support for the decision within the Security Council."
        The results are also a testament to the Israel Foreign Ministry's focus on Africa, where Rwanda and Nigeria abstained. Nigeria was supposed to give the Palestinians the necessary majority in the UN Security Council. Until recently, Nigeria automatically voted with the Palestinians. A high-ranking source at the Foreign Ministry claimed that what finally tipped the balance was a phone call by Prime Minister Netanyahu to President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan is a good friend to Israel. In the last year, he visited Israel twice. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel: UN Resolution Reduces Incentive for Palestinians to Negotiate Peace
    The Palestinian resolution submitted to the UN Security Council was completely one-sided and lacked the components that would advance a future agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The resolution reduces any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate and compromise while encouraging Palestinian rejectionism. It is part of the PA's strategy to bypass direct negotiations by forcing its positions on Israel through third-party pressure.
        The PA's insistence on presenting the resolution despite the lack of support shows that the Palestinians are not engaging in a measure to advance the negotiating process but in a provocation to heighten tensions. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Court Convicts Hamas Mastermind behind Kidnap-Murder of 3 Israeli Teens - Gili Cohen
    Hussam Qawasmeh, 40, the Palestinian who confessed to planning the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah in the West Bank in June, was convicted in an Israeli military court on Wednesday. Qawasmeh admitted to planning the attack and funding it with 200,000 shekels he received from his brother in Gaza, who was deported to the Strip as part of the deal that released kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Qawasmeh admitted to procuring weapons used in the attack, and later aiding in burying the boys' bodies, as well as in helping the killers evade law enforcement officials. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Is Abbas Serious about Taking Israel to the International Criminal Court? - Alan Baker
    Mahmoud Abbas' fixation on taking Israeli political and military leaders to the International Criminal Court sounds dramatic and even threatening. But it involves a large degree of self-delusion. The Court's complex evidentiary rules, specifically the rule of "complementarity," prevents the Court's exercising its jurisdiction if the case in question is already subject to investigation and potential juridical process by the nation state of the accused. Furthermore, Abbas is evidently misjudging the weight of Israeli material, visual and other evidence justifying the recent military actions in Gaza. Thus it is highly unlikely that any such attempt to bring Israeli leaders to trial would succeed.
        Even more noteworthy is the likelihood that the Palestinian leadership, in giving the Court jurisdiction over the territories, including Gaza, would be placing itself - as well as senior Hamas commanders - at the mercy of anyone who chooses to initiate claims against them for serious war crimes and terrorism. These crimes, of which they openly boast, include willful and large-scale targeting of Israeli civilians, towns and villages, and the willful and systematic use of their own civilians and civilian structures, including homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, clinics and UN properties, as civilian and human shields - all serious war crimes.
        There is also another consideration militating against Abbas' ICC gambit. The International Criminal Court has hardly got off the ground as a viable international juridical body. The last thing it needs is to be labeled one more UN-style "Israel-bashing" institution, manipulated by the Palestinians. The ICC knows full well that permitting itself to be manipulated into "hounding" Israeli leaders could permanently prejudice its credibility, integrity and juridical independence. The writer, a former Israel Foreign Ministry legal advisor and ambassador to Canada, is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Jerusalem Report)
  • The Palestinians and the ICC - David Bosco
    However the Palestine situation reaches the ICC, the prosecutor's office will consider Palestinian crimes as well as those by Israel. If the court investigates the recent Gaza conflict, it's all but certain that Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks and certain other tactics would receive immediate scrutiny.
        The U.S. Congress has already warned about cuts in U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if it joins the ICC. As the New York Times reports, "The United States Congress had long threatened to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, including the loss of about $400 million in annual aid, if it joined the court." The writer is assistant professor at American University's School of International Service. (Points of Order)

A Peace Deal Won't End Delegitimization of Israel - Emily B. Landau and Judith Rosen (Times of Israel)

  • On university campuses Israel is being portrayed as the root of all evil. But can we expect the drive to delegitimize Israel to dissolve if Israel were to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians?
  • There should be no illusions that the hard core of the delegitimization activity would dissipate because much of the delegitimacy furor is swept up by anti-Israel fervor, rather than objective concern for the plight of the Palestinians.
  • Recurrent statements that question the relevance, need, and legitimacy of a Jewish state have nothing to do with a resolution of the Palestinian conflict. Thus, even if the Palestinian issue is resolved, the delegitimization sentiment will persist.
  • Take, for instance, the Iranian nuclear issue. There is a strong trend that points the accusing finger at Israel, ignoring the vast differences between Israel (defensively oriented, with a solid 40-plus-year record of restraint and responsibility in the nuclear realm) and Iran (blatantly violating a clear commitment, and lying about it for decades, while aggressively provoking its neighbors and rejecting Israel's right to exist as a sovereign state).
  • On the Iranian nuclear front, the pattern is similar to the sentiment that fuels the attacks on Israel on the Palestinian issue: Israel is necessarily the guilty party, and don't bother us with the facts.
  • Those who in recent years have discovered that it is no longer politically incorrect to spout anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic tropes will find other targets for their fierce anti-Israel rhetoric. Therefore, we cannot be content to think that a changed Israeli policy regarding the Palestinians will make the problem go away.

    Dr. Emily B. Landau heads the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, where Dr. Judith Rosen is an editor.

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