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Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
April 14, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Hamas Prepares for Next Military Confrontation with Israel (MEMRI)
    Since the last military conflict in Gaza in July-August 2014, Hamas has been working to restore and build up its strength in advance of the next conflict with Israel - renewing its excavation of tunnels and manufacture of rockets, building up its weapons stores, conducting military training exercises, and establishing army camps.
    Senior movement officials are calling repeatedly for liberating all of Palestine, praising and encouraging jihad, martyrdom, and armed resistance.
    See also Hamas Prepares Its Next War on Israel - Tom Wilson (Real Clear World)
    In recent days, Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades have boasted that their bases close to the Israeli border have been repaired and are ready to confront Israel's military.
    Hamas is once again diverting concrete designated for rebuilding people's homes and using it to build tunnels and bunkers.
    Similarly, while the international community picks up the bill for Gaza's humanitarian needs, Hamas has found the resources to open 18 new terror training camps.
    While Israel is easing restrictions on the flow of goods and people across its Gaza border, the Egyptian blockade of Gaza has now become almost total.
    The writer is a resident associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.
    See also Gaza Preparing for War with Israel - Bel Trew (Foreign Policy)
    The fighters in Gaza are preparing for a new war every day. "Many of the men have moved underground," says Abu Mujahid, 40, a commander in the Nasser Salahuddin Brigade of the Popular Resistance Committees. "There are people right now under your feet," his second-in-command, Abu Saif, 28, adds.
    Yet for all the bluster, the fighters begrudgingly acknowledge that the civilian population probably cannot weather another war. Eight months after the last war, Gaza is still flattened.
    Most Gaza residents have just three to six hours of electricity a day. The water in the taps is salty because seawater has infiltrated the coastal aquifer. Sewage is openly flowing onto the beaches.

Egypt Responsible for Gaza Weapons Shortage - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
    Abu Mohammed, a Palestinian arms dealer from the border town of Rafah, revealed that the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Gaza has virtually stopped since February, due to tough new Egyptian security measures.
    He complained that it has become impossible to smuggle rockets into Gaza, and that the Egyptian security crackdown has caused a shortage of weapons and ammunition and an upsurge in their price.

India Planning Missile Defense Shield with Israel's Help - Vijeta Uniyal (Gatestone Institute)
    While India's foreign office hailed the Iran nuclear "framework" agreement as a "significant step," India's defense establishment is just not buying it.
    India has unveiled plans to equip the country's capital, New Delhi, as well as its commercial capital, Mumbai, with a comprehensive missile defense shield to avert a nuclear attack.
    The first step would be to install the long-range "Swordfish" radars, developed with the help of Israel.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Russia Lifts Its Ban on Delivery of S-300 Missiles to Iran - Paul Sonne and Jay Solomon
    The Kremlin lifted its ban on the delivery of the powerful S-300 missile air-defense system to Iran on Monday, which would complicate airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israel or the U.S. should the diplomatic track fail. In response, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, "We think, given Iran's destabilizing actions in the region in places like Yemen or Syria or Lebanon, that this isn't the time to be selling these kinds of systems to them."
        Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said, "It's proof that the economic momentum that will come for Iran after lifting sanctions will be exploited for an arms buildup and not for the welfare of the people of Iran."  (Wall Street Journal)
        See also Putin's Missile Could Make U.S. Attacks on Iran Nearly Impossible - Dave Majumdar (Daily Beast)
  • Senators Nearing Deal on Iran Bill - Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan
    Top Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are nearing a deal on legislation that would allow Congress to review any nuclear agreement with Iran, which could herald a veto-proof majority for the measure. (Politico)
  • Obama Meets with Jewish American Leaders to Defuse Iran Fears - Steven Mufson
    President Obama met with Jewish American leaders at the White House on Monday in a bid to convince them that he shares their concerns about the safety of Israel and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. The leaders included Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Robert Cohen, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Allen I. Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union; and Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. (Washington Post)
  • Jordan's King Abdullah: "We're Seeing Iranians in Syria Near Our Border" - Bret Baier
    Jordan's King Abdullah II said Monday in an interview: "We're seeing Iranians on the ground there [in Syria], actually not too far away from our border.  It's an issue we've discussed with the Iranians."  (Fox News)
  • Defense Secretary: Bunker-Busting Bomb Against Iran "Ready to Go" - Kristina Wong
    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CNN on Friday the Pentagon had ready a bunker-busting bomb that could destroy Iran's underground nuclear facility, in case the U.S. ever had to resort to a military option to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. "We continue to improve it and upgrade over time so that there is this alternative," Carter said, referring to a weapon called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
        He added that the U.S. has the capability to "shut down, set back and destroy" the Iranian nuclear program. "So we could do it, and it would set back the Iranian nuclear program for some period of time." Carter also said inspections of military sites must be included in the final deal negotiated with Iran. (The Hill)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • S-300 Will Not Prevent Potential Strike on Iran Nukes - Ron Ben-Yishai
    Both the Israeli and the American air forces, as well as the American fleet, are well-versed in the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system, which is in use in many countries. The lengthy time between the sale of the system in 2010 and its delivery to Iran gave the West ample time to develop technological means to evade the system's defense mechanisms. Therefore we can assume that its delivery to Iran will not dramatically hinder Israel's - or any other state's - ability to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel Concerned about Future Transfer by Iran of S-300 to Syria or Hizbullah - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel: Iran Steps Up Arms Shipments to Hizbullah, Hamas
    Israel has observed an increase in Iran weapons shipments to Hizbullah in Lebanon and Syria and Hamas in Gaza, and Iran was even attempting to arm Hamas members in the West Bank, Israel Channel 2 TV reported Monday. (Times of Israel)
  • Bank of Israel: Gas Production Growth Offset Gaza War Cost - Hedy Cohen
    According to the Bank of Israel's 2014 annual report, the flow of natural gas from the Tamar offshore gas field contributed 0.3% to the GDP growth of Israel's economy in 2014, offsetting the 0.3% reduction in growth caused by the Gaza War in 2014. (Globes)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Russian Missiles for the Ayatollah - Editorial
    By authorizing the sale of Russia's S-300 missile system to Iran, the Kremlin is offering the mullahs an air-defense capability so sophisticated that it would render Iran's nuclear installations far more difficult and costly to attack should Tehran seek to build a bomb.
        Mr. Obama wants to delegate responsibility for enforcing his nuclear deal with Iran to the UN, which means that the Russians will have a say - and a veto - there, too. Think of this missile sale as a taste of what's to come. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Demand for Iranian Recognition of Israel - Ephraim Kam
    Following the April 2, 2015, statement on parameters toward a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli government announced its demand that the final agreement include Iran's recognition of Israel. President Obama was quick to reject the condition, seeing little chance of Iran accepting it and worrying that an attempt to place it on the agenda would threaten the formulation of a final agreement.
        The eradication of Israel and the liberation of Jerusalem are an integral part of the Islamic movement, stemming from the founding principles of the revolution and, indeed, Islam itself. Recognition of Israel would thus be tantamount to destroying one of the pillars of the Iranian regime.
        Yet this does not mean that there was no point in Israel raising the issue. On the contrary, correct diplomacy must stress the connection between the radical fundamentalist regime in Iran, with its public calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, and Iran's possession of nuclear weapons. The writer, a senior research fellow at INSS, served as a colonel in the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Iran Likely to Act More Aggressively after a Nuclear Deal - Steven Mufson and Greg Jaffe
    President Obama has repeatedly voiced the hope that an Iran free of sanctions and open to Western investment would change, spending more money on improving living standards and less on destabilizing proxy militias and terrorist groups. Yet some critics doubt that will be the case.
        "It's an authoritarian regime," said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a former top Obama administration State Department official and director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. "It has never focused on its people and sanctions relief won't change it....It is much more likely that Iran will react to a nuclear deal by acting more aggressively in other domains."  (Washington Post)
        See also Russian Arms Sale Will Strengthen Iran's Military Posture - Elliott Abrams
    Iran with an operational S-300 system will feel more immune from attack and is likely therefore to become even more aggressive in its behavior throughout the Middle East. (Council on Foreign Relations)
  • Five Key Demands U.S. Dropped in Iran Talks - Kristina Wong
    Before talks began, the Obama administration and the UN Security Council called for Iran to stop all uranium enrichment. The framework agreement allows Iran to continue enriching uranium. The U.S. initially called for limiting the number of Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium to 500 to 1,500. The agreement allows Iran 6,104 centrifuges.
        President Obama said in December 2013 that Iran had no need for the underground nuclear enrichment facility at Fordow and the heavy water reactor at Arak. Both will remain in operation. U.S. negotiators also dropped demands that Iran restrict development of ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver warheads. Initially the U.S. pushed for a deal that would last over 20 years. However, the framework would see the deal's key terms sunset in 10 to 15 years. (The Hill)

Iran's Cheating - Michael Makovsky (Weekly Standard)

  • President Obama argues, "If Iran cheats, the world will know," and "If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it." But the promised inspections regime will not be intrusive enough to detect Iranian cheating or to thwart any breakout attempts in time.
  • Iran has a long and proud history of cheating on its international nuclear agreements. In the past year alone Iran has violated its international agreements at least three times.
    1. Last November the IAEA caught Iran operating a new advanced IR-5 centrifuge.
    2. As of February 2015, Iran had an excess of some 300 kg. of low-enriched uranium, in violation of the interim deal.
    3. Iran has been stonewalling about answering outstanding IAEA concerns about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
  • Moreover, U.S. intelligence services have a dismal track record of detecting clandestine nuclear efforts and predicting breakout - in North Korea, Pakistan, and India, for example.
  • Permitting Iran to keep its vast nuclear infrastructure largely intact only compounds the challenges the U.S. will have in detecting Iranian cheating.

    The writer, a former special assistant in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, is chief executive officer of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

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