Analysis, Commentary and In Depth Coverage of the region. Daily Alert Nov. 29, 2012
Poll: Americans Increasingly Back Israel Against Iran – Hilary Leila Krieger (Jerusalem Post)
Americans increasingly back the U.S. aiding Israel militarily should it come under attack from Iran after a strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities, according to a new poll by The Israel Project released on Wednesday.
71% said the U.S. should come to Israel’s defense if Tehran fires on Israel, compared with 61% in a 2011 TIP poll.
Conversely, 22% of those surveyed in November oppose such intervention, down from 33% in 2011.
In addition, 57% said they thought the American government should oppose a UN resolution recognizing a Pales tinian state without an agreement between the parties, while 27% said the U.S. should support such a resolution.
Syrian Rebels Downed Helicopter with Missile – Anne Barnard (New York Times)
Syrian rebels downed a military helicopter with a surface-to-air missile outside Aleppo on Tuesday, video uploaded by antigovernment activists appeared to show.
See also Syrian Rebels Turn Looted Missiles on Assad’s Aircraft – Martin Chulov (Guardian-UK)
Terrorist or Journalist? – Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich (New York Times)
In his New York Times column (“Using War as Cover to Target Journalists,” Nov. 26), David Carr wrongly depicts Al-Quds Educational Radio and Al-Aqsa TV as legitimate media outlets.
They are intricately linked with Islamic Jihad and Hamas and have encouraged and lauded acts of terror against Israeli civilians for the past decade.
Does a station that is ideologically motivated and subsidiz ed by a terrorist organization deserve the same treatment as CNN or the New York Times?
Moreover, should a Hamas commander who painted the words “TV” on his car be considered a journalist?
The writer is head spokesperson to foreign media for the Israel Defense Forces.
Jewish Woman Brutally Murdered in Iran – Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
Tuba N., a 57-year-old Jewish woman, was brutally stabbed to death and her body mutilated on Monday by Muslim attackers in the Iranian city of Isfahan.
Her Muslim neighbors had harassed her family for years in an attempt to drive them from their home and confiscate the property for the adjoining mosque.
Today Could Have Been Palestine’s 65th Birthday – Irwin Cotler (Ha’aretz)
Nov. 29 marks the 65th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution of 1947 – the first-ever blueprint for an Israeli-Palestinian “two states for two peoples” solution.
While Jewish leaders accepted the resolution, Arab and Palestinian leaders did not, launching a war of aggression against the nascent Jewish state.
Had the UN Partition Resolution been accepted, there would have been no 1948 Arab- Israeli war, no refugees, and none of the pain and suffering of these past 65 years.
Indeed, today’s date could have been a day commemorating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.
The writer is the former Minister of Justice of Canada.
- Abbas Rebuffs Obama on UN Statehood Bid – Edith M. Lederer
In a last-ditch move Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood at the UN. But the Palestinian leader refused.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that the UN vote will not fulfill the goal of independent Palestinian and Israeli states living side by side in peace because that requires direct negotiations. “We’ve urged both parties to refrain from actions that might in any way make a return to meaningful negotiations that focus on getting to a resolution more difficult.” (AP)
- Israel: UN Palestine Vote Is “Diplomatic Theater” – Isabel Kershner
“The United Nations General Assembly will pass a one-sided anti-Israel resolution that should come as a surprise to nobody, and certainly not to anyone in Israel,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government. “Ultimately, what we will see at the United Nations is diplomatic theater. It will in no way affect the realities on the ground.” Israel’s response, he said, will be “proportionate” to how the Palestinians act after the vote.
Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that if the Palestinians use the vote “to continue confronting Israel in other UN bodies, there will be a firm response. If not, then there won’t.” (New York Times)
- Egypt Court Sentences Eight to Death over Prophet Film – Sarah El Deeb
An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world. The court found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information – charges that carry the death sentence. (AP)
News Resources – Israel and the Mideast:
- Netanyahu: UN Can’t Force Israel to Compromise on Security – Herb Keinon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that regardless of how many vote against Israel at the UN on Thursday, “no force in the world will get me to compromise on Israel’s security.” He also said no force in the world can sever the thousands-year-old tie between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
Netanyahu said the UN decision will “not change anything on the ground. It will not further the establishment of a Palestinian state, but will make it more distant.” “Israel’s hand is always extended in peace, but a Palestinian state will not be established without recognition of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, without an end-of-conflict declaration, and without true security arrangements that will protect Israel and its citizens.” (Jerusalem Post)
- Gaza Post-Cease-Fire Arrangements Begin to Take Shape – Yaakov Lappin
With the Egyptians acting as intermediaries, an arrangement between Israel and Hamas is beginning to take shape that has seen all terror factions in Gaza committing themselves to the cease-fire. Under the new terms, terror factions will not activate bomb-filled tunnels, set off explosives on the border or fire guided missiles and mortars at IDF forces.
The IDF, for its part, will not order an air strike unless it is absolutely certain that a rocket will be fired at Israel in the immediate future. While Gazan farmers will be allowed to work their fields up to a hundred meters from the border, no armed men, including Hamas police, may approach the fence. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinians Riot near Israel-Gaza Border Fence – Yaakov Lappin
Palestinians gathered on the Gaza side of the border fence on Wednesday and spent several hours attempting to damage the barrier, the IDF said. The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that seven Palestinians were wounded by the IDF. After verbal warnings, shots were fired at the legs of the rioters, an IDF spokeswoman said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- What Will Palestinians Do After the UN Vote? – Editorial
Abbas’ advisers have talked of using the PA’s new UN status to bring cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court. This would provoke a backlash from European governments as well as Israel and the U.S., which would probably respond by cutting off funding to the cash-strapped authority once and for all.
Progress will require Palestinian leaders who are willing to do more than lob rockets at Israel – or submit pointless petitions to the UN. (Washington Post)
See also The Palestinians’ UN Bid – Editorial
Passage of the UN resolution would not get the Palestinians any closer to statehood. A negotiated deal with Israel is the only way to ensure creation of a viable Palestinian state and guarantee Israel’s security. (New York Times)
- Palestine’s Muddled Statehood Strategy – Robert M. Danin
According to Mahmoud Abbas, according Palestine “non-member observer state status” in the UN is intended to enhance the Palestinians’ leverage in future negotiations with Israel. Yet rather than encourage such talks, his UN gambit is more likely to delay, if not undermine, the prospects for negotiations.
President Obama has urged the Palestinians for over a year not to push a vote at the UN. Abbas clearly and inauspiciously rebuffed him in a gesture that will no doubt figure into Obama’s calculations for his upcoming Middle East policies. The writer is a Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Council on Foreign Relations)
See also Palestinian Move at UN Won’t Solve Anything – Aaron David Miller (CNN)
- Gaza’s Not the Key, Philadelphi Is – Daniel Pipes
Egyptian authorities promised in their 1979 peace treaty with Israel to prevent “acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, or violence,” but in fact permitted massive smuggling of armaments to Gaza from Egypt via tunnels. In September 2005, Israeli forces withdrew from the Philadelphi Corridor, a 14-kilometer-long and 100-meter-wide area between Gaza and Egypt. By removing this layer of Israeli protection, an exponential increase in Gaza’s arsenal predictably followed, culminating in the Fajr-5 missiles that reached Tel Aviv in November.
Western governments should signal Hamas that they will encourage Jerusalem to respond to the next missile attack by retaking and enlarging the Philadelphi Corridor, thereby preventing further aggression. The writer is president of the Middle East Forum. (National Review)
- Accomplices in a Campaign to Annihilate a UN Member – Shlomo Slonim
For Abbas, the diplomatic route is simply a case of war by other means. It is a two-step strategy: The first target is Israel’s presence in the territories that came under Israeli rule in 1967 and whose final status and borders are legally still to be determined.
Once a Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders – including part of Jerusalem – is endorsed by international bodies dominated by automatic majorities, Israel’s presence in the territories is further delegitimized and its self-defensive measures can be discredited. Israel could then be charged with occupying the territory of a foreign state. Abbas’ goal is not to create a Palestinian state living peacefully side by side with Israel, but to replace Israel.
&nb sp; Any state supporting the Palestinian application in the General Assembly before a peace settlement has been attained between the parties violates the principles of the UN Charter and, wittingly or not, effectively supports a genocidal design for the destruction of a member state. The writer is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)
What Kind of Palestinian State? – Ron Prosor (Wall Street Journal Europe)
- For more than a year, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has attempted to bypass peace negotiations with Israel by unilaterally seeking state recognition at the UN.
- Exactly what kind of state will the UN General Assembly be voting for?
- A state with no control over its territory. The PA has zero authority in Gaza today.
- A terrorist state. States recognized by the UN must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities.
- An undemocratic state. Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza. In the West Bank, President Abbas’ mandate to rule expired three years ago. His government continues to jail and torture journalists, bloggers and activists.
- A bankrupt state. PA institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid. Yet this year, the PA tripled payments to convicted terrorists.
- Israel is urging the Palestinian leadership to work with us to forge constructive solutions at the negotiating table. When the foundations for lasting peace are in place, Israel will be the first to welcome Palestinians to the UN.The writer is Israel’s ambassador to the UN.